Holly Holiday: “self-obsessed sex kitten with little regard for the kids”

And yet the sleazy substitute teacher walked away with the prize for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series. You know what that teaches us America?

The nice girls — and outcasts — finish last.

Not the most Glee-ful storyline, is it? It’s a show that makes a point to celebrate the underdog story, which is why we Gleeks love it so much. Then along comes Gwynie, the woman American parents love to hate. The creators were smart enough to play off Paltrow’s strengths; I’ll give them that. They made the Goop-y Gwyn into a smug self-obsessed sex kitten with little regard for the kids.

via Gwyneth Paltrow’s Emmy for ‘Glee’ Is an Insult to Fans | The Stir.

Not entirely sure this post makes much sense (the character didn’t win; Gwyneth Paltrow did), but I share the author’s distaste for the character of Holly Holiday and love her description. I mean, most of the teachers at WMHS have little regard for the kids. Sure Will just sits there are nods when Kurt tells him he doesn’t do anything to counteract the homophobia he experiences on a day to day basis. He accuses Kurt of being petty because he is more comfortable with the girls (who don’t put him in dumpsters and never did).

But Holly Holiday was a special kind of crap teacher, because the narrative celebrated her like she was the Virgin Mary, except cool and sexy. Because the way to teach kids about sex ed is to get all sexy in their faces. (I think Holly would have been the right teacher to end up crossing the line with a student, and that might have saved her pointless ass).  The sex ed teachers I had did not have to titillate us to teach us.

Anyway, enough ranting about Holly Holiday, who we will hopefully never meet again. Ever.

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4 thoughts on “Holly Holiday: “self-obsessed sex kitten with little regard for the kids”

  1. I think… Ok, I have feelings about Holly Holliday, and the Sexy episode as a whole, which I have had many a discussion about over the past little while, and I know they differ fairly a lot from yours XD

    Basically Holly… She definitely had some very *not* good views on sex vs. abstinence–but then so did Emma, and the point was that they were both using their forms of sex-ed as a way to justify their own life choices.* And the awesome thing about Sexy as an episode is that they’re the only two characters who are made fun of or become caricature-ish as a result of their forms of sex-ed. Neither is exactly condoned by the narrative (especially seeing as adults in Glee are rarely ever condoned or Get It Right).

    None of the *kids* are made fun of, and the final scene, which is the only scene in which the celibacy club is taken seriously, neither teacher is present and the kids decide that, hey, they matter, and they can choose what they want, and it becomes a “We Matter” club, which was pretty much the point the episode was trying to make the whole time.

    So basically the episode didn’t condone Holly OR Emma’s actions, it condoned the kids making their own choice and realising that they matter.

    And this is where Holly comes in, because, despite her warped messages on sex and sex-ed and abstinence, she’s the one (aside from Burt) in the episode that actually teaches the kids that they matter, if indirectly. Telling Puck and Lauren that making a sex tape is illegal because they’re underage? “Hey, Puck and Lauren, you MATTER”. Discussing Brittana’s sexuality seriously with them and treating them as if they’re actually clever enough to *make* the decision (something Will never does) and helping them sing Landslide? Another way of telling them that they MATTER.

    I will never say Holly had the best teaching methods, because she didn’t. But that was also never really the point of the ep, because the final message (which is delivered by Rachel, Speaker of All the Truth Ever) comes from the kids, and is actually really positive about sex.

    (But then also every adult kind of seems awesome when you compare them to Schue, no matter how fail they are, which is possibly why Holly comes off as kind of glorified.)

    So yeah, those are my Feelings. Yay for debates! 😀

    *Not that they had absolutely no good points AT ALL about sex, because they both occasionally did, but they were warped and over-exaggerated and, like I said, used as a justification for themselves.

  2. I’ve got to agree with Green–I didn’t think the narrative celebrated her. Or it did, but only as much as it criticized her. She’s sexy and fun, yeah, but she also flees from anything that isn’t sexy and fun. All of her storylines, from the first to the last, were about how she’s immature and flighty, and cares more about being liked and having fun than she does actually teaching or forging long-standing relationships. The kids felt like she was approachable because she also acted like a kid, which was helpful in some circumstances (like when she provided Brittany and Santana with a safe space to discuss their feelings), but she didn’t have the commitment to provide them with any sort of stability or follow-through. She’s fun in small doses, but impossible to deal with on a long-term basis, partially because she doesn’t want to deal with anything on a long-term basis.

    I also don’t think the show was trying to say that the way to teach kids about sex is to sing a sexy song, any more than they were trying to say that the way to teach kids about sex is to sing a song (you think is) about abstinence. Both songs were ineffective (and didn’t actually teach kids that you can’t get AIDS from cucumbers). What was effective were the discussions people had, because they were dialogs instead of just propaganda.

  3. I don’t think the characters liking her has a lot to do with whether the show approves of her or not. Rachel isn’t well-liked–Finn, Kurt, and Mercedes are really her only friends. It would be pretty hard to argue that the show doesn’t celebrate Rachel, even though she’s largely disliked by the other characters. Finn tries really hard to be liked, but sometimes that results in other people being hurt, like when he allows Rachel to think they’re dating in S1 because he doesn’t want to hurt her feelings. Holly was well-liked because she cared more about being liked than about teaching or really connecting with people.

    People like her, but only in a shallow way, because she doesn’t let them in enough to allow them to actually know her. She puts on a show, the same way she does in her classes, by giving everyone what they want, even if it’s not necessarily what they need. The entire point of The Substitute was that, while Holly is fun, she couldn’t provide the kids with support and stability because she’s too immature and flighty to get invested in them. She pops into their lives for a little while, and then she leaves before she has to deal with the consequences, like when she let Mercedes take the fall for ruining Sue’s car. Her character grew a little bit when she stuck around for more than one episode, but then she ended up playing out the same pattern, only this time with Will instead of the kids.

    I mean, Sexy doesn’t end with Holly staying exactly the same because she’s perfect just the way she is. It ends up with her deciding that instead of day-long relationships and consequence-free sex, she wants to try a relationship with emotional resonance. “Teaching Santana and Brittany how to get their Stevie Nicks made me realize how closed-off I’ve been. I’m getting older, too. Maybe I should try a relationship that lasts longer than thirty-sex hours … I know a lot about sex, Will, but maybe it’s time I learned a little something about romance.” Like Green said above, the show criticizes her point of view, and her methods, at least as much as it does Emma’s.

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