2013 is a new year full of new opportunities, and the Glee on FOX promotions department has taken advantage of this, and the hiatus, to issue a series of scrapbook-style cards. We were particularly interested in these two, promoting the journeys of two prominent Glee couples:
Spot the differences? We did.
The above charts (along with the one I posted last week) are more evidence of Glee’s obvious double standards when it comes to the writing of female/female romantic relationships. The data was collected from seasons two, three, and four of Glee.
*hall-and-totes isn’t affiliated with the GEP
- 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.
- Kurt and Blaine have a conversation about their relationship and its future. Kurt finally has the opportunity to share his feelings, and they are honest and believably conflicted.
- In “Let’s Have a Kiki,” Kurt initiates physical contact with a straight guy, confidently leading Brody into the dance. After being branded toxic and experiencing rampant effeminophobia at McKinley High School, we see Kurt flourishing in a more accepting environment. Achievement!
- Wade was grouped with all the girls during the pre-Sectionals talk by the “Unholy Trinity” of Brittany, Santana and Quinn, even though he was Wade and not Unique in the scene, and no issue was made about Wade’s presence there.
- Unique returns as herself for Sectionals, and makes a powerful statement about her identity and self-worth.
A significant number of the LGBT characters were absent from this episode, and only one LGBT relationship (Kurt and Blaine) was featured. Therefore, this report is briefer than usual.
- The flashback to Blaine’s encounter with Eli C shows him as a sexually active gay teen, just as a flashback to a straight character’s indiscretion may be expected in similar circumstances.
- Sam responds with kindness and sound advice to Blaine’s telling him about hooking up with another male while in a committed relationship. It’s the same reaction Sam might have in a similar situation involving a straight friend.
- Hunter made the point quite clearly to Blaine that he isn’t “even remotely bi-curious”. While the comparison to Sebastian as the former captain of the Warblers could make this point relevant, we question why it was necessary to be made.
- Kurt’s continued absence from the story of his break-up with Blaine is disheartening when compared to other current and past break-ups on the show where the audience has been allowed to see events from both characters’ sides of the relationship.
- We will be watching to see if Kurt will get to say more about how he is feeling about Blaine and his relationship with him. We want him to have a voice in a story that is half his. It’s also a surprise that none of the characters at McKinley or who have returned to McKinley who were previously close to Kurt have voiced support for Kurt and how he might feel.
- We are curious to see if Unique will return as herself or as Wade at Sectionals, or if the objections hers parents had for “Grease” still apply.
- Sebastian Smythe made an appearance in this episode, but in contrast to how he was characterized last season, no reference was made to his sexuality and he made no attempt to flirt with Blaine. We wonder if the fact that Sebastian is gay will return as a plot point in future episodes.
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- 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.
- This episode is as much about how the other characters react to Wade/Unique and her gender identity as it is about her feelings. Those reactions are all over the spectrum, and are portrayed realistically and effectively. Wade thinks of herself as a girl and has no internal conflict on that score, but is keenly aware that conflict arises from external sources, in that the outside world needs to catch up and adjust to this presentation.
- The scene in Figgins’ office is a pretty fair summation of the issues, complete with ambiguous and fluid gender identifiers:
- Figgins has seen Wade/Unique dressed as a female and takes her gender at face value. He doesn’t seem to have made the connection to Wade, so has no problem in accepting what he ‘sees’ as fact.
- Sue knows that Wade/Unique is biologically male and, therefore, discounts any possibility of Unique being female. For Sue, the knowledge of Wade/Unique’s physical gender impedes her ability to accept Wade/Unique’s presentation as anything other than drag. The clothes do not maketh the man (or woman) in this case.
- Will is open-minded. He sees both Wade and Unique and deals with each on a personal level, treating Wade as male and Unique as female. But he hasn’t quite got past the gender knowledge when discussing Wade and Unique with others (hence using ‘he’ when speaking of Unique in the scene).
- Finn is totally accepting of Wade/Unique’s gender identification and doesn’t need the added visual stimulus of clothing to make the mental leap. Finn sees both Wade and Unique as female (as indeed they are), while still understanding that others are going to judge her based on outside identifiers like clothing. Finn gets a ‘Thumbs Up’ for his non-preachy acceptance here. He gives her the role of Rizzo and sticks up for her against Sue.
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.