While imperfect, I loved Glee for many reasons. The characters were diverse and each struggles with their own problems. No one had it easy and they gathered in this place and showed their vulnerability. There are a lot of hateful scenes between characters as they work through it, but there is a lot of resolution too. There’s no enemy on the show that doesn’t grow to appreciate the fortitude the characters had for not changing who they are, not that these enemies always let them know when there’s been a change of heart. They found that little niche and they accepted each other there. They worked hard to make it and maintain it.
They dealt with both mainstream and fringe issues in some cases and a part of me wanted to link a long series of clips where they do just that. No clip can encompass what they were doing, though. It may have seemed a little to tongue in cheek to some and not authentic enough to others, but they took the people most would rather forget exist and put a spot light on them. They made the loveable. They made them relatable. They made it easier to understand their struggles and they didn’t forget about them the minute that thing was over. Life doesn’t work that way either. Just because you’re comfortable with who you are doesn’t mean that you won’t constantly have to prove it to people. They were delicate at times and harsh at other times. Overall, the show preached acceptance of yourself first and then of others, just as they are. The interesting thing about that was that it included accepting the nasty and horrible thoughts that we have and that it leads to moving right passed them and down to the real people behind them. I truly loved this aspect.
I feel like this show does this in a way that really exemplifies a sentiment I first heard in a Chris Rock stand up. Some of the issue is the progress it takes for those who are most privileged to see and understand those who are less privileged and to understand how intersections work. While this show has a diverse cast, it is mostly written from the white perspective and I think that it goes a long way to showing the road ahead. Those of us who are more privileged can stand to take a second look and see if it’s capability that’s holding someone back (which is what we’re taught) or if it’s really that host of intersecting oppressions that are normally invisible to us but shape our biases anyway.
For those who never watched the show, the diversity included those who are gay, lesbian, transgender, African-American, Asian-American, Hispanic, Jewish, Christian, atheist, obese, handicapped, homeless, and white as well as those who have Down’s Syndrome. These identities overlap and intersect in different ways from character to character and I appreciate that they are also handled differently. I never felt like it got specifically feminist, but it was definitely intersectional in it’s message that many parts of our identity are oppressed in this society and we can work together to level the playing field.
I was sad to see it go but the end was perfect:
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