Monday, April 26, 2010

A Distinct Lack Of Glee

I didn't care for Glee when it first premiered. I think the reason I didn't like it is because I was comparing it to a British show called Skins. With the exception of the last two episodes of season 4, Skins is, simply, one of the best things ever. I'm not exaggerating when I say it's one of the best written television shows in the history of the medium. It can be warm, harsh, funny and tragic, usually in the same episode. It's the story of teenage who actually seem like real people. Real people aren't usually as interesting as they are, of course. Real people aren't as clever or witty or lead lives packed with that much drama. One of the challenges of fiction is to make the unlikely events these characters live through seem natural and they pull it off.

And then there's Glee. When I first watched Glee, I kept thinking of Skins and Glee just didn't measure up. I've now come to accept Glee for what it is and I usually end up liking it. The kids are funny but not in that stupid sitcom way where 15 year old teenagers somehow have the world view and sensibilities of 30 year old standup comedians. They also do some pretty good musical numbers. Still, as I was reminded by Glee's most recent episode, it's not Skins.

One of the main plot points of last Tuesday's episode was when three of the main characters decided to lose their virginity. One thing I like about Skins is that they show's creators and, by extension, its characters, don't tie themselves up in knots about sex. It actually recognizes that a) lots of teens have sex and b) most of them, to varying degrees, seem to like it. Glee, unfortunately, is on American television and the biology of American teens is significantly different from that of their counterparts on British telly or, for that matter, their counterparts in real life. TV teens in America don't seem to particularly like sex and the only reason they bother with it at all is peer pressure from other teens. Why these other teens pressure their peers to do something that they, themselves, don't seem to like is a mystery.

Three couples this week decided to have sex and each couple had one virgin and one experienced partner. One couple was glee club teacher Will Shuster and guidance counselor Emma Pillsbury. Emma's OCD has kept her from having sex even though she's almost thirty so she, at least, has an excuse. They're adults though and I want to concentrate on the kids.

Series regulars Rachel and Finn, though their personalities are different, are crazy about each other and pretty much meant to be together. Unfortunately for them, they're in a TV series that gets a lot of story mileage from keeping them apart so now they've decided to lose their virginity to other people. Oddly, of the four people involved, only one really wants to have sex because he thinks sex is awesome and that guy is Jesse, Rachel's insensitive new boyfriend. Rachel doesn't want to but Jesse is pressuring her and she may as well get it out of the way. The fact that she likes Jesse and that Jesse is the kind of guy most girls would want to have sex with has little to do with it. Finn is an entirely different case. A cheerleader named Santana has offered to relieve Finn of his virginity for what are mainly political and status reasons. Finn decides to take her up on it. Why? You may think it's because she's hot enough to be in Maxim which, in fact, she was (Not Safe For Work link here) and that sex with a hot girl is an awesome idea. No no no, Finn decides to do it to make Rachel jealous or some stupid shit like that.

Predictably, Rachel backs out because this is American television and teenage girls don't really want to have sex. If they do, it's because they are sluts who have no respect for themselves like Santana. Speaking of her, Finn goes ahead with it and nails her in a sleazy looking motel. What does he do after? Maybe you're thinking he says, at least to himself, "Woo hoo, I had sex." You'd be wrong about that because this is American television and sex is wrong. Instead, Finn bitches about having done it while Santana looks bored and says she wants a cheeseburger. Again, Finn just had sex with this girl (again, for God's sake, don't click this link if you are at work or using your church's WiFi or anything like that) and all he can think of to do is complain. The reason he's whining about having had the greatest night of his life is because he's on American TV and the fact that he just had sex means that a puppy just died because SEX IS BAD and no one really wants to do it until they get married or move to England where kids can bang away in peace.

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