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 portray “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!!!