Tuesday, 6 December 2011

The things wrong with Glee's 'I Kissed a Girl'

I had wanted this to be a balanced post, I really did. However, it's just not going to happen.

I don't write recaps for shows in this blog, and I'm not about to start, but I felt compelled to write about Glee's latest episode: I Kissed a Girl. I'm not going to tell you what exactly happened in the episode, so if you don't know, AfterEllen's Heather Hogan posted a recap on Wednesday.

This episode was sold as the one in which Glee's only lesbian character, Santana Lopez, was going to come out. However, if this had been a product advertised in the UK, I'd have been able to report them to the ASA because this is not what we got. For it be her "coming out" episode she'd have had to accept her own sexuality, weighed up the pros and cons between telling people and decided it was best for her to come out. This is not what happened, and there are so many things wrong with this episode, I don't know where to start.
  1. At the beginning of the episode, Santana is threatened with suspension for an "unprovoked" (according to Will, it really wasn't) slap on Finn. 
  2. Finn swoops in to be a hero, not because he felt guilty for his part in Santana's outting to the whole of Ohio, but because he wants Sectionals between The Troubletones and New Directions to be a "fair fight".
  3. Finn steals Brittany's lines about how awesome Santana is and how she shouldn't hide any part of herself.
  4. A "coming out" episode ends up being about how a straight male teenager decides Santana should hurry up and come out of the closet this week.
  5. Finn mentions Salazar's campaign ad which features Santana's sexuality without taking responsibility for his part in it being made (he outted Santana in the middle of a crowded hallway in 'Mash Off' when Salazar's niece was passing).
  6. Santana's coming out to her parents is mentioned in passing, when Kurt got a whole conversation with his dad about it in season 1.
  7. In an episode called 'I Kissed a Girl' the nearest we get to a kiss between two girls is a kiss on the cheek which is mostly blocked by a man (this is less than we got when two guys kissed for the first time on Glee), but we had to see Puck in bed with not one, but two women.
  8. Katy Perry's song 'I Kissed a Girl', which is about how it's OK for a girl to kiss another girl as long as they're drunk and it means nothing, features in an episode which is supposed to be about to be Santana coming to terms with her sexuality.
  9. Finn tells Santana he doesn't want her to die at her own hand, even after Santana tells him that isn't going to happen. Girl knows her own mind, dude.
  10. The stripped down version of 'Girls Just Want To Have Fun' was autotuned because Cory Monteith couldn't even sing that and yet, he's still considered the male lead in a musical show...
  11. When Finn looked at Rachel when singing, we saw Rachel. When Santana looked at Brittany, we didn't see her.
  12. In an episode where her girlfriend comes out and she gets elected senior class president, Brittany gets 3 lines.
  13. Kurt didn't call his step brother out on how uncool it was to out Santana.
  14. All the other women in this episode are portrayed as being silly things who can't be trusted to make decisions on their own (Rachel, Quinn and Shelby) or who need to define themselves according to the man they are or are not with (Sue and Beiste).
  15. More time seemed to be given to Sue's attempt to prove she's straight to get votes by stealing Beiste's man than Santana accepting herself for who she is.
Spot the difference in representation.
There were some awesome moments hidden away in there, Naya Rivera acted her heart out during her coming out scene with her abuela, the other girls telling the Neanderthal rugby player where to get off when he told Santana he could straighten her out and Britt and Santana were all kinds of cute in the gym on polling day. Also, Naya's 'Constant Craving' was amazing. Also, if I'm really kind, I might be able to give Finn the benefit of the doubt and say he really was trying to look out for Santana this week, he just went about it the wrong way. However, he still should have admitted he was wrong to out her like he did.

Despite these rays of sunshine, I just feel so let down by the episode. It's as if Glee's producers think women can't make their own decisions without men to rely on and that Santana's right to choose about coming out isn't to be respected, or even acknowledged, but Dave Karofsky's is, despite him attacking and threatening to kill Kurt last season. I thought after they recruited two female writers for this season, we'd be over this. That the female characters would actually be respected as individuals, and not be props for the guys any more, but no, that's not what we get. I am not about to boycott Glee, because Naya Rivera is so talented I can't help but watch her, but if she doesn't have a substantial role next season, I won't be returning for season 4.


  1. I really can't decide just one way to feel about this episode. I vacillate back and forth between hating everything besides the abuela scene and Constant Craving, to just enjoying the episode for what it is and being grateful gay people are being portrayed on TV at all.

    I really hated the sexism and patronization in this ep. And I can't believe they went straight from the scene of the girls defending Santana to the jerk of a jock, right into "I Kissed A Girl" of all songs. (Though I have to admit, I enjoyed all the lady talent in the performance...)

    The optimistic part of me wants to hold out hope that RIB will redeem themselves, but I can't really see that happening. However, they have officially cast Santana's mom for an upcoming episode so hopefully we'll at least see some sort of interaction between them regarding San's sexuality, since they blew off her coming out with one sentence.

    Whatever happens though, as you said, as long as the perfection that is Naya Rivera is still on the show, I'll still be tuning in every Tuesday, and waiting for the next ep with anticipation Wednesday through Monday.

  2. Yes, I did very much enjoy the talent on show during *that* song but I found it hard to ignore how inappropriate it was!

  3. And they officially cast GLORIA ESTEFAN as Santana's mom, so I'm hoping for a deliciously awesome song of support. Possibly a mother-daughter duet. I ship Naya's voice/everything ever. So. Yay!