Glee, you are on notice. You have been since the beginning.
I adore you; an ex-theatre geek, I love all shows, movies, anything that deals with high school performers. I will even see the new Fame movie, even though nothing could ever touch the original, Montgomery in his window sill, Coco doing porn. And you are beautifully startling in your brashness. But I’m watching you. This week”s episode, well, talk about glee. Glee club gay kid, Kurt, joins the football team, football team learns to dance. Kurt comes out to his dad after winning the game (so dad will be proud), and dad replies, in essence, “Yeah, I’ve known since you were three, I love you, thank you for actually telling me.” When have we ever seen a coming-out-to-parents story like that, particularly on FOX? So I’m internally cheering, and maybe even coming up with a little tear.
Glee has also dealt with a few serious LGBTQ moments: a fag-hag-lite scenario, stuffing the gay kid in the dumpster (not to mention stuffing the kid who uses a wheelchair in a Port-a-Potty), a character with two dads, and suchlike. And it’s what, the fourth episode? Great. Please continue. Make me want to watch you, again, and again, like the movie you so freely crib from, the near-note-perfect Bring It On.
But where do you go from here? Will you go deeper into realistic sexuality? Will you give Kurt a boyfriend? Will you explore the secret relationships we all know happen in high school? Or will you back down and fall prey to the stereotypes you do perpetuate?
The pregnant cheerleader. The butch cheerleading coach. The jock who just wants to sing (American Pie, anyone?). The whacked-out lying wife. The OCD guidance counselor. The gay kid’s gruff dad. The diva. Good lord, the diva.
I know they can be more than what they seem. But it’s up to you, Glee, to make it so.
Any show about performing is also about sex. They’re interwoven because of their shared endorphin rush, their shared passion, their shared physicality (which is why so many co-stars “fall in love”). I call on you, Glee, to make all this real for the television audience. Don’t give me tropes. I want the truth.