• I Sort of Liked Glee

    December 16, 2021

    Tags: , ,
    Posted in: Democracy

     

    YouTube sent me down a spiral rewatching Glee clips. I am not a Glee fan per se, but it was one of a handful of shows I watched when my kids were in Peak Mode, old enough to be interesting as people but not old enough to realize I was not interesting. My kids are adults now; did TV help form them?

    It did. And what we all learned and especially how we learned it is a lesson on the failure of 2021 wokeness to achieve change and instead just piss people off.

    First a shout out to technology, which makes it a click away to rewatch most anything ever recorded somewhere. I remember visiting the Museum of Broadcasting in New York, with its vast video library, and walking away saying “Um, this is just YouTube but in a building.” So no flying cars in 2021 and no Jetsons-like meals in a pill, but I can watch TV from the 2000s anytime I want to.

    The odd collection of shows my kids and I watched together included Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Glee, Lost, and Survivor. This was before we owned a video recorder and way before on-demand TV, so each show had to be watched, together, at a specific time on a certain day of the week. Called “destination TV” today, this was important because it made the watching a communal event. Today much media is consumed alone, or “virtually together” by people in different places connected by some messaging app. It’s not the same.

    Of all the shows we saw together, in 2021 Glee struck me as the most influential. When it first aired it was thought of as, at least in a suburban way, edgy. I’m sure eyes all across Brooklyn are rolling but they miss the point. Glee being suburban was the point. It was edgy not because we didn’t already know gay dudes liked show tunes but because it took place in suburbia (Ohio for God’s sake) and was meant to be watched in suburbia by families together.

    And in the early 2000s in that context it was edgy to have a gay high school kid coming out, and two girls in love with each other without either of them looking like pitbulls with mullets. Better yet, for my prepubescent but paying attention to things kids, and their soon to be parenting teenagers parents, we had a chance to try out talking about things without wokeness being shouted at us and accusations that I was a patriarchal fascist. It seems trivial now when trans-everything is part of everything but even as a relatively open household we needed to wade in shallow waters first. It prepared us when things got more complicated. We were less successful in that regard watching Family Guy together.

    There was a lot of reality to suspend in Glee. It’s what made Glee more of a parody at times, and kept The Message from overwhelming every scene. Yes, a nowhere Ohio high school somehow threw together Broadway-level shows spontaneously. Never mind nearby there was a private boys school essentially the equivalent of a West Village bathhouse. It feels awkward today that the Disabled Kid was considered empowered by being pushed back and forth through the dance numbers, never mind that the actor who played him looked like he was 40 by the time the show ended.

    Showing how wokeness changed, despite the stunning number of LGB kids at this isolated school, it was only toward the end of the show’s run a transperson showed up, and with no fights with the lesbian community over TERF or whether to otherwise support trans inclusion in women’s spaces. Simpler times! Systemic racism seemed like a far away thing compared to whether the school would allow Lady Gaga songs on stage. Mr. Schuester, the club mentor, would today be hauled off by Child Services for his near constant groping of underage girls.

    And yeah, one of the actors was a real-life pedo (who killed himself) and another a drug addict (who killed himself.) Some of the actors who played gay and lesbian students were not gay or lesbian. Few wokesters of today would be happy with the base premise “of course we’re all minorities, we’re in the glee club.” All instant cancellation fodder in 2021.

    We do also need to overlook Glee’s disproportionate number of gays and lesbians in a small Midwestern town. Same for the disproportionate number of Asians and blacks there, and how when one actor left the show he was replaced by another new kid of the same demographic. The racial demographics of the real Lodi, Ohio, where Glee was set, show 97 percent white and zero Asians. I’ve been to Lodi; if it is not 97 percent straight people it is 97 percent people who pretend to be straight. Less than half population there in real life graduated from any high school, never mind one so devoted to the arts.

    But I get it, Glee was just a confection, a network mainstream TV show designed to sell stuff. But Glee was also proto-media, a hint of the agenda all media would assume in just a few years, albeit with a much blunter instrument.

    One of Glee’s best-presented story lines was about the redneck dad slowly accepting his gay son coming out. It was warm-hearted where it could have been like an AOC screed. Same for the various bullies who came to understand those unlike them. That seems a better way to influence rednecks than today’s version where some angry alliance would burn dad’s house down for being homophobic while Lin Manuel-Miranda “while not condoning violence” tweeted out his support for the violence.

    Glee’s message was consistently one of tolerance. Things would work out, there was no need to burn the place down over a bad pronoun choice. Radical intolerance expressed via cancellations, boycotts, and firings is never the solution for others’ intolerance.

    As cliched as that sounds, played out over time, it sings a lot better than tweets demanding death to all cisgender males will 25 years from now. “I’m better than you because I’m queer” isn’t any different than “I’m better than you because I’m not.” If you can’t see the failure of hypocrisy in modern wokeness you should go back and watch Glee again.

    Now imagine the bum-bum-bum Glee bumper music to end this.

     

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    Copyright © 2020. All rights reserved. The views expressed here are solely those of the author(s) in their private capacity.

  • Recent Comments

    • Rich Bauer said...

      1

      You perv. Getting hot watching Buffy “with your kids” as cover.

      12/16/21 10:51 PM | Comment Link

    • Rich Bauer said...

      2

      You do seem to like them young. Did you ever meet Jeff Epstein in the City?

      12/16/21 11:05 PM | Comment Link

    • John Poole said...

      3

      Peter- did your fag gene just kick in? Glee? Surely you jest.

      12/17/21 1:59 PM | Comment Link

    • Rich Bauer said...

      4

      JP,

      Your Russian bigot slip is showing…again. Hey, when are you Russkies gonna pass anti-Hate legislation to protect gays and Jews and other oppressed people in your shitty country?

      12/18/21 9:01 AM | Comment Link

    • John Poole said...

      5

      Bauer- fag is a wonderful term to disparage certain obnoxious behavior within the gay community. Surprised you feel it has been banished or is no longer acceptable. Are you that afraid of using certain very effective and useful words?

      12/18/21 4:27 PM | Comment Link

    • John Poole said...

      6

      Bauer, you should bone up on slander laws. You just inferred that PVB is most likely a pedophile.

      12/18/21 4:44 PM | Comment Link

    • Rich Bauer said...

      7

      JP,

      Yeah, but you Russkies are easily offended too. It is a Crimea to invade another country, but you get offended when other countries want to be defended against you.

      12/19/21 8:07 AM | Comment Link

    • Rich Bauer said...

      8

      JP,

      But we Amerikans know all about your Russkie slander laws. Slander razPutin and you get the death penalty…or you may fall off a building …by accident.

      12/19/21 8:30 AM | Comment Link

    • John Poole said...

      9

      Bauer I enjoy a North Coast Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout on occasion. There’s no disputin’ I enjoy a Rasputin but actually prefer a Ten Fidy. Don’t worry about PVB suing you for slander just as I assume he’s not going to take me to court over a sort of lame attempt at humor. Oh, while in the USC School of Music I was definitely a minority. I was referred to as a “hettie” (heterosexual). It was a funny term and perhaps as an endearing reference.

      12/19/21 4:15 PM | Comment Link

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