I Heart Glee… sometimes.

White hanky. Blaine's been sick a while...

I don’t like ship wars, but I like how Kurt handled Karofsky.

A refresher:

Kurt: So, you tormented me, shoved me into lockers, called me horrible names and hate-kissed me. Now, after one conversation in a bar, you want us to be together?

Karofsky: When I was at McKinley, I hated who I was. I took that out on you because there you were, so proud. I’ve wanted to call you since that night at Scandals, and, look, it’s taken me a while, but for the first time in my life, I’m tying to be honest about what I feel.

And sure, Dave Karofsky has come a very long way. He just hasn’t come far enough to see that Kurt isn’t put on earth to help him work out his issues.

Hey, listen, I’m done bodychecking you into lockers and hate-kissing you. Now, I need you to be available to me in an intimate way, so I can  navigate my confusing sexuality with someone I find non-threatening. Thanks in advance. Oh hey, that love-of-your-life guy won’t be a problem will he?

Figgins wishes people would understand HIS struggle

I don’t think Dave’s expression of love had much to do with actual love (like Kurt says too. Hell, he barely knows Kurt, really). I think it had a lot to do with wanting someone to help him. Also, sex, touching, closeness.

Is wanting this stuff and identifying the person who could give that to you love? Er, no.

What’s fascinating about the way this is going is that Kurt’s bully is going to be bullied (from the looks of things). So, as viewers, we’re going to continue to feel some kind of empathy for Karofsky. And Karofsky is not a bad person. But he has done horrible things. He’s done horrible things to Kurt. Now horrible things will be done to him. Is that redemptive?

Keeping it together. With Band-aids.

I’m worried about Karofsky. I genuinely am. I like him as a character. I hate to see what the world does to queer kids. I want to see him be able to move on with his life, but he needs to actually move on, I think.

Also, are all villains now to have handy, easy-to-identify boyband haircuts from now on? Just checking.

What is with Artie’s vest with the plasters on it? Wounded much? And the way Sugar talks constantly about disability. Like her awful accommodations that she makes for Artie that force him to dig in the rubbish, or in a potted plant, and it almost makes sense, but it doesn’t. There are a hundred other ways she could have framed her surprises that wouldn’t single him out. But thinking of a lot of accomodations that are made for people with disabilities, Gleehits the nail on the head.

Sure this will do.

Ok, God stuff.

I hate the way the McKinley Christian kids decided they’re all super gay-positive. Next on Glee: Blaine’s dad is the founder of Lima’s PFLAG group. Mercedes is so concerned about new-guy being uncomfortable. And yeah, Glee are making it sound completely ridiculous “how the God Squad feels about singing to gay people.” She’s totally unconcerned about her friends being excluded.

Where are the Bible-bashing kids complaining about Santana’s sweet lady kisses? Or are they just pretend monsters that queer kids are scared of for no reason? The thing is, teens deal with religion about as well as they deal with everything else. High School (and

I need to ask my mom about this.

University, for that matter) Christian fellowship groups are usually deeply unhealthy. Nevermind Figgins talks about his pastor more than he talks about his wife. Did he make up the complaints?

SECRETLY BAPTIZE PEOPLE isn’t as far off the mark as it should be. And OH MY GOD is Mercedes dating Shane to save him?

Also, love how Mercedes and Sam are both those annoying people who say “Amen” and “Praise” to everything about God. They probably forward on every Tumblr/Facebook/Email warning about everything Snopes has ever debunked too.

Teen Jesus can really sing. Also, being called Teen Jesus is a little scary, because things

Santana being awesome and confrontational

didn’t work out great for Actual Jesus, unless you count the whole zombie thing, and I can’t see Glee going there. Unless he ends up in Dalton.

Rory is a lying liar who lies. To get girls. Can’t imagine this is going to work out any better than the Brittany/leprechaun thing.

Damn Mercedes is all kinds of hot in that red dress.

The Messrs Berry are my favourite people on television. The lube conversation? More please. The secret of a long and happy marriage? Advice from the couple who can’t get married. Yeah, that works for me. What is ice-fishing code for?

You can't give a heart back. Not that easy.

How not-ready for marriage are Finn and Rachel? And at the same time… I love their attitude. “This is going to be difficult; let’s work harder at it.”

Love Shack: From a strictly musical/vocal performance standpoint, Blaine should never be let sing with Mercedes. Kurt and Mercedes could have pulled that song off as leads, maybe with Artie. But Blaine’s voice just was not powerful enough. But narratively and thematically it was kind of genius. I have to make “You’re WHAT?” “Tiiiiiin roof, RUSTED!” my ringtone.

So yeah, Kurt. Periods, pregnancy and bridesmaid. Discuss.


40 thoughts on “I Heart Glee… sometimes.

  1. This is my favorite glee episode for a while.

    I find it interesting that it never occurred to Kurt that the secret admirer gifts were from anyone but Blaine. Logically, given Blaine’s general openness and showmanship it makes absolutely no sense for him to be pretending to be a secret admirer. I got the impression most of the other members of the glee club were well aware the gifts were from someone else.

    However, no episode of glee is complete without the one sentence disturbing moment that is then ignored. This episode had the Puck is a professional comment regarding cleaning pools and going door to door for the sorority girls. I understand that Puck is now 18, but first season dialog suggest that he has been in this business since he was at least 16 and probably younger. Like Brittany’s fist time comment, this doesn’t seem to register with the rest of the Glee club or they just don’t care. Glee has always had weird consent themes, but this season they are getting progressively more disturbing. I have this horrible premonition that they are going to finally address then head on with Karoffsky, Sebastian, or both.

  2. I’m going to apologize in advance for being crazy responder here, but — and you know this — Karofsky is my thing, my issue, and I have to defend!

    That being said, of COURSE Dave isn’t in love with Kurt. Of course he isn’t. I also don’t think there was anything about that conversation that spoke of physical desire, or any kind of physical interaction, except perhaps that hesitant hand-holding where his hand was shaking so badly I wanted to cry. It’s no more a sexual proposition than it is a real declaration of love.

    Kurt was kind to him at Scandals. Dave is scared, alone, confused — a little kindness goes a long way to a boy who is that lost. It’s no more ridiculous than Kurt crushing on Finn for being cute and the tiniest bit nice — if Kurt can think Finn could love him despite being straight and showing NO sign of interest, why is it so outlandish for Dave to think maybe Kurt — who has forgiven him enough to talk with him at the bar and toast to baby steps — might be able to feel something for him, too?

    But don’t be mad that Dave can’t understand that Kurt wasn’t put on earth to help him deal with his issues: Kurt sat in Figgins’ office and told Dave that he had to join PFLAG with him and get educated. Kurt gently coached him through the prom episode about coming out. Even at Scandals, Dave is looking to Kurt for approval and guidance on his path, which Kurt freely gives.

    It doesn’t seem to me like — and here’s where a lot of debate happens, I know — Dave feels he DESERVES KURT. Quite the opposite: I’m certain Dave feels he deserves NOTHING. The self-loathing comes off of this guy in waves, now offered in a crazy rhythm with the waves of hero-worship he has for Kurt.

    But this scene isn’t about whether Dave has feelings for Kurt, or whether Kurt could ever reciprocate: this is about someone who is clearly confused and terrified and on the edge, grasping at the only hand he has been offered.

    This scene is about Kurt being so flummoxed by Karofsky’s feelings and gestures over the prior week — and simultaneously having to deal with his disappointment that none of it came from his lover, as he’d thought, as he’d been bragging to all of their friends — that he completely misses the signals that Glee has primed the audience to receive over this story arc: Dave was the first one to mention teen suicide as a response to bullying. Finn brings it up again with Santana. But it’s not Kurt or Santana who are going to fulfill this bit of foreshadowing: they are supported, and they are courageous. Dave is alone. Dave is a coward.

    What I hated about this scene — and I loved this scene, actually, especially as I rewatched it a million times today — is that it is going to leave a very sour taste in Kurt’s mouth when Dave makes a suicide attempt or something very close to it. I hate that they did this, because I don’t want Kurt to have the bullshit of feeling “Could I have done something different, was this my fault? Should I have been kinder, seen the signs?” I hate that this is going to be a part of how Kurt processes the next part of the story.

    Otherwise, I think the interaction was necessary and sad and beautiful and Dave was a ham-fisted fool because that’s who he is, and Kurt gave it to him straight (so much wrong with that phrase here), because that’s who Kurt is. And Kurt is worrying SO MUCH about whether he handled it well – you can see it all over his face (until Blaine makes his grand entrance and Kurt gets to sing his soul clean again).

    No one’s waiting at Karofsky’s house with a smile and a microphone, but I’m pretty sure his Facebook will be blowing up by the time he gets there… Probably with a couple of pics snapped by Blonde Dude’s girlfriend, too. (If I was writing Glee, 3.14 would open with people at McKinley on the internet GIGGLING over Dave Karofsky being outed).

  3. “What I hated about this scene — and I loved this scene, actually, especially as I rewatched it a million times today — is that it is going to leave a very sour taste in Kurt’s mouth when Dave makes a suicide attempt or something very close to it. I hate that they did this, because I don’t want Kurt to have the bullshit of feeling “Could I have done something different, was this my fault? Should I have been kinder, seen the signs?” I hate that this is going to be a part of how Kurt processes the next part of the story.”

    So true. Kurt has been much nicer than he ever had to be to Dave. I personally wouldn’t have blamed him for outing him because he couldn’t have told the full story of the death threat without doing it, so it became about his safety, but Kurt is super-honorable and cares about not outing him, making sure he’s educated, letting him down gently (he could have been a LOT harsher than he was, given their history). So whatever happens, he really shouldn’t feel guilty about it. And he probably will, because Kurt is like that.

    I want to say that I’m actually not remotely a Karofsky fan, but I really like your response, because so many people are responding and saying that there is true love there and this is a set-up and I agree with you and Kurt that Karofsky is hero-worshipping and crushing in a completely unrealistic way. I think that Kurt with Finn in season 1 is a really good comparison because even if Finn did turn out to be gay, that relationship would not have worked out. And if Kurt had been able to step back from it all, he probably would have admitted that he really didn’t want to date somebody who threw pee-balloons at him.

  4. When I looked it up – Kurt would jerk them both off… very appropriate to “help” Blaine during his convalescence.

  5. Ok. I don’t think that Karofsky thought — on any conscious level — that he deserved Kurt. Except I think he did think that somewhere. Because a lot of guys do that. They think “Hey, I courted you. Now you’re mine.” And nary a thought is given to the other person’s right to refuse or what would make them happy. It’s something our culture teaches, and it’s ugly. And the people who fall for it the most are the most broken, like Dave.

    His brokenness doesn’t make his actions better or ok, even if they are more understandable. Also, I’m not convinced that Dave has any idea of what he put Kurt through. He’s sorry, but I still think he doesn’t understand the terror of it all.

    Poor Kurt. He wants to help Dave. He does. But he can’t help Dave at his own expense. No queer kid has those kids of reserves.

  6. cheers-I think white’s the only one I didn’t know and I think that Kurt’s bedside manner would extend to helping Blaine with his ‘recreational activities’-also how intense was love shack-I love that the show isn’t limiting the physical side of their relationship

  7. “And Kurt is worrying SO MUCH about whether he handled it well – you can see it all over his face.”

    Really insightful analysis of where Dave is coming from. I worry too about the weight of Dave’s next actions on Kurt. My sense is that Kurt will continue to be supportive, but what will he sacrifice to be there for him, and how will it change his sense of who he is and where his own life is heading?

    On a related note, I keep thinking about that darned gorilla costume. That whole thing is off to me, and I want to look into the history of that . . . Here’s this costume that’s huge, that’s aggressive-looking, that completely obscures. And on Valentine’s Day of all days. I know the gorilla gram is a kind of cliche, but figuratively it just is so odd! Maybe it’s symbolic of old-Dave, the Aggressor, who, just as he removes the mask, is humanized . . . But as you say, he has a ways to go before he is comfortable in his own skin.

  8. I like and admire you too much to fight about this here, and I’m taking it more personally than I would like to, so I’ll just say I disagree on almost every level.

    I can’t have this discussion here, anyhow. I’m returning to Tumblr where I can be amongst my own kind.

    I think all shipping is effing crazy, to be honest. I ship everyone/alone. It makes for better TV.

  9. When you talk about consent in this context, are you referring to the fact that Puck was underage when he started doing sex work, or something to do with this episode’s sorority situation specifically?

  10. The thing is, a major problem with Karofsky’s storyline that they never adequately dealt with is the fact that his issues clearly didn’t come entirely from being self-hating/closeted/gay. Even before he suspected he was gay—assuming that his targeted attacks on Kurt were in response to some realization in that direction—he was a bully who took pleasure in humiliating and hurting people, and who happily targeted people in a position of weakness in order to establish his own dominance in the social hierarchy. And the specific way that he chose to deal with his self-hatred and fear—with obsession, with violence, with sexualized boundary-crossing, with death threats—point towards issues that have nothing to do with being closeted.

    Now he’s back and, as you said, he still hasn’t come far enough to realize that Kurt wasn’t put on earth to help him work out his issues, whether as a punching bag or as a love object. His response when he decided that he loved Kurt was alarmingly parallel to his response when he decided that he hated him—obsessing over Kurt, stalking Kurt, ignoring Kurt’s stated feelings and desires in order to assert his own. If they do go with victimizing Karofsky instead of, I don’t know, dealing with his underlying issues, it’ll essentially be the same deal as last year, where all of Karofsky’s behavior was simplified down to him being gay rather than him having severe issues with aggression and an inability to recognize other people’s feelings as real and as important as his own. He’s not a bad person (a designation that’s essentially meaningless–is anybody a bad person?) but he was and is severely fucked up.

    Regarding Sugar, they actually established in “Yes/No” that she’s ableist—her reason for turning Artie down was because he’s in a wheelchair, and his thin legs would make hers look huge. I’m not really sure why Artie wanted to date her after that, or why he still apparently wants to date her now, but yeah—it’s making me feel really bad for Artie.

    //I hate the way the McKinley Christian kids decided they’re all super gay-positive. //

    Totally agreed with you on this, especially Joe taking the time to tell Santana that he’d thought about it long and hard and eventually decided that he’s okay with her being gay. How generous of him. There was no need whatsoever for him to go for the cookie when just singing the damn song would suffice.

  11. To a point, I agree with all of you. Dave thinks he loves Kurt because Kurt is the only one who’s been kind; Kurt handled it probably as sympathetically as possible; it’s similar to Kurt/Finn in some ways; Dave is lost and headed somewhere bad. DG, I also agree with you that there’s a major cultural myth that dudes deserve anyone (though generally, any woman) they pursue.

    In fact, I think Dave’s whole Valentine routine is a funhouse mirror of romantic comedy tropes: excessive gifts leading up to a surprise confession in a fancy restaurant? Come on. He apparently thought Kurt having a boyfriend wouldn’t matter just because he REALLY WANTED it not to matter… and, yeah, that’s pretty much how a lot of romantic comedies work, and how a lot of people expect their personal lives to materialize, especially when they’re just starting to date. Dude is jerk; dude realizes error of his ways and falls in love; dude makes grand romantic gesture; kiss and fade out.

    What sucks is that Dave’s story has only been presented in relation to Kurt, and thus, I think some viewers are reading his turmoil as ALL ABOUT Kurt and expecting partner-as-savior endings. Dave’s self-loathing and identity are so much bigger than any one crush. I can’t tell you how many message boards I’ve seen today with members saying that Dave buying Kurt gifts is a sign of meant-to-be love. It’s really disturbing. An IMDb poster even stated that if Dave killed himself, it would be Kurt’s fault for selfishly not dating him. (I’m not in any way suggesting that all Kurtovsky shippers think this way.) I’m still hoping the show doesn’t veer into teen suicide territory at all, though it looks as if it might.

    Wow, I thought that if I wrote a lot about this episode, it would be excitement over Brittana, or at least analysis of the God Squad storyline. I’ll get there later, I suppose…

  12. Yes. I think this gets forgotten too — that he was a bully to everyone, not just to Kurt, although it sort of ended that way.

    And he did it — I’m sure — for a multitude of reasons. Social status, to fit in, etc and a lot of that can still be related to his feeling very vulnerable. But still. It wasn’t a one-off. Karofsky was always a bully.

  13. When you say “Karofsky was always a bully” let’s not forget that many of the Glee guys we’re expected to see as changed and worthy of love — worthy, apparently, of our forgetting they were ever any other way — were “always” bullies. Until they weren’t.

  14. Finn and Puck? I think there’s something there that I have yet to figure out about how joining glee is redemption in this show. And Dave was offered that. I’m not saying it won’t happen. I’m just saying it hasn’t.

  15. This whole conversation is killing me. The way it weaves between what we think and do in real life, and how we think and react to a fiction, and then what that in turn reveals about who we are and how we make decisions in RL… It’s tearing me up. I haven’t really slept since Tuesday. I hate this fucking show.

  16. The show’s been consistent about Puck having sex with older women since he was sixteen. I don’t think it even occurs to Puck that that would be criminal on the part of those women. They want him, he’s a guy and guys are supposed to want sex with women, seems to be his mindset. I look at someone in his mid-teens having sex with someone a couple of decades older as damaging at the very least. Puck doesn’t seem to see it that way.

    Julia had a really good post about Brittany’s “alien invasion” line. I believe it was in the “crown of weeds” LJ. I came around to that viewpoint, that something horrible happened to Brittany, whether she has the words for it or not.

    In my opinion, those consent themes are supposed to be disturbing. Puck is eighteen now, but he bought into those societal expectations for him years ago. Brittany is with someone who loves her. That doesn’t mean that she’s forgotten her past, believing she had to be available to everyone. She offered to go topless at school in a third season episode, to great applause. The boundaries are just not there for them.

  17. “He’s sorry, but I still think he doesn’t understand the terror of it all.” With that, I’ve never thought it was just the bigots that elected Kurt prom queen and the judgmental looks of the dead silent crowd that Karofsky ran from. I think Kurt has been and always will be the most terrifying thing for Karofsky. Something I’m not sure he’s entirely aware of or he’s in denial. In any case, that’s been overwhelmed (but not gone away) when teenage hormones and romantic/sexual fantasies took over. Then typical male privilege of a person who’d been too recently and too long entrenched & educated in (sexist, misogynist) bullying culture drove him to approach Kurt in this wildly inappropriate, presumptuous way in “Heart”. Which, of course, resulted in rejection. Kurt’s long since outgrown overlooking that sort of privilege & flaws for the sake of titillation or loneliness. He’s not lonely, he’s found his love.

    However, if Karofsky is soon to encounter a situation where he’s truly and fully faced with that terror? Something that was nothing but a brief glimpse in “Prom Queen”? It seems it will be in part due to the manifestation of his former self embodied in Nick. Also obviously Nick as representation of the bullying culture that shielded Karofsky so long and he unfortunately bolstered the majority of his high school tenure. Like the devil finally come to collect his due, in a manner of speaking. Viktor Frankenstein facing down The Monster.

    Except, I agree, I don’t see Nick as the end all, be all of that terror. I feel it’s been and will be ultimately proven more about Kurt himself. The fact Kurt and those who ally with someone like Kurt willingly face down the contempt, ignorance and threats of violence of Nicks every single day. It’s being on the frontline every day and there will never not be a fight & struggle, because that’s who Kurt is and being with Kurt (either ally or romantic partner) is about. That simply being around Kurt, there’s no chance of staying hidden or things being easy. There’s no half-assing it, so to speak (so no “maybe I might come out next year”). Just as, despite the delusions of the McKinley popular kids believing their popularity & status protecting them, safety & security from bullying are completely forfeit the moment their full commitment and loyalty was made to the glee club.

    I’m not particularly religious, but I think of the word “awe” in how it’s used in the Bible. It’s how I view Karofsky’s perception of Kurt, he’s in awe of him or more in awe of the idea of the Kurt in his head (who has some resemblance to the real Kurt, but also couldn’t possibly reject him and be totally available to him in all ways Karofsky believes he needs/wants him). In “Heart”, the awe was the meaning of wonder before God (hero-worship some in fandom have called it & Karofsky glamoured by Kurt’s superficial attributes anyone could determine in a brief, limited capacity knowing Kurt, namely after being recipient of his compassionate nature). However, Karofsky doesn’t really know Kurt at all, he undoubtedly thinks he does, but he does not. Doesn’t know all of what Kurt is about (or what he ran from exactly in “Prom Queen”), not yet. I suspect in 3.14, it will be the other meaning of awe rearing it’s head like a rampaging bull, fear before God. Terror. I wouldn’t be surprised we do get a “Prom Queen” 2.0 in 3.14, but more hopeful for Karofsky than before. Probably come out to his dad, his dad accepting him, a vow Karofsky will get the help he so desperately needs and likely a total purging/escaping of the toxic environment of Lima. However, just like “Prom Queen”, I suspect all of this will and must happen far away from Kurt. There’s nothing about Karofsky that suggests to me he’s meant or suited to be a warrior. Capable of facing down what Kurt & his allies choose to face. Maybe someday, while Kurt & those around him continue on with their development and their lives far ahead of him, but no time soon. He’s just far too fragile at this point in time and all too likely more so if (when) he finally faces down that terror.

  18. You know, up until this supçon of an arc, my greatest worry for Karofsky was that Santana’s prediction would come true (he’d effectively become George Rekers/Roy Ashburn/etc).

    But in a way, I’m glad that Glee is going there (or might be, we really don’t know, I guess) with self-harm. Because it’s so heartbreakingly common and we haven’t seen it.

    It’s like the Christian glee kids thing. It’s great that a popular show like Glee is showing that Christian kids can question the Bible and come up with their own rules for their own generation, and reject harmful interpretations of the past. But it’s worrying that they ignore that gay kids are still bullied by people who back themselves up with “God says you’re an abomination, etc” and these are the people who go to Church on Sundays and Bible study and roll around on the floor being Holy and stuff who try to keep the children of gay people out of schools and try and victimise kids who don’t conform to gender roles. And it hurts me that they deny this reality.

    It heartens me when they face reality and address the hard stuff even if they do it in an Alice-in-Wonderland Technicolor. And Karofsky hurting himself will be hard. I tried to kill myself in 1997. It was a horrible time in my life. Things got better very quickly after that (hey, I got help, people noticed I wasn’t a-ok) but wow, I was broken.

    The other thing I’m waiting for is Blaine’s dad. As I mentioned in the post, the handling of Christianity has me worried that they’re going to somehow make Blaine out to be over dramatic and his parents are just fiiiiine with the whole thing. Poor misunderstood Christians and straight people.

    I will scream.

    Anyway, the Karofsky arc is promising, if awful. But I love drama and being uncomfortable, so bring it on.

  19. I don’t believe all adults doing sex work have consent issues, but I think Puck may. We don’t know the circumstances of how he started doing underage sex work for significantly older woman, but I feel it is very likely that he was damaged as a result. I am concerned that he either doesn’t know how to say know to women he encounters as part of his pool cleaning business or believes his sex work is the only reason he can succeed in business.

  20. I worry for Karofsky. I agree he does not love Kurt, but I think he probably believes he does. He has done horrible things because of his self-hatred and insecurity. Kurt, partially by accident and partially through kindness and empathy, has played a large part in helping him becoming a better person. David’s actions in Heart were naive, but I can’t blame a boy for trying. Kurt is attractive and his actions have only made him more so.

    Don’t forget, Karofsky has always seen Blaine at his worst. Their first encounter was during the ill-conceived public confrontation about the kiss. Although his physical response was inappropriate, I feel Karofsky had a right to be angry about that encounter. A stranger was talking about his deepest secrets in a place they could be overheard. None of their other encounters were likely to raise Karofsky’s opinion of Blaine. As a regular at Scandals, I think Karofsky was well aware of Sebastien’s reputation. Scandals did not make Klaine look like a happy, healthy couple.

    From, Karofsky’s perspective, it was plausible that Kurt would be interested in a relationship. If Kurt was single and they didn’t have history, his approach would likely have been successful. Kurt was clearly delighted with all the over the top Valentines day gestures while he thought they were from Blaine.

    Of course, Karofsky was wrong and I fear he will pay a terrible price. He has isolated himself from his most sympathetic support when he is likely to need him the most. Kurt will step up when he is aware a situation warrants it. However, I fear that it is going to take a major event for their paths to cross again.

  21. I’m hesitant to enter the discussion, but this trend of saying that any narrative shown is, by virtue of being shown, a *celebration*–of Karofsky, of Christian kids, etc.–is really troubling to me, and I think it’s rather skewing interpretations and assigning intent that we just don’t have any evidence is there.

    I certainly didn’t get a “poor, misunderstood” vibe, either from Karofsky or from the God Squad. I’ve been bullied, sexually harassed, and I spent my foundational years in a spiritually abusive church, so I’m not exactly coming from a place of privilege or ignorant bliss here.

    I’m not interested in stories that boil down to “this is good, this is bad, feel this way.” I don’t think Glee is, either.

    *ducks back out*

  22. “Then typical male privilege of a person who’d been too recently and too long entrenched & educated in (sexist, misogynist) bullying culture drove him to approach Kurt in this wildly inappropriate, presumptuous way in “Heart”. Which, of course, resulted in rejection.” I wonder what to make of the inverse-yet-ironically parallel “inappropriate, presumptuous” stunt Blaine pulled last season with his Gap-Jr.-Manager crush. If a sexist, misogynist bullying culture drove Dave to this, what drove Blaine to serenade in retail sales? We may want to believe that the motives–or at least the catalysts– are different, and the story line leads both toward and away from seeing Blaine as driven by any aggression, but then we have to remember that Blaine is the guy who made an inappropriate move on his boyfriend after Scandals. I’m still untangling this mass of urges and dysfucktion [sic].

  23. I totally agree that Joe didn’t need to make a public speech to establish that he’s not going to deny the service Santana paid for due to her sexuality. He could at least have just approached Brittany and Santana before the God Squad took the stage.

    That said, I LOVED Brittana this episode, and Santana especially. I love that this is the second episode in a row in which she’s called Glee on its own offensive shit–and been acknowledged as correct. The sentiment that ANY potential feelings of a straight person are more important than EVERY actual feeling of a queer person (eg., girlfriends can’t show their love because a straight person might not like it) is still so pervasive and disgusting. I also found the way the first and second kisses were set up to be very sly. “That?! Our lips barely even grazed!”–our thoughts EXACTLY, Santana, but then there was THE kiss: happy, loving, casual but still passionate. Brittany, meanwhile, has hopefully put all the “Does she even like her girlfriend?” questions to rest. I just hope that Glee keeps exploding its double standard.

    God Squad-wise, I have about the same complaints as a lot of people: It shouldn’t have been a question for the established characters, and Mercedes’ concerns made it seem like SHE wasn’t comfortable with queer people (though that may not be what the writers were going for). Quinn, though, was great. Between this episode and “Michael,” I’m starting to remember why she was once my favorite character. You have an interesting point, though, DG, about the fact that Glee’s scads of gay-positive characters could send the messages that there are NO real homophobes (or that they’re just in the closet themselves).

  24. Hmm. The thing is, most characters on Glee are inappropriate and presumptuous in pursuit of the object of their romantic interest. There’s Rachel’s pursuit of Finn in season one and season two (highlights: laying out a bed of pillows for what she told Finn was a singing lesson, assuming that Finn breaking up with Quinn meant that he was automatically dating Rachel, taking advantage of Finn’s kissing booth to force him to kiss her), Kurt’s pursuit of Finn in season one, Finn’s pursuit of Rachel in seasons one and two when she was dating Jesse (highlights: getting into a fight with Jesse at prom for kissing Rachel, after Rachel had told him to back off because she had moved on), Will’s pursuit of Emma (highlights: asking Emma to rehearse with him as a front for putting her in a sexualized position with him in Rocky Horror Glee Show), and Sam’s season three pursuit of Mercedes, which has basically been an object lesson in deliberately ignoring boundaries.

    It’s always screwed up, and yep, there’s always a level of aggression and projection there, in that those doing the pursuing/manipulating/ignoring of boundaries assume they know what’s best for the person they’re pursuing (namely, “a relationship with me is what’s best for you”). It’s the romantic comedy mode of thought TheBadassMuppet discusses above that justifies relentless pursuit if it’s in the name of love.

    The entire context of Kurt’s relationship with Karofsky, though, as compared to Jeremiah’s relationship with Blaine (or Finn’s relationship with Rachel, Mercedes’ relationship with Sam, etc.), immediately heightens that aggression. It was somewhat presumptuous for Blaine to assume Jeremiah wanted to date him just because they’d been having coffee together, and his methods were certainly inappropriate on a number of levels. It was incredibly presumptuous for Karofsky to assume Kurt wanted to date him despite not having seen him in months and despite his history of targeted violent and sexual attention towards Kurt and despite Kurt flat-out telling him that he was not attracted to him, and his methods were incredibly inappropriate given his history of stalking Kurt. “Be Mine Forever” is much more ominous when it’s coming from someone who’s displayed a demonstrable lack of respect for Kurt’s bodily autonomy and then tried to control him with threats.

  25. That said, I do think it’s pretty disturbing that, with the exception of Jeremiah, there isn’t a gay man on this show who’s been shown as capable of reading signals. In all the cases of heterosexual pursuit above, the person being pursued really secretly did want to be with the person doing the pursuing—Finn loves Rachel, Rachel loves Finn, Emma loves Will, Mercedes loves Sam, Quinn really did want Sam to kiss her, etc.

    But Kurt was totally wrong in assuming that Finn was capable of loving him (and was explicitly called a stalker), he was wrong in assuming that Sam was gay (and shamed by his father for forcing his attentions on a straight boy), and he was wrong in assuming flirty duets meant Blaine liked him back; Blaine “made it all up in his head” regarding Jeremiah, and in the car scene you mentioned, Kurt explicitly said that Blaine either didn’t notice his feelings or just didn’t care; Karofsky was incredibly wrong in assuming Kurt would welcome his romantic attention; Sebastian keeps pursuing Blaine despite Blaine’s stated disinterest and Blaine seeming to deliberately avoid him; and then of course there’s Sandy Ryerson, the self-proclaimed “predatory gay.”

    It’s not like there aren’t straight characters on the show who either can’t read or deliberately ignore “I’m not interested, please do not try to woo me” signals (Jacob ben Israel, for one), but the fact that it’s such a pattern for gay male characters is really disturbing. (Notably, though, during season one the writers saw nothing disturbing in Kurt’s pursuit of Finn, and seemed to view it as basically equivalent to any other character’s romantic pursuit of someone else. It wasn’t until fans protested that he was creepy and manipulative that they decided to address it as such. And then I guess they just continued on in that vein.)

  26. //Although his physical response was inappropriate, I feel Karofsky had a right to be angry about that encounter. A stranger was talking about his deepest secrets in a place they could be overheard.//

    I…really disagree. In that scene, Kurt and Blaine approach Karofsky and say they want to talk to him (pretty clearly about the kiss in the locker room); Karofsky attempts to avoid them; Blaine says “Kurt told me what you did”, which causes Karofsky to turn back and challenge him: “Oh yeah? What’s that?” Then *Kurt* says “You kissed me,” Karofsky denies it, and Blaine tells him his confusion is normal, that “this sort of thing” is hard to come to terms with, and that he’s not alone.

    They gave him an opportunity to suggest that they talk somewhere else, and he basically dared them to say out loud right there what he had done to Kurt. Blaine actually kept the situation vague, and also offered support.

    Karofsky being angry *in the moment* at some stranger confronting him about this, even in vague terms is somewhat understandable, particularly because he was in so much denial about what he had done and was doing to Kurt that an episode or two later he convinced himself that Kurt had actually kissed *him*. But if, as you suggest, Karofsky looks back on that scene after coming to terms with what he actually did to Kurt and still thinks, “That Blaine guy who came to school specifically to support the person I was victimizing, and then also offered me support–wow, what an asshole. I, the person who victimized Kurt would be so much better for him”, that really doesn’t speak well of Karofsky now.

    I mean, the main issue, as Kurt pointed out, isn’t that Kurt has a boyfriend. It’s that Karofsky bullied him, terrorized him, and forced sexual contact on him (not to mention threatening his life). To most people, it really would not be plausible that Kurt would want to date him, no matter how much of an asshole his current boyfriend was, and Karofsky ignoring that is really more than naive.

  27. I didn’t mean to flatten a hierarchy of aggression–clearly Karofsky’s acting out is far more disturbing than a misguided attempt at wooing by a lovelorn teen. Different in degree, but not, ultimately, in kind. I did mean to suggest–as you did so eloquently [thank you]–that there’s a problem with the way the gay male characters are, well, characterized. And the problems are frequently soft-focused by an attitude of “oh, they’re just misguided, lovelorn [gay] teens!” And the [gay] is often ‘under erasure.’ (I can’t do the strike through in wordpress.) We might be able to say on some level, “oh, we’re all alike as desiring humans,” and I hazard to guess on some level the intent if not the effect is to point toward how shaky the boundaries are between the categories our culture largely lives by. But the challenges, the complications, the history of the representations and reception of gay desire have made the world a very different place to “perform” gay desire. (And here I don’t use “perform” to mean inauthentic, but to echo gender theory analysis of [sexual] identity as something culture necessitates performing repeatedly, and in its repetition reveals just how unstable all those categories are.) I think you’ve much better captured anything else I could add!

  28. I think the flattening of aggression is something that Glee itself actually engages in, in all sorts of ways that range from treating Sam’s refusing to stop wooing Mercedes as sweet to treating Karofsky’s campaign against Kurt in season 2 as “bullying” to treating Sebastian’s attack on Kurt and Blaine as basically equivalent to Vocal Adrenaline egging Rachel in season one. So, yeah, for an audience member, when behavior that is obviously not okay is treated as normal or even good, it can be difficult to know exactly where to place behavior within that particular hierarchy, whether inside the world of the show or in your own personal ranking.

    //We might be able to say on some level, “oh, we’re all alike as desiring humans,” and I hazard to guess on some level the intent if not the effect is to point toward how shaky the boundaries are between the categories our culture largely lives by. But the challenges, the complications, the history of the representations and reception of gay desire have made the world a very different place to “perform” gay desire.//

    Yeah, like I mentioned before, when they were writing Kurt’s crush on Finn, it seemingly didn’t occur to the writers that a gay boy crushing on a straight boy, manipulating events in order to be closer to him that culminate in them sharing a room, and explicitly telling him to give up on girls would play into all sorts of stereotypes about predatory gay men attempting to convert straights. They obviously realized that *Finn* would respond to Kurt with gay panic and characterize him as predatory, but they didn’t seem to realize that the audience, being made up primarily of straight people who have been exposed to those stereotypes, would view it the same way.

    Similarly, I’m not sure that they realize how differently “the male Santana”, Sebastian, comes off as opposed to the real Santana, given that he’s a sexually predatory man rather than a sexually predatory woman, and given that the men Santana pursued were always at least somewhat receptive to her advances. It seems like their intentions with the character were actually a push towards equality–“gay people can be villains, just like straight people!”–but given the specific mode of villainy they characterized him in (violent and sexually predatory) and the way that he plays into the pattern they’ve set with *every* gay male character (being unable or unwilling to recognize disinterest in the men they pursue) it ends up reading really differently than they probably intend.

  29. I didn’t see Dave’s confession of his feelings in quite that light. I’ve always thought–and think even more now–that part of his lashing out was that he has had feelings for Kurt for quite awhile that he didn’t know how to deal with. He thought these feelings were sick and wrong, and judging by the way he spoke and reacted to Kurt, he thought Kurt was somehow responsible for them. It doesn’t excuse his actions in seasons one and two, but it does make me think that it isn’t a simple matter of “you’re the first person to know about me and show me compassion, so I’m latching onto you.” I think it’s a lot more complicated than that. Also, can we take a moment to appreciate the fact that Dave isn’t excused for everything he did to Kurt, but we still get to see that he’s genuinely changed and is still trying to be better? Can we then wonder where that process was with all the other people who’ve been bullies in this series?

    As for the “love of your life” comment, I’d like to point out that the last time Dave saw Kurt and Blaine together, one was dancing with another guy and the other was moping about it. Add that to the fact that Dave never heard Kurt attribute the Valentine gifts to Blaine and saw how happy Kurt was about them, and it’s totally reasonable to believe that Dave didn’t know Kurt was still with Blaine at all, let alone happy with him.

    Whether Dave’s expression had anything to do with actual love–which is often considered an iffy matter for teenagers anyway–I was proud of the way Dave handled himself when he got rejected. He was obviously hurt and disappointed, but he didn’t push, he simply got up to leave. That remark about the candies really got to me, too. It was like he was saying, “I hope you have a good Valentine’s Day, even if it’s not with me.”

    That the moment had to be ruined by some jerk with obnoxious hair (and I agree with you there: seriously? Do assholes get group discounts at the local barber shop or something?) hurt, and makes me really nervous about what’s coming for Dave…but I think it helped to show that while Dave isn’t completely comfortable admitting who he really is yet, he doesn’t revert to violence when he feels cornered anymore. Ah Glee, you don’t give us character development often, but when you do…I sometimes wonder if it was by accident. 😛

  30. Way late in reading this but thank you. This comment sums up my thoughts on the scene. Very well articulated response.

  31. Pingback: The Heart Script « Deconstructing Glee

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