Take My Wife!!! (& Glee, I guess)

I don’t know what it was about Glee, but I was uncomfortable the entire time I was watching it, particularly because of the virginity narrative. The fact that Blaine wanted to rush into having sex because he was playing a character that went through a sexual awakening was really upsetting. I don’t watch the show, but it seemed like Rachel and Finn’s experience was aligned to a normative, non-deviant path, while Kurt and Blaine’s was not. Of course, the ~gays~ had to end up at a gay bar, with a figure causing a rift between them with the implication that Blaine might cheat. Of course one of them had to get drunk, and obviously it was impossible for them to not use fake IDs or do something illegal. Did Rachel and Finn go through any of this? No! They got a narrative of love and special moments, and what got in the way was Rachel’s “ambition” (which is kind of an iffy portrayal of women, but more on that some other time). Yes, there was the connection to sex and intimacy for both couples, but their path to that was clearly different, and I’m fairly certain sexuality had a lot to do with it.

Now for Take My Wife. I LOVED this episode, and it’s not just because they were cute lesbians and I’m biased. I appreciated that they didn’t fit exactly into the masc/femme binary, their relationship wasn’t cringe-worthy, and they seemed like two happy, fairly well-adjusted lesbians who were trying to figure life out. It wasn’t hypersexualized, the dick jokes were on point, and everything else was funny and light. Just the kind of queer television I’m looking for. I felt the discussion on women in comedy was important, and the components of social media on the show were a great reflection of our current culture. Since I liked this first episode so much (and will likely keep watching it, to be honest), I started thinking about what exactly makes a comedy show funny and successful.

In the last couple of years, the most popular comedies tend to┬áportray “real life”, daily settings and situations with a comedic twist. These tropes are so popular, in my opinion, because people see themselves in these worlds, yet there is comic relief, there is “wackiness”, there is excitement, no matter how ridiculous. It is the normative world they know with a little laughter infused. So yes, I enjoyed watching Take My Wife, but clearly, these women are set on a path to domesticity, and this comedy follows lives that are not entirely normative, but not degenerate either. And while it is great that queer people are achieving some form of representation in these comedy tropes, the question of what is “positive representation” that we brought up in class applies once again. What would constitute positive representation of a non-heterosexual relationship? Can these representations be truly positive if they are still enforcing the heteronormative ideal of a family, and the “end-goal” of marriage and reproduction that we talked about when discussing Obergefell v. Hodges?

I want my happy gays. I want my gays that don’t die. But how can that be achieved without subscribing to the same values that oppress us?

Looking forward to the discussion!!!

Leticia

2 thoughts on “Take My Wife!!! (& Glee, I guess)

  1. Hi Leticia,

    Sorry that you couldn’t come to class and I hope your face does not hurt too much. Feel better!

    It is very interesting how the opinions about Take My Wife and Glee differ, in the blogposts here but also in our discussion in class.
    You are the first one who pointed out that she felt uncomfortable while watching the Glee episode – I found that interesting because I felt uncomfortable as well. I do not fully agree with you because I think that Rachel is not portrayed as that great. We talked about this in class: She is represented as an innocent school girl with the clothes she is wearing and her big eyes. But the moment in which she wants to sleep with her boyfriend because she needs it for theater stops the narrative of “love and special moments” because it is portrayed as negatively, also when she talks with her friends afterwards and they tell her that this was wrong. Nevertheless, in the narrative of Blaine and Kurt, I felt like: “Why is so much going wrong here? Do you really need this to make this story interesting and why is it the gay couple that is portrayed in this way?” I cannot exactly describe what I felt, I did not even see it as portraying the gay couple negatively but I felt like they needed something to push the story and let the gay couple go through all of this. Maybe because they wanted to show the audience that gay couples are having the same problems as heterosexual couples? (jealousy etc.)

    We also discussed what “comedy” means for us and what the difference between an ending in comedy and an ending in a drama series/film is. Comedy is something I watch and I have to laugh out loud. This did not happen in any of these episodes. Maybe I was also thinking too much about why the couples in Glee are represented as they are, but I was more smiling than laughing. For “Take My Wife”, I felt like: “Oh yes, I agree with this” when I watched the episode. I also found it interesting that they mentioned that women have to work harder to be successful in comedy because I feel like in many different jobs, women have to work harder to gain the reputation (this is not meant to be discriminating against men, it is just what I often think).

    Because I do think about marriage in a different way than most of my friends do, I also find your thoughts about queer representation in movies in combination with the heteronormative ideal of family, marriage and reproduction interesting. What I am always thinking is that I want to see the representation of gay couples that do not need to marry to be seen as a successful couple because marriage for me is definitely something that is not necessary. I hope to see more unconventional relationships in our future readings and the films/ series we are going to watch.

    Melanie

  2. Hey Leticia,

    Thanks for your post! It’s a shame you couldn’t be in class when we talked about Take My Wife as I think everyone had a lot of interesting points to make about it. I watched this show over the summer and I also loved it, but watching it again 6 months later has made me really re-think my initial reaction. I think especially in conjunction with the Eng reading and our discussion of queer liberalism I’ve been thinking about shows like this a lot more critically. In my opinion a cis queer couple that is buying into queer liberalism and the marriage narrative serves to reinforce cisnormativity and heteronormativity. Also, some of the jokes that were made were clearly made by cis women who were not thinking about trans people at all, something that we talked a bit about in class and to me feels really violent. I think you touch on a lot of these things in your last paragraph which I really appreciate and is making me think a lot! I’m wondering if there is such thing as positive representation and if there is what that looks like. I have a lot of the same questions as you and am definitely hoping to talk more about it in class.

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