Re: Domestic Abuse Plotline FAIL!
Attn: Angry. Ranty. Possibly triggering and HIGHLY spoilery for S3E18
I’ve said before that when it comes to film and television I am willing to overlook virtually any shortcoming if the work in question includes a dance sequence. But despite Kurt’s lethal dose of “Not The Boy Next Door” gold lamé awesomeness, I am SUPREMELY ticked off at executive director Ryan Murphy and everyone responsible for writing this week’s episode of Glee.
If your going do an episode about domestic abuse, do it right or don’t do it all. Because you people fucked it up. Badly.
Resurrecting a character who hasn’t been seen or heard from in weeks, showing us flashes of an argument AS PART OF A MUSICAL MONTAGE and then having her announce “He hit me” feels less about effecting change and more about the producers trying earn their “Very Special Episode” badge.
The victim-blaming lesson about how abused women just need to be more empowered was not inspirational, it was condescending.
There’s also the part where Glee decided they could say everything that needs be said about this issue in a single one-hour episode (real time: 42 minutes and change). An episode which also featured two major other plots. The students at McKinley have plenty of time to fix an abusive relations AND help Puck cram for his geography test!
For reals, WTF? I’m guessing perhaps the controversy surrounding Chris Brown and Rhianna was at it’s peak when the writers were breaking this episode. (BTW, the fact that the credited writer of this episode is Marti Noxon, former Buffy scribe, makes me want to cry.)
Perhaps executive producer Ryan Murphy heard how some young women made jokes about Brown’s abusive behaviour on Twitter. Did he decide it was okay to have the characters on the show mimick those same vile, ignorant comments? Was he even aware that those “jokes” can be WAY triggering for a lot of people? Which I could have accepted if a thoughtful, affecting storyline about the realities of parnter-abuse has ensued.
Instead Glee gives me some weaksauce “hitting is bad” lipservice. And the worse part was the self-congratulatory tone of the entire episode. I could practically hear the the writing staff patting themselves on their collective backs, having song-taught millions of viewers that the simple solution is for women to get confident, get empowered and leave.
It’s NOT that simple.
My problem with “just leave” is that it’s pretty fucking arrogant. It assumes that leaving is easy. It assumes that the abuse survivor is unaware and just needs someone to tell them “walk out the door”, because clearly they don’t know that that’s how you put an end to it.
It’s NOT that simple.
Glee doesn’t even touch the complex issue of abusers and why they’re abusive and how prevent that behaviour. Because walking out on an abuser doesn’t stop them from being violent
Glee ignores the fact that people stay in abusive relationships for all sorts of complicated reasons – emotional, financial, religious, cultural. People sometimes stay to protect children or other family members. People stay because of a legitimate fear that their partner will become even more violent, perhaps lethally so, if they leave. That’s not weakness. That’s survival.
And even if we can’t understand see the reason, there’s a reason. Being hurt by someone who allegedly cares for you is awful If a person is staying, to them, the option of leaving is even worse. It can be hard to comprehend when you’re outside of the situation looking in. Given more time and care, Glee you could have helped us understand the reason.
If Glee had been braver and less lazy, they might have explored this issue through some of the principle characters. The one we love and we’re invested in as an audience. Because abusive relationships are still relationships. There’s beeen an emotional investment. There’s affection. There’s love.
Using Bieste and Cooter was the E-Z Bake answer. Cooter’s been on the show for all of 20 minutes. No one cares that he’s suddenly an angry jackass who punches because his dishes aren’t done. Dot Jones as Bieste tells us she needs his love (and does it pretty well considering the script), but we don’t feel it. So the writers insert message to audience “Don’t put up with this, ladeez!” and high-five each other for solving the problem of domestic violence.
Glee, I’ve been loyal to you. But between this and your abysmal teen suicide episode (an event also depicted in montage), you are REALLY starting to piss me off! What you used to do so well (and what I wish you’d done the Rachel’s story last night) was create episodes evoke the emotion of those absurd high school moments. The ones that seem like nothing in restrospect, but felt like everything at the time. Keep doing that. And the musical numbers.
Please stop doing the “very special episode” stuff. You’re terrible at it and if you keep this up, not even a Steely Dan theme-episode will make me forgive you.
p.s. Where’s Quinn?