I probably have unpopular thoughts about Brittana, but that doesn't mean I didn't enjoy Glee's latest episode (2.15), which involved Santana Lopez finally coming out with her big gay feelings about Brittany. Which in retrospect, I really didn't see coming. Which is probably why I can't get on the Brittana wagon as willingly as I expect myself, because when I say "I didn't see it coming," I don't mean I was surprised; this time, I mean, there was something off in the writing that makes me go for that extra mile in rationalizing to myself why it happened, in contrast to making it easy for me to put things together (which is what we love about Skins UK's latest season, but this is not about Skins UK at all so. Yeah.)
But this is not a hate post. I just spent fifteen minutes writing that down because I kept on tempering my words because I know how protective some people can be of their TV shows, and yeah. That paragraph above -- that's just me. I'm old. I'm probably not Glee's target audience, and that's okay. I'm fine with that.
But you know what I think the best thing was about 2.15? That somewhere out there, there's a fourteen, fifteen, sixteen-year-old kid who needed to see that on TV and, well, I remember when I was that kid once who needed to see something.
I think I was seventeen when I started thinking about girls that way, and at the time it was so difficult to find media that showed me people I could relate with. I was on painstakingly slow dial-up internet with monthly usage caps in a rural town south of the capital where cable tv was new. I went to a co-ed high school where I didn't even think about thinking about girls.
So it was, yes, like a firetruck -- What, I could like girls? I could feel that? Do that? There was so much I didn't know about myself, and I think first and foremost that's what teens just discovering their sexuality struggle with -- all these newly uncovered aspects of yourself, right? I don't think it's even a matter of being gay or straight that makes it hard -- it's a function of age.
If I were straight -- LOL ok, when I still thought I was straight -- they were all there: Rico/Claudine movies on local channels, Flames in the afternoons, Anna Larrucea and Patrick Garcia and TGIS and Gimik. See these teens sort themselves out, their sexual tensions, etc. They go to prom and they graduate and they have these parties, etc. Girls go after guys who like other girls. That's the most complicated it gets.
But then again, I was having all these confusing feelings about Angelina Jolie in Tomb Raider LOL. I was looking through magazines and I remember staring at this Guess model, and I'm like, wait. At school, I was spending an inordinate amount of time with a girl I just met, and I'm like, WAIT.
Why isn't there anything like that on TV? Why isn't this sort of confusion on TV? What do I do with this confusion? I had no one to turn to -- what would I say? I didn't have the words for what it was.
At the time I discovered Buffy it was already in Season 5 and toward the end of the sixth episode, and there were two girls slowdancing while floating. In retrospect it was probably cheesy and what the hell were they wearing, etc. but for someone seeing that for the first time, well.
The first question I asked was, Were they sisters? Haha. Nobody in the household knew, and it was getting late so we turned the TV off. I got on the internet and did my research and that's when I met Willow and Tara. Writing this down, I feel a mixture of embarrassment and a strange sort of nostalgia. I was so young, and so excitable and.
So yeah, I think the only way to view last episode's Brittana is with that sort of vulnerable eye. What if I were seventeen again and on the brink of discovering something? What if I were just downloading these episodes off the internet because I find it too awkward and too revealing to watch it with other people? What if I feel like I can't talk to my parents about these things?
(Oh, bless you Burt Hummel and to an extent, Blaine. You have no idea how thankful I am for that exchange.)
Do I understand Santana? Oh, I do. I don't think I even need to have my seventeen-year-old eyes on to understand her. I know how it feels like to begin a potentially life-changing conversation with, "Can we talk?" I literally felt my chest shift at that line. Although I must note that I have horrible problems about this scene because I feel like it could -- SHOULD -- have been done better. I still feel like they haven't been writing Brittany well, and it's really a waste because the whole thing could have been better with a more realistic response.
Santana's confession was heartbreaking -- it's not even just about the rejection, but the mere idea of this kind of girl saying something as certain as, "I want to be with you." Sometimes, certainty hurts. And sometimes it hurts some sort of people more than others. Sometimes, just the whole settling this deal with yourself -- I can just imagine Santana coming to this conclusion, and I'm like, wow, that has got to hurt. One of the most painful things in life -- thinking you know yourself and then having to prove yourself wrong somewhere along the way.
I found Brittany's response wanting. I have been having a horribly difficult time suspending my beliefs while waiting for Glee writers to make up their minds finally and decide whether the Brittany they want is someone who is mentally five years old or someone who is just plainly naive (because innocence and naivete are different). I mean, Brittany has moments where she's confused as to why they're not talking about their feelings. I don't think that's a five-year-old there. It's confusing.
And the fact that they did this beside a row of lockers does nothing to not remind me about that other pairing that had a fantastic locker scene.
Skins UK series 3, I still miss you.
Still, in the end, efforts must count, and this effort does. We all need models, and I think I would have appreciated seeing someone like Santana Lopez be this honest with herself on a widely watched show such as Glee if I were my younger self. On the outside she looks so self-assured and strong and she's attractive and popular and cruel and yet here beside these lockers she's so exposed and vulnerable and unsure, and we all cry a little when she says so painfully, "Please say you love me too."
I'm not a big fan of speeches (I still think Naomi's "love you since I was twelve"-speech at the end of Skins UK series 4 was very, very, VERY lazy storytelling. There, I said it.) but I think it was important to show someone like Santana, who doesn't want to talk about feelings, here for the first time talking about her feelings with the one person who needs to hear it the most. I find her courage touching.
An aside: I still have Tara's can-we-just-skip-it speech at the end of Buffy ep "Entropy" memorized. That's the sort of speech that works for me. Speeches only work well with continuity. (Not to mention Amber Benson totally killed this, but hey beside the point.)
I think, looking forward, Santana's speech will only make sense if Glee follows through on it. Sadly though, Glee has this unfortunate habit of dropping storylines and, well, let's see.