Look, don’t get me started on the fact that the episode was called “I Kissed a Girl” and no girls actually kissed. (That cheek kiss was cute and all, but come the fuck on.)
What “Glee” can sometimes do well is peel back the skin of a significant social issue and expose the beating humanity underneath in a way that helps everyone understand it better and therefore fear it a little less. It’s how things change in the world, by realizing we’re really all not that different.
What “Glee” can sometimes do badly is take a significant social issue and simplify it down to a glib streak of superficial cheerleading and then preen itself wondering why it’s not being slapped on the back and handed cigars for the beautiful bundle of enlightenment it has just birthed unto the world. That’s how people self-congratulate themselves without changing a damn thing. ….
Iinstead of handling the fallout from this outing. Instead of delving into its ramifications. Instead of showing while, even if unintentional, it was wrong. Instead of all that, Finn is turned into some kind of gay awareness superstar and the episode becomes A Very Special Intervention Outing Glee. Never mind that last season, when Kurt was being seriously bullied by Karofsky and then discovered he was actually also gay, he took great and extraordinary pains not to out him. Never mind that Kurt did this because Karofsky wasn’t ready and it would be wrong to force someone who isn’t ready out of the closet. Never mind that as recently as last episode, Mr. Shue, Coach Sylvester and Kurt’s dad all seemed super concerned about how terrible it was that Santana was being outed.
Nope, instead there are absolutely, positively, unquestionably zero consequences for Finn outing Santana. Not a talking to from Kurt, his gay step brother. Not a lecture from Burt, his super gay friendly step-dad. Not a dirty look from Rachel, his has-two-gay-dads girlfriend. Nope, just a gold star for essentially blackmailing Santana to come out or risk suspension from school. Isn’t he a stand-up guy? Hey, kids at home, out your friends and be a hero. Everyone’s doing it! Yay! Outings! YAYYYYY! ….
The thing is, you can help your friends come out. You can support them. You can listen to them. You can encourage them. You can be there to dry their tears and squeeze their hand and find their strength. But that’s not outing. That’s not taunting someone with the possibility of the person she loves not loving her back. That’s not calling her a coward. That’s not what happened That’s not the kind of private, careful, meaningful support “Glee” showed. Not even close.
p.s. This would have been a wonderful place for, say, Brittany – you know, Santana’s girlfriend – to come in and privately encourage Santana. Brittany, who has been so supportive of Santana throughout her whole journey. Brittany who loves Santana more than anyone else in this world. But, no, that wouldn’t fit into the show’s pre-destined hero mold.
And, speaking of this “it’s for her own good” shit, what was with all the menfolk being the saviors for the womenfolk this episode? Oh, I get it. This is the “Glee” where the boys all saved the girls from themselves. Gee thanks, mister. What would those frail ladies with our crazy lady brains have done without the guidance of a Finn or a Puck last night? Poor closeted Santana and poor nutso Quinn might have gone on forever without being rescued. And if men weren’t saving women, women were sacrificing themselves for me. Like Rachel turning herself in for Kurt. And when women weren’t being saved by men, or sacrificing for men, they were fighting over the big lugs (i.e. world’s least likely two points on the bottom of a man-topped love triangle, Sue and Beiste). ….
Yes, I enjoyed the cheek kiss and thumbs up. And yes of course I enjoyed the big Brittana hug (though hello – NOW KISS). And, hell, I’ll even rewatch that ballot smooch. But, no, I do not have to accept that an episode titled” I Kissed a Girl” featured exactly zero girls actually kissing each other. And, no, I do not have to accept that an episode about coming to terms with one’s sexuality was really about the benefits of outing. And, oh hell no, I do not have to accept that in an episode that should have been all about women, men were its central heroes.
Also, I will never forgive Finn Hudson for ruining Cyndi Lauper for me. Or, as Santana put it so eloquently: “Thank you, guys. Thank you Finn, especially. You know, with all the horrible crap I’ve been through in my life, now I get to add that.”
Oh, Santana, honey. We’re right there with you.
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