Film/TV Jun 1, 2010 at 9:26 am


Amen, thank you for posting this. Everyone I know loved that scene, while for me the entire situation seemed pretty fucked up.
Fer crissakes, it's a musical teen melodrama, not a Bill Moyers panel discussion. I more than half expect Finn the dimbulb to flip shit at Kurt and his dad about this in some future episode. But FWIW I like that it missteps toward us, rather than away. Plus I have a thing for aggressive nellies like Kurt.
I thought we were SUPPOSED to sympathize with Finn and feel conflicted about the whole situation. Am I giving Glee too much credit? It's hard for me to believe that the show's writers actually wanted us to unequivocally buy into Kurt's dad's admirable but contextually misguided rant.
I completely agree - old Kurt needed to be called on his manipulation.
It does work. Think about this from the perspective of a teenager--we can't look at this through our useless adult lenses.

As a regular Glee viewer, Kurt's actions have been extraordinarily over-the-top, and up on the level of a John Hughes Best-Of. On the character level, both Kurt and Finn during the season have been under absurd stress and pressure, but lately--in the show--even moreso for Finn.

1. having to deal with his mother finally getting past his dead father
2. Finn not being over his dead father
3. Mom hooking up with a new guy
4. Kurt's passive-aggressive romance toward him that Finn isn't OK with
5. Finn having to move in to a new home with Kurt
6. Finn finding out his pregnant girlfriend was pregnant by another guy
7. AFTER he'd reconciled himself to being there for her as the dad
8. Finding out his BFF is the Baby Daddy
9. Finally going for the real girl of his dreams, Rachel
10. Who promptly used and abused him in her warped way (RE: Jesse)
11. The ongoing stress of the competitions.

There is a lot there for any straight kid to identify with on some level. Any 16 year old dude would crack up under that.

Hence, him finally going FAGGY FAGGY FAGGY in that scene made perfect character sense. He lost it finally after coming close several times (when he went off on Rachel, attacked Puck, etc.). Keeping all that in mind.. that's why he flipped out. Kurt certainly didn't help matters, but they're both kids and don't know how to deal with any of their issues yet. Kurt's been a creepy douchenozzle toward Finn, but Finn hasn't been exactly accepting either. Both are at fault in different ways.

It does work as a teachable moment, though. Why? Because mainstream America is stupid. The scene in context IS well done, and even for someone like me that can read telegraphed and common tropes usually pretty well, it snuck up on me since it was powerful.

Now think about some dumb 16 year old kid watching this--and a LOT of them do. The Idol crowd, the High School Musical crowd. Glee is like True Blood is for adults; they get together to watch their fantasyland. You've just tossed a mental hand grenade at all of these middle-American kids. This is the sort of thing over time that shapes them--even if it's only 1% of 1% of 1% of the audience, its another salvo in the war.

They just saw the male teen 'star' of the show completely upended and dressed down for using language and context they themselves may use, by one of the most sympathetic and idealized father figures on the television show. That has an impact that for impressionable kids will have an impact.

We're old and jaded, and don't matter like they do here.
@3 that's just the dramatic plot of the show; Burt will probably find out what Kurt's been up to sooner or later and it will tear up Kurt bad... but the fact is that kids will see Burt-on-Finn and that moment will be what really sticks with them. Even if a black dude repeatedly gives you lip, you still shouldn't call him a nigger any more than if Dan ever repeatedly hit on me I shouldn't call him a fag over it. That was the point of it. Glee is a lot of things, but "subtle" doesn't exist in their story bible.
I dunno, it was pretty clear to me that Kurt was at fault, which I imagine they will address more in perhaps tonight's episode. I think the writer of the article is drawing conclusions before the story is fully played out. The dad's speech was a touch after school special-y, but the scenes between the two young guys leading up to it were beautifully written and acted. I loved it because it came from a very real place regardless of who was behaving appropriately. It was uncomfortable to watch in a good way.
Dan, please never post about Glee again. It was a good moment and I think your hatred toward the show colors your perspective. So, yeah, just quit posting about it.
I gave up on this show because all of its "teachable moments" have been equally wrong-headed. The episode in which Sue tried to split up the club, with her glee club being the one with the minorities? Will sums up at the end that "we're all minorities." And then, in the episode that finally made me leave in disgust, the episode in which all the glee club members have to be in wheelchairs as an assignment, and Finn can only get a job because Rachel threatens a restaurant with a lawsuit if they don't hire Finn who is pretending to use a wheelchair. Really? The straight, able-bodied white kid has a harder time than, say Kurt or Mercedes? Ridiculous. There's an ugly, right wing current to this show that I'm surprised no one has called it on. It pretends to be progressive and tolerant, but it isn't really.
Thank you for this! I tried to say that to a few people last week and didn't do it very well. It's a great speech and it's nice that Kurt gets to see his dad stand up for him, but it's misdirected.
As a woman, the idea of being forced to live in a room with a man wanted me in a sexual/romantic manner (but I did not want in return) makes me feel a little nauseated. I imagine that anyone would feel similarly, not just a woman. I sincerely hope that the writers of Glee make it clear that Finn has a right to his sexual boundaries.
It's not a terrible scene, and anything that gets people to use "fag" as an insult less is a good thing.

Thing is, Glee's sexual politics are something I found pretty cliché and run-of-the-mill. It's a musical theatre show, so we have to have a gay character. Okaaay, and that gay character has to be an effete narcissist metrosexual who talks about shoes and hair care products any time he isn't dancing in costume to "Single Ladies"? Not that I don't think that flamboyant gey people shouldn't ever be depicted, but how is it a positive step towards middle America / Joe-Sixpack being comfortable with gays if the only depictions of gay people are that flaming? I think it would have been a coup if Finn or Puck, the masculine icons of the show, had turned out to be gay, and if it wasn't treated as a big deal.
In fifty or more years of television melodrama for teens, the teachable moment has never been within the context of the show; the true, teachable moments have always been in the context of the conversations that audiences have about the show.

...that you are talking about the show means that the writers have once again found a way to create something relevant out of something inane.'s something the whole family can enjoy!
Dan: word. And thank you for posting this.

Also @11: exactly.
And how many gay men think that anyone can be gotten into bed. Kurt is not alone in this behavior and these are flawed characters as we all were in HS.

Mr. Savage or Dan Listen to #8 - Just stop.

I knew a girl so gloomy
she wouldn't laugh or sing
she wouldn't listen to me
Now she's a mean old thang
So spread sunshine all over the place
Just sit on a Happy Face!!
I wish people would stop trying to 'Juno' Glee for me.
I get that it's annoying when something as obviously flawed as Glee becomes so popular but it's a bit draning trying to defend somthing that you like for no more profound reason than 'because it's fun'. Glee IS flawed but it's the only truly optimistic thing on tv right now and that's something with championing.

"Don't tell me not to live, just sit and putter
Life's candy and the sun's a ball of butter
Don't bring around a cloud to rain on my parade
Don't tell me not to fly, I simply got to
If someone takes a spill, it's me and not you
Who told you you're allowed to rain on my parade"
I agree with what Mendelson wrote. But, to be fair, the whole episode is about Finn being bullied by his team mates who call him gay. Because of that he ends up using those words, and before he could become one of those assholes Kurt's father stops him overreacting about the faggy thing. I think it has some value to young tv viewers, let's not celebrate yet, I prefer that schools do the teaching, so let's fight for a diverse education.
Greetings from Argentina.
Oh, brudder. That Finn was being told suddenly he had to live in the same room with predatory lispy Kurt was the dramatic setup, kids. The setup for him feeling perfectly righteous busting out with "faggy" this and "faggy" that, which Kurt's dad pointed out was not excusable no matter how justified you think you are. Hell yeah, in this case Finn had good reason to think he was justified, and comments here show a lot of people agree with him. Of course it's easy to identify with Finn - that's why the lesson strikes home. And to see Finn respond to that overarching lesson with compassion and friendship for Kurt instead of a temporarily satisfying justified rage - that's something I bet a lot of people noticed too.

Which is why, no matter its faults (autotune is horrible), you can't say the show's not timely.
@5 -- I completely agree, too many people are looking at this scene, and the show as a whole, through the eyes of an adult. This show is about high school kids. They're going to be doing a lot of stupid, over-the-top stuff that seems absurd because they are high school kids.

As far as this article goes, I think the author is ignoring the part that happened prior to the beginning of the video clip where it seems that Kurt has realized that he has been acting inappropriately toward Finn. Also, Kurt's father knows nothing of the argument other than hearing the word "faggy" being thrown at his son. His reaction is completely appropriate.

@8 -- I agree. It's fine if you don't like the show, Dan. But don't criticize it through another writer without knowing what actually happened in the episode.
I don't think that scene was the last word, either. We've already seen Rachel tell Kurt off because of his crush on Finn. (Something like, "I could 100th on his list of people he's interested in dating, and I'd still be way ahead of you, because I'm a girl.") Also, as the writer pointed out, Kurt's dad is unaware of what's going on, and did the "good parent" thing by coming to his son's defense in the strongest possible terms. I think he (the dad) will change his mind once he finds out what Kurt was up to.

This show already surprised me by the way Rachel's reunion with her birth mother played out, so I'm willing to wait and see what happens before declaring this a failure.
That same episode culminated in the intertwining of the amazing voices of Lea Michele and Idina Menzel, playing Rachel's long lost mother, singing a duet of Pokerface ?!?! ... and you think that the scene with Finn, Kurt and Kurt's dad was the major disappointment of that show? I completely agree that Kurt is responsible for manipulating that situation, and hope that he get his comeuppance. But, still, Pokerface?
I was moved by the father's defense of his son (that was some fine acting), but I think Mendelson's point is right on, and I was bothered that Kurt's aggressiveness wasn't acknowledged. But Dan, since you never watch "Glee," as you have told us so many times, how did you know about this scene in the first place?
Dan, I was under the impression that you loathed Glee and never watched it. I think you're on shaky ground here...
I loved Mike O'Malley's performance, (and Mike O'Malley, 'cause he's adorable), and the basic sentiments were sound, but yeah, I had problems with that scene and I HATE how they write Kurt as an aggressive straight hunter. But, I think that plotline is biting the dust because Kurt is supposed to have a boyfriend next season.
and, I'm hoping that the new boyfriend is a little less clichey than Kurt...can we have a tv fag who isn't into fashion, hair care products, and show tunes? (ok, it's GLEE, so he'll have to be into showtunes...)

And, who is paying for all of Kurt's really high end clothes? He's wearing pieces of clothing that cost thousands of dollars...
@26 maybe Kurt's boyfriend will be a big untidy bear that wants to drink beer and watch football. Girls supposedly go for guys like their dads, right, and boys supposedly for girls like their mothers, right? Does it go the same way for gays? Ultra-neat Kurt having to deal with falling for his opposite? The heart wants what the heart wants... which explains Finn, I suppose.
I'm a huge Glee fan, and I watch the show every week, and I agree with Mendelson's criticism. In fact, as soon as last week's episode was over, my wife and I had a conversation about the show that pretty much exactly tracked what Mendelson said about it.

Yes the show is goofy and yes it's meant as entertainment, but it's also culturally important. As someone who grew up with a gay dad whose family had totally disowned him because of it, and who had to listen to my classmates tell AIDS jokes while my dad was dying in a hospice in the '80s, I cried like a fucking baby during the episode where Kurt came out to his dad. Not because I've never seen a coming-out scene on television before, but because this one appeared in an extremely popular show that is targeted to a general young-adult audience. It's like when Ellen's character came out on her show; that's fine, but in a lot of ways it wasn't as culturally significant as when Willow came out on Buffy. Hard-fought battles that end in glorious victories are lovely, but the moments that really get to me, as someone who's been dealing with this issue for almost 40 years, are the moments that aren't battles at all, when a conversation about something else raises LGBT issues and everybody doesn't freeze in little dramatic shocked tableau. As far as that goes, Kurt's dad's little speech about how he thought Finn was some kind of "new dude" who was just born knowing all the stuff that Kurt's dad had to work so hard to learn had a lot of resonance for me.

All of which is why the comparatively one-dimensional take on Finn's use of the word "faggy" was frustrating. Rachel's comment to Kurt about how Kurt would never have a chance with Finn was comparatively sophisticated, against the backdrop of the rest of the show, and the writers subverted that sophistication with their take on Finn and Kurt's interaction in last week's episode.

That scene would have been perfect If Kurt hadn't been so "mad" in the following scene. That's what made it ridiculous. Because the scene can be really easily interpreted ad the way Mendelson did. I think there have been many other occasions were the teachable moments have been stupid. I don't think this was one of them. It had a lot of power because it was the culmination of every dumb action that Kurt had been taking and it was a strong moment were Burt does defend his son out of his own guilt for not understanding him. It works.

I don't like to poop on Dan because everyone's entitled to their opinion. But Dan you hate the show... Are you watching it? or did you just jump on the article as a means to bash the show? Because to be honest the article didn't really say anything truly negative.

If Glee was more realistic Kurt would have probably gotten the living shit beaten out of him.
I can't believe people have put this much time, thought, and energy into a stupid tv show. It's called fiction. These people don't really exist. Who gives a shit?

Same goes for all the whining about Sex & The City.

word. I hope the show acknowledges exactly that point, and I'll be sorry if it doesn't.

Shakespeare is fiction. Is it important? Worth analyzing?

Popular fiction matters. It's the abstract and brief chronicle of the time.
Me, too! Who the hell would move their daughter into their boyfriend's son's room? Same thing here IMO. And where the hell is the mother through all of this? She's like this giant missing cipher. So, Kurt's mom dies and now Flynn's mom abdicates because she has a boyfriend? WTF?!?!?!

At least let's see the mom say, "Hey, your gay son is making totally inappropriate advances towards my straight son and until you build the extra room, we aren't moving in!"

I still love Glee but that scene and the following where Kurt shoves all the blame onto Flynn were horrible.
The daughter moving in with the partner's son...

Didn't that happen on The Brady Bunch?

Please wait...

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