Stop the presses, folks, because I have some positive things to say about Glee! Yes, you heard it here first.
People, I am shipping Puck/Lauren so hardcore right now, it is not even funny. The show decided to use this episode to take her character in new, exciting, and dare I say fabulous directions. I suspected they were sticking her in the ‘fat girl who eats lots of food and is completely sexually unappealing’ trap, I really did, and Glee, I have to confess, you really pulled it out of the hat this time. You defied my expectations, and for once in a good way. My hat is off to you, Glee, although you ain’t off the hook.
So, the episode opens with Puck’s internal monologue about the girl he loves. Who is. Lauren! Yes, she’s eating chocolates in the opener, but it’s totally appropriate to the scene, which ends with her tossing the box in front of him and informing him they were all crappy. Which, you know, been there. Yes, you need to taste every one to make sure they’re all bad! Trust me, I’m a professional, I know these things. Fatty solidarity, Lauren. What I am loving about the Lauren/Puck dynamic is that instead of casting Lauren as a sad, tragic fat girl hopelessly in love who will never get anywhere because she’s fat and gross, the show is flipping the dynamic. It’s Puck longing for Lauren, it’s Puck being verbally slapped when Lauren sneers and informs him he ain’t all that, it’s Puck who’s expected to pull out all the stops to woo her.
Instead of framing the fat character as beyond sexuality, under the assumption that fat people are nasty and do not have sex, the show is making her explicitly sexual, and is willing to depict her as sexually attractive and confident. People, this is huge. This is really, really huge. As a fat person, I am used to seeing fat women depicted as objects of derision, laughter, and pity. I am used to seeing them self-conscious and unhappy with their bodies. I am not used to seeing them as sexual, unless they are the butt of a joke. I am not used to seeing them loving their bodies. I have criticised this show for refusing to show Mercedes in a sexual relationship, for showing Artie without any agency in a sexual relationship, for shying away from depicting Kurt’s sexuality, but seems they are willing to go there with Lauren; perhaps because she’s a white, nondisabled, heterosexual woman? The least threatening of these characters, in terms of being shown in a sexual context?
I’m not gonna lie, I also kind of love the scene where she throws down with Santana. Lauren is an athlete (which is something I would like to see Glee depicting), and so it’s not terribly surprising that she would prevail in a fight. And I love how Lauren just continuously puts Puck in his place; he tries to claim he finds her hot basically despite her body, and she’s just like ‘yup, I know I’m hot.’ The show has just propelled her character into the stratosphere, and I hope they keep it up, instead of retiring her back to the sidelines next week, because she’s a fabulous character, and I want to see more of her. A lot more.
You know, I could talk about things that irked me in this episode, like Blaine’s decision to basically harass the object of his affections in his own workplace1. I could mention that what they did to ‘My Funny Valentine’ should be illegal and may actually be in at least three states. I could talk about all the boring sappy love plots going on, but, like, it was the Valentine’s Day episode. It’s kind of expected. And, honestly, I’m tired, I want to read silly romance novels and eat bonbons2, and even a professional Glee hater has to take a night off sometimes.