Tuesday, April 26, 2011

GLEE: "Sexy"

Again, this will be somewhat briefer as I'm working from sparser notes than usual that were written a month ago. But I shall do my best to remember what was going on in the episode.

We revisit the celibacy club for the first time since the first season opened with it. Only this time, it isn't cheerleaders learning to be teases, it's actually about abstinence. Quinn certainly has had a change of heart since her pregnancy (understandably). Though I wonder whatever happened to everyone else who used to be involved in the club's former self.

With this episode, the thread of Brittany's stupidity has finally snapped, and the writers have gone too far. Brittany tells everyone she's pregnant. And why? Get this, not only does she believe that dolphins are gay sharks and that Santa Claus is real and made Artie walk, but also believes that babies come from the stork. See, she saw a weird bird perch in a tree outside her house, and now she thinks it's the stork bringing her a baby. Give me a break. First, this makes Brittany just too stupid for words. That's not funny anymore, that's just sad. If I were Mr. Shuster, my first thought would not be a reproduction lesson; it would be having Brittany's parents arrested for child endangerment. How can they allow her to go on thinking these things? Secondly, I have a hard time believing in the reality of the show that Brittany actually thinks this. Last season, she was there when Quinn gave birth. It was clear to everyone that Quinn had Puck's baby after they got busy, and there was no mention of a stork. Brittany was present when Quinn pushed a human out of her lady parts. And I'm supposed to believe she thinks the stork is responsible?

Anyway, this provides the impetus for Holly Holiday to return to the school and start discussing sex with the students. The preachy message of this episode is how uninformed teenagers are about sex education. Frankly, I think a joke is made of it when it goes this far. It's one thing to think that you can't get pregnant standing up. It's another to think pregnancy is brought on by large white fowl. Anyway, Holly is one of these progressive pass-out-the-condoms, no-such-thing-as-too-much-information types. She makes it her mission to get the kids talking about sexual issues.

She does this at first by singing with the kids the song "Do You Want to Touch Me." The scene is just... uncomfortable. I think someone's clearly missed the boat when a teacher is singing about sexual touching with underage teens. What's the point of this exercise? To make everyone comfortable with the idea of the female orgasm? Or what? The scene felt to me like that "Reproduction" scene in Grease 2. Everyone gets all into the song, but it feels so out of place.

Lauren and Puck decide out of the blue that they are going to make a sex tape, put it on the internet, and gain instant fame like all those other nominal celebrities of our day. It's a stupid idea. But here Ms. Holiday actually does something productive by informing them that it's a bad idea since it could get them arrested for possession of child pornography and registered as sex offenders. This sort of thing does happen with sexting and such these days. So while the storyline felt like it came out of left field to me, I was glad the show was reminding the kids of the world how stupid this sort of thing is.

Meanwhile, the show can't get away from Dalton Academy, so we cut over to the Warblers. They decide they need some sex appeal for regionals, so they invite girls from the private girls' school nearby. They will perform for the girls and their reaction will tell them how well they succeed in being sensual. The girls all love Blaine, of course, and are saddened to learn he plays for the wrong team. Anyway, we quickly find during the episode that Kurt is terribly unsexy. He doesn't know how to be sexy. Blaine addresses this after the performance. Kurt is just sort of uncomfortable. Blaine talks to Kurt's dad, advising him to have a sex talk with his son, which makes Burt reluctant.

But have the talk he does. What's odd here is how averse to the whole think Kurt is, when just last episode he said, "Maybe you should educate yourself so that if I have any questions I can come to my dad like any straight son." But he's so against it in this case when his father is TRYING to help him. The discussion ends up mostly side-stepping sex and being about relationships. Part of this I assume is due to the time slot and the audience; can't get too graphic. I think it's an interesting conversation involving how gay relationships are different because of the way men think and then there are two men in that relationship. His point is for Kurt not to get himself into sexual situations impulsively. Though I do wish, even avoiding the mechanics of gay intercourse, a point had been made about protection.

The weird relationship between Santana and Brittany in this episode becomes full-on lesbian. Santana proclaims that she loves Brittany and wishes she would dump Artie so they can be together. Brittany loves her too, but won't leave Artie. Santana is jealous. They sing "Landslide" together as an expression of Santana's feelings. I don't quite get the connection. Is it because of the song being covered by the lesbian Indigo Girls?

There's a weird performance of Prince's "Kiss" in this episode. Is that Will singing in a crazy falsetto? Prince is an appropriate artist for this episode, but I didn't much like this number. No one does Prince like Prince, except maybe the Artist Formerly Known As Prince.

Meanwhile, Emma has been promoting abstinence and wants the celibacy club to perform something that's not all about promoting teen sexuality. Though we learn that Emma is very sexually repressed herself, and that she and Carl are in counseling because they have yet to consummate their marriage. Is part of this due to her latent love for Will? In any case, Carl leaves her until she figures it out.

Emma ultimately does perform a song, and chooses "Afternoon Delight" totally unaware that its is not at all about abstinence. The scene is very funny for that reason. She thinks it's a song about pie, when it's really all about getting busy in the daytime.

Oh, and now Ms. Holiday and Will are an item. Whoopee. ...no pun intended.

Anyway, I wasn't a big fan of this episode. It threw a lot of stuff at the wall and not much stuck for me. Like they chose teen sexuality as an "issue" but didn't handle it in any sort of sensible way for the most part. I really object to the new fully realized bisexual Santana, which will only become more lesbian as the season goes on. It strikes me as somewhat hollow, and an attempt to make the show even gayer than it already is. I'm tired of Ryan Murphy ramming it down our throats (certainly no pun intended). Did someone complain about lack of lesbian content in the show? What started as a one-off joke in last year's finale has become a new identity for Santana, and I don't like it. Where does this fit in with her many heterosexual conquests?

I wasn't sure whether to discuss this here or in a later episode, but I guess I'll do it now. Santana will begin identifying herself as a closet lesbian in later episodes. And the viewpoint of the show seems to be that she is just embracing who she really is. But I think this reading is wrong. Santana has never shown any indication that she is interested in girls in general, only that she loves Brittany. This actually makes perfect sense. She has divorced sex from intimacy, so what she gets from guys is a sexual release, but not a real relationship. Meanwhile, Brittany is her best friend, who she has spent lots of close time with in Cheerios. They stuck by each other when they were ostracized for sticking with glee club over cheerleading. It's understandable for her to love Brittany, and to transfer that level of intimacy that is otherwise lacking in her prior sexual relationships onto her. And I think what's happened is this "gay is okay" society we live in has made her identify these feelings as her own lesbian tendencies. But from what I've seen, I don't think she is gay. I think she just loves Brittany. What she needs is to work out her intimacy issues. Until I see some indication that Santana is after anyone on the ladies' team, I can't see her as a lesbian and I think it is irresponsible of the series to paint it in such reductive light. For all those girls out there who might be confused over feelings for their best friend, and are watching thinking "does this mean I'm gay?" I think the show owes it to them to say, "not necessarily." I think Naya Rivera does a good acting job in this episode, and portrays the inner feelings well, I just don't want the show to lead the character where she shouldn't be. Why do lesbians on TV always turn out being girls who "turn"? I fear the show is becoming too gay for its own good. None of that takes away from a fine performance from Rivera, and at least addressing things seen in prior episodes. I am just really hoping that it ends differently from where it's going right now. Where's the Santana who was jealous about Puck? Who wanted Carl the dentist to drill her? What Santana needs is to be comfortable enough with a man to have the intimacy before the sex. And really, that's an angle that this episode terribly failed to address, when it would have been a perfect opportunity.

The episode feels like Carl's honeymoon with Emma: a frustrating disappointment.

Songs in tonight's episode:
Do you Wanna Touch Me (Oh Yeah)
Afternoon Delight

Next episode: Regionals are back upon us, and the club is performing original songs. I guess that means Rachel's songwriting has improved. New Directions and the Warblers go head-to-head for a rematch... any guesses who wins?

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