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.

TV: The Underlying Message in Glee’s “The Spanish Teacher” Episode.

Finally! Glee acknowledges the racist stereotypes it’s perpetuating, and Santana had the guts to stand up and say it:

“You went from ‘La Cucaracha’ to a bullfighting mariachi. Why don’t you just dress up as the Taco Bell chihuahua and bark the theme song to Dora the Explora? You don’t even know enough [about Latin culture] to be embarrassed about these stereotypes you’re perpetuating.”

Well, kind of.

But let’s backtrack.

When Mr. Shue realises he doesn’t actually know enough about the Spanish language and culture to confidently call himself a Spanish teacher, he enrolls in Spanish night class, run by guest star Ricky Martin as David Martinez. “How did I become so out of touch?” Will wonders.

Firstly, become out of touch? Despite the New Directions kids’ undying devotion for him, Mr. Shue has been out of touch from day one. Not to mention his inappropriate relationships with his students.

And secondly, there’s a lot more to Latin culture than dressing up as a matador and singing “La Cucaracha”, as Santana and Mr. Martinez soon school him in.

But it wasn’t just the South American racial stereotypes who got their fair share of airtime last night. The black prejudice was out in full force, although not acknowledged by Glee. Cutting off their Latin nose to spite their black face?

Synchronised swim coach Roz Washington is one of the most racist characters on the show, in my opinion. She speaks in African American colloquialisms such as “bajonkajonk”. When she challenges Sue Sylvester for leadership of the Cheerios, she tells Sue her “stale white bread moves” aren’t working for the team anymore, insinuating that black girls dance better than white girls and buying into the stereotype that they do.

Also, Miss Pillsbury is on a mission to have her pamphlets infiltrate McKinley High and hands out some to Mercedes and Sam when they come to her about their relationship problems. The pamphlet that Mercedes receives is entitled, “So You’re a Two-Timin’ Ho?” whilst Sam’s reads, “So You’re Dating a Two-Timin’ Ho?” Do you think the show would have given such a racist and sexist title to a pamphlet received by Quinn, for example? They might as well have made the girl on the cover of the pamphlet black because that’s pretty much what they were insinuating: that Merecedes is the sassy, fat, angry, sex-crazed woman of colour.

It remains to be seen whether Glee will actually make an effort in the future to abolish the stereotypes it so readily holds up to its viewers…

Related: The Underlying Message in Glee’s “Yes/No” Episode.

Glee: The Right & Wrong of It.

Elsewhere: [TV Tropes] Sassy Black Woman.

[Jezebel] Why Latina’s Aren’t Allowed to Get Angry.

Image via Channel 131.

TV: The Underlying Message in Glee’s “Yes/No” Episode.

Wow, where do I start? Last night’s episode of Glee focusing on Becky’s newfound interest in Artie and Mr. Shue asking Emma to marry him was one of the most offensive yet.

Let’s begin with Becky: I found it weird that Becky’s internal monologue was spoken in a British accent (Helen Mirren’s to be exact). She claims that it’s her head and she can sound however she wants, but how many “abled” characters have a different voice in their heads and make that justification for it? I though it was singling Becky out because of her disability.

She and Artie go on a date and, at first, Artie feels uncomfortable with it, but begins to get to know and like Becky. It came across as platonic on Artie’s end, but his fellow glee clubbers gave him the third degree about what kind of message he was giving Becky.

They urged him not to lead Becky on or give her the wrong idea, and Artie called them out on their hypocritical ways: “You guys talk a good game” about acceptance, but at the end of the day, they’re just as narrow minded as the rest of McKinley High, which pretty much sums up Glee. They think just because they’ve got black and Asian characters and characters in wheelchairs and with Down’s syndrome and characters who are gay they’re being “inclusive”, but really, they show is just using them as token gestures.

Take Kurt, for example: he hasn’t been the focus of many storylines of late, and the writers seem to just slot him in to the background. In the opening scene, Mercedes and Sam channel Sandy and Danny of Grease, while the rest of the glee club stand around imploring them to “tell me more, tell me more”. Kurt belongs to the girls’ group in this instance while his equally gay boyfriend, Blaine, is hanging with the boys on the bleachers. Furthermore, when Puck, Finn and Blaine act as backup singers to Artie, Will and Mike in their rendition of “Moves Like Jagger”, mashed up with “Jumpin’ Jack Flash”, Kurt is nowhere to be seen. Is it because he’s not sexy or masculine enough? Let’s remember that this isn’t the first time Glee has ostracised Kurt from the gender group he belongs to because of his sexuality. Didn’t Glee get the memo: gender and sexuality are not the same thing.

But back to Becky: when Artie takes into consideration what the rest of New Directions are trying to tell him, he asks Coach Sue, of all people, for advice.

It is revealed that Becky sent Artie a sexy photo and he feels weird about it. Sue asks if he felt the same when Brittany, no doubt, sent him similar pictures of herself. Artie replies no, but those were different circumstances. So even Artie, a man with disabilities himself, thinks someone with Down’s can’t be sexy. Hypocritical, much?

The other storyline driving this episode is Will and Emma’s relationship being taken to the next level in the form of marriage. Emma is so desperate for Will to propose that she fantasises about doing it herself. Funnily enough, Coach Beiste and Sue become her bridesmaids in the dream sequence, wearing Princess Eugenie and Beatrice’s royal wedding hats, respectively. They called Kate Middleton “Waity Katie” and I think that’s what the writers were playing into with Emma’s patient wait for Will to propose.

Will finally decides to propose and asks Finn to be his best man as apparently he has no grown up friends and because he thinks Finn has showed him what it means to be a good man. Pah!

Finn is the whiniest, most cowardly and simpering character on the show! He feels sorry for himself, has an unrealistic idea of what Rachel and women in general should be, is (or has been) embarrassed by Kurt’s sexuality and only stands up for those he loves after the fact. He also thinks that joining the army will fill the void that college football has left and make him more of a man.

To further illustrate Finn’s insecurity, he decides to ask Rachel to marry him because he’s got nothing else going for him!

I was also a bit disturbed by Sam’s inclusion in the synchronised swimming team, called the “Guppies” and lead by bronze Olympic medalist, Roz Washington, who is of African American descent. She also comments that Sam’s “trouty mouth” is one she’s never seen on a white kid. This, in addition to Becky’s dig at the possibility of dating Mike Chang (“I’m no rice queen”), makes “Yes/No” one of the worst episodes of Glee yet.

Related: Glee’s “Sexy” Review.

The Underlying Message in Glee’s “Duets” Episode.

The Underlying Message in Glee’s “The Rocky Horror Glee Show” Episode.

The Underlying Message in Glee’s “Furt” Episode.

Image via The Dam Nation.

Event/TV: Glee—The Right & Wrong of It.

In lieu of a new episode of Glee last week, I attended a debate about the pros and cons of McKinley High and its glee club.

I was super excited, because I assumed the debate would entail a for Glee side, and an against. And it did. But while I thought the against side, consisting of Clem Bastow and Jess McGuire, would discuss the blatant sexism, racism, homo/transphobia, ableism, fatism and the many other phobias and -isms the show incorporates (feel free to add them in the comments), both panelists ultimately praised Glee for it’s inclusiveness and handling of the tough issues.

I’ve heard this rationalisation about Glee before. When my tuba-playing gay friend finally got into the show this season and fell hard for it, he thought I would sing its praises with him because he knew I watched it. (Evidently, he does not read this blog as he would know the main reason I like Glee is because I know I’ll always get a blog post out of it!) When I invited him to the debate, he had something else on but wondered what they would be debating, exactly. I referred to the list of problems I have with it (above and elaborated on below) and he replied, “But I thought Glee was about acceptance.” That’s what it wants you to think, and it blinds you to all the other issues with Katy Perry songs. As panelist for the “pro-Glee” side, Mel Campbell, said, “It’s best not to ask questions.”

While McGuire did touch on Glee’s pro-gay stance, and perhaps its best, and most underutilised, storyline of Brittany and Santana’s forbidden love, I was expecting SlutWalk Melbourne organiser and noted feminist Bastow to knock Glee out of the park for its anti-women portrayals. I was also sorely disappointed, as Bastow, a keen musical aficionado, chose to focus on the shows’ butchering of classic musical numbers.

So, I thought I’d take this opportunity to write about the issues I wished the panel had discussed last Thursday night.

Sexism.

I’ve written about feminism in Glee before, specifically as it’s embodied in the character of Rachel Berry. It annoys me to no end that Rachel is deemed “ugly” (though Lea Michele is anything but) because she’s annoying. And she’s annoying because she eschews traditional gender roles that are perhaps embodied by Quinn by being ambitious, voicing her opinions and unapologetically going after what she wants.

In a clip shown at the debate of the inaugural Glee mash-up in which Mr. Shuester separates the girls from the boys, Kurt attempts to join the girls’ side. Since when did being a gay man amount to the equivalent of a straight female?

Finally, I wouldn’t say sexism is the main problem in Mercedes’ perpetual (okay, she seems to have a boyfriend this season, but more on that later) bachelorettehood, rather some other issues I will address later in the piece.

Racism.

Now is as good a time as any to discuss Mercedes’ aforementioned singleness. Was she literally the only character in season two who didn’t have a significant other because she’s black? (Or because she’s fat?) Sure, she dated Sam for all of a few minutes in the season two final, but before that the only action she got was Kurt condescendingly suggesting she should date one of the guys on the football team because he was black and, like, they’d probably have heaps in common.

If that’s not enough proof of Glee’s insensitivity to race, all you need to do it look at any one episode for a myriad of references to Tina and Mike’s “Asianness”, Roy Flanagan’s “Irishness” (or leprechaunnes, as Brittany might refer to it) and Puck and Rachel’s “Jewishness” (though that also falls under religious prejudice as well).

Homophobia & Transphobia.

Sure, Glee’s pretty much a vehicle for Kurt and, increasingly, Blaine, to showcase their voices, fashion sense and flamboyance. McGuire chose to speak at length about how sensitively the show handled Kurt coming out to his dad and Kurt and Blaine’s first time, and I have to agree with her. And yes, seeing two men make gay love (okay, the implication of them making gay love) on primetime network television without a stink being kicked up is pretty groundbreaking, as panelist for Glee and MC, Tim Hunter, noted. But they still single out Kurt for his gayness (“Single Ladies [Put a Ring on It]” and “Le Jazz Hot!”, anyone?), not to mention how Finn went about outing Santana in “Mash Off”.

They’ve handled the Brittany/Santana thing the best out of every relationship in the show, so that’s one point for lesbianism, but at the expense of other sexual orientations and gender identities, perhaps?

Just look at “The Rocky Horror Glee Show”, for example. Not only to Mike’s parents make him pull out because they don’t want him associated with a “tranny” musical, but the show even substitutes the lyrics “I’m just a sweet transvestite from transsexual Transylvania” for “sensational Transylvania”. Pardon me, but I don’t see what all the fuss is about in using the word “transsexual”.

Finally, we can’t forget Coach Beiste. When she debuted on the show, her sexuality and gender was thrown up in the air, when she’s really just an unconventionally attractive, masculine straight woman who happens to coach a men’s football team. But of course attention is drawn to her 40-year-old virgin status every time there’s a virginity-themed episode. Because, you know, she’s old and funny-looking and has never been on a date! Riotous!

Ableism.

Where do I start? There’s Emma’s OCD, which is made fun of by everyone from Gwyneth Paltrow’s Holly Holiday to her own parents (not to mention Will trying to come to her rescue by attempting to “cure” her). Artie’s wheelchair-bound way of life, which was even pointed out during the debate, only for the panelists to laugh at Artie wanting to give Blaine a standing ovation, “because he can’t”, and a whole episode, “Wheels”, insensitively dedicated to his disability.

I will applaud the show for their inclusion of, and remarkable sensitivity to, Down’s syndrome sufferers. But then they go and use undiagnosed Asperger’s syndrome as an excuse for anti-social and selfish behaviour. Cutting off their nose to spite their face…

Fatism.

Puck’s rendition of “Fat Bottomed Girls” was a clip played at the talk, and was received by audible groans. To see Lauren so uncomfortable as Puck serenaded her was awkward for the audience, and the patronisation was palpable. Like, oh Glee has a plus-sized girl who doesn’t hate herself and is being chased by the hottest guy in school; we’ve come so far.

But when Mercedes is relegated to backing vocals in favour of the slim lined Rachel, can’t get a date and suffers from an alleged eating disorder which is swept under the rug with some sage advice and a granola bar from Quinn, it’s all just tokenism.

So there you have it: the debating of the issues I wished had’ve been brought up by the panel. As my friend, housemate and fellow debate-goer put it: “It was just like Glee: it slightly touched on the issues, but ultimately didn’t add anything new to the discourse.” So feel free to add anything I, or the panel, didn’t cover in the comments.

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

[The Early Bird Catches the Worm] Brown Eyed Girl.

[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 “The Rocky Horror Glee Show” Episode.

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

[The Early Bird Catches the Worm] Ain’t Nothin’ Gonna Break My Slutty Stride.

[The Early Bird Catches the Worm] Rachel Berry as Feminist.

[The Early Bird Catches the Worm] Is Lea Michele Too Sexy?

[The Early Bird Catches the Worm] In Defence of Rachel Berry.

[The Early Bird Catches the Worm] Boys Will be Boys, Revisited.

[The Early Bird Catches the Worm] Glee Season 2 Final in Pictures.

[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 “The First Time” Episode.

[The Early Bird Catches the Worm] Glee: Santana is Forced Out of the Closet.

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

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

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

Elsewhere: [Bitch Magazine] The Transcontinental Disability Choir: Glee-ful Appropriation.

[Xhibit P] Fat Girls Singing Backup: Body Images in Glee.

[TV.com] Is It Okay to Find Glee’s Plus-Sized Character, Lauren Zizes, Gross?

[Jezebel] Why Won’t Glee Give Mercedes a Boyfriend?

Image via Meg. All Things Me.

TV: Glee Season 2 Final in Pictures.

In last night’s Glee final, New Directions make it to New York! (New York! I love New York!)

They eat designer sandwiches on the steps of some landmark that escapes me at the present moment, reminiscent of Blair, Jenny et al. having lunch on the steps in Gossip Girl.

From here, they sing a mash-up of “I Love New York” and “New York, New York” in Central Park while Santana gets her flirt on with a cop.

Finn is inspired by the group’s songwriting efforts (that they’ve come to the Big Apple with nary a song to sing at Nationals only days before the competition speaks volumes about the laissez-faire attitude of both the New Directions and their leader, Mr. Shuester), and asks Rachel out on a date now that he and Quinn are toast. He takes her to Sardi’s, where they run into Patti LuPone, who Rachel accosts, telling Patty she’s one of her idols. Patty tells Rachel to never give up (or something), and that Finn is cute. Sage advice there!

Meanwhile, the other man in Rachel’s life (no, not Jesse St. James Douche), Kurt, wakes Rachel up to go have Breakfast at Tiffany’s, followed by a Wicked duet at the musical’s home theatre, the Gershwin, of “For Good”, harkening back to their season one sing-off of “Defying Gravity”. It was a teary rendition for me!

Mr. Shue also has his Broadway moment, singing a song from April Rhodes’ musical, CrossRhodes, which can conveniently be found on Matthew Morrison’s debut album! He later chooses to shun his New York dreams in favour of staying on at McKinley.

Cut to Nationals, where the New Directions perform their two hastily composed original songs, “Pretending” and “Light Up the World”. During the former, Rachel and Finn share an impromptu kiss in the heat of the moment, which the whole club berates and blames them for losing the competition.

Oh, Sunshine also makes an appearance. No doubt to segue into a cameo or recurring role in season three.

Back in Lima, Kurt and Blaine are having coffee when they encounter Mercedes and Sam, who claim they “ran into each other in the parking lot”. When they think Kurt and Blaine are out of ear- and eyeshot, they hold hands whilst waiting to be served. New couple alert!

In the hallway of McKinley High, Will and Emma marvel at the banner erected to congratulate them on their twelfth placing in the competition, and Mr. Shue presents the class with a trophy for their (dismal) efforts. Until next year’s Nationals…

[Jezebel] Glee: Can’t Make it There, Can’t Make it Anywhere.

[The Early Bird Catches the Worm] Glee Gets Down on Friday at the Prom.

[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 MegaVideo.

TV: The Underlying Message in Glee’s “Original Song” Episode.

Firstly, just let me say, what’s up with the pathetic episode title? Perhaps the writers could have taken a leaf out of the glee club’s fictional book and called the episode “Get it Right” or “Loser Like Me”, the names of the episodes two, um, original songs.

*

Quinn has brought up the whole prom thing with Finn a couple of times in recent episodes, but last night her plan to take out the title of prom queen and king with Finn was put into full force.

I found it very odd that Quinn, the girl who last season was ostracised from the Cheerios, the “cool group” and her own family when she became pregnant, reverted to the vapid character we were introduced to in the early days.

I’m not a big fan of Quinn’s in general, but I felt that she grew tremendously as a character over the course of a year, while characters like Mr. Shue and Rachel Berry (who—coincidentally?—happen to be Glee’s two most annoying characters) remain stagnant. But, as I said in last week’s review, this is Glee, and when have we ever expected storyline consistency from it?

When Quinn befriends Rachel in an effort to keep her away from Finn, we see her true aspirations: Quinn claims she wants Rachel to realise her full potential and become a star, while she manages a real estate company and Finn takes over Burt Hummel’s mechanics business. Quinn believes there’s nothing outside of Lima for her and Finn (I wonder how Finn feels about this; knowing his girlfriend thinks he has no potential?), which I don’t buy. I thought Quinn’s pregnancy changed her for the better; part of the reason she gave up her baby was because she couldn’t give it the life it deserved. Doesn’t Quinn deserve a good life, too?

Quinn’s pregnancy also proved she’s just a loser like the rest of New Directions, which was the theme for their regionals set. Blowing Sue’s Oral Intensity (what ever happened to Vocal Adrenaline?) and the Warblers out of the water with their original songs, the first of which was written and performed by Rachel, who finally grasped the craft of songwriting (but not without an initial slip-up this episode with the song “Only Child”. On the plus side, Brittany said “My Headband” was her favourite song!), using Quinn’s taunts about starving for a “schoolgirl fantasy happy ending” with Finn as fodder.

What started out with an irritating voiceover from wannabe queen bee Quinn and some fantastic digs at Blaine’s monopoly over the Warblers’ solos, ended nicely with some “original songs” for Glee to make a mint from, instead of giving all the royalties to the initial artists; the underlying message that we’re all just losers; and Blaine’s epiphany that Kurt’s “the one”—with a gay kiss to boot!

[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 MegaVideo.

TV: Glee “Sexy” Review.

Never before have I been so offended by Glee. They’ve gone wrong a lot in the past season and a half: “Duets”, where everyone but the token gay Kurt got to sing with a partner; Mercedes’ eating disorder cured by Quinn giving her a granola bar; and the Justin Bieber episode in general, which I actually liked, but several of my friends voiced their concern over it. But this episode was so ignorant in addressing the theme of sex amongst the New Directions members that it made me want to hurl.

Firstly, Gwyneth Paltrow’s return as Holly Holiday was unnecessary, but obviously they’re going to milk the character for all she’s worth. She was derogatory, snarky and just plain annoying; worlds away from her first appearance on the show.

Holly insults guidance counselor Emma for still being a virgin four months after her marriage to Carl the dentist, when clearly the girl has intimacy and bodily fluids issues, amongst many others. Plus, she’s still in love with Will Shuester, which Holly takes pleasure in rubbing in her face by hooking up with him.

She heads up the celibacy club, which she makes a mockery of, even more so than Santana’s recent membership.

When Emma leads Carl, Puck, Quinn and Rachel in a rendition of “Afternoon Delight”, Holly Gleefully points out that an afternoon delight is a romp in the PM, not a dessert as Emma thinks it is.

She leads the kids in a leather-clad performance of “Do You Wanna Touch Me”, which completely undermines Mr. Shue’s previous efforts to protect the kids from singing songs by such risqué artists as Britney Spears. But, you know, this is Glee, where the storyline takes a back seat to big names and bigger songs.

But the most offensive part of the show was Holly and Will massacring one of my favourite Prince songs, “Kiss”.

The only redeeming quality of the episode was Santana’s heartfelt, yet obviously tormented, declaration of love for Brittany, who turned her down in favour of Artie.

 

 

 

[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 YouTube.

TV: The Underlying Message in Glee’s “Blame it on the Alcohol” Episode.

Blame it on the alcohol, indeed.

This week’s episode deals with McKinley High’s Alcohol Awareness Week, after Principal Figgins exclaims that there have been six alcohol-related suspensions in the past week due to the alcopop phenomenon and pop music promoting the consumption of alcohol.

So what better time for Finn and Puck to convince Rachel to have an unsupervised party at her house, right?

Body shots, Brittany getting her kit off, karaoke and spin the bottle ensue, creating a drunken love triangle between Rachel, Kurt and Blaine, where someone is bound to get hurt. And you can’t blame that on the alcohol.

In my experience, people don’t do things drunk that they don’t already want to do sober. It gives them liquid courage, if you will. Which, funnily enough, is what “Blame it on the Alcohol” is all about. Who knew that listening to Jamie Foxx would pay off?

But “the alcoholic teen-vomit fetishist” (Sue’s words, not mine!) Mr. Shuester doesn’t approve of their rendition of the song, so instead they perform “Tik and also Tok, by Key dollar sign Ha,” as Principal Figgins introduces it at the school assembly. And that’s so much better how?

But for all their seemingly sexual acceptance (Kurt, Blaine, Brittany and Santana and their “scissoring”), Kurt’s comment about bisexuality made me question how accepting the show really is:

“‘Bisexual’ is a term gay guys in high school use when they wanna hold hands with girls and feel like a normal person for a change.”

Sounds a bit like Miranda’s reasoning that bisexuality is a blanket term for guys who turn out to be gay and girls who turn out to be straight, thus explaining the man-drought, on Sex & the City.

But it wouldn’t be the first time Glee’s ostracised their characters and potential audience members who may identify with them.

[Jezebel] Glee: New Directions’ Alcohol-Fuelled Bisexual Awakening.

[Jezebel] Glee: Everyone’s Duetting It (Except Kurt).

[Jezebel] Why Glee Still Needs to Work on Diversity.

[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 YouTube.

TV: The Underlying Messages of Glee’s “Britney/Brittany” Episode.

In what was one of the most anticipated episodes of Glee, alongside the Madonna and Lady Gaga episodes, Britney Spears made all of a minute’s appearance on the show last week.

I was expecting a lot more, but we all know acting is not one of Britney’s strong suits (Crossroads, anyone?). However, Brittany S. Pierce, played by Heather Morris, stole the show and cemented her reign as my favourite Glee character.

While Britney’s lacklustre performance was the drawcard for the episode, there were a few underlying messages about fame using Spears as the beacon for what can go wrong if young stars abuse their fame.

“The episode opens with Kurt informing Mr. Schue that there’s a five person Facebook group campaigning for New Directions to sing Britney Spears songs at the homecoming assembly. But Schue shoots down this movement (even [though] these kids have already performed “Push It” in front of the whole school, for the purposes of our story, Brit Brit is too trashy or something).” [Jezebel]

The kids fought for their right to perform Britney, as she’s an inspiration to all of them, and the reason they want to be stars. Perhaps this way of thinking was better suited to the Lady Gaga episode, as she truly is an inspiration. On the other hand, if Mr. Schue let them perform songs by Madonna, Lady Gaga and, as Jezebel mentioned, Salt N Pepa, Britney is probably the most tame and PG-rated of them all. But I could see Schue’s point: while Britney may be an inspiration, she’s also one of the least talented pop stars who permeated the late ’90s/early ’00s zeitgeist and “not suited” to New Directions.

But, when Brittany goes to see guidance counsellor Emma Pillsbury’s new boyfriend and the school dentist Carl, played by guest star John Stamos, and is put under anaesthesia, she has a Britney Spears fantasy, which makes her realise her true potential as a star, and she demands to have all the solos from now on.

Santana wants to have a Britney fantasy too, so they both go to see the dentist and demand to be put under. Santana uses her doctor father’s health insurance to bribe Carl into succumbing. This could be seen as a reference to the enablers in young stars’ lives (Lindsay Lohan comes to mind) and the drug use that many such stars (again, Lindsay) are rumoured to have engaged in.

In a scene from last week, Sue Sylvester kicks Santana off the Cheerios for defacing her young and still-growing body with breast implants. This seems to be a specific dig at Britney, and a prelude to this week’s episode. Santana is probably only 17 years old, perhaps even 16, which is the age Britney is rumoured to have gotten implants.

Finally, the episode culminates in most of the Glee club having had hallucinations and a “Britney Spears sex riot”, caused by Sue. Britney has been criticised her whole career for being too sexy, which is evident in the opening Britney/Brittany video mash-up of “Slave 4 U”, “Toxic” and “Oops… I Did It Again”, as well as Brittany and Santana channelling “Me Against the Music”, which would have had far more impact, I think, if Britney was used in the whole montage, instead of just at the very end for about .5 seconds.

Magazines: Glee on Rolling Stone.

 

Another week, another Rolling Stone cover…

For my money, RS seems to be surpassing VF (Vanity Fair for you laymen) in terms of revolutionaryor at the very least, eye catchingcovers.

This month’s Australian edition features the Glee cast, but only the yawn-fest-y vanilla stars, ie. Cory Monteith, who plays whiney Finn Hudson, the annoying Rachel Berry, played by Lea Michele, and the most palatable of the three, Dianna Agron, who pays Quinn Fabray, make appearances on the cover.

With the exception of the sexy white-boy-rapper thing Matthew Morrison’s character, Will Shuester, has going on, and the hilariously dry Sue Sylvester, played by the ineffable Jane Lynch, I would love to see some of the ensemble’s other stars on the cover, namely Mark Salling’s Puck, but also Artie (Kevin McHale), Kurt (Chris Colfer) and/or the stunning Santana (Naya Rivera).

But I’ll take what I can get when it comes to Glee.