Wednesday, October 13, 2010

This show is pretty offensive (am I only just now realizing this? I can't even tell anymore.)

There was a super cute and sexy scene in last night's episode of Glee, where Santana and Brittany are having a kissing session at Brittany's house.  It's been referenced in past episodes that their friendship is sexual in nature, but it's clear they're not dating, and that they freely date other people (seemingly exclusively boys).  When Santana stopped the session abruptly, annoyed at Brittany for talking too much, she spat out that the only reason she was wasting her time with Brittany is because her preferred FWB Puck is not available.  This was the first of a couple of scenes which made me really sad for Brittany, and made me think about how differently the show treats queer women and queer men.  I might not agree totally with After Ellen's Lux Alptraum, who wrote that "Brittany and Santana are [her] queer icons," but they are definitely more than just straight girls who make out in order to please their male partners.

While of course this is not to say that this show has shown the utmost sensitivity when ever discussing gay culture or homophobia, it has taken a lot more effort to respect the struggles of gay teen boys through the character of Kurt.  Now, when Kurt announced that he would be singing a song from Victor Victoria, I audibly cheered, "Yes!"  Actor Chris Colfer has displayed some great range, and I knew he'd do a great job with the number "Le Jazz Hot."  That said, it was a little weird to show that as a gay boy, the character is some hijra blend of masculine and feminine.

Another element of this complicated situation is the new character Sam, who is found equally appealing by Kurt and Quinn (and Finn), and who everyone wants to play on their team.  Most importantly, though, this nerd speaks Na'vi and thought that he needed to impress everyone at his new school by dumping a bottle of Sun-In on his head instead of just showing off his abs, guitar and singing skills, and cute smile.  What a weirdo.

Back in Santana land, she and Mercedes belted out a duet of Ike & Tina Turner's "River Deep - Mountain High" that is so on fire that it made me sweat.  If only they didn't make Santana say every line with a sprinkle of ebonics for no reason.

Meanwhile, things are getting confusing for poor Brittany.  Since Santana won't duet with her, she asks Artie to be her partner because she knows he has a good voice.  He is surprised because she has never given him the time of day, and she admits that she used to think he was a robot.  She flirts with him, and he goes along with it, hoping to get over Tina, even though he's not really that interested in Brittany.  In a way, it was cute when Brittany lifted Artie out of his chair and laid him down on her bed, saying that their hook up would have been inevitable since he's on the football team now.  Artie seems nervously excited to lose his virginity, and Brittany never seems to have any ulterior motives or pity in mind.

So the next day, Artie slut-shames and dumps her, and it is completely uncalled for.  He gets mad at her for having sex with him because he wanted his first time to be important, and he doesn't believe that it was important for her.  Let me know if you picked up on any coercion or forcing in the previous scene, because I did not get the impression that he was anything but on board.  I don't know that it would have come off any differently if the genders had been reversed, either.  Brittany genuinely likes Artie, and hoped they could have a nice date together at Breadsticks (I forgot to mention that the glee club is competing for a free dinner there).  She wants to share spaghetti, Lady and the Tramp style.  This scene was really difficult for me.

Our other glee clubbers are just along for the ride.  Rachel pulls a Katherine Heigl and realizes that she is completely unlikeable, and she and Finn sing a couple of boring duets.  Mike Chang, who should spend more time shirtless and less time having a mullet, finally gets lines, and duets with Tina on "Sing!" from A Chorus Line.  This song is not fun but I guess they did their best with it.  I just don't understand how Tina is "introducing us to the amazing voice of Mike Chang" if he's been in the Glee Club for over a year.  Was he just the dance contingent, like Kurt is the Cheerios' singing element, and Artie is the football team's human battering ram?  What is this school?

Finally, there was at least one Olive Garden commercial aired during this episode, which made me laugh because of the show's parody with a place called "Breadsticks," but when we see Brittany alone at the restaurant pushing a meatball across her plate with her nose, it was way sadder to me than when Rachel wanted to find her birth mom or whatever.  LEAVE BRITTANY ALONE!  (I apologize for that.)  In two weeks the show will be taking on the Rocky Horror Show, which, as a former cast member, I am biased towards, but hopefully they let the episode stew in the play's campy awfulness.  If only I could shout callbacks at the television without freaking out my housemates.

Glee, Tuesdays at 8pm on Fox


Anonymous said...

I loved your recap. It was insightful and beautifully written. Brittany is the reason I started watching the show regularly, and I'm glad she is a full cast member now. It's funny that she's the comedic relief, and yet, there is something sad about her. Kurt and Rachel's dilemmas don't really elicit tears from me, but I think Brittany's got the potential.

Anonymous said...

this is so true. I actually broke into tears when I saw the scene where Brittany was pushing the meatball across her plate. She genuinely wanted it to be a nice date and yet, Artie wouldn't even hear her side of the story. I kinda hate Santana right now.