The Other Guy

Media Masculinity Within the Margins

by Derek A. Burrill (Author) Toby Miller (Author)
©2014 Monographs X, 167 Pages


Suffering from «manopause» and «Low T», underemployed and unwilling to grow up, «the other guy» has emerged as an important figure in modern media masculinity. From the films of Judd Apatow to sitcoms and popular music, this new breed of man is desperately attempting to change with the times, but is often unable (or unwilling) to understand the new landscape. Avoiding rhetorics of victimization, Derek A. Burrill charts and analyzes the other guy in order to understand how men see themselves, in media and in culture at large.

Table Of Contents

  • Cover
  • Title
  • Copyright
  • About the author(s)/editor(s)
  • About the book
  • This eBook can be cited
  • Contents
  • Acknowledgments
  • Introduction No, not that guy. The other guy
  • The Game Plan
  • Notes
  • Chapter 1: It’s Not You, It’s Me
  • The Scene and the Screen
  • Hegemony, Diversity, Locality
  • Surrounded, Exhausted and Unloved
  • Notes
  • Chapter 2: Mumbling Toward Ecstasy: The Other Guy on the Big Screen
  • The Other Guy on the Big Screen
  • Mumblecore—The Malaise of the Other Guy
  • The Slacker Road Trip
  • The Apatow Effect
  • Knocked Up: The Other Guy Gets Pregnant
  • Growing Up and Falling Apart: This Is 40
  • Notes
  • Chapter 3: “I feel heard and validated”: The Other Guy and Sitcoms
  • The Other Guy and Sitcoms
  • TV, Men, Sitcoms
  • The Real Man and Authenticity—Tim Allen
  • Man Up!
  • Men at Work and The Big Other
  • Phil Dunphy: Realtor, Dad, Magician
  • Notes
  • Chapter 4: Somewhere in There There’s a Man in There
  • Men’s Bodies, Men’s Hearts
  • Constructions of Masculinity
  • Alpha/Beta/Omega—The New Masculine Hierarchy
  • Humor, Satire, and Camp: The Other Guy Makes a Funny
  • Queer Eye and Transformative Consumerism
  • Dickwolves, Gender and Gamer Culture
  • Notes
  • Conclusion: passing the test
  • Notes
  • Glossary of terms
  • Bibliography
  • Index

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I want to thank the team at Peter Lang for their valuable feedback and guidance, particularly Mary Savigar, who has been a manager, hand-holder and friend, and Sophie Appel, who generously put up with my eccentricities and anxieties. Additionally, I would like to thank Toby Miller for his guidance and editorial expertise—I will continue to aspire to your level of work and commitment to social justice and academic distinction. Finally, I would like to thank the countless people that talked with me about their experiences with gender and sexuality, particularly the men who are striving to be more thoughtful, kind and progressive.

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No, not that guy. The other guy

The male subject’s aspirations to mastery and sufficiency are undermined from many directions—by the Law of Language, which founds subjectivity on a void; by the castration crisis; by sexual, economic, and racial oppression; and by the traumatically unassimilable nature of certain historical events.1


In a 2013 article published in The Onion, a long-standing satirical newspaper akin to the reportage on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, the headline read: “Area Man Unsure if He’s Male-Bonding or Being Bullied.” The article continues:

Perplexed local man Russell Chambliss has no idea if the coworkers seated with him at Malone’s Irish Tavern are attempting to forge a male bond with him or cruelly harassing him, the 26-year-old shipping clerk told reporters Wednesday evening. “When Bill called me ‘limp dick’ and punched my shoulder, I wasn’t sure if he was insulting me or just being friendly, but everyone else was smiling and laughing so I smiled back,” said Chambliss, adding that he has also been called “fucker” several times, which feels like bullying even though the whole group seems to be referring to one another as “fucker.”2

If you haven’t met one yet, Russell Chambliss is a useful representation of the central masculine figuration in this book, the other guy, a dude stuck in the ← 1 | 2 → in-between, distinctly unable to be ‘one of the guys,’ consistently befuddled by the constant push-pull of the homosocial and the homophobic.

In an equally humorous and telling manner, halfway into the 2013 Emmy Awards, Hollywood actor and comedian Will Ferrell appeared onstage, presumably to serve as an award presenter. Shuffling distractedly toward the microphone, his three real-world children (all boys) in tow, Ferrell looked embarrassed, particularly to be wearing shorts, a t-shirt and sandals. Thoroughly frazzled as he lined his kids up beside him, he launched into his cue-card lines with all the zeal of an exhausted parent, hitting all the characterizations of the overwhelmed and perplexed dad with subtle detachment. Before he could finish his lines, he was interrupted by his boys whispering to him, answering them with, “No, you cannot play Angry Birds right now. Just share the tablet. Take turns. 30 second turns.” Ferrell then explained to the audience why he was looking so out-of-sorts, “There was a cancelation, so they called me literally 45 minutes ago. Um…and, I couldn’t find child-care. We had a soccer game. There was a neighbor’s birthday party, a nut allergy… I didn’t have time to do my hair. It doesn’t matter. It’s great to be here.” He then looked at his kids confusedly, asking “Why are you laughing?” It was a funny moment, touching and a bit sad, but certainly familiar. Will Ferrell, despite his hulking, comedic physique, is often cast in the other guy role, from the much-too-late coming-of-age comedy Step Brothers (2008) to the crime comedy, The Other Guys (2010). His generally clueless and casually congenial film characters have clearly proven endearing enough that he has worked it into his real-life shtick. Ferrell, as the other guy who shows up to the Emmy Awards in his Saturday morning clothes, also illustrates the intermediated nature of other guyness; he’s as much a product of his social scene as he is the silver screen.


X, 167
ISBN (Softcover)
ISBN (Hardcover)
Publication date
2013 (September)
films sitcoms music
New York, Bern, Berlin, Bruxelles, Frankfurt am Main, Oxford, Wien, 2014. 167 pp.

Biographical notes

Derek A. Burrill (Author) Toby Miller (Author)

Derek A. Burrill (PhD, University of California-Davis) is Associate Professor in the Department of Media and Cultural Studies at University of California-Riverside. He is the author of Die Tryin’: Videogames, Masculinity, Culture (Peter Lang, 2008).


Title: The Other Guy
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180 pages