Glee - gay propaganda gone mad. [Open Spoilers for Theatricality]

…No, not really, but something is genuinely bothering me about it.

Firstly, I don’t really watch Glee so it is entirely possible that I missed something important here.

Basically, I was watching the episode ‘Theatricality’ just now (I’m trying my best to watch and like Glee and I just can’t :mad:), and the show did something odd.

Basically, Finn and Kurt moved in together in Burt’s house (thanks Wiki!) and were forced to share a room. Finn freaked out, used the word ‘faggy’, was thrown out after a hackneyed yet moving speech from Burt, had a big revelation, stood up for Kurt, big reunion.

My problem is that while Finn should not have said ‘faggy’, I feel the show completely glossed over Kurt’s behaviour.

Firstly he has been mooning over Finn for a long time, and making overt passes at him, even though he knows this makes Finn uncomfortable, and that Finn is not interested (and has been quite nice about it, despite his obvious discomfort).
Let’s pretend for a second that Finn is a girl who has recieved unwanted (and continuing) attentions from Kurt in the past - would anyone say that it would be her fault for being uncomfortable in that situation? And what were the parents thinking creating that situation in the first place?

Secondly, Kurt has not just flirted but been almost stalkerish, fixing their parents up in order that he might get time to get closer to Finn. This is after he has been repeatedly let down gently. His behaviour is weird and stalkerish.

Thirdly, he decorates the room in a bizarrely effeminate style, like a harem in ways, and wonders why Finn doesn’t like it - no average straight man could be reasonably expected to live there - I would find that environment incredibly cloying and oppressive (and I listen to opera, have liked both musicals I have been to, and wouldn’t be mad on sports ;)). This is highly inconsiderate of him and the very least.

Basically, make Finn a girl and Kurt straight, and Kurt becomes the creepy bad guy that no-one would like and everyone would hate. Instead of condemning both, the show basically went “Bad, bad Finn, not being alternative and accepting enough to live in a gay circus dressing room. And how dare you get upset when unwanted attentions are continually pushed on you”.

What. The. Fuck.

Fine, he said ‘faggy’ and he shouldn’t have.
But he is way, way more the victim than Kurt.

(Ps. I suddenly seem to remember Quinn saying that she only had sex with Puck because he got her drunk on West Coast Coolers - rape flags anyone?)

Oh, and Finn learns such a lesson that he goes to school in drag?

Glee is lecturing like no tomorrow.

Quinn also said she was feeling fat that day, so I think that is her making excuses.

Can you even get drunk off of wine coolers?

Let me get this straight: A musical about musicals is too gay?

West Coast Cooler is 4% alcohol so probably not.

Unless wine cooler is something that I amn’t familiar with.

I hate to use the term ‘agenda’…

Your whole OP is evidence that Glee isn’t glossing over Kurt’s behaviour. As you describe, they have gone to great lengths to show Kurt being stalkerish, even to the point of showing him peering in through a window when his dad and Finn start hanging out and watching basketball.

The reason that the confrontation was a good scene was the whole dynamic you’re talking about. Finn was right to be very bothered by what Kurt was doing, although he shouldn’t have gone off the way he did. Kurt’s dad was right to react the way he did, based on the information he had. Kurt himself starts to speak up to his dad and then doesn’t, I think the idea being that he’s happy to see his dad taking his side over Finn’s, even though it’s based on incomplete information.

The Theatricality thread.

FWIW, we mostly agreed Finn was wrong but probably didn’t deserve it.

I think the message is a little more complex than you are making it out to be, the stated point was that no amount of genuine frustration justifies hate speech. Kurt’s dad didn’t need to know any more information about the altercation to know that.

Generally we understand this concept. As Kurt’s dad pointed out, Finn would never use the N word in such a way to a black person regardless of how in the wrong they were. Our society hasn’t quite caught on yet when it comes to hate speech directed at gay people however, even though the words themselves can be just as hurtful.

No doubt Finn didn’t intend any great harm by it, thus the importance of the lesson. It’s not that Kurt was behaving perfectly, it’s just that he should have been called out as selfish or slalkerish, and not attacked for the deepest part of who he is as a person.

It may be too explicitly preachy for your tastes, but the message is morally sound and one that people could stand to hear. Especially the younger demographic that makes up so much of this show’s viewership.

I disagree. If an individual is acting in a stereotypically offensive manner, an insult leveled at that specific individual and their specific failings should not be generalised to hatred of their entire community.

I mean, there’s a reason that “fag” is considered an insult, because it implies certain things about the person being insulted. If the failings suggested by the insult are literally true about this individual, there’s not really a better word to describe them, is there?

So, being gay is a “failing”? If they’re gay, call them gay. Or homosexual. Or whatever. Using “fag” says more about the speaker than the person they are trying to chastise.

If someone wishes to insult a specific individual and not have that insult generalized to hatred of their entire community, one should not employ insulting terms whose offensiveness is rooted in hatred of that entire community. They should use a more specific and personal insult instead.

The only thing the word “fag” necessarily implies about the person being called a fag is that he’s gay, which is considered in homophobic societies to be something despicable, and that’s why “fag” is considered an insult.

The word “fag” does not specifically imply any “failings” or characteristics other than being gay per se. If somebody wants to insult a gay person for being a jerk, a stalker, or an insensitive creep, then the insults they should use are words like “jerk”, “stalker”, or “insensitive creep”. Not “fag”.

I’m a little surprised that anyone in 2010 needs this spelled out, to be honest.

“Wine Cooler” can refer to any heavily sugared alcoholic mass-produced drink, usually sold in bottles like beer. Mike’s Hard Lemonade is a good example.

A 130-pound teenage girl who’s feeling fat and not eating much can, I’m sure.

Back in the mid-80’s, wine coolers were available in 2 liters. Yeah, you can get drunk of 'em!

I did think Glee went close to the edge on that. They’d have totally jumped the shark & lost any credibility as a show if Finn has suddenly realized his repressed homosexuality, and for a while, I thought that was where they were heading, but I though it ended just right.

Yeah- the Quinn-Puck “date rape” situation has struck me also. They really need to address that.

I think that Quinn blamed the coolers when it was a convenient excuse for doing what she’d wanted to do for a long time. It would be date rape if Puck drugged her, but she evidently knowingly drank the alcohol and he did not force himself on her or have sex with her while she was unconscious.

As for Finn v. Kurt, even posters on gay message boards agree that Kurt was hardly blameless and in fact deserved to be called every kind of creep and screamed at by Finn, it’s just the use of faggy there’s a problem with. As said on the series, if Mercedes was throwing herself at Kurt and decorated a room in cheesy pan-African furniture he’d never have said “niggery”*, nor would he have used anti-Asian or anti-Hispanic words for Tina or Santana. So either

1- Finn’s a homophobe


2- Finn’s not a homophobe but he’s so mad that he’ll say anything to hurt Kurt at the moment


3- Finn’s clueless as to how offensive that word is to gays

I think it’s more of a cross between 2 and 3. In any case, on the offense scale he and Kurt are about tied now but Burt and Finn’s mom are the most culpable for this particular incident for ever having enabled the situation to begin with.

The sloppy writing doesn’t come in with the “faggy” outburst since I think that really is, to use a cliche that I don’t particularly like, “a teachable moment”. The worst part of the writing (as I mentioned in another thread, the writers could easily have made Kurt an innocent victim but obviously deliberately chose not to) is that they have a well to do mechanic (I say well-to-do as evidenced by the fact his teenaged son wears designer clothes and drives a newish SUV) the owner of a weird house that has one bedroom, a full basement, and 2 1/2 baths. Also it would have been most logical to have Finn simply remain in his mother’s house until an addition is made; since his mom is moving in with Burt rather suddenly she’s probably planned on paying the rent or mortgage payment for a month or two anyway so it’s not going to be a particular hardship, and I seriously doubt that there’s ever been a 16 year old boy who’d have fits over living in a house by himself for a couple of months.

*Apologies for not saying “the N word”, but I feel that, like Voldemort, refusing to say the word makes it way more powerful.

On preview I see that Sampiro beat me to many of my points, but I’ve written this whole long post so I’m a’gonna post it anyway!

It’s actually highlighted his inappropriate behavior again and again, and has repeatedly made it clear that Kurt’s scheming doesn’t get him anywhere.

*If we’re going to be switching genders, why don’t we pretend for a second that Kurt is a girl who Finn does not find attractive. Would he have flipped out on her the same way? If it had been Mercedes or Tina would he have started using racial slurs in reference to them or their belongings? Would the audience have much sympathy for him if he did?

*Good question, but it’s not Kurt’s fault that the parents rushed into this. It is what Kurt wanted, but he’s not the adult in the situation and he wasn’t the one making the final call. Finn’s mother in particular should have realized that her son wasn’t going to be happy about moving to a different house and suddenly sharing a room with someone else. Even if Kurt were straight then Finn wouldn’t have been okay with this arrangement. Finn was distraught when his mother decided to get rid of some old furniture, so of course he wasn’t going to be happy about having his entire living situation changed.

*Does Kurt have to be perfect in order for it to be wrong for Finn to use anti-gay slurs? Television shows are often criticized for presenting simplistic, black-and-white morality, but in this episode Glee managed to address hate speech without making the minority character a totally innocent victim or the person voicing slurs an irrational monster.

It would have been very easy for the writers to have Burt tell off the bullies at school instead of a sympathetic character like Finn. This would give the audience the pleasure of seeing Burt stand up for his son, while at the same time presenting a moral message about as sophisticated and nuanced as “Bad people are bad.” Instead the lesson that was presented loud and clear was that even if you’re a basically decent person and don’t go around beating up gay people or anything, it’s still wrong to use anti-gay slurs. Even if you’re really mad or “didn’t mean it that way”, it’s not okay. I’m sure some of the teenagers who watch this show feel they have no problem with gay people but still say things like “That’s so gay” or “You’re such a homo” as insults, and maybe this episode will make them think a little more about the implications of their words.

And frankly, while Kurt’s behavior would be extreme in the real world it’s pretty ordinary for the world of Glee. Nearly all the characters have behaved strangely, inappropriately, or immorally when it comes to romance and sex. Kurt is far from the show’s worst offender in this regard.

*I don’t see how Kurt is guilty of anything more than cluelessness on this point, or cluelessness plus arrogance about his own skills as an interior decorator. He didn’t set out to do things just for himself or to make Finn feel out of place. He genuinely seemed to think he’d come up with something that both he and Finn would like. He was very badly wrong about this, but it’s not like he has a lot of straight guy friends to clue him in to the decorating preferences of the hetero American teen. I note also that Kurt did provide Finn with a changing screen when he redecorated the room, which indicates that he had some awareness of Finn’s desire for more privacy and tried to incorporate this into his design for the room.

*The show chastised Finn for using an anti-gay slur. The rest was in your imagination.

*Why, because someone spoke to him in a loud voice? Boo hoo. Burt saying he didn’t want Finn living in his house anymore would have been pretty harsh if Finn had nowhere else to go, but Finn and his mom are presumably going back to their old house now. That’s exactly what Finn wanted anyway.

The scene isn’t just about the relationship between Finn and Kurt, though, and it’s not just a “very special episode” moment. It’s also about the relationship between Kurt and his father, and between Finn and Kurt’s father. Kurt’s father is uncomfortable with his son’s sexuality, and also sees Finn as the kind of son that he wishes he had. Finn, on the other hand, looks up to Kurt’s father as the kind of father he wishes he had, and, since Kurt’s dad started dating Finn’s mom, Kurt’s father has become a father to Finn. Meanwhile, in addition to Kurt being sexually attracted to Finn, like people have said, he’s also jealous of Finn and of Finn’s relationship with Kurt’s father.

So, whether Kurt’s father overreacted or not, and he quite probably did, the scene is also Kurt’s father getting over his own homophobia and choosing his son over Finn.

I don’t think anything happened between Burt and Finn’s mom (I can’t recall her name, Carol maybe?). There’s no reason she would have to leave. And I think it’s been mentioned that they’re still together. Certainly, if there’s one thing the writers have no problem with, it’s allowing people’s living situations to be vague for stretches of time.

Sampiro, I was thinking that in regard to the lack of bedrooms in the house that perhaps Burt has a home office. He’s the co-owner of the tire store or something like that, right? Maybe he’s got a lot of business related stuff taking up space that would normally be a bedroom. Most likely it’s just more convenient for the plot, though.

I’ve seen this show once (it was the episode where the fat cheerleader had to lose weight) and it was kind of amusing, but re your complaints about the the utterly non-realistic treatment of the scenario where a hetero boy is chastised for lashing out verbally at the stalkerish attentions of a gay boy … come on. In the real world many would count the gay boy lucky he did not get a beat down. This show is not the real world. It has gay sensibilities dialed up to 11, and that campiness is part of it’s appeal to many (it was to me).

Bitching that a show which is a campy parade at heart is not being sufficiently sympathetic to the harassed hetero kid and is not disdaining the stalkery gay kid is kind of a silly expectation.

You also have to account for the fact that it’s a sitcom (well, something like a sitcom). Subtlety isn’t exactly what they’re going for. You have to make Kurt’s affection blatantly obvious to the audience for the joke to work. Think of Niles and Daphne for years on Frasier. Either Daphne was the most oblivious person in the world for many years, or you have to allow some license for making things work for TV. Which means exaggerating things beyond the point they could quite work in real life.

So, I think, taking that bit into account, it’s really just more over on the mostly-innocent crush end of the creepy spectrum, rather than the stalkerish end if you take it more seriously.