Alright, so I'm still a big Glee fan even though this season it's been mostly a big ole' hot mess of a show.
This week, however, the episode was refreshingly... good!
The episode's theme was on bullying, a recurrent theme through both seasons, as all members of the Glee Club are frequently harassed by their meathead classmates. However Kurt (Chris Colfer), the only out-gay at school, faces most of this harassment.
And this episode is noteworthy plot wise for a number of reasons:
1. Kurt finally meets another out-gay guy! (Darren Criss EEEEEEEEEEEE!) When he "spies" on their competition, an all-boys' school a'cappella group, he meets (dreamy) Blaine, who is both an inspiration to Kurt because he encourages him to stick up for himself, and a breath of fresh air... as he's the first out-gay teenager Kurt has ever met.
2. Kurt really sticks up for himself. I love the Bust Magazine blog post about this episode,
As I watched the episode, it was impossible not to be reminded of the recent gay teen suicides, and I felt it was a responsible decision by the show's creators to directly address the issue of gay bullying in high schools in a TV show that is increasingly popular among teenagers.
Television shows tend to have a hard time tackling social issues without coming across as PSAs or like... 7th Heaven. However, I think Glee has done a good job in a few episodes, especially this one, of making gay characters visible and making it clear that harassment of gay people exists, it is a problem, and that it is not enough to just feel bad for someone who is a victim of such abuse (loved Kurt's response to Mr. Schu trying to be "helpful"). I mean, was anyone else frustrated when Disney made High School musical's obviously gay character, Ryan (Lucas Grabeel), ... straight in the 2nd movie?? What kind of a message is that sending to the kids who watch it!? Like, yes, you can be flamboyant and wear pink and like musicals... as long as you have a girlfriend?
3. As noted in the Bust post,
I was also relieved to finally see a mainstream television show approaching the topic of the unattractive- by conventional standards, anyway- female teacher who gets picked on by adolescent boys but is not, under social norms, allowed to be publicly upset about it.
I was sort of ambivalent about the portrayal of Coach Beiste, mostly because I thought the writing got lazy toward the end and Mr. Schu's (who in my opinion, tends to ruin everything) weird speech/pity kiss I was just not okay with. I am glad that they expressly addressed the issue of women who don't fit the conventional-pretty norm wanting to be liked, but I think the resolution of that plot line was done sloppily.
4. Kurt's #1 bully turns out to be a closet-case. While not all anti-gay bulliers are repressed homosexuals (a lot of them are just plain ignorant), I thought this was an interesting thing to put on television. While Kurt is perceived as gay and treated as such, there are people who are better at hiding their sexuality and more afraid of what they have to lose potentially by revealing it. This reminded me of Degrassi's current not-out-jock, Riley, who struggles with his sexuality and what he feels he should portray to other people, as well as the main bully from Whatever Happened to Lani Garver (sorry, I don't remember the character's name), who harasses Lani for his ambiguous sexuality and gender, but is frustrated with his own sexuality. While there are few portrayals of out-teens on television, there are fewer portrayals of not-out teens. One of the messages of this show was that Kurt's bully, shouldn't be liked as he is a bully, but the viewers should empathize for him because clearly he is unhappy and scared.
Overall, I thought this was a great episode, I'm hoping for more BLAINE, and I am looking forward to Gwyneth Paltrow's spot next week!
On another Glee related topic, I've been thinking about posting about this, but FF's video about the GQ photo shoot scandal is really on point.