By Becca, the Gourmez
I am so excited to be sharing my glee for Glee with you! This first column will give you the background on my present Glee opinions and obsessions. If you had told me last year at this time that I’d be filled with anticipation each Tuesday night, hoping that my digital signal actually came through so I could watch Glee as it aired rather than being forced to wait — egads! — 12 hours for it to appear on Hulu, I would have laughed. You see, I liked the first episode a lot. A singing and dancing high school drama with lots of smart humor and a vocally and visually stunning lead in the role of Will Shuster is right up my alley. And enjoy it I did, but with each new episode, my excitement waned. By the end of the season, the fast speed of the plot had given me so much whiplash, I didn’t think I cared anymore.
Finn went from dating Quinn, to crushing on Rachel while dating Quinn, to learning that he was a father, to learning that his best friend was really the father, to losing Rachel to Jesse, to losing his virginity to Santana, to getting together with Rachel by the end of the season.
My thoughts exactly, Finn.
And all those twists and turns were for only one character! Just one out of a huge cast of regulars! It makes me tired just thinking about it.
So what changed? Why does everyone I know now realize that I’m an unashamed Gleek who nearly went crazy during the six-week hiatus? It boils down to two simple and one fairly complicated reason. Here’s the first, and arguably the most important to me.
1. I adore Blaine. I could go on and on about how his dapper, fifties style of presenting himself with impeccable manners and conversations spoken in complete, rehearsed sentences charms me. And he can sing and dance! I love that he’s moved on from being a shining armor figure for Kurt. He made a great role model of how to be a self-assured, out, gay teenager but he’s become so much more than that in their months getting closer. He’s become a human. I don’t think Blaine realized how vulnerable he was making himself to Kurt as their friendship built, but soon enough, all his flaws came out. He’s so earnest that he’s oblivious to how his actions affect others, the case of getting his crush fired as the result of singing to him at the Gap being a prime example of that. He’s doubted his sexual identity openly to Kurt, which exposed huge cracks in that perfect outer image he projects to the world. Blaine doesn’t have his life all figured out, but he tries hard to make others think he does. All those flaws just make me love the character more. It doesn’t hurt that I’ve enjoyed his portrayer, Darren Criss, since I first saw him on Eastwick with a huge head of curls. I honestly didn’t recognize him on Glee until I finally realized I was crushing on the character hard enough that I needed to investigate the actor, and I was pleasantly surprised to learn that I was already a big fan. That guy is a class act in every interview he gives, too — a sweet, down-to-Earth performer with a love for Disney covers and a great feel for how to give emotional punch to every syllable of a song. Blaine and Darren, thank you for reigniting my Glee love. Now on to Reason # 2.
2. I adore the Warblers. I don’t listen to much Top 40 music, but from the moment Blaine sang the first stanza of Teenage Dream, every single song this group has done has brought a smile to my face. There’s such a zeal for life among them that comes through in their performances. Yet more than their singing, I love how they are a group of high school boys essential left to their own devices who have not devolved into jerks or bathroom humorists. Instead, they smoothly function as a disciplined, supportive group of friends. Even their arguments are restrained. Lines like “This is a kangaroo court!” and “Why don’t we just play it on kazoos?!” crack me up. Now, I find all of Glee pretty darn funny — you have to in a show this absurd — but the idea of teenagers so embracing committee rules and decorum gets me every time they have a meeting. That we may never see them again saddens me greatly. Note to Glee’s executives: I better not ever be able to say that of Blaine. Ever. Let’s move on to the third reason I fell in love with Glee this year, before I even consider that Blaine might not be on the show next season.
3. I adore that Kurt Hummel has become my window into the show and allowed me to bridge the fourth wall, if you will. Kurt is not a character I’ve always liked. He gets great one-liners, sure, and Chris Colfer can act like nobody’s business, but Kurt has often struck me as a brat. Heck, last week, I wanted to shake him when he flat out agreed that he didn’t want to hear about the New York trip because he wouldn’t be going — Be excited for your friends, Kurt! It’s not all about you, kid! But in contemplating his brattiness, I grew to appreciate how well this show’s writers created truly realistic teenage characters — realistic teenagers in an absurd setting, grant it, but realistic nonetheless. Weren’t we all selfish brats as teenagers at some point? Every single one of the new Directions has had moments of graciousness and giving support to others, but they’ve all had more than one moment of self-centeredness, too. For every time that Kurt ignores his friend’s heartaches like when he couldn’t feel happy that Finn was bonding with his dad or when he kept breaking dates with Mercedes to go out with Blaine, we’ve also had him shown to be very lonely and nearly bursting with a need for love, acceptance, and people who really understand him. And he has all that now. In this season, he’s had to weather being bullied for his sexuality and his self-confidence was severely shaken. It wasn’t just the bullying, either, but the realization that the same relationships his friends were having probably weren’t in the cards for him simply because he wanted to have one with someone of the same gender. This boy was so alone — except for his outstanding father, Burt Hummel, of course, whose been a rock to Kurt for the whole show —and so sure that he’d never be able find someone to date, to hold hands with, to freaking serenade him at his school like all of his heterosexual friends have experienced, and now . . . Kurt has all of that. It’s been immensely satisfying to watch his dreams come true. Yes, his life is far from perfect, and he’s still a total brat, but when Blaine and the Warblers walked down those stairs to sing him goodbye, I felt like they were singing for me. I had to take a step back from the TV set and just let that sink in. It was then that I realized Kurt had become my tether to Glee. I applaud the show for making me feel that connected to his struggles, hopes, and dreams.
Of course, many of Kurt’s struggles and successes have stemmed from being a gay person, but you can replace being gay with any other issue you connect with. We’ve all had something about ourselves that made us feel different and alone, something that we weren’t sure anyone else could ever love us for, whether it’s a simple streak of geekiness or something more serious like body issues. Kurt, in this past season, has embraced that part of himself and gotten everything he ever wanted. I’m not saying Kurt should be the lens everyone watches the show through. Other fans, no doubt, have felt that Rachel, Mercedes, Finn, or whoever have had the same effect for them. What my third point really boils down to is that Glee is a show that connects to us on a human level, even while being hilarious and nonsensical. That is what won me back this season and what will keep me breathlessly devoted on Tuesday nights. Oh, and this, of course.
Seriously, I cannot get enough of that guy. I’m only six years older than him, so it’s not too creepy, right?
Future Glee-Full Gabs will be more focused on the individual episodes, hopefully going up by the Thursday after a new show. I promise I will not devote the columns entirely to my love of Kurt and Blaine’s relationship, though I can’t be held accountable for the occasional gush. But I’ll cover plots, twists, turns, and solos from all of New Direction’s members. Truth be told, I like all the characters, and only rarely do I scorn one for their actions, so there will be plenty of Rachel, Quinn, Puck, Lauren, and even Sue as their stories come up. But I thought it was important that you knew where I came from as a Glee fan first, so my thoughts on the show will have a context for you. I would love it if you’d share what has connected you with the show, whom your favorites are, or anything else in the comments so we can enjoy watching the last four episodes of the season unwrap together!
P.S. This Week’s Specials on General Hospital will continue posting weekly on All My Writers – I just haven’t written one since our transition to the new site as real life has left me little GH time. Hopefully, I’ll have one up for you in a few days!
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Buy Bull Spec, featuring my fantasy short story, Bother, here.
Pictures courtesy of TV-Caps.