Y’all, I am so Glee‘d out.
I can’t even begin to express it. I feel like all I’ve done in the last week is talk about Glee, Glee, Glee all the time. And deal with the viciousness of people who really don’t like it when you harsh their squee. So this review, it’s going to be a short one.
But I want to lead with a few things:
- I’m not saying you’re a bad person if you like Glee. In fact, I know lots of folks who like the show. I don’t think that they are bad people. Let me repeat this, for emphasis: Liking something that someone else is critiquing does not make you a bad person.
- I am examining the problematic content in the show. And I think it’s fine to like the show and recognize that content and talk about it; I personally don’t like Glee very much, but, you know, that might be because I’m tired of being attacked for critiquing it, and also because it’s just not my kind of show. But you, you are allowed to like Glee, and I’m not gonna stop you. I honestly do not care if you like it or not, ok?
- I do have a problem, though, if you don’t recognize the problematic content.
- Which brings me to my final point. I’ve been getting a lot of pushback for focusing on disability issues in Glee. Uhm, people, I have been talking about the problematic treatment of race, gender, sexual orientation, etc. for kind of a while. Like, since the pilot came out. Yeah, I’ve been focusing on disability issues a lot, most notably when I wrote it up for Bitch last week, but that’s because, uhm, I’m blogging as a member of the Transcontinental Disability Choir at Bitch. As in, we were asked to guest blog about disability issues. As in, our posts have word limits, and I was writing about the Very Special Disability Episode (VSDE), as in, I did not have time to talk about all of the problems with that episode. So I don’t want to hear any more of this “but how come you don’t talk about the other problematic content” crap because I do. All the time. You might not be reading, but I do.
“Ballad” marks the return to the able bodied white people1, now that everyone’s had their special episode. (But a show has to have main characters, meloukhia, you say. Yeah, that’s why Glee is billed as an “ensemble.”)
One of the nice things about the VSDE was that it gave us a little break from the ongoing ladyfail which has been dominating Glee thus far. That was back in full force this week, within the first two minutes, actually, as we saw Rachel transferring her affections to Mr. Shu in an extremely creepy duet. (Which was actually clearly meant to be creepy, but, you know, it was still fail; depicting something which should be creepy as creepy doesn’t mean that you should have written it into the plot in the first place.)
It pretty much all went downhill from there. Mr Shu actually literally called Rachel “crazy” in his internal monologue, and we watched her stalk him around with novelty ties and casserole for the duration of the episode. Because, you know, those ladies, they’ve got to attach themselves to a man or they feel incomplete, and since Rachel knows her love for Finn will never be fulfilled, it’s time to move on to a new man. Have we noticed this theme, gentle readers? That none of the women on Glee feel fulfilled without a man?
(Oh HAI did anyone else like the incredibly painful scene in which Mr. Shu attempted to beat back the ladies with a stick song while they sat in little chairs staring at him with googlyeyes?)
And there was some pretty terrific gayfail in there too, with Finn and Kurt being forced to OMG sing a DUET together EW how can Finn ever do it everyone KNOWS that a dude singing to another dude is the. gayest. thing. ever. And Finn, of course, is struggling with teh horrorz of teen fatherhood, which is, of course, why he chose to sing a serenade about being a babydaddy while at dinner with Quinn’s parents. (Who promptly kicked her out, which was one of the few things in the episode which didn’t send me into a towering rage because, well, I know girls who got pregnant as teens and were kicked out by their conservative parents. So, you know, points for accuracy, Glee. Also, Quinn informing her mother that she’s pretty cold was pretty win, because, I mean, yeah.)
You know, y’all, the way the women in this show are handled bothers me. It bothers me that Quinn is manipulative and icky and is trying to trap Finn into taking care of a child she knows isn’t his. It bothered me last week when she was pressuring him to get a job (and when he faked a disability to get a job, because we all know that the best way to get a job is to pretend to be disabled). It bothers me that Rachel is depicted as this selfish, self-absorbed, manhungry shrew. (And, yeah, I do have a problem with making the Jewish character a shrew, in a pretty major way.) It bothers me that Terri is a manipulative harridan archetype. It bothers me that Tina didn’t have any lines this episode and that she almost never has lines just like it bothers me that the Glee producers thought that it would be a good idea to have her faking her stutter. It bothers me that Mercedes is such a troped and stereotyped character (and it’s pretty clear that they are pushing the straw-fatty-who-doesn’t-realize-she-is-fat angle).
It bothers me that they literally said “other Asian” when talking about Mike. Yeah, yeah, I get it, it’s supposed to be us making fun of Will for not being more “sensitive about the minorities.” But the fact that most Glee viewers don’t know “other Asian’s” name suggests to me that the show isn’t exactly combating any stereotypes, here.
I’m sorry, did I say this was going to be short? Hah. I didn’t even cover all of the things that I wanted to cover, but I’m at almost 1200 words now, so I think it’s time to stop. (Yes, people, this is called a word limit and sometimes it means that there is not room to talk about everything you want to talk about, which is why criticizing people for not talking about every little thing is really annoying. Especially when you are viewing something as a standalone, instead of as part of a long series of posts in which numerous different issues are critiqued at different times. Kinda how like when you read teevee reviews in the newspaper, they build upon ideas discussed in previous columns? Because the columnist kind of assumes that ou has a regular readership? Yeah. That.)
Why yes, I am grumpy today, why do you ask?
- Thanks, I am well aware that Rachel is Jewish. “Jewish” is both a racial and a cultural identity, and it’s unclear to me if she’s supposed to be racially or culturally Jewish, or both, and it’s pretty clear to me that her character is meant to be read as white. Oh yes, I also know that she has gay dads, thanks for asking, but, guess what, having a character with gay dads does not make your show a perfect cake of happiness instead of a troped pile of stereotypes. Just like having a sister with Down’s Syndrome does not magically mean that you are not a bigot, Sue Sylvester. ↩