TV: The Underlying Message in Glee’s “On My Way” Episode.

Well, if last night’s Glee episode wasn’t an after-school special, I don’t know what is.

The writers had the opportunity to really shock with Dave Karofsky’s suicide attempt and actually have him die, whilst also getting the oft-heard message across that gay teen suicides are rampant in our culture.

Not only that, but the epidemic of cyber bullying in general. Warbler Sebastian threatens New Directions with the online publication of a risqué photoshopped image of Finn if Rachel doesn’t drop out of regionals, and Sugar remarks, “If someone posted a picture like that of me online I’d probably kill myself.” Not only is that an example, on the one hand, of Glee’s insensitivity to a myriad of diversity issues, it also hit the nail on the head: many young people do kill themselves when incriminating pictures of them, real or not, hit the net. Tyler Clementi, anyone?

What really irked me, though, was self-righteous Quinn and how, in Bible group, she admonishes Karofsky for putting his family through something so “selfish”.

“I feel sorry for Karofsky but I feel worse for his family. He didn’t just want to hurt himself he wanted to hurt everyone around him. I went through the ringer, but I never got to that place…”

Kurt, who despite not believing in God crashes the meeting to pay tribute to Karofsky, tells Quinn that teen pregnancy and pink hair hardly qualify as going through the same ringer as gay kids. “You really want to try to compare…?” Quinn says. “I just can’t imagine things getting so messed up that you would consider taking your own life.”

While I think what Quinn says does have some truth to it, what gay kids go through during school, and in society at large, is incomparable to most of us. But everyone has their line to cross, and if we remember back to last season, it was revealed that Quinn left her first high school because she was bullied for being fat and ugly. I think we can all relate to that; even if we aren’t actually fat or ugly, we’ve all been called those things at some stage!

Apparently, Mr. Shue’s line was his dad catching him cheating on a math test, so he went up to the roof and was about to jump. I’m sorry; I know I just said everyone has their cross to bear, but I think that piece of the storyline served to diminish real problems, like Kurt and Santana’s struggle with their sexuality, and Artie’s disability, and solidify Will as the worst character on the show.

Not to worry, though: New Directions wins regionals with a medly of “It Gets Better”-esque songs, like “Fly/I Believe I Can Fly” and “Stronger”, whilst burying the hatchet with Sebastian and the Warblers, who are equally after-school specialish, singing “Stand” and “Glad You Came”. Oh, and of course they dedicated their performance to Karofsky, who Sebastian met once when he rejected him at a gay bar and the rest of the Warblers don’t even know. Makes sense!

But the real shocker of the episode came right at the very end (and you can see it coming for about 10 minutes prior): Quinn’s car gets hit by a truck. I guess that’s what you get for texting and driving and comparing your white girl problems to those of people with actual problems.

Related: The Underlying Message in Glee‘s “Original Song” Episode.

The Underlying Message in Glee‘s “Grilled Cheesus” Episode.

The Underlying Message in Glee‘s “Born This Way” Episode.

The Underlying Message in Glee’s “I Kissed A Girl” Episode.

Image via While Not Making Other Plans.

On the (Rest of the) Net.

Glamour models as feminists? On Jodie Marsh, bullying, beauty and being “worthy” and “good” enough:

“This isn’t just a random channel 5 program anymore. Suddenly, this is feminism and misogyny in microcosm.” [Libertarian Lou’s Blog]

The leggings-as-pants debate continues, this time at feminaust. While MsElouise does make some good points about admonishing others for wearing leggings as pants being akin to fat-shaming and sexual harassment, I still maintain that if you’re going to go there, you should go there sans underwear. I’m all for a legging-as-workout pant or legging-as-costume (I regularly wear both options), but please, opt out of the VPL. Or at least wear a really long t-shirt.

And some more from feminaust: female genital mutilation.

The “barely legal” porn phenomenon. [Jezebel]

When Brynne Edelsten makes it onto a “50 Women You Should Admire” list and the prime minister doesn’t. [MamaMia]

Thank you, Sasha Pasulka, for writing this hard-hitting and just plain brilliant admonition of Chris Brown’s Grammys “comeback”. More to come on the abomination that is Brown next week. [HelloGiggles]

Still on the topic, heinous Facebook and Twitter updates from young women defending Brown’s assault on Rihanna and actually expressing a desire for him to hit them, too! What is this world coming to? [The Good Men Project]

“He just has a crush on you” in response to playground harassment of little girls at the hands of little boys is just reinforcing that adult harassment of women at the hands of men means “he just really loves you”. Bullshit! [Views from the Couch]

Is this the end of men’s magazines in Australia? [MamaMia]

Why is Australian TV so white? [MamaMia]

On being a gay black man. [In America]

The horrible reality of being a fashion mag intern. In the U.S., anyway. [Jezebel]

Following on from the anti-abortion controversy of iPhone’s Siri, Android’s ChaCha search engine is “anti-abortion, anti-evolution, racist and even thinks that rape may be justifiable”. [Gizmodo]

Image via Acid Cow.

TV: Glee—Santana is Forced Out of the Closet.

What was a fairly mediocre episode of Glee, trying to capitalise on the Republican Presidential nominee debate by staging a class presidential debate of McKinley’s own, seems to be leading into the second multi-episode story arc about bullying, homophobia and acceptance.

While Santana says some really horrible things to Finn about his physical appearance, he decides to out her, saying the only reason she’s so horrible to everyone else is because she hates herself for her sexual orientation.

I don’t think this is completely true (it’s high school in a small town; you do the math), but word eventually makes its way to a campaign video of one of Sue’s Congressional opponents and, thus, the whole of Lima. Finn poignantly says that yes, everyone knows, but no one cares.

Glee’s next episode is entitled “I Kissed a Girl”, so we can only imagine it’s going to deal with Santana’s lesbianism/bisexuality/non-straightness and perhaps her relationship with Brittany. I hope it handles it in a caring and understanding way. But then again, it is Glee

Related: [The Early Bird Catches the Worm] The Underlying Message in Glee’s “The First Time” Episode.

[The Early Bird Catches the Worm] Glee: T.G.Inappropriate.F.

[The Early Bird Catches the Worm] The Underlying Message in Glee’s “Asian F” Episode.

[The Early Bird Catches the Worm] The Underlying Message in Glee’s “I Am Unicorn” Episode.

[The Early Bird Catches the Worm] Glee Back in Full Force.

[The Early Bird Catches the Worm] The (Belated) Underlying Message in Glee’s “Never Been Kissed” Episode.

[The Early Bird Catches the Worm] The Underlying Message in Glee’s “Born This Way” Episode.

[The Early Bird Catches the Worm] The Underlying Message in Glee’s “Furt” Episode.

Image via VideoBB.

TV: Glee Gets Down on Friday at the Prom.

So Rebecca Black has officially permeated the zeitgeist, with “Friday” being performed by Puck, Artie and Sam at McKinley High’s junior prom on last night’s episode of Glee.

And despite Quinn’s monotonous efforts to be crowned prom queen, along with Finn as her king, she lost out to “queen” Kurt.

Kurt’s date Blaine told Kurt of what happened to him at his last prom (he and another gay friend were set on by the school homophobes and gang bashed) and that he wasn’t 100% comfortable with attending, but he went for Kurt anyway.

Kurt’s dad, Burt, was concerned that Kurt’s “royal wedding-inspired” tux, which he handmade himself, wasn’t appropriate and that Kurt shouldn’t draw any extra attention to himself and Blaine.

Kurt thinks, despite Santana and Karofsky escorting him to and from classes as part of their Bully Whips anti-bullying squad, that McKinley is really coming around to the idea of gay acceptance, because he hasn’t been physically or verbally abused since returning from Dalton Academy.

Hatred builds up inside if we can’t let it out, and it seems that the kids at McKinley let it out sneakily and quietly, by “secret ballot” for prom queen.

But you know Kurt: he sucked it up and went out there in front of the school to tell them… “Kate Middleton, eat your heart out.” Okay, I was expecting something a little more inspirational than that, considering the “gay prom” issue is one that’s rampant in the U.S., and also here, as a recent episode of SBS’s Insight will attest.

But I suppose we have Chris Colfer’s Golden Globes speech to comfort us.

And, as is Glee’s trademark, the controversy was wrapped up nicely into one 42-minute episode and McKinley’s homophobia will live to fight another day.

Until then, let’s get down on “Friday”!

[SBS] Gay in School: SBS Insight.

[The Early Bird Catches the Worm] The Underlying Message in Glee’s “Born This Way” Episode.

[The Early Bird Catches the Worm] The Underlying Message in Glee’s “Original Song” Episode.

[The Early Bird Catches the Worm] Gwyneth Paltrow Addresses Tabloid Culture & Her Haters.

[The Early Bird Catches the Worm] Glee “Sexy” Review.

[The Early Bird Catches the Worm] The Underlying Message in Glee’s “Blame it on the Alcohol” Episode.

[The Early Bird Catches the Worm] How to Make a Woman Fall in Love With You, Glee Style.

[The Early Bird Catches the Worm] Glee “Silly Love Songs” Review.

[The Early Bird Catches the Worm] The Underlying Message in Glee’s “Furt” Episode.

[The Early Bird Catches the Worm] The (Belated) Underlying Message in Glee’s “Never Been Kissed” Episode.

[The Early Bird Catches the Worm] The Underlying Message in Glee’s “The Rocky Horror Glee Show” Episode.

[The Early Bird Catches the Worm] The Underlying Message in Glee’s “Duets” Episode.

[The Early Bird Catches the Worm] The Underlying Message in Glee’s “Grilled Cheesus” Episode.

[The Early Bird Catches the Worm] The Underlying Message in Glee’s “Britney/Brittany” Episode.

Images via Showbiz Nest, I Am Thea 07, Maurissa Weiner.

TV: Gwyneth Paltrow Addresses Tabloid Culture & Her Haters.

 

Normally—bar her inaugural appearance as Holly Holiday on Glee—I can’t stand Gwyneth Paltrow, but on last night’s Glee, she made some valid points.

When addressing the glee club’s hecklers, she admits that “we live in a culture that bombards us with images of these people who are richer than us, and happier than us and have more interesting sex than us”. Perhaps she could have factored in a Goop reference, instead of talking inappropriately about sex to 15-year-olds? Like, “… People who drink more free range, organic goats milk chai lattes with fair trade cinnamon than us.” Or, “… People who own more $53 fly swatters than us.”

She takes aim particularly at the “internet haters”, which take the form of Becky, as an Entertainment Weekly chat-room member, Azimio, as a NCIS blogger, and Jacob, as a Tweeter who helped take down Mubarak.

Jacob says, “The internet has allowed us to be brutally cruel without suffering any consequences”, to which Gwyneth responds with a knowing smile.

As Jezebel notes,

“Online commenters definitely mock celebrities because they’re totally jealous, not because stars often say condescending things that are simultaneously obnoxious and rife for parody.”

Related: The Big Issue Review, 1–14 March, 2011.

Elsewhere: [Jezebel] Gwyneth Addresses the Internet Haters on Glee.

[New York Magazine] Reasons to Love New York 2010: Because We Love Gwyneth Just the Way She Is.

Wanted: Taylor Swift.

For crimes including slut-shaming, kissing and telling, homophobia, “anti”-bullying and self-righteousness.

At least according to this dialogue between Sady Stein and Amanda Hess on Tiger Beatdown:

“I have problems with Taylor Swift, which are, Example A: Slut-shaming, and Example B: The fact that she is posited as an anti-bullying Girl Power achetype when she writes songs that are like ‘go and tell my friends that I’m obsessive and crazy/that’s fine I’ll tell mine that you’re gay.’”

And yes, I did use other parts of this Tiger Beatdown article as inspiration for yesterday’s “Smiling Assassin” post.

Related: Smiling Assassin.

Elsewhere: [Tiger Beatdown] Sexist Beatdown: Revenge of the Smiler Edition.

[The New Gay] If Katy Perry Crapped in a Pizza Box, Would You Eat It?