Glee, revisited (1 of 2)Posted: June 10, 2010
Okay, I wrote this awhile back and seem to have forgotten to post it. Day job and all that. So here’s the now-outdated post. Next up will be my take on the whole season, which has just ended.
I get that the show plays with satire and tries to poke at stereotypes. I kind of like that. But…please…explain to me what the ever-loving hell you’re trying to do with the character of Sue Sylvester? I mean, it takes a serious, serious internal inconsistency to allow a new recruit to join the cheerleaders basically just because she has Down syndrome, which your sister also has…and then to turn around and mock Emma for her behavior. Which we’ve heard her explain as a reaction to an adverse episode in her past, not OCD or a clear-cut phobia or anything else that’s a diagnosis. And now we’ve heard Sue call it OCD and Emma not deny it, but still.
I ask this because, frankly, I’m less and less comfortable watching the show. The way disabilities are portrayed? The way the people with those disabilities are portrayed? The relationships of the PWD? They’re a mess.
I vaguely feel as though people get treated as props on your show, and that doesn’t sit well with me. Take the latest episode – Laryngitis. Finn’s friend? Is just an object lesson for Rachel. Yeah, sure, you brought him in for the big finale piece, but seriously – he was a weird shell of a character. Please, if you haven’t yet, go read this blog post at FWD^ about television and problematic handling of PWD.
It’s really admirable to try to get PWD onscreen, and to try to be subversive in getting your messages about accepting yourself and being accepting of others out into the world. But I’m one of the ones who’s going to have to deal with people who assume that there’s some hidden blessing behind my sister’s disabilities, and I’m going to have to keep fighting to get them to listen to her voice, since I’m one of the few who listens to that voice.
I’m not the best person to tell you how offensive it feels that Quinn gets to tell Mercedes How Life Is. Thin white girl telling a fat black girl how to be herself? That is, trust me, just as bad as society at large telling Mercedes she is too fat to be worth anything, or too black to be worth anything. Thankfully you let the character be strong on her own, but Moral Of The Story Fairy Quinn just ain’t cutting it for me, folks.