There was a time when I looked forward to Wednesday mornings, when I didn’t have a job and Scott went off to work and I threw some hot dogs in the microwave or some cereal in a bowl and watched Glee. It was pure camp, pure schmaltz, and purely entertaining in a way that didn’t require me to think. The characters were caricatures, the stories were poorly plotted, and the dialogue, oh, the dialogue was incredibly flat and expositional. However, the musical numbers were something like phenomenal, and I just couldn’t look away.
Then came the second season.
I was already trying to convince myself that I should quit watching, because I got a job and wouldn’t be able to watch it sans Scott anymore. Scott, to his credit, has always hated Glee. He cannot comprehend its appeal, though there are certain song and dance sequences he liked. But basically, he can’t even be in the room if Glee is there, too. So that posed a problem. But I pressed on for a few weeks. Then came “Never Been Kissed.”
I’ve always had mixed feelings about the character of Kurt (ably portrayed by Chris Colfer). Kurt is gay and wears it as a badge of honor in a way that some might view as empowering, but I see as grating. He’s the anti-Cameron (Eric Stonestreet) and Mitchell (Jesse Tyler Ferguson) of Modern Family: where they accept their homosexuality as normal and nothing to be thought of as notable, Kurt wants his sexual preference to seem like an accomplishment. But the character’s strengths sometimes outweighed his weaknesses, and Colfer sings beautifully, and that was good enough for me.
In “Never Been Kissed,” Kurt visits Dalton Academy, a local all male school (they even wear uniforms!) that one of my favorite TV critics described as “a kind of tolerance Narnia.” My high school had a zero tolerance policy, too, but that didn’t actually mean anything. At Dalton, it means everything’s hunky dory, even–especially–if you’re gay. Upon arrival, Kurt meets Blaine (Darren Criss), a dreamy fellow homosexual who’s the unspoken leader of the Warblers, Dalton’s almost laughably talented glee club. Everything seems to be going beautifully for Kurt, then (and here’s the breaking point) he goes back to McKinley High, his own school (till he inevitably transfers in a later episode I haven’t seen), and an extremely homophobic bully kisses him.
Now, it seemed, the writers were working under the assumption that if you dislike gay people, then it follows that you’re gay. This is only the second character to really beat up on Kurt for being gay, and you may recall that Finn (Cory Monteith) kind of had a point when he expressed discomfort about living with someone who had a crush on him. This just feels completely unnecessary and borderline ridiculous, and it’s not in a way that’s cute or endearing. In fact, I found it downright offensive.
The same episode included more of Will (Matthew Morrison) being wildly inconsistent and a completely superfluous girl on girl make out session, and when you put all of this together, or even took the Kurt problem on its own, it spelled out what was obvious: this wasn’t on my watch list anymore. I’ll skim the AV Club’s reviews and ask friends how it’s progressing. But Glee no longer deserves my miniscule contribution to its inflated ratings, if it ever did.