Shakespeare Guy Love

After seeing a very funny and definitely off-color reference to Sonnet 20 on Twitter, I went to look it up and saw it tagged as the one that “surely” proves Shakespeare’s homosexuality.  I don’t have the time right now to dig into it, but you know what it did remind me of?  Scrubs.  How many people watch this TV show?  I love it, and for awhile even had a web site dedicated to it. In the show, for those that don’t watch, there’s the very complicated best-friend relationship between Turk, the masculine black surgeon, married with kids, who spends his time playing basketball, working out, high-fiving and chest-bumping his like-minded surgeon friends…and J.D., the emotional needy nerdy white guy who spends his time fantasizing about things that most certainly border on homoerotic, to say the least. Some examples from the history of the show…

J.D. “Dude I don’t want to sound girly or anything, but for the last 5 years you’ve kinda been like my wife.” Turk  “How is that girly?”

or this

J.D. “Come on, it’s not like we’re married.” Turk “Dude, we’re married a little.”

or the fact that in their musical episode there is an entire number entitled “Guy Love”:

Guy love, that’s all it is!  Guy love, he’s mine I’m his!  There’s nothing gay about it in our eyes. 

This is a very trendy topic, ranging from the reality show “Bromance” to the recent movie “I Love You, Man.”  But in this relationship it’s pretty clearly lopsided, with JD being far more “expressive” in his feelings.  Take this running joke, as part of the best friends’ celebration:

Turk:  Upstairs! (They bump chests.) JD: Downstairs! (They bump crotches.) Turk:  I don’t really like ‘downstairs’. JD:  No?  I wanted to try it.

That was a few years ago.  Just last night they revisited the joke:

JD: Downstairs!  (They bump crotches.) Turk:  I still don’t like ‘downstairs’. JD: Really?  You haven’t come around yet?

Just a few minutes later, Turk received some good news:

Turk:  Downstairs! JD: Really? Turk:  No!  What’s *wrong* with you?

I guess my point, other than wanting to showcase my love of my favorite TV show, is that that’s sort of how I view the whole “Was Shakespeare gay?” thing.  No, I don’t think he was.  Can you cite examples where it really really really looks like he was?  Probably.  But so can I.  After all, the JD character above has a child of his own, and also been through relationships with many women.  I think the bigger issue is how some people deal with the topic.  It’s like the rule goes a little something like this:  No amount of heterosexual activity will be proof positive that you are heterosexual, but the one bit of homosexual evidence is enough to prove otherwise. If that’s how you want to play it, fine.  But personally I find it a pretty boring topic.

One thought on “Shakespeare Guy Love

  1. Honestly, I’ve never understood the obsession with Sonnet 20 and the “gay theory.” I don’t read it as being homoerotic at all. I always read it as the speaker expressing admiration for the skills of a phenomenal young male actor (ie: a boy-actor who would play female roles).

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