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Glee and Community Hit Things Outta the Park with Fun Looks at Realism

February 14, 2011

Last week, the two shows I watch regularly (besides “Jeopardy”) both had great gay-themed B plots. On “Glee,” we learned that Blaine isn’t perfect, while on “Community” we got a hilarious look at being a little… too accepting. If you’re behind on these shows, consider yourself fairly warned of spoilers.

On Glee, we watched as Blaine (Darren Criss) inexpertly serenaded a would-be boyfriend at the latter’s workplace, a Gap store. Too bad the older guy and his boss didn’t appreciate the very public advances, leaving him without a job. And through it all, Kurt (Chris Colfer) is heartbroken because he thinks Blaine is going to serenade him, and when he finally tells him, Blaine admits he doesn’t have any clue what he’s doing.

This passes for realistic on Glee.

There are a few great things going on there. First, it’s exactly the kind of thing you’d expect in any other teen drama, without any added drama about coming out, how incredibly hard! it is to be gay, or any other extraneous plot. Sure, it’s a ridiculous storyline—how quickly do you think they’d get kicked out of a real store?—but it’s actually very believable by Glee’s standards. (Let’s recall that no one seemed to think anything of having a high school Glee club do the music at a wedding, and people were only mildly indignant at the prospect of shooting a girl out of a clearly deadly cannon.)

More importantly, I think, it showed us a more relatable side of Blaine. Up until now I’ve been pretty open in my criticism of what’s seemed a perfect character. Last week, he admitted he’s clueless about relationships and is afraid of messing things up with the Kurt, the one person who seems most likely to actually become his boyfriend. (The producers can tease us all they want, but it’s pretty obvious they’ll end up dating.)

Later in the week, I found myself nearly dying from laughing at the Valentine’s Day episode of Community. In the second plot line, Britta (Gillian Jacobs), the outspoken, leftist nonconformist thinks very highly of herself because she has a friend who’s a lesbian. She lords her superior acceptance of lesbians over her younger, less worldly friend Annie, who discovers that Britta’s friend is actually a straight woman who thinks Britta’s the lesbian and also thinks she’s the bee’s knees because of her willingness to be friends with someone who’s so unjustly treated.

Their determination to prove themselves as the least homophobic people at the school culminates with them actually kissing at the school dance.

Click through to see the kiss: Community – Ep 215: A Lesbian Kiss – Video – NBC.com.

I come from an educational background where people could occasionally be equally headstrong in their desire to be the most accepting, least homophobic, etc. and it was impressive to see those actions so perfectly lampooned. There certainly are people who want to prove how cool they are by having a gay friend, and it’s a very weird experience to be the object of their hetero-counternormative affections. (And for the record, I’ve certainly been accused of being as politically righteous as “Britta the Needlessly Defiant.”)

On a more personal note, today marks the third anniversary of this blog. While my first post came Feb. 24, 2008, it was inspired by the first Valentine’s Day meal Mike and I shared, this one at a restaurant in Princeton. At one point during the meal I found myself thinking that no one was treating us too weirdly, then how strange a thought that was to have, and then how bizarre it was to me that no one else had to think that way. This flighty thought association led here and ultimately to the firestorm of comments regarding my thoughts on Chick-Fil-A, by far my most-viewed post ever.

Thanks for sticking around, folks! Happy Valentine’s Day!

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