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.

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

 

Who would’ve thought that an episode of Glee centring around The Rocky Horror Picture Show could be a catalyst for discussing male body image?

Not me, but that seems to be the underlying message in this week’s episode.

When Mr. Schuester announces to the glee club that they will be performing Rocky Horror after Emma tells him she went to see it with her new beau Carl, Rachel is quick to announce that she and Finn will be playing Janet and Brad. Finn is all for this until he realised he’ll have to perform much of the show in his “tighty-whiteys”. Santana and Brittany comment on this, saying they can’t wait to see Finn’s “hot mess” of a body as a result of eating sloppy joes for lunch everyday, in comparison to Sam’s rippling abs accompanied by gold hot pants in his role as Rocky. (If Cory Monteith had put on weight to give Finn an actual “hot mess” of a body, it might’ve lent his storyline more credibility.)

Finn voices his concerns to Rachel who, in her usual selfish ways, tells him that she doesn’t look like Brittany or Santana, but she’s still stripping down to her underwear, and she loves his body just the way it is.

In the locker-room, Finn broaches the subject again with Sam and Artie. As Sam is donning hot pants, he obviously doesn’t have many body image issues (until later in the episode, when Schuester suggests he play another character as the role is too risqué for a high schooler, which Sam misinterprets as him being too fat to pull off his costume), however Artie blames porn for warping females’ perceptions of male bodies:

“I personally blame the internet. Once internet porn was invented, girls could watch without having to make that embarrassing trip to the video store. Internet porn altered the female brain chemistry, making them more like men, and thus, more concerned with our bodies.”

Sounds an awful lot like Naomi Wolf’s argument about porn and its affect on the male brain chemistry, making them more concern with the female body and what it can do for them.

Elsewhere, at the beginning of the episode when the kids are choosing their roles, everyone thinks it would be fitting to have Kurt play Frank N. Furter, to which Kurt replies:

“There’s no way I’m playing a transvestite in high heels and fishnet wearing lipstick,”

as apparently being the only gay man in the club means automatically defaulting to play the tranny. This is particularly poignant, as there is still a lot of misunderstanding in the mainstream about gay, bi, trans etc. people and what exactly their gender roles entail.

Related: Is There Really a Beauty Myth?

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: [MamaMia] Male Models: Inside Their Straaaange World.

[Jezebel] Glee: Sexy & Scary In All The Wrong Ways.

[Boob Tube] Glee in Pictures: Rocky Horror Glee Show.