Weekly Gleek: We've Come a Long Way, Baby

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Weekly Gleek: We've Come a Long Way, Baby

Another gleeless Tuesday has come and gone, bois and grrlz, and even the most determinedly high-spirited among us may be suffering occasional visits from the Sue Sylvester express (destination: horror). If you’re still feeling blue after last week’s DIY therapy session with Rachel Berry, then now might be a good time to pull into one of those scenic rest stops on the side of the road, stretch our legs, and appreciate that panoramic vista stretched out below. We really have come a long way, baby.

As a pop culture geek, I have always enjoyed taking these “big picture” moments to appreciate and map our collective social progress through the small screen; and right now seems like an especially good opportunity to marvel at how much Kurt and Blaine’s first kiss did not cause a kerfuffle. 

 

…That’s a pretty steamy first kiss by any yardstick, and for a gay teen couple on primetime television, it’s practically NC-17. I don’t know about you guys, but I was pleasantly surprised when the mainstream media did not run around banging into things and screaming “My eyes! My eyes!” Of course, I am not counting the tea party reaction here, because A) they are not mainstream, and B) you pretty much lose the right to have your complaints taken seriously when you start holding anti-tax rallies in publicly funded parks. Just sayin’.

So aside from Victoria Jackson’s gag reflex, the first romantic same-sex kiss on Glee didn’t really seem to cause much of a stir. And when you take a step back and think about that, it’s pretty awesome.  Just ten years ago, we had to rely completely on thinly veiled magical symbolism to tell our romantic gay stories—remember Willow and Tara and the flaming O spell? You don’t? Well let me refresh your memory…

 

Once upon a time in Y2K, there was an adorable lesbian couple on Buffy the Vampire Slayer who were never allowed to kiss or have sexy times in front of the camera. The only way they were ever able to show any couple-type affection was through metaphor, as “magik” (they would probably spell it with a k, I’m guessing, ‘cause it’s just way more hip and pagan that way), as their relationship centered so strongly around their shared “witchcraft.” In the flaming O spell pictured above, they sat side by



Comments [8]

Robin Rigby's picture

Are you only discussing gay

Are you only discussing gay teens on TV, Jenny or have you completely forgotten about Billy Crystal on Soap when you say no recurring gay characters before 1994?

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Jenny Aisenberg's picture

yes, teens

sorry I wasn't clear, robin-- I was indeed referring to gay teen characters specifically. mainly because I don't have the same confidence that I know all the adult gay characters from TV history that I have w/ teens, because before my day, there just weren't any. (case in point: I think I might have seen an episode or two of soap when I was really little, but I didn't even remember that billy crystal's character was gay!)

"We're all born naked. The rest is drag."
--RuPaul (appropriating Judith Butler for the masses...)

Grace Moon's picture

who goes back that far?

who goes back that far? kidding Wink

actually I don't remember Crystal's gay character? was it on snl?

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minniesota's picture

Making me feel old again

Dang, all you youngsters. I go back that far. Haha. Billy Crystal played Jodie in the TV sitcom SOAP (1977-1981).

Civility is not a sign of weakness.

Robin Rigby's picture

Thank Mins, for letting the

Thank Mins, for letting the young 'uns know about our history. Smile

Yes, Grace & Jenny, Billy played a gay character on the TV show Soap in the 70's. I was a teen but I thought the show was hilarious. I did not watch any of these gay teens since all of the programs mentioned here were on the air when I was in my 20's & 30's. 

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Jenny Aisenberg's picture

actually...

I think I should get a few points for just having seen a show that went off the air when I was two, haha ;p

But I still know how you feel...my little cousins are in college now, and they've never even heard of my so-called life. it's a travesty. I will be rectifying the situation over passover. 

"We're all born naked. The rest is drag."
--RuPaul (appropriating Judith Butler for the masses...)

Grace Moon's picture

I'm so confused by the

I'm so confused by the Gleasons, when does this season end?

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Jenny Aisenberg's picture

yeah, they make you work for it...

the hiatus is just one month-- then they'll be back to regular weekly episodes till the end of the season (end of may). I'm assuming the reason for the hiatus is either or both of the following:

1) they were all getting sick and passing around their germs the last few months, and needed a break so they could keep singing and dancing without collapsing on set

2) they needed to wait till the weather was reliably sunny in NYC for when they come to film the finale, so they couldn't shoot too far ahead of real time. and yes, I am actively considering some stalking when that happens... <3

"We're all born naked. The rest is drag."
--RuPaul (appropriating Judith Butler for the masses...)