Note: Much of this entry (Ben’s and half of Rich’s) was written before having watched Episode 11, Hairography.
Finn’s mom is okay, though she was way over the top in the early going. “Who needs a man?” she asks while teaching her son to drive, which is a totally misdirected argument. The power of the moment in the previous episode was the sparse, disciplined writing that gave credit to the audience for knowing that conversations happen more like this and less like 10 minutes of exposition.
Definitely concede the point on Quinn… I’ve been very impressed by her portrayal. The slow swing from jerky because she’s popular to sweetened by the compassion that comes with pain and suffering has been a terrific story arc.
Finn is a senior in high school who does not know that you can’t get a girl pregnant through your swimsuit, hot tub water, and her swimsuit. He plays for a team that never wins and thinks he can get a football scholarship. He gets and follows advice from his gay friend on how to handle whether or not to tell a girl’s parents that she is pregnant without her consent. He can’t figure out how to make a few dollars to help his girlfriend out. He is an over-the-top moron. Puck is a disgusting human being, but at least he shows a little spunk, emotion, creativity, and even thoughtfulness. Finn’s been coming in a distant second to him for a while now.
I don’t argue using stereotypes. Her parents could have been the EXACT stereotypes they were without two things… the Glenn Beck comment and the religious comments. Without those two, this is a stereotype that helpfully challenges having the wrong priorities, drinking to stay happy, pushing problems aside, putting the wrong kind of pressure on your kids, and the negative things that result from those issues. WITH those two things, and especially without ever having anyone else who is conservative or religious on the show, it takes the focus off the negative behaviors and places it squarely on the hypocrisy and self-centeredness of religious political conservatives. Just try and tell me that more liberal, non-Christian viewers didn’t immediately have negative connotations reinforced in their minds, rather than learning a lesson about negative parenting behaviors.
I was surprised by how much I enjoyed the Suzy Pepper storyline. There’s a good example of a story that was a bit silly and over the top, but helpful without being overly mean in the process. And they gave her a terrific moment of dignity at the end, which was great. It used a sort of geeky stereotype to tell the story, but gave a sense of hope that these things can be gotten over and dignity can return.
On Kurt, I just flat out disagree. Loneliness is a good storyline, though they’ve reinforced several times that Glee has been a huge windfall for him in terms of being one of the most popular kids in the club. This should be a reniassance for him! But even if we divide out popularity and love, mooning over the dumb jock is stupid, especially when two weeks ago he was betraying the guys (regarding Vitamin D) because his relationship with the girls was more important to him.
Kurt is usually portrayed as one of the most sophisticated and articulate people in the group… gives good advice, puts his feelings into words, etc. For someone like that to have some notion they can take an idiot jock (who he thinks is going to be a father!) and turn him gay is nowhere in the realm of believability.
Yes, Finn is dumb by our real-world standards, but we’re talking about a world where singing to each other is basically seen as not all that awkward, and where you can fool your husband into thinking your pregnant for, well a really long time. Also, Sue Sylvester is still employed. This is a hyper-stylized world of craziness, and the stereotypes are pushed to extremes as well, hence Finn’s extreme mental density.
Judging from the reaction my wife has to Puck’s dillema, you may be right about him. Does girls fascination with this guy have to do with their love of the bad guy or something else?
I find it hard to believe that a simple joke about Glenn Beck and the religious references could sway the reaction of a bunch of liberals. My feeling is anyone who has their stereotypes reinforced as a result probably wanted them reinforced and they were reading all of that into them anyway. Would I have liked it if they left those references out? Yes. But they by no means overshadowed the thoughtful way they wrote the discussion about the pregnancy. I admit though: the dad’s performance needs some subtlety. It could have been way better…
…Okay, I wrote all of that the previous week, before I took vacation, got a horrific allergy attack, and was otherwise occupied. Since, I have watched the new episode of Glee (Hairography) which, encouragingly, addresses exactly some of the issues we’ve been discussing. It seems to me that, surprisingly, Quinn has come full circle to becoming the full-fledged star and protagonist of the show, replacing Rachel, whom we now just kind of pity.
Oh, and btw, I was really impressed by how they recovered from Kurt’s storyline from the previous episode – which I concede at this point after your argument and a confirming comment from Kiel – by having him basically acknowledge that he was being dumb. In this episode, even though he’s kind of a jerk, he’s also kind of a nice wise, Yoda-like figure here.
It wasn’t perfect, but I found Hairography to be one of the most encouraging episodes in a while, just because it goes out of the way to address so many of the concerns and complaints both you and I had about the show. I still have 2 complaints though: Finn is still an incredible moron, and though they gave lip-service to Mr. Scheuster’s wife having some sort of a soul, they kind of punted this episode. I’m hoping that’s going to improve, but her character is hurtling quickly toward the point of no return for me.