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: 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”!

Related: The Underlying Message in Glee’s “Born This Way” Episode.

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

Gwyneth Paltrow Addresses Tabloid Culture & Her Haters.

Glee “Sexy” Review.

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

How to Make a Woman Fall in Love With You, Glee Style.

Glee “Silly Love Songs” Review.

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

The (Belated) Underlying Message in Glee’s “Never Been Kissed” Episode.

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

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

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

The Underlying Message in Glee’s “Britney/Brittany” Episode.

Elsewhere: [SBS] Gay in School: SBS Insight.

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

TV: The Underlying Message in Glee’s “Born This Way” Episode.

 

The underlying message this week is that there is none: acceptance—of Rachel’s Jewish nose, Quinn’s chubby-checker past and Tina’s “Orient descent”—was right there on the surface for all to see.

This is Glee’s second Lady Gaga-themed episode, the first of which was very Gaga-centric, however this week’s effort kicked last seasons’ butt!

The storyline began with Rachel getting hit in the face by Finn during a dance number, and her doctor recommending she get a nose job to fix her deviated septum, like big-nosed babes, Jennifer Aniston and Ashlee Simpson, before her.

She decides to take angel-faced Quinn along to the appointment, using her nose as an example of what she wants the new and improved Rachel to look like.

This is followed up by a tear-jerking rendition of “Unpretty” by TLC by unlikely soul-sisters Rachel and Quinn.

You might remember a few episodes back (although it’s been so long since a new episode has aired, both on Ten and in the U.S., that you could be forgiven for not remembering) when Quinn morphed from struggling with her social standing after giving birth last season to prom-queen obsessed, “I’m relatively sane for a girl”-espousing zombie.

I didn’t buy it then, and I’m glad we get a more in-depth look at her life now.

Lauren Zizes decides to run for prom queen, with Puck by her side as her king. Most of the non-size-two students at McKinley are ecstatic to see someone who looks like them running for prom queen, which should have given Lauren the heads up that her plan to take down Quinn wouldn’t work: she unearths Quinn’s past as Lucy Fabray, before she transferred to McKinley in eighth grade.

Lucy was overweight, uncool, and bullied constantly at her old school, until she joined ballet, gymnastics and cheerleading, lost weight and asked her parents for a nose job, at which point they began to call her by her middle name, Quinn.

Lauren plasters posters of Quinn as Lucy all over the school, which inadvertently sees Quinn’s approval rating go up 40% because her student body realises she’s not just a vapid beautiful person, but someone with problems and a past, just like them.

But not all of the glee club’s members are accepting that they were “born this way” out in the open.

Santana manages to convince Dave Karofsky to help her get Kurt back to McKinley, or else she’ll tell everyone he’s gay. In turn, her “Macbethian” and “Latina Eve Harrington” ways, she believes, will help her become prom queen.

Eventually, word gets back to Kurt about what’s really going on, and he agrees to return to McKinley on the condition that Karofsky be schooled in acceptance of gays and lesbians, even if he doesn’t come out.

Santana could do well to adopt this school of thought, as she is still in the closet and still in pain that Brittany can’t be with her. Brittany makes Santana a “Lebanese” t-shirt for her to wear in this week’s performance (it was meant to say “lesbian”, but it’s a nice tie in to the “Born This Way” lyrics!)

Of course all the storylines are neatly wrapped up into a special 90 minute package, as is Glee’s style. Emma even manages to address her crippling OCD and goes to therapy.

But I think the most interesting “underlying message” of the episode was Santana’s view at the three-minute mark on changing things you’re not happy with.

As much as, on the one hand, our society preaches self-love and acceptance, what of all the beauty products, foods and exercise regimes that are spruiked to us on a daily basis via all mediums?

I don’t want to turn this into a rant on body image and the affect advertisements, magazines, TV, movies etc. have on it, but Santana does raise a good point: if changing things about you, like Rachel’s nose, Tina’s eye colour, or Sam’s “guppy lips”, makes you feel better about yourself, then so be it.

I got a tattoo a couple of weeks ago because I didn’t like the way the back of my neck looked without one; does that make me “hate myself”? Hell no! Anyone who knows me will tell you that I am confident in who I am, both on the inside and the outside. (Those who don’t just think I’m an arrogant bitch!)

But I think that if you are happy with yourself in general in most aspects of your life and can engage in “active critical thought” about the things you aren’t, what’s a little hairdo change here or gym membership there?

Or—dare I say it?—a nose job?

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

Gwyneth Paltrow Addresses Tabloid Culture & Her Haters.

Glee “Sexy” Review.

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

How to Make a Woman Fall in Love With You, Glee Style.

Glee “Silly Love Songs” Review.

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

The (Belated) Underlying Message in Glee’s “Never Been Kissed” Episode.

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

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

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

The Underlying Message in Glee’s “Britney/Brittany” Episode.

Is There Really a Beauty Myth?

Images via Megavideo.

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

 

Last night’s episode of Glee marked the final in a three-episode arc about bullying.

In Sue’s final act as principal before she resigns at the end of the episode, she expels Dave Karofsky for bullying Kurt. Jezebel notes that “rather than yelling, ‘William, my hands are tied!’ she promises to stop Karofsky once they have proof that he’s harassing Kurt”but not before Sue takes to calling Kurt Porcelain, which could be seen as an act of bullying in itself.

Carol Burnett makes an appearance as Sue and Jean’s absentee mother, Doris, who in addition to being Sue’s own “bully”, left the girls to be a Nazi hunter. While Doris doesn’t appear all that bad, it does give some insight into Sue’s present-day behaviour as McKinley High’s student body tormenter. Why was Sue’s mother in the episode, you ask? Because Sue was getting married… to herself! But that’s a whole other can of worms.

In other bullying news, the glee guys start a fight with Karofsky in the football team’s locker-room in defence of Kurt, but stepbrother to be, Finn, doesn’t partake. Even when it is revealed that the attack was Rachel’s idea, “setting the feminist movement back fifty years”, according to Quinn. (It’s no secret that I can’t stand Rachel, but a strong woman like her needs an equally strong man.) In what seems to be another instalment in Finn’s tour of whimping out, he doesn’t want to be perceived as being a homo-sympathiser. But not to worry, he makes up for it at his mum and Kurt’s dad’s wedding, by making a speech about standing up for “Team Furt” (in the tradition of celebrity couplings like Brangelina). And then they “dance their troubles away”.

The wedding also serves as a catalyst for Kurt to break out this memorable one-liner: “I’ve been planning weddings since I was two!”

Oh Kurt, we’ll miss you when you transfer to Dalton Academy…

Related: The (Belated) Underlying Message in Glee’s “Never Been Kissed” Episode.

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

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

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

The Underlying Message in Glee’s “Britney/Brittany” Episode.

Women in Fiction: Are Our Favourite Fictional Females Actually Strong, or Stereotypes?

Elsewhere: [Jezebel] Glee: Three Weddings & a Furt.

TV: The (Belated) Underlying Message in Glee’s “Never Been Kissed” Episode.

 

I was unable to catch up on Glee when it aired last week, so I decided not to write about the latest episode’s “underlying meaning”. However, after watching it over the weekend, I think there is an important message that needs to be talked about; just like every other episode this season!

While Glee can sometimes turn into an after-school special, “Never Been Kissed” was more of an “hour long ‘It Gets Better’ video”, as Jezebel puts it, focussed around Kurt’s struggles with being the target of homophobia and Coach Beiste’s sexual inexperience and objectification as an anti-sex symbol.

It will be interesting to see if the usually lacklustre writers will continue the storyline in which Kurt’s bully and member of the football team, Dave Karofsky, is tormenting Kurt because in actual fact, Dave is confused about his own sexual orientation. But what I found most interesting about the episode was Beiste’s storyline.

When Sam asks Finn how to “cool down” when making out with “chaste” Quinn, Finn relays his story of running down a postman with his car. Sam decides to use a mental image of Beiste in lingerie, and passes this on to the other guys. Somehow, Tina gets hold of this information and also uses a mental image of Beiste when making out with Mike. When Sam and Tina accidentally let slip Beiste’s name during make-out sessions with their significant others, it somehow gets back to Mr. Schuester, who “says [that] Beiste can never find out, though he winds up telling her himself in the very next scene”!

I can’t imagine how hurtful that must have been for Coach Beiste (yes, I am aware Glee is fictional and the characters DON’T ACTUALLY HAVE FEELINGS), especially when it is revealed that she’s “never been kissed”, hence the title of the episode, and never made to feel beautiful.

But the glee clubbers make good by dedicating their mash-up of “Stop! In the Name of Love” and “Free Your Mind” to Beiste, which ends in an inappropriate group hug, not to mention Will attempting to kiss Beiste’s insecurities away. It’s not that easy, Mr. Inappropriate Glee Teacher!

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

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

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

The Underlying Message in Glee’s “Britney/Brittany” Episode.

Elsewhere: Kurt Gets Kissed in Hour-Long “It Gets Better” Video.