This isn’t one of my typical posts, but it was something I viewed recently in my life I thought was poignant:
Every once in a while a great show comes along that pushes the envelope. I’d have to say that Glee is one of those shows. With its complicated high school dynamic and homosexual story lines, the hit show expanding peoples’ homophobic comfort zones and educating them about the bullying of young gays today.
Since its inception, I’ve been a fan of Glee. But a few weeks ago, they took the show’s storyline beyond my most optimistic expectations.
The show started as one of the show’s more run-of-the-mill episodes. And, in the weeks leading up to this episode, sexual tension was building between Kurt and Blaine. But, in this particular episode, they finally found each other in the culmination of a passionate kiss.
(In an attempt to show you the kiss in full quality, I pulled it from the FOX website and posted it on my Youtube channel. However, the fine folks at FOX pulled it down. So, this amateur footage will have to suffice).
Granted, the audience I was watching with with is biased. I’d hope they’d be comfortable with a homosexual relationship after being around me for the past year. But, when they passionately kissed, I looked at my roommate and his girlfriend expecting a reaction. Nothing. To them, it was just another kiss on TV. I turned my attention back to Kurt and Blaine as they went in for a second open mouthed kiss. These were no minor pecks either. They were passionate, long kisses.
As someone who recently came out, this was monumental for me. All I could think about was how big of a deal this was. Two young boys kissing on a hit television show.
The next day, I was expecting the conservative right-wing backlash. But, all was quiet. I was both shocked and delighted. I was surprised no one made a fuss about two young boys kissing on television, but thrilled, because it is finally accepted in today’s culture. Progress. It’s no longer the spectacle it once was.
I can remember one episode of Will & Grace when Will kissed Jack in the audience of the Today show. It was a big deal back then for a show of such subject matter to be on network TV, let alone two of its main male characters kissing each other.
While watching Glee, I thought back to all the gay kisses I’ve seen on TV since Will & Grace and couldn’t think of a single instance (and I watch a lot of television). So, I decided to do some light research (don’t hold this against me, but feel free to correct me in the comments if I’m wrong).
Gay men kissing on television didn’t appear until the 90s. Shows like Melrose Place in 1994 would lead up to a kiss, but in the final moments, cut away, usually to someone else watching in utter shock. It wasn’t until 2000 that we got TV’s first real gay kiss on WB’s Dawson’s Creek. I say real, because the kiss is portrayed as genuine and slightly awkward; the way most first gay kisses are. However, this wasn’t network television. It was cable. 2006 was the year ABC’s Desperate Housewives portrayed two high school boys kissing. But again, we were back to the fast cut-away to a mother’s shock and anger. They completely redeem themselves however, by later portraying the two boys waking up in bed naked together. Nonetheless, homosexual teen relationships finally landed on a major network TV show. And in 2006, ABC’s recently cancelled Brothers & Sisters brought us our first nuptial gay kiss.
These days, Glee has become somewhat of the gay agenda’s lobby group (Not that we have any other agenda than equal rights and acceptance). I certainly have to thank them for expanding acceptance into homes that might not have otherwise been so accepting. And, while I have some issues their portrayals of gay stereotypes, they are doing more good than harm. Kurt (Chris Colfer) has been a fun character, but he’s also an extraordinarily stereotypical gay character. He loves show tunes, wears ridiculously fashioned outfits, joins the girls when the club is split by gender, etc. This season, with the addition of Blaine (Darren Criss), we see a gay character who’s confident in who he is — apparently a pretty normal guy who’s had it rough but who’s done a good job of dealing with it. By portraying less effeminate gay characters on television, hopefully we can begin to shed the “queen” stereotype as well.
I think Michael Jenson, editor of Logo’s AfterElton.com said it best. “It’s hard to overstate the significance of the kiss between Kurt and Blaine on ‘Glee.’ It wasn’t the sort of kiss we saw back in the 90s where the guys pecked each other on the lips — or worse, the camera cutaway — but this was a real kiss that hinted there is much more to come in this relationship. If we still needed proof how far gay characters have come on network TV, ‘Glee’ just gave it to us. The two most recent episodes have represented queer youth and coming of age in a way I’ve never seen on broadcast television before, let alone one of the most popular shows in the country, with a mostly young audience.”