Arts & Culture News

8 Shows on HBO Max That Are Now Just For the Boys, According to WBD

XOXO, Gossip Girl. We can no longer watch the show because it now belongs to men.
XOXO, Gossip Girl. We can no longer watch the show because it now belongs to men. Scott Winthrow/Getty
The recent merger of Warner Bros. and Discovery has caused quite a stir. When the deal was announced in 2021, more than 30 members of Congress signed a letter to Attorney General Merrick Garland asserting that the deal violated antitrust laws.

“The merger threatens to enhance the market power of the combined firm and substantially lessen competition in the media and entertainment industry, harming both consumers and American workers,” it read.

The move also pissed off TV and movie fans, who feared the merger will result in cheaply produced “content” being increasingly favored over original, artfully created stories.

A particularly meme-able byproduct of this news cycle came from a recent promotional graphic released by WBD that unnecessarily gendered the company's two streaming services, HBO Max and Discovery Plus. Discovery Plus, with its deep catalog of shows about weddings, home makeovers and cake, was said to have a “female skew.” Understandable. Men don’t get married, own homes or eat cake. This leaves HBO Max as the service that caters to men, with that content being described as “appointment viewing” and “lean in” as opposed to “lean back.” What does any of this mean and how does it pertain to guys being dudes? We looked at some shows on HBO Max to see what the network has to offer its now leaning-in, appointment-viewing, non-cake-eating male audience.

1. Girls
This one is a no-brainer. There is nothing guys are into more than particularly complicated, sometimes unlikable female characters who make senseless, selfish choices and are often hard to root for. It also features Adam Driver from another timeless boys' night staple, Star Wars: Episode VIII - The Last Jedi.

2. Sex and the City

One distinctly male quality that HBO Max supposedly brings to the table is that it's the “home of fandoms.” WBD points to Game of Thrones, Harry Potter and the 90 Day Fiancé universe, but Sex and the City reigns as its strongest display of franchise finesse. Much like the heroes in Marvel’s Avengers, the ladies of SATC are larger-than-life icons in the pop culture mythos. Also like the Avengers, they sure do hang out a lot for people who don’t seem to actually like one another that much.

3. Inside Amy Schumer
Men like Amy Schumer, right?

4. The Powerpuff Girls
Superhero movies have been a huge draw for HBO Max since day one, with titles such as Justice League and Zack Snyder’s Justice League leading to a major bump in subscribers. Cartoon Network’s classic series The Powerpuff Girls slots into that branding perfectly. Though kids of all genders liked the show, young girls especially loved having superheroic characters to which they could relate. Regrettably, they’ll have to find that joy elsewhere because Powerpuff, like My Little Pony before it, is for the boys now.

5. Selena + Chef
Upon first glance, a cooking show starring pop star Selena Gomez seems to fit more into Discovery Plus’ brand of unscripted “comfort viewing.” The show is unscripted, yes, but far from comforting. Watching Gomez, who admits to being woefully inexperienced in the kitchen, handle large knives creates palpable tension. The possibility of someone getting hurt is low but never zero. David Fincher wishes he could capture what this show has.

6. The Nanny
Since men have jobs, they don’t always have time to keep track of the basic premise of whatever show they’re watching. Luckily, the theme song for The Nanny lays out a jaunty 30-second recap at the beginning of every episode via its iconic theme song.

7. The Not Too Late Show with Elmo

At last, a late night talk show for guys. Legendary alpha male Elmo leads this variety show aimed at children, welcoming guests like Jimmy Fallon and John Oliver and teaching viewers how to brush their teeth. The show is entertaining and enriching for little kids, and we hope something like it is available to girls someday.

8. Gossip Girl
On the surface, Gossip Girl is pure teenage wish fulfillment: beautiful girls wearing beautiful clothes with a ton of money and no responsibility. And while it's definitely all of those things, it also has a cast of characters stacked with morally dubious antiheroes. Walter White would be afraid of Blair Waldorf. She's the one who knocks.
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