Dale is a dental assistant who has a less than professional relationship with his boss, Julia. He has been labeled a sex offender because he peed while drunk in a park at night even though there were no children present. Because he had that label, he could not get a job anywhere else. Julia constantly tried to make sexual advances on Dale whether it was verbally or physically. She even went as far as spraying his scrubs with water so she could see the outline of his crotch, calling him into her office when she was basically naked, and grabbing his butt. Dale got tired of it and told her she had to stop. However, Julia backfired and said that if Dale did not have sex with her, she was going to tell his fiancé that they were having sex together anyways. She had naughty pictures of herself with Dale that were taken when he was knocked out from a dental procedure. She was more than willing to show them to Dale’s fiancé if he did not comply. This put Dale in a lose-lose situation; he either cheats on his fiancé or gets accused of it.
After Julia put Dale in a tough situation, he consulted with his friends Nick and Kurt to try to devise a plan to kill Julia. Each of the guys was going to help kill another guys’ boss. Kurt’s job was to kill Julia. It didn’t work; he ended up sleeping with her instead. After Kurt slept with Julia, she called Dale and gave him a deadline of sleeping with her by the end of the week or else Dale’s fiancé would be told of the “affair”. Dale dirty talked his way into getting her to believe that they would be having sex soon at the office. Once that day finally came, Dale had a plan of his own. He hired a camera crew to wait outside the window of the procedure room to wait for whenever Julia came into the room. The camera crew filmed all of the advances and inappropriate behavior that Julia was portraying. Dale told her if she ever as much as talked to him in that way again, he was going to show the tape to the police and get her arrested for sexual harassment (Gordon, Ratner, Stern, & 2011).
Dialectics theory describes where most of the problems with Dale and Julia’s relationship comes from. This theory states that tension is created in relationships where there is opposing motivations or desires (Leventhal, 2015a). Julia has the intention of having sex with Dale while Dale wants to keep things professional. The first concept that can be shown in this theory is conflict. Julia and Dale have verbal conflict every single day in work because Julia is making sexual advances that Dale is not okay with. They have conflicting intentions and that creates a hostile work environment that is filled with conflict. The second concept is power. Julia has the power and authority in the relationship because she is the boss. She abuses that power by making those sexual advances and then threatening Dale if he does not give in to her wishes. She tries to manipulate him into getting what she wants.
In this situation, there is very much that needs to change in order for the relationship to be more successful. Dale is honestly in a tough situation to where he cannot get a job somewhere else, wants to stay faithful to his fiancé, and has a boss that has no respect for his personal boundaries. Dale should have come out to his fiancé and let her know what was going on between him and Julia. If Dale would explain to his fiancé what was going on, either she would understand and that would cover Dale’s butt from Julia’s threats or the relationship would end meaning they had a weak relationship to begin with. Dale should have been more up front with Julia and stated that she is not ever going to get sex; threats were not going to change that. He was going to stay committed to his fiancé regardless of what Julia did or said.
The sad part of this particular relationship is that bosses do abuse their authority and try to get what they want out of a relationship. Some bosses probably go as far as coercing sex out of their employees or else they will fire them. Most people would probably not be in Dale’s case where he was a registered sex offender so they would not have to deal with the fact of not being able to get another job. However, bosses can choose what they say about you when a new possible employer asks for recommendations from ex-bosses.
In my own life, I have experienced this but not to this large extent. When I work for my dad, he uses the “I’m dad” card on me a lot to get me to do what he wants when he wants it. He abuses his power in that way. He mixes his roles in the relationship to try to get what he wants. In my other job, I am my own boss so I cannot really experience that. I do know of women that have been sexually harassed and could not do anything about it for fear of losing their job. As a women and a professional, I think the best way to combat that is to always act professional and never allow roles to be confused by the men or women in authority over you.
Lenny, Eric, Kurt, Marcus, and Rob have been best friends since they were young children. Their most memorable moment as a group of friends was when the five of them beat their rival basketball team in high school under the coaching of their favorite coach “the buzzer”. After high school the gang goes years without seeing each other very often. They all go on with their lives. Some of them get married, have children, and get stable jobs.
Coach Buzzer dies. The funeral is coming up and all of the guys attend with their families. As a way to celebrate the life of their deceased coach, Lenny rents out the lake house for everyone to stay at without telling his wife. It is the same lake house that the team went to when they won their high school basketball championship. The bringing together of all of the men and their families acts as an enjoyable bonding time (Dugan, Giarraputo, Sandler, & Wolf, 2010) .
Social penetration theory is shown in this movie through the interactions of the different guys with their group of friends. Social penetration theory states that a person changes the level of openness or depth they have in a conversation depending on the other person’s openness, the topic being discussed, and the individual relationship (Leventhal, 2015b). The first concept that is communication and interaction patterns. Lenny has a habit of lying and not disclosing information to his friends. He did not tell his friends when they originally came to the lake house that his family was going to have to leave early for his wife’s business trip. He also continuously lied to his friends about having a maid; he called her their foreign exchange student. Lenny had those instances of faulty commination and interaction as a way to save himself from his friends’ judgement. The second concept is intimacy and self-disclosure. A few of the guys lack intimacy with the group. They not only lack self-disclosure but they lie. Lenny lies about his maid, Eric lies about his job, and Rob does not disclose that he has two attractive daughters. The three guys are all guilty of lack of self-disclosure.
The guys have pretty successful relationships. They just need to be more honest with one another. They should know that being honest is better even if the friends do not like what they hear. The men also need to spend more time together to allow themselves time to bond as well as their families bonding more. The fact that their relationships contain comedy is a positive way to keep the conversations entertaining.
I have relationships like this to where we can go a long time without seeing each other and it never feels like we were away from each other. We are very comedic together and generally enjoy each other’s company. These types of relationships are very realistic. One of the biggest differences is that the main people in these relationships are guys where as I am mainly friends with girls.
Giarraputo, J. & Sandler, A. (Producer), Dugan, D. (Director), & Sandler, A. & Wolf, F. (Writers). (2010). Grown Ups [Motion picture]. United States: Columbia Pictures
Leventhal, J. E. (2015a) Theories and Intimate Relationships. DFST 3313, University of North Texas. Denton, Tx.
Leventhal, J. E. (2015b) Communication. DFST 3313, University of North Texas. Denton, Tx.
Ratner, B. & Stern, J. (Producers), Gordon, S. (Director). (2011). Horrible Bosses [Motion picture]. United States: Warner Bros. Pictures