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Looking back at Guy Code, MTV's "weird attempt" to tackle masculinity featuring a then-unknown Pete Davidson

  • Before SNL, a teenage Pete Davidson was one of the comedians on Guy Code, a pop-culture masculinity crash course that ran on MTV from 2011 to 2015. "Over five seasons, the show, which is currently streaming on Paramount+, featured a rotating cast of male comedians and female models who’d sit in front of a green screen and explain their thoughts on 'manly' topics — taking a road trip with your pals, being a player and how to treat your friends’ sisters to name just a few," says Magdalene Taylor. "Most often, the men shaped the discourse and cracked the jokes, while the women — ever the team players — were just there to confirm that hot females agreed with them... While the show didn’t offer an actual code by which guys should live, there remained a general uniformity to each episode. Every topic was an avenue for the comedians to make a joke rather than offer real advice, and even then, the jokes were never transgressive. This made Guy Code kind of a dud. It could have been a show that addressed the discourse surrounding masculinity, but more than anything, it showed how positively milquetoast and boring the conversation about manhood and guy culture was back then. Watching it in 2022, it doesn’t seem as though 'guy code' has fundamentally changed — it’s more that there never really was one in the first place."

    TOPICS: Pete Davidson, MTV, Guy Code, Retro TV