- It was upsetting seeing Kurt once again bullied for his sexuality, even if only in Artie’s fever dream.
- We thought that this would be the episode where we would hear a good deal more about Kurt’s point of view regarding his relationship with Blaine. But the promised “heart to heart” has yet to take place. Despite that, Blaine comes to NY to see Kurt, at Burt’s invitation. Kurt as a character needs to have more agency in his life, and to be able to express himself.
- Santana continues to be erased from the narrative while her bisexual ex is allowed to date and even marry (at least in intent) a male – something Santana and Brittany would not be able to do. Brittany seems to have forgotten she even ever dated, let alone loved Santana – even when she thought she only had four days to live she did not mention Santana once.
- Kurt was shown as a strong and triumphant young man, and his plot in this episode showed no hints of the effeminophobia that has clouded his portrayal in the past.
- Unique is back, but makes the point that her reason for joining the floor hockey team is to ‘slip a wig under the face mask [so] nobody will be the wiser,’ allowing her to be herself while simultaneously hiding from the world.
- With all four individuals from the two recently-broken up LGBTQ couples in Lima, each ex-couple interacted and spoke about their relationships.
- The audience saw Kurt’s pain and anger in the aftermath of his break-up with Blaine in this episode. He was allowed to express his feelings and make decisions for himself.
- Kurt and Blaine spoke about their relationship briefly, but alone in an almost empty corridor
- Brittany and Santana had an honest conversation about the romantic feelings that they still share for each other. But in that conversation, Brittany stated that she is not dating anybody new, boy or girl. This acknowledges that either would be possible for her.
- Brittany was included in a girls’ slumber party without any question or awkwardness about her sexuality.
- When Kitty tried to resist the idea of Unique joining the girls’ slumber party, Marley spoke up in Unique’s defence.
WHAT WE’RE WATCHING FOR & HOPING FOR WHEN GLEE RETURNS
Four episodes of Glee have aired thus far, and the five week hiatus comes to an end in the U.S. on Thursday, November 8th. There have been big changes for all of the LGBTQ characters. We’re curious to see where their new journeys will take them.
Reminder: We are a spoiler-free zone, so this post is safe for spoiler-phobes
We ended last season with many couples intact, and within the first four episodes of this season, it seems they have all broken up (with the exception of Will and Emma). Some of the couples (both LGBTQ and straight) may never come back together, while others could reunite in the future. Individual characters might move on to new relationships and stay in them or break up again to go back to their former partners. Whatever the pairings, familiar or new, we hope to see communication, affection and intimacy portrayed for any LGBTQ couples in the same manner as their straight counterparts.
We do NOT want a repeat of the double standards that plagued Season 3. We hope to see important personal conversations take place in private. We hope to see the couples not needing chaperones.
On balance, so far, Glee seems to have made an effort not to shy away from displays of affection among the LGBTQ couples in Season 4, the glaring exception being Kurt and Blaine getting neither a kiss goodbye nor a private goodbye scene in 401. The lack of a private scene about their break up in 404 also falls into this category. We will be watching how the show progresses from here with interest.
A reminder of our position on break-ups:
Is the GEP just about the Brittana and Klaine ships? What if they break up?
Our campaign is not about shipping specific couples. It’s about glaring double standards we’ve noticed in regards to the portrayal of LGBTQ relationships on the show. If any of the LGBTQ couples break up, we hope the breakups will be treated equally to those the straight couples experience. If they move on to other relationships, we support seeing communication and affection happen in those without the double standards that plagued Season 3 portrayals.
What we don’t want to see is a situation where the straight characters move on to other love interests while the gay characters become the only gays in their village, lacking entirely in romantic plots or options. Breakups should happen because it makes sense for the characters and the changes in their lives, not to remove the pesky problem of how to portray LGBTQ relationships on television.
- The conversation between Santana and Brittany where Santana talks about the problems of long-distance relationships is realistic, and treats their relationship and feelings respectfully.
- Kurt and Blaine, and Brittany and Santana, are allowed to kiss in the same episode. Usually, if one couple kisses, the other does not. Achievement!
- Despite the troubling context of cheating and relationship breakdown, we do acknowledge that in terms of equality, both Blaine and Kurt are presented as sexual beings. Their sexual intimacy as a couple is acknowledged when Blaine speaks of missing “messing around” with Kurt, Kurt agreeing that he misses it too.
- When Blaine surprises Kurt by coming to visit him in New York, they greet each other with a kiss, their first since 305 “The First Time.”
- Chase Madison is shown to be completely accepting of Kurt’s sexuality.
Tonight’s episode was a huge emotional hit for many GEP supporters. Like everyone, we’re going to need some time to process the events of “The Break-Up” and to try to separate out the equality issues from the narrative issues. We will do our utmost to be fair in our equality report, to be true to the spirit of our campaign commitment: “Fans working for equality in the portrayal of Glee’s LGBTQ characters & relationships.” But you guys understand this is going to be a hard one…and we’re only human, only fans of these wonderful characters like everyone else. And we can only promise to do our best with the hand we’ve been dealt in the episode.
If you want to make your voice heard on the events of “The Break-Up,” and express your hopes and fears for our LGBTQ characters and their relationships in the future, write FOX:
FOX Broadcasting Company
10201 West Pico Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90035
- It is established that Kurt and Blaine are maintaining frequent contact; talking, texting and Skyping as much as possible. The narrative shows the very different challenges each of the boys are facing as individuals, how their lives are diverging, and how this is beginning to have an impact on their relationship.
- Blaine and Sam were shown to be friends. There was no squeamishness about having a straight boy undress in front of a gay boy. The matter-of-factness of this scene dispelled any notion of the ‘predatory’ gay stereotype.
- Brittany was allowed to have feelings and talk about how she misses Santana. She also talked to Santana in private (albeit via Skype).
- A reference to “scissor Skype” was used as shorthand to establish the welcome fact that Brittany and Santana are maintaining a sexual relationship.
- Unique is Unique throughout the episode without anyone batting an eyelid (also she refers to herself as a girl. Given this, we at GEP have decided to do the same) and she was shown talking to Marley about cute boys. They didn’t desexualise the trans* character nor did they depict her sexuality as threatening.
On behalf of Julia:
Dear Mr Reilly,
Treatment of LGBT characters in Glee
I’m a 23 year-old woman from England and I’m writing to you as a fan of Glee. I watch the show; I download the songs; I discuss the show online on Tumblr and message boards. There are many things I love about Glee, that have kept me watching for three years, but I also have my concerns and that’s why I’m writing to you today.
Being gay myself, I think it’s wonderful that Glee has such an array of LGBT characters; few shows can boast similar numbers. It’s so rare to find my experiences reflected on TV, so when I do discover a character like Santana Lopez, I treasure her. It was a joy to watch Santana’s journey in season two as she came to terms with her sexuality; the writing was sensitive and thoughtful, and Naya Rivera’s performance was nuanced and moving.
I had high hopes for Santana’s storyline in season three, but unfortunately I found it disappointing in almost all aspects. It is no exaggeration to say that episode 3x07, I Kissed A Girl, was the most offensive hour of television I have ever watched.