“Glee” Favorite Moments

It is time to get back on this horse. Sorry (to all two of you). I’ve been very busy with my other writing. And then I’ve had that trigger-shy feeling of, “But I haven’t blogged in a week/two weeks/a month! What should I even say? It has to be awesome! Except it doesn’t matter if it’s awesome or not because no one reads my blog. Sad mopeyness. Well, of course no one reads your blog – you haven’t written in weeks! Get back on the horse, you whiney baby! Other aggressive words of encouragement such as you might hear from a curmudgeonly but ultimately lovable high school football coach in a movie! But you really should be doing the writing that you hope is going to make you money/laundry/minding the child. Especially since no one reads your blog. More sad mopeyness.” Then my Facebook status updates went from “Zoe did a thing!” to “I must rant for several paragraphs about something vaguely political and/or woman-related!” and I realized that seriously, I need to get back to blogging.

So what am I starting with? “Glee”! Sorry. It was in the hopper.

So I’d been doing this thing where I’d been posting “Lessons to Unlearn from Glee” every week. It was my little bit of hateful loving on the show, back when I still used to have some love for the show, but felt the need to poke gentle fun at their preachy total wrongness. You know, the times when they were all, “Never deny your art!” and I as a thirty-year-old person was like, “Uh, but your art might never support you financially, so, you know, be guided accordingly.” Or the times when they were all, “Finn’s random self-righteousness about x is totally warranted!” and I was all, “Finn’s a douchebag!” Fun times.

But then this happened and I could not take it any more. I ignored the show. It was easy because they were on break for, like, a month and a half, but then I continued to ignore it. Then I caught up, half-attentively, putting the show on while doing dishes or folding laundry or what have you. And you know what? I was completely right to drop it. With the possible exception of the moderately amusing punk rock version of “The Rain in Spain” from My Fair Lady, nothing worthwhile musically or story-wise has happened since February. (I haven’t watched the season finale yet. It’s two hours long. That’s a lot of time to invest in a show I no longer care about.) And they’ve been up to their usual preachiness shenanigans. Really, show? You needed to have a domestic violence-themed episode?

(And on that front, and I really can’t help myself here, I’m sorry, I have to point out that they tried to make this point, this “Every girl thinks it’ll never be her boyfriend point,” but no one ever explains that really well so it always comes across like “Your boyfriend could Hulk out on you at any moment! All boys have a secret Mr. Hyde hiding in them! You are never safe!” That’s not really the point. The point is, don’t be dismissive of women going through this by saying things like, “I would never put up with that from any man.” I made this point in my “Real Housewives” post, but I’ll repeat it here – when you say that, you’re not thinking of your actual partner. You’re not thinking of the person you love, the person who melted your heart by playing so sweetly with your puppy or made you that really meaningful mix CD or maybe even helped you out of a serious jam without judging or complaining. You’re not thinking of the person with whom you share a child, a pet, a home. You’re not thinking of that person who gives you toe-tingling kisses. You’re thinking of that Mythic Guy Who Hits and Does Nothing Else. That guy is easy to leave. Your actual partner is usually not that guy. Even when s/he hits you. Okay, PSA over.)

So this is the last thing I’m going to write about “Glee,” and it’s going to be nice. I did watch it for a few years; I must have liked things. Like:

1. The Pilot – The pilot was so promising. It was sarcastic, it was funny, and it let you know the show was not to be taken seriously. And Lea Michele sang “On My Own,” and Amber Riley belted out “Respect,” and while those are both extremely obvious choices of songs – the misunderstood, unpopular girl sings a song about the one she loves not noticing her, and the sassy black girl sings the sassy black girl anthem – but as we know, these two are so phenomenal who cares that they’re stereotypes? There was stuff like Miss Pillsbury’s ridiculously inappropriate pamphlets, which were just skimmed over on camera instead of given a whole episode and reason for existence. Oh, and Jane Lynch existed.

2. Zoe shaking her butt to “Gold Digger” – Y’all know the only reason I even watch the show is because Zoe and I dance to the musical numbers together and she is so freakin’ cute, right? “Gold Digger” was in the second episode. Zoe was just a little over a year. She heard the song and started bopping her butt up and down. The memory of it is enough to make all the head-bangingly stupid plot points worth it. Oh, and the way she memorized “Bad Romance” and used to sing it all the time. You have not lived until you’ve heard a child who is not yet two singing, “I want your ugly, I want your disease.”

3. Kurt and Rachel doing “For Good” – I mean, when Lea Michele sang anything, it was awesome. And when Chris Colfer sang anything, it was awesome. And when the two of them sang Wicked songs together? Holy moly.

4. The Madonna episode – The episode packed in the musical numbers and skimmed over the plot, which was perfect. The dancing was spectacular. Remember the Cheerios on stilts? Holy hell. Remember Mercedes and Kurt rocking it with the Cheerios and the marching band on “4 Minutes to Save the World”? Kick ass. Remember the whole team on “Like a Prayer”? Niiiiice.

A personal anecdote: The summer that song came out, my sister (Lauren, not Kate) played it over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over again. And this was in the days before we had a CD player – she learned how long it took to rewind the tape over that particular song. And you know what? I never got sick of it. Say what you want about La Madge, but that’s a good song.

They followed this up with an all-Britney Spears episode the following year. Britney is no Madonna but the episode was still awesome, not in the least because it showcased Heather Morris’s dancing. Damn, that girl can move.

5. Rumours – The episode they dedicated to the Fleetwood Mac album was really pretty good, musically, and it was basically because the kids, and Kristen Chenoweth, who guest-starred, can really sing, and they basically just sang Fleetwood Mac’s songs straight. And here’s the stupid thing – I kind of didn’t know I liked Fleetwood Mac. I mean, obviously, having lived in the English-speaking world for thirty years, I knew their music. I’ve had more than one experience where I turn off my car as the radio is playing “Landslide,” then get back in my car to find “Landslide” starting up again. On regular FM radio. And, you know, I liked it fine. But I never really thought to myself, “Oh, I like Fleetwood Mac.” They were just there, in the background of my life. This episode made me think about it. And program a Pandora station. (Music fans should know, that’s pretty much my height for liking a band these days. I know other people actually, like, buy albums and go to concerts and shit. Not so much me.)

6. The alcohol episode – As a musical episode, this one was a lot of fun. “Blame it on the Alcohol” showcased some great staging and dancing, plus Artie and Mercedes are always awesome on hip-hop. “One Bourbon, One Scotch, and One Beer” was hella fun. And Heather Morris got to show off her dance moves on Ke$ha’s “Tik Tok”. I always like it when Heather Morris gets to show off her dance moves. And, as far as preachy episodes go, this one handled things pretty well. Kids, drinking is not the best idea in the world, but you’re probably going to do it, as do we all, so do it responsibly, and do not under any circumstances drink and dial, ’cause that shit’s embarrassing.

7. The Adele mash-up – So maybe this season wasn’t totally useless. It brought us Santana and Mercedes and the other girls doing a mash-up of Adele’s “Someone Like You” and “Rumour Has It.” They rocked it. First of all, those are two really good songs. Second of all, Amber Riley and Naya Rivera can sing. Mash-ups on this show are generally a mixed bag. Their first mash-up episode, featuring the girls doing “Halo” and “Walking on Sunshine” and the boys doing “It’s My Life” and “Confessions II” was good, as was their Journey mash-up. Their second year of gender-specific mash-ups was a hot mess, particularly the boys’ “Stop in the Name of Love” with “Free Your Mind.” But this Adele one was a keeper.

8. The (Junior?) Prom – I know “Friday, Friday” is the worst thing to ever happen in the world – but Puck, Artie, and Sam kind of killed it. I know “Dancing Queen” used to be the worst thing to ever happen in the world – but Mercedes, Santana and Quinn kind of killed it.  Lea Michele and Jonathan Groff doing Adele’s “Rolling in the Deep” was pretty kick-ass, and Lea Michele doing “Jar of Hearts” was spectacular. The whole episode was super-fun and what else does a prom episode need to be?

9. Kurt and Blaine singing “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” – “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” is already my favorite song about date rape. (“Say, what’s in this drink?”) Kurt and Blaine singing it together? Oh, my God, my heart melted. Although the sound of sqeeing when they kissed (!) was much higher. You know, Chris Colfer is gay but as far as I know Darren Criss isn’t. And he still kissed passionately and intensely and like it was no big thing. Hear that, Jack from “Dawson’s Creek” over a decade ago? It’s called acting. And being awesome.

10. Mike Chang – I have mentioned Heather Morris’s dancing but not Harry Shum, Jr.’s, and I should, because my God, he is amazing. The best number that showcased this was when he and Finn did “I Gotta Be Me,” with Mike acting like he was showing oafish Finn how to do his awesome dance moves. It was a number that had a logical place in the plot, responded to their established characters, and was performed beautifully. Too bad they couldn’t just keep doing that.

10 1/2. The Hotness – As long as I’m giving personal shout-outs, I’ve gotta mention Naya Rivera and Mark Salling. Hot, hot, hot. So much with the smoking. I heard rumors during the first season that these two were steaming up their dressing rooms with each other. I think that makes perfect sense, since if I looked like either of these people, I’d be getting with the other one.

I mean, they were talented, too, with the singing and the dancing and, at least in Naya’s case, the acting. But seriously? The hotness.

Okay, show. It’s been lovely. See you again in Seasons One and Two when Zoe and I do our dance parties.

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It’s Not Surprising

Wow, I’ve had a lot to say this week, haven’t I? I’ll tell you the truth – I’m procrastinating on other writing I should be doing.

There are three loosely connected things bouncing around my head right now, and that loose connection is the fundamental misunderstanding of terms when it comes to how one side of the issue (“liberal,” or, in these particular cases, “normal, rational human beings”) understand the terminology in use by the other side (“conservative,” or, in these particular cases, “crazypants.”)*

1. How come it’s okay with alleged “social conservatives” that Newt Gingrich has two ex-wives and had long-term affairs while married to at least two of them? (I mean, for all we know, he’s also cheating on Callista, but he told Marianne that Callista would be accepting of that, right?) This question comes up because social conservatives are allegedly for marriage, and therefore, they must not be in favor of adultery, right?

Well, to the extent that “social conservative” can be conflated with “strong believer in the Ten Commandments”, I suppose, but I think that conflation is not necessarily accurate. Social conservatives are in favor of protecting the status quo, and the status quo – since approximately the Industrial Revolution – is that marriage (for rich people) is an institution in which a woman fulfills a man’s needs in the home while he goes out into the world to make money and amass power. And the more power he has, the more shit he can get away with. So Newt’s done exactly that. What’s the issue?

Furthermore, apparently conservatives just hate women, as we’ll see in . . .

2. How come alleged “family values” guys are trying to make domestic violence harder to prosecute in New Hampshire? Haven’t heard of this yet? Here it is. Now, I try really hard to see both sides (or all sides) of a given issue. I might still strongly disagree with one side or another, but I try to understand why a rational human being might believe in the side I disagree with. And most of the time, I can get there. I can understand; I can even sympathize. Like, for instance, I’m pro-choice. But I really do get that if you honestly believe that life begins at conception, then yeah, abortion is murder. Of course it is. Yes, even in cases of rape. Because the fetus didn’t rape you. (On the other hand, I have no patience for arguments that don’t allow for abortion even when there is a threat to the mother’s life. Because you are allowed to kill those who are threatening your life.) Now, I think that the question of whether life begins at conception is too nebulous and philosophical to be legislated, and on a practical level, I know that abortion being illegal is dangerous for women for many, many reasons, so I still disagree with the pro-life platform, at least insofar as they are focused on legislating against abortion, but I get the position and I even have sympathy for it. And yeah, I know, a lot of the pro-life (or anti-choice) movement sounds purely like they’re invested in punishing women for having sex, and I don’t have any sympathy with that, but I know that’s not the entire story.

I can’t figure out what the entire story is with these New Hampshire bills. I just can’t imagine the other side. Let’s review. I get the abortion thing. “I’m pro-choice because when abortion is illegal, women suffer.” “Well, I’m pro-life because a fetus is a life and you can’t murder it.” Right. Both valid points.

But here we have, “I’m in favor of comprehensive protections for people who are being abused by their partners.”

“Well, I’m in favor of-” What? What’s the other side? “I’m in favor of rights for abusers?”

I just don’t see how there isn’t here a basic hatred for women.

But I don’t think that’s antithetical to what “they” really mean when they say “family values.” “Family values” may sound warm and fuzzy, but it really means a support for the rights of families to run their own affairs without government interference. And by “families,” I obviously mean, “Dad.” Dad can decide who gets what kind of education, what happens to the money he earns, and how he “disciplines” members of his family, without government interference.

(Because you and I may know that men can be abused, too, but I assure you that the authors of this legislation do not. And if you told them it happened, they’d call any man being abused by a woman a faggot.)

Another word that doesn’t mean what liberals think it means? “Choice.”

3. When the Christian right talks about how it’s a “choice” to be gay, they don’t mean it’s a choice to be attracted to members of your own sex; they mean it’s a choice of whether or not you act on it. And even us liberals or progressives or normal, rational human beings can acknowledge the basic truth of that. Your thoughts and feelings, your attractions and identity, they come from inside. How you behave is your choice.

“Homosexuality is not a choice! It’s not it’s not it’s not!”

Again, I know that being attracted to members of your own gender, and wanting sexual and/or romantic relationships with members of your own gender, is not a choice. But acting on that attraction is a choice.

Let’s give an example with which we can all agree. I’m straight. That means I am attracted to men. I’m also married. So I’ve chosen one particular man with whom to have an exclusive romantic and sexual relationship. I can’t help it if I feel attracted to another man. But I can help acting on that attraction. And I should stop myself from acting on that attraction, because I’m married, and it would be hurtful and wrong for me not to stop myself.

Now, I don’t think that acting on attractions to members of the same gender as you is wrong. So I don’t think people who are attracted to members of their own gender should choose not to act on their attractions.

But the people who talk about homosexuality being a choice do think it’s wrong, just as adultery is wrong, and for the same reason – it says so in the Bible. They’re not saying (to the extent that “they” are a monolith and that all of “them” have coherent thoughts about it) that you can choose not to be attracted. But they are saying you can choose not to act.

The difference between us and them is that we don’t think they should choose not to act and they do.

Now, it’s a hypocrisy when the same people who claim that it’s wrong to act on homosexual feelings support known adulterers like Newt for president. And it’s hypocrisy that people who claim that it’s wrong to act on homosexual feelings are adulterers, like Newt.

But it’s still important to understand what they mean by “choice,” as it is important to understand what all the terms of a debate mean to the people using them, so that our arguments do not continue to devolve into both sides shouting slogans at each other that are only comprehensible to their own side.

And a codicil –

“Open marriage” is what happens when two people who are married decide that, although they are each other’s main squeeze, they do not want to or cannot be sexually and/or romantically exclusive with each other, so they work out an agreement wherein they can have sexual and/or romantic relationships with others. Sometimes one person may take more advantage of that than the other; sometimes they decide to keep each other informed and sometimes not; sometimes the two of them develop a sexual and/or romantic relationship with a third party together, as a unit and sometimes that never happens. But the key is, they both are getting what they need in terms of sex, romance, and exclusivity (or at least they’re trying for that); it’s an arrangement that is negotiated beforehand and agreed upon by all parties for the benefit of all parties.

What Newt Gingrich demanded of his second wife was not an “open marriage.” He just wanted to be able to keep a mistress without her getting all up in his grill about it. I know she used that term but she’s an old lady and probably, um, not very cosmopolitan in her awareness of non-traditional relationships. But the journalists who keep using the term wrong know better, or should.

 

*No, I don’t think “conservative” is always synonymous with “crazypants”! But in these three cases, the connection seems to be there.

The Real Housewives of Enabling Abuse

So the second season of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills has come to a close (well, except for the reunion shows, which we all know are the most important parts). And I have to confess, these ladies are my favorite Housewives. (For the record, I’ve also watched NY and NJ although not the last season of NJ and not the last two or three of NY. I’ve seen the ladies of the OC on occasion but never, like, a full episode. And I’ve not watched Atlanta. Just viewing the commercials brings up my liberal white guilt.) But this season, oh, boy, this season I wanted to smack every one of them. Except for Taylor. Because she was getting enough of that at home.

Seriously, this season was like a study in what not to do if your friend tells you s/he’s being physically abused by his or her partner.

1. DO NOT expect that the minute you’ve heard this piece of information, your friend is packing his or her bags. Because, first of all, many, many people don’t leave right away, for many, many good reasons. And also, the first you’re hearing about it is not the first time it happened. The relationship lasted through other violent incidences; it will probably last through the abused person telling you.

2. DO NOT decide that, since your friend has not left the relationship, your friend is lying about the abuse. People in abusive situations have a hard time leaving. I know I just said that, but it apparently bears repeating, because even if it’s the one thing everyone should know about domestic violence, the ladies of this show had never heard of the concept.

3. DO NOT justify your disbelief by saying things like, “If we don’t see it, how are we supposed to know?”or “He’s always been nice to me,” like it’s somehow surprising that this person who obviously values control hasn’t hauled off and smacked his or her partner in front of you.

4. DO NOT say “There’s three sides to every story; his side, her side, and the truth,” as Adrienne insisted on doing over and over. You sound like you read that in a fortune cookie. And, while it’s true sometimes, this isn’t about divining “the truth.” This is about helping a friend who’s in trouble. Who has reached out for your help, only to watch you shrug your shoulders and say, “Look, I haven’t seen anything. He’s always been nice to me. There’s three sides to every story.” Remember up a few items, where we discussed them not leaving right away? One of the reasons is because when they tell friends what’s up, they get nonsense like this.

5. DO NOT reveal stuff told to you in confidence on camera. I don’t care how mad you are that your friend is confusing you. The friend who is being abused has bigger shit to worry about than your confusion. Like his or her safety.

6. DO NOT gather together your girlfriends to whine – on camera – about how abused you now feel, now that your friend is mad at you for talking about his or her abuse – on camera. Do not treat this like your friend failed to invite you to a party, or said you looked fat in that dress. Your friend has a real problem. You sound like a heartless moron. Oh, and if you are, say, involved with the production of a reality show on which a person is dealing with abuse, you, also, should not behave as if this is the latest “juicy scandal” of your show, on a par with that time Camille was mad at Kyle and didn’t want her to come to her soon-to-be-ex-husband’s premiere. It’s not the same. It’s not in the world of “the same.”

7. DO NOT, oh my God, DO NOT gang up on the couple at a major party en masse and kick them out and furthermore make them stand there while you tell them why you’re kicking them out and try to get them to agree with you that they deserve to be kicked out and place your friend in the position of disagreeing, publicly, with his or her abusive partner, when s/he knows damn well s/he has to go home alone with him or her that night. And then don’t weep and blubber about how bad you feel about kicking him or her out and could s/he please make you feel better by assuring you that you’re doing the right thing? Dude, you’re sending him or her home to get smacked around. I’m surprised that the next episode didn’t feature you visiting him or her in the emergency room. At which point you would have comforted yourselves by assuring yourselves that it wasn’t your fault; s/he’s the one who stays with a person who hits him or her.

8. DO NOT, once your friend leaves the abuser, make him or her apologize to you for all the ways s/he hurt your feelings while she was going through all this stuff. You apologize to him or her for not believing her and for not supporting her when she needed you. And really, don’t try to get your friend to apologize for the law suits your friend’s abuser threatened against you for talking about the abuse on camera. Those law suits were part of the abuse – the “isolate the abused from her friends” part. You know, like, get them to kick the abused out of a party they’re all attending because of the threatened law suits? Yeah. You enabled that part of the abuse. Good on you.

Here‘s the Nation Domestic Violence Hotline’s guide to what TO DO.

And here‘s the latest on Taylor’s situation.

ETA: First Reunion segment – most of the ladies tried to pretend they weren’t this awful all season. Except Camille who continued being a smug, sanctimonious bitch.