First post by new contributor Gus.
While we were still swooning over Blaine and Kurt’s first kiss or as twitter colloquially calls it the ‘kliss’ the pair opened Regionals with the duet that initiated the epically romantic moment, Candles by Hey Monday. The performance served to highlight not only their vocal chemistry but their growing attraction. Yet it was a ‘break up’ song; Glee has a long history of radically reinterpreting songs but this left the audience perplexed, even Chris Colfer expressed his confusion as to why this song was specifically chosen at the moment they got together. After a lot of thought I have concluded that it was a stroke of utter creative genius on behalf of the writers. They frequently use the competition episodes to make some sort of comment on the central relationships.
Klaine is arguably one of the healthiest and stable couples on the show, with the exception of Mike and Tina (I may dedicate another post to them), they’ve had their share of dramas but they’ve always come out of it stronger and more devoted to each other. All the other couples are shrouded in jealousy, deception or manipulation. Let’s mirror them to the show’s other power couple Rachel and Finn; effectively achieved than in episode 3.05 The First Time. Their relationship has constantly been about public displays; on two occasions they’ve sung a love duet in front of a competition audience, climaxing in a spontaneous kiss at Nationals. Their duets are generally agreed by the glee club to be their ‘best shot at winning’ and Finn called their climactic kiss ‘the superman of kisses’. From an audience perspective it does make sense that these two sing together, because they appreciate the suggestion that the two are in fact together. They’re two attractive kids, they have a reasonable amount of stage chemistry and because Rachel never attempts to upstage him they’re evenly matched. Rachel and Kurt on the other hand who have stunning chemistry would never be invited to perform together because, as has been extensively discussed he’s clearly gay (not Rock Hudson gay). Frankly I would love to see those two enter the auditorium doors and stroll down the aisle singing about their friendship. Neither would a misfit couple such as Santana or Artie, there’s a clear imbalance in the ‘natural’ order of things which Will Schuster has always particularly enforced. Even when he decided to shake things up he chose Quinn and Sam, the groups other ‘popular’ couple, Artie and Mercedes have proved time and time again that they’ve got the pipes and stage appeal to put on a great show. The reason-they don’t have the kind of chemistry that an audience values above all others-young love.
Yet Rachel and Finn broke the cardinal rule, they turned a very personal moment into public domain, they went too far taking the audience out of their comfort zone so they could no longer toy with the notion that was neither confirmed nor denied (the writers explore this notion so well and have several times). Their enjoyment is rooted in the ‘performance’. On a larger extent it’s the same with same sex displays of affection. Kurt and Blaine’s big moment was by comparison in the empty common room, then later on in Blaine’s bed room and finally in an example of perfect mis en scene; on a dark stage in front of rows and rows of empty chairs.
Back to Candles; it ties in brilliantly with the representation of both the characters and their future development. For example Blaine chose the song before he made his move; he previously stated that he was ‘not very good at romance’ so by choosing a song about getting over his lover he was preparing himself for a possible rejection. This was a wise move on his part because we have to remember the last time he made a declaration in a specifically romantic form (on Valentine’s Day no less) it backfired spectacularly. Even after they kissed, his insecurity hit him hard and he immediately said they should practice said song. In performance it became an echo for the utter mess Finn and Rachel had made of their relationship and to a lesser extent Puck and Quinn, all are far too preoccupied with how things ‘should’ be they tear themselves apart. Finn and Rachel share a look, Quinn marks her territory by taking his hand and we get a glimpse of Puck sobbing alone (on another note, how fantastic was that little touch?)
I think the reason for the success of Kurt and Blaine’s relationship from this point is the mature and honest way in which these two young men have handled it. They began it by addressing that they could very well break up and their first public display of attraction was in a number about losing it. They didn’t jinx it by singing about ‘love’. It’s this honesty that has been synonymous with their stability. It’s been entirely their own and they’ve handled it on their own terms without paying any attention to the ways society dictates a certain type of relationship. There have been countless examples of how realistic they are; they may be on a stage but the lights are off and it’s devoid of scenery. You’ll note that the two very seldom sing about their relationship, they prefer an intimate discussion, even Perfect (I kissed a girl) which is clearly stated to be ‘their’ song is directed at Santana, we don’t even get a little detour to them rocking out in the car on the way home from school. So for all the talk about how this show is unfocused and lacks continuity that’s life and it’s relationships especially with the young. Sometimes it doesn’t make sense and all you need to do is dig a little deeper to find the true meaning.