Michael

A while back I wrote a post on another website asserting that Glee was speaking about the weaknesses of the It Gets Better message. Everyone thought I was nuts. To them, I say:

And don’t give me any of that It Gets Better crap because I don’t want it to get better; I want it to be better. Like, right now. I want to hurt them the way they hurt us. No, worse. I want them to feel my pain, because frankly that’s all I have left to give.

Amen, Artie. (wow… never thought I’d say that.)

And this scene was good. Because it was the New Directions against the “Old School” = establishment. And they know more than they want to that there is no winning by playing the old game with the old boys. Will wants them to trust the system to sort things out. The glee kids know better.

Racheline has explained better than I could have what it is that made me so completely uncomfortable about this episode.

From there, we witness the strongly implied violence of “Smooth Criminal” in which both Santana and Sebastian are using sexuality in their duel, but in which only one of them, Sebastian, is able to successfully imply the perpetration of acts of sexual violence through that performance.

I didn’t enjoy the episode — watching it the second time was annoying. There were moments — Smooth Criminal, Twink!, Trent Warbler being sassy, Burt — but they were just moments. The episode overall unnerved me, and while I usually enjoy a good unnerving (oo, er) I’m either too tired or this just went too far.

In general, I don’t think they pulled off the musical numbers with the possible exceptions of Human Nature and Smooth Criminal. I thought Artie being out of his chair again was … lazy? maybe. Like he couldn’t be powerful and angry in his chair.

And let’s talk about Quinn and Rachel? Why on earth would Rachel go to Quinn? Why not Kurt? Why not anyone else? Quinn still has something covering a photo of Rachel’s face in her locker. Quinn who has only just managed the appearance of someone with her shit together. Quinn who most certainly has not got her shit together yet. Quinn who believes her status-centric relationships with boys were “love”.

But Quinn is right about one thing: Finn is an anchor. Worse yet, that’s what he wants to be. He wants to bring a piece of their Lima, Ohio hell with them to New York City. He wants the past where he was powerful and popular and privileged to live on for Rachel. Nobody else in glee wants what’s happening right now to last forever. Just Finn, because it worked for him.

And as for Finchel — as someone who was briefly engaged before prom night — I don’t think the engagement will last long. Will Rachel be like young me? Will she see the ring (that she must be hiding from everyone) and feel nauseous? Or will she go tell her fathers and get some much-needed perspective from them? Either way, I don’t see wedding bells before the freshman 15.

I love the anxiety about the future that is suffocating everything right now. Because whatever they think the anxiety is, it’s mostly that the future isn’t here yet.

Oh, and this is fun. Blaine’s room.

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10 thoughts on “Michael

  1. WORD about Artie’s line being powerful, the out-of-chair crap being lazy, and Finn knowingly confining Rachel. Actually, both Rachel and Finn irritated me deeply this episode. Finn’s passive-aggression? (“Make up your mind! Okay, you don’t have to yet, but let’s sing this song about how I’ll love you forever!”) Rachel’s shittiness as a friend? (“My best friend’s dream came true. I’m not going to congratulate him, just cry and change the subject to my own future.”)

    Quinn, though, I loved this episode. She was once my favorite character, likely because I relate to the experience of growing up in an oppressive religious environment that expects girls to be subservient, pure, and unambitious (but still straight-A students, natch). It was so gratifying to see her feeling strong and confident again. I was nearly sure, prior to this episode, that the writers were leading up to a Quinn/Puck reconciliation, and that if they weren’t, it would come off as yet another punishment to Quinn. (Racheline’s post, which is amazing, hits the nail on the head about the show’s punishing her.) Now, an independent Quinn would come off as a refreshing alternative to coupled happily-ever-afters.

    Off-topic: Mike wears eyeliner really really well!

  2. My problem was with the whole “high road” response to Sebastian. I respected that the characters considered revenge, since having those thoughts and feelings is a human response, and I enjoyed watching them discuss it and realize that “eye-for-an-eye” tactics were below them. However, taking the high road in such a situation does not necessarily mean refusing to report an assault.

    The only lesson Sebastian learned from all this is that, like always, he will continue to get away with his violent and despicable and narcissistic actions–no matter what happens or who gets hurt. In my opinion, this a situation when legal consequences would have been much more likely to prevent Sebastian from continuing this pattern of behavior. Getting some mild-to-moderate dirty looks from his teammates while they sing a song at him? Not so much.

  3. Yeah, that bothered me a lot. Both in the context of what actually happened (the slushy assault) and what was being spoken of in terms of violence and gender. But then, we’ve all had that conversation, haven’t we? Is there any point in reporting it? Will they believe us? Will this just make it worse?

    The ND kids seem to have decided that Lima is actually the Wild West. Handle stuff on your own, because nobody is going to help. And they might be right.

  4. If the decision not to come forward with the tape had been about how it probably wouldn’t be admissible in court anyway, I’d agree with you, but everybody seemed pretty convinced that since they had proof, they could get Sebastian expelled or sent to juvie or both. Artie’s initial response, before Santana taped Sebastian’s confession, certainly dealt with the issues you bring up, but the ultimate conclusion was all about being above petty revenge, as though justice and revenge are the same thing. They actually placed a moral value on not reporting a violent crime, which is pretty chilling.

    “Hold On To Sixteen” had a similar problem where Quinn turning Shelby in for sleeping with a student was framed as wrong because she was doing it for revenge, even though sleeping with a student is still a serious breach of ethics that should result in said teacher losing her job, regardless of the reason why the student is reporting it.

  5. “They actually placed a moral value on not reporting a violent crime, which is pretty chilling.”

    My thoughts exactly. I knew the tape wasn’t the magic solution they thought it would be, and I can absolutely sympathize with their mistrust for the system or potential fear of becoming targets afterward, but none of those things were the reason they didn’t come forward with their information. I found their actual reasons incredibly problematic.

  6. Rachel going to Quinn made sense to me–it seemed like she was deliberately seeking out someone who wasn’t going to tell her that she can have it all. For plot reasons it obviously had to be Quinn because they needed to tie her storyline in, and in terms of character choice, she’s one of the few people who would actually tell Rachel that she should leave Finn behind and get that ball rolling, so yeah, the choice was obviously to support the plot. But for me at least, they’ve successfully built up a semi-friendship between the two of them where Rachel clearly values Quinn’s opinion of her, and where Quinn will actually be honest with Rachel in a way that she isn’t with very many people (even if that honesty is often just another way of trying to hurt her), so I could buy Rachel going to Quinn especially for this kind of advice, even if she wouldn’t necessarily go to her for emotional support or to air other insecurities.

  7. I thought it was particularly vile that we did not see Blaine — the actual victim, be it accidental or not — did not seem to get a say in how to proceed. Did anyone ask Blaine if he wanted to press charges?

    Also, it does NOT read like something Burt Hummel would have been OK with — and he clearly knew about what had happened to Blaine. I can’t imagine he’d let something like that go, particularly as we saw him being SUPER excited about Klaine in this episode. (I’ll admit that Burt being really excited about Blaine/Klaine makes me rethink my dislike of the pairing a bit!!!)

  8. I’m really excited to see what Rachel’s fathers have to say about this engagement. I want to know what two men who’ve chosen to raise a daughter in Ohio, a place where their marriage is explicitly against the law, think about their little girl jumping into a lifelong commitment at 17.

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