Entertainment

The Crown shows us machismo has always been prevalent: Schneller

Netflix series illustrates how male loutishness is sanctioned, and even celebrated, by certain habits and institutions ... Just not when Queen Elizabeth puts her foot down.

Prince Philip watches the games between the British naval crew and tribes people during his royal tour on The Crown.

Coco Van Oppens / Netflix

Prince Philip watches the games between the British naval crew and tribes people during his royal tour on The Crown.

The Show: The Crown, Season 2, Episode 2 (Netflix)

The Moment: The laddishness

Prince Philip (Matt Smith) and his best friend Mike (Daniel Ings) are on a royal tour, sailing from the Pacific islands to Antarctica. Mike is cheating on his wife; Philip may be, too. Mike’s letter home is read aloud in London at The Thursday Club, a private luncheon full of loutish gents.

“On royal tours past, when the Queen has been present, the evenings have been polite occasions,” goes the letter. “Not this time. Philip is a work-hard-play-hard man who would never stand in the way of a bit of fun. In New Guinea, as it turns out, there’s no such thing as infidelity. Men are expected to indulge.”

The Thursday Clubbers huzzah, pounding their tables so lustily their cocktails jump.

It’s coincidence that the episode, about entitled men egging on each other’s bad behaviour, arrives at this cultural moment. But laddishness has always been with us.

Philip is pouting because his wife is more powerful. Mike urges him on because he wants a partner in crime. (To heighten the manliness, Mike even stages a beard-growing contest on the ship.) It’s an illustration of how male loutishness is sanctioned, and even celebrated, by certain habits and institutions.

But Queen Elizabeth (Claire Foy) steps in to remind Philip of his responsibilities, and his better self. He reads her note: “Always remember you have a family.” It’s Elizabeth’s show, so for a change, the woman gets the last word.

Johanna Schneller is a media connoisseur who zeroes in on pop-culture moments.

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