Glee: On My Way

Posted on February 22, 2012

Ugh. We can’t with this show anymore. If that’s not the reaction you expected us to have, well….

Look, we’ll go quietly. An episode like last night’s certainly had nothing but the best of intentions and we’re going to try not to shit all over that – especially if people reading this were emotionally affected by it all. If it’s still your show, go right on loving it. As for us, we’ll just exit quietly through this side door, the bloated self-importance and treacly glurge finally having done us in.

But before we go…

A show in 2012 with a large teen audience and a proportionately large gay audience will find itself dealing with the issue of gay teenagers generally and anti-gay bullying specifically at some point. We would have expected no less from Glee and we support the show’s efforts to consider the lives of young gays and help educate other people as to what those lives are really like. But – and we are hoping our brothers of a certain age will back us up here – there comes a point when the effort to educate and be respectful of a group of disenfranchised people tips over into inadvertently redefining them in a new way: victim.

Remember, my brothers? Remember that ten-year period when the mass media definition of “gay man” was “noble, diseased victim?” Is this new trope of gays as noble, weepy, child victims really a step in the right direction? Because just as in the eighties and nineties, when the majority of gay men were not dying of AIDS; the majority of young gay people today are doing relatively okay for themselves. Does this mean there’s no problem to be addressed? Of course not. As we said, we support the show’s efforts, but THREE painful coming out stories in little over a year, each one progressively more dramatic than the next (Kurt: full love and support from all of creation; Santana: public humiliation and estrangement from family members; Dave: suicide attempt) is overkill of the worst degree. And by making each story progressively more damaging to the person who comes out, what the hell is the message they’re trying to send anyway?

And since we’re stepping in it, we may as well grind our feet into the mess a little: kids only get so much out of “It Gets Better.” You know why? Kids, by their very natures, are not forward-looking; everything is RIGHT NOW and of the HIGHEST IMPORTANCE. We can’t think of any message from an adult more condescending to a teenager than “Shh. It’s okay. Just dream of ten years from now.” Especially since the message of “It Gets Better” pretty much accepts anti-gay bullying as an inevitability; something for the kid to just hunker down and get through. In other words: the message of “It Gets Better,” whether it intends it or not (and obviously, it didn’t) is that the victims of anti-gay bullying have to do the work of dealing with it, but no one else does. “You’re on your own, kid. Chin up. The good news is, you might be happy in a decade.”

And can we just say, as two people who chose the marriage route, that Kurt’s fantasy scene for Karofsky had an underlying message of “See? In ten years, you’ll be JUST LIKE A STRAIGHT PERSON, with your office job, spouse, and child!” Obviously, we don’t look down on anyone who makes those choices, but it was oddly limiting that these were the only choices offered. We get it; Karofsky wasn’t going to dream of being a choreographer on Broadway or something, but the boring pedestrianism of that dream was kind of depressing. Is this the message we’re supposed to be sending to gay kids? “You too can be a cog in the machine, just like your parents were!”

And what makes this so depressing for us is that when Ryan Murphy first decided to address the lives of gay teens, he started off in the best way possible: by giving them something to dream about. When Blaine sang “Teenage Dream” to Kurt, we were inspired to write probably the most heartfelt thing we’ve ever written on this blog:

“To the straight people reading us: remember high school? Remember your favorite songs and movies, TV shows and music videos from that period? Imagine if all of that media bombardment telling you what to like, what to wear, and how to be attractive, popular, and cool, imagine that all of that aimed for and addressed everyone else but you. Imagine what it’s like when every sappy love song (or angry breakup song), every rom com, every trendy TV show and blockbuster movie, even every video game, imagine if they all depicted a form of romantic love that simply isn’t available to you. Imagine going through high school without even so much as a hint of yourself reflected in any of the things you watch and listen to, any of the things that literally every other kid is talking about. Imagine the one thing you want more than anything in the world: to be kissed, please god, just to be kissed, imagine you have never seen that depicted anywhere or referred to in any way but as something to be mocked and shunned.”

“The fact of the matter is, bullying is the natural result of all that socializing that reinforces heterosexuality as the norm and everything else as… well, so under-represented that it might as well still be a taboo. Teenagers see thousands of murders depicted onscreen by the time they reach 18 but most of them never see a boy kiss another boy or sing him a sweet love song. You want to prevent gay kids from killing themselves? Push for more scenes like the above. Giving a young gay boy the dream that someday Prince Charming will come and sing a love song to him? You cannot imagine. You simply cannot imagine how revolutionary such a thing is.”

What happened, Ryan? When did you decide giving gay kids the message that their lives had value and potential wasn’t the way to go and defining them as victims was a great idea? When did this show become so determined NOT to be fun or uplifting or aspirational anymore? How many times do we have to watch the tears fill Kurt’s eyes? And boy do we miss the Kurt who talked like a bitchy, angry 16-year-old rather than the Kurt we have now, who talks like a 40-year-old grief counselor.

Okay, maybe we did shit all over it a little. Look, we can walk away from a show when it stops giving us what we liked in the first place. If Glee continues on, more power to it. We hope its fans continue to get something out of it, but for us, we’re done with watching gay people cry every week.

One final thought:

The way for the creative community (and indeed, the entire world) to address anti-gay bullying is not through weepy portraits of its victims, but through SHEER RAGE. Fuck “It Gets Better.” Show us a campaign against gay teen bullying called “THIS SHIT HAS TO STOP RIGHT NOW” and we’ll sign on in nano-seconds. Because the people who need to address anti-gay bullying definitely aren’t the victims – and not the bullies, either. It’s society that needs to change its attitudes toward gays, from the top down. And when the majority of people are righteously angered by any attempts to dehumanize gays or treat them as inferior – and more importantly, moved to act on that anger, rather than sitting at their computers and shaking their heads over it – then anti-gay bullying will practically evaporate. Every time a gay kid takes his life, it’s not he who’s at fault, nor is it the parents, the bullies, the church or the school district. WE ARE. WE ALL ARE. You should be furious about it, not gently weeping over music videos.


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  • pathe

    Yes, yes and yes to all of the above.

  • jsimon523

    This episode made me so, so angry. And it too is going to be the last Glee for me. I’ve been trying to stop watching for the last year and a half and a highly foreshadowed, ridiculously uncomplicated, easily resolved teen suicide plot was the final nail. Oh, and the last-minute PSA / after-school special? Stay classy, Glee.

  • BigShamu


  • I have never posted before with regard to Glee, and I will say this in support of you both.  I am not now, nor have I ever been, a “victim” of my life, or my choices. I grew up the way that I did, made the decisions I did, and take responsibility for that life, and those choices, fully.  I need no one’s pity.  Nor do these kids, gay or straight, who are the focus of bullying for their being different. What they need is understanding, and help to learn to stand proudly on their own two feet; as well as the aid to learn how to face down bullies and own their individuality.


  • Great post, boys.  Thanks!

  • sdtripper

    OK, so you’re furious.  I respect that.  But I can’t believe you wouldn’t even mention the ending of this episode which to me took every last possible shred of content out of the anti-bullying message.  Just in case you didn’t buy the gay suicide attempt, we’re on to another crusade IN THE VERY SAME EPISODE.  Don’t text and drive, kids.

    •  That’s exactly what I thought last night too..  “Oh goody, two After School Specials in one episode!”  Over it.

    • Well, they’ve already managed to end dodgeball attacks across the country. On to the next!

    • that’s EXACTLY what I thought! I was just like… “it’s like 2 PSA’s in 1!”

    • annieanne

      My working assumption is that they already know they’re not getting a fourth season so they have to get all the PSAs into this one.

  • Wow guys. This post. Just wow. In the best possible sense. I’ve tried to write about 15 different responses to this but nothing is capturing what I want to say exactly. Thank you.

  • Exactly!

  • Amen.  to all of it. 

  • hac51

    “the message of “It Gets Better,” whether it intends it or not (and
    obviously, it didn’t) is that the victims of anti-gay bullying have to
    do the work of dealing with it, but no one else does. “You’re on your
    own, kid. Chin up. The good news is, you might be happy in a decade.”

    YES YES YES YES YES.  Make that pretty much any bullying: the message is always that it’s YOUR job to deal with it, not anybody else’s job to END it.  Thank you for saying this; it can’t be said enough.

    • HobbitGirl

      As a victim of bullying myself – although not for my sexual orientation – I think we need a “It Gets Better” message. We ALSO need a “fuck those prejudiced morons and the society that allows and supports them” message. Both would have been very welcome to me as a kid.

      • hac51

        Me too.  “They only do it because you react, you know.”  No, they do it because they’re assholes.  A little social smackdown was long overdue.  (Can you tell I’m *still* mad about it?)

        • NormDeplume720

          I’m still mad about kids being assholes to me too (not for my sexual orientation, I was just an easy target). And I think there totally needs to be
           a “THIS SHIT HAS TO STOP RIGHT NOW”  movement. It would never have helped me to know that some day in the distant future I wouldn’t have to see those jerkwads every day anymore. Because it didn’t fix the fact that they were calling me names in the hallway then.

          • bitchybitchybitchy

            I was an easy target too-just a shy, socially awkward teenage girl in high school. Yes, life did get better, and while I think it’s worthwhile to encourage anyone who’s bullied that life gets better, our society needs to stop tolerating bullies.

        • buildmeatower

           Ugh, I hate the ‘they only do it because you react’ message. Way to put the burden on the kids being bullied rather than the kids doing the bullying.

        • “They feel bad about themselves.” was always my personal annoyance — THEY DAMN WELL SHOULD!  What kind of a human being goes, “I feel like shit, so if I knock this person down, I’ll feel better?”  And how the hell does that not just make you feel worse?!?  Whenever I took my issues out on another person (never bullying, but just being really harsh toward family and friends) I felt TERRIBLE after!

          • Totally agreed! When I take my turmoil out on people close to me, I just feel awful, so I try really hard not to do it. I don’t understand how someone would feel better from knocking a stranger around…but I guess it’s a flaw in the wiring, or a character flaw, or both. 

          • tayloebo

            Just because it’s not something you would do doesn’t mean it’s a flaw in the writing or character. Plenty of people do those things in real life, whether it’s physically pushing people around or verbally tearing people down in an attempt to make themselves feel superior.

      • MilaXX

         I always thought those Ir’s get better message really could apply to any teen. Yes bullying gay teens is awful, but if you really look around you’ll see teen bullying is on the rise, period and there really does need to be more done than just a pat on the head and a catchy message asking kids to hang in there.

        • megohd

          Is it really on the rise? I think it was always there; it’s just more visible now, as are its effects.

      • letforeverbe

        I think so, too. I was also a victim of bullying and a “It Gets Better” message would have helped me a great deal, just because I would have known that there were more people like me. I probably wouldn’t have cared about the “future” part, as TLo pointed out – 10 years seem so unreal for a teenager – but just hearing “you’re normal” from so many people who went through the same thing would have helped. Because nobody ever told me that.
        (But I agree completely with “This shit has to stop right now”! That would have been helpful as well…)

      • Libby Rhoman

        I completely agree.  I don’t think anyone thinks IGB is the solution, it is just one message of many. So while I think this post by TLo is applaud worthy, and just as beautifully written and argued as anything else on this site, I just think ragging on IGB is a little narrow. 
        ALL teenagers need the IGB message, because wether you are bullied or not, being a teenager sucks and it feels like forever.  Hearing that message from people I looked up to and respected (who were NOT my parents) might have been really helpful to me when I was a teenager.

  • kaycem


    pitch perfect as always, gentlemen, about both the show and “it gets better.”

    the post you quoted about “teenage dream” brought tears to my eyes when i first read it a year or so ago, but as you say, that’s most definitely when glee peaked — since then, it’s been a pretty quick downhill trip.  i may be the only one (i doubt it), but i’m happy to see that y’all will be opening up your tv watching schedules to bring us your insights on something new and different.

  • Fordzo

    I love you guys so fucking much right now. You put into words what I’ve been thinking, but couldn’t express intelligently, for a long time.

  • PeggyOC

    Fucking A, yes. 

  • Thank you. My 29 year old son is gay and he just came out to us late last year. We love him more than words can say. It breaks my heart to know that he had to endure what he did in high school and we never knew. He never let on to us. You put into words what my heart has been telling me since he told us. Thank you, thank you, again.

    • I just cried reading this.  My sister is gay and didn’t come out to our family until her mid 30s.  Yeah, we siblings knew already, and probably so did my parents.  As someone who works in a high school, I see the term “gay” still thrown around as an insult and try my hardest in my little corner of the world to change that.  No kid uses “gay’ as an epithet, or “retard” for that matter, without a lecture.  You’d best believe I make them squirm too!  For your son, my sister, and the kid in the classroom who may not even be “out” to him or her self yet.

      • tripletmom96

         Good for you, Debby!  i have 3 high school kids and yes, the term “gay” is thrown around as an insult.  I have tried very hard to teach my kids that it’s not appropriate to use it that way.  I have also taught them that being gay is not a bad thing — people who are gay are just wired a little differently when it comes to sexual attraction but are just like the rest of us in all other ways.  I was very proud of my daughter the other day when we were talking and she mentioned that she didn’t understand why people had a problem with others being gay.  as far as i know, my daughter is straight, but she has a friend who has confided in her that she is a lesbian.  to my daughter, it’s no big deal and she prides herself on being the one to whom people can confide because she will keep the confidence.  i agree that it’s up to all of us, straight & gay to stop the bullying by teaching our kids that it’s not ok, and by teaching tolerance and acceptance. 

      • formerlyAnon

        Please feel super-validated and keep trying to educate/retrain the kids.

        I have teens and while they have out friends and [to my knowledge] have no issues with that in their social groups (seriously – I know I’d be the LAST to know) one of my kids runs in a crowd some of whom use several derogatory terms (retard & gay most prominently) as blanket negatives – as far as I can tell with little or no relationship to their actual meaning. I lecture about it quite a bit, won’t allow it in my presence, and I’ve told my kid that I have far less respect for those members of the group who speak like that. And that it gives cover to those who use the terms with conscious intention to degrade.

        And I feel as if they see me as an over-reacting dinosaur who lives in the past.  I think they need an “upside the head” come to jesus moment with a friend who will lay it out for them how the usage just allows bigotry to go unchallenged and that it’s insulting and hurtful.

        But that’s a moment I can’t engineer.

        Keep fighting the good fight.

  • not even watching the show and i heard about the episode and hated it. absolutely hated it. AND YES TO EVERYTHING AND ALL OF THE ABOVE.

  • I love you guys but I am not down with your repeated bashing of the “it gets better” project. You have some good points about it but the point of the project is to reach people you can’t ordinarily reach and that you can’t personally do anything for, and to at least give them hope. It’s not enough, but it’s so much more than nothing. It’s not the ideal solution to the bullying problem (in fact it isn’t much of a solution at all) But it isn’t an alternative to eradicating bullying, it’s an alternative to doing nothing. Other things need to be done, but “It gets better” is still very powerful as a first step.

    “You may be happy in ten years” isn’t the most encouraging message, but you know what it is for most gay kids: realistic. Hell, it’s realistic for a lot of kids, regardless of sexual orientation. Also, I never got the impression that IGB was particularly condescending. If you have ever watched any of those videos, they are about sharing your personal experiences and how you suffered, but you came out the other side alive and happy. That’s a message I still need to hear today, sometime.

    Bottom line: I get your point, and we have to be careful to not call it a day after IGB, but it’s a great first step, and it brings awareness. And it does more good than it does bad. I wish we could say that about more things.

    • LovelyJane

      I don’t get why people complain about the it gets better campaign, it was started as a first aid thing, right? An immediate reaction to a flood of LGBTQ kids killing themselves. A – “what can we do at this moment” – thing. And they DID something.
      They didn’t wait for someone else to start a “perfect” campaign they then could see themselves signing. Which is the big flaw in TLo’s argumentation here. If you want a “This has to stop now” campaign – why don’t you start it – and how exactly should it work?

      • What an effective and succinct way to close off any and all criticism. Well done.

        • Guys, just because IGB isn’t a perfect and complete answer doesn’t mean it’s not still a good idea. And unfortunately you’re dismissing any other points for a snappy comeback to a silly suggestion at the end.

          • It wasn’t a snappy comeback; it was a very important point: A statement like the one we responded to is designed to close off any and all criticism. “Why don’t YOU start a worldwide anti-bullying campaign?” addresses none of our criticisms and deliberately works to marginalize them.

          • Fair enough. I saw it as more of a throwaway line at the end, but I guess you don’t go “AND I hate your HAIR” at the end of an argument either so I concede that point. 

            So let me try and rephrase the original comments: I believe you’re not quite being fair to the IGB project by judging it on something that it actually isn’t trying to do. What I see it as, more than anything, is a band-aid, some comfort and a hug. That doesn’t mean the root causes are to be ignored, and I don’t think it lets anyone of the hook to ignore them, but the world is a better place with hugs and band-aids in them than without.

          • CarolinLA

            Your criticisms are completely valid.  The IGB campaign’s inherent flaw is that it has no immediacy.  Teens need solutions in days/hours not months/years and they think their lives depend on it.  And in many cases, they do, sadly.  So why not take your criticisms further and start the THIS SHIT HAS TO STOP campaign?  This blog has 6 million views a month, right (that’s what I remember Joe Zee saying on All on the Line).  Why not reach out to other fashion bloggers to start such a campaign?  Reach out to Joe Zee.  You two have the forum to have your voices heard.  Because, frankly, given the Republican shift to social issues on the campaign trail, demonizing gays is going to be front and center.  Isn’t now the time to act?

          • Because that becomes a political cause very quickly, and that’s not something that everyone wants or is capable of.  There’s a LOT to learn, and while I’m positive our hosts could do it, it may be more than they want or feel they can handle.

          • Zaftiguana

            The IGB campaign’s inherent flaw is that it has no immediacy.  Teens need solutions in days/hours not months/years and they think their lives depend on it. 
            This. Defenses of criticism of IGBP tend to default to straw man arguments in a major way. The issue is not that it’s an easily navigable, high profile system for people to reach out to troubled teens en masse, and I’ve never seen anyone say it is. The valid criticism, like TLo’s, tends to center on the nature of the message being delivered and how it reflects an adult perspective of the solution to the issue, not an understanding of how teens in the thick of it process things.

            I wouldn’t say that the idea that there’s hope ahead is useless (and I don’t see TLo saying that, either). But it doesn’t seem like a strange laser focus for a program for teens.

          • reebism

            With all due respect, that’s not fair, either: not all teens process in the same way. I was a depressed teen who wanted to die plenty of times in middle school, because there was no one like me around and I couldn’t see any way out. My only escape was on the Internet, where I could find “people like me” who I could talk to and who could reassure me that this wasn’t it. As a teen, the IGBP would have changed my life. (And it would have helped me come out as bi and be more comfortable in my own skin years ahead of when I actually got there.) 

            IGBP might not be universally appealing, and it might not work for you or T.Lo, but that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t exist — and, luckily, it’s working on multiple levels, partnering with other organizations devoted to helping teens, and helping change the way we structure dialogue. Because of IGBP, there’s a space where people are comfortable articulating “THIS SHIT HAS TO STOP RIGHT NOW”. It’s not one or the other, but it should be both. 

            (I don’t think IGBP caused the narrative to shift to “gay kids are victims” — that’s been the narrative for a while. And come on, even back in the first season, Kurt has been such a stereotype this entire time, and a backwards one in a lot of ways. At the same time as Glee, United States of Tara was airing an amazing, three-dimensional portrayal of a gay teen who isn’t all fashion and perfect boyfriend and Broadway showtunes. No one noticed.)

          • Zaftiguana

            Again, no one is denying that the project has value. No one is saying that it doesn’t help kids. But it’s not really “unfair” to point out that teens tend to process things in the now and that’s not the focus of this project. Those are just the facts. 

          • reebism

            Yes, yes it is unfair, because not all teens are alike.

          • Zaftiguana

            Of course, just like how not all TLo commenters ignore key words like “tend to” or treat general statements as absolute ones. Only certain special ones.

          • reebism

            Just like the ones who state “tend to” without backing up their statements without any proof and treat it as a fact?

            Cool down, I don’t really care.

            Not everyone reacts the same way as you do to things. That’s not an issue. You’re making it into one, and that is boring. The IGBP doesn’t appeal to you. That’s not your fault, and it’s not Dan Savage’s fault. It appeals to people like me. That doesn’t make me better than you, it just means it works for people of my temperament, who exist. Teenagers with this temperament exist. You might not know any. That’s okay too, they’re pretty annoying a lot. Glee is a horrible show. Can we agree on that and move on with our lives? 

          • Zaftiguana

            IGBP appeals to me very much, I don’t see where I’m particularly heated up, and I don’t get why you’re still failing to notice that no one is saying that this project doesn’t help kids. But you’re welcome to come over and peruse my library of academic texts on teen and child development and education, an area in which I work professionally, any time you like if you feel that the very prevalent tendency of teens to operate in extreme immediacy has yet to be proven to your liking.

          • reebism

            I’m in public policy focusing on urban education, so yes, I would like to see citations, I’d find them interesting. And you’re saying that the message isn’t directed towards in the way that teens process, whereas I’m saying that yes, it does have plenty resonance among teens, especially among the audience of teens that are its target. Does it have universal appeal? No, but it was never intended to. But I do like the way it is changing public discourse. 

          • Zaftiguana

            Then visit any library, mine or an academic or public one, that contains basic texts on teen psychology and crack a couple open.   

            No one is saying it doesn’t resonate with teens. No one’s problem with it is that it doesn’t have universal appeal. If you really don’t get that focus of the project is on things getting better in the future while it’s being directed toward an age and developmental group known to operate, mentally and emotionally, predominantly in the immediate present, and how that makes for pretty valid criticism among the many positive things about the project, then I don’t know that this can really be explained to you.

          • reebism

            Or I could, you know, continue to visit middle and high schools and see how the IGBP is actually affecting teens in the real world. Because explaining why this message does have resonance with teenagers, despite theories that imply that it shouldn’t resonate this well due to teenagers’ present-orientation, would make a great research paper. (Taking off the snark hat for a moment,I wonder if it’s because IGBP is working well among *depressed* teens, and thus it helps with the conditions that are helping depression and isolation…in which case the mindset argument is irrelevant.)
            Thanks for the specific references and citations that prove your point very well. You’re going to make a great professor someday!

          • birdhead

            Except the thing is, “resonating with” is not the same as “working well for”. It’s hard not to be movedby many IGB videos. It’s also hard not to be movedwhen teenagers who have recorded their own IGB videos later take their own lives.

          • FunButNutz

            I wanted to reply just to see how narrow the print gets now!!!!!

          • MilaXX

            Doesn’t that then take this blog away from what it is and turn it into something else? I mean at it’s core, this blog is fashion & popculture. That’s not to say TLo don’t do charitable or political works when they are yelling at starlets to dress better.

          • CarolinLA

            Yes it would.  And I get it if the guys don’t want to risk what they’ve built here to venture into those dangerous waters.  

          • brokephilosopher

            I totally agree that “why don’t you do it???” is a stupid response, and that IGB is not enough–but Dan Savage himself has pointed out ad infinitum that making an IGB video and sending the message that “it gets better” is NEVER enough, that it doesn’t relieve us of the responsibility of acting right now (the thing that jumps to mind for me is his push to call out schools that allow bullying by calling on us to call/email the schools and let them know, politely, that we believe that assault and discrimination should be treated as such).  Not that you didn’t make great points, but I think that it’s slightly unfair to Dan Savage–showing kids that many people, both celebrity and not, suffered in the past but are now happy and healthy can give them hope EVEN IF it’s not, on its own, enough.

          • CarolinLA

            Why is it stupid?  (I’m asking sincerely.)  If IGB isn’t enough, neither is standing on the sidelines saying somebody ELSE should do something about this problem.

          • brokephilosopher

            it’s stupid because not every person is required to wholeheartedly take up every cause.  I can criticize what a non-profit or whatever is doing because I believe that they’re wasting resources, taking up the time/energy of people whose time/energy could better be channeled elsewhere, trying to solve a problem in a way that will be futile, or any other number of things without then committing myself to personally fixing the problem. 

            I roll my eyes at that response for the same reason that I roll my eyes at the response “could you do any better??” when someone criticizes a piece of art or literature.  Not everyone is obligated to be better at or more impassioned than what they’re criticizing.  Naturally, a sour person who criticizes everything, or one who nitpicks in order to avoid feeling obligated to support any cause, isn’t going to get my sympathy.  But it’s still not a helpful response.

          • birdhead

            This is not really about Dan Savage though. Whatever my feelings about Dan Savage (some positive, some negative) I do think that the early beginnings of IGB were a perfectly sweet idea and way to do a little outreach with what is an important message for teenagers (of all stripes actually): now is not everything there is, you are not alone, and you can achieve some of your dreams – this is why it was important that many people doing earlier IGB videos were successful adult gay people. This is no bad message. But it doesn’t actually deal with bullying itself.

            What is not Dan Savage’s fault, but is still a problem, is that IGB became a huge juggernaut campaign that allowed people to feel like they were addressing the bullying of gay children without actually addressing the problem. Without actually doing anything to stop gay bullying. Which is fine for sex advice columnists (whose scope is limited), but is not really fine for presidents, parents, high school teachers, or school board members.

        • LovelyJane

          well – at least I’m good at something.
          So – okay, that was meant as a provocation – mainly because I’ve read quite a lot discussions about the it gets better project and while it gets a lot of disdain – so far I haven’t read anyone who came up with a better alternative. Or a better follow up – what I guess is what would be needed now.

          I do get your criticism, I might even agree with in in theory.  But that’s the point: while “This has to stop now” might have a more desirable attitude – but unless you also have a strategy how to actually make it stop now  – it’s only words without substance, empty talk – politicians talk even.

          If you go to bullied teens and say: “you really shouldn’t be bullied right now and it’s all the bullies fault.” You are totally right and also blaming the right people, morally correct –  but you are certainly not an ounce more helpful  than “it’s going to get better when you’re out of high school”.

          • Glammie

            Okay, I’ll play.  The suicide cluster at the local high school ended when some parents decided they would simply patrol the place where the suicides had taken place.  Yep, simple as that.  Would-be suicides fixate on a particular method–when the possibility is removed or made harder–the impulse has a better chance of passing.  

            Also, the school worked harder at trying to identify kids with depression.  In some ways, the focus on bullying is slightly off the mark.  It certainly plays a part, but the Quinn character had a point–some kids and adults are really resilient and others aren’t.  A bad break-up can mean the end-of-the-world for some, but not for others.  

            I don’t have a big issue with the “It Gets Better” project, but real answers to teen suicide are more immediate and local from my observation.  And, this is again a place where Glee really, really missed the mark, you need adults really connecting with kids.  It’s got to be a two-way street–you have to listen, not judge, but also give the perspective that you only real get as an adult about how you get through rough times or just not measuring up to what you think you’re supposed to be.

            In the end, it’s not about having a perfect life sometime in the future, but having one that’s okay and feeling that *you’re* okay.  

            I’ve also gotta say I don’t like the gay equals automatic victim message either.  My nephew (now at an Ivy League) came out in high school and bullying wasn’t an issue (some clueless right-wing cousins cheering Prop. 8 did cut deeply.)  But he was lonely and TLo is dead right that the “Teen Dream” scene meant a *lot*, at least in this case, to that gay teen boy.  In some ways, Kurt’s being able to leave a bad situation and find a good one–all while he was a teen–is the more powerful and positive message.  And it was an unusual one for a prime time show.  To me, the strength of Glee was that it normalized being gay in a way you didn’t see that much on mainstream shows.

          • LovelyJane

            Problem is: your argument is based on the existence of both supportive parents and schools – the IGB project was specifically created as the only way/last option [Dan Savage & his boyfriend could think of] to reach bullied glbt kids who have noone – noone! – to go to or even talk to.  Whose parents are unsupportive or worse (the people who vote for Santorum have gay kids, too. Do you think they rather patrol – or send their kids into reparative therapy?), whose schools are unsupportive and/or ignorant. In rural areas where there are no other visible gay people or support groups but lots of churches telling them that they are going to hell.

            I don’t know if they manage to reach those kids – but I fear stomping on the ground and demanding “this has to stop now” won’t impress active bigots much either.

          • God, why would anyone want to “impress” active bigots? We want them punished.

          • Hannah Milgrom

             You guys are being seriously dismissive and disrespectful to a person that is just trying to express an opinion that you happen to disagree with. You are actually bullying on your own blog…

          • You do an outrageous disservice to the victims of bullying by making this comparison. Offensively so.

            And we will never, ever understand the thinking that responding to critics can somehow be “dismissive” of them.

          • W_Wallace

            Because absent a powerful (and unlikely) federal law, nothing will change in rural/conservative areas.  They certainly won’t develop and implement punishment on their own.  The most viable solution, in those cases, is to empower kids until society drags itself in line.

            Maybe the sentence would be better read as “demanding ‘this has to stop now’ won’t encourage conservative areas to change anything.”  You will have to convert bigots at some point, as distasteful as that might sound.

          • No successful civil rights battle was won by politely converting bigots. Rights and protections were won by demanding them and by forcing bigotry to the sidelines through legislation and public outrage.

          • W_Wallace

            That’s a good point, but we have to define the battle we’re fighting.  Civil rights legislation successfully achieved equality of legal privileges, but it can’t criminalize racism or most racist words.  We’re still fighting that battle, 50 (or 150) years later.  Unfortunately, many gay children don’t have the same sort of entrenched local support structure with people who have shared their experience.

            Achieving legal equality, especially concerning marriage, is long overdue.  But that won’t end homophobia, or teens overwhelmed by homophobia, or suicides of teens who can’t take it anymore.  At some point, we need to make this as much about self-empowerment as we do about punishment.  I know how awful it sounds to ask teens to deal with injustice by simply being stronger than their bullies, but that may be the more feasible (and powerful) course of action.

            And for the record, I do think IGB defeats that purpose.  It doesn’t strengthen teens, it asks them to ‘wait until they can run away from the bad people.’  I respect the principle, though, if not the result.

          • There were a hell of a lot less lynchings post-Civil Rights Act than there were pre-Civil Rights Act. Asking for legal equality goes hand in hand with protecting gay kids from bullying. It’s about raising society up to a point where something becomes so collectively offensive to it, it gets pushed to the margins and the shadows. It’s about getting society to realize how unacceptable it is to treat gays as less worthy than everyone else.

          • Glammie

            It’s not an argument–it’s a description of how my community dealt with teen suicide–something’s that’s not exclusive to gay teens, by the way. You may not like the fact that community involvement and hands-on support is what’s needed–I’m just telling you that that’s the reality.  A lot of things *don’t* work–including any kind of glamorizing or romanticizing the effects.  The first suicide of the cluster drew a fair amount of attention, which, hideously, may have encouraged the following ones–who all took the same grisly public way out.  

            I don’t have a beef with “It gets better,” but I also know that suicidal depression isn’t something that lends itself to remote quick fixes.  You have to make connections–and that’s a two-way street.  I think online support can help–but, again, it needs to go both ways.   

            Let me put it this way, FB friends with any teens lately?   You’d be surprised how powerful being a non-parental adult can be.  But it has to be a real connection.

          • I think if you want to lower teen suicide, you have to look at suicide preventions across the board.  I went to a ridiculously tiny school, where everyone working there knew ALL of the kids.  Yet I was suicidally depressed for 6 YEARS before trying to OD and in that time NO ONE — not my parents, my teachers, the school psychologist, NO ONE — thought to point out that I might have a serious problem.  And I wasn’t good at hiding it. 

            We’re so afraid of diagnosing kids that they just get left to handle it on their own.  And you hear so often, “Well, he or she is only ___.  What does he have to be depressed about?”  First of all, you don’t get feelings with puberty, you start with them.  And secondly, suicidal depression isn’t about what you have to be depressed about — that’s why some gay kids are bullied and make it through, while others don’t.

          • Glammie

            A lot of factors seem to play into the issue–some of the kids who killed themselves in my town *had* been diagnosed with depression.  A diagnosis is a start, but it’s not a cure.  While we had a cluster because it was the same school and the same public method and place, it’s not at all clear that the kids even knew each other–mix of ages and sexes.  There was talk, seminars, but having some people just monitor the area seemed to short-circuit things.  Not permanently, teen suicide and depression is an ongoing issue here–very high pressure.

          • Nothing is going to prevent every suicide, no matter what the cause or how effective the program.  But clinical depression onsets in childhood — why are we allowing kids to live with that kind of pain for YEARS on end, which makes it impossible to cope with things like bullying?  And when you’ve felt that way through most of your life, “It gets better” is total bullshit — you’ve seen no evidence that it will EVER get better. 

            I didn’t believe that it could get better — though I knew I’d be in different situations without the things that were upsetting me at the moment — until I took an antidepressant the first time, and saw that there was a way of making me feel differently.

            We are putting children through hell to avoid “labeling” when that label should be no different than the “diabetic” label.  It’s cruel to ask a child to “cope” with a crippling disorder than completely destroys everything about you except your body, when there are effective medications for it.

            And yes, not all suicidal kids are clinically depressed — some are just very depressed by their life situation.  But there are plenty of kids we could help that we don’t.

          • Glammie

            Not all clinical depression has a childhood onset and drugs aren’t a cure-all.  In some cases, they don’t really work and in others, the side effects are a problem  Though, let me say, I think it’s wonderful that pharma helped you break out of a terrible, painful cycle.  I am, however, a little wary about putting children on serious drugs whose long-term effects aren’t known and which were never tested on kids.  

            I think, though, you get at the real crux of the issue, which is someone who is seriously depressed doesn’t believe “it” will get better–that they will stop feeling the painful emptiness of a clinical depression.  There’s no belief in a light at the end of the tunnel.  It’s so tough for teens, they have big emotions and so little of the experience that gives you the ability to deal with it.  

            It’s not so much that it gets better as that you get better at dealing with it.  My understanding is that drugs kind of break the emotional cycle and then learning how to cope and how to change depressive thinking patterns can begin.  

            Adolescence is just so tough–you go from taking all these things for granted–that there are sorts of possibilities, that you’re generically cute and acceptable to all the harsh limitations and judgments of being a teen.  Around here, at least, the worst bullying takes place in the middle schools.  I think gay kids are up against the tough realization that they’re really, really different and always will be.  Add the stigma and the ensuing sense of isolation–and it’s no wonder depression and suicide are issues.

            Even open “liberal” parents don’t usually hope their child will turn out to be gay.  And, as we know, the judgment can be much crueler and more severe with people in some religious groups.  Kids pick up their parents’ attitudes and judge themselves accordingly, even as they rebel against it.

            I miss Burt Hummel–the relationship between him and Kurt really had some depth.  You saw the divide–the difference between the two of them–but also Burt’s radical acceptance–the willingness to let go of expectations and to support his son as he is.  It’s a very simple, yet also difficult thing.    

      • apollonia666

        I’d like to add that the It Gets Better Project gives all of its proceeds to three organizations that ARE working to change things right now: GLSEN, The Trevor Project, and the ACLU LGBT Project.

        • drdirection

          thank you for that!

        • By the way, one of the commercials during this annoying episode was Daniel Radcliffe doing a PSA for The Trevor Project.  Good for Daniel, and good for the show for making sure it was broadcast right at the beginning of a break (a small attempt to do something useful amidst all of the manipulative BS). 

      • MilaXX

        Nothing wrong with the IGB thing as a first step, but there’s also needs to be a “but in the meantime let’s try this” and to my way of seeing it for many people recording a cute message is it. They’ve done their part. Some people really do think they are doing something and after a while it ends up being little more than a pat on the head. Kids are still dying, we’ve moved far past IGB.

    • If folks are interested in an organization that takes the concept of It Gets Better, and brings it to the next level, check out Make It Better – about how people can proactively change things for the better NOW rather than wait for the future when it will (hopefully/ideally) get better:

    • I am not going to try to speak for TLo, because I will never contain even a tenth of their coolness, so I’m going to try to address your concerns from my perspective. 

      First of all, I don’t think IGB is a problem in itself; the project is a beautiful, inspired example of the power of social media. The problem, rather, is in the way society exalted the project as the end-all-be-all solution to homophobia. This is a problem in the histories of all marginalized peoples; the responsibility to end oppression is shifted to the oppressed, which  erases all fault from the oppressor. The mainstream approach to oppression is to deal with the microaggressions, the tiny moments between individuals, rather than the systemic, societal issues that fuel the prejudice in the first place. So, IGB is not in itself a problem, but the fact that society clings to it as the ultimate solution to gay suicide is.

      Another critique I’ve read about the IGB campaign is that for queer youth of color, undocumented queer youth, and working class queer youth, it doesn’t always get better because of the other systemic oppressions they have to deal with on a daily basis. Maybe the high school jock won’t tease them any more, but sometimes they have much larger, daunting forms of intersecting oppression waiting for them in almost every aspect of life. By ignoring the other systems of oppression that LGBT folks may face, we create an incomplete picture of reality and hope. 

      I guess what I’m saying is that It Gets Better isn’t a problem. I know I’ve cried at several of those videos myself, so moved and inspired by the words of LGBT folks and allies around the world. However, its popularity is a symptom of the real problem: our reluctance to talk about homophobia and other forms of oppression in a meaningful, in-depth, and critical way. When we cling to the easy answers and applaud the minimal effort, how will we ever truly confront the -isms and -phobias of the world?

      • Gayer_Than_Thou

        I agree — IGB is a partial, and well-intentioned, response to a complex problem.  I don’t think it’s a bad idea.  Back in the day, when I was a bullied teen, it would probably have helped — but in an abstract way.  I also needed some immediate relief, which IGB doesn’t provide and wasn’t designed to provide.  What I think is “reductive” (to quote Kurt and Madonna) is to portray the experience of lgbt teens as if it were defined by bullying (which wasn’t true, even for me in the depths of all that bullying) and then to suggest that a soothing “it gets better” resolves the conflict — which is what Glee increasingly tends to do.  They’re going for sympathy, I guess, and trying to deflect criticism that the show “glorifies” teen homosexuality, and victim status is the easy, shorthand way to do that.  But to me it feels condescending.  It’s also not entertaining, and though that may sound like a trivial concern, one gets tired of never really being able to see gay people in any state other than distress.  I think that’s one of the reasons I like Project Runway: I love seeing so many gay men doing something other than being victims.

        I think I’ll stop there because I think I am now a long way from being responsive to your post.

        • Very well said.

        • I also sometimes just have to stop and think. Seriously, when I was a teen – and this is not so long ago and far away, we are talking 1990, suburb 30 miles outside SanFranFreakingCisco, I could not have *dreamed* of the IGBP. And we were coming out… barely, but we were. We needed all kinds of relief, and we got few. Today’s kids get more help than we did (and maybe more pressure, with all the social media insanity) but I think the IGBP is a huge step. Its far far from the only step. So, so far. For me, getting in it with the kids *I know* – my kids, my friends kids, my local high school – that’s how its going to get better faster for them. And it needs to. But don’t toss the baby with the bathwater. We couldn’t have dreamed of how far we’ve come.

        • I would have liked to see the gay teens counsel a straight kid after a suicide attempt instead.  Tell them how much your life has sucked, and how hard it is, and how you’ve thought of taking that leap too — but you didn’t.  Each of the characters could have had a different reason why they held out.  It would have been entertaining, interesting, and it would have allowed the gay kids to be honest and open individuals rather than victims.  And it would have shown this as something beyond a “gay problem”.  No, this is a human problem, because no one should ever have to get that close to the edge.

          • Gayer_Than_Thou

            It annoys me that nobody went to see Dave in the hospital until Kurt went late in the episode.  I get that that’s due to Kurt’s history with Dave, but even so.

          • r0ckmypants

             He was in the psych ward on suicide watch. Likely not allowed visitors.

          • MsLadythankyouverymuch

            True the show is on the choir; however, what happened to his football buddies at McKinley.  Showing them; showing their reaction would have been helpful.  Their reaction before the facebook and after the outing.

    • rainashes

      But here’s the thing about the IGB project– for a lot of people it never does. I mean, I lived IGB- closeted and miserable for years, and now very happily partnered with a support network of queer friends, a place in a PhD program… those problems have gotten better. But for some kids, it never gets better. Trans kids, poor kids, kids of color– for a lot of these kids, it’s shit today and then they get shit tomorrow. Isms intersect and make it harder for them. IGB is a white, middle class gay fantasy that doesn’t even work for a lot of those kids. This may sound bitter, but I am so sick of hearing about people losing their lives. And yeah, it got better– it got amazing for me. But it’s exactly like TLo said– there’s something damaging in the rhetoric of IGB itself.

      • I think you’re missing the point — and then veering straight over into the “queer = victim” lane that TLo rightfully railed against in this post). Once these kids turn 18, graduate high school, then some things immediately do get better. You’re not around those kids at school anymore (truly it is amazing how fast you lose touch with people you went to school with everyday, even if you were friends with them and even if you stay in the same town), you’re not around those teachers anymore, you’re not at the mercy of the same authority figures anymore, you have the ability (though I admit, a lot of people don’t have the will, but that tends to circle back to the victimhood area) to pick your butt up and move out there, all together, especially if you’ve been able to keep your head above water long enough to get into college or junior college. 

        Those are not insignificant changes. Life is different, it *can* be different, and better – not perfect, no one ever said perfect – at 25, 30, 45, 50 than it is at 15 or 18 or 21. That is true even for GLBT people, and it’s important that those kids be reminded of that as often as possible by the adults who have been through those years and more, even if they can’t truly know the experience of it in that exact moment of their young lives. 

        • Glen Coleson

          I would argue with the notion that life immediately gets better after high school. While i think we all like to believe in the kind of agency and mobility you describe, its simply not a reality for so many people. I know my post highschool experience was nothing like that. I was paying the family bills, as both my parents had lost their jobs, and i had to take care of my ailing grandmother. Kids in poor families have heavy responsibilities that limit their options, and anchor them in place. Its only now, 5 years later that i’m even beginning to have the life you describe, and i consider myself lucky, I know others who were not so fortunate – i never had to live on the streets. So ‘wait 10 years and things will be better’ is a very real possibility for many teens, and they are the ones who are the most damaged by the IGB message. Which is sadly unfortunate, because they are also the ones who need hope the most.

        • rainashes

          Er. No. I certainly don’t believe in the “queer=victim.” Like I said, I’ve lived the IGB project and college was great, life is great, etc. but I had so much support and opportunities. 
          But look, after high school, you’re not at the mercy of high school principals any more, but then you run into employment and housing discrimination— my home state STILL doesn’t have protection (the city I live in does, and it was passed JUST LAST YEAR. It’s a lot of fun knowing that my landlord could boot me if he figured out that my partner and I weren’t just roommates). What if you can’t afford transition hormones? What if you’re attacked while trying to use the bathroom (as happens to trans* folks). What if you don’t have the economic mobility to move? What if you’re fired because you’re a queer person?

          I mean, I get what you’re saying about life improving after high school— yes, it definitely can! But class and race and gender all intersect with sexuality, and the IGB project, as I’ve seen it, is aimed at kids who have privilege in a lot of those areas. It’s a fantasy to pretend that life will get better after you move to New York and get a great partner and live in a liberal area. What if you can’t get there in the first place? 

          • Look, I understand the limitations of being at the low end of the income totem pole, I do. However, that doesn’t change the fact that there is a lot of will or want to involved in one’s post-high school decisions. No one is required to take care of family members who despise them and would throw them out, that’s something one chooses to do. Choice to remain in static positions accounts for a lot more than a lot of people want to believe, which is where that victim mentality comes in. If one wants to wallow in ones own victimhood, then yeah, they are going to be stuck in bad places with “no choices” for as long as they want to be. You clearly didn’t, you took some kind of action or multiple actions to increase your chances at making a good life for yourself. The opposite of that is not moving to NYC, having a fabulous, rich life, etc. That is another strawman. 
            In any case, the worst-case-scenario life those kids – as TLo address in their post – are unfortunately born into is not the case for *every* gay kid, and that message of queer=victim is not any more of a fix all than IGB is. But those kids are the very kids who are MOST directly under fire from their homophobic parents and adults running their schools who WILL. NOT. ALLOW. gay rights activism in their school; you surely know how strongly opposed to any kind of efforts to normalize GLBT those places are — hence, the IGB, as an immediate bandaid. No, it’s not all that is being done or all that should be done, like I said Dan Savage is very clear on that. But realistically, you nor anyone else is able to go into those school and into these kids’ homes and MAKE them act right, MAKE them stop their behavior *right now*. It feels good to say that’s what should be done, it feels good to dream about that happening, but in reality it cannot be done. In the meantime, you do can reach out through youtube to talk to them directly, tell them to hang on as long as they can, w’ere working on it, even though the tunnel is long, there is a light of hope shining at the end for you and for the adults. But that certainly doesn’t preclude any other action. It’s so defeatist and lazy IMO to say that that is a bad or worthless thing. Nothing is going to be able to save *every* person, unfortunately, even the “stop this shit right now” solution… whatever the hell that is, since no one who is trumpeting that instead of IGBP seems to be able to articulate what it would be able to REALISTICALLY entail.

          • rainashes

            Okay, at this point, I think we’re talking past each other, but I wanted to add one more thing. The IGBP is well-intended and has done some good, regardless of my personal issues with Dan Savage. 

            But the IGBP, much like the HRC, focuses energy in places that benefit only one part of the queer population, which is primarily white, middle-class and (sometimes) male. I’m not saying that that population doesn’t need our love and support— because they absolutely do! But it deflects from the struggles that aren’t being talked about, which are housing, employment, safety— hell, even being able to pee in peace. I want to see the bulk of the community energy go there. I want to see ENDA passed with inclusions for trans* folks. I want public school teachers to be able to be openly queer without fear of losing their jobs and be able to mentor young queer kids.  That’s the kind of change that will start to work its way down. 

            I understand that you’re saying the IGBP is a stop-gap until those things have passed, but too many people throw their energy there because it has those immediate effects. Maybe we’re saying the same thing (although, seriously, intersectionality of race/gender/class is a huge thing that gets ignored in these discussions). But critique of the IGBP gets people thinking. It’s possibly not even a flaw in the project itself, but in those who have blindly embraced it. Too many folks think that’s all they have to do, and it’s only through stomping and yelling about all the other inequalities that I’ve seen them pay attention. 

      • MilaXX

         It is what frustratingly was called when I worked in social services a “system failure” and in my own limited experience when the economy get bad, the gaps that people fall through get larger.

    • ITA with this comment. I’m so sick of some people’s repeated attempts to frame the IGB project as a straw man (that it’s the only thing we’re doing for anti-bullying efforts, that Dan ever intended it to be the be all end all, that it’s completely pointless because it doesn’t save *every* kid, etc etc). One has to INSIST on seeing it that light and refuse, actually literally refuse, to see it as very useful first response tool for these poor kids. The reason Dan started it in the first place is because he couldn’t go directly into the schools and talk to kids face to face because he already knew as a VETERAN – something TLO know nothing about, I’m sorry, but that’s the truth – of the public speaking circuit that schools and parents and administrators won’t touch a gay man talking to kids under the age of 18 about sexual health or GLBT issues with a 10 foot pole. So he did what he *could* do in that crisis moment and reached out to them through their phones, their computers, their ipods and went *around* the asshole adults who deliberately keep messages like ours from reaching these kids. It is and was a noble thing to do and no one, least of all Dan who has made gay rights activism his life’s work, said the effort had stop there. To insist otherwise is simply heckling and willful ignorance.

      Edited, hopefully for the last time, to add this:

      • Glen Coleson

        at the end of the day IGB is a lot like sending $5 to starving children in Africa. It’s certainly better than doing nothing, but it isn’t actually helping solve the problem.

        • Do you have reading comprehension problems? Or did you not even make an attempt before jumping in to make a moot point that I already addressed?

  • mayah1806

    agree with everything you’re saying, except for the “dream of what will be in a decade”…

    being an executive of a company or whatever isn’t strictly a cookie cutter hetersexual job. basically what you implied is that the “cogs in the machines” are jobs for straight people… essentially, everyone’s dreams should be unique to what they want, straight or gay. specific to this case, karofsky wanted to be a sport’s executive. there is nothing wrong with that, even if you label it as “boring pedesterianism”.

    • RebeccaKW

       I think the point was more that Kurt did not ask first what his goal was in life.  He simply assumed office job, then asked what kind of office job, then went right into partner and child.  Kurt never asked if that was a future he wanted, he just assumed office job, spouse, kid.  TLo wasn’t saying the choice here are bad, just that he wasn’t given other options.

      • Terence Ng

        Agreed. If writers had given Karofsky some agency in and allowed some insight into what he wants and what his dreams are, then it would be less problematic. Instead, it’s Kurt imagining that since Karofsky isn’t a Broadway Baby, he must want the white picket fence, 2.5 kids, and 9 – 5 job. Maybe he doesn’t. It’s silly to assume for someone else that they do, gay or straight. If you’re not a choir kid, you’re relegated to homogeneity? What about being single and happy? Partnered and happy and traveling the world? Working a 9-5 job and having great friends to hang out with?

      • mayah1806

        if this is what they were going for,… then the problem isnt that other options arent given to GAY teenagers, rather that options arent given to ANY teenager. just because someone is gay, does not mean they are more entitled to have more extravagant out-of-the-box life goals. just because in the past, much of the office-job-spouse-kid lifestyle has been occupied mainly by heterosexuals, does not mean it is exlusive to the heterosexual community.

        this is the life that karofsky wanted… he said so himself afterwards. i dont think kurt presented this future for him because he was restricting him to heterosexual societal expectations… but rather because he figured thats just what the poor guy wanted in life. we all know kurt’s dreams are different, just from knowing him as a character… we also know that rachel’s, and mercedes’, and sam’s and finn’s, and puck’s, and quin’s and all the other, hetersexual characters have differing dreams as well… 

        i’ll bet that if one of the hetersexual characters on this show had a suicide attempt for any reason, and they were presented with the same view of the future, this conversation would not be happening. and that to me, is the problem. 

        • RebeccaKW

           I agree that no one should be restricted on their dreams, and it shouldn’t be assumed that everyone wants the same things out of life.  This may have been the life Karofsky wanted, but Kurt assumed it was without asking what his dreams were.  I would be just as disappointed if this future was the only one presented to a straight girl or guy, as well.  Happiness is doing what makes you happy, not what society deems as normal.

          • mayah1806

            for sure, no doubt about that.
            but im saying, if this future were presented to a straight character on this show, i’m pretty sure there wouldnt have been any reaction to it, atleast not from this site 

          • Even if that were true … so? Is there some reason to point out that a site written and run by two gay men is going to take a more indepth look at gay portrayals on a gay-themed show and hold them to high standards?

            We’ll never forget the time we wrote that passage about “Teenage Dream” and several people responded to it by noting that we didn’t mention how poorly Bieste had been portrayed in the same episode, which meant to them that we were somehow in approval of it. Very eye-opening to us how a focus on gay issues is so quickly treated as an affront to non-gays who also have problems.

          • mayah1806

            you’re right, and it will bug lots of people that certain issues are stressed over others. that doesn’t mean you need to address them, let people think what they want to think. but here, you say explicitely: “See? In ten years, you’ll be JUST LIKE A STRAIGHT PERSON, with your office job, spouse, and child!”…. making me, as a reader, think that only straight people are “pedestrian” enough to want this kind of a dream. 
            look, i know you meant no harm at all. i dont want to get into a fight with my favorite bloggers, i love what the two of you bring to my life and to the world in general. i’ll just leave my opinions out of it from now on if i react a little negatively to something you’re saying.

          • tallgirl1204

            I agree that it’s a problem that Kurt assumed Karofsky would want an office job/spouse etc.   My vision of Karofsky’s desired future is as a football coach– which like it or not, is MORE out of reach than Kurt’s own dreams.  Here in Arizona, the culture is apparently not ready for a gay anti-illegal-immigration sheriff;  I can’t imagine that many public high schools are eager to hire an openly gay football coach. 

            As for IGB, for me its message has little to do with bullying, and everything to do with trying to get teenagers to see beyond the tunnel vision of “now.”  My workplace created such a video, and seeing people who I knew speak about their lives was so encouraging.  I could have done with such a message as a teen.  My dad said much the same about his own depression as a teenager in the 1940’s– that he contemplated suicide frequently, but kept thinking he would miss finding out how things would turn out– anything that creates a sense of (positive) curiosity about the future may help– can’t hurt. 

          • Glen Coleson

            I think that interpreting it as the show shoving Karofsky into the hetero-normative box is reading a too deeply into it. Kurt doesn’t really know karofsky that well, so he defaulted to the generic ‘american dream:’ high paying job, spouse, and kids. I personally don’t see anything wrong with that. his fantasy world is basically identical to my own. If that makes the two of us pedestrian, I’m fine with that.

          • mayah1806

            Yes, exactly what I was trying to say in my original, very first comment 🙂

          • Gayer_Than_Thou

            “[A] focus on gay issues is … quickly treated as an affront to non-gays who also have problems.”

            The only thing that might tempt me to keep watching Glee is the fact that I sometimes think there is almost something subversive about the way that every now and then it kind of hints at almost displacing the heterosexual experience as the default experience for a moment or two.  But for all the reasons you articulate so well above, I am probably through with this show as well.

          • “In ten years you’ll be working in an office” is probably the single cruelest thing anyone could say to Rachel. 

          •  EXACTLY.

          • But then again, Rachel (and the rest of the characters we know) are IN THE GLEE CLUB, right? Karofsky is *not*, because that’s *not* what he likes. Or maybe he does? Maybe he’s about to find out yet what it is he likes? We don’t know. Kurt doesn’t either.

        •   “just because someone is gay, does not mean they are
          more entitled to have more extravagant out-of-the-box life goals”

          EVERY kid on this show has extravagant, out-of-the-box life goals because IT’S THE OVERRIDING THEME OF THE SHOW.  In fact, Finn is presented as a troubled and confused character this season, precisely because he’s not pursuing the extravagant, out-of-the-box life goals and doesn’t seem to be interested in more middle-of-the-road careers like managing his stepfather’s auto shop.

          • mayah1806

            i’m not disagreeing with you. if anything, this should have been discussed already many times before. i’ve said it already so many times in these posts… but if this view of the future were presented to a heterosexual character on this show, i really dont think this conversation would have been happening. 
            you just brought up Finn’s life and future right now, as a comment to one of your bloggers – which is great, but this is only brought up in the first place because it happened to a gay teen on the show. I am AGREEING with you that people should be given the option of making new choices for themselves… but to bring this up ONLY within the context of a gay teen’s future, to me, means that it only MATTERS for the gay community. leave all the cookie-cutter jobs and lifestyles to the straight community. that is the message I got from your post, whether you meant it or not – and i’m sure you didn’t mean for it – that is still what i got.

          •  How on earth did we get elected spokespeople for “the gay community?” Why not take our points as OUR POINTS and leave “the gay community” out of it?

          • mayah1806

            i never implied you were spokespeople for the gay community… you stated that you realize that some people will disagree with your opinions. 
            you’re bloggers, and so, have opened up public forum to your readers, and this is what happens in public forum, we discuss certain statements and opinions. i meant no disrespect at all, and i’m sorry if it came off that way. i have just shared my opinion and my concerns with one of your messages. i am not attacking anyone in what i’m saying, i’m simply stating my opinion just as everyone else. but just as much as i’ve share my concerns, i’ve shared my praise for what the two of you have brought to society. i only ever comment on how i read your message, and i read this one in a certain way that didnt sit well with me, and thats all. 

          • Because you’re good at it — you can make your points in reasonable, concise and appealing fashions, and they are invariably well-thought out.  The community could do much worse, gentlemen.

          • Glen Coleson

            for the record, I’d vote for you 🙂

          • I’ve been reading this blog for years and almost never post but your response bothered me so much I actually felt compelled to respond.

            Who cares if this conversation wouldn’t have started if the characters were heterosexual? That’s completely missing the point. NO ONE is saying that straight people are required to have cookie-cutter jobs and lifestyles. I believe Tom and Lorenzo are pointing at an overarching problem with the way a lot of TV shows and other pop culture avenues frame gay rights and marriage equality, which is to showcase only gay men and women that live very heteronormative lifestyles in some horribly misguided attempt to “appeal more” to straight people. It leaves many people who do not live nor want the traditional marriage, kids, and a house sidelined. Is it a problem that alternative life choices are also not depicted for heteosexual people? Sure, but that’s not the point in this particular post about an episode dealing primarily with gay characters and their futures. 

            Rather than focusing on the relevant topic, which is specifically about gay teens, you’ve  created in your own mind an entirely made up attack on heterosexuals and their heteonormative lifestyles as though TLO are somehow oppressing or attacking straight men and women and don’t think they have the equal right to choose to live their lives however they see fit.

            I’ve seen this happen time and time again in any discussion of minority rights. The people in the majority party somehow co-opt the discussion and make it all about them and immediately get defensive and perceive anyone talking about oppressed minority issues as attacking or even worse, somehow ignoring the “plight” of the privileged group in question.

            It’s not about you!!!

          • mayah1806

            first off, i never claim it should be about me… in fact, i claim the opposite, that it should be about everyone. my comments and opinions only surround this

            ““See? In ten years, you’ll be JUST LIKE A STRAIGHT PERSON, with your office job, spouse, and child!” Obviously, we don’t look down on anyone who makes those choices, but it was oddly limiting that these were the only choices offered. We get it; Karofsky wasn’t going to dream of being a choreographer on Broadway or something, but the boring pedestrianism of that dream was kind of depressing. Is this the message we’re supposed to be sending to gay kids? “You too can be a cog in the machine, just like your parents were!”

            being “just like a striaght person”, is seen as “pedestrian” and “boring”… and then to ask, “is this is message to be sending to gay kids?”…. i would ask, is this the message to be sending any all kids. 

            I’m not commenting on the lack of mentioning other groups/minorities/majorities/what have you… its rather the opposite. i’m commenting rather on the explicit suggestion that these “cog in the machine” jobs should be reserved for straight people only (“just like a striaght person”). which is unfair to say. 

            Am i saying that TLo is oppressing straight people? no. i’m not an insane person. i just think its important to be a little more careful when writing in public discourse.

            and i’m sorry, but for you to place me in the “majority party” is uncalled for. you dont know anything about me, only that I disagree with an opinion. 

          •  “first off, i never claim it should be about me… in fact, i claim the opposite, that it should be about everyone.”

            Why? Why can’t two gay men just write about their perspectives on the gay issue as regards to this program. Why “should” it be about everyone? Why is it so threatening to you that we, just this once, wrote only about ourselves and our reactions to the parts of the story that resonate most with us?

          • mayah1806

            i appreciate that certain parts of the story resonate with you. its only the words you chose to use to criticize it that i am talking about. saying how a gay teen should be given options other than the boring pedestrian straight life style… it just sounded a little off to me, thats all. i know you didnt mean anything by it, and i’ve maintained a level of respect in response to everyone with their antagonistic tones with me. this is simply my response to the words you chose to use. i was not offended,  or threatended by you guys in your article. now however, by the way you are responding to me, with a judgemental tone and accusatory language, i do feel offedned and threatened as an equal. 
            i’ve said it a million times. i do not disagree entirely with your message, only the words you chose to use in delivering it.

          • So now you’re offended and threatened because we asked you a question and defended our post.

            Alrighty then.

          • mayah1806

            nope, im offended by your judgemental tone and your snappy comebacks. you’ve been responding this way to many of your readers. just as much as you hold to your opinion, others hold to theirs, and in a public forum, these opinions are shared, and i would hope they were respected as well (within reason ofcourse)

             i think it speaks highly of your readers who have maintained a level of respect while reacting passionately to something you wrote. but your responses are not at all welcoming, as if you must shut down what anyone says in opposition to what you say.

            if you read everything i’ve written, and not approach it with a “lets see how we can defend ourselves” kind of way, i’d hope that you’d see that all i’m commenting on is your message delivery. you dont need to defend your post, i already defend it. i cant count how many times i keep saying it, i AGREE with what you are saying. its just your delivery.

          • Sweetie, we’re so done.

            You don’t seem to quite understand that we not only vehemently disagree with your repeated point, we find it fairly offensive ourselves.

            But you don’t want discussion. You want to lecture us and you want us to sit there quietly while you do so, lest you accuse us of being “aggressive” and “threatening” just because we respond to you. So we’re done.

          • mayah1806

            k. sorry for offending, i obviously didnt mean to and have no idea how i did. 
            best to both of you. 

          • Glammie

            Well, guys, so much for your quiet exit from blogging about Glee.  This is going out with a bang, not a whimper.  Rock on, guys–see you over by the Walking Dead.

          • Imrastro

             Wow, obviously reading  month later after finally seeing the show. Don’t even know if you’ll ever see this, but you did Mayah1806 a terrible disservice with these responses. I hope well after the fact, with the heat of the argument a month behind, you can re-read what he/she actually said and give a little more consideration to the point which was honestly respectfully made.

          •  Funny. We thought she did us a terrible disservice.

            And we don’t have to re-read it. It’s an argument made every time a gay person gets angry and refuses to back down. In fact, it’s a form of argument made every time a disenfranchised person gets angry and refuses to back down.

          • Jamie Ward

            It has nothing to do with you being gay, but the way you (poorly) argued against her. You acted as if in each of her posts she was trying to horribly oppress and insult you when she’s just making the point that it’s kind of a nasty judgement to call somebody’s choice of life (which many of us have, gay and straight) pedestrian, boring, and not worthwhile. If you don’t want somebody to look down on your lifestyle, you shouldn’t practice that same active judgement on others.

          • That is not at all our experience of what happened here, nor is that an accurate representation of what we wrote in this review and we’ll just leave it at that.

      • Erin Semagin Damio

         I honestly don’t think Kurt particularly cared. He and Karofsky barely know each other. He was trying to be helpful because he felt guilty and since Karofsky wasn’t providing inspiration, he tried prompting somethinig. Office job is pretty standard. Most people want a partner in their life. I think Kurt cared in that he didn’t want Karofsky to die, but I’m not convinced that he actually sees him as a friend (meaning balanced friendship) versus an obligation at this point.

      • ampg

        But Kurt has known Karofsky for awhile, even if they weren’t close.  Why wouldn’t he have some idea of his dreams for the future?  Hell, we’ve seen him on screen for a total of about 25 minutes over 3 seasons, and I would feel pretty confident saying that what he wants out of life (barring recruitment by the NFL) is a steady job, a partner and a family.  I don’t understand the criticism of something that’s entirely in keeping with the character as written.

        • RebeccaKW

           I rarely watch this show (I did last night) so, I can’t speak to whether they really know each other or not.  But the poster immediately above you says they don’t know each other.  You say they do.  Obviously, it’s not clear.

          • ampg

            I don’t think there’s all that much difference between “they weren’t close” and “they barely know each other.” They’re clearly not friends but not strangers, just based on the onscreen interactions we’ve seen.  I don’t think Kurt has to know all of Karofsky’s intimate hopes and dreams in order to paint a picture of a possible future without being called condescending.

  • I think I am too done with the show. I will, however, totally go see the live tour (assuming they do another one this year) because the live shows are awesome music and dancing with none of the stupid plot lines and preaching.

    • tsid2012

      They just announced the live tour was cancelled a few days ago.  I think this show has killed itself……….

      • Wow. Nose dive into the sand.

      • Glammie

        Wow.  Because my take is that the show has become more and more geared toward a teen audience and less and less balanced as a result–so to lose things like the tour, which is geared to a teen audience, shows big problems.  Not surprising, this show has jumped entire shoals of sharks.

  • Eclectic Mayhem

    Can I get a Hell Yeah?!

  • BookishBren

    I quit caring about “Glee” in the fall but would watch it each week, fast forwarding through most of it, just because you guys were blogging it. The things you kept pointing out about the anti-bullying message yet getting humor from bullying (Sue, Santana) bothered me. 

    I think Ryan Murphy lost the message a long time ago for whatever reason. I hoped he would find it after last season and he just hasn’t. 

    There was enough “after school special” content in last night’s episode for multiple specials–gay suicide, teenage mother finds redemption, bully learns a lesson, teen marriage, dangers of texting and driving, etc. What it felt like to me was Ryan Murphy flinging drama at us in order to keep ratings which also means the message isn’t something he cares about anymore.

    Thank you for stopping so I can as well.

    • bitchybitchybitchy

      Last night was the first time since the fall that I’ve watched even 5 minutes of “Glee” this season.  It simply stopped being entertaining to me, and I think you summed up the problems with the series.

  • Frank_821

    I figured this would be your reaction. I can’t blame you. This might have been palatable if not for the Santana outing and also if it hadn’t been crammed down our throats. It seemed like it came out of nowhere. You’re right not every LGBT teen is a victim or harassed. Some are and brutally so. But the same can be said for straight kids. The sad part is I actually liked the scene between Kurt and Karofsky with how their relationship changed.

    I am sort of indifferent and the cliffhanger was kind of an eyeroller


  • *applause*

    I liked this episode, because karofsky gives me, as we say on the internet, all the feels. You guys are right, though about being labeled as a victim and that not being the answer. Does it raise awareness, yes, is that where we should stop? FUCK NO. 

    I don’t like the it gets better campaign, simply for the fact that for some people IT DOES NOT GET BETTER. It’s such a n idealistic thing to say, that you’ll get through this, one day it’ll all be better. As if we’re all blind to the fact that for some people it will never get better, that some people spend their lives being ostracized and dehumanized and can’t escape, that some people will choose to end their existence because of this, and that even when we leave the toxic environment we’re in and move on to better pastures some of us will be irreparably affected by their experiences. Being a person who got bullied for most of their life (21, so high school wasnt that long ago), I’m gonna say, being told that it gets better is not comforting. Oh right, so, it’s okay that my life is utter shit right now, but in 10 years it will be better? We won’t adress the factors that are making it shit, or even fight to change them because that’s just the way youths are? Bullshit. you want my life to be better, then you need to ensure this sort of shit doesn’t happen in the first place. 

    Having said that, I do support the it gets better campaign due to the better something than nothing philosophy.

  • I’ve been a long time follower of you two, and somehow y’all keep getting more and more amazing.  I’m glad someone (well, two someones) has the balls to call this shit out.

  • Thank you!  I have always wondered about the “It gets better” slogan & you put words to what I could not articulate. 

  • pammersc

    I had this talk with one of my friends a few weeks ago about the whole “it gets better” campaign and I asked him (he’s gay, I’m not) if he thinks we are setting our kids up for even more disappointment and bullying. I basically think telling kids its going to get better is a a pack of well-intentioned lies. We still don’t have equal rights, we still don’t have marriage equality, in certain parts of the country being gay will still cost you your job, you may not be able to adopt, you may not be able to see your partner in a hospital…. really when does it get better? Because until we start focusing on actually making it better for not only LGBT teens, but  LGBT adults as well it just won’t get better. I don’t know how we do that, but we have to do something, and I am totally on board with the “THIS SHIT HAS TO STOP RIGHT NOW” campaign. 

    • BookishBren

      “I am totally on board with the “THIS SHIT HAS TO STOP RIGHT NOW” campaign.”
      I agree!!!!

    • One of the better-known “It Gets Better” videos was by a man who IS doing those very things. Joel Burns is on the City Council, and he has fought to pass legislation to improve the lives of LGBT in the community. Fort Worth is way ahead of the pack (especially for Texas) in terms of LGBT equality, and much of it can be attributed directly to Mr. Burns. He was helping things Get Better prior to taping his speech, and continues to do so. 
      So while I agree that a lot of those IGB videos are lip service, some of them are very moving (if you haven’t seen his, PLEASE watch it), and the people behind them are really doing things to help NOW.

  • Barbara Potter

    I quit watching before this season started.  And that last paragraph you wrote?  Right on, my friends!  I hope this post goes viral….

  • kaycem

    thank you, tom and lorenzo, for expressing the exasperation i feel with the “let’s be just like straight people!” version of homosexuality that seems so goddamned pervasive nowadays.  as we get a little more acceptance in society, the need to blend in is becoming more and more popular — in fact, it’s damned-near demanded!  it makes me gag a little.  
    i think it’s important to flip a bird to heteronormativity in general ~ even for heteros.  i mean, i think gay marriage is important b/c equality is important, but not b/c i’m looking to settle down and adopt babies and make trips to ikea on the weekend and shit.
    (sorry, i just had to post a second comment…  it took a minute for my brain to process all the feelings i was having and come up with something a little more coherent.  thanks again, t.lo.)

  • Bravo gentlemen.  Couldn’t have said it better myself.  

  • stardust462

    Wow, I never thought of the “It Gets Better” campaign like that, and I can’t agree more with what you said.

    Society lets this happen. If the scene with Karofsky in the locker room happened in real life, what are the chances of every single kid in that room hating him? I’m hoping not likely. But they’re not speaking out because they don’t want to be harassed either. They’re seeing what’s happening to Karofsky and they don’t want that happening to them too. So they’re too afraid to stand up for what they think is right. What they know is right. That has to change. Bullies will continue if bystanders don’t stand up. I know it’s hard, and I don’t know if I could have done it in high school.

    It takes too much negative energy to hate. I can’t imagine hating someone for what they believe in like that kid Nick hated Karofsky. Hate is such an evil thing and so unnecessary.

    Also, regarding the final scene, I hope this teaches people not only the lesson to not text and drive, but if you know your friend is driving CALL THEM don’t text them. Those expensive little computers in your hand also make phone calls. It really bothers me when I leave to go home from a friend’s house and five minutes later they text me, when I’ll obviously be driving. If it’s important, call. If not, send me an email or facebook message and I’ll look at it when I get home.

    • FunButNutz

      The It Gets Better campaign is one small part of what Dan Savage is doing.  Maybe its the glitzy celebrity laden videos that get people’s attention, but Savage has been fighting for years to help gay people and those who love them on a number of different levels.  Don’t dismiss the power of a kid being able to listen to other people’s stories at midnight, alone in their room, contemplating doing harm to themselves.

    • CarolinLA

      YES!!!! CALL THEM!!!!  Let’s start that campaign.  Texting is so goddamn overrated.  PICK UP THE FUCKING PHONE!!!!!

    • Lilithcat

       but if you know your friend is driving CALL THEM don’t text them.

      Are you fucking insane?  If you know your friend is driving, DO NOT CALL OR TEXT!   Either is a distraction (and that goes for “hands free” calls, too).  A study done a few years ago showed that motorists who talk on handheld or hands-free cellular phones are as impaired as drunken drivers.

      • stardust462

        I understand your point, but there is no need to call me “fucking insane.”

        • Lilithcat

          You are absolutely right.  My apologies.

  • Hell yeah! Your review of the episode where Blaine sang “Teenage Dream” was the reason why I finally started watching Glee. I watched it for the rest of that season (maybe- it’s hard for me to keep up since I was a casual watcher at best) but I lost interest after awhile for the reasons you guys have been bringing up for every episode. I am right there with you on the anger- it has baffled me why there is such a lack of STOPTHEFUCKINGBULLYING anger. I am not gay but I have relatives and friends who are and I have 4 kids who might be- I want them to be able to live in a world where it is completely fucking unacceptable to be treated like shit because you are gay. I was near tears by the time I got to your last paragraph because it is so fucking true. So true.

  • howdoilook

    I was thinking the EXACT same thing about “It Gets Better” and pretty much all harassment that happens on Glee. Kids can only shrug off and rise above so much. What about “Make it Better” instead?

    And I think we all saw the Karofsky thing coming, which is sad. “Oh, he’s gay. Someone found out. Yep, they’re going to Facebook a bunch of terrible shit and then he’s going to kill himself.” It felt inevitable; you’re right. How do we CHANGE that? I’m sick of Our People being shown as victims, too; isn’t there a better way to get the rest of the country to sympathize without making us look helpless?

    • Terence Ng

      It’s important to depict the reality of experiences. For example, I bristled when Santana struggled to come out so long, but after a 15 minute pop song intervention, was totally cool with her identity after SEASONS of struggle. And yes, kids committing suicide over bullying, and specifically anti-gay bullying, is a real thing. Like I’ve said before, it’s not all sunshine, lollipops, and rainbows. Grappling with sexual identity is an issue that concerns reconciling personal and interpersonal senses of identity, and for some people, it’s a big task. I have no problem with that story being told. 

      But though suicide stories are filling the airwaves, it’s not an all or nothing reality. It’s particularly unnerving to see Karofsky go from someone who’s struggled with his identity, come out enough to go to a gay bar and enjoy himself in a relaxed manner, to meet up with a former crush in public, and then suddenly be unhinged and desperate to the point of suicide. It reeks of Karofsky being used as a plot device. A gay “Woman in the Refrigerator”.

  • I went to high school way before you guys, so I don’t remember anyone even remotely admitting to being gay.  It just was not talked about.  There were tiny hints that the girl’s gym teacher was a lesbian, but then, isn’t every girl’s gym teacher suspected of that?  In that atmosphere, everyone was teased and bullied for being anything out of the ordinary–too tall, too fat, too short, wrong clothes, etc.  But then again–I hung with the theatre/art class folks, who, I think at the time, were more tolerant of each other’s individuality.  And we ignored the teasers and the bullies.  Of course, there was no internet, cell phones, etc so everyone was more innocent and naive.  Our world was much smaller, so our problems were smaller, as well. 
    I did not see the episode, but I agree 100% with your post of today and that of earlier.  I know many gay couples for whom holding hands in public is still an issue, but they will not become victims.  They simply do not let the bullies win.  Those are the kind of people that should be portrayed in a TV such as Glee. 

    I guess my point is that

    • Glammie

      You know, I think it depends where you were.  I was in high school in the 70s and while some of the teachers were clearly gay (hello P.E. teacher), several of the kids were, though not all.  They weren’t, as far as I know, bullied openly.  I think part of it was that my high school was so diverse that we were all splintered into small groups, anyway.  Liberal area–so it was considered “cool” to be open-minded–a sign of sophistication.

      Doesn’t mean being gay was a piece of cake–one kid I knew came out to his parents and got kicked out.  Ended up living in a residential hotel, dealing pot.  I look back at that and wish I’d known more, been older–been able to give him a place to live so that he stayed in school.  I wonder if he’s alive–AIDS swept in a few years later and took so many people.

  • I love you, T Lo.

  • lahand

    I don’t watch Glee anymore but can’t seem to stay away from your recaps and I’m glad I didn’t. I clearly remember reading that post from the first season you highlighted above and how it struck me. I’ve thought of it many times since then. As someone who considers herself proud to be a supporter of the gay agenda (tongue in cheek here!!), it made me realize that even with all of the gay people I know and love, I had no real concept of the “otherness” they went through/go through. That post from the first season was such an eye opener for me even though I thought that my eyes had already been opened. Well, you’ve done it again TLo. Your last paragraph really knocked me off-balance. I’ve been that person shaking my head at my computer at how people can be so hateful. I posted the “It Gets Better” video campaign on my Facebook wall without a second thought. But you’re right. Discourse matters. Hidden assumptions matter. The way groups of people are constructed as victims or helpless matters. And changing the discourse from “look at the poor gay kids being bullied” to “this is fucking unacceptable” is important and now that you’ve said it, SO obvious. Thanks TLo!!!

  • Noshmek


  • riot_grrrl2012

    I realized during a conversation with a friend today that there was also a big missed opportunity to here to explore what it means for Rachel and Finn to have the privilege to run off and get married – a privilege her fathers don’t share and that I think the character has brought up before.  So many things that could have been…

  • elleg929

    I have taken Glee off my DVR.  I loved Season 1 so much but that show is gone.

  • Totally agree with every fucking thing you said.  I’ve been reading this blog for a while but this finally inspired me to comment.

    What we really need right now aren’t more gay victims, but strong gay role models who show youth how to stand up for themselves and how to make their dreams reality.  We need more Ellens, more RuPauls, more Adam Lamberts, and fewer Kurts.  Honestly, Glee has had this horrible condescending tone for so long now, and what I find most degrading is that the gay characters have become some of the least human characters on the show.  Sassy, bitchy Kurt was so much more interesting, and felt so much more real, than preachy, angelic Kurt.  I’m done with Glee, too.  Thanks for this post.

  • mjude

    sad your are leaving this show TLO, but i totally understand your point of view.

  • i LOVE you guys so much. THANK YOU!

  • Noshmek

    How can we repackage “THIS SHIT HAS TO STOP RIGHT NOW” into a more palatable social media phrasing?  I’ve come up with “STOP BEING A DICK” and “LIVE YOUR OWN LIFE, ASSHOLE” and “WHO THE FUCK MADE YOU GOD?” but none of them really convey that touchy feely vibe I think the message needs…


    • kaycem

      i really like “who the fuck made you god?” b/c it can address a host of bullying under one perfect umbrella.

      • sherry fowler

        Yeah, you know, I was struck by the same thing–who the fuck made you God? kind of covers it all as regards to bullying, doesn’t it? I’ve only recently found this blog, a group of ladies who are shameless Downton Abbey fans made ourselves a chat group and one of our number told us all about your recaps of that show. In the process of reading your HILARIOUS reviews of that program, I started poking around and looking at your other stuff. I’ve been watching Glee for a year, after two episodes I devoted a whole Saturday to watching the first seasons on Netflix to catch up. There was a lot not to like in this episode, in my humble opinion. Not being gay, I will defer to your asessment of the gay characters and their dilemmas/reactions/issues. Sebastian’s sudden conversion to decent seemed phony, besides, I’ve enjoyed his uber charming, rakish naughty boy persona. Rachel’s desire to move up her wedding in the light of a suicide attempt seemed insensitive and self absorbed even for her, and really, although Quinn’s haircut is adorable, it only makes it even more difficult to pretend that she is supposed to look like a high school senior. They need to go ahead and graduate this cast, because some of those “teens” are starting to look like they are pushing 30.

        And how about their performance at Regionals, the performance that finally won the top prize for them? It didn’t actually suck, but it was blah. Very blah. They have done far better and been much more exhilarating to watch at Regionals in past seasons. Also, who are the extra people that performed with them at Regionals? Am I the only one who saw those people? I kept saying, “who is that girl dancing there, we’ve never seen HER. Where did she come from?”

        The whole episode careened from “Really?” to “Are you SERIOUS?” to “Oh for Christ sake, yeah, its just THAT EASY, isn’t it, asshole?” to “blah”.  

        • Warmheartedgirl Seattle

          LOL, my daughter and I both noticed the “extra” people performing at Regionals.  Who WERE those people??

    • JanieS

      Well, there’s George Takei’s melliflous: “You … Are … A DOUCHEBAG.” That could always get more play.

  • serenitynow02

    You guys should really write an OpEd piece. Bravo. Eloquent and well-stated.

  • oh_dear_oh_dear

    I will really miss your recaps of this show. Make no mistake: I hated this episode, but for completely different reasons than you. I thought their portrayal of suicide was incredibly condescending and simply misguided, giving a PSA that anyone who understands depression knows won’t be effective. Television can be a mechanism for teaching millions, and that can be incredibly dangerous if they’re taught wrong.

    On the other hand, I was too busy being upset by that to fully appreciate how reductive and victimizing their portrayal of gay adolescence was. You are incredibly on point and it will be a shame not to have your voice in this discourse any longer.

    •  “Television can be a mechanism for teaching millions, and that can be incredibly dangerous if they’re taught wrong.”

      This is my main issue with Glee and nearly every other television show I watch. And those wrong messages are the ones that perpetuate the ideas that T LO are raging against. Teen suicide is not something to be addressed in one hour of television — especially one that also includes a singing competition, a wedding, a car accident, the comeuppance of multiple characters, and way too many random characters contracted to get 5 minutes of face time.

    •  “Television can be a mechanism for teaching millions, and that can be incredibly dangerous if they’re taught wrong.”

      This is my main issue with Glee and nearly every other television show I watch. And those wrong messages are the ones that perpetuate the ideas that T LO are raging against. Teen suicide is not something to be addressed in one hour of television — especially one that also includes a singing competition, a wedding, a car accident, the comeuppance of multiple characters, and way too many random characters contracted to get 5 minutes of face time.

      •  Well said.

        • Ironically, a few hours later the “It Gets Better” special aired on MTV last night, with real stories about three real people coming out in different stages of the process. Which probably did far more for gay kids than any ridiculous episode of Glee could ever hope to do.

          I quit Glee after the Ricky Martin episode. Sounds like it was for the best. 

  • TiredofnegativeS

    Actually, for me, I think I am doNe with this site. Your level of self importance and distain for the creative work of others is overwhelming. You have become a site populated by people here simpy to criticize. how sad an existence it must be to sit around and find things to criticize about the work of others. I remember the days when you were just a couple of runway bloggers, not the superior beings that you are today, who KNOW, far more than the people actually doing the work, how everything should be done and written. And it must be great to criticize and degrade the “it gets better” program, without having to actually do any work. Just sit back and tell everyone else how much they suck.

    Best of luck guys,

    • kaycem

      bye.  don’t worry, you won’t be missed.  xoxox!

    • BigShamu

      You are sadly clueless.

    • Loretta Pontillo

      Um, T-Lo’s slogan has changed many times, but it has always been something like, “Bitchy and opinionated.” You’re just noticing this NOW? Why come to an opinion site and then complain that opinions are being expressed? It seems peculiar to me.

      • AMEN.  Yes, a lot of what TLo says is criticism, but a lot of it is praise, too.  What do you think the word “opinion” means, Tired of NegativeS?

    • Zaftiguana

      Yes, it’s shocking to stumble upon a site for fashion and entertainment criticism that has “bitchy and opinionated” right in the tagline only to discover years down the road that it’s a site containing bitchy and opinionated criticism of fashion and entertainment. I hope you had your smelling salts nearby when this epiphany visited itself upon you. 

    • harlowish

      HAHA U MAD

  • Lilithcat

     there comes a point when the urge to educate and be respectful of a group of disenfranchised people tips over into inadvertently redefining them in a new way: victim.

    Yep.  Same thing happened with the women’s movement.  All of a sudden, people who called themselves feminists (I’m looking at you, Catherine MacKinnon) started treating women who made choices they disagreed with as women not capable of making choices.  Pissed the hell out of me.

    •  Right you are, sister.

      And I’ve got several reasons to wear my “This Shit Has To Stop RIGHT NOW” shirt.  I think IGB serves a purpose (or did, at the outset), but it’s so nice and gentle it’s easy for folks to accept and say “Well, I’ve done my part.”

    • SapphoPoet

      Yep. Happened to me when I took my husband’s name when we got married. Several women I know who self-identified as feminists got really angry with me when I did that. Um…I thought that it was about having a choice, not which choice I made. (These were older women and I think part of it was that they’d spent years fighting for that and felt betrayed.)

      • Pinup Ghoul

         It is absolutely about having a choice, and not caring what other people think of you. My sister, whom I love dearly, chooses to be a homemaker. I support her fully because she’s happy. No one forced her to do it, it’s what she wants to do.

        Personally, I’m taking my fiance’s name because it’s WAY easier to spell and pronounce, and hyphenating the names together would make it too long for most forms and luggage tags. Those are literally my only reasons, and we’re both totally fine with that. We had discussed both of us changing our entire names altogether, and we’d end up as something like Cornelius and Olivia Ninja-Bear.

        • I kept my maiden name because I HATED how my first name worked with his last name.  I asked him how he felt about it, fully willing to change it if it was important to him, and his response was, “I fell in love with you with your name, I proposed with your maiden name, so why should it matter to me now?”

    • howdoilook

      EXACTLY. The fact that we have to rely on the ideas of rape and incest to keep abortion legal proves your point on that one.

      • I personally love that I have the right to make a choice not to have a baby once I find myself pregnant but NOT THE OPTION TO PREVENT IT PERMANENTLY.  Sure, it’s not illegal to do a sterilization on a young woman who doesn’t want children, but good luck finding a doctor that will do one.  How is that NOT denying me control and choice? 

        • I’m in that boat with ya.  Been trying to get my tubes tied for ten years, and no one will do it.  I couldn’t even get an IUD at first.  My doctor only changed her mind about that because I was diagnosed with a type of migraine that can escalate into ischemic stroke, which means I cannot take birth control pills.

          • Well, I don’t need mine done because I have kids and my husband is having his done.  But I resent the hell out of it that I need those justifications! 

        • buildmeatower

          Ditto for getting a mastectomy that isn’t deemed medically necessary. Apparently going to medical school makes my doctor more knowledgeable about what I want than I am.

        •  I hear you. So. Tiresome. (And wouldn’t voluntary sterilisation prevent unnecessary abortions…?)

          • Um, YES! Which come with their own health risks — I had a medical abortion for a missed miscarriage and it took my body 9 MONTHS to recover correctly.  They aren’t that easy, even just physically.  And if a woman is willing to commit to never having children, who else’s business is it?

    • You mean like my sister-in-law who is JUST CERTAIN that if I went out and got a career, I’d be far more satisfied than I currently am being with my kids?  Oh, I only think I enjoy it and find fulfillment there because I don’t know any better?  Those feminists? 

      • formerlyAnon

        Human nature is so frustrating. We find it all too easy to put people into convenient little boxes (and I’m as guilty as anyone.)

        I’m a self-identified feminist. I also torpedoed my career path (more than a decade in and at quite a respectable salary for decently satisfying work) to spend 17 years in dead end underemployment so that I could have enormous time flexibility (and health insurance) and even now that I’m trying to segue back into more engaging work that can fund some kind of retirement, I have NO REGRETS.  For what it’s worth, I did the full time stay at home mom thing for  almost 3 years and it was not a success, at all.

        This is far off the original topic, here, so I’ll skip the discussion of the financial realities of being the care giver for any family member.  To the extent there was a point, I guess it’s that the more certain one is that there is One True Path for anything, the less likely one is to be correct.

  • jakenderek


  • jennmarie19

    Fuck “It Gets Better.” Show us a campaign against gay teen bullying called “THIS SHIT HAS TO STOP RIGHT NOW.”

  • The very first post I ever read of yours was the very one you quoted, T LO. I was so moved I and said that if swapped the word gay for disabled the sentiments are the same. As long as I can remember I have always wanted to see happy realistic portrayals of people with disabilities in mainstream media, heck ANY media instead of the bitter victim/overcoming diversity saint portrayals we’re always stuck with. Which I realize is the unfortunate lot that all minorities are stuck with.

    My hope is that the new generation of writers coming up through the ranks will truly begin to caputure a more nauanced view of the world, instead of falling back on tired troupes time and again.

    • That’s how I feel too.  I’m not gay, but I am disabled.  And it’s equally annoying to have your life be seen as either a pity party or sainthood.  My husband gets praise for daring to marry an autistic woman, and I’m seen as an “inspiration” for being a married autistic woman.  WTF?  When did living life become something to sanctify simply because of a disability.  I had a friend mention how “cute” it was to see two people with Downs dating.  It’s not cute, it’s living!  

      It’s amazing to me how society sees anyone outside the white/christian/heterosexual/neurotypical/able norm.  

      • I get “inspiration” a lot too, though it’s mostly from the older generation. I know they mean well so I just smile. If it’s from the younger generation I always try to say,’really I’m just as crabby and imperfect as the next person.’ 

        Yours is the second story I’ve heard in a week whose husbands have been praised for marrying women with disabilities. WTF indeed! It’s interesting, when I was younger I believed the troupe that I’d be lucky to find someone who looked passed my disability, and love my in spite of it, because that’s what I saw portrayed so I internalized it. Now I’m like, ‘hell, if you don’t like me for whatever reason that’s your problem, not mine.’  And I count them as the lucky ones to have ME in their life, not the other way around.That’s why I think so important to have differing portrayals, because when your young if that’s all you see, you think maybe that’s how it really is. Then you grow up and you’re like ‘F that!’

        • I do give my husband props for being willing and able to deal with the fact that I have SEVERE depression problems (sometimes it does qualify as a disability — like when I go catatonic for a day or two).  But not for marrying me in spite of it.  He knew the score going in.  And I don’t expect praise for dealing with his sometimes debilitating gout.  That’s kind of in the contract… you know, in sickness and in health. 

          • formerlyAnon

            This is WAY off course & maybe too intrusive, so ignore if you’d prefer.  But I haven’t been able to read all the threads here exhaustively so if you updated I missed it – did you get anything useful (short or long-term) to deal with the pain/headache issues you mentioned last week?  Hope so.

          • I’m seeing yet another doctor tomorrow, so hopefully I’ll have more to report then:)

      • ProvidenceGuy

         Hear hear Shalia! I’m gay and a congenital amputee.  I have learned to ignore the condescending crap. I have been asked if I dress myself and feed myself!  WTF!

        The fact is people are messy and “people” do not come from a single template.  I once said “My dad can’t swim a mile every day, I can.  Which of us is disabled?” 

        The fact is, everybody’s got something.  Some people haven’t realized that yet and it leads to stupid comments.

      • bitchybitchybitchy

        Someone actually said it was “cute” to see two people with Downs dating? OMG, that is mind-numbing-condescending and embarrassing.

  • Spicytomato1

    I stopped watching Glee toward the end of last season but I wanted to comment anyway. Your comment, “Kids, by their very natures, are not forward-looking; everything is RIGHT NOW and of the HIGHEST IMPORTANCE.” Truer words were never spoken.

    As for bullying today, you could exchange “special needs,” “disabled,” “ethnic,” “different” and any other number of adjectives for “gay” in the phrase “gay teen bullying.” I have a middle-schooler who happens to be on the autism spectrum (i.e. different, quirky and therefore a prime bully target) and I’ve thought a lot about It Gets Better. I hear what you’re saying but with bullying — not just anti-gay but anti-everything — still so rampant (and in fact probably increasing with all the new technology that bullies now have to hide behind), I do think it’s a solid tool in what needs be an entire toolbox of anti-bullying strategies. 

    As for “THIS SHIT HAS TO STOP RIGHT NOW” I think schools have been trying to for years without success. Which is why I like It Gets Better. As infuriating as it may seem, it’s more realistic. I think my son actually gets the idea of life getting easier as you get older. He’s always been more comfortable around adults than kids and he knows that social success at school — at least during the middle school years — is about flying under the radar as much as possible. 

    Anyway, I hear and applaud everything you’re saying. I feel your pain and outrage every day. 

    • formerlyAnon

      You’ve articulated my thoughts almost perfectly.

      • Spicytomato1

        Yes. This is a tough one for educators. (And don’t get me started on how underappreciated and maligned they are right now in today’s political climate!) 

        Right now my son’s school is trying a program that came out of the Columbine tragedy. The story behind it is inspirational and I think it got the kids’ attention. However it’s not without its flaws and I don’t think it’s really been all that effective. However, I do give the school credit for trying to go at the problem from a different angle.

    •  “I do think it’s a solid tool in what needs be an entire toolbox of anti-bullying strategies.”

      THIS.  A deeply rooted societal problem needs both short term and long term strategies.  I don’t think It Gets Better was ever meant to be a long term strategy.  It was meant to address an immediate problem: kids who are on the verge of suicide because the right now is so awful that they can’t even conceive of a better life.  I’m happy to sign on to both It Gets Better and This Shit Has To Stop Right Now.  They address different aspects of the same problem.  When it comes to something as deeply ingrained in our culture as homophobia, I think we need to use every single tool at our disposal.

      • chipwitch

        For me, THIS.

        It Gets Better is, as someone posted previously, like a hug.  It is an indication that you are not alone.  It is not a fix to the problem, but it is an acknowledgement of the problem and how hard it is for many young people now. Just looking over the list of people who have contributed, from the Obamas, to Ellen, to Stephen Colbert, Larry King, Tim Gunn, Suze Orman, Adam Levine, etc (, you can see people with a wide variety of professions represented, each trying to tell young people that they (the contributors) are there for them (the downtrodden teens).  There are a number of people that any teen can look up to, regardless of their personal aspirations.  

        I am not a lesbian, but I have experienced bullying.  I have been through, and continue to struggle with, depression.  I know that, for me, knowing that I am not alone has really helped.  

        Clearly, This Shit Has To Stop Right Now, but that’s a lot easier said than done.  Personally, I think that if IGB has helped even one or two people decide not to take their own lives, it is worth it.  It is not the end of the battle, but it does boost troop morale, and that’s not worthless.


    • CarolinLA

      To quote Blanche Dubois, teens don’t want realism, they want magic.  Realistic, to me, is suddenly sounding like “lazy” in my head.  It’s very easy to pat a child on the head and try to kiss away a boo-boo.  But stopping bullying takes real work and sadly, that burden is being put on teachers as if they weren’t already burdened enough.  Teachers aren’t responsible for the world or Facebook.  Until the parents of the bulliers start participating in the process, we won’t see much progress.

      • Spicytomato1

        I’m with you. I can look at certain parents at school functions (mandatory ones because they probably wouldn’t come to school voluntarily) and pretty much guess who the bullies might be. However, in this ongoing, uphill battle, a pat on the head is, as people have said, better than nothing. 

    • Zaftiguana

      “THIS SHIT HAS TO STOP RIGHT NOW” is tried without success in schools unwilling to back up words with comprehensive, serious action. Words are easier than actions, particularly actions that may be unpopular with some of the local citizenry, so it’s not surprising that that’s a not-uncommon issue, but I’d hesitate to say that that’s an inherent issue with that approach. Any approach that’s poorly implemented will be unsuccessful.

      • marstorr

        Considering that, as an educator, if I see a student smoking pot on school grounds and turn that kid in, even with evidence and other witnesses, if that child’s parent gets a lawyer, the school has almost no recourse to actually punish the kid. If the administration tries to continue with the punishment, the school district gets sued. With bullying, there is often little evidence, so applying the stated consequences consistently for bullying is tricky. I know my school tries to do a great job and get rid of bullying, but in talking to my minority students (in our school, the majority of the bullying is racially motivated still, not sexual orientation) they still have things happen to them frequently. As a classroom teacher, I wonder how much more the schools can do. I think there needs to be a fundamental societal shift towards creating respectful children long before they even get to kindergarten, but how does a society begin that? Who can tell parents how to raise their children and not get huge backlash?

  • els8383

    Amen x 1,000,000. This post is why I love you guys so much.

  • Amy_R

    Why, Glee, why? Why turn into a bad Afterschool Special? I skipped the last couple eps, but saw this was regionals and figured it be about the singing and dancing. Wrong. Teen suicide. Props to Max Adler tho..he’s a great actor, probably the best on the show.

  • Melissa Kerrigan

    Two things: 1) Sing it! 2) Bra-frickin-vo.  Honestly, the only reason I’ve been watching Glee these last few weeks is because I so enjoy your dissection of each episode.  Now that you won’t be covering it anymore, I can turn my attention to more deserving shows! Like Revenge.  And the return of Mad Men.  

  • Oh boys, I do think you are getting a little too riled up over a tv show.  I do agree that it’s not so good anymore, but I’m not gonna get all militant over it.  I love you!

  • I used to really like you guys – I found some of your previous comments pithy and tongue in cheek but I am woefully tired of your repeated bashing of the “it
    gets better” project. I guess I must have missed the project you all started in order to help the situation get better….what’s it called? Or is it a case of easier to criticize than do?  Just asking..

    On the episode, some of your points are valid – but it’s a show…its just a TV show – and instead of sounding like the people who brought me to this blog years ago to read your Project Runway reviews – you sound more like Statler and Waldorf from the Muppet Show.  Bitter, old and entitled.

    While the IGB project is in itself not enough, it’s so much more than nothing at all. And no it’s not the solution to bullying but it’s an attempt to help.  What was your attempt to help?  To me, “It gets
    better” is still very powerful starting point to get people to realize the problem exist and a conversation started. 

    I also reject your comment that IGB is condescending in tone. Which again leads me to believe that you have no true understanding of the project – and that’s OK..except that maybe you shouldn’t talk about it then.  The videos are about sharing your personal story – about how they may have suffered, but that they came out the other side – and yes kids are all about NOW – but if you talk, and share in a compassionate forum then maybe you do reach them – coupled with counseling, and support of those that love them the most.

    So instead of giving up Glee…I’m giving up you all….Peace out!

    • I think to say “it’s just a TV show” is naive.  That mantra can be used to overlook ridiculous and wildly contrived plot points, but Glee is clearly trying to send an important message, and that message can actually have a profound effect on a lot of people.  You may disagree with TLo’s comments, but I think they are exactly what you claim IGB to be: a “very powerful starting point to get people to realize the problem exists and a conversation started.”

    • The problem is– many of the IGB videos ARE condescending in tone. But the program as a whole is not. 

    • Maria McGarry

      Statler and Waldorf are my favorite muppets.  I didn’t sense either the muppets or the authors raging against IGB as much as pointing out that its existence makes for a convenient way for others to assume that THAT is the way to deal with the problem.  In short, it makes us lazy about being more proactive to prevent bullying instead of just romanticizing victimization as a necessary passage to a pleasant adulthood.

  • nancymae

    Rev. T and Bishop Lo have brought the word and it is good!

    This episode was so disturbing on so many levels. Of all the plots, I actually enjoyed (if that’s the right word) the Karofsky line the best though, like Santana’s storyline, his full circle moment felt so rushed as to feel artifical. My problem was with the idea of throwing what could have been a stand alone storyline in the kitchen sink along with regionals, Sebastian assholery, everybody hurts, weak parenting, pregnant sue, teenage marriage and THEN, texting while driving?! What. Tha. Fug?

  • Scott Isaacs

    Wow. Yet again, I am almost the lone dissenter. Where to begin?

    FIrst off, the whole “victim” thing is perhaps inevitable. I give Ryan Murphy and Co. credit for showing a spectrum of scenarios of what could happen with three different gay kids nowadays. Predictably, the first one is the sissy boy, the one who is the most stereotypically gay, and the one who could deal with it the best because he had to from day one. Then comes the lesbian cheerleader who struggles a bit more because her sexuality is a bit more of a revelation, and also because she hails from a conservative Latino Catholic family who does not entirely accept her. And finally: the gay football player, trying to make heads or tails of his sexuality in the most intensely homophobic environment in a rural middle American high school, without any support anywhere. Rant all you want about the “noble gay victim,” but I think it hits home and makes complete sense here. It would be absurd to think that Karofsky would somehow deal, and that would be that. Or that he would fight back valiantly and, yes, nobly. How should this have gone, if this was such a mishandled episode?

    Also, keep in mind that this is a show being mass-produced for all of America on prime-time. It is not LOGO. It does not cater exclusively to the urban guppie “1 girl 5 gays” demographic who are comfortable with themselves and are teetering on the brink of “post-gay.” Nor their followers. It assumes that there are kids out there in Karofsky’s position, understands that their struggle (because of its particular circumstances) may be the toughest of all, and understands that a “teenage dream” is probably not going to happen right now, no matter how much “this shit has to stop right now” occurs. It ain’t ideal, but it rings true to me, and it’s a start.

    However, I will take issue with the “click your heels three times, and say ‘there’s no place like the future'” glib resolution, the absurdity that is Finn & Rachel’s wedding, and especially the gawdawful way texting while driving was introduced into the storyline.

    • Larkin21

      You’re not alone. I agree completely. Thank you for saying it so well.

    • ampg

      I agree with all of this, as well.  I thought Karofsky’s suicide attempt was one of the first really honest character arcs we’ve had on this show in a long time, so I found it odd that it would be TLo’s breaking point.

      • FunButNutz

        To me, it seemed a little rushed.  The entire arc seemed well-intentioned, but last night it seemed like they skipped a step or two.  Writing good melodrama (Which is what Glee is) is tough.  Finding appropriate “teen-friendly” songs to pepper into the mix makes it tougher.

        • ampg

          In a way, I think this has been coming ever since they introduced Karofsky, so I didn’t see any skipped steps.  I think the depth of his conflict over his sexual identity was made very clear, as well as the tenuousness of his self-acceptance.

          • FunButNutz

            Part of my reaction is just my visceral reaction to the way Ryan Murphy writes.  If you ever watched Nip/Tuck he just seemed to hit the reset button every few episodes just to start over.  In the series there was very little continuity and no sense that he had an overriding plan.  I had a similar reaction to American Horror Story this year.  Ryan Murphy just seems to throw all this shit on the wall and see if it sticks.  Because of this I think that Karofsky’s suicide attempt wasn’t planned from the get go, and it seemed like a hollow moment, at least more hollow than it should have been…

    • CarolinLA

      It’s unfortunate that Glee told the gay storylines in this order because it does give the impression that it gets worse with each coming out.  

  • As sad as I am that you will no longer be commenting on this show, I do agree that it is high time that someone points out what is wrong with the show, instead of sugar-coating everything, exactly as I have seen. I will miss your hilariously bitchy comments, as this is one of the few shows I follow you two on. Damn, I still haven’t seen the end of the episode yet. It’s sad when a show that started out so good goes downhill like this, right? Expect tweets from me.

  • HobbitGirl

    Amen! I couldn’t have said it better. I gave up Glee after a few eps of S2, but i have enjoyed the TLo bitchery about it. But having heard from friends as well as here where the show has gone…yeck. Please can we just show a gay kid having a rough time of it, as inevitably a bullying society will cause, but still being happy once in awhile?

    • VermillionSky

      I gave up around the same time.  It wasn’t just the nonstop victimization storylines that bored me, but also the episodes centered around one musician or one theme that were poorly written (let’s find some nonsensical plot line to tie these half dozen completely different song themes from the same artist in one episode) and didn’t really advance the plot.

    • VermillionSky

      I gave up around the same time.  It wasn’t just the nonstop victimization storylines that bored me, but also the episodes centered around one musician or one theme that were poorly written (let’s find some nonsensical plot line to tie these half dozen completely different song themes from the same artist in one episode) and didn’t really advance the plot.

  • Glee started losing me last season, but kinda sealed the deal this season with its “The First Time” episode when Artie was directing “West Side Story” and convinced Rachel and Blaine that they couldn’t effectively express passion without ever having had sex.  Hello! It’s called acting!  Tons of actors have realistically portrayed serial killers and rapists without (one would hope) having experienced committing violent crimes themselves.  (Sarcasm on) I’ve even been told that perfectly mobile actors can effectively portray someone who’s confined to a wheelchair! (Sarcasm off)

    But I guess as a former high school teacher myself, what really sent me over the edge was Shelby’s affair with Puck and the writers of Glee treating it like it was no big deal for a teacher to sleep with one of her students. 

  • indigospade

    Yah, the it gets better campaign is hardly effective when more of the gay teens and young adults committing suicide are individuals who actually made IGB vlogs…  I guess it didn’t get better for them.

    Also I was hoping the ending scene would be the force to get Quinn off this show since her very characterization and the direction ehr character has taken over the seasons is the epitome of how absurd all these characters have become. Maybe if we’re lucky a truck will barrel through the whole lot of them and everyone can just be done. :I

  • *startsslowclap*

  • Warmheartedgirl Seattle

    Amen, brothers!  I love you two so much!

  • R. L.

    Hear, hear!

  • Amen to everything. 

  • Daniel Bayer

    OH, THANK GOD! The second that locker room scene started, I turned to my man and said, “Goddammit, he’s gonna kill himself. If they have him kill himself, I. AM. DONE. with this show.” Lo and behold… And then when Kurt gave that fucking sanctimonious, patronizing speech about the office job, partner, and kids, I wanted nothing more than for Dave to haul out a big ol’ middle finger and tell that little saint to go fuck himself. This was coming from, after all, a boy whose family could not have been any more supportive of him no matter what, and Dave just admitted that his own mother thinks he has a disease that can be cured. And who says every, or even any, gay man even wants those things? Much less before they turn 30! I’m sorry, but Glee has officially lost the plot with regard to gay teens. Instead of being a gay fantasy, it’s yet another entertainment product designed to make rich, white, liberal heternormative folk feel good about themselves for seeing the plight of the underprivileged and being able to say, “How awful! At least I don’t do those horrible things!”

  • formerlyAnon

    “Kids, by their very natures, are not forward-looking; everything is RIGHT NOW and of the HIGHEST IMPORTANCE.”

    Ya know, for two avowed uncles who [I infer from the occasional comment – insufficient evidence, I know] have chosen not to raise a child, you do *get* teens better than some of those who raise them and/or work with them. 
    And, I appreciate that you take the time to lay out your thoughts on Glee & more generally with growing up gay, here & in other places in your blog over the years. Like most of us who do not (so far as we know) have a gay child, such a child’s challenges tend to be lumped in my mind with all the other challenges that my particular child has escaped and receive far less thoughtful consideration than the challenges my kids do have. One of the things I appreciate about your work is that you are thoughtful about the topics you choose to engage and assume your readers will be as well.

  • ProvidenceGuy

    So, I get the anger at last night’s episode.  Completely agree with the slow slide from fierce defiance of Kurt to sad victim and suicide attempt.  I don’t like this direction.

    But I was thinking about the difference between Kurt and Dave this morning.  Why Dave and not Kurt?  Kurt was never IN the closet. He was bullied because he was the gay kid.   He never hid, never lied to himself about who he was.  Everyone around him had to catch up to him.  The catching up includes verbal and physical abuse. As hard as it was, he stuck it out.

    And just as we see in the real world, the obviously gay kid got it first and most.  Now we see a closeted kid who “passed” for years.  Dave made the compromise to lie about himself to fit in and play the game he loves.  He bullied Kurt to further that lie. 

    When Kurt came out, the reaction was a mostly a yawn ending in an amazing and wonderful scene with Bert.  Kurt lost very little by coming out.  He had friends, family and a place in the world.

    When Dave was exposed.  He lost everything.  He effectively lost his place on the team, with his friends, and we even heard about his mother’s rejection. Add to all that, he had to face the lies he told and the damage he did to further that lie.

    Yes, heavy handed.  But the difference in the two characters is quite large.  And the reaction of Dave is understandable in context.
    Max Adler made the pain understandable and yes, it brought tears to my eyes.

    As moved as I was by the scene of Dave preparing, it kept reminding me of Dead Poets Society.

    The rest of the episode was a distraction.  Quinn’s accident was just a way to keep Rachel and Finn from getting married. 
    Sebastien’s conversion seemed genuine but I doubt it will last. The show needs a villain and Sue is too inconsistent.

    Yes, there are a lot of problems with the episode and with the direction of the show.  But the gay kids on the show ARE different people and are shown reacting in different ways to the challenges they are facing.  I wish there was no suicide attempt either.  But real life is messy.  Why should we expect Glee life to be drama free and neat.

  • MsLadythankyouverymuch

    What I liked was Mercedes answer.  She really looked forward to seeing Rachel’s children.   No Plan, dreams, hopes of her own.  Now, really, they really should have given her a  SECRET PANCAKE RECIPE. (Imitation of Life)  It’s okay to be upset: it’s alright to feel rage. I will continue to watch Glee and read your column. 
    I started reading Project Rungay with Laura and Michael as contestant.     

  • Anathema_Device

    I get what you’re saying about the “It Gets Better” campaign, and I agree we need a “THIS SHIT HAS TO STOP RIGHT NOW” campaign as well. I will say, though, that the “It Gets Better” approach addresses a very specific rash of incidents of bully and subsequent suicide.These were kids who felt totally alone and/or humiliated. The organizers wanted to get gay kids like this–or even just a couple–to stop and realize they are not alone, that there are others who have hit those same lows and came through it. Anything that can persuade just one kid from committing suicide is okay by me. Obviously it isn’t a panacea, but it is one prong of what should be a mulit-pronged approach to helping kids through coming out, dealing with bullying, and making their way in life.

    Once those kids make it through that dark patch, then they can hear the stronger message and hopefully act on it. I know from having kids that most serious issues are a series of conversations, with a variety of depth of intensity. Not just one conversation.  You have to approach things with the information they can digest at the time.

    • ampg

      I agree – the thing about other kids who are bullied is that they usually have adults around them who were in their position and made it through.  They’re the nerds-turned-engineers, to take just one example.  But if you’re a gay teen in a homophobic community, then you probably don’t see any gay adults living normal, healthy lives.  “It Gets Better” is a way to bring those success stories directly to kids.  Of course it’s not enough, but it was never intended to be enough.

      And on a similar note, I loved the talk they all had with Mr. Shue.  I thought it was a really honest and mature way for him to talk to them about teen suicide, especially the idea that everyone has something, no matter how small or insignificant it may seem to others, that could bring them to that ledge.  And that the important thing is getting past that moment, by any means necessary.

  • GorgeousThings

    Last night’s episode bothered me on several levels. On of my son’s classmates hanged himself this year. No one knows why. And the texting thing at the end struck me, while a great warning to give to kids, as stuck on and preachy, at the end of a very, very preachy episode. I’ll continue to watch Glee, since my kids watch it religiously. But I’m tired of the ham-handed proselytizing.

  • Wow!!! Very powerful post. I am still processing everything you wrote.

  • Can I have that final paragraph printed on a t-shirt?

    • howdoilook

      I put it on FB 🙂 (with credit to T Lo of course!)

  • You know that picture of the guy standing next to one of those Westboro Baptist freaks with the “Fuck This Guys” sign?  This one:
    I kept waiting for someone on Glee to react to a teeny bully with a message like that. Instead with the weepiness and the soft music. Ugh.  Done.

  • You know that picture of the guy standing next to one of those Westboro Baptist freaks with the “Fuck This Guys” sign?  This one:
    I kept waiting for someone on Glee to react to a teeny bully with a message like that. Instead with the weepiness and the soft music. Ugh.  Done.

  • MzzPants

    Amen, Brothers.  Best post ever.

  • MzzPants

    Amen, Brothers.  Best post ever.

  • finnishmaria

    this is a fantastic article, you guys. I’m sufficiently impressed and wowed.

  • Thank you, I was never more offended by Glee than by this episode. Apart from totally castrating Kurt this season and making him dress like Joan Crawford (hey does anyone remember Kurt when he tried to get in Finn’s pants in season 1? yes did it make some people cringe, sure, did the same people think it rang true, yes.), they sheer pedantic approach of Glee has really bothered me. I agree with the idea that they have reached for the victim trope much too often, but there is also the sheer incredulity that no one gets angry–when Quinn said what she said, I was like yes, that is a reaction someone would have to this situation–misjudged reaction, but an accurate one. There is no point of addressing “hard issues” if you can’t do it right.

  • Perfectly said.

  • Thank you for this post. I was hoping for it when watching last night. I’m sure the show had and has good intentions but they did not come across to me last night. As a mother of teens I had such mixed emotions. This was not the Glee I loved back in the beginning that gave us joy and inclusion and yes, a bit of something to think about but still a good time. Lately it’s just been depressing and is that the message that should have been put out to the kids?
    Also I agree with action now. I teach my kids to think of their bright futures and that it’s what they are working towards but also NOW is so important too. They must look at and count their blessings to get past the daily hurt that comes for kids. The love of their family and God despite what the world throws at them.

  •  I  just want to say I have been raging against Artie’s direction since that episode. Also the fact that the two adult supervisors left the room because they were uncomfortable with the conversation. Rachel and Blaine were ALSO uncomfortable and it is their job as supervisors to intercede, not leave the room. I am really still mad about it and the fact that Artie is now seen as this genius director and will be in that position next year… I van’t with how awful it is. I realize this is not the point of the post but, I’m glad to see someone else thinks that was a ridiculous thing to say.

    • formerlyAnon

      It didn’t post that way because Disqus is glitchy. Almost certainly not your fault.

  • Violina23

    I think you guys are spot on that we need to focus on the source of the hate, not just “accepting” the hate. That’s what I got myself tongue-tied about last week, because I think when society [and shows like Glee] makes generalizations about the kinds of people who “fit the mold” of being a bigot, we oversimplify the problem.  Why are people so afraid or threatened?  How can we convince them that being tolerant does NOT have to conflict with whatever else they believe? There’s a lot more work to be done, yes… 

    That being said, I still think there’s a place for the “It gets better” message for the exact reason you mention: that teenagers are so focused on NOW, that they don’t always see the big picture.  I went to a small high school and I had a REAL hard time believing that there was ANYONE out there for me to connect with.  I had even contemplated suicide at one point on my life, but rejected the idea mostly BECAUSE I thought “it HAS to get better”. I don’t think the campaign is meant to say “You’ll get used to it” as much as “Remember the world is bigger than you think: Discover who you are, be confident, and you will find your place in it, despite the assholes.”
    So, maybe I am saying that we should have both messages:  It gets better, but what the FUCK is wrong with the rest of you? 

    P.S. I play violin in the community orchestra that Tyler Clementi was in before he left for college.  I won’t pretend I knew him well — I saw him once a week and sat with him occasionally during rehearsals.  But here was this CRAZY talented kid: sweet, kind, and approachable (VERY shy).  I teased him for making me feel old by being so amazing at violin at such a young age, talked about his future [he was skilled enough to pursue a professional career, but didn’t want to], etc.  I wish for the LIFE of me that I had known what he was going through, because things got SO much better for me in the years following my “low point”.  None of this changes the fact that Tyler’s roomates were assholes, of course, but I still ache inside knowing that I could have maybe helped if I had known.  

    • bitchybitchybitchy

      Violina23, your contacts with Tyler Clementi might have helped him-they might have brought him some pleasure in knowing that you appreciated his talent, and that you  liked him, and enjoyed being part of the community orchestra.

      • Violina23

        I hope so…  I really did like him, and I was in awe of his talent. I’m not trying to make this about myself… but I’ll always wonder what could have been different. 

        • Glammie

          As a classically trained singer, the loss of a talented musician just kind of hurts in this weird visceral way.  You know that deeply talented violinists don’t happen every day and how much they matter in music.  So sad.

        • Glammie

          As a classically trained singer, the loss of a talented musician just kind of hurts in this weird visceral way.  You know that deeply talented violinists don’t happen every day and how much they matter in music.  So sad.

    • CarolinLA

      Jesus, that’s so painful to live with a “what if”.  It’s the collateral damage of suicide.  

  • Glad to have a break until April. Each episode tries so hard to be “A Very Special Episode.” And Quinn will die, and her funeral will be huge, and Rachel and Finn will feel so guilty, they won’t marry.  Sue will probably have a miscarriage by the end of the season, too.

    I swear, Ryan Murphy is trying to kill all the seniors so they can be on next season’s American Horror Story.

  • YoungSally

    Maybe it’s time for ACT UP to reassert itself…so we can get away from the treacly stuff.

    • Montavilla

      I was just thinking about ACT UP.  I went to the Women’s March on Washington back in the 1980s and there was a strong ACT UP delegation there.  I remember feeling so much admiration for them, they were the most cohesive group there, with the best chants.  I was proud to have their solidarity with the Women’s Movement — and it made me think about how strongly and well the gay community had learned about AIDS and then alerted and educated the rest of the world.  That saved millions, if not billions, of lives.

  • dcswimmerman

    I rarely post on here, but I am a very avid reader.  I really look forward to your writing, especially the reviews of Glee.  I can see why you’re giving it up, but just know that your posts back in the day when the show was actually good really brought a smile to my face on many occasions.  I miss those days.
    Your writing today and many of the posts made me want to comment, however.
    I want you to know I fully support the It Gets Better campaign, and I think we all should.  I think it misses the mark here and there, and I definitely don’t think that it should be the only answer to bullying, but I support it not because it is better than nothing, but because telling someone that is being bullied that there is a future can sometimes be one of the strongest messages one person can send to another. 
    Here’s the thing, and I know this from experience, someone that experiences bullying and overwhelming harassment, can lose site of the future.   Loosing site of the future, that the pain one is experiencing right now will end, is what drives people to suicide.  It’s the idea that there is nothing worth looking forward to tomorrow, that makes a person not want to see tomorrow.  Giving a young person that is in such short-sighted pain a messages of hope, endurance, strength, and perseverance, is not a bad thing.
    IGB can’t be the end all be all of ending bullying, and last time I checked it isn’t trying to be.  It’s trying to make sure that gay teens know there is a tomorrow to look forward to.
    The only place where I think that the IGB campaign misses the mark a little is that it can expand its message.  No one should ever loose site of the fact that being gay isn’t the only catalyst for a child to be bullied.  Kids will bully other kids for any number of reasons; looks, brains, sports, what car one drives, religion, monetary status, skin color, etc.  No matter what anyone does, there will always be some difference that a bully can exploit.  I will relate that in high school in rural Pennsylvania I was picked on for being the only Jew in the entire school, not because I am gay.  Being gay didn’t even really come up, but anti-Semitic jokes did on a daily basis.  I know I could have used a message like IGB back then.  It’s not limited to the US either; as a kid living abroad, my partner was picked on in Japan for being the only white kid in his class, and even his Japanese language skills. 
    This is where I also think that Glee misses one of many marks.  I’m surprised that no one has picked on Arty for being in a wheelchair, or Tina or Mike for being Asian, or even Quinn for having a baby (I know the girls who got pregers in my school were picked a lot).  Are we so naïve to think that bullies wouldn’t have picked up on these things and try to exploit them?  Even in this day and age where there is, thankfully, more intertwined communities and ethnicities, more awareness about disabilities, and awareness about everything under the sun, bullies will always exploit a difference.  These last two seasons it’s been only the gay kids being severely bullied, which makes them look even more like hapless victims.  Many characters in that show have reasons they could be picked on, and many more reasons they could have stood up to bullies and send more positive messages about overcoming the problems of bulling in the here and now.  Instead the focus of the show has been on one group, gays, being picked on, not really focusing on the future till the last episode, and not really doing anything to end the problem.
    I am fed up with Glee too, and I have been for a while.  But I am giving up on the show because of its poor writing, the rushed and uneven pacing of the stories, the inconsistent character actions, and the poor examples of teachers.  I’m giving up on Glee because in the last few seconds of the show they tried to cram in one more preachy message about texting and driving.  I’m fed up too.  I just wish we could go back to when the show was good, and I rushed to my computer to read your hilarious posts the next day.

    • formerlyAnon

      Many good points. The worst bullying in my kids’ school I know of personally stemmed from the poor child’s personality. No lie, her classmates just found her clueless and awkward and in conjunction with a truly minor “mean girls” incident, in that completely non-rational Lord of the Flies way of kids at a certain age, drawing attention to her in a mocking way became the thing to do.  There was no violence, but it escalated in a way that given the emotions of teens, could have (but did not, fortunately) have led to suicide.

      I will not bore with the entire story, but it was an object lesson for a lot of parents (who apparently did not remember being kids) that every object of derision and bullying is NOT a movie-of-the-week kid: not necessarily disabled, or racially different, or gay, or geeky-smart, or anything with a label.

    • Spicytomato1

      Great point about all the Glee kids potentially being targets. The camaraderie that this group of “misfits” shared was part of what made the show so enjoyable to me. It made inclusiveness seem possible, and even cool, like when Finn the football star decided to join. The idea that kids who were different could all find a niche where they feel safe and can grow was a very positive one. No victims, lots of hope. Too bad that message has gotten so overshadowed.

  • sheezaguy

    What an excellent post.  I seriously had a spiritual experience reading this.  Thanks to both of you for being such a strong, important voice.  Definitely passing this post along to a few folks… even ones who don’t watch Glee…

  • Amen, brothers.

  • You know what is brilliant and moving and empowering? THIS. Your words, right here. I wish I had a better way to express my appreciation, but I don’t – so fuck yeah, and thank you, my favorite gay e-uncles. Thank you.

  • thehousesparrow

    No, I don’t think it was right the way no one seemed to go after whoever bullied Karofsky.  The coach was IN the principal’s office, discussing the suicide attempt, and yet she didn’t have the sense to go investigate who pushed him over the edge?

    But still, TLo, I think the wrong implication was drawn here with taking Karofsky’s coming out in a different direction.  This feels like the show is addressing a different sort of gay person, the one who feels he can’t come out for anything.  If all the gay characters came out with as nice of an outcome as Kurt, you’d have some people feeling as if Glee is spitting in their faces and ignoring other possible situations.

    • howdoilook

      SO right about no repercussions for the kids bullying. It’s like…THERE THEY ARE, RIGHT ON FACEBOOK. NAMES AND PICTURES. But we can’t do anything. WTF?

      • thehousesparrow

        Speaking of that, just today I experienced my own brush with personal sexual preference and FB.  The other day, I slept over a girlfriend’s house, and while I do consider myself bi, my love life is something I don’t discuss with many people at all.  So, this girl posted on my wall a big thank-you for me staying over and sharing the bed with her.  I panicked and deleted the post because I was SO worried of what other people would think of me.

        There are family members I have that wouldn’t accept me if I came out, and friends who I’m afraid might view me in a different light.  It’s just so personal to me–so yeah, I’m the Karofsky.  Except I don’t bully anybody–but I’m him in other ways, I relate to him more than Kurt or any other gay on the show.  I guess that’s why i took something positive from what I saw on the show the other night.

    • kattyatlaw

       That scene in the principal’s office was at McKinley. With the McKinley football coach. Karofsky wasn’t at McKinley this season- he transferred to a different school in Lima, with a different football coach and different teammates.

      • Still unrealistic that nobody from McKinley would’ve gone over to the other school and said, “Get these kids under control. They almost killed one of ours.”

      • Still unrealistic that nobody from McKinley would’ve gone over to the other school and said, “Get these kids under control. They almost killed one of ours.”

      • thehousesparrow

        Oh!  I forgot about that part, thank you.

    • Violina23

      I don’t disagree with you, and I don’t condone bullying in schools by any means (I was bullied), but you can’t always police thought & emotions. I’m not always sure what exactly to expect teachers/schools to do when the bullying is not physical.  Even if those students are punished, expelled, etc — it doesn’t change the fact that they are filled with irrational hatred.  How do we fix that?  What happens when those same students go into the real world and they still hate a group of people for no reason?

      Hatred is the real disease — the bullying is how the disease expresses itself.  Realistically, many bigoted people in THIS generation may be beyond help, but I think the best thing we can do is keep SHOWING the next generation how NOT a big deal being gay is.  Then, when someone tries to teach them that a gay person is going to destroy the country, they can say for themselves “Uhhh, what are you smoking?” 

      (Yes, I know I’m probably coming up completely naive, but I’m coming up blank on more tangible suggestions…)

      • Spicytomato1

        “the best thing we can do is keep SHOWING the next generation how NOT a big deal being gay is.”
        I think you’re right. I was just having this discussion about how the younger generation is more accepting of differences and I think this is why. That’s not to say we still don’t have a lot of work ahead of us but I do think the seeds of acceptance have been sown.

        • Violina23

          I think sometimes we make the problem worse by antagonizing the wrong thing. Religion itself is not a problem — but people extrapolating religious doctrine to justify their mistreatment of others is.  If you are trying to convince someone who is religious to be accepting of gays, and your argument consists of “Your religion is WRONG” and start spewing out insults of the belief system which has defined them as a human being for most of their life, they will completely shut you down and ignore you.  

          Some people are not going to be receptive no matter what we do/say — for everyone else,  I think we have to keep it civil, logical, compassionate, and free of personal attacks/digs.  Appeal to what everyone has in common, not turn it into an us vs. them where people get defensive. 

  • (I think you guys should start the “THIS SHIT HAS TO STOP RIGHT NOW” campaign.  I’d certainly sign on!!)

  • shobana_siv

    I am so so so relieved to see that not all of the media has fallen for Glee’s terrible messages. Thank you for writing this.

  • BazoDee

    I had a meeting last night and couldn’t watch Glee. There was already speculation about where the Dave K thing was going and from my FB feed I just knew. I haven’t watched it. I won’t watch it. It makes me sad -the show had some of the most groundbreaking dialogue on network TV on gay issues – the relationship with Kurt and his dad was just amazing. Both of those actors are so amazing. I will be sad to say goodbye -but the time is right. I’m done with Glee. 

  • Oy vey — a very energetic morning at chez TLo. For what it’s worth: I clearly remember having a conversation with my then 15-year-old son about how much his life sucked for him just then: his high school was full of zombie preppies, he worked at Sonic, he had nothing in common with most people at school or work, and he was (is) gay.

    This was years before the official IGB campaign, but I told him “High school sucks. You’re young, smart and capable. Things will get better.”

    His response: “Mom, I’ve read David Sedaris. I know it gets better. But it still sucks now.”

    Footnote: As far as I know, my son was never bullied in high school. He’s kind of a tough character (think of Lurch the butler with a hipster wardrobe and a razor-sharp tongue). Almost every time we talk we discuss what’s up on TLo. 

    • Spicytomato1

      Your son sounds like a smart, cool kid. Nice job mama!

    • Glammie

      Thing that strikes me is that you and he could talk about it.  It’s also clear you adore him–and he knows it.  

  • introspective

    I was just waiting for this post. I kept thinking through every minute of the episode “TLo is gonna skewer this ep tomorrow.”

    The obvious afterschool special/psa’s aside, the musical numbers, which were all about overcoming, etc, felt so horribly contrived and badly done.

    The bad music plus the badly conveyed messages in bulk: Sues

  • howdoilook

    Does this mean you won’t be blogging “Glee” anymore? (I wouldn’t blame you, but I would miss seeing you put my frustrations into something much more elegant than a shoe hurtling at the screen and eye-rolling.)

  • FunButNutz

    I understand your dissatisfaction with the show and the messages it has been sending specifically regarding gay teenagers, but I think maybe you need to take a step back for a second.  You’re two well off mature gay guys who live in the world of New York city, fabulous fashionistas, great clothes, and you’re living your dream.  Glee is about a small town in rural OHIO.  There is a war going on in this country RIGHT NOW, and you have to look no farther than the Republican candidates for president to understand that it is a real and present danger to gay kids.  No kids has an easy time of it in Middle school and High School, but to shrug off that kids have it great nowadays is just ridiculous.  Sure Glee is far from perfect, but having an attempted suicide is brave in its own way.  This show is not just for you, its for the kid with fundamentalist parents in bumfuck Arkansas who thinks that he’s the only person in the world who feels the way he feels.

    Second, if you follow Dan Savage (Founder of the It Gets Better project) at all, you know that his work on IGB is a tiny fraction of the activism that he works with.  He’s constantly writing about how people need to go after anti gay politicians for their bigotry, how parents of gay kids need to take action, including legal action against the schools who ignore their constant complaints. He is promoting an “in your face” attack on all levels of bigotry there.  He gave It Gets Better to kids who were lost and felt alone, he is giving their parents advice on how to fight furiously for their kids, he is giving politicians like Rick Santorum hell for stating that he has gay friends who are PERFECTLY FINE with his 14th century mindset regarding gay people.  The work he is doing is monumental and groundbreaking, and if you don’t know that, then I think you should educate yourselves.

    I’m really disappointed in the two of you

    • We don’t know how you missed it, since they’re the fourth and fifth sentences of the review:

      “An episode like last night’s certainly had nothing but the best of intentions and we’re going to try not to shit all over that – especially if people reading this were emotionally affected by it all. If it’s still your show, go right on loving it.”

      But perhaps you got distracted by the imaginary paragraph where we criticized Dan Savage and all the work he’s done.

      • FunButNutz

        Well you did write off Savage’s It Gets Better Project as not confrontational enough.  And since he has behaved in the past year as the perfect “This needs to stop NOW” spokesman that you pined for, he’s doing what needs to be done.  He’s confronting the bigots head on while providing support and comfort to those that feel alone.

        •  Yes, we pointed out why we think “It Gets Better” is flawed, but it wasn’t a criticism of Dan at all, whose work has been exemplary, even if there are times we don’t agree with the exact direction.

          • Montavilla

            Thanks for saying that, TLo.  I could give you the same advice.  Take your anger and use it to fight the bullying.  If Glee made you this angry, good for it.  It’s far better than provoking the non-reaction to bullying that was going on previous to “Never Been Kissed” and IGB.

            Railing against Glee for bringing up the subject in a too-maudlin way (especially if your reaction is just to turn the channel) seems counterproductive to me.  But that’s just my opinion.

          • birdhead

            … they’re bloggers who talk about TV. Criticising TV shows is kind of the raison d’etre of TV bloggers, isn’t it? 

        • Zaftiguana

          Dan Savage is not a perfect anything, and while I dig him, attitudes like that tend to manifest themselves just how yours did; willful misunderstanding and unnecessary bile directed at people who have perfectly valid criticisms of some of his work. Dan isn’t and doesn’t seem to me to pretend to be a saint, and the sooner people stop trying to imagine him as one, the better.

          • FunButNutz

            No bile spewed, none intended.

          • Zaftiguana

            I guess you can call it ignorant and condescending disdain if you prefer. 

    • I thought this too. Although these messages perhgaps aren’t needed for us middle agers, I think there are many people in this country (who watch a lot of FOX, ifyouknowwhatimean) who do still need to hear it. 

  • BitterOldQueen

    Brilliant. I gave up on “Glee” a couple of months ago for less high-minded political reasons (I found the constant wallow in gloopy self-importance just too hard to take: Yes, that’s how teenagers view the world, but forgodsake I’m not one any more, and all the cute boys in the world dancing around aren’t going to change that. It devolved after its first year into a weekly Afterschool Special, and lost all of what had made it appealing at first: a weird combination of utter innocence and fantasy coupled with an ironic, self-aware sense of the goofiness of it all. At some point the creators decided they had Important Things To Teach America, and while their motives and goals may have been laudable, the end product was syrupy and annoying and had all the fun sucked out of it. Plus I can’t forgive turning Sue Sylvester, the greatest villain since Curella de Vil, into Poor Softhearted Misunderstood Sue. Bleh.

  • Well fucking said. No matter who you are, victimization is just not how things get solved.

    I was actually thinking about that previous post recently and how amazing that was. It was a remarkable moment. And I agree that ‘Glee’ has shifted focus from quality, character-driven story lines to ones with as much drama as possible, which has done more damage to its own reputation than anything.

  • save_the_hobbit

    I lovedhave this episode. It was extremely emotional,and yes…it had its misteps…but I thought it was the best episode yet.

  • muzan-e

    When did you decide giving gay kids the message that their lives had value and potential wasn’t the way to go and defining them as victims was a great idea?

    The way for the creative community (and indeed, the entire world) to address anti-gay bullying is not through weepy portraits of its victims, but through SHEER RAGE. Fuck “It Gets Better.” Show us a campaign against gay teen bullying called “THIS SHIT HAS TO STOP RIGHT NOW” and we’ll sign on in nano-seconds.

    Fucking yes.I tell my daughter this: never be the victim. That is, never allow anyone to convince you that you – for some innate reason – are to be victimised, that this is your lot in life, that this is simply how it is. Never do that. Never do it to anyone else. Love the hell out of your friends if they’re in that place themselves, because it’s so – fucking – wrong.

    …. and I’m going to go wipe my eyes and blow my nose now, but thank you for writing every word of this piece.  It is so crucially, essentially important.

  • The gay community needs their Panthers — someone that scares the hell out of the passive majority and makes dealing with the reasonable activists look really appealing.  MLK made progress because it came down to a choice of dealing with him or dealing with Malcolm X and the Black Panthers. 

    I do somewhat disagree with your assessment of the “It Gets Better”.  I’m sure there are kids that are helped by it — kids who can cling to the idea that this is just a period they have to get through.  I personally always found the “Suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem” thing to be total bullshit, but my brother found it a helpful mantra.  (We both have clinical depression)  So I’m glad it’s out there for the kids that it does help.  But it’s hardly an answer.

  • Larkin21

    I understand the criticisms made here but I also can’t help but to think about how last week was “too perfect” because the four Christians represented on the show were accepting of gay people (forgetting the Christian complaint over lesbian PDAs) and that perfect view isn’t true to the way it is in the real world. Now we have an episode that shows what does happen in the real world for some gay kids and it’s too dark? Too victimizing? They’ve shown gay people to be bullies as well (Sebastian almost every time we’ve seen him, as well as Santana almost all the time, and even Kurt in more of a Mean Girls type of bullying) so they focus you see on victimization ignores the other layers these kids have.

    Anyway, I’m sad to see we won’t get more TLo coverage of Glee but I understand that when the show’s not doing anything for you (except maybe making you angry), then it’s time to go. Thanks for the coverage you have provided.

  • CatherineRhodes

    Wow, that was really powerful. Thank you.

  • I’m glad you’re done recapping the show.  It’s been obvious for some time that you get little to no enjoyment out of watching it, so I’m glad I won’t have to be tempted any more to click on the recaps of Glee when I’m here for the other shows and the fashion.  It’s been like watching someone in a bad marriage try desperately find something to cling to to keep making it work.  I’m glad you’re done with it, and I sincerely hope that you will not return to blogging about it after the hiatus.

    As to your review, I will make no comment except to say I disagree strongly with it.  But it’s your opinion, and you are entitled to it.

    • homespunner

      Stupid Disqus will only let me “like” your post one time. Too bad. You wrote exactly what I wanted to write. Thank you. 

  • kattyatlaw

     I don’t think it was ever determined that the complaint over lesbian PDAs was from a Christian. It may have even been Figgins– he’s never been above that sort of thing.

    • Larkin21

      In a short scene like that, I think you have to take what is said at face value. It’s true that Figgins could have just made up the complaint but he said he’d rather see Brittana kiss than Finchel … so if he didn’t like kissing period he could have stopped kissing. Period. Instead of “making up” a complaint that he noted was “for religious” reasons. I suppose he could have made up the reasons for the complaint as well but again, in a scene like that, I think it would be a cheat for the character to be lying.

      • kattyatlaw

         What I meant was 1) he just said there was a complaint. Not that a Christian had complained; and 2) Figgins has a history of using his own Christian beliefs as a reason to stop something he doesn’t like in the school and claiming that he had “complaints” from students to hide that he’s trying to stop things he doesn’t like. Also, Figgins didn’t say that he’d rather see the girls kiss than Rachel & Finn. That was Santana’s counter argument.

        • Larkin21

          I hate to argue over specifics but Figgins said “Believe me — I’d much rather see you and Santana kiss than that so-called ‘Finchel.'” He also went on to say, “But if a student files a complaint for religious reasons …” I agree that I’m making an inference to assume it was a Christian student but I’m not making up what he said in the scene.

          • kattyatlaw

             Ok, I’ll give you Figgins. But the assumption that the statement about IF a student filed a complaint for religious reasons means that a Christian student DID file a complaint is off-base. And, obviously, even if a kid DID complain for religious reasons, it’s up to the school to tell that kid to get the hell over him/herself and look away next time. But that’s neither here nor there 🙂

  • MMK_LB

    What you wrote about the “teenage dream” segment has stuck with me since I that first day it was posted. I quoted it and sent the link every which way because it gave voice to something so necessary in the conversation. I will do the same today with your “Final thought”. YES.THAT. EXACTLY.
    Thank you both for saying it our loud!

  • Wow. I have a straight son who is enduring bullying at high school because he has learning disabilities and is awkward. I keep telling him that “things are going to get better,” because we know they do, but now thanks to you I can see why my response never makes him feel better. Thanks for the clarity on this. Excellent, excellent post. Should be mandatory reading for all high school personnel.

    • Make a copy and take it in to one of the school personnel.  Maybe this will be a wake up call to at least one more person.

  • Brilliant. Even though I’m upset that I won’t get to read your posts on Glee anymore, I wholeheartedly accept your decision not to do so anymore. 

  • sherry fowler

    A couple of years ago at the height of what seemed like an epidemic of teen suicide making the news, Rick Springfield’s book was released. He has been public and honest about his struggle with deep depression. Rick said something in an interview that really struck a chord with me: “If I could just talk to them, if I could just have the chance to say to them, “Give it a year.Please. Just give it a year, I really think it will make a difference, your perspective will be different, your situation will be different if for no other reason than you will be in a different grade, maybe a different school, your situation at home may be different—please, please, just give it a year.” I thought at the time and still do, that maybe that addresses bullying and depression differently than “it gets better”. To me, it acknowledges “this is hell, I know it is, but the people who love you need time to help you change it, you need time to make people listen and change it, just dont do something you cant change NOW, because you cant undo it.”  

    • Montavilla

      I thought that was exactly what the “It Gets Better” campaign is saying.  And with the exact same impetus.  If you watch a number of the videos, not everyone is saying you have to wait ten years.  But all of them are saying “Don’t give in right now” and “Help is out there if you look for it.”

      • sherry fowler

        Yes, I agree with you, I think the difference if there is one is a finite measurement–“give it a year”. To a kid, that’s something to “pin” your thoughts to–“a year. I will give it a year. I can give it a year.” 

  • A-fuckin-men.  Let’s get some rage up in here.  I have always told my child, you are nobody’s victim…WE are nobody’s victims, gay, straight, black, white…fuck that shit.  All the crying in the world won’t change society’s view.  But standing up for what you believe in and shouting at the top of your lungs, “NO!”, that sure as hell can turn a few heads.

  • i just cried.  i don’t even know how to address all the feelings i have reading this post.  so i’ll just leave it at, i love you guys. 

  • That’s an amazing campaign idea, T&L. “It Shouldn’t Have to Get Better…THIS SHIT HAS TO STOP RIGHT NOW” resonates way more with me.

  • AuntieAnonny

    I love you two.

  • r0ckmypants

    I am a 24 year old gay man, and you just lost me as a reader. Just over five years ago, I was nearly driven to suicide by the bullying I faced for my sexuality. At the age of 13, my best friend took his own life because of the same kind of torment. This was a necessary story to tell, victimization or not. I don’t really see the parallel between the AIDS portrayal of gays and this one; the 1980s media was pathetic, this media portrayal is SYMpathetic. Necessary and beautiful, and more far-reaching than any It Gets Better message has ever been. Bravo, Glee.

    • FunButNutz

      Keep reading please!  Debate is good….dissonance is good.  We need voices like yours in debates like this.  

      • r0ckmypants

        I just don’t feel the need to continue giving my time to this site after how this post made me feel, which is totally my prerogative and no fault of TLo’s.

        But this post made feel like everything I feel was invalid, both because of the way TLo presented their closing argument and the way the comments have been written. Who are you to say what is and is not right when it comes to portrayals of gays on television? Isn’t the visibility on one of the most-watched shows on television enough sometimes? I would have given SO MUCH to have a show like Glee on the air when I was struggling through middle and high school: a show with gay characters that addressed gay issues and positively portrayed gay people. Whether or not you agree with It Gets Better or think it’s effective, that scene between Korofsky and Kurt was nothing short of breathtaking for me, a person only about seven years past an attempted suicide. Just seeing two gay teens, holding hands, talking about the future, JUST GETTING THROUGH THE BULLSHIT and planning on surviving, would have been amazing for me.

        So who are you to say that what you call the portrayal of a “victim” in this episode didn’t save lives? And who’s to say responding with anger and “THIS SHIT HAS TO STOP RIGHT NOW” would be any more effective? Would Martin Luther King Jr’s speech been as famous, as groundbreaking, as effective if it had started with the line, “I have a dream that this racism bullshit ends now?”……. No. Sometimes playing the sentimental card does wonders.

        • We’re sorry to hear this post caused you so much distress, but if an opinion you don’t like causes you this much grief, maybe leaving this site, which has always been about stating strong opinions, is for the best. Just don’t throw the “Who are you…?” bullshit at us. Don’t try to shut down opinions you don’t like. Either engage with them or walk away, but don’t suggest they shouldn’t have been stated at all. Who are we? Two gays with an opinion. Who are you? One gay with an opinion. Let’s shelve any more discussion about who should be allowed to express their opinions, okay?

          MLK did not “win” the civil rights battle with one speech. There were a whole lot of very angry people saying very intemperate things marching right alongside him in that struggle. Even he got angry and said intemperate things from time to time. If you reduce his work – and the civil rights struggle generally – down to “I have a dream,” then you’re demonstrating a lack of knowledge about that point in history.

          And we never once claimed that this show didn’t save any lives. We would be quite stupid to make any such claim because we have no way of knowing such a thing.

          Still, like we said, if our point of view upsets you this much, perhaps it would be best if you walked away from here.

          • r0ckmypants

            Putting words in my mouth does not help you to prove a point. I did not say MLK “won” Civil Rights. I did not even mention Civil Rights. I simply stated that the landmark speech of his career for the advancement of a minority played a sentimental card, much like this episode of Glee did. I did not say you couldn’t state your opinion. In fact, I encouraged it. I said that your opinion, shared by the majority of your readers, upset me… not that you shouldn’t have it or share it. I chose to walk away from your blog because I don’t care for the way you expressed yourself and continue to express yourself, especially in comments like these. If you want to “engage” with your audience, it’s unnecessary to do it in such a blatantly disrespectful way.

            THAT is why I no longer read your blog. Not because you had an opinion, but because you chose to express it in a way that personally offended me. And just like I don’t read Sean Hannity’s blog for the same reason, I will no longer read yours. Simple as that.

          • r0ckmypants

            Putting words in my mouth does not help you to prove a point. I did not say MLK “won” Civil Rights. I did not even mention Civil Rights. I simply stated that the landmark speech of his career for the advancement of a minority played a sentimental card, much like this episode of Glee did. I did not say you couldn’t state your opinion. In fact, I encouraged it. I said that your opinion, shared by the majority of your readers, upset me… not that you shouldn’t have it or share it. I chose to walk away from your blog because I don’t care for the way you expressed yourself and continue to express yourself, especially in comments like these. If you want to “engage” with your audience, it’s unnecessary to do it in such a blatantly disrespectful way.

            THAT is why I no longer read your blog. Not because you had an opinion, but because you chose to express it in a way that personally offended me. And just like I don’t read Sean Hannity’s blog for the same reason, I will no longer read yours. Simple as that.

          • Then by all means, go. Because anyone who thinks they can mention MLK and then get huffy when civil rights gets brought up in response, as well as anyone who asks “Who are you to say such a thing?” and then tries to play that as “encouragement” to express our opinions is not someone who debates in an honest manner.

  • ampg

    I find this review fascinating, because I assumed you guys would have a real problem with this episode, but I totally missed the mark on what you would take issue with.  I hated the way Karofsky’s suicide attempt caused a character who once thought nothing of assaulting another student to gain an edge in a singing competition to have a complete change of heart and become the anti-bullying poster child.  I hated that they crammed in a driving-while-texting PSA as a cheap cliffhanger, which completely cheapened everything they were doing with the suicide storyline.  And I am SO SICK of this stupid Finn and Rachel wedding.  But I really liked the scene with Mr. Shue, who seemed to truly understand how suicide can seem like the only way out to a desperate teenager.  And for once, I thought they built up to the suicide attempt honestly, by developing Karofsky’s character to the point that it made perfect sense that he would see this as the only way out.  I didn’t at all see this as just one more entry in the gay-teens-as-victims list, because I thought they told a fully-realized story.  Now, I’ll absolutely concede the ridiculousness of Santana’s arc, but I don’t see why that bungled story has to stain this one.

    I’ve thought for awhile now that you guys should probably stop blogging this show.  I’ll miss it because I appreciate your perspective even if I rarely agree with it lately.  But you clearly aren’t having any fun, and you want the show to be something it apparently can’t be, notwithstanding its early promise.  I look forward to your recaps of Smash.

  • imperfectlaura

    Wow am I glad I didn’t watch this episode.  I’ve struggled (and still struggle) with suicidal thoughts and have even attempted twice (last one 5 years ago).  The whole “It gets better” mantra isn’t just reserved for IGB.  Nearly every outlet I went to said something like that.  I can’t speak for everyone who’s ever felt suicidal, but for me this message didn’t help me at all.  I was always waiting for something to get better. (When you get in high school, when you’re a senior, when you graduate, when you go to college).  Yet, nothing ever did.

    Until I was approached by a charity called To Write Love on Her Arms on Twitter.  On their website, it appears to be a lot of the same sayings as the other charities.  But they were the first to reach out to me, the first to make me feel like I wasn’t alone, and the first to empower me.  They told me that while the bullying I endured wasn’t my fault and that it could get better, I had to step up and try to make it better.  This doesn’t mean I have to fix all my problems, but I had to do something about them, that waiting it out and always hoping it would get better wouldn’t actually make it better.  It’s because of them that I made any progress at all.

    I’m not holding this organization up as the best out there.  That doesn’t exist because humans aren’t uniform.  What helps me won’t help someone else and vice versa.  But from my perspective, I totally understand TLo’s point about not making everyone who’s been bullied a victim.  Because while I was a victim of bullying, I let my “victim-ness” define who I was. I didn’t allow myself to feel anything except the hurt from everything that was done to me.  But looking back, I realize that if I (with help) had tried to find myself outside of the hurt and pain, I could’ve been a lot happier.  My high school experience never would’ve been great, and I know that, but it could have been better had I not been stuck waiting for it to get better.

    • lamireille

      Thank you for your post. I’m glad to know about this website and your first-hand experience of how it can be helpful, and while I’m sad that you still have suicidal thoughts–there aren’t words for me to even try to imagine how horrible that must be, or to tell you how sorry I am that you are enduring this pain–I’m so, so glad that although you are still struggling, you have finally found some good support and are making progress. Thank you for sharing your knowledge and hard-earned wisdom.

  • Persimmon32

    In total agreement. I would give up this show but sadly I enjoy couple of the actors so much that I’m sticking with it until they are gone. This episode goes down as the worst Glee has ever done. What they have done to Kurt this season has pretty much made my love for him disappear and he used to be my favorite tv character. 

    I’m still not sure what are the messages from this episode that I’m supposed to take. If they had to go the suicide route, why choose Karofsky whose history in this show is so deeply troubled. As upsetting it was to watch those scenes I had trouble feeling even sympathy for him for what he had done to Kurt previously. 

    I guess, the overall message is that whether you have people, like Kurt, who love and support you it doesn’t matter. You will still suffer because you are gay. Sometimes the world needs a little fairy tale too. 

    • Glammie

      Karofsky makes sense though–he clearly has the hardest time accepting his sexuality and he has poor impulse control.  He physically acts out.  Suicide, on one level, is an act of violence.

  • In_Stitches

    On a lighter, but equally critical note, I found the music extremely underwhelming.   For the past two seasons, Glee has shown consistently stronger songs during regular episodes than during competition.  Hell, the best song of the night was the one that wasn’t a part of the competition. Why can’t they achieve another ‘Don’t Rain on my Parade’ moment?

  • Joyce VG

    Blessed Be Brothers…

  • MikeW_PHX

    BRAVO!!!!  you’ve said exactly what I’ve wanted to say all along about the whole “It gets better” campaign.. and I stopped watching Glee mid 2nd season as it just got bad. 

  • beebee10

    I hear ya tlo brothers. I get your critique of IGB. ANd the weepy bullied gay stereotype is dull and limiting.  And sick of sanctimonious Kurt and blondie cheerleader giving lectures. Next weeks theme will be passing judgement and we all make mistakes that have unforseen consequences. 

    Take back your hour! Plus the songs were pretty lame. THat wons sectionals? The wedding? All dull. 

    I am still a supporter of IGB as I think it is a a positive step, And I know teens it has meant a lot too. But we all have to fight the bigotry as a next step and we all can see it happening ever day in the political race. All. Day. Long. Rise up! As we used to yell “we’re here we’re queer and we’re__________”  Made many a MFer change or at least stop. 

  • oohsparkley!

    Tlo preach! Amen.

  • I agree that the episode was dreadful and that the gay victim trope is a dead horse that’s been beaten to a pulp. But I have to, and with the utmost respect, disagree with a few of your points.

    The ‘weepy victim’ portrayal of gay characters was not empowering or particularly inspiring. A more positive portrayal of a gay
    character would have been helpful in balancing that. But let’s face it, the bullying, the ostracism, the belief that being gay as a disease to be cured or prayed away, they’re all things that these kids are facing. To not raise these issues risks glossing over the very reasons that kids are at risk in the first place. Which is not to say that Glee was gritty or hard hitting or even credible in its handling of the subject matter, but I am glad that they at least raised these points.

    I think one of the goals of the, It Gets Better project is to bring perspective to kids. I know, perspective and teens don’t really go together but sometimes I don’t think we give them enough credit. Nevertheless, it’s not meant to be the be all and end all, it’s not meant to be a cure all. As has been noted, it’s first aid, a message to kids from those who were there and survived. And more than survived, thrived. A ‘This shit has to stop right now’ campaign is a great idea and ought to be looked into. But both approaches have their uses. It’s just a shame that we stopped at and preaching to kids from the comfort of our adult lives and economic independence that enables to make decisions without reference to what our school mates or family might think.

    With regards to Karofsky’s pedestrian, cog in the machine future, I think that was the point and very much rooted in the ‘it gets better’ idea. That was meant to be his dream at that time and in that place. And that’s the crucial point, it mightn’t have been particularly inspired but it was his. Not a lawyer but a sports agent, he didn’t object to any other part of the fantasy that Kurt spun. A hetero-normative dream may not be for everyone but it’s a powerful way to bridge the gap between a state of abject alienation and a place of hope or at least something to get you through the night. It’s pragmatism by way of fantasy, a fiction that helps you to navigate the terrain that you found yourself in. And it’s what got me through.

    • Thank you.  I would also like to add that the ” pedestrian, cog in the machine future” is extremely in character for Dave, who has always tried so desperately to fit in and be seen as normal.  This is not a kid who has ever dreamed big, just struggled to survive and nearly didn’t make it.  On the heels of a suicide attempt, that he could even wish for a stereotypically happily ever after is huge.

  • *standing ovation*

    Please run for president – or benevolent dictators. Whatever, just get to running this country, please. You’ve got my vote.

  • Bravo!  I was thinking of both of you the whole time I was watching this unrealistic, over-the-top total DRIVEL last night – in fact, I immediately checked your blog after it aired because I could not believe how awful it was and I just knew you’d feel the same!

    Even the straight kids were played as total wackjobs.  Yeah, I guess we’ve gotten used to suspending our disbelief where reality is concerned with this show – but REALLY?  A full blown wedding ceremony for two high school kids, (complete with fitted bridesmaid dresses) could actually be arranged immediately after a competition?  AS IF!!!!

  • Claire Stanton


  • cam_lo


  • CarolinLA

    I’m gonna say one good thing about the episode:  Having Quinn drive on that two-lane road with the tractor ahead of her gave me a sense of Lima the town that I’d never had before.  It was so specific and helped frame the obstacles that these kids face there, especially Karofsky.  I wish they’d given us this time and place setting before.  

  • Melanie Harrison

    Amen and right on!! That last paragraph made me want to stand up and applaud.

  • Kelly Barnes

    AMEN AND BRAVO!!! I fully support the “THIS SHIT HAS TO STOP RIGHT NOW” movement. Glee lost its luster for me long ago but I always enjoy your recaps.  And as a child who was bullied to an extreme that is showcased in Lifetime movies, and who was told that “boys will be boys” and that I needed to just stay out of their way, I agree with you wholeheartedly on each point. 

    Oh, and to illustrate the effectiveness of the TSHTSRN movement, in the midst of the worst school years of my life, my school got a new principal. She caught wind of what was happening and expelled the boys responsible within days of finding out. No discussion, no compromise, just “THIS SHIT HAS TO STOP RIGHT NOW.” And just like that, I could walk to class without fearing for my safety. Thanks Ms. Westmoreland, wherever you are. 

  • MilaXX

    I completely agree with everything you wrote. I think the reason why I keep watching other than sheer force of habit is because I long stopped hoping for any sort of logic or sense from Ryan Murphy since Nip/Tuck. 
    Last Night ep. was pretty bad. Between the teen suicide, the stupid teen marriage, Sue’s pregnancy(!??) and in case we didn’t have enough melodrama, we had a text and driving cliff hanger. I completely understand you guys giving up on the show.

  • fnarf

    I’m a supporter of It Gets Better, but the thing that annoys me about the show is not just the sanctimoniousness, but the sanctimoniousness of the very people who are perpetrating this abuse. Karofsky’s situation was explicitly allowed to happen by his school. Ditto when Karovsky was terrorizing Kurt. The adults in this show, when they’re not horning in on the action by performing in the song-and-dance numbers, spend a terrific amount of time sitting around talking about stuff that’s right under their noses. As far as I’m concerned, Mr. Schu and his OCD girlfriend are every bit as bad as whoever painted that locker door.

    I think that’s what IGB is all about: in many schools across the country, “this shit has to stop right now” isn’t going to get any traction. The abuse isn’t just coming from other kids, it’s instigated by the adults, INCLUDING the adults who claim to be all supportive.  The message for me is “Abandon Red State America”. It sucks, but it’s reality: these kids need to hang on until they can get the hell out of Dodge.

    Can’t wait for Quinn’s funeral. Who’s going to make the big text-and-drive speech?

  • BRAVO!!!!
    Just like “Just Say No”, “Zero Tolerance”  and now “It will get better” the message is to ignore the problem.  
    Society has stopped thinking and has made millions victims.  There is no perfect campaign.  
    The truth is that it has to come from within each one of us to make our lives worth living.  Cliche, yes but lets think of who makes the true final decisions for ourselves, we do it.
    Tom and Lorenzo today decided that Glee was over for them, their choice.  A choice I readily agree with!

  • Glammie

    Bravo!  A suicide-themed regionals episode?  Ugh.  

    I kind of came at it from a slightly different direction.  I’m in a town that had a teen suicide cluster–the kids all killed themselves the same way, but other than attending the same school, the deaths seemed unconnected and *mysterious.*  Glee meant well, but there was no connection to what these events are like.  They’re frightening because the *why* is unknown.

    Also, I’m sure it was with the best intentions, but a scenario in which everybody changes their attitude towards Karofsky because he attempts suicide and, indeed, makes him the center of a musical celebration is a *terrible* message to send.  It’s glorifying the effects of suicide–really bad stuff.  The inadverdant message becomes–make an attempt, everyone will feel bad and then your problems will be fixed.

    I’ll make it to the end of the season, maybe, but, man.  Terrible.  Thoughtless.  

  • Fuck yeah, TLo.  Thank you for saying what I’ve been trying to find words for.

  • Wow guys, looks at all the worms coming out of the can you opened :O.

  • michelle shields

    I quit watching this train wreck after last season. I’m glad I did. You guys make me smile:)

  • Zaftiguana

    I had stopped watching the show and picked this one up because so many people were talking about it, and…yeah.

    Glee has become like that amateur actor who gets a few laughs opening night, lets it go to their head, and then tries so hard to get those laughs at every following show that it ruins anything that was ever funny about their performance. They had a gay character who came out, and they dealt commendably (for a while) with the struggles that entails in a homophobic, heteronormative world. They got a lot of deserved praise for it and let it turn them into the gay version of bad Lifetime movies. 

  • PastryGoddess

    Brava TLo Brava!

  • -Z-

    I enjoy the rants TLo, and i can understand your sentiments, but the one thing the episode did (and granted if this has already been stated by someone else, I apologize…) was that it showed that bullying does not solely come from non-gay individuals, but also from within the community.  I thought the scene with Sebastian and Dave was a perfect representation of this.  So with the “It Gets Better” campaign, I totally am for it, but how much better is it once you get there?  Because instead of bullying from non-gay individuals, one now has the joys of dealing with bullying from your fellow LGBT individuals because you’re not white enough, rich enough, not living within the the beltline of the city, not young/old enough, and the list goes on and on…  From my experiences, the shit fellow gay men have pulled on me, whether intentional or unintentional, has affected me more, so personally, I think it’s time that the “LGBT community” reassesses what kind of community we are cultivating for future generations of LGBT individuals.  So i’m for telling kids it’ll get better, but i’m more for considering how the actions i take affect those around me and avoiding those actions that can negatively affect others…(okay end of my rant and two cents)

  • Dang….don’t give up…I sorta did and your recaps are what I am following now (if they warrant a watch I will go back to TIVO and view it…) phooey, but completely understand….

    now what about Its a Brad Brad world?

  • I haven’t watched the show yet but I’ve just spent the last half an hour reading a fascinating and searingly honest discussion about what it means to be gay on my favourite fashion blog. I’m a straight woman and have many gay friends, but we don’t often talk about this sort of stuff, so to get all these hearfelt opinion and differing viewpoints in one place is eye-opening and thought-provoking.

    Thanks to TLo for hosting and initiating such a discussion but also thanks to Ryan Murphy for prompting this discussion via the medium of a networked primetime TV show on FOX no less. He doesn’t do things perfectly but he deserves some kudos just for bringing this discussion into the mainstream.

  • Joe Ambroson

    I totally agree that there needs to be a larger societal focus on stopping bullying.  And I think Glee tried to address that last season, but didn’t do a very good job of it.  And I agree that Glee is very accepting of heteronormative values, and it would be good to see other ideas, ways of living, presented.  It would be revolutionary to see on broadcast television, I think.  And I never had much hope for Glee being revolutionary.  
    So, I agree with everything you two are saying, but without the anger.

  • Michelle Cruz

    I am glad I stopped watching like 5 episodes ago. But this post is just perfection! I saw some posts about Karofsky and was like “WHAAAT!?”. This show needs some damn structure and thought. Glad I am not a viewer anymore. And I LOVE that last paragraph! This is why I LOVE this blog.

  • Vaniljekjeks

    Love You Guys.  Perfectly said.

  • LesYeuxHiboux

    I screamed “What the FUCK?!” ’round about the time they were singing Kelly Clarkson’s “Me, Myself, and I” in response to a suicide attempt, once more with the Quinn/don’t text while driving last-minute plot point.

  • Pterodactyl111

    I’m so glad I stopped watching this show a year ago.

  • cbeach

    Can I just add that I didn’t even like the music/dance performances?  Usually I put up with the drama and silly plotting, treating it as Bollywood, but for some reason ALL the numbers I watched (I came in late) felt flat and uninteresting.  Also, where was the humor?  Finally it seems like the the worst possible show when the fates decide that SOMEONE has to die.

    • howdoilook


  • Completely agree and well-said. Additionally, the ending with the “Oh no, don’t text or you’ll die message” was ridiculous. This is worse than a bad afterschool special from the 70s!

    • MsLadythankyouverymuch

      I was hit from behind by someone on the phone.   She was still on the phone!  Texting or talking someone will be hurt.  
      As a poor child in a upwardly changing school, I learned don’t back down, verbally, and to give tit for tat.Verbally.  Never get cornered.
      Bullies attack differences: sex,race, religion.  Bullies need to keep you, they think,in your place.  In the clost or the back of the bus.

  • Sarah Thomas

    First off, I stopped watching Glee a long time ago. For me I think the final straw was giving Rollin’ In the Deep to that weedy-voiced little ingenue. Also, the auto-tune just got unbearable, and they forgot they were funny. Oh well.

    To the rest of what you said – I think, and I say this as an early adopter and proponent of It Gets Better, that you’re missing some important impacts of that movement. You’re under no obligation to like it, of course, but this is what I see as someone who, occasionally, works with kids.

    1. Straight kids watch those videos too. That may not seem like a big deal, but it is. If you’re neither a bullied gay nor a gay-bullier (like most of us weren’t in high school) that doesn’t mean you would necessarily be informed or empowered of the right thing to say or do in that situation by any adult or authority figure. After all, it’s usually bullies that rule your school – for all you know those same bullies are going to rule your adult world too. If your perspective is all school-based – and you’re right, most kids don’t have the perspective to look beyond school – then for all you know it DOESN’T get better; those same bullies could wield the same psychic and cultural power everywhere else. Dispatches from the adult world that prove they don’t not only give a simple message for straight allies to give to their bullied gay friends, but it gives some perspective on bullies in general. Most bullies, after all, are pretty equal opportunity – they’ll pick on a fat kid, a nerdy kid, a weird kid just as readily as they’ll pick on a gay kid. It’s nice for everyone to know that their days are numbered.

    2. You may remember the days of sainted AIDS victims, but the kids It Gets Better and Glee are aimed at don’t. If you’re a 15 year old today, it means you were born in 1997 – post Rent, post Angels in America, post Philadelphia, post AIDS being something manageable in the first world. That means, with that huge mortal impulse to humanize gay men taken off the table, for most of those 15 year old kids’ formative years gayness has gone right back into the culture war bullet box it’s been in since people started talking about it openly. This is groundbreaking to them – and kids, by and large, react pretty well to that, better than a lot of adults. 

    3. Never underestimate empathy and hope. Most heteronormative kids, whether they’re gay or not, probably don’t share a lot of common ground with Kurt – he’s too fey and advanced. But they might feel like Karofsky, they might look like Karofsky, they might know a Karofsky. And without any sort of message that the desolation of Karofsky and people like him has an expiration date – that whatever you think is making your life unlivable will eventually end, even if that end date is impossible far away – well, why bother with proportion or hope at all? I wasn’t gay, but I was still bullied in school and I COULD NOT WAIT to get out, because all anyone had ever told me was being weird and smart and uninterested in fashion would be far more accepted in college. College could have been a million years away sometimes, but I still longed for it because someone told me there was something worth longing for. For a gay kid in a homohpobic rural area, a Glee episode or an It Gets Better video may be the only lifeline they’ve got. 

    • Taking your points in order:

      1) And this is one of our issues with IGB and how it’s perceived. It is and always has been a tool for educating straight people more than anything else. However, the public perceives it as a tool for fighting anti-gay bullying, which it isn’t except in the vaguest possible way. We seriously question just how much direct good it does for gay teenagers and whether the message actually resonates with them on anything like a grand scale.

      2) Boy, do you have THAT one backwards. The media images of gays offered in the last 15 years are far and away more positive than at any other time in history. Bar none, full stop.

      3) And never mistake them for solutions to problems, which is our number one criticism of how IGB is perceived by the majority of the public.

      • pdx71

        Wow, TLo. Stop digging yourself in a hole here. You have opinions. Others have opinions. Yours are not the word of God, as you increasingly seem to believe. 

        • Glammie

          It’s their blog and I, for one, find their directness refreshing.

        • The hell…?

      • “It is and always has been a tool for educating straight people more than anything else.”No – I respectfully disagree.   I believe the original stated goal was as a way of communicating directly to a teenager to say, “Hey, life may suck right now, but please stick it out and you’ll see that this isn’t going to be the end-all be-all of your life.”  You may seriously question how much good it does – your opinion is as valid as any other – but when I read posts on the IGB site that say these videos help young kids push through their current situation I have to believe they do quite a bit of good.  

      • Sarah Thomas

        Wow, thank you for responding. 

        If prejudice and bullying is the problem, then I think empathy is a large part of the solution – it just needs to go with procedures and consequences that are consistently enforced in situations where empathy is not enough. If your concern is that people will just pat themselves on the back for being empathetic, I think that is unlikely – people are MORE likely to advocate for meaningful law policy changes, and LESS likely to accept platitudes, when they have a face to put with the issue. I sincerely doubt anyone lives in such a bastion of Wonderbread heterosexuality that the only face available is on an IGB video or a crying Chris Colfer, but I don’t think they’re salving any liberal or independent consciences either. 

        I’ve been watching tv with gay friends for around 15 years – my first gay friend came out to me when I was 14 and I’m 30 now. I’d say the images of gays in the media for the last 5 years or so are remarkably positive – or at least, fictional gays get positive message storylines, and actual gays get crusaded against on Fox News and on the floor of the House of Representatives. Maybe a better way to describe it is more polarized – which I guess is a net gain, considering the childhoods of the generation before me when there were NO positive images. 

      • Sarah Thomas

        Wow, thank you for responding. 

        If prejudice and bullying is the problem, then I think empathy is a large part of the solution – it just needs to go with procedures and consequences that are consistently enforced in situations where empathy is not enough. If your concern is that people will just pat themselves on the back for being empathetic, I think that is unlikely – people are MORE likely to advocate for meaningful law policy changes, and LESS likely to accept platitudes, when they have a face to put with the issue. I sincerely doubt anyone lives in such a bastion of Wonderbread heterosexuality that the only face available is on an IGB video or a crying Chris Colfer, but I don’t think they’re salving any liberal or independent consciences either. 

        I’ve been watching tv with gay friends for around 15 years – my first gay friend came out to me when I was 14 and I’m 30 now. I’d say the images of gays in the media for the last 5 years or so are remarkably positive – or at least, fictional gays get positive message storylines, and actual gays get crusaded against on Fox News and on the floor of the House of Representatives. Maybe a better way to describe it is more polarized – which I guess is a net gain, considering the childhoods of the generation before me when there were NO positive images. 

    •  2. You’re assuming kids these days don’t care to learn their own history. Why should they not familiarise themselves with, say, “And The Band Played On”? Also, thanks to the earworm that is “Seasons of Love”, I doubt we’ll ever be post-RENT. (Though I do wish the earworm were “La Vie Boheme”, instead. Now that’s catchy.)

      3. Karofsky thought HE had the expiration date, not his troubles. That’s the message my Glee-watching friends all seemed to get. And they actually like the show. As for bullying in school, I hate to break it to you, but sometimes the bullying doesn’t stop. Especially if your bullies know where you live online or end up at the same college. There was a reason I passed up a good state school in my area–a third of my graduating class went there or some similarly ludicrous number. College is only an escape a) when you’re sure you’re leaving the pain behind, b) when it’s what you want in the first place, and c) when the exact same kind of bullies don’t wind up in your dorm. Now there’s hell on earth for you.

      • Sarah Thomas

        Cassie, there’s nowhere perfect, and like I said I don’t really watch Glee anymore (I’m basing my comments on how he was last season, which was a closeted jock who kissed Kurt). After you have a high school diploma, however, you’ve got much more power to get away from intolerable situations – pick a different school, a different city, a different life. 

      • Sarah Thomas

        Cassie, there’s nowhere perfect, and like I said I don’t really watch Glee anymore (I’m basing my comments on how he was last season, which was a closeted jock who kissed Kurt). After you have a high school diploma, however, you’ve got much more power to get away from intolerable situations – pick a different school, a different city, a different life. 

        • I listen to the stories my mom and dad tell about the students they meet/have met working at colleges with a less affluent demographic, and I know they don’t have the power to just pack up and leave, even with a HS diploma. “Glee” represents a very middle-class experience; its diversity is somewhat dulled by the economic privilege the kids on the show possess. It’s all well and good to say one can leave a bad situation, but if we’re being realistic, we need to acknowledge those who cannot, the ones it’s not glamorous to show on television.

  • fiestyfashionfem

    AMEN!!!!!  As a feminist, I, too, think there must be some acknowledgement of how misogyny and sexism (and racism and homophobia) keep people in their “places.”  And, yes, many of us are victimized by that.  So I see how part of the conversation has to be about what that violence does to us.  AND at the same time – I’m TIRED of this shit!!  I’m pissed off!  And I am really pissed that we get shushed when we get pissed off – like somehow righteous anger is “bad” and we need to figure out a way to work with the system.  Have you seen the system?  Who the hell wants to work with that?!  Let’s push back, step up, get pissed, get in their faces and see more of that, covered creatively and supportively, in the media.  

  • Yep. I’m done as well. The way they handled this was gross and exploitative and way out of line. And I certainly don’t want to see what they do with Quinn’s accident, especially if she comes out disabled. God only knows how they’ll fuck that up.

    • howdoilook

      nah, she’ll die. her story line’s so over.

  • Christy Gill


  • Emily Scott

    I wholeheartedly agree and would gladly sign on to a “This Shit Has to Stop Right Now” campaign. Right now we are failing GLBTQ kids. We are failing all kids who are bullied.

    I truly believe that there is a place for both efforts, and I think It Gets Better has helped a lot of young people since its inception. If I could add anything to IGB, it would be more emphasis on the message of “…but regardless, you are loved and valued right now.” You see that in many of the videos, but it gets lost in the overall project name.

  • Leah Cronen

    I don’t even watch Glee, but way back when I also decided to read the post from which the bit on “Teenage Dream” came. I gotta tell you, as a straight girl, that post has stuck with me ever since. I’ve used it to explain concepts to particularly ignorant people because you guys said it so well. There’s a reason I still read your recaps for shows I don’t watch. You guys just rock.

  • i am just so sick of glees little morals, and lessons, and the constant after school specials. why cant it it just be funny, witty, rude, and ironic like it started off with

  • BethR52

    Well said.
    Also, excellent description of teenage mindset.

  • PrunellaV

    Right on, guys.

  • Sara__B

    Thanks, Glee, for inspiring Tom to write such wonderful, thoughtful prose. Thanks, Tom, for giving me, and all of us, so much to think about. I gave up on Glee a long time ago, but writing like this is what keeps me coming back to your blog every single day.

  • StelledelMare

    Bravo boys. Bravo.

  • I’m happy we’re all in agreeance.  Can we agree to do something about it rather than say “yes” on a blogpost?

  • discordany

    I completely agree with the message you have an issue with, and the message you want to send. That said, while this episode of Glee found itself overstepping into a “preachy” role from time to time, it hit a spot in me that will make it very memorable. Even though I could see the Karofsky-suicide attempt a mile off, and the Quinn-crash the minute she texted Rachel, I still found it hard to watch. (And I mean that in a good way – it was just raw enough, and just “filmy” enough [what with the cuts to other scenes/songs] to make me cry). That said, the whole thing with Sebastian suddenly reforming, and the daydream of Karofsky’s future, and Will’s story, as well as the gimmicky shit like the wedding and the competition (BTW – WTF was with the judges), could just fuck off a bit. The episode could have been brilliant, had they just backed off a couple of steps.

  • Apologies beforehand; it’s late where I’m located, english is not my first language and this is a rant.

    Reading through some of the comments to this post, as well as the post, I kinda feel sadder now than after seeing the episode itself.  There’s so much talk about IGB and what kinda message we – and the media – should put out there, but I can’t help to feel like we’ve somehow forgotten that just getting it out there is the most important part.

    Now, I don’t know if the Glee-bashing is because of how it’s always been perceived as fun and light hearted, or because the gay rights movement actually has progressed and we now see a number of glbtq (I have no idea how that acronym works outside of sweden) characters in media – and we therefore can afford to be picky. But neither of those reasons ring true to me. Early on, Glee took a darker road with Quinn’s pregnancy and even though Kurt’s coming out earns him “full love and support from all of creation” it is not all sunshine. He is constantly berated by Karofksy (which is problematic to my point, I am aware) and, most importantly, Sue. How come Kurt getting to choose a berating nickname for himself right after Sue promises to help him, not earn any angry posts while Santana’s and Karfosky’s experiences (however fouler portrayed) only seen as bad portrayal when they are just as true.
    I totally get, and agree to some part with, that all and any portrayal of glbtq might not be a good thing just for the sake of it, but if we’re talking about a show being educational and inspirational how can we talk about three gay teens overcoming bullying in high school as being a bad thing?

    Anyway, ima gets my glee on no matter what.

  • discordany

    Also thought I’d throw in that, by an large, I don’t have an issue with the coming out stories that were shown. I don’t think it is an intentional message for the reactions to get increasingly worse – I think they are realistically portraying different ways that the scenario could, and does, go.  Now, that’s not to say I’m not slightly uneasy with the portrayal – I do wish that they would have thrown in a less negative story as well in order to continue with the variety, because let’s face it, those happen too.

  • itsaboutyou

    I will stop watching Glee, but continue reading Tom and Lorenzo. What about the dubious song which mentions “pour another drink, bring out the bottle” in the same episode which clearly is demonstrating the dangers of texting and driving? 

  • Beth G

    I had a lot to say… but decided I don’t want to say it.  I totally see the points you are making.. because I had victim mentalities in any class, group… whatever….

    • Beth G

      Sheesh.  HATE victim mentalities… not had.

  • formerlyAnon

    Man, if this post isn’t living breathing proof that everyone brings their own experiences and (for lack of a better term) emotional personality & needs to the table.

    What reaches one doesn’t reach another, there is no one universal path and every person is at a different stage in their understanding of any issue and their ability/willingness to act.  And I think it’s a powerful thing when what is, after all, a blog mostly about fashion, television and a smattering of pop culture can provide a platform for this kind of discussion.


  • What’s up is up with the Dan Savage-stanning here? The guy is a transphobic, racist, sizeist, classicist, anti-bi, anti-ace DOUCHEBAG-ASS BIGOT.  No-one likes him, and I hope that one day the glitter, that has become stuck in his nose after countless glitterbombs, will crawl up his nasal cavity and EAT HIS BRAIN.

    • howdoilook

      WHOA! Details, please. 

    • amywinns

      Do you read and listen to Dan himself or are you just subject to screeds from his critics that tell you what to think? Did you read a column or hear a podcast in which he was hard on someone who happened also to be a member of a marginalized group? Because I’ve been reading and listening to him for about 15 years now, and he’s none of these things. He is honest and opinionated about specific situations. He is anti-scat, anti-bestiality and anti-pedophile. That about all his antis and ists.  He has also donte more to bring attention and credibility to marginalized groups than most advocacy groups can dream of.  Fight your enemies, not the allies who aren’t perfect paragons of unconditional acceptance.

      • BettyDarling

        I believe they mean “ace” as in identifying as asexual.

        • amywinns

          Thank you. I had no idea there was a cool new nickname for that (atypical and small) community now, which we are all apparently expected to grasp instantaneously. I had no idea.

      • birdhead

        Speaking as a fat bisexual woman who listens to Dan Savage, people who identify his biphobia, sizeism, and anti-asexuality are not making anything up. His distaste for fat people is evident pretty much any time he talks about it,  he gives weird advice to bisexuals predicated around the idea that bisexuals should only date bisexuals (?? I mean, I prefer to, Dan, but bisexuals can be harder to identify than straight or gay people) and I don’t think his understanding of asexuality is all that complete.

        I think Dan is a funny and sometimes insightful sex columnist. I like his emphasis on communication (most of the time) and that he acknowledges and accepts a wide variety of sexual practises; also that he stresses that sex is an important part of a human relationship. I find his political commentary amusing. But I can do all that and still acknowledge that he is flawed, and that the more he is put up on a pedestal and given authority the harder it is for a bisexual person to listen to him and think, well, if Dan thinks that, maybe it’s true.

        • Okay, Dan does recommend that bi people date other bi people… WHEN THEY COMPLAIN THAT NEITHER STRAIGHT NOR GAY PEOPLE WANT TO DATE THEM!  Not once have I ever heard him say that bi people should ONLY date bi people.

          • birdhead

            I don’t find it comforting when people call or write in to say, “People of my gender won’t date me because they think I’ll dump them for a man*,” Dan says “Just stick to dating bisexuals.” Not to play the oppression olympics because I really don’t think this attitude is comparable to racism, but if someone called in to talk about racism in the queer community Dan would never say “Just date people of your own race, lol!” (although he has encouraged racialised fetishising in the past, sooooo…) 

            Yeah, it is fun to date other bisexuals, and obviously bi people shouldn’t date biphobes. (Seriously, I endorse this habit.) But biphobia in the queer community is not a made-up problem (Ditto transphobia and racism and and and) and Dan basically endorses it every time he says “biphobia would be solved if bi people would only date bi people” and “Well, of course lesbians think that, because every lesbian I’ve ever known is married to a man now, and all the bisexual women I know too. And lots of gay men I have known have identified as bi so it’s totally OK for straight women to treat bi men as though they’re going to leave them for a man” instead of “Yeah, biphobia exists, we have to do something to change it, I understand your frustration.” He has a platform to say that! But he never does.

            *(It’s men like 99% of the time, which I think says a lot about internalised misogyny – we fear our partners cheating on us with men more because sex with men is *real* sex.) 

          • See, I always feel like Dan is simply trying to point out that there is another choice — if you can’t find a partner in one community, have you tried another?  If you’re really feeling unhappy trying to fit into the gay community or the straight community, why not create or find your own?  But that’s a difference in interpretation, and I can’t really speak to his intent.

            (Personally, I find your last comment kind of funny/odd — I’ve always said I’d much rather have my husband cheat with another man than another woman… obviously if he’s sleeping with another man he just needs something I CAN’T provide, rather than something that someone else can just do better.  I’m kinda weird though:)

          • birdhead

            Well, this is exactly it, though – other people’s bad behaviour becomes the problem of the victims. Yes, I can just date bisexual people (well, actually, that’s pretty difficult and a weird way to choose partners), but why should I have to? The attitude is the problem, not my sexuality.

            (I haven’t discussed the issue with many men. I know that when it comes to women, lesbians are paranoid about bisexual women cheating with men, while men are much more likely to care about cheating with another man. I know many bisexual men struggle when they come out to their female partners because those partners have bought into the “bi means on the way to gay” thing and expect their partners to cheat with men and, because there is a lot of stigma associated with MSM, probably contract an STI. However my knowledge in this area is not broad.)

          • Wow, we really read those sections so differently!  I see it as, “If they don’t appreciate you and what your sexuality brings to the relationship, then fuck them!  Move on to someone who will.”  To me, it always seemed more of a response to THAT person and THAT problem at THAT moment, rather than biphobia sucks and should be stamped out — which doesn’t help you get a good relationship at the moment.

        • amywinns

          1) I honestly do not think that he sees bi-bi dating as a “solution” to the larger issue of biphobia, at all. I think he just offers it as a way that individuals can skirt some misunderstandings. But I won’t speak too much to that. I am not in that community and don’t know the conversations you’ve had.
          However, as someone who has heard him give a lot of advice, and feel I can speak to that: Serious question: Do you think he is sizeist and has distaste for large people? Or would you accept that 1) he is not personally attracted to larger people and 2) when he is offering advice to readers who are disappointed in their own/their partner’s weight gain, he is reflecting their own negative feelings in his responses to them?  Concurrently, do you disagree that he has come down very hard on partners who are impatient and critical of weight gain due to external circumstances, such as pregnancy/child-rearing and illness?  I have heard many times that the partner is calling because they fell in love/lust with an active/thin person who has turned into an inactive/large person, and Dan does not take issue with the size — he takes issue with the inactivity and disregard for the partner’s sexual satisfaction (taking the partner for granted and demanding exclusivity without making equal effort). Therefore framing size as the symptom of a problem, not the problem. 

          Finally, do you disagree that he has encouraged many larger women to have some patience to allow men to mature into their own taste in partners, to understand that younger men are less likely to “come out” about their attraction to larger women… that seems to me to be saying “there is nothing wrong or unattractive about your larger body, but immature men can’t admit they think you ARE sexy.” (Cubs are less likely to hide their attraction to bears, I think, so that’s why the message is usually hetero. And Dan is not anti-bear.)

          PS I don’t think he is flawless. I appreciate that you can see his work as valuable even though don’t like a good bit of what he says/thinks. I am just trying to says some areas might be perceived bias.

    • Anathema_Device

       You’re not thinking of Michael Savage are you? He’s the conservative radio hate-baiter dude. Dan Savage is a different guy. he’s the one who started the It Gets Better thing.

      If you do mean Dan, I’m curious to know the details of your opinion of him.

    • plzidgaf

       Yep. Dan Savage is the worst. The. Worst.

    • Lilithcat

       The guy is a .  .  .  classicist  .  .  .

      I don’t think that’s correct.   Although he may have studied Latin when he was at Quigley Prep, I believe he was in theater and history, not classics, in college.

    • I couldn’t disagree more with this absurd post. I know many people who are trans, bi, and of size who listen/read Dan Savage and do not at all believe the insane things you’re saying here. Dan Savage is one of the main reasons (among several) that I consider myself an ally of the LGBT community, as well as a communicative, empowered woman and openminded person prepared for adult relationships.

      • uh, no, he’s a bigot. Get your facts straight—> :)))))

        • amywinns

          I would be happy to get my facts straight, right after that Tumblr does. It’s unbearable. An excellent example of fighting your allies, rather than true enemies.

        • Responding with a blog full of someone else’s opinions is not really a good way to make your point.

          Dan Savage rules. Period. 🙂 

  • howdoilook

    Also: Kurt’s other gem of advice to Karofsky? “Move to another school.” Not one person said anything about holding the bullies responsible or taking any sort of legal recourse. Just irresponsible.

    • P.

      Isn’t it nice how Schuester basically insinuates the teachers should have prioritized Dave’s well-being over Kurt’s back when the former bullied the latter after Dave attempted suicide because he experienced what he and others put Kurt through firsthand?Being openly gay on this show means that one always has to take the high road and is never the actual focus of storylines that should be about them. Now that Dave’s out of the closet, his bullies will have to face as many consequences as he did- none, really.

      • I thought teachers were supposed to prioritize the well-being of ALL their students, you must feel so much better, now that Dave got was coming to him.

        • P.

          You must feel so much better, now that the writers think it’s not disgusting to rate how much support and safety a character deserves.

      • filmcricket

        There was a very interesting moment back when Will was convincing Burt to run for Congress, where Burt says “Your glee club saved my kid’s life.” It was really the only time anyone ever mentioned that Kurt might have been a suicide risk due to the bullying he received. However, given that during their rap session with Schue there was no real emphasis or pause on Kurt while Will was talking about everyone having a hopeless moment, I suppose we were to take Burt’s observation as a figure of speech.

        I don’t think you can argue that Kurt’s not the focus of his storylines, though. Except for Finn & Rachel, he’s had the most consistent characterization and plotting of anyone, and there was a stretch of episodes last year where it felt like “The Kurt Show” despite the fact that he still got fewer musical numbers than Finn, Rachel, Blaine or even Mercedes.

        And, as TLo pointed out in a recap last season, he’s actually pretty lucky all things considered. He’s got a supportive family, a loving boyfriend, a group of caring – if often self-centred – friends, he wasn’t kicked out of his house like Quinn or rejected by a family member like Santana or even beaten badly like Blaine. Note: this is NOT me saying “He should say thank you for the scraps he gets, the little ingrate.” But as boring as I find his gentle forgiveness routine, you can actually see where Kurt might get the peace of mind to be that nice about Karofksky now that it’s all over.

        • It’s not just that Kurt could have been a suicide risk — he could have destroyed his life in so many other ways.  I had a close friend who STILL has a serious drug problem, and I’m sure it was caused in part by his experiences with coming out and handling being gay in a society that told him it was wrong.

  • Ooh! I am all about “THIS SHIT HAS TO STOP RIGHT NOW”. Because it does. Thanks for the tip on why “It Gets Better” is really not working. I never thought of it from that angle–shit, I was a troubled kid (first girl out in my district! Subsequently accused of sexual harassment and pedophilia!) and if I had believed any of the adults trying to tell me it would get better, I’d never have tried to die. So.

  • Thank you a thousand times for this. Karofsky is an easy sell on television because he is angsty and he satisfies what most Americans expect to see in gay youth: self-loathing, victimization, and antisocial behavior.
    This is profoundly unnecessary for Glee to focus on, when they have two progressive gay men like Kurt and Blaine on this show. They are the inspirations and the way forward.

    • Larkin21

      I love Kurt and Blaine but I’m annoyed that you think that those of us who like Dave and/or his storyline are only interested because of his self-loathing, victimization, and anti-social behavior. How about showing a different type of gay kid? How about a redemption story? And what about the hopeful message of the hospital scene? Doesn’t really fall into your assumptions of why people like Dave’s storyline.

    • Larkin21

      I love Kurt and Blaine but I’m annoyed that you think that those of us who like Dave and/or his storyline are only interested because of his self-loathing, victimization, and anti-social behavior. How about showing a different type of gay kid? How about a redemption story? And what about the hopeful message of the hospital scene? Doesn’t really fall into your assumptions of why people like Dave’s storyline.

  • At the commercial break when they left us wondering if Karofsky had succeeded or not, I sat poised with my hand on my remote. They were seconds away from losing me, too. They managed to hold on a little longer in my eyes, but just barely.

  • BookishBren

    TLo, did you guys think this blog would trigger so much debate? 

    • Oh, yes.

      • Yeah, you two have been through this before, haven’t you? 

      • I was gonna say…

      • Sue_Asponte

        This is my favorite post ever, even more than the Teen Dream post. (And yes I’ve been here since Laura Bennett.) (Ok well I do love that one where you put words in Tim Gunn’s mouth. But anyway.) Thanks for verbalizing a coherent response to the IGB campaign. I used to love Glee for its kickass, awesome gay characters, like Kurt kicking the field goal, or dancing to Beyonce with utter self-confidence, or yes, singing Teenage Dream. I was thrilled to see that kind of depiction on mainstream TV. And on a show that’s about a lot of things… now it just feels like a weepy show about gay bullying. Fun.
        But back to my point — I couldn’t have verbalized the problem. You guys did, beautifully. Thanks.

  • sashaychante

    The common theme among all of the storylines (Quinn, Kurt, Rachel/Finn getting married) is that they are all written from an over-40 year old point of view.  What is up with these writers?  Are they confused that these people are supposed to be in HIGH SCHOOL.  I don’t see this as a problem with just the coming out story lines, it’s ALL of the story lines.

  • Gayer_Than_Thou

    I look at the Karofsky story line, and I think, y’know, it has a Glee-ified kind of reality: no doubt there are high school football players who were once homophobic bullies who come out and find themselves on the other end of the bullying who contemplate suicide.  And, in a reality too sad to truly express, no doubt some of them actually do take their own lives.  My frustration comes when this gets treated as a the reason why depictions of lgbt people have to be dominated by this trope.  While it obviously true that some lgbt teens get bullied and take their lives in response to it, and that that’s a serious problem deserving of serious attention, it isn’t the only story — it isn’t true for all lgbt teens.  Moreover, as you suggest, TV has a power to shape reality.  What would it be like if a show like Glee depicted Karofsky’s coming out in other terms, if it showed him navigating his coming out successfully?  Why is that an unimaginable outcome?  I get that purely happy endings make for boring TV, but there is surely some middle ground.

    • Larkin21

      Good points but I’m going to be surprised if his story is over. There may be time for that middle ground or even a happy ending, that has huge struggles along the way.

    • Larkin21

      Good points but I’m going to be surprised if his story is over. There may be time for that middle ground or even a happy ending, that has huge struggles along the way.

  • I can understand your frustration with the preachiness and the hand-wringing, turn the other cheek philosophy. But I thought this episode was important because it addressed the ways people DON’T help troubled teens. Everyone should already know that bullying is wrong, but the reason David Karofsky tried to kill himself wasn’t so much the actual bullying as that nobody, nobody bothered to help him. His former teachers knew something was wrong but chose to focus on Kurt, the special, important kid and just make Dave stop this shit now, without worrying what would become of him later. The other gay kids who knew exactly what was wrong didn’t have the time of day for him. Focus on the nice kids, the talented kids, the ones that deserve a bright future, because their better than the rest of these losers. He wasn’t anybody’s responsibility, and it wasn’t any of their faults, but if just one person had made a mild effort it probably wouldn’t have happened this way. The opinion of a large percent of the fandom of this show seems to be that David Karofsky is a monster, he should never be shown to have a human side, he doesn’t deserve to be featured, he should have just crawled into a hole and died after his initial arc. Kurt’s version of Dave’s future might be kind of pedestrian and condescending but at least it was a reversal of the horrible futures Kurt and Santana threatened him with before.

    • P.

      You must have missed the parts where Kurt had to transfer because no authority but Sue tried to help him but couldn’t, yet Karofsky was approached by both Schuester and Finn in ‘The Sue Sylvester Shuffle’.
      Also way to blame the victim.

    • P.

      You must have missed the parts where Kurt had to transfer because no authority but Sue tried to help him but couldn’t, yet Karofsky was approached by both Schuester and Finn in ‘The Sue Sylvester Shuffle’.
      Also way to blame the victim.

      • Oops, I did forget! Kurt is a victim forever and Dave is a worthless piece of shit forever. Kurt must not have meant it when he said he liked Dave as a friend, so he has no reason to feel bad about any of this.

        • P.

          Seriously, stop right now. 
          You watched an episode of Dave not wanting to live anymore after experiencing what Kurt did and still don’t understand why people valued Kurt’s safety first.
          Just like there are plenty of kids like Dave out there, there are also many like Kurt, and by saying that they deserve less support than their bullies, you’re no better than anyone calling Dave “a worthless piece of shit”. There’s a way of discussing this without offending anyone.

          • Larkin21

            I didn’t hear Sarah say that Kurt deserves “less support.” I think she’s just saying that Dave deserves support as well. Had Dave gotten help when people saw the warning signs (from his father to all those teachers), maybe Kurt wouldn’t have been a victim for so long. They would have been helping Dave *and* all the people he was targeting. Yes, secure Kurt’s safety first but why stop there when they feel like there is “something up” with Dave and he still has the capacity to bully other kids?

            I agree there’s a way to have this discussion without offending anyone but I found the condescending/sarcastic tone of your responses to Sarah more offensive than her annoyed response to your tone.

          • I would just like to thank you, personally, for your comment. I have been unreasonably hurt and upset about this all night, and it really helped that at least one person understood what I was trying to say and defended me.

          • P.

            Well, the original post said nobody made an effort to help Dave but focused on Kurt instead, which I pointed out wasn’t entirely true, and the response was that I must think Kurt is always the victim and Dave is a “worthless piece of shit forever”. 
            No, Kurt is not always the victim, but he was in this case and I’m upset at how this episode claimed that getting suspended for a few days and being offered a place in glee club was too harsh of a punishment for making Kurt go through want Dave said made him want to kill himself after experiencing the same.
            Also, calling Kurt out on not being nice to his bully at first but “at least” helping him now is indeed victim-blaming to me.

          • Larkin21

            Thank you for your response. I now understand much better where you are coming from. I agree that the suspension and mandatory week of glee club wasn’t harsh but I took those comments in Figgins office to suggest that more might have happened off camera and/or that they should have done more to reach out to him than they did. It’s natural for people in these situations to feel like they should have done more to help, and I personally think they probably should have.

            Getting back to the original comment that started this thread, Sarah said “[Dave] wasn’t anybody’s responsibility, and it wasn’t any of their faults, but if just one person had made a mild effort it probably wouldn’t have happened this way.” I think that is the heart of what she was trying to get at and I think it negates your claims of victim blaming. I understand the point you are making about Schue and Finn and it is well taken. But that was over a year ago in Dave’s life. Of course, we don’t know who else might have reached out. As Max Adler has said in interviews, if one of those guys in the locker room had stood up for him or if one teacher had done more, it might have made a difference. And I think that’s a fair point. Kurt certainly needed more support than he got from McKinley but it’s possible that the support he had in Glee and through being out to his wonderful and loving father might have kept him from attempting suicide. Dave, on the other hand, feared being out to anyone and therefor thought the only person he felt could help him was Kurt, who had offered a friendship before. I am not blaming Kurt for not answering the phone. He probably simply thought Dave was calling to express his love again because he didn’t know what Dave was going through. I am simply trying to paint a picture of how alone Dave was in comparison to Kurt.

          • P.

            Also getting back to the original comment, it was mostly the tone of it that set me off. I’m not going to argue that Dave needed more support. Again, I just said that nobody caring about him and only focusing on Kurt simply wasn’t and isn’t true. My post below illustrates pretty well how I feel about the last sentence (to me, it is victim-blaming, and I’m not sure how I “chose to bypass” the option of not offending anyone by pointing out something I!! was offended by).

          • Larkin21

            I definitely get the point you’re making about evidence of people reaching out to Dave. To me, though, your flippant response of “you must have missed the parts…” was unnecessarily condescending and sarcastic. I also feel that victim blaming is a big accusation and by throwing it out there without more context, it also felt harsh. Of course, I realize now that you thought the victim blaming was obvious. I, on the other hand, was focused on the line that stated no one was responsible for Dave but someone reaching out might have helped him. Therefor I didn’t see the victim blaming that you saw. So it was the lack of explanation and the general, personal tone of your comment that I found offensive.

            Now that you’ve more explained your point, I completely understand what you were saying. Even though I think those two moments in the Super Bowl ep do little for someone struggling and alone a year later and I also disagree with the idea that Sarah was blaming the victim, I at least now get where you’re coming from and understand why you said what you said. But on first read, I couldn’t get past the tone in much the same way you couldn’t get past the tone of Sarah’s comment. And since your response felt more personal and insulting of Sarah, whereas Sarah’s was simply talking about the show, I found your comment more offensive. All that said, I really do appreciate you coming back to explain your point of view. And I further appreciate you explaining why you found the tone of Sarah’s comment offensive when thinking about those in real life who are like Kurt but who have not (or even cannot) reach out to their former bullies. I don’t think that was Sarah’s intention but I can definitely see your point about being sensitive to those people.

          • [I’ve been trying to post this since yesterday afternoon- The comment section tends to crash my computer.]

            There is probably a way to discuss this without offending anyone, but

            you chose to bypass that option when you accused me of victim-blaming.

            It’s not a zero-sum game, if we’re talking about the time when Kurt

            transferred, helping Dave would not have taken help away from Kurt.

            Kurt might have stayed safely at McKinley if Dave’s issues had been

            properly addressed. If we’re talking about the missed phone calls

            before Dave’s suicide attempt, does that make it Kurt’s fault? No.

            Should he feel bad about it? My god, who wouldn’t? That’s what I hope

            people take away from this – if someone you know is an asshole, or

            used to be an asshole, but is obviously terrified and alone and

            afraid, and you can help them in some small way, please fucking help


          • P.

            I was pretty offended by the accusation of Kurt being condescending when trying to help Dave out and that it somehow redeems him from what he said to Dave in the past.
            (Out of narrative, I do see the problems people have with it.) You see, Kurt may have forgiven Dave (and I don’t think he’s irredeemable or a monster and I don’t appreciate someone immediately jumping to that conclusion), but Kurt is Kurt, and not all of the viewers who identify with him, who went to the same things he did, are going to feel the same way about it. Some might even won’t be comfortable sitting in the same room as their bully for a very long time. And to read comments insinuating that, because your bully is gay and suffering himself, you should feel sympathy, you should feel responsible, you deserve less support for not struggling with your sexuality, HURTS. Especially if being out is exactly what you’re being bullied for.
            Yes, the teachers should care for the well-being of ALL of their students (and, as I pointed out, Schuester did approach Dave during Kurt’s absence), but again, the victim’s safety always comes first and the writers blatantly prioritized one over another’s in the last episode. 
            Basically, this whole storyline may have helped people like Dave and that’s great, yet it has been thoroughly unsatisfying for people like Kurt, and to see people claim the opposite upsets me every time. Now, everyone is getting of tired of gay teens always being told to just hold out, to move to another school instead of the teachers making sure they feel safe where they are, now everyone is getting tired of the bully never facing consequences. They are all absolutely correct in that, but I’m surprised to see how few viewers note that this is exactly what the gay bullying storyline has been for Kurt and the people like him from the very start, plus adding all the “you matter less because your bully is troubled” comments.
            And I don’t see how me pointing this out is more “offensive” than you accusing me of just being a Dave hater who thinks he got what he deserved in your replies.

          • Larkin21

            I hope you two don’t mind that I’m continuing to jump in here. I want to address the people who identify with Kurt. I agree that no one should feel a responsibility to help someone who used to bully them, especially if they still fear that person. But there are people who identify with Kurt who, like Kurt, chose to forgive their former bullies when they made a genuine apology. Some of those former victims ever build meaningful friendships with their former bullies. I’m one of those people. So while I completely understand why you get your back up over insinuations that victims have a responsibility to their former bullies, I get upset over claims that Kurt’s response and interactions with Dave ever since returning to McKinlely are unrealistic, or worse, unhealthy. Now, you didn’t say that and I don’t want to put words in your mouth but my point in saying this is that the episode is meaningful not only for people who identify with Dave but for some people who relate to Kurt and like seeing a story where the former victim has healed, in part through forgiving that person and even later helping them.

            Something you did say, though, is: “The victim’s safety always comes first and the writers blatantly prioritized one over another’s in the last episode.” Are you saying that Dave was prioritized over Kurt? Kurt is no longer a victim. As you have said, Kurt has forgiven Dave. Other people in similar situations might not forgive their bullies and may always fear being anywhere near them but Kurt has forgiven Dave and has been around him on numerous occasions without being scared. To act like Kurt is a victim when he clearly doesn’t even feel like one is unfair to Kurt and other former victims who don’t want to be seen as a victim for the rest of their life.

            Finally, I’m not sure why you repeatedly say that Sarah thinks that Kurt “matter(s) less because (his) bully is troubled.” She has said time and again that Dave deserving help does not cancel out the help that Kurt needed and deserved. They both needed and deserved it. Kurt deserved it while he was being bullied (as I said, he’s no longer a victim, though, and so long as he’s not being victimized he should be supported but not treated like a victim in need of special treatment) and Dave deserved it as soon as people realized there was “something up” with him when he bullied Kurt through the bullying he faced. He continues to need it as he struggles with accepting himself as a newly out gay person, scared of continued bullying.

          • P.

            Everything I read and answered to yesterday was the original post and the response to my comment on it, which was the claim that all everybody cared about is Kurt, that Kurt supposedly should have been nicer to Dave and that I must think that “Kurt is always the victim and Dave is a worthless piece of shit forever”.
            To me that pretty much implies Dave’s motivations for bullying mattered more than the fact that Kurt deserves to be physically and mentally unharmed, which Schuester almost stated outright in the episode by saying they were too hard on Dave because  they “thought he was going to hurt Kurt” (kind of an understatement).
            Basically everything I’ve been seeing around ever since we now Dave is gay and is extremely frustrating for everyone who thinks Kurt is the neglected one of the storyline (I should have been handled better on both character’s parts, we never saw Dave coming to feel sorry for what he did as we never saw Kurt going from being too scared to attend the same school as him to sitting opposite from him), for reasons I listed above.
            What Schuester said and, for example, Kurt feeling responsible can be seen as natural reactions of the characters, but it’s also sadly never proven wrong on the show.

          • Larkin21

            But in her very last comment, Sarah said that Kurt deserves to be safe and protected. I understand now why you feel like the original comment suggested that Dave motivations matter more than Kurt’s safety but since then, Sarah specifically stated that she doesn’t believe that reaching out to Dave means ignoring Kurt’s well being. So that’s why I’m confused that you are still hung up on that concept.

            I also disagree with your claim that we didn’t see Dave coming to feel sorry for what he did or Kurt going from being scared to comfortably sitting opposite him. We saw the first part of Dave’s turn around in the same Super Bowl episode you talked about where Schue and Finn reached out to him. No, it wasn’t a full turn around but it was a glimpse at the kind of person he likely once was and could be when he’s not constantly afraid of people discovering that he is gay. When Kurt comes back to McKinley, Dave makes what admittedly looks to have been a scripted apology to the Glee club because of Santana’s blackmail. But the scene in the principal’s office looked to me like a genuine appeal and attempt to rectify his past behavior. Even if you disagree with the interpretation of that scene, we also have Dave making a heartfelt and teary apology to Kurt in the Prom Queen episode. As for Kurt, it seems his time away while also coming to realize that Dave is struggling in his own right (thus demanding that Dave get educated) has helped Kurt stop fearing Dave. Kurt has been around Dave on multiple occasions (alone in the office, during the Bullywhips phase, at prom, at the bar, at Breadstix) and he hasn’t seemed scared of Dave any of those times. You would be terrified if you were in Kurt’s shoes when Dave revealed himself on Valentine’s Day? I can understand that. But that is not the character they’ve shown in Kurt. They’ve consistently shown that Kurt is no longer the victim and that he is no longer scared of Dave. He even told Dave in Prom Queen that he didn’t have to beat himself up anymore. He was supportive of Dave in their conversation at Scandals. He told Dave that he wanted him to be happy during their conversation at Breadstix. I completely understand if that’s not how you would respond in that situation. I know the same is true for many people. But I think it’s just as inaccurate to say we haven’t seen Kurt and Dave’s development as it is to suggest no one *ever* reached out to Dave.

            All that said, I do agree that someone, other than Dave, should have told Kurt that he’s not responsible. I personally think Kurt would have reached out to Dave (based on the friendship he offered at Breadstix) even if he didn’t feel guilty about the ignored phone calls. But that’s a different issue. As for the teachers, I took Schue’s comment “we were scared he was going to hurt Kurt” as justifying why they were focused on stopping Dave’s bullying instead of then also looking at the root of the bullying. Despite that, the teachers could have done more and seem to realize it in retrospect. They should have done more for Kurt before he transferred too. It is my opinion that they failed both students.

    • MsLadythankyouverymuch

      David’s father not only loved him he tried to help him.  In Principal Sues’ office he said,  my son was never like this.  He use to get good grades,he was nice.   He did not come in as a angry, irate, why you picking on my child  parent. his intetaction with  Burt was as a troubled parent.  
      Yes, the mother turned out to be a mother; however this man loves his son.

      • Larkin21

        We really don’t know that his father tried to help him or how he may have helped. I agree he was concerned for his son but there are plenty of concerned parents who don’t have the first clue how to respond when their child starts acting out to this degree.

  • plzidgaf

    Oh my god Tlo, I love you guys. Thank you for articulating my problems with so, so many things.

  • This is amazing. And, Yes, It Gets Better isn’t good enough. Teenagers brains simply aren’t physically developed enough to look beyond today. So saying “someday maybe it’ll be better” won’t cut it for all of them.

  • joe_tey83

    Whoa, so many many many comments.

    The thing is, it’s too messy. There’s just no one right approach. Or you can come up with one perfect right logical solution and you can be assured there will a big vocal group criticizing it to death. Just cause.

    IGB or It-Has-To-Stop-Right-Now, either way, it’s not going to work instantaneously overnight or even in a couple of years. It’s simply not going to. It’s utterly absurd – the way life is often absurd – but it takes time, it really does. And there will be much casualties and suffering along the way. That’s just how it is going to be.

    It’s sad.

    Personally, it’s yet another Glee episode. Karofsky could have attempted suicide over some other reason and it will pretty much be handled with typical Glee condescension. So there.

  • SRQkitten

    TLo said: The way for the creative community (and indeed, the entire world) to address anti-gay bullying is not through weepy portraits of its victims, but through SHEER RAGE. Fuck “It Gets Better.” Show us a campaign against gay teen bullying called “THIS SHIT HAS TO STOP RIGHT NOW”

    BRAVO guys! I think one of the key turning points with regard to AIDS/HIV was when ACT UP started to say “Hell NO” to remaining polite and quiet. Bullying deserves no less of a noisy response.

    I haven’t seen this episode. Yet. Have backed off on glee for many reasons of late. But this could be a final tipping point.

  • Browsery

    Well, if you move on to “Smash” (“Glee for Adults without PSA’s, just clichés”), please don’t forget to mention how ridiculous it is for Marilyn Monroe to be celebrated as  an icon/victim in the fictional musical.  She was a troubled woman of limited talent who created a lot of her own problems while spoon feeding men an idiotic fantasy that they still seem to want.  And as is increasingly clear, JFK was a pig. The characterization of Joe DiMaggio so far is dull as dishwater.

    It may have been over the top, but I couldn’t help hoping that some jurors hearing the criminal case of Tyler Clementi’s ex-roommate caught “Glee” last night.  They can make things better right now.

    • Lilithcat

      I couldn’t help hoping that some jurors hearing the criminal case of Tyler Clementi’s ex-roommate caught “Glee” last night.

      And I hope that those jurors read The New Yorker article about the case.  And I think everyone who thinks they know what happened should also read that article.

      • Glammie

        Fascinating article–and really caught that the case isn’t cut-and-dried.  The roommate was an asshole, but it’s not clear he was homophobe.  It was more that his roommate lacked a cool factor–though the roommate, himself, sounded like kind of a loser. Reading about Clementi made me so sad–he sounded so talented and really there were such possibilities for him.  

        When you read the facts, it’s not clear why Clementi killed himself.  But suicide’s like that–you can point at various factors, but there’s a mystery at the center of it–why this person, but not that one?  Why was that the straw that broke the camel’s back, but not that?

  • PhillyDeb

    I can honestly say that, when I read your “Teenage Dream” paragraphs, my eyes were opened.  I was astounded, and I am forever grateful to you for showing me this so simply and clearly.  And I believe that your daily work here brings understanding, and acceptance, on a regular basis.  Having said that, I will say that I am not 100% in agreement with you on these issues.  I guess my general feeling is “every little bit helps.”  So if IGB helps a few kids step back and reconsider killing themselves, then that is a good thing.  If seeing how badly Santana or Karofsky are treated on Glee helps a few more kids feel more empathically toward gay people, then that is a good thing.  Perhaps Ryan Murphy’s attitude is :  You never know what is going to touch which person.”  So he throws it all up there, offending some, but perhaps helping “the cause” a bit.  

    • Browsery

      Without minimizing the difficulty of being a gay teenager, I don’t think anyone who wasn’t a gorgeous, wealthy, white teenager thought s/he was being addressed by those songs and pitches.  I know few people who are nostalgic about their high school days.  What’s worse, high school never really ends.

  • I agree with you that the IGB campaign is not enough, we definitely need to reach out to the bullies and those that alllow bullying to continue. But, I don’t agree that the IGB campaign doesn’t have some merit. I am not gay but I was marginalized in school; my mother, being a big believer in therapy, got me into therapy and the thing that really helped and I remember to this day is the therapist explaining to me that essentially it would get better; once I was out of high school, I would find more people like me and that the situation I was in was temporary.

  • k op

    Have nothing to add to this discussion, only want to say I love this blog so much.  Thank-you TLo for giving vent to such issues I’d never learn about anywhere else.  Love YOU GUYS!

  • LittleKarnak

    This: “Kids, by their very natures, are not forward-looking; everything is RIGHT NOW and of the HIGHEST IMPORTANCE” And This: “Fuck “It Gets Better.” Show us a campaign against gay teen bullying
    called “THIS SHIT HAS TO STOP RIGHT NOW” and we’ll sign on in
    nano-seconds.” Well said, Sirs. TIA with your entire review.

  • I can’t shout WORD loud enough. 

  • while i do think glee has gotten preachy and boring, and fast-forward thru a lot of it, i still do appreciate the talent that goes into making the numbers happen, even if my personal interest in them varies wildly from one to another.  even if just one number has that wow factor for me, i’m impressed, because what they do is hard and there’s not a lot of tv shows doing it.  as for the treachly story lines, i do think they went off the rails a lot this year.  but they are breaking a lot of new ground with multiple gay characters front and center, and i have to give them credit for that alone, even when it comes off as total and utter ridiculousness.

  • ps i just wanted to say, i think it gets easy to take for granted the first to do something in any endeavor, and to be more critical as time goes on, and forget that they are doing something new, and are bound to get things wrong.  i think the creators must have been very affected by the terrible stories of teenage suicide and the whole It Gets Better movement, and just wanted to help make a difference.  they may be going about it in a super-heavy-handed way, or even an utterly wrong way, but i can’t hate them for it.

  • butter nut

    this show stopped entertaining me after the 1st season.  i’ve only continued to watch just to read your posts.  so, if you’re done, i can finally be too.  in other words, thank you!

  • toriadoria

    It’s also getting a little tiresome to see ONLY gay issues addressed on Glee. I’m not trying to play the oppression Olympics, but we sure haven’t heard much about the prejudices Artie must face in his chair, or the anti-fat bullying Mercedes and Lauren must face because of their size, or whatever the experience of Mercedes and Santana experience as, like, the only women of color in their school. 

    • filmcricket

       Yeah, this. The issue of interracial dating between Sam and Mercedes could be interesting, too.

      Hell, even the issue of passing, which was briefly raised during the West Side Story auditions and then promptly abandoned, could be an alternate take on LGBT issues. That’s something that’s going to follow them all their lives, most likely, even when they’re far away from high school.

    •  Or the fact that Rachel is a Jew, which was completely ignored in the *Christmas* episode. There is still plenty of anti-Semitic bullying that goes on in schools.

  • Cautia

    After four episodes in a row that I thought ranged from pretty decent if forgettable, to among my favorite ever Glee episodes, I thought ‘On My Way’ was a huge letdown. But then I thought a lot of the episodes from earlier in the season were just as bad, and then the show started impressing again me for a little while. Honestly, I’m just going to forget about this episode and hope that there are more future episodes I enjoy.

    Too bad you guys are gonna stop watching/re-capping it. (Can’t even be lured in for the Matt Bomer episode eh? If I weren’t already guaranteed to be watching I’d tune in for that one from the combination of the curiosity and the PRETTY alone.) Oh well. 🙂

  • Cautia

    After four episodes in a row that I thought ranged from pretty decent if forgettable, to among my favorite ever Glee episodes, I thought ‘On My Way’ was a huge letdown. But then I thought a lot of the episodes from earlier in the season were just as bad, and then the show started impressing again me for a little while. Honestly, I’m just going to forget about this episode and hope that there are more future episodes I enjoy.

    Too bad you guys are gonna stop watching/re-capping it. (Can’t even be lured in for the Matt Bomer episode eh? If I weren’t already guaranteed to be watching I’d tune in for that one from the combination of the curiosity and the PRETTY alone.) Oh well. 🙂

  • Damien W

    You make valid points.  I just don’t see your points as being a valid reason for washing your hands of the show. The rest of this season is going to deal with all the kids who are graduating, and how to set up their storylines so that the actors who are staying can still be in the picture somehow. I like the fact that the show is getting more into telling stories and moving people’s arcs along, rather than relying on stunts and theme shows.

    I see why last night’s depiction of bullying (and what answers to it were offered by the characters) angered you. It angered me too, for a while. But do you remember the fantasy dream sequence known as season 1, where Kurt’s coming out involved Beyonce dances and becoming (cough) a football star??? Maybe Ryan Murphy felt that different people experience different consequences after coming out. And maybe you should remember that this is a comedy-musical-drama. Calling the show too preachy would be one thing, but you’re not mad at it for that; you’re mad because in one episode you didn’t like what they preached.

    And maybe that’s the thing — these characters aren’t preaching, they’re each saying what they know based on their limited experience in life. Kurt, for all his fabulousness, may not be the best person to ask about how to deal with coming out. He was out years before he was out, it just wasn’t spoken. Kurt’s advice may have been lame to a fired-up adult who wants kids to get angrier — but it’s all a kid like Kurt may have to offer. He doesn’t get violent, he gets haughty and crafty.

    Is Glee supposed to have all the answers to every high school question? Maybe the job of a good scripted show isn’t to have all the right answers — maybe it’s to present the question in order to provoke thought and discussion.

    I loved last night’s episode — not because I was looking for correctness, but because I was looking for some juicy drama. And never before have I been able to say that peanut butter made me misty. (And speaking of Will and the peanut butter, can we at least rejoice in the fact that we got an episode where he wasn’t a selfish douche? Hello!)

    •  Oh, I think TLo have been mad at Glee for a LOT more than one episode. This has been a long time coming for a lot of us. The Christmas episode was an atrocity, and it hasn’t gotten any better since.

  • “The way for the creative community (and indeed, the entire world) to address anti-gay bullying is not through weepy portraits of its victims, but through SHEER RAGE. Fuck “It Gets Better.” Show us a campaign against gay teen bullying called “THIS SHIT HAS TO STOP RIGHT NOW” and we’ll sign on in nano-seconds. Because the people who need to address anti-gay bullying definitely aren’t the victims – and not the bullies, either. It’s society that needs to change its attitudes toward gays, from the top down. And when the majority of people are righteously angered by any attempts to dehumanize gays or treat them as inferior – and more importantly, moved to act on that anger, rather than sitting at their computers and shaking their heads over it – then anti-gay bullying will practically evaporate. Every time a gay kid takes his life, it’s not he who’s at fault, nor is it the parents, the bullies, the church or the school district. WE ARE. WE ALL ARE. You should be furious about it, not gently weeping over music videos.”

  • S. Jenna Lutz


    With a side order of “Damn Skippy”

  • amandamary

    This piece really synthesized a lot of my general feelings of discomfort with Glee, as well as the general thrust of a lot of the LGBTQ youth safety campaigns that have cropped up of late.

    I am a human services professional working in the field of interpersonal violence prevention and intervention. I have been doing a lot of thinking (and writing, although I don’t want to coattail by linking to my own blog) about the idea that endowing kids with enough security so they aren’t actively contemplating suicide should not represent the pinnacle of adults’ protective efforts. I am particularly interested in the barriers to making life skills modules involving fostering healthy relationships — and, by the same token, identifying abusive behaviors — relevant to LGBTQ youth. This is just one of many subjects that would, ideally, be broached in a system that was truly committed to wraparound support, and was invested in these kids’ wellbeing beyond providing triage/”band-aid solutions” for emergent needs.

  • filmcricket

     I will miss your Glee recaps (and I would still love to see you guys do something on the clothes, particularly Kurt’s, Blaine’s and Rachel’s because I think what they all wear speaks *volumes* about how we’re supposed to read their characters). But there’s no sense in wasting time on the show if you don’t enjoy it – life’s too short.

    I know this is so late no one will read it anyway, but leaving aside all the real-life implications of what’s being shown onscreen, I seriously wish the writers had made Kurt more like Chris Colfer. He’s made an IGB video, but he’s also gone on record more than once saying the best way to deal with jerks in your life is to get even with them, and has told stories of how he did just that. Again, just forgetting the show’s “message” for a minute, which would be more fun to watch: Kurt deviously destroying Sebastian or St. Kurt forgiving everyone in his path? (It would also make his gentler moments with Karofsky more meaningful if he allowed his inner demon out more often in other situations.)

  • BRAVO!

  • Filing_and_giving_things_names

    Yes, what you said, TLo!  I felt so many levels of disturbed watching this episode.  Your analysis helps sort it all out. 

  • “Tlo said: Because the people who need to address anti-gay bullying definitely aren’t the victims – and not the bullies, either. It’s society that needs to change its attitudes toward gays, from the top down.”

    I wish I could have gotten to a computer earlier in the day because 400 comments in, I don’t even know if it matters that I post, (because what I have to say has probably already been said) but here goes:

    You’re right. Of course you’re right. But I also think it goes deeper than that. In this current, warped culture we live in, the only  designation valued as much as ‘celebrity’ is the designation ‘victim’. It seems like everyone wants to be thought of as a victim of something. Everyone wants their chance to cry on camera; have their life validated by getting attention for some sob story. It’s attention-seeking. It has so permeated the culture that you can’t even go on a game show without a sob story; The Olympics are presented in episodic form where every athlete has a sob story. It’s a lot of crying wolf. It’s a lot of trivializing those who truly are victims (ie; helpless in the face of something that has happened to them). It’s a kind of storytelling that is turning every aspect of public life into a soap opera/reality show.

    On top of that, how can all these shows, etc, preach about not bullying on one hand, while on the other hand lauding bullies? From  reality show media whores and right wing talking heads to Donald Rump and Nancy Grace, bullies are validated, given attention and riches, by the media (and society) every single day of the week.

    It is against that backdrop that the above story, and the over-riding issue appears. 

    And as for the targets of Gay bullying being told that they’re the ones that have to deal with it, rather than the perpetrators; it is the same for violence against women. You are always hearing about how parents have to educate their daughters to not be a victim of rape. Well, how about changing that paradigm to: Parents should educate their sons how to not be violent thugs. Just like they should educate their sons (and daughters) not to bully. 

    But there is a persistent ignorant demographic that has stood blocking the doorway of progress forever for both issues (look at all the assholes that take Rick Santorum seriously — every single one of them is a hateful ignoramus, just like him). Women have made more progress in recent years (though we’ll slide backwards by decades as well if said sack of shit gets to the White House), because what is aimed at us is more patronization rather than the blatant hatred that Gays face. But even so, I think the issues are related in many ways. And yes, there needs to be a change from the top down – and when I say top, I don’t mean the politicians because they are always going to be slimy and self-serving. What needs to change is the media needs to stop allowing the politicians to get away with creating false issues; call them on the scapegoating and hate they spew to their base. Stop making a horse race out of fringe assholes like Santorum, etc just to keep the story going. Do the job of serious journalists and these scumbags wouldn’t have the legs they have to do the damage they do.

     As for Glee and their storytelling: Last night actually reminded me of the old show ‘ThirtySomething’. Near the end of their run they had a  character (Nancy) with cancer and it looked like she was going to die, but then there was a fake-out and she lived while Gary was killed instead, hit by a car while riding his bike to the hospital to see her. That totally mirrored that


    • SRQkitten

      you are SO right about the media taking responsibility for calling this stuff out. Sadly, I think with corporate interests taking over media outlets, that’s just not gonna happen. And so we have these reprehensible politicians getting away with lies and the like and a public too stupid (thanks to public education taking serious hits) to know how to think critically. Or just to think.

    • filmcricket

       “And as for the targets of Gay bullying being told that they’re the ones
      that have to deal with it, rather than the perpetrators; it is the same
      for violence against women. You are always hearing about how parents
      have to educate their daughters to not be a victim of rape. Well, how
      about changing that paradigm to: Parents should educate their sons how
      to not be violent thugs.”

      God, yes. Preach. I remember once going to see a stand-up comic who asked why, when there’s a rapist on the loose, women are told to stay indoors. Why, she asked, are men not told instead that they can’t venture out without being accompanied by a woman who will vouch for them? She was half-joking, but it certainly speaks to the ways in which privilege is ingrained even when those who have it are decrying its loss. (In a similar vein, why do the actions of a Mohammed result in racial profiling and increased security everywhere, while those of a McVeigh do not? In part, at least, because white men are not inconvenienced by the former.)

      • I don’t see the increased security everywhere as being in the same vein as what Gays have had to (and still do) deal with. 


        • filmcricket

           It was another example of ingrained privilege, not a parallel to homophobia.

    • homespunner

      “As for Glee and their storytelling: Last night actually reminded me of the old show ‘ThirtySomething’…” First thing I thought of. Have to say they both freaked me out. Didn’t see either coming. Clearly remember my mother telling me she had to take valium after that “ThirtySomething” episode. Ha! No valium for me last night – but after reading this blog today, I might have to tonight. And about everything else you wrote? Kudos.

  • Qitkat

    I stopped watching Glee some time ago because so much of it wasn’t relevant to me. And you can only watch so much high school angst after a certain age way past it.

    But I do want to say that reading this post and a lot of the comments is incredibly enlightening and allows me a glimpse into worlds which are light years away from mine. I’m alternately extremely saddened and outraged by the experiences so many of you have had. From the bottom of my heart, thank you so much for sharing.

    I can’t help but feel that this kind of forum ought to be able to make a difference. If only the people who really need to hear these stories would take the time to read here. It’s clear that living GLBTQ takes courage. I also think it takes courage to face a lifetime of one’s own prejudices and to really listen to the true experiences of those that you have been condemning. Rick Santorum, and friends, come on down.

  • PeaceBang

    TELL IT, TLo. Thank you.

  • Stephen Trask

    inspired by your post and one of my own lyrics/pet slogans, i registered the domain names and today.  I’m not really going to comment on the episode but I will say that I’ve always been ever so slightly on the “in” side of the “When you talk about destruction/Don’t you know that you can count me out (in)?” side of things.  Not sure what I want to do with these names but I’m open to suggestions.  I do think that at some point the bullied need to punch back.

  • AMEN.

  • egon298

    I guess I just wanted to comment that I really enjoy the show and I think they did try touching on your concerns with Artie in ‘Michael’ didn’t they?  He pointed out exactly that he was angry and didn’t want to want to hear the ‘It Gets Better’ rant, he wanted to make them hurt now . . . I think they are trying to address that teen suicides are on their way up and people need to be aware.

    Me personally, I say kudos to the show for making people aware that teen bullying is no joke and some could argue it’s getting worse.  While I’m on board with portraying the idea everybody is happy, I don’t know that is reality and at the very least I would argue it’s not people’s perception of reality.

    Again, as you said, I respect your opinion I just would disagree and still greatly appreciate the show and it’s story line.  Thank you for the article though!

  • You see, I must have brain cancer or something, as all I remember about last night’s episode was wall to wall singing of Kelly Clarkson songs with, like, something about a wedding and a car accident at the end.  That you are all acting like last night’s episode had anything resembling a plot is quite odd.  I thought the singing was quite good, better than I’ve heard them do before.  But don’t pretend like there was any sort of story here.

  • Sarah Winningham

     There is probably a way to discuss this without offending anyone, but

    you chose to bypass that option when you accused me of victim-blaming.

    It’s not a zero-sum game, if we’re talking about the time when Kurt

    transferred, helping Dave would not have taken help away from Kurt.

    Kurt might have stayed safely at McKinley if Dave’s issues had been

    properly addressed. If we’re talking about the missed phone calls

    before Dave’s suicide attempt, does that make it Kurt’s fault? No.

    Should he feel bad about it? My god, who wouldn’t? That’s what I hope

    people take away from this – if someone you know is an asshole, or

    used to be an asshole, but is obviously terrified and alone and

    afraid, and you can help them in some small way, please fucking help


  • tired_mommy

    Thank you for this truly thought provoking blog. I don’t watch Glee and am not gay, but I have literally been thinking about your post all day long. We have two young kids (ages 3 and 6). Sadly I can report a form of bullying literally begins in preschool. Kids pick up so quickly on who is different from themselves or “weaker” (criers, pee-rs, those who are difficult to understand, etc.) and pick on them (call them babies, say “you aren’t my friend”, etc.). Of course in preschool, tattle-tailing and teacher/parent intervention are fully expected and accepted thus cutting any incident pretty short. I have thought all day about how to change this behavior on a large scale on a long term  basis. Obviously parents are responsible, but their are lots of ignorant parents out there. I really think you are on to something with your “This shit has to stop” campaign.  

  • ccm800

    I assume this will get deleted but here’s trying…

    Guys, Shit CHANGED! That’s what happened (not by much). We survived AIDS only to kill ourselves. Male to male transmission makes up 61 percent of HIV cases and more than a half a million have died. So no, not everyone  but a hell of a lot have died and are infected. 

    What was high school like for you? Were you out? I graduated in 1983 and I was singled out then out and not an hour went by where I didn’t get shit – Guess what I did? Carried on, hated it all and waited until graduation. I dressed like a freak –  got my ass kicked and made it to graduation. Guess what happened when I did try to counter it? IT GOT WORSE.

    One sec you guys bitch about the divorce from reality then you bitch when they give you a dose of it! News for you, prancing, couture-wearing  Kurt would get his ass kicked in 90 percent of public high school and DEFINITELY one located in Lima Ohio (Akron here)! At least the show is depicting a trio of outcomes. I suppose it could be like the Huxtables were to Blacks and just pretend everything is honky-dory – but I appreciate that it is not! And in fact it pissed me off that it was for so long. 

    I agree – the show bites –  but what the hell are they supposed to do? Teen suicide is sky rocketing. It always has been the most at risk youth group. Kids ARE killing themselves…A LOT…just like described there. Bullied at school, bullied at home via plug in social networking that follows them every where.

    Man I have come to hate the show and  once this season is over, if I can make it, I’m done. I think Ryan Murphy tells a story like a toddler on a sugar rush, but I want to see these little bastards win Nationals. But at least the show tries, at least someone beside FOX and MSNBC and politicians have a say.

    Go because it’s stupid story telling and character arc but not for lack of effort. I think the answer like depicted is the folks who are not bullies need to stick together…victims and friends of victims and those who think there should be no victims. Your mad as hell scenario has a nice ring to it…but then what?  And how? 

    • boweryboy

      I get where you’re coming from but I agree with TLo.  Even thought the IGB campaign is noble, it does put the onus on the victim.  It basically says: “You know, it sucks.  You’re going to get your assed kick for being different.  No one is going gto help you out. Just stick it out and if you’re lucky you’re not killed in the process it’ll get better.” Not to mention I think Dan Savage is a schmuck but that’s another can of worms.

      I can tell you as a gay black guy growing up in a predominantly white middle class suburb I was bullied from Grade K through 12, sometimes by the teachers as well.  When I graduated high school I literally felt like I was being released from a prison sentence.

      If someone told me then it would get better I wouldn’t have believed them.  I remember feeling like the hell I lived in wouldn’t end because it happened everyday, I couldn’t stop it and no one would do anything to help – not even my parents.  I was the only boy of five so it was suppose to be a “character building” experience for me. I was smarter than my bullies so that was pretty much my only defense mechanism that sometimes worked.

      Every gay person’s experience is different.  I’m sorry yours didn’t work out.  For me I wouldn’t budge with my parents when I told them I wanted to study fashion design and fortunately I discovered an entire group of kindred spirit misfits like me that made realize I was not alone – and years later I’m still friends with some of these people.

      The thing is the onus should not be placed on the victims.  It should be placed on everyone with a conscience who cares about humanity regards of the differences.  It going to take a lot of people to stand and care and fight this behavior before it changes.
      Oh, can you explain what you’re trying to say with  “what the Huxtables were to Blacks”?  You’ve piqued my interest. 

      • howdoilook

        Agreed about the Huxtables. Huge question mark popped into my head about that remark…

      • Where in IGB does it say “No one is going to help you”? It doesn’t. That’s the criticism I don’t get. It says, “You will survive.  No matter how bad it seems right now, if you can just hold on a little while, it will get better!” I am an educator of pre-teens and teens, and I tell them this about various tribulations all the time. The only “onus” it puts on them is not to self-harm, and onus that belongs to them, as they have control over at least that one thing. The rest of the problem belongs to the adults. We are the ones who should hear the “THIS SHIT HAS GOT TO STOP” part of the message, tell the bullied kids that it’s not their fault and someone is on their side, and come down like a ton of bricks on the bullies.

      • filmcricket

        I’m presuming that’s a reference to the criticism Cosby came in for about his portrayal of African American home life. The complaint was that the Huxtables, an upper-middle class family in Brooklyn Heights where both parents were professionals, was not a terribly accurate or inclusive picture of how most African Americans were living at the time.

      • ccm800

        Thanks for the reply – Well it actually worked out fine. I really just toughed it out. I was still myself. My attitude was If I’m going to be the school whipping post I might as well do it on my terms – So I did what I wanted (dres-wise, activities. etc) and just persevered.

        IGB: I say someone is doing something. The messages are encouraging and the reception is pretty phenomenal. You’ve all but to check out YouTube and responses to see that it is encouraging kids. Pisses me off to hear people who are doing next to nothing damning people who are at least trying to make a difference.

        Huxtables: There was a lot of backlash to the Cosby show – from African Americans who thought the Huxtables had nothing to do with their reality. I recall Bill interviewing and responding saying he was trying to show possibilities and give kids especially a model beyond their own experience. At the time there were very few successful people of color portrayed on TV and you could argue this is still the case. BC was just trying to add something new to the mix. Much like I think Ryan Murphy is doing today. The half a dozen or so Gay characters on Glee are all having very different experiences but the theme is that together (ultimately) they will survive…with the support of friends. I think Murphy is a terrible storyteller in many ways. But I appreciate this effort, especially given the reality of what is going on in the USA and the world. I vehemently disagree with Tom and Lorenzo’s damnation of the effort. This is one of the few places, in global entertainment really taking this issue on and it is an issue and kids are killing themselves and miserable every damn day of their school life. These are the kids that need to be reached, not the comfy ones living in love and support. Those kids are good.

        I DO think putting these things out there aggravate the haters to some extent, we saw it during the height of the civil rights battle. I feel like we are about 60 percent as far along with this battle as that one, pretty soon LGBTQs will get the scraps they blood let to earn and settle into their place as second class citizens in the greatest country on earth just like women, people of color and anyone else who isn’t a handsome straight WASP male. At least with us all out of the closet they’ll know who to pay less.

    • People still say “honky-dory?”

      • ccm800

         really awesome ones 🙂

    •  “Guys, I HATE the show too, but I do it FOR THE RIGHT REASONS! And at least we’re all not DYING FROM AIDS ANYMORE!!!”

      You go right on with that.

  • t

    Anyone else pissed at Sebastian’s instant redemption as well?  You’re not required to make peace/be friends with all the assholes who bother you or appear on your screen.  I’d rather he just exit the show.

    • howdoilook

      felt like they were trying to get a little something brewing between Sebastian and Blaine, no? 

      • t

         That makes me sick.  Blaine has a history of being bullied and bashed, and now Sebastian comes along harassing him and Kurt, taking things way too far.  If they want to forgive him, fine.  But I wouldn’t trust or want to be associated with him at all.  The kind of eye injury Blaine had would have been excruciating in real life, require very expensive surgery, and a lot of uncomfortable healing.  Why would Blaine ever want to be with someone who did that to him, and was trying to injure Kurt, who he loves?  He had no remorse after it, still making jokes about the “gay cyclops”. Striking out at someone in frustration because you “love”/want them is a mixed-up, irresponsible message that comes up too much in pop culture (and especially on Glee). Sebastian should have been turned in for his crime and not participated in Regionals.  I would never want to see Blaine involved with Sebastian.

        • I am STILL pissed about the attack on Blaine.  “We have to take the high ground…”  Um, that’s a FELONY ASSAULT!  You didn’t do the moral thing, you destroyed evidence of a freaking CRIME! 

        • Cautia

          If you pay attention to Kurt’s reactions throughout the episode, it’s clear that he has not forgiven Sebastian, and doesn’t trust him. I think it’s possible that Sebastian is faking his turnaround.

  • sleepycat

    While I like IGB, i think you guys have a great insight into the fact it does not make everything better. It can help, but unless we start changing the culture surrounding LGBT people in general kids will still be killing themselves. I think this should happen at the grassroots and not top down, although I get how that would be solving the problem a bit late. <3 you guys.

  • ZnSD

    Amen, my sisters.

  • t

    You know, I started watching Glee because of you guys recapping it (I was a Project Runway fan).  I thought it must be a pretty wild show because people had such mixed reactions to it, and I wondered why people got so frustrated with it.  the your essay about “Teenage Dream” really touched me and I grew very attached to Kurt and Blaine, even though the show is kind of a mess overall.  Now I think I give up on Glee too though.  It has become stressful viewing because the show does not deliver as an entertaining program, and I simply don’t trust them with more sensitive issues or to take care with the characters I love. The tone and continuity fails give me whiplash. It shouldn’t cause this much anxiety to watch a musical comedy. (So, I guess Glee now joins the ranks of the A-List, as another show that broke Tom and Lorenzo’s blogging tolerance.)

    • Glammie

      Yep.  Stressful’s the word for it–I hope for a good episode, but when the episodes are bad they are *so* bad and *so* painful–not just kind of bland or mediocre, but truly terrible.  The inconsistencies with character develop just make me cringe–and I’m comfortable with the shortcuts of musical comedy.  It hurts because I love musicals and I think the cast is talented and works incredibly hard.  They deserve better.

  • Lattis

    This is so far down in the comments you will never read this, but your comments on this Glee ep have such genuine emotion and eloquence it heartens and rallies me. 

    You guys are pretty much a daily topic of conversation in our household. We’ve been able to talk about lots of things with our 2 sons because of your writing. You know, I know that isn’t the reason you are writing, but just to tell you that your words really touch our kids, too. And I want to thank you for that. 

  • MichaelStrangeways

    Thank you.

    I think Chris Colfer is awesome but I really wish they would stop writing Kurt as this big effing CRYBABY constantly giving impassioned speeches…and, NO more shots of him with his eyes slowly filling with tears of joy or pain.

    I was a gay teenager in the late 70’s/early 80’s and in a “Glee” club (though we called it Swing Choir) AND fat, AND in a tiny rural Midwestern town, and went through about 90% less angst and horror as depicted on Glee and not one single Slushy was ever thrown on me. (Mainly because in the real world, you get expelled for throwing Slushies at people…)

    Glee’s biggest problem has always been inconsistency…of tone, plot and characterization. It doesn’t know if it wants to be a musical, a satire, a dramedy, an after school special or a soap opera. Usually, it’s all of the above, for a moment or two, in every episode. It was fun when it first started, but, for me, quickly went down hill.

  • TieDye64

    Wow! Bravo, guys.

  • SVLynn

    Are there Pulitzers for blogs? If so, this deserves one. I had to read this post as I finally deleted the last three unwatched episodes off my DVR and took it off for good. As a mom of a gay son, i couldn’t watch it any longer for all the reasons you mention. When it first came on, it was great, Kurt was such a strong character, but the show itself has beat down on all the characters so much that the message is almost, we’re miserable cause we’re not the mainstream, and that’s how things should be. You really hit the nail on the head in so many ways with this post. Society from the top down is what is wrong, the it gets better message has the right intention, but you are so right, how dare they be asked to wait for it to get better? Heartbreaking.

  • Agree with a lot of this…HOWEVER I don’t understand what was so wrong with Karofsky’s dream about the future… Not everyone has some huge exotic plans.. I’m very happy to think in ten years I’d have a loving partner and a son and be living a nice boring life 🙂 That part more than anything made me say “awwwwww”

    • The theme of Glee is about dreaming big. If any other character, from Rachel to Artie, had been presented with a dream of “You can have an office job and a baby!” it would have stuck out just as much.

      •  Aren’t we given to understand that Finn, Quinn, and Puck all have pretty mundane futures ahead of them? I believe at one point Quinn told Finn he would wind up working in town, she would get her real estate license, and that would be it. Is it necessarily good for kids to think that those mundane dreams are somehow bad, inadequate, or lame? It is the future most of us wind up with, and it’s actually pretty good, really.

        • Quinn’s heading off to Yale (or was), so no. Puck’s always been treated like an aimless loser. And Finn’s entire storyline this season is about how he doesn’t have life plans and how that’s stressing him out, causing him to do wild things like join the military or propose to Rachel, all to avoid the horror of winding up working in Burt’s auto shop.

          Like it or not, escaping mundane dreams is a huge part of the show and a huge part of this season. That’s why Karofsky’s dream jumped out at us.

          • Yes, Quinn did course correct, though I’m not sure going to Yale is a dream on the scale of Rachel’s or Kurt’s. It’s not a ticket to a non-mundane future (I can say that with certainty, as I have my Ivy League diploma and I consider my life pretty mundane, and that of the vast majority of my friends). But mundane isn’t necessarily a bad word! We are seeing Finn flail around because his is inspired by Rachel to feel like his “destined” life is somehow not sufficient. This is a feeling that I think is very common among teenagers, who all think they will be playing in the NBA, singing on American Idol, or making half a mil a year as a lawyer or doctor, when most of them are going to have much less glamorous, but equally happy, lives. It’s great to strive to be the best you can be, but not everyone can be rich and famous. So it’s the message of the show that I find slightly warped, as someone like Finn, who would probably be perfectly happy in the family business, feels like a loser when he could have a great, if small, life. It is perfectly viable storyline, as long as in the end, they don’t change who Finn is to give him a super duper future, or make him end up looking like a loser when he doesn’t. He will probably feel like crap, but that’s OK. Changing your expectations for yourself can be painful, but it will be losing Rachel that really hurts (which is what I’m hoping the outcome is…)

            I think it’s perfectly within what we know of Karovsky to think he would dream of being normal. The reason why it’s so sad is that he no longer fits his own parameters of “normal” and feels like he’s been disqualified from his dream and therefore from happiness.

          • Lori

            What is so boring and normal about being a sports agent?  To a high school athlete it’s a career that pays really well and doesn’t involve having your body slammed on the field day after day, growing older and getting cut but only after you’ve had enough concussions to cause dementia, and has more security even than coaching.  Karofsky’s shy so he wouldn’t want to be a sportscaster like many teenage boys.  Go see “Jerry Maguire” with some teenage boys!

          •  I guess it’s mundane compared to “Boardway star, name in lights.” But I agree, it’s not really all that  mundane, and even if it is in comparison, so what? Mundane can be lovely, though I agree with TLo that that’s not the message of Glee.  Karovsky wants the same dream he dreamed before he came out, and it’s killing him that he now believes he can’t have it because he’s gay. That’s a very real story there. What has alienated me (and TLo, and many others, it seems) is the endless gay angst and eyes slowly filling with tears. Well, that and the inconsistent depictions, contrived plots, and incredibly bad adult judgment on display weekly.

          • Lori

            Except that Karovsky was never in show choir.  That was never his dream.  I think T Lo misconstrued that scene and people who didn’t watch the show are taking what they said as truth but the truth is Karovsky’s dream was to be a sports agent which any high school athlete would see as a terrific job. 

  • lord_tubbington12345

    Shame. Shame on you and your pathetic stereotyping. While I don’t care if you don’t like the show, this episode was powerful television. This episode was one of the BEST Glee episodes ever. The Karofsky story is wonderful and refreshing. I’m SICK and TIRED of the stereotypical ‘fag’ on national television. I really can’t relate to Kurt and Blaine at all, but I can to Karofsky. Like it or not all you screaming queens out there, some of us gay guys just want to be your average joes who have a job, have a family, and enjoy life. We aren’t all show-tune singing, jazz hand wielding ‘fabulous’ types – so STOP trying to make out that all gays should be.

    • God almighty, people really do just read something and then make up in their heads what they just read.

    • warontara

      Geez-a-loo! Way to throw ridiculous and offensive stereotypes at TLo and other gay men who you feel are pigeon-holing you. Yes…THAT is a sound argument.

  • filmcricket

    I find it interesting, also, that apparently in the States there was a parental warning before “The First Time” when Kurt, Blaine and Rachel all lose their virginity, but not on this episode. Is the sight of two attractive couples holding hands in dimly lit rooms while lying down really more scarring than Mr. Karofsky screaming over his son’s body?

    • Glammie

      Yeah, violence is okay, sex isn’t. (eye roll). Seriously, my kid didn’t get to watch the First Time and she doesn’t get to watch this one–since teen suicide is a real issue in my town, the inept portrayal of the issue just won’t cut it.

  • Tom Natan


    This episode annoyed the crap out of me, and I totally get that you’re fed up.  But please accept my thanks for reviewing Glee.  If you hadn’t, we wouldn’t have your “Teenage Dream” post, which by being heartfelt, informed, and well-written entered my own personal pantheon of important blog posts.  (Here’s another one:  It’s that kind of stuff that changes minds, and eventually, the world. 

  • Suffering is part of the Human Condition. The fact that Karofsky thought that this was his only recourse was because if you look at his character arc, it is totally psychologically plausible. Kurt has always been true to himself, and fought for his true self. Dave has not, couldn’t come to terms with himself, and so having been rejected by the one gay man he asked, and being told he was 100 pounds too fat by that asshole, which was a result of his conforming to the stereotypical football playing straight guy, he thought this was his only way out. It’s not justifying anything. Hasn’t Kurt always been weepy?

    I have a question to ask. As someone who is reading (and commenting) on your blog for the first time, is your dislike of Dave’s dream is a reflection of what you two see yourselves as or what you don’t see yourselves as? I understand if you two can’t identify, or don’t want to identify, but who wouldn’t want to have a loving partner (with a kid, if that floats your boat…)? 

    BTW, TONS of gay couples are just cogs in the business machine. I do know better, for some that is just means to an end of having tons of crazy fun when they can, which really, you gonna show a couple taking a hit of E during a tea party on an Atlantis-esque ship or sucking off each other [or having a third do it] in a backroom, in a show that is primarily about good (see, mainstream wholesome) feelings, teenage dreams, and on FOX?

    In short, the episode did suffer from excess, but that’s what happens when you stuff 4 episodes in one. It was effusive in its conflict resolution, partly resulting from Dave. Plus, you KNEW that crash was coming when Quinn was shown in the car, because really, the story line was all being tied up in a super neat bundle, which some love, and some hate.

    Much respect from Chicago.

    • We don’t have a “dislike” of Dave’s dream. That one passage has fired up more people and it’s an aside which has nothing to do with our main point.

      Bear in mind that we are a married couple who held office jobs for almost 20 years. Obviously, we have no issue with any gay person who chooses that route.

      And plenty of people, both gay and straight, don’t want the marriage-and-a-kid life.

      • Fair enough and congrats on the marriage.

        I have another point to ask: You say that teenagers are all about the now, instant gratification, and I can agree with that (in the fact that they may or may not be emotionally and intellectually mature, though some never get there for various reasons); yet you say the suicide is overkill (or rather one of them). Doesn’t it stand to reason that because suicide (especially in teens, and gay teens) is usually rash decision based on something (a trigger: the straw that breaks the camels back) and is usually a tool used by people who are unable to see any other course of action, that Dave seems like the perfect fit? I agree that the show was been rather melodramatic, but hasn’t it always been?

        • We can’t respond to questions on every point we made here. The post has to stand on its own. The suicide alone isn’t overkill; the endless scenes of gay people crying are overkill.

          • kmiller1k

            I’m exhausted watching a show choir. I miss the fun songs that I sang all the next day and the awesome choreography. What happened to this show? Where are the Safety Dance episodes? Instead we get crying, too much Rachel and week after week of Issues.

      • My partner is totally with you guys in hating on Glee and actually read this post to me as justification for his decision to boycott the show. I can’t help it though, I’m still hooked, and Tuesday’s episode had me in tears.

        From an intellectualized, radical, queer-theory way I agree with your analysis … I especially agree with the critique of IGB. I’d add that there’s also a race/class privilege critique to make when the primary message that “it gets better when you leave your hometown and move to the big city” isn’t an option for millions of low-income queer kids and kids of color who’s options when they get to the big city are often homelessness and prostitution. 

        However, as a flesh and blood gay man I found the episode very impactful. I completely agree with Zach Schultz’s take that given Karofsky’s character arc the suicide attempt seemed psychologically plausible. I also thought it was masterful how the abandonment of Kurt and cruelty of Sebastian were revealed as factors that contributed to Karofsky’s feelings of utter loneliness that led to his suicide attempt. It was an important indictment of BOTH the bitchiness of some sectors of the gay community and the psychological harm created by being aggressively closeted (meaning those straight, often Republican men who protect their closets by bashing the gay men around them … ex. Sheriff Babeu).  

        You say the coming out stories have become more and more traumatic, I say they’ve become more realistic. Most gay teens aren’t as self-assured as Kurt or have such supportive families. And coming out is often traumatic because this world is homophobic and hateful. We do get rejected by family members (as Santana’s scene with her abuela showed) and sometimes we consider suicide. 

        The great thing about Glee – and what’s likely to be its enduring legacy – is the wide diversity of the LGBT experience that’s being shown. There’s Kurt and Blaine (self-confident, privileged, HRC-ready), Santana and Britney (sexually fluid), Rachel’s two dads (omg, perfect casting there), Karofsky (conflicted and trying to find himself out of step with the gay-boy culture) … and at some point when the show returns this Spring we’ll get treated to the two-episode arc with Alex Newell (runner-up from the Glee Project) a Black, sometimes cross-dressing, gay man of size who has said in interviews that he wants Karofsky to be his love interest.

        So you (and my hubby) can give up on Glee, but I’m sticking with it. It’s only entertainment after all. And I think it’s having the kind of impact on kids today that Will and Grace had on my generation. Neither show is  a perfectly socially conscious representation of queer life, but as vapid, politics-free entertainment goes … Glee’s embrace of the diversity of the queer experience is commendable and light-years beyond the options I had when I needed them.

        Bring on the after school special episodes any day … it’s way better than the Finn and Rachel wedding storyline.

  • I agree to everything you wrote, TLo.  Also, as an alumni of the high school that Mr. Murphy draws inspiration from, I am not a happy unborn fawn.  I’m an angry unborn fawn, especially since this was the episode where I was “I’ll go back to Glee”. 

    I’ll stick around to see what happens with the cliffhanger, but then I’m gone from this show too. 

  • jahphotogal

    I hope you don’t stop recapping Glee. As a straight middle-aged woman watching it with my two daughters, I see it so differently – I need to hear your perspective. You shine a light on things I wouldn’t notice — you educate me which helps me educate my kids, which helps them have an influence on their friends, and so on.  I don’t always agree with everything you write but I need to hear your point of view.  And I suspect you can have influence over the direction it takes – people (including Hollywood writers) listen to you.   As frustrating as this show can be, it’s an important cultural touchstone for a generation of young people.  You need to be part of the conversation about it – nobody else is saying the things you are saying.  Please keep going! 

    I also think that children see things very differently from adults – my daughters found both the suicide plot and the texting while driving plot compelling and, yes, educational.  The phrase ‘after-school special’ may be a joke now, but children really do learn “valuable life lessons” from TV, especially if their parents are watching with them and talking about it with them afterwards. (Me: if you had been one of those boys in the locker room who didn’t agree with the bullying, would you have had the courage to say something to Dave?”  My daughter: “hmmmm…. I think so.” 

    Don’t stop!

  • profp

    Amen and Amen. 

  • blog Justified.  

  • Daniel Hoerner

    “Fuck ‘It Gets Better.’ Show us a campaign against gay teen bullying called ‘THIS SHIT HAS TO STOP RIGHT NOW’.” A-MEN. You so perfectly captured my annoyance with this movement from its inception. The weepy, gay teenage victim is nothing new in media/entertainment’s portrayal of our community. This is FICTIONAL television. It’s a view of our very real society through a very fictional lens. We can recast ourselves in the roles we want to see ourselves play (and, in turn, aspire to be). How about something a little more uplifting, Mother Murphy??

  • nancylee61

    Good for you!!! I teach high school and while schools pretend to be anti-bullying, if the popular kids are picking on the unpopular kids, everyone looks away. Everyone: the principal, teachers, other staff. But not me. I was bullied as a kid, so bullying is my hot button. I take every bully on, I do not tolerate ANY bullying in my presence, I tell the bully that I will be watching, so God help them if they cross that line. Every adult needs to do this. 

  • You’re clearly not done with watching gay people cry every week. You’re still watching Project Runway, are you not? :o)

  • Mariah J

    Amen! Is it weird that the only scene I felt any emotion towards was Quinn’s death? They’ve done the gay victim thing SO TO DEATH that none of those characters can elicit any real feelings…except maybe Santana but that’s because she plays the “bitchy on the outside tortured on the inside angle so well”. I do applaud the show for opening up these topics in a way that no previous mainstream American television show has done but if all we’re supposed to feel towards gay teens is “awww don’t worry, it’ll be okay eventually” that is bull shit. They should have had Karofsky’s suicide be successful because then it would force the characters to face these issues directly. Even the non-gay cast was told to suck it up when faced with bullying. It’s really not okay to have that flippant attitude. 

  • Bravo! Well said!!

  • i think they need to change out the cast, even if people complain; that’s part of the stale feeling and the reaching for new storylines.  and to keep more in mind that it’s hard for an audience to lurch between two wildly divergent tones: light, arch musical theater and heavy drama.  esp. when so many characters and story lines have little consistency.  i’d go with a light touch and keep it there.

  • This article falls itself
    into the problem it has with Glee. Tom&Lorenzo don’t like Glee’s
    recent characterization of gay characters as being ‘victims’, that it
    pidgeonholes gay youth into that role in society, when in reality alot
    of young gay men/women are doing just fine. They instead prefer the
    characterization of gay kids like Kurt/Blaine during Teenage Dream, a
    kind of fantasy world where everything is ok, that gay youth live in a
    free, loving world where they can find the man of their dreams and sing
    songs to them in public. Obviously not true. While Tom and Lorenzo’s
    definition of gay youth may be more hopeful than defining them as
    victims, it still defines gay youth in a way that disenfranchises alot
    of gay youth that do exist in the Karofsky/Santana sphere.

    This article highlights a big
    problem with gay movie/tv criticism, that we always want gay people
    depicted as how we would like to see them. Tom&Lorenzo, being well
    adjusted adult gay men in a relationship want to see characterizations
    of gay men in the media as being positive and hopeful, which is great,
    but alot of gay men don’t have anything positive to hold on to. Are we
    going to erase all negative portrayals of Gay life? Gay men committing
    suicide has happened, for all intensive purposes Karofsky is real.
    Criticism of the It Gets Better campaign is valid in a sense. I remember
    the first time I heard about it I immediately said to myself “why are
    we telling kids it will get better later? why don’t we do something to
    help them now?” Its valid, but as Dan Savage points out in many
    interviews, It Gets Better isn’t the ONLY thing the gay community is
    doing for gay youth, there are still many different things happening
    that help gay kids DURING their youth. And as a last resort, to a kid
    who has no outlet or no way in which to reach other gay help services,
    the It Gets Better program could be the thing that saves his/her life.
    Overall, we need to accept
    that there will always be positive and negative portrayals of gay people
    in society. There will be more Kurt/Blaine love sequences, and
    hopefully many more like it, but not for awhile will there not be also
    scenes of Karofsky’s suicide attempt. As long as the overall message is
    positive (don’t kill yourself, being gay is o.k., you will find love,
    etc.) than we should embrace whatever media portrayal is given. Gay men
    should speak up about how gay people are portrayed in society, but only
    if the message behind the portrayal is negative, not the portrayal

    •  You completely misrepresented our points by the third sentence of your post. We want a balance of portrayals. We are not advocating for one kind of portrayal. Indeed, that’s the very thing we’re railing against.

  •   You know, I have to agree that the show this week had “psa” written all over it, but I think that this goes far deeper than a tv series. On the cyberbullying, I know that Kurt telling Karovsky to “just deal with it” isn’t what they Gay community wants, it certainly isn’t the ideal solution.  Nodbody wants to deal with it they want it to stop, but truth be told it probably never will. We would all love to live in a world where everyone could just accept everything, but the harsh reality is that they don’t and most people are too closed minded for us to ever change that. If you can’t control the people who are doing it, at the very least you can be confident enough in yourself and who you are to get past it. I think the message was more to just be strong and assert your identity not to say just roll over and take the abuse. 

      It upsets me to hear someone so worked up by Kurts suggestion of what the future holds. To be upset that one is saying “look you can be just like a straight couple!” isn’t that contradicting everything the gay community is fighting for? Equal rights, equality for gay marriages and to be treated just like any one else because you’re no different? Is it not then hypocritical of you to come down and condescend in reference to a straight couple because they are not gay? Either you want to be treated equally or you don’t but this post makes it sound as though you feel you are supperior. I am straight, we are EQUAL. I don’t view myself to be any better, different, or normal then you or any other person to ever come into existence who is gay. I wish the same ideals on any gay family that I would wish for myself. It isn’t about implying that you can be like straight people, it’s implying that you can have ANYTHING YOU WANT a family, a wonderful loving partner, an incredible job. By associating these things with being parts of life that only a straight person can aquire, you are taking a step back and prejudicing yourself against YOURSELF> if you are the same as anyone else why wouldn’t these ideals be a viable possibility? It seems to me that maybe you yourself are crying out to be the victim on this one. If you want to stop being victimized, stop acting like one and just live your life. When you take the time out to publicly complain about the way something was implicated on a tv show and how it drastically contradicts your ideals (when in fact it really doesn’t) you are only making it worse. The mirror goes both ways, straight people are not the only ones who can be closed minded.  

  • MsLadythankyouverymuch

    That’s the writers fault.  They are very limited in character development.   As a former teenager if you will not let someone help you I know you can not be helped.  We all know this.  Unfortunely, this knowledge usually gets eye rolling and that neck head rolling that reads  are you though.  Because  you’re old it was’t like that in you days.

  • kentiesgirl


    First off, it seems you read what people write-I hope you see this because you have made a powerful impact on my family. This is the first time I’ve ever commented on anything, anywhere, except to see how disqus worked earlier today-I’ve never been more compelled to say something.

    I’ve been (kinda) beaten to the punch by someone saying something similar but, well here goes:

    I have five pre-teen to teenage kids and live in a rural midwestern area with a very small population. One of them is gay and suffers tremendously at school, in sports, and from some branches of our family-and his older brother suffers by sticking up for him-the older one is such a stereotype, football/baseball player, big into body-building, honors program, guitar player, Jon Hamm type looks-he gets bullied for standing up for his brother, even his ‘friends’ literally stopped speaking to him.

    The younger one resembles his brother very closely except he has a more, um, wispy type voice (I can’t quite describe it but it is very noticeable-kinda like Kurt’s voice since this is on a Glee post) it’s played a big part in his struggles with others. I’m sorry I am rambling, but I wanted to point out to *some* of the commentators that bullying takes place against ALL kids, not just minority-types; meaning in income, fashion, religion, or whatever each one was referring to. You don’t get more WASPy than my oldest, but, there ya go.

    Anyway, I wanted to put what I’d like to tell you in context. Glee is a ray of sunshine for not only my gay son, but his older brother, who is his best friend and wants so desperately for his brother to be happy. It is a tool for my younger children because they get to see, in a major, popular show that all these different kind of LGB people exist….that’s it’s not just him. To have a show like this, that kids and adults watch and love, is something I never would dared to imagine. The kiss between Blaine and Kurt last year…that brought my son (and myself) to tears. Not just a peck, or a joke, but a real honest to goodness kiss between two teenage boys? That was his IGB moment. And all my kids saw it-but some of them had a bad reaction.

    Which is what I wanted to tell you. I pulled up your teenage dream post and read it word for word to them. It really helped them understand (and they have not once since that big discussion day cringed or laughed at any display of homosexuality), and the older ones have quoted it to people. I see Glee as a tool and entertainment, and you give me discussion points I could never truly get on my own; I have never been a gay teenage boy. I read it to my husband when you first posted it-it really opened his eyes. He was tolerant, and loving, but it showed him a way to really empathize with our baby.

    I was reading you before Glee, you guys are hilarious and fun and educational-no other PR blog comes close to you, and expanding like you have is awesome, I love it all. You also help people like me and maybe some people who like The Walking Dead or Mad Men or Glee stumble across this and learn something. I have spent years trying so hard to understand, to educate…Glee is a great discussion starter and your voices are part of that discussion. I didn’t let my kids see this episode (I pre-screen all of them) and am glad I didn’t, but I talked with my son about the things you wrote and the wonderful outpouring of opinions you hosted and contributed to.

    I am sad you are leaving the show, and now I have dipped my toe in, so to speak, will probably comment on here about drag queens and coats and Mondo. I didn’t always agree with you, but you made a difference to a few people out in the middle of nowhere.

    Thank you, really, so much, thank you.

    • kentiesgirl

      So I think I was too late in the game for you guys to read this, but after a few days, I gotta add on just a little bit.

      On a much lighter note, thanks for inspiring me to write something! I’m not gonna get too into it, but I have a difficult time getting out and about, and it is a lot of fun to join in the conversation! Get’s boring when the kids are at school, but now I have somewhere to be bitchy and opinionated other than at my cat-I think I bore him.

      I thought I would just write this and be too nervous to comment again, but your guy’s extremely hard work over the past few days got my mind off the sad and into the fashion….thanks for what you do! I read A LOT of blogs and news, but you guys are the very best-I’ve stuck with you since this stuff started, back in ’08, and you’ve helped me laugh my way thru a lot of treatment.

      Sooo….Thanks for all your work, not just the serious stuff….just had to tell you. 😀

    • Peeve

       I just happened to read your post today, and I have to say, it made me cry. What a great mom you are! Your kids are lucky to have you.

      • kentiesgirl

        That is the best compliment any parent could hope to receive. It’s people like you who help make the world a better place place for all my kids. Would that everyone was as compassionate. Thank you so much.

  • altalinda


  • Maria McGarry

    Great post, great conversation.  These issues need to be aired, and for all Glee’s many limitations, at least its spurred you on to educating us here.  Thanks.  Actually, it’s been so interesting, if you could overcome your distaste and take up the cudgels of indignation or erudition with respect to this show in the future, we’d be mighty
    Anyway, note: Max Adler was really good in a pretty thankless spot on this episode.  I remember seeing way back when I cared on Imdb that he actually was in a show choir — I’m sort of hoping he gets a number somewhere.  Maybe in lieu of the only boring Irish person I’ve ever seen?

  • bitterk

    Heterosexual white as the norm.  Growing up you had to watch Soul Train to see a commercial about black hair products, find a department store that sold Fashion Fair makeup and pray there was a color that matched your skin, read Jet or Ebony to see pictures or read stories about black “news” or black celebrities. Not seeing images of oneself definitely has an impact on a young person’s sense of “normal”.

  • Thank you so much. This episode pissed me off and I couldn’t understand the praise around the suicide plotline. You guys hit it on the head.

  • dorothea_brooke

    I don’t watch Glee, and I’m not gay, but thank you so much for this. I look at my sweet, sensitive boy and fear so much for his future. I don’t want to tell him “it gets better’ I want to say “adults are to be trusted, I can always protect you” but that would be a lie. So I hope the “THIS SHIT HAS TO STOP RIGHT NOW” movement gets started soon, for all the gay kids, sensitive boys, jock girls, fat kids and anyone else who doesn’t fit in. Cause we grow up to be the coolest.

  • It was really jarring, in a sad contrast to Artie, who got to be all rage-face in the Michael episode.This episode could have used more anger in the face of institutional apathy (see the scene in Figgins Office…)

    (and the only rage filled it gets better video I have seen…

  • Chris Jeffries

    Love you TLo, check the site daily, share many of your frustrations about Glee, but 3 things.  (Sorry if they’ve been said – it’s now 15 pp. of comments.)  One, “Don’t give me any of that It Gets Better crap” is what Artie said to Will three episodes ago, so it’s not as if Murphy and Co. are oblivious to the point you raised there.  Two, there are 6 gay/bi kids on the show (which is amazing in itself) and neither Blaine, Sebastian or Brittany have been shown as suffering, conflicted or oppressed by it.  And three, I hope you’re right that “the majority of young gay people are doing relatively okay.”  Many Are Not.  Please visit the Ali Forney Center website – I quote: “Tragically, as many as 25% of these teens are rejected by their
    families, and many end up homeless on the streets. Homeless LGBT teens
    are more likely than straight homeless teens to be subjected to violence
    on the streets, and in the homeless shelter system. They suffer from
    inordinate rates of mental illness, trauma, HIV infection and substance
    abuse.”  And suicide, and prostitution, and being beaten to a pulp by your own nuclear family members – bullying ain’t the half of it.  There are literally thousands of gay kids in very dire situations, whose stories desperately need to be told – but we’re gonna call Glee a downer for telling a sad story?  At least all those kids have a roof over their heads.  Glee’s the only mainstream show with gay youth on it at all – it’s not its job to present the community party line, especially when those are only a couple of (too) many storylines.  To get a real variety of perspectives, we need more exposure, more shows, more voices – why put all the burden on that show.

    • Marcy Rodenborn

      Also, Dan Savage is always, always, always posting any news tidbits about school districts, politicians, city councils, school boards etc. who are involved in bigoted discrimination and all the appropriate contact information to raise hell to these people on The Stranger blog site.  It’s definately a THIS SHIT HAS TO STOP NOW type of posting.  And guess what – the haters are FLOODED with calls and letters. 

  • TBoneSmalls

    From a suicidal perspective (which I am. I’m currently undergoing LOTS of therapy and my family and I are going through a really hard time.) I loved this episode. As a stand-alone episode, ignoring this shows extensive history with FUCKING ANNOYING GAY SOB-STORIES, I liked it. It may have over-simplified the problem of suicide, but that isn’t necessarily bad. Everyone has their reasons, everyone has their issues, and you can’t address them all specifically. It’s much better to be overly general and give off just a good message over all than to try and pinpoint exactly why everyone wants to die and fix it, cause that’s insulting. So, sure, the music sucked, and sure, it was just one massive it gets better video, but from the POV of a suicidal teen who’s spending hours a day talking to therapist after fucking therapist, it was nice to hear something that wasn’t trying to fix ME or solve MY problems, but was just giving a little advice to everyone and making me feel good. 
    That said, in the context of the show, and from the POV of a proud bisexual, I am SO OVER THE GAY SUBPLOTS. Or should I say, THE PLOT OF THIS FUCKING SHOW. Not EVERYONE needs a coming out story. Make more like Britt or Blaine! Sure, they can get bullied, and as long as you don’t do it EVERY WEEK, why not knock yourself out on a nice anti-bullying episode every once in a while? But gay kids KNOW how much it sucks to be them. We don’t need to see it over and over again. Like TLo said, sometimes we just want a gay character treated just like a straight character: cheesy romances, huge dreams, whatever. 
    This is getting old.

  • All I can say is: PREACH.  You perfectly articulated why I couldn’t stand this episode.  

  • nemills

    Your Final thought is SPOT ON!
    Where is the bumper sticker?!

  • Totally agree!  Thanks for posting!

  • What may be worse for me than the victimized (time and time again) gay teen, is the loss of *happy tears*.  Take for example the “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” scene.  I watched that moment in TV history and thought – “WHY COULDN’T I HAVE SEEN THIS AS A KID?!”  I teared up not because it was tragic, but because it was so very sweet.  As gay teens in my era, we were almost fully denied courtship and flirtation. We were not all victims of this – but victorious over it.  I’m over the great dramatic tragedy.  I prefer tearing up at the happy scenes, like when Kurt gets his finals letter and his father is so proud…  heart strings = pulled.  Stop upsetting me just for the sake of upsetting me, Glee!

  • Bill Capehart

    I just have one question.  How long does it take a peanut allergy to accrue to where Rory will go into Anaphylaxis?

    • kentiesgirl

      LMAO! My hubby and I said the same thing to each other as he was putting the spoon in his mouth…”How much you wanna bet he’s deathly allergic?” Especially after Brittany’s peanut allergy comment. But that would be too much continuity for RM 😉

  • They totally jumped the shark with this one. And you’re right. It did way more harm than good.

  • Megan Hutchison

    What I would like to see is Glee not just deal with suicide but with depression. It could have had much more impact if this was built up more, not just in 10 minutes. We could have seen Karaofski’s struggles and his inablilty to get past everything and trying to deal with his mess of a life and just not succeeding. I remember reading somewhere that people with severe depression plan their sucide, it is not a snap decision but a thought-out solution to the problem of waking up every morning feeling empty. Suicide is not something done for revenge but is simply a way to give in to the darkness that surrounds you. I have seen shows deal with suicide, but not with depression.

    I have depression and it is truely like you live your life in darkness, and it is not that I want to kill myself, I mostly simply wish I didn’t exist, which is something else entirely.

    The thing that suprised me was when I started telling people that I was on anti-depressants, was that so many others have been in the same darkness that I have. Depression is no really dealt with, and I am not comparing it to homosexuality, but it is taboo, just as homosexuality is, and Glee had a good chance to really show this for the first time and make all the people with depression feel like we are not alone.

    Glee has lost the unique spirit it had, just as Nip/Tuck and Popular before it did. Don’t think I will keep watching…

  • Jase37206

    I tend to disagree with this in some aspects. First with your idea that “it gets better” tells GAY teens to hunker down. Kids are being bullied for EVERYTHING, not just sexuality in schools. Bullying has always went on and I do not see a shift in our poor excuse for humanity. So, arming teens with hope and the knowledge that one day they will be accepted for who they are is not a bad thing. Should that be the end of it??? HELL NO! But is it a bad thing, HELL NO! 

    I am much more upset by the Rachel/Finn wedding than I am about the way the gay characters are portrayed. I mean, I think showing that Kurt has grown through his experiences is a good thing. We have seen little to nothing that shows Rachel has grown over her years in high school. 

    Next, you left off the biggest part of the show…Quinn, what a cliff hanger??????

    From time to time gets a bit silly and I see where people get annoyed. They are trying to deal with touchy issues, this will lead to it not suiting everyone. That is just part of life. Is it the same show it was in season one, no way. Is this season better than last, yes way. To bad you will no longer be covering, I will miss the commentary. But, thankfully I still have RuPaul and PR Allstars snark to read 😉

  • Thank you. 

  • I love this article!

  • It’s a rare thing, but you guys have pissed me off.  Maybe not every story line is about being gay.  Maybe being gay is incidental to a story.  My son, a straight, white musician in his early 20’s attempted suicide twice last year.  He survived.  Sure, Karofsky story line is totally tied up in the gay story line and sure, they’ve veered off course.  But come on! 

    Every parent of an unsuccessful suicide attempt can identify with the line:  “I’m glad you’re alive.”  And every single one of us had our hearts soar when the response came back:  “So am I.”

    Sometimes ‘gay’ isn’t the point.  Get over yourselves.

  • So sad that we won’t get to read your glee reviews anymore. I would’ve loved to have known your thoughts on Matt Bomer as Blaine’s big brother.

  • Violiav

    I agree, since this episode the other half and I just have not been invested. He managed through the one or two after hiatus, but declined to what last weeks and this weeks episodes. I’m struggling through the quickly put together Whitney Houston episode, just not good at all. In fact, watch Smash, it’s a better show all around.

  • MychelleFrost

    You know, I had actually forgotten this show was still on the air; they lost me after that horrid X~Mas episode back in December.

    And the thing is, I feel bad for all the talented, under-exposed people in the cast; Amber, Heather, Kevin, Harry, Naya… they all deserve a better showcase than the dreckitude that Glee has become.

    It’s a pity.

  • I just watched the disco episode of Glee, and as soon as “Unique” started saying he wanted to go to regionals in drag, I just sighed. I’m sorry, but I’m getting tired of all these gay sob stories and after-school specials.