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‘Ah hink it's time for suttin blue n a BAILEYS!’ Subverting Scottish Male Identities in Gary: Tank Commander

Authors:

Mary Irwin ,

Independent Scholar, GB
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Gabrielle Smith

Northumbria University, GB
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Abstract

Greg McHugh’s TV comedy Gary: Tank Commander (2008- ) chronicles the daily working lives and experiences (home and abroad) of the soldiers of the 104th Royal Tank Regiment. The central character Gary McLintoch’s playful, self-confident and exuberant performance of his own masculinity works to contradict, challenge and subvert the many similar representations of Scottish men that have previously been offered in Scottish TV comedy. As well as being a professional soldier who has successfully served tours of duty in Afghanistan and Iraq, Gary’s current ringtone is 1980s girl group Mel and Kim’s smash hit tune ‘Respectable’, he loves to dance to Scandinavian bubble gum pop one-hit wonder pop ‘Barbie Girl’ and he’s also partial to a wee Baileys.

This article locates the series within the context of the rich heritage of popular, funny, fictional TV Scotsmen such as Gregor Fisher’s curmudgeonly working class philosopher Rab C Nesbitt (1988-2008), Still Game’s (2002- ) elderly tearaways Jack and Victor, and Burnistoun’s (2009-2012) vivid surrealistic character sketches of everyday Glasgow life, which together present a standard template of the tough west of Scotland heterosexual ‘hard man’. In contrast, McHugh’s performance of Gary’s masculinity interrogates and problematises the representations which such series exemplify. This article argues that Gary is no one dimensional camp caricature, but rather his particular construction of masculinity, significantly underpinned by a lack of any evidence of sexual taste or appetite, operates in a fluid gender neutral space, allowing for Gary’s naïve, childlike character to confront stereotypes around gender, sexuality, class and identity in Scottish comedy.

How to Cite: Irwin, M. and Smith, G., 2018. ‘Ah hink it's time for suttin blue n a BAILEYS!’ Subverting Scottish Male Identities in Gary: Tank Commander. International Journal of Scottish Theatre and Screen, 11(1), pp.51–66.
Published on 10 May 2018.
Peer Reviewed

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