Thursday, May 27, 2010

My Beef about the Recent Glee Episode

Okay so this MIGHT be breaking a few rules I've set out for myself concerning this blog and what I share on it. I'm not supposed to review media on this site. It's supposed to be about my life and what goes on in it, not other peoples lives (real or fictional).
BUT I have a great deal to say about a certain scene in last Tuesday's GLEE episode. I'll transcribe it for you first.

Kurt's father, Burt, and Finn's mother have been dating for some time and have finally decided to move in together, bringing their sons along with them. Kurt is gay, and has had a secret crush on Finn for months. Much to Finn's dislike, the rest of the "family" has decided to put the two boys together in the same room. Kurt has been working on designing a reasonable living space that could cater to both their tastes.

(Kurt and Finn walk down a flight of stairs into their new room.)
Kurt: (wearing a tux) I had to skip school to finish it but I think you're really going to like it.
(Kurt flips a light switch to reveal a room filled with gaudy furniture, lavish curtains, and mood candle lighting. Everything is red and gold. As Finn looks at the scene before him, his face falls. Kurt gives a sigh of pride)
Kurt: Consider it a peace offering after all the yelling we've been doing. I used Marlene Dietrich and Gary Cooper and Morocco as my inspiration. It's a perfect blend of the masculine and the feminine and the muted and the theatrical.
(As Kurt explains, Finn wanders around the room, dumbstruck. He finally finds words)
Finn: Are you freaking insane? I can't live here, I'm a dude. What the hell is that s'posed to be?
Kurt: It's a privacy partition... It's the only one I could find on such short notice. Why are you getting angry about everything? I worked hard on this.
Finn: That's not a privacy partition! Why is it so hard for you to understand? I don't wanna get dressed in front of you. You know that I put my underwear on in the shower before I come out when you're around? I just... I don't wanna have to worry about that kind of stuff in my own room, man...
Kurt: And what "stuff" are you referring to?--
Finn: (interrupting) You know. You know what I'm talking about. Don't play dumb. Why can't you just accept that I'm not like you?
Kurt: I have accepted that --
Finn: No, you haven't. You think I don't see the way you stare at me? How flirty you get? You think I don't know why you got so excited that we were gonna be moving in together?
Kurt: It's just a room, Finn! We can re-decorate it if you want to!
Finn: (losing his temper) Okay. Good. Well then, the first thing that needs to go is that FAGGY lamp! And then we need to get rid of this FAGGY couch blanket --
(Kurt's Father enters)
Kurt's Father: HEY! What did you just call him?
Finn: Oh, n-no I didn't call him anything I was just.. talking to the blanket --
Kurt's Father: But when used that word, you're talking about him.
Kurt: Relax, Dad, I didn't take it that way!
Kurt's Father: Yeah, that's because you're sixteen and you still assume the best in people. You live a few years, and you start seeing the hate in people's hearts. Even the best people. You use the n-word?
Finn: (quickly) Of course not!
Kurt's Father: Yeah, how about "retard"? You call that nice girl on the Cheerios with Kurt, you call her a retard?
Finn: I can't -- n-no, she's my friend, she's got... down syndrome! I'd never call her that, that's cruel --
Burt: But you think it's okay to come into my house, and say "faggy"?
Finn: B-but that's not what I meant! --
(Kurt begins to cry)
Burt: I KNOW what you meant! What, you think I didn't use that word when I was your age? You know, some... some kid gets clocked in practice, we tell him to "stop being such a fagg. Shake it off!" We meant it exactly the way you meant it. That being gay is wrong, that it's some kind of punishable offense. I really thought you were different, Finn. You know, I thought that being in Glee Club, and being raised by your mom... tha--that you were some "new generation" of dude who saw things differently, who just kinda came into the world knowing what has taken me years of struggling to figure out. I guess I was wrong. I'm sorry, Finn, but you can't... you can't stay here.
Kurt: Dad...
Burt: I love your mom, and maybe this is gonna cost me her. But my family comes first. I can't have that kind of poison around. (to Kurt) This is our home, Kurt. (to Finn) He is my son. Out in the world, you do what you want. Not under my roof.
(Finn exits, ashamed. Kurt and his father look at each other with tears in their eyes.)
Burt: The place looks great. (He then reaches out, puts his hand on Kurt's shoulder as he walks past him. Kurt touches his father's hand before Burt lets go and walks up the stairs after Finn.

(Later, in Glee Club, Kurt and Tina are in their GAGA outfits.)
Kurt: (to Tina) You look like you should be in orbit.
Tina: (repositioning the bubbles on her dress) My balls keep falling off.
Kurt: Yeah, I've been there. (looks menacingly over at Finn)
Finn: (whispering) I want to talk about this!
Kurt: (also whispering) There's not much to say. I feel sorry for you. I thought you were different.
Finn: I am different.

(The next day, Kurt is about to get beat up by some jock bullies...)
Kurt: (thrown against a wall, melodramatically) Fine. You wanna hit me? You wanna beat me up? Go ahead! But I swear to you, I will never change. I'm proud to be different. It's the best thing about me. So go ahead, hit me!
Bully 1: I believe I will. (to second bullky) Sir, would you like to go first?
(a voice comes from behind. It's Finn, dressed in a Lady Gaga-esque full gown.)
Finn: You're not hitting anyone.
Kurt: Oh my God...
Bully 1: Is he wearing a red rubber dress, or am I trippin?
Finn: I wanna thank you, Kurt. I realize I still have lot to learn, but the reason I'm here right now.. in a shower curtain.. is because of you. And I'm not gonna let anyone lay a hand on you.
Bully 2: Oh, really, dude? Cuz I'm pretty sure we can take both of you.
(the entire Glee Club shows up behing Finn, wearing their Gaga and Kiss outfits)
Puck: Yeah. But can you take ALL of us?
Bully 1: Okay.... okay, yeah, I get it. I took biology. You know what, Karowski? We done disturb the freak hive. The worker freaks is trying to protect the queen freak.
Bully 2: Next time, we'll bring some friends, too. (the bullies exit)
Rachel: I'm tired of everyone calling us freaks.
Mercedes: Well, look at us, we are freaks!
Finn: But we're all freaks together, and we shouldn't have to hide it.


There is something VERY wrong here.
COME ON! What kind of parents put their children together if one of them -- or even both! -- is attracted to the other? If Kurt were a girl, I'm sure they would NEVER be okay with having them live together. Even if Kurt DIDN'T have a "crush" on Finn, I'm sure Finn would definitely feel uncomfortable sharing a private space with someone who even views him and his body that way at all! I can't imagine how I would feel sharing a room with a lesbian. Being friends is one thing, but sharing a room crosses some comfort boundaries.
So where was the good parental judgement, here? What about Finn's mom? Wouldn't she be at all concerned for Finn's feelings on the issue? I am surprised they even allowed this living setup at all. Finn even tried to explain his feelings earlier in the episode, but both parents just threw it off!

Problem number two: Kurt has been inappropriately pushing Finn to change his lifestyle and ideals to fit his own. Kurt is a diva. He's misunderstood, yes, but not innocent. He has only really been thinking about his needs and desires (which is often how lust works). If Kurt truly cared about Finn, he would let Finn be himself, regardless of the losses Kurt would then suffer.
Furthermore, trying to manipulate their parents is the wrong way for Kurt to approach this issue. Obviously Finn and his mom have had a hard time, losing the man of their house. And then there's Kurt's own father! How much pain has he been through? It's not a game, Kurt! You're not dealing with just YOU anymore. Now you're involving others... your own family, even! Playing with these strong feelings is not only wrong, it can come back to bite you. Finn's anger and confusion at the situation Kurt intentionally threw on him would have to be difficult... so it's no surprise he lost his temper and said some things he shouldn't. Once again... is anyone thinking of poor Finn's feelings?? Kurt has also hurt his father. Burt loved Finn's mom. While it was Kurt's selfishness that brought them together, it was also Kurt's selfishness that may now tear them apart. I wonder if Kurt foresaw this at all. I believe he began to realize it when his father came downstairs.
So Kurt, back off. Quit tampering with others' lives. Quit focusing on yourself. Sometimes people who are different begin to feel this sense of entitlement which then leads them to hurt others. Kurt is a victim of this.

The main problem I see in this story is the lack of judgement shown by Kurt's Father. Granted, this is a very close topic for him. He has had threatening phone calls about his son's sexuality for some time, now, and he has promised to protect his son in any way he can.
BUT he still does not know the full issue. He is unaware of Kurt's feelings for Finn. Finn's uncomfort, the context of his anger, it's all so very important to understanding such an episode! Burt hardly let Finn talk! Instead of trying to understand, he just assumed he already understood and then proceeded to make Finn feel guilty. Poor, poor Finn. He has a legitimate problem, a legitimate concern, tries to be polite, tries to make it work. When he finds out it doesn't, he's forced to believe it is all his fault. I was VERY worried that Finn would decide to "come out" at the end of the episode -- all because he felt guilty. Now, I don't think that was what happened (thank goodness), but he had definitely made a change in his attitude. The change could be seen as a positive one, but it was made out of nothing but guilt. How many of us have been manipulated that way? I know I have -- even on this exact issue! People I talk to about gay rights always try to make me look like a "homophobe" who is intolerant and hateful. That is NOT TRUE. It is possible to love everyone, while still accepting that a person has made wrong decisions. There are some who ARE filled with hate: who say things like "fagg" without thinking, who DO think being gay is a punishable offense, but NOT EVERYONE. Most -- like me -- just see it as a difference in morals and are willing to move on. It's like the chicken and the egg. Some believe it's one way, others believe it's another. No one can prove the other is right, so why worry about it?
And this doesn't have to be a "gay" issue, either. Kurt's dad is a prime example of how people all the time assume that people are prejudiced when really the issue is somewhere completely different (You know what I mean. "It's cuz I'm black, isn't it?"). In this case, Finn wasn't really trying to combat Kurt's sexuality. I'm sure he was fine with Kurt being the way he was. He just didn't want to have to deal all of it at such an intimate level. Most people have to deal with that every day of their lives. This was Finn's own home, his own room, his own private life; he wanted to feel comfortable there. Being thrown in a room with a prima donna was not his cup of tea. It's like dealing with a bad roommate, or even an annoying sibling. Both Finn and Kurt's father understood that the issue WASN'T about the room: Finn recognized it was about the relationship, but Burt was too caught up in "morals" to see the real big picture -- the REAL relationship. It's not about being GAY. It's about simply being DIFFERENT from one another. I hate the color pink. My sister loves it. It's freaking annoying! And I have a right to say so!

Finn's not perfect either. It was very unwise to lose his temper on Kurt like that. He wasn't really thinking of Kurt's feelings, either. OBVIOUSLY calling Kurt's hard work "faggy" was NOT SMART and NOT NICE. Finn doesn't quite have a grip on words, yet, I think. He's still too much of a dunce to understand what is appropriate and what is not. But does he REALLY think being gay is wrong? Never before has Finn given us that impression! Kurt was very kind and understood this at first, ("I didn't take it that way!") but he didn't stay that way. Nope. He listened to his jaded father and joined him in putting Finn on the guilt trip ("I thought you were different!") without truly understanding Finn's feelings and beliefs. Pride strikes again.

I've said quite a bit, and not a lot of it made perfect sense, but my point is that this episode of Glee was a little bit one-sided in its reasoning. Obviously, what the producers wanted us to take away from this episode was that we should not judge people. Everyone's got baggage. Kurt and Burt both have to deal with the torments and prejudices that come with being different. Finn has to deal with living with the discomforts, confusions, and pressures of trying to find an identity. Not everyone's right, and not everyone is wrong. So we should not jump to any conclusions or make any judgements without seeing every side and taking the time to fully understand each other. I get it. But I think the show focused a little too much on how FINN needed to learn that lesson, while Kurt's family also needs to learn it.
Perchance we simply need to wait for another episode to shed some light from a different angle... I'm sure the story's not over yet.

That's all for now!
Thanks for reading.

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