Glee Boys to the Rescue: 5 things “Glee” could learn

3. Girls don’t need boys to rescue them! If a dude needs to come out as a gay dude on Glee, he comes out. If a girl needs to come out as a gay girl on Glee, a boy does that for her. If a dude needs to be an awesome single parent on Glee, he is an awesome single parent. If a woman needs to be an awesome single parent on Glee, she cries on the floor over un-assembled baby furniture until a high school boy can come over and fix it for her. But on Pretty Little Liars, when a lady needs something, she does it herself. Needs money? She robs a bank. Needs to get into college? She does a little admissions fraud. Needs to dress like a character from The Great Gatsby Goes to Mars? She sews those clothes herself. Morally dubious? Maybe. But righteously independent!

via 5 things “Glee” could learn from “Pretty Little Liars” | TV Show Recaps, Celebrity Interviews & News About & For Gay, Lesbian & Bisexual Women |

So AfterEllen goes a bit apeshit on the Glee writers. This is just one criticism. I haven’t watched Pretty Little Liars, although it sounds interesting, because all the promo shots are of women who look like what I deal with daily, and er, no thanks.


6 thoughts on “Glee Boys to the Rescue: 5 things “Glee” could learn

  1. I…..

    I think the ladies of Glee do pretty well for themselves, actually. Especially this season. Trouble Tones, anyone?

    PLL is a really disgustingly ableist show. I couldn’t ever get into it.

    (And Puck couldn’t fix the crib either, oops. And IKAG is a million times more complicated than “Finn helps Santana come out” and it really, really bothers me that people complain about her agency being taken away and then procede to do exactly that.)

  2. ‘ Needs to dress like a character from The Great Gatsby Goes to Mars? She sews those clothes herself’ first of all Heather Hogan may just rival this blog as the best person writing about television currently. I’m quite over a majority of the male cast -Finn, Sam, Artie makes me want to throw things. I think they’re trying to be the strong guys but really they’re losers. Glee has some pretty bad ass chicks which are often overlooked-they really celebrated that in Silly Love songs. However the girls are often not held the responsible for the things they do- I mean Mercedes acts like Queen Cunt and her reward is to be welcomed back into new directions with open arms and get a hot love interest.

  3. People who operate outside the narrative (that is, real people) cannot take agency away from Santana, because she is a fictional character who, in the world that real people operate in, does not make her own choices–real people, the writers, make them for her. Questioning the choices that a fictional character makes (that are made for her by writers) and analyzing the thematic messages created by those choices is how literary criticism operates, including the question of who has agency (or not) within a narrative.

  4. Criticism which relies on an interpretation which denies a character agency she canonically has is problematic and, in this situation, ironic. I hope the translation helped.

  5. That wasn’t a translation so much as a new statement that expressed different ideas than the original, but yes, I understand what you’re saying: that an interpretation which denies *that* a character has agency within a narrative when she “canonically does” is problematic. However, we’re going to have to agree to disagree both on the question of how much agency Santana actually had within the narrative (narratology dictionary definition of an agent: “a character who acts and influences the course of events…whereas patients are affected by certain processes, agents initiate these processes and more specifically, influence the patient, modify their situation (improving or worsening it), or maintain it (for the good or the bad)”), but also how much character agency needs to be taken into account when a critic is analyzing why a *writer* made narrative choices for the character.

  6. While on one hand, yes this is an unpleasant problem in Glee, this is back to what is Glee:

    – Better than real life?
    – Worse than real life?
    – The same as real life?

    Because that question matters if you’re going to take issue with this bit of writing. How are boys and girls in Lima, OH socialized? Why should we expected Finn to be different? Or Santana, who would rather be called a whore than a lesbian, for a huge swathe of the narrative?

    Because Glee is optimistic in so many ways, I think viewers keep expecting it not to be ugly. But it’s all about the ugly. That’s why the optimism matters.

Leave a Comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s