Glee’s gay bullying episode: the good and the bad.
I remember that feeling I had when I first realised I was gay. It was great. I was almost instantly more comfortable in my own skin, I felt really strongly about another person (who didn’t have a penis! BONUS), and, you know, Things Made Sense. Awesome. But what then?
It took me a really short time to figure out that, while my head suddenly made a hell of a lot more sense, everything wasn’t sunshine and daisies. There were straight friends to deal with (are you sure it’s not just… a phase?) and there were gay friends to deal with (my flatmate in particular was a real shit about it, refusing flat out to believe I was gay for about a year) and there were all the other things to deal with (what do I do?! Where do I go?! Christ, girls are more difficult than guys! etc.). And the worst part was that, for ages, I had no lesbian community, no gay lady friends to guide me through it. The crush flaked out on me pretty quickly, and so I was left with all these feelings and no understanding of them. At all. Until I found some gay lady friends. Which was wonderful. And made everything a whole world better.
In the same vein, the episode of Glee that aired in the US two weeks ago (“Never Been Kissed”) really spoke to me. Kurt, “the gay kid” and easily the most nuanced character on the show anyway has long been the only gay in the village, albeit alongside his rag-tag group of friends and faithful fag-hag Mercedes. And God, that seemed lonely. This episode’s introduction of a fellow homo (not counting Brittany and Santana, obv.) was touching, terrific and a really long time coming. PLUS – new gay kid (also called Blaine, for those of you picky about names) sang Teenage Dream! Basically the song that reminds me of what it feels like to fall in love.
Of course, the real focus of this episode was a response to the gay bullying epidemic that’s been wreaking havoc on American teens. In truth, I’m not sure how well the episode dealt with that aspect – and if you haven’t seen the episode and don’t want SPOILERS, well, then, look away now. To summarize, Kurt’s being picked on something nasty by a football jerk, in a big, big way. Mr. Schuester is doing jack shit about this and none of the authority figures in the school appear to give a crap (seriously, Mr. Schuester’s solution is to assign “girl songs” to the guys and “boy songs” to the women. What a fucking waste of time). Kurt decides to go see New Direction’s latest bit of competition, which is where he meets his new gay BFF. Blaine ends up advising Kurt against running away to the rich boy’s private school because we shouldn’t run from our bullies, which leads to Kurt confronting Mr. Football, which leads to the discovery that the reason Meathead Jock is so all up in Kurt’s grill is because he may be pretty gay himself, which we figure out after Jockstrap shoves his tongue down Kurt’s throat. In the end of the episode, Kurt promises not to tell anyone about that kiss (no homo) and the douche continues to physically assault and harass him on a daily basis. The message here appears to be – things will get better, but until then, you’re going to be treated like shit. Really? Thanks a lot Glee.
Anyway, I like Blaine. I want to see what happens next. I’m assuming him and Kurt will get together, thereby continuing Glee’s tradition of pairing the most similar characters together as much as possible, but also letting us have a proper gay couple. Meh – it’s better than nothing, I guess. Have you seen the episode? What did you think of it?