December 8, 2010

Oh Christmas Glee!

So, Christmas Glee was a little bit heartwarming, and also a little bit problematic. Here's why I can't endorse it without some concerns.

First off, Becky being forced to dress up as the Grinch's pet? Perhaps a little bit insensitive to draw parallels between her AND A DOG. I mean, I thought we were supposed to see Becky as a sidekick with agency and to look passed her differently abled status, but the show makes that hard when it trusses her up like an animal. I found that offensive.

Next, I like that Britney is still accepted by the group despite being slow. I like that people don't hold her natural lack of intellect against her, because it's really not her fault. At the same time, going to great lengths to trick and DECEIVE her is condescending and controlling. I'm not sure how I feel about a girl's boyfriend engineering a circumstance that will purposely continue to leave her in the dark. Most kids stop believing in Santa Clause when something happens to make them realize he's not real (Eg. for me, it was when I didn't get an ice cream maker for Christmas because my mom left the shopping too late and there weren't any left). This is a natural part of growing up. For Britney, this could have been the year she came to this conclusion herself, and sure, it would have been disappointing, but it's disappointing for every 8 year-old that comes to it too. Britney is just slower than the other kids, so she's coming to this same right of passage at 15 instead of in second or third grade, but why should she be denied it? Because she's dim she should never be given the opportunity to learn how to deal with growing up or disappointment? Because she's dim we shouldn't just allow her to develop at her own pace, but she ACTIVELY BLOCK HER DEVELOPMENT? That's akin to forcing Artie NOT to go to physio therapy to try to improve his mobility because, in the short term, he might feel discouraged by the process. So, why in Britney's case do they chalk up elaborate and manipulative deceptions to just having CHRISTMAS SPIRIT? Don't be ablist - actually LET Britney learn at her own pace instead of INTERFERING with her development.

I'm also offended at how self-absorbed Finn is being. Now, of course he doesn't HAVE to forgive Rachel. In fact, I think breaking up with her could be a good thing if done for the right reasons. The fact that he lied about Santana and she was then driven to cheat on him just shows that NEITHER ONE trusts the other, so maybe they should break up; however, that's not how Finn sees it. He outright BLAMES Rachel. He gets all angry at the tree lot when she tries to reconcile, telling her. "You screwed me up! I've had two girlfriends and they both cheated on me!" Well, couldn't Rachel say a similar thing? She's had to real boyfriends (Jessie and Finn) and both of them lied to her about serious things. Jessie, for example, was dating Rachel so he could spy on her, and Finn lied about being a virgin. Finn KNEW Jessie had lied to Rachel, so he was part of a pattern that could screw her up. So, if Rachel deserves to be reproached for cheating on Finn when she knew cheating was already a sore spot for him, doesn't Finn deserve to be reproached too? Now, I wish Rachel had said this, had stood up for herself a little more and pointed out that they both abused EACH OTHER, that she is no more to blame than Finn. But she didn't. Rachel stood at the Christmas tree lot and took Finn's abuse. It's especially ironic because Finn's lying to Rachel is what spawned her cheating. He started the cycle of abuse but takes absolutely no responsibility for being part of it AT ALL.

All in all, Christmas Glee was not so great. Sure, I loved the carols, but at what PUBLIC high school is Christmas this big a deal? It's a religious holiday not all the kids and teachers celebrate and that shouldn't be forced down their throats with club Christmas trees and carols in the goddamn staff lounge. What I found even more offensive than this, however, is that the show seemed to make it okay to shove Christmas in everyone's face by totally glossing over its RELIGIOUS SIGNIFICANCE. For Mr. Shue to say Christmas is all about "forgiveness" is factually wrong and is offensive to the kids in his class who really do believe and see it as the birth of their saviour. Easter is much more about "forgiveness" and "atonement" if you're Christian, and I wonder why Mercedes, who goes to church regularly, and Quinn who is so religious she wouldn't have an abortion in season one and keeps a virgin Mary statue beside her bed, didn't pipe up and SAY SOMETHING. So, yeah, even the non-Christian kids were forced to celebrate Christmas (there wasn't a Hannukah song in sight for good measure), but the Christmas the kids were forced to celebrate was still offensive even to the Christian kids. If anything, this episode was a good argument for keeping holidays out of the schools, because when we force kids to celebrate them but sanitize their religious significance so as to make them less awkward for non-believers, EVERYBODY loses. For a show that usually doesn't shy away from discussions of God or religion, it's interesting that Christmas Glee became an episode about manipulating a developmentally delayed girl into continuing her belief in SANTA CLAUSE.

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