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ABC’s “Work It”: Drag me to MRA hell

The programming executives at ABC have been secretly replaced by alien pod-people from planet MRA. That’s really the only logical explanation for “Work It,” an upcoming ABC sitcom whose premise seems to have been lifted straight from the comments section of The Spearhead. Here’s a description of the show from ABC:

With unemployment an ongoing issue and women now outnumbering men in the workforce, the new comedy series Work It follows two alpha males who realize the only way to beat the current “mancession” and land a job in pharmaceutical sales is to pass themselves off as women.

Yep, it’s a retread of Bosom Buddies, this time sprinkled with MRA buzzwords.  Alpha males, mancession – all we need is a few false rape accusations to complete the MRA-cliche soufflé.

Gawker has already hailed the show as an abomination that “Could Be the Worst Television Show in History.” After watching the promo clip below, I’m thinking that may be an understatement.

Of course, maybe I’m wrong. Maybe this isn’t an MRA show at all. Maybe it’s just a really inept and misguided attempt to explore the issues faced by trans women in the workplace.  But somehow I doubt it.

87 replies on “ABC’s “Work It”: Drag me to MRA hell”

i take issue with the last bit of that cartoon. clue is hilarious and it will always be hilarious. the fact that battleship looks terrible doesnt take away from that.

I don’t know about other men, but you’re doing yourself no favours by calling yourself “buttman” buttman.

You know, I’m getting pretty sick of all this blaming of feminism for portraying men as doofuses. Feminism didn’t invent slapstick comedy. In fact it existed long before feminism really took off. Look at The Three Stooges. Charlie Chaplin, even Mr. Bean. Look at court jesters for fucks sake! men making idiots of themselves for comedy has been happening for centuries, and they ARE revered for it because it makes people laugh.

There are examples of serious and good male characters on TV. In CSI or Law and Order for example (that’s all I can think of at the moment since I stopped watching TV awhile ago) As long as you balance the doofus characters with the smart characters, then it doesn’t seem like such a big deal. And really, what female characters are SO great on TV? Snooki? The Kardashians? Paris Hilton? screechy, superficial bimbos? yea…great female role models. I wouldn’t be against seeing more women doing slapstick or raunchy comedy routines either. Bridesmaids did well for that reason.

Seriously MRAs…research comedy before adding it to your list of 384389489234728 things to blame on feminism. And maybe if it bugs you so much address your complaints to the majority of MALE WRITERS who create these shows.

This show in particular does look asinine though.

and I looked up that commercial buttman, he was wearing a french fries costume. How is that any different from wearing ridiculous costumes for work? it could have been a girl and would have made no difference.

Wow…what an asshole character Jack Donaghy is

Oh! what about that Don Draper from Mad Men? I heard he’s quite popular even though he treats women like shit.

Yea. This is why I don’t watch TV. Most characters suck.

The thing that I hate about shows/movies with the premise “men disguising themselves as women” is that it covers over the very real danger that trans women, drag queens, gay men who prefer women’s clothing, crossdressers, and any other MAAB person who presents or dresses in a female-coded way face. It’s not “LOL I wonder if I’ll get found out today!!!” for the people who are actually out there living their lives. Since this is part of their identity as a human being, they can’t just be like, “aw shucks, you got me! guess I’ll go back to being a masculine man!”

People sometimes die when their trans status or their anatomical sex is revealed. They also can get assaulted, raped, lose their jobs, get kicked out of housing, have medical caregivers refuse to treat them, etc. You almost never see men-disguised-as-women have to navigate these sorts of dangers in TV/movies, when in real life, it would likely be a continuous and pressing concern, even for someone “disguised” and not trans or queer or whatever. It would definitely not be a source of the lulz.

at least a show like this has a built-in shelf-life: there’s only so many times you can have them almost get caught but escape at the last minute before that particular tension loses its effectiveness, and without that, the show basically has nothing.

You’d think, but “Three’s Company” lasted eight years on the premise, “Maybe THIS week their landlord will figure out they’re not gay!”

@ullere, I was addressing the OP, but many of the points transfer over. Women in the industries affected by the recession were affected worse, the women who were less likely to lose jobs were in “pink collar” low paying and under-employment prone jobs. And, in the end, men did not end up in as low of an economic situation as women were already in, which makes it even worse to piss and moan that women are better off in the recession than men.

I am right now watching a Tv show/documentary called “my sexy robot” about fembots and their fetishists….

I do watch t.v and have to laugh at the people who do not watch and then complain about how men or women are portrayed.

My favorite comedy shows right now are just off the top of my head that I’ve watched in the last few days:

The Office: Everyone can be the idiot on any given episode. Jim and Pam are mostly the straight guys but not always, see this years halloween episode where Jim finds out that Pam believes in ghosts etc.

30Rock: Same thing, created by Tina Fey, her character is a bumbling fool, as is the rest of the cast. It took me a while to get into the show simply because I couldn’t sympathize with any of the characters. But it is funny as all hell.

New Girl: This is a new one again around a female character. Super geeky girl moves in as a roommate with three “normal” guys. They learn to like her even though she’s a super tweeb.

The Big Bang Theory: Mra’s should love this show. At a dinner party a while back we posed the question which character would you date. My answer was Sheldon.

It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia: It’s a horrible show in a good way. Enough said.

As far as comedies are concerned a good indication of how this show is going to be is, is there a laugh track? If there is chances are today the show is geared to a low intelligence audience. Low intelligence audiences tend towards obvious slapstick comedy instead of nuance where they are told when to laugh.

As far as drama is concerned my favorite show right now is Sons Of Anarchy. Jax and Tara are the heroes. As polled from my friends Jax is the number 1 man crush on t.v today (by men). All the other characters including Jemma are complicated, they engage in evil acts but they do believe they are doing those acts for the better good. Jax’s and Tara make bad mistakes as well.

Grey’s Anatomy : MRA’s hate this show. I doubt anyone of them watch it. If they did they would have a hard time explaining how men are seen in a negative light. It has a interesting character plot including what should be a mra highlight that the main female characters have issues with commitment while the men just put up with them. (a gross generalization).

Fox basically did this same show back in 1997. It was called Ask Harriet and lasted about 7 episodes.

Buttman, if you watched that much TV, you would notice plenty of positive portrayals of male characters. You only notice men shown in a negative light because you like to complain. You would notice Lex Luthor being a jerk on Smallville, but ignore that Clark Kent is always so sweet. You probably ignore when women are shown in a bad light, too. Try watching television without your confirmation bias sometimes.

I think Buttman must watch a lot of crime shows, because that’s the ONLY area I’ve seen a lot of growth in female-only TV shows. There’s Rizzoli & Isles, which is about two women, and a show about a 40-something female investigator whose name escapes me. There’s also Castle, where the female detective is the “straight man” and the male writer is the goofball.

In most TV, though, there’s similar time for both male and female leads because, usually, they’re involved in some kind of main plot line or subplot where they are deeply in love with each other but never acknowledge it so it can be drawn out over multiple seasons…

Interesting that the “female-dominated” profession they’re talking about is pharmaceutical sales, a major source of jobs for female college cheerleaders. Clearly, the bias against males in that field is unconscionable discrimination and not at all the result of historical gender bias in the medical profession causing the population of prescribing physicians to skew male, or any desire by Big Pharma to cater to the physician demographic by having attractive ladies hawk their drugs.

In other news, down is up.

they’re involved in some kind of main plot line or subplot where they are deeply in love with each other but never acknowledge it so it can be drawn out over multiple seasons…

Yeah, that hooks me to shows but sometimes it’s so frustrating. I don’t like it when they build up lots of sexual tension between characters, and then have some terrible coincidence or mistake ruin their feelings for each other. After two or three times of being let down, I’ll give up on the entire show. That’s what made me mad at the show Lois and Clark back in the 90’s.

I gave these examples in another thread, but I think they’d be helpful here for Buttman to see. I can think of some non fictional men on TV who are portrayed in a positive light. Adam and Jaime from Mythbusters are both shown as intelligent and likable. Most game shows have men as hosts, and the hosts are usually shown as friendly and funny. Ty Pennington from Extreme Home Makeover is shown as a humanitarian, although some people here in Joplin said he’s not as friendly in real life. Another positive male role model on TV is Anderson Cooper.

Here are some fictional men who are shown in a positive light. Mike Delfino from Desperate Housewives is shown as a hero and a good husband (usually, but soaps have some extra drama now and then). Clark Kent from Smallville is a total sweetie to everyone, even his frenemy Lex Luthor. Leo Boykewich is a charming and successful widower on The Secret Life of the American Teenager. Raising Hope has a likable single dad. MRA’s would also like seeing the mom shown as a villain, because she was a serial killer. See, Buttman? There are good portrayals of men on TV, too.

What really drives me nuts is when the will-they-won’t-they turns to they-will, and then all the tension and drive goes straight out of the show. Or they make each other miserable, constantly, to create the drama that used to come from them dancing around each other. Case in point, Lorelai and Luke on Gilmore Girls. Although the show had gone downhill by that point for other reasons as well.

Now, Chuck and Sarah on Chuck? That’s how you do it! They still had their little dramas but mostly they just loved each other a lot. And I squee’ed at home about how sexy they both are.

I don’t like it when they build up lots of sexual tension between characters, and then have some terrible coincidence or mistake ruin their feelings for each other.

I’m really not of fan of the set ’em up and knock ’em down approach to fiction in general, whether it’s about romance or personal growth or whatever else.

More often than not it comes across as a cheap way to regress characters back to their previous mental states so they’re easier to write for.

Pretty Little Liars, a show aimed at teenage girls (and those of us still teenage girls at heart) has several very positive portrayals of male characters. One character was wrongfully accused of murder and has had to deal with the consequences of that, including having to drop out of school and find work to support himself. He saves the day all the time. Dude, the teacher having an affair with his student is portrayed as one of the kindest, most thoughtful, all-around good characters on the show.

But shows directed at teen girls are misandry.

I must say, I’ve loved how they’ve drawn it out with Booth and Bones on Bones, and I’m so pleased to see my very very favorite Clark Kent from Smallville brought up by more than one commenter! My avatar on here is a picture of me on the bridge up in Vancouver imitating Clark in the pilot episode. (Yes, actual bridge where they shot that classic kiss-of-life scene.) It was an epic fangirl trip, and we went and saw Luthor mansion also (also where they film the exterior for the X-men mansion for the movies.)

My favorite comedy lady right now is Amy Pohler, who is constantly surrounded by all different sorts of men, from your Ron Swanson to your Tom Haverford, plus Ben, Jerry, Andy, Chris (literally) and who has tons of supportive female friends. I aspire to be Leslie Knope! 🙂

Now, Chuck and Sarah on Chuck? That’s how you do it! They still had their little dramas but mostly they just loved each other a lot. And I squee’ed at home about how sexy they both are.

This. When I watch a show where the characters fall for each other, and then they finally hook up, they need to stay happy together, imo. Some writers think happy couples aren’t interesting for the story, but they can be. If they need drama, that can come from outside sources that don’t threaten the relationship. A good example of a happy couple was Cliff and Clair Huxtable from The Cosby Show. I liked seeing them happily in love, and the show was good without driving wedges between them.

I almost stopped watching Desperate Housewives the first time they had Mike and Susan break up. Now the show is about to go off the air, but the writers have decided messing them up is not an option or else the viewers will bolt. If the writers set up couples I don’t like, though, then I will accept the flimsiest of plot devices to break them up.

Jeevmon: is that true about lots of women college cheerleaders becoming pharmaceutical salespeople???? if so, make that my “you learn something new every day.” i would have never guessed that. any reason why pharma companies would have a preference for women who were cheerleaders in college???? maybe because, well, they tend to be cheery, and that might be good for sales? but why pharma sales in particular????

oh ok, i re-read your post and yeah, male doctors liking to see pretty young women.

@Kavette, I agree with you completely. Gilmore Girls was brilliantly written. Plus it first aired when I was 12 years old, the perfect time to watch a show like that with my mom, so it will always hold a special place in my heart for that reason. But I really do think some cracks began to show in the 4th season, and it really started falling apart from the 5th on. 🙁


Also, the basic premise of the crossdressing [in Some Like it Hot] is less sexist than this show or many other more recent comedies, the protagonists do it to hide from the law/the mob, not to gain “the advantages of women”.

In Tootsie he was going for a job only being offered to a woman, but it was that particular job, not any job at all. Not unproblematic (or, rather, I’m not in a good position to see the problems, so I can’t say, though I’ll go with kladle’s analysis) but different in degree if not kind from Work It.

Mrs Doubtfire is tha real MRA crossdressing comedy. He was arbitrarily denied access to his kids! It was probably the man-hating feminist judges’ fault!

I quite like Tootsie, but what always bothered me (as a cis woman, who obviously doesn’t have the struggles of a trans woman) was that he came in, saw the problems that exist for women, and fixed them. It’s kind of like all those “man, look how much this culture is in trouble! If only a white guy could come and save us!” movies – though I wouldn’t call it as bad, by any means. It shows a lot of the discrimination women faced at the time I the workplace and in Hollywood, but then implied only a man could identify it and work to change it.

I still like that movie a lot, though.

On the ‘will they/won’t they’ plotlines….

Part of the problem is that Status Quo Is God with most sit-coms, and even many dramas, particularly whatever your starting status quo is.

So if a couple is together at the start of the show, they can (and indeed, must) stay together. If, however, they start in a state of sexual tension, that state must remain, and even be re-introduced if the writers have a weak moment of sanity (See: Moonlighting Effect).

Part of it is that most TV shows have a single premise, no matter what that window dressing is put around that premise, so the audience expects that when they tune in. What’s needed is more complex shows that have not only multiple plotlines, but multiple premises, such that changing one of those does not completely eliminate the purpose of the show.


As for this piece of trash, I hope that everyone involved with it never works in Hollywood again.

Some show on National Geographic did a story about a maid cafe in Japan which is staffed mostly (or all, I think) by men.

And theres Youchiro Nagashima, who is a kickboxer who cosplays as female anime characters (i guess he has to pretend to be a woman to enter the female dominated realm of male kickboxing?).

Not sure I have a point, just thought maybe some positive crossdressing stuff would be good?

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