Queer film enthusiast Atreyo Palit investigates internalized homophobia and biphobia in Billy Eichner’s feature film Bros. Consider Billy Eichner’s character, Bobby, throwing shade on the gay community as his manifestation of homophobia being born from entitlement. In part one, Palit discusses Bros’ portrayal of internalized homophobia, and in part two, he digs deeper into Bobby’s biphobia.
Schitt’s Creek. I hope you’re picturing Dan Levy and Noah Reid as David and Patrick exchanging wedding vows while Catherine O’Hara, as Moira Rose, officiates their wedding. Whether you picture that or Alexis Rose dancing, one thing we can agree on is that we all LOVE Schitt’s Creek! And yet, Universal Studios’ gay romcom Bros written by Billy Eichner of Billy on the Street fame sees him play the protagonist, Bobby, who possibly hates the show, not just dislikes it. He never volunteers information about what exactly he feels is bad about Schitt’s Creek, but it’s clear he doesn’t enjoy the gay representation in the show. The lack of clarification on his part seems to suggest it’s not as simple as disliking the show, though. There’s a general despise for gay men in him, and it soon gets exhausting. But annoyance aside, this could be a case of internalized homophobia. Internalized homophobia is, simply put, the self-hatred a homosexual individual feels because they have, against their best interests, started believing that the heteronormative society’s homophobic notions are true. In Bros, both Bobby (Billy Eichner) and his romantic pursuit Aaron (Luke Macfarlane), suffer from different degrees of internalized homophobia. And the depiction of that starts right from the beginning.
“…he’ll fight for their rights, but he’d rather be single all his life than get into a serious relationship with a gay man.”
In the very first scene of Bros, we meet Bobby (Billy Eichner). He is filming a podcast episode and opens the forum to questions from listeners and viewers. One viewer calls in to ask what happened to the movie he was writing. Bobby recounts an encounter with a network executive who wanted him to write a gay rom-com that straight people would enjoy. The conversation is essentially a commentary on Hollywood’s heteronormative lens of looking at gay romances. Bobby has an angry altercation and leaves the room in a huff after remarking that “Not all gay people are nice.” Now that can be taken as observational humor. But this attitude continues throughout the film. A little later, he meets up with his friends and has a reaction of disgust when he learns a couple in his friend group has possibly shifted into a throuple dynamic with another man. “I’ve been gay my whole life, and I don’t trust these gay mother**kers,” he goes. He clarifies that he’ll fight for their rights, but he’d rather be single all his life than get into a serious relationship with a gay man. When asked if he is happy avoiding gay men, he even says, “Who’s so happy all the time?” It gets worse when Bobby meets Aaron. They come across each other at a nightclub, and the second conversation they have is about how, in Aaron’s words, “Gay guys are so stupid.” It runs for quite some time, with comments about how gay men have been able to dupe people into thinking they’re all very smart.