Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Quick Notes on "Glee"

Anyone out there

a) bisexual and
b) a watcher of Glee?

Did you find tonight's show to be...troublesome? I did. Of course, non-bisexual viewers are welcome to share their thoughts, too. (Spoilers --->) In this episode, Blaine, who was portrayed as gay up until this point, kisses Rachael, a straight girl, while playing drunk spin-the-bottle. Sparks fly, leading Blaine to wonder if he might actually be bi. Kurt, a gay boy who's in love with Blaine, tells him that bisexuality isn't real. Blaine, understandably, gets offended. Later, Blaine kisses Rachael while sober, and decides that he's definitely gay. While Blaine emphatically states that he wants to explore his sexuality, all his questioning seems to take place over the course of a day or two.

(To those unaware, asexuals and bisexuals get similar negative responses. Had Blaine said that he thought he might be asexual, the exact same conversation could have transpired.)

While Blaine defends bisexuality to Kurt, in the end it's confirmed that being bi is just a state of momentary confusion. I can understand why Kurt holds his views, especially given his feelings for Blaine. His prejudice might make sense within the story, but that doesn't mean that bisexuality should begin and end in a 45-minute period. Glee sees itself as a "progressive" show, and it covered Kurt's experience as an out gay student over the arc of many episodes. But bisexuality gets brushed off, even though there are other potentially bi characters, like Brittany and Santana. It pains me when a show gets close to doing something long-overdue, like actually having a bisexual character, and then pulls back.


annwyl_cariad said...

I'm not bisexual but I did identify as bi for a while before learning about asexuality. And while overall I found the episode absolutely hilarious, I also took issue with their treatment of bisexuality.

Despite some comments from Ryan Murphy before the episode aired dispelling the idea (comments which were also kind of offensive, actually), I really would have liked Blaine to be bisexual. I would LOVE to see a representation of bisexuality on TV that indicates that you can be bisexual without being a) promiscuous and b) female. Even if he eventually decided he was gay, I would have liked the arc to go on for longer. After all, to allude to another recent episode, just because Blaine didn't have fireworks with Rachel doesn't mean he doesn't like girls.

I was kind of pissed at Kurt at first for his prejudicial attitude towards bisexuality, but I think he was mainly speaking out of jealousy and a fear of losing Blaine. Which doesn't excuse it but it did help me understand where he was coming from a bit. I just wish the show hadn't decided to reinforce the stereotype that there are no male bisexuals. It's profoundly irritating to me when people do that.

SlightlyMetaphysical said...

I am... not enamoured, to be short, with Glee's portrayal of any minority (Kurt is the best they have by a long way, and he's problematic). I think that the writers are incompetent enough that they can't seem to be able to write a show with decent secondary characters or secondary plots, never mind secondary minority characters, so this does not surprise me in the least. (I should probably give it another chance, but I waited A WHOLE SERIES for the TINIEST sign of competence, and I found none).

Ily said...

@annwyl_cariad: Yeah, I wasn't impressed by Murphy's comments either. He made it sound like questioning bisexuality was an exciting development when really it's the same-old same-old. Kurt's comments did make sense for his character, but I agree, it would have been really cool if Blaine was actually bi and could break some of the stereotypes.

@Slightly Metaphysical: It's true, the secondary characters are pretty flat. One of my Livejournal friends posted a great piece of fanfiction about Kurofsky's (sp?, the dude that bullied Kurt) internalized homophobia. It was definitely a lot deeper than anything on the show.

Eli said...

I was weirded out bi :) the ep too. And angered, especially because it was SO freaking glib about it. Maybe the problem was that he was kissing annoying-as-hell-rachel, not that his questions about his own sexuality were groundless. And the idea he could leave that possibility open wasn't even considered. I mean, he knows himself the best, and he decides after one date and one kiss that he was absolutely wrong? That just gives weight to the things people say to aromantics and asexuals and queers in general about "wait until you.." /grow up/meet the right person/have a "real" orgasm/blahblahblah on and on. I know it's just a silly tv show but GAH.

Ily said...

@Eli: Yep, "glib" is a good way to put it. I'm glad other people agree with me on this :) It may be a silly show, but it mirrors real attitudes, and those are serious.

TheJester said...

I haven't seen this episode yet as I live in Australia and we are about 2 weeks behind the US with episodes, I read your post and the basic episode plot on Wikipedia and I totally agree with you. I love Kurt on the show and him saying that Blaine just can't be bisexual was a bit of a double standard, he wants to be accepted as gay but can't fathom someone being Bi was a bit rich.

Homosexuality being valid doesn't make bisexual less valid. I also can see his scared he might loose Blaine but I can't see how being bisexual would change anything, if he wanted to be with Kurt he would, Bi or not. And as you can see on the Valentines ep, his not really into Kurt as much as his into him nor are they really boyfriends so while his biased about Blaine he doesn';t have any right to tell him his wrong- like you said only Blaine could know how he feels. Its just stupid. My guess the producers knew Darren Criss has a popular fan base who would love to see him get some action on screen but want to wait a bit longer before they get Kurt and him to kiss. Kurt's first kiss on the show was with a guy too before he was kissed by krisoky, some kinda pattern really.

This post actually reminded me of an episode of the Tyra banks show Called Gay Kingdom. In which different members of the queer community came on the show to create their own Queer Kingdom with laws and decided on who would be placed where in the social hierarchy (ie queen, king etc). You can watch the episode over youtube if you haven't seen it, its a bit out of sync but you can still understand whats going on: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0XWvNObmOmE

Anyways in the episode they had 6 queers participate in different tasks from writing poems to writing laws. One of the tasks was to banish someone from their kingdom, the person that didn't belong out of the group (which included a transgender, two gay guys, two lesbians, a drag queer and a bisexual man). The grouped voted and decided the bisexual man didn't belong.

Which shocked me, I would have thought if anyone didn't belong it would have been the maybe the transgender, because once she had surgery she was basically a straight female- which is defiantly not gay like the other people in the group, she even says this herself when they are discussing who should go.

In the end the bisexual guy was chosen because they felt that he wasn't really queer but just confused. To them a bisexuals in the community would makes homosexuality seen as a joke to straight people. They just thought he needed to just pick a side already and that bisexuals don't exist.

Its really interesting to watch people who are usually told their sexuality is just a lifestyle choice or wrong etc telling someone in their own community that he didn't belong there. It was like they felt because they were gay they could say what sexualities are right and which don't exist at all. Which is what most heterosexuals do to them. And it wasn't as if one person held these views it was pretty much the whole group.

TheJester said...

There are so many things I find wrong with this episode, from the beginning calling it Gay kingdom when it was really a Queer Kingdom (gay usually describing a homosexual man - queer anyone who falls into the bracket of LGBQ community. )

Second they only had 6 people on the show, which showed a limiting section of the whole queer kingdom. I get that its only an hour show and having more people would make the show harder to edit down etc etc but it would have been more interesting having less known versions of queer sexuality than the standed version most people are accustomed too. They could have had Pansexuals ( If they don't believe in bisexuals imagine how they would react to someone from this group), Intersex (would they feel they belong like they feel the transgener did or not?) and the best one while not exactly queer, polyamorous just because it gets confused with bisexuality so much (that idea that bisexuals need to be in a relationship with a man and women at the same time when most bisexuals are monogamist).

Anyways just imagine how interesting it would have been to have an asexual on the show. If they were saying a bisexual was confused about his sexuality what about someone that claims to have no sexuality? The whole argument we in the asexual community already have about whether we belong in the queer community or not.....

So yeah... if you haven't seen the episode its worth watching.

But back to the bisexual thing on Glee.

I was watching the 5th season of Degrassi the next generation a few days ago, I don't normally watch it, just was on TV and I was bored LOL. On the show two friends kiss and realized they have feelings for each other. The two girls, Paige and Alex have previously been in relationships with guys so the idea that they could like a girl is seen a big controversy for them. Eventually the two girls break up and Paige (a popular cheerleader on the show) goes back to dating guys while Alex goes back to guys only to realize she really is a lesbian. So she comes out as lesbian and is with girls from then on.

This is the problem I have with shows, you are either straight or gay. You can have a phase where you go same sex but you can never be bisexual. What also confusing me was when rumor spread that Paige and Alex had kissed( once) all her friends started asking 'are you are lesbian?". Never mind she has gone out with all these guys and was perceived as straight to everyone else including herself, she must now be a lesbian. If that happened with a friend of mine I would more likely ask them if they were bi....then lesbian......anyways It just bugs me that this is how tv shows address this issue- its just a phase and exciting plot and then they go back to normal- It would have been more interesting that she was bisexual and same with Alex, ohwell...

Other show I watch is Lip Service from the UK. Its about lesbians, kinda like the L word but more down to earth and with younger characters. Its probably one of my favorite shows since seeing the whole of series one.(not sure if its still up but it was on youtube a few months ago if you haven't seen it)

In this show the main characters are all lesbians although Frankie is meant to be the bisexual in the show. Sounds great? Wrong as much as I love this show its back down to another good old stereotype. Frankie is bisexual but only very loosely. She falls in love with girls but likes to sometime use guys for sex. She basically a lesbian that like to swap a dildo with the real thing from time to time, not exactly a role model the greater community of bisexuals would want to represent them.

I don't know what shows represent bisexuals in the true sense but I'm yet to find to a show that does. Sorry my comment was so long, I started out short but kept thinking of more to say. Love your blog btw. take care x