Billions is the Best Show About the Worst Kind of Masculinity
by Alison Willmore | BuzzFeed News | April 16, 2018
In its third season, Showtime’s Billions has snapped into focus from being a blurry series about power to an infinitely sharper one about gender. Spoilers through last night’s episode, “Hell of a Ride,” below.
Dick is a multipurpose metaphor in Billions. Most of the characters in Showtime’s hedge fund drama talk about their work, their success or lack thereof, and their stature as an extension of their virility. They aren’t all men, but they do all circle a luxe locker room of an industry that’s been overwhelmingly defined by men. Any observation you might feel inclined to make about Wall Street being dominated by bros vying to prove who has the biggest balls, Billions makes for you. In its very first episode, without the hint of a wink, a trader describes his issues at work to performance coach Wendy Rhoades (Maggie Siff) by using the language of erectile dysfunction: “I hear it happens to guys my age.”
Exactly a season later, Wendy shakes a bottle of Viagra at an audience of hedge fund types, telling them that while some of them rely on it, none would admit that: “The thought that someone might know you need help is worse than not getting the help you need. Still, when the time comes, when you need to pull the trigger on the buy or sell order, you better be hard as a rock and ready to go” — no Freudian subtext necessary. More recently, to really underscore the erection connection and the fragility that accompanies it, a character insists he would part with a fraction of his — “an inch off my dick” — if it meant he and his failing fund could get back in the game.
Continue reading Billions Has Become TV’s Sharpest Critique Of Toxic Masculinity – April 16, 2018