Monday, 14 March 2011

Glee and Me: It's complicated

Warning: this is long, somewhat messy and I don't even talk about clothes. If you don't want to hear about my feelings about Glee (and in particular Wemma), there's not much for you here.

It's complicated. Yeah, it really is. It used to be so simple. Way back in the front 13 it was just love. Glee made me laugh, it made my heart sing, it seemed so smart and funny and I hoped it would be like that forever. But then things changed. Glee started to make me mad, so mad that sometimes I just want to scream. I started noticing its flaws and I felt so frustrated and above all disappointed. It's not that there aren't still good times, times when it almost feels the way it used to, but there have been more testing times than I ever expected, times when Glee has tested my love to the limit. Let's just say, Emma, I get what you mean when you say you feel confused about how you feel because that's how I feel about Glee.

But, Emma, I think I've learnt from your mistakes and I know I need to work through these feelings. I need to give this thing between Glee and me a chance before I move on and replace it with another tv show. Because I might find myself regretting giving up on the show I love. Or I could find myself with two shows vying for that special place in my heart and that really doesn't work out well, does it?

So here's my attempt to work through my issues. My thoughts are messy but then so are the recent episodes of Glee. Really how can I be expected to have neatly ordered thoughts when the show is all over the place?

But Emma would want me to try, so we have some sub-headings ;)

They're not real
I know you're going well, duh, obviously they're not real, they're fictional characters. But 1) that's not what I mean and 2) well I don't necessarily agree (they're real to me, okay? let's move on). No, what I mean is the characters on Glee always were rather two-dimensional and caricatured, and that's part of what we love about the show, but when it mattered they were given depth, they were made real. We saw Emma's struggles with her mysophobia, her unhappiness and her loneliness and we watched her wrestle with her feelings for Will. We felt Will's pain when he found out it was only a fake baby. We witnessed Emma's distress and shame over her actions towards Ken and the heartbreak of Emma's near departure. And it was real.

But since then, perhaps ever since that kiss in the hallway, I'm not sure things ever felt real again. They certainly don't now. And that's my point. Will, Emma, even Carl, they're not being real. Their storylines just don't make sense - at least not the way they are explained (not explained) to us. And that makes all the difference.

Carma vs. Wemma
Yeah, Carma's a bitch. Or do I mean Holly? No, sorry that's just me being reflexively glib about Carma. It's a defense mechanism. Like so much in life my real feelings are much more complicated.

Where do I start? Well I guess with Wemma. I bought the fairytale. I thought they belonged together. I know some people think that makes me a sucker but truth is I have my reasons. And it wasn't easy. We had to ignore Will undermining his marriage. Yes, Terri may have been awful but she was his wife and even awful isn't an excuse. And sure she was faking a baby but he didn't know that. So I looked past his undeniable culpability in his marriage break-up and I ignored the part Emma played in it, and I believed in them because I thought they were meant to be. And most of all I thought they were going to be better. Better than all of that.

But no sooner than they were together Will proved that he really was no better. And he didn't even seem to recognize the value of what he had with Emma. And that made me think he didn't deserve her, that he could do such things to risk losing her, and she certainly deserved better.

So while I was sad for the Wemma, I was open to the idea that Emma might find someone new and someone that was better for her. And if that was to be Carl Howell, the dentist, I was okay with it, I really was (and yes, Courtney, your dentist might have something to do with that).

Of course, then we met the Carl. And it just didn't feel right. And it was only a little bit to do with my instinctive anti-Stamos feeling. It was so much more to do with Carl seeming creepy and controlling and possessive (and weirdly omnipresent in a high school where he was neither a teacher or a student). Also I just never saw any real chemistry between them. But this brings me back to my first point - we never saw anything real between Carl and Emma except for one brief embrace. And you can't expect us to buy into a relationship we never see.

So you see I really wanted Carma to work. I did, for Emma's sake.

I'm not sure how much hope there is for Carma in light of the recent revelations. It seems like it's come as a surprise to Carl that Emma might/maybe/absolutely does still have feelings for Will. I mean doesn't he remember TTTM. In fact wasn't that almost certainly the reason he proposed in the first place? So if we're to believe they never even had that conversation, then it doesn't sound like their relationship was ever on a very strong basis in the first place.

And then there's Holly and I'm just not getting it. One episode Will's declaring his drunken love for Emma, the next he only has eyes for Holly and can barely remember Emma's name. For me this is simply a diversion, a casually thrown in and carelessly scripted excuse for a guest star, that brings nothing more than the appearance of complicating Will and Emma's relationship. No, Holly wasn't needed to ask that question of Emma but once they'd decided to have the whole Holly/Carma counselling session they could have at least done it justice by writing it well.

So what's Holly even doing there? And while we're at it, Holly, are you really that dumb that you think Will is the right person to educate you about romance?

Will & Romance

Because in the romance stakes I really don't think Will does all that well. Sure way back in the front 13 Will and Emma seemed so sweet together. We were sold a fairytale complete with knight in shining armor moments (ok Will rescued her from gum, not a dragon, but gum is scary right?) and the moment the prince sees his princess all dressed up for the ball and realises he loves her (ya it was a bridal shop, and she was shopping for a wedding dress to wear to marry another guy but it still seemed really romantic). Still there was enough there to suggest an epic romance. And after every thing we'd seen I was so sure he really loved Emma and so certain he'd be a wonderful boyfriend for her.

But by the time we got to the back nine, the fairytale was over. Emma's Cinderella moment transformed into her prince bringing her (golden) slippers to her after she'd run out and left them behind after their not-so-perfect night together. Oh, yes, I think Cinderella also got a marriage proposal not a therapist's phone number.

And mainly the back nine couldn't have proven me more wrong about Will's romantic nature. As far as we know the only dates Will planned for Emma were a couple of make out sessions on the couch he'd made a fake baby on. Oh, yes, and when she felt that it was too much too soon, was re-watching Armageddon really the most romantic thing he could think of? I mean Emma likes cuddling and she looked like she was just fine with cuddling him, would that really have been so bad?

And no, Will, I'm-sorry-I-made-out-with-my-rival-glee-club-coach-and-had-a-sleepover-with-my-high-school-crush flowers don't count as a romantic gesture.

But the one area he had to do right was romantic music, right? Oh, no, no, no. When it came to picking 'their' song Will was as imaginative as choosing his junior prom song. (I really don't buy it, not real like I said)

Probably the most romantic thing I can remember Will doing on Glee is not eating peanut butter for Terri. His drunk dial comes a close second.

And while I loved it at the time, with a little perspective on it, I can't help but wish his message had been a little more romantic in nature. I have to focus on the line "I love how you eat your lunch with your little plastic gloves and they crinkle and make the cutest sound I've ever heard in my life" because this had to be the most romantic part. I liked that he liked something unique about Emma, I liked that he was really expressing his feelings about her and I liked that he was noticing the details. However, and I know this sounds incredibly picky, first I wished he'd got the details right (she doesn't eat her lunch with gloves, she cleans the table with them first, she needs them to be protected from icky other people germs not her food! Oh, silly Will!) and secondly, and probably a lot more importantly, I only want him to love her for the good kind of crazy. You know the kind of crazy that makes you unique and quirky in a good way and above all is fun, not the kind of crazy that makes life so hard to live. I once was told that the best thing about love is knowing that you're loved in spite of your flaws, not because of them or because they're not even seen. And I think that has the ring of truth to it. I don't really want to admit that Emma is flawed (she's perfect to me) but even she realises she has some things to work on. And I think it would show some (more) poor judgement on Will's part if he loved her for the things about her that so clearly aren't life enhancing. I want him to see them and be prepared that they might never go away (at least not entirely) but to love her anyway, for all the other wonderful things about her.

And Carl, if you're reading this, I think that it would be truly romantic if you still wanted to be married to her for all her other wonderful qualities, regardless of whether she actually ever is prepared to, you know, do the deed. I think that for Emma that might be the most romantic gesture of all.

Really I only see two ways for this thing between me and Glee to work out. Messrs Murphy, Falchuk and Brennan, either you redeem Will or you find someone new for Emma who's all kinds of awesome and loves her just the way she is. Oh, yeah, and raise the bar with the writing.

Okay, I think time's up on this therapy session and though I have many, many other issues to work through  they'll have to wait for another post.

So yes we have some problems, Glee and me. Big problems. And I've thought about walking away, I really have. But even though there are smarter shows out there, funnier shows and without a doubt shows that look like a much safer bet, Glee still holds a special place in my heart. It still speaks to my soul in a way that I'm not sure any other show ever will. And so I have to think, despite its faults and there are many, Glee is still the show for me. And I couldn't walk away without regretting it. So you see Emma, even if you don't know how you're feeling I think I do because I feel the same.

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