I Kissed a Girl: Nobody’s “F*cking Perfect”

I’ve been trying to gather my thoughts on “I Kissed a Girl”, because there have been so many people with so many feelings, and on one level or another, I agree with everyone.

If you’ve been reading for any length of time here, you know that I see Finn as the well-intentioned but ultimately fail-ally. These people exist in all our lives, and yeah, we still love them (for a while anyway). They’re our family members and friends and even partners sometimes. Finn seems to truly want to help, but doesn’t know how, and he struggles with a lot of his own insecurities that make being an ally so much harder. So yeah, the way he went about “helping” Santana in this episode was oh, so wrong, and misguided, but in many ways, he was right.

Santana didn’t have a choice when it came to coming out (and yeah, that’s Finn’s fault, but her consequence). She was being outed. Finn wanted a chance to build her up before the world had a chance to drag her down. Even if he wanted to (and I’m sure he did) he couldn’t un-out her. What he could do is try and be a friend, which he did.

Narratively, I found it clumsy, and I have to wonder, as I often do, how intentional the clumsy and cheap feel of Finn and Santana’s narrative was. Because, yeah, the It Gets Better suicide reference felt cheap and too easy, and maybe it is cheap and too easy for a straight, white, cis guy to talk about. And him singing Girls Just Wanna Have Fun felt cheap and silly and like overly emotionally maniuplative pablum. And maybe it is, but Santana’s a baby gay. Maybe that’s what she needed.

The first person who came out to me was a very close friend. He and I shared a lot of similar dreams and values. We remained close after he came out, but I was a bit of a dick (love the sinner, etc). And I was older than Finn (but less aware, because I didn’t have a queer step-brother, or any of the general awareness teens have now) at the time. He didn’t seem to mind though, and I was able to support him through something I didn’t understand and we were happy enough. I ultimately became more aware because suddenly, it was me too. Would I have learned otherwise? Unknown.

When I first came out, I had a friend who I knew, deep down, disagreed with gay rights. But we were friends, and honestly? She was there for me when I needed her and, for a while it worked. Years later, I cried when she turned down an invitation to my wedding, and gave her reasons that I’d always known. She is no longer a part of my life, but at the time, her acceptance meant the world to me.

Some fail-allies grow, and some don’t. We don’t know which way Finn will go yet, although I’m pretty sure it has to go the way we hope it will.

I found it jarring how negatively Santana responded to the two actual gay people sharing their story (“F*cking Perfect was a real It Gets Better/let’s all share our coming out stories shoutout) but yeah, maybe that makes sense too. Because Santana is nowhere near ready to see that far into her future. What she sees right now is the beginning of Kurt’s gay story, and that part is awful. When she looks at Kurt she sees slushies and Prom Queen and easy jokes that everyone laughs at and hurt. Sure it gets better — but it doesn’t start better.

Santana didn’t hear perfect; she heard mistreated, misplaced, misunderstood.

And to answer a question posed to me a few minutes ago: Glee, either intentionally or otherwise, makes a really interesting point about the It Gets Better Project and the like. And it’s one that has been on the margins of the whole thing as long as it’s existed — that it getting better isn’t really enough. There are things that matter more right now. Like our friends — imperfect friends, as they are and we are  — just accepting us and making an effort. Coming through even if they don’t have a clue (we don’t have a clue either when we’re coming out, usually).

The panicked 14 year old doesn’t need to watch 35 year old me talking about being happily married, he needs someone in his life right now who will stand up for him no matter what. And Santana just needed a friend. Finn was there, even if he was there in awkward and flailing ways.

These are not my last words on this episode, just the last for tonight.

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8 thoughts on “I Kissed a Girl: Nobody’s “F*cking Perfect”

  1. Oh this is lovely.

    I didn’t find the mention of suicide cheap. It seemed to snap the previous minutes of the episode of me, where nothing was making sense. Oh, *that* is Finn’s motivation. He doesn’t understand, not at all, but he also doesn’t want Santana to die. Oh. Oh. And I gotta say….Girls Just Wanna Have Fun, sung that way, as a please-don’t-kill-yourself song and a song about a world where Santana can’t just have fun? All kinds of perfectly painful.

    It’s still….not Santana’s narrative, not really (not ’til the end.) But it is very honest and true to and consistent with, I think, to the characters and the setting and the kinds of stories Glee does tell.

    I am fascinated by what you say about Santana, and Perfect, and IGB (and I do want to still talk more about that last.) I think you’ve hit on something here. Previously, my only thoughts on Perfect were, she starts to get into it, and then they rap, and lol nope. I love her face at that moment.

    But yeah. Santana’s triumph, should she get one, is going to take just as long as Kurt’s did, earned just as painfully, in a series of moments that aren’t going to fit into one Very Special Episode. She’s still just starting out.

    I’m excited for next week! (This is my default state.)

  2. I’m having this moment of weirdness where I am thinking that IGB was great on the “You’re not alone” front but not so good on the “cos you’re here with me” front, and yeah. And that’s where Finn wins out, because he may not be part of what Santana is going through, but he really wants to be there with her, and that’s what matters.

    Yes, I’m making a random comment on my own post. Cos it’s my blog, and I can.

  3. “The panicked 14 year old doesn’t need to watch 35 year old me talking about being happily married, he needs someone in his life right now who will stand up for him no matter what. And Santana just needed a friend. Finn was there, even if he was there in awkward and flailing ways.”

    I don’t have anything else to add except to say that I love the paragraph above a RIDICULOUS amount.

  4. I thought it was fairly realistic for Santana to react negatively to Kurt and Blaine. She’s pretty much being blackmailed into sitting in a room full of people discussing her sexuality. Sure, they’re doing so in a supportive way, but it makes sense to me that she would lash out at the first person available. I probably would.

    I agree that Finn probably had the right intentions, but I still think it’s unfair to Santana to first take away her choice in whether to be out or not and then take away her choice in how to deal with that. I felt like Santana didn’t get to make any decisions at all and that bothered me.

  5. Can I just say, I think this analysis is spot-on?

    I managed to pull off a rewatch the other day, and all of Finn and Santana’s lines, Finn’s stated goals, Santana’s eventual conclusion, and the structure and narrative of the episode revolve around this one point: this sucks, this sucks in every way imaginable, but we keep marching on and Santana knows she has a support system, now.

    Which has always been one of Glee’s themes.

    And I really, really enjoy how the attempts to make things smooth and easy and flippant and triumphant or even just okay ultimately, narratively, fail. Perfect? Santana laughs. Coming out to her parents is so easy we don’t even see it, but that doesn’t make her Abuelita change her mind. Things *aren’t* easy, and Santana really can’t control them. She can just keep marching brave, and there are ten people who love her just for being her.

    I…..

    I need that story every bit as much as I need Kurt’s.

    Kurt is what-could-be. Santana is how-to-survive-now.

  6. Are there well-meaning fail-allies out there? Absolutely. Here’s the thing that keeps me from dismissing this episode with “Well, at least he tried”: I really don’t think Finn was *supposed* to look like a fail-ally. I think he was supposed to look like a hero. The only one to suggest that Finn’s actions might not be the ideal way to treat a closeted acquaintance was Santana, and she later changed her mind and *thanked* him. Glee is a pedantic show; nearly every episode has a clear “Do this” or “Don’t do that” message. I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that this episode’s message was, “Force your queer friends out of the closet, because if they’re not out, they just don’t know what’s best for themselves yet.” The fact that it’s a straight white man forcing a lesbian Latina out makes it worse.

    Well-meaning fail-allies might ask their queer friends ignorant questions. They do not out their friends as petty revenge, call them cowards for not doing it themselves, and then demand that they publicly acknowledge their sexualities.

    Second, I really, REALLY don’t buy the “Everyone already knew!” excuse. It took Artie weeks to figure out that Brittany and Santana were involved *after* “Landslide” and Santana’s declaration of love. Sam never figured it out. Karofsky was shocked when Santana came out to him. Kurt never expressed suspicion that Santana’s faux-relationship had a motive other than prom goals. Brittany, the show’s repeated voice of reason, stated outright at the prom that people didn’t know what Santana was hiding. When Finn outed her in the hallway, people did double takes, and the student who tipped off the Senate hopeful clearly hadn’t had a clue. (Sue stated outright that the tip-off happened *because* the student heard what Finn said.)

    And, my god, what about Rory? He definitely didn’t know about Santana, not to mention that Finn also revealed to Rory that he’s *living* with a queer lady. Brittany may be openly bi to most her friends, but even after she started considering Santana her official girlfriend, she only referred to her as “a friend” when speaking to Rory. We have no reason to believe that Rory is pro-gay, he sneered at the women during “I Kissed a Girl,” and he saw nothing wrong with tricking Brittany into sleeping with him or going through her room. What if Finn just outed Brittany to a jealous homophobe who sleeps in the same house as her?

  7. Respectfully, disagreeing with you on a few points.
    -I don’t know that Finn’s outing of Santana was petty revenge, as much as heat of the moment. Sans passion it was petty revenge, but there was a lot of cornered of emotion from Finn. And I see it as fucked up attempt to “make it better”. I also think, and remember this is Finn we are talking about, his brain went from “Oh fuck, I outed my friend, now people are going to be mean to her, and she WILL DIE! MUST.MAKE.BETTER.” (This is the boy who cheats off a girl who thinks the “square root of four is rainbows”, dried his shoes on a Forman Grill, and then prayed to a grilled cheese sandwich.) Like Conrad Birdie he is sincere, but not always the most thoughtful or clearheaded kid.
    -I don’t see Glee as nearly as didactic as you do. In fact, I see it as a group of pretty horrible people having huge moments of fail, followed by amazing flashes of grace, and somehow things working out, in spite of (and sometimes because of) everyone doing their best to fuck things up.
    -I don’t think Rory was sneering, I saw it as leering. Considering he is a teenage boy, kind of a given. Hell, when I was a teenage girl if there had been pretty girls singing about kissing each other…

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