This episode was a gift to gay teens, boys and girls. Kurt and his father’s frank talk about sex was something you don’t really see on American TV when it comes to straight kids, let alone gay ones. That confusion about figuring out what gay sex and sexuality is, that’s real – even in the age of the Internet. And then there was Santana’s heart-wrenching admission to both herself and Brittany that she loved her. These are two major gay storylines running in the same episode of a major primetime television show. This was a Joe Biden-worthy big fucking deal. Let’s be clear – this isn’t cable, this is broadcast. This isn’t a tiny show only the critics love, this is “Glee.” This is a program even your grandma knows exists.
I’m sure some of you are upset that Brittany turned down Santana – or at least turned her down for the time being. But that scene rang true – and that’s not something you can always say about “Glee.” It was a coming out – to oneself, to the person you love – that is like so many comings out. The trepidation. The confusion. The bravery. The vulnerability. It was the second please that said it all. When Santana finally put it all on the line: “Please say you love me back. Please.” That second please, that whisper, that prayer. It’s raw. Naked. Utterly defenseless. It’s the please we’ve all said before, a plea sent into the deepest depths of the universe. And if the answer isn’t “yes,” it seems the world simply cannot keep spinning. And if the answer is “yes,” but still somehow “no” – it seems like the world should go ahead and stop.
Certainly, you could argue that Brittany turning down Santana after it seemed all along that she was the one most interested in making their relationship something more was out of character. But to me it still felt honest. While not everything needs a label, if we must for the sake of expediency and clarity, I’d say that Brittany is probably more bisexual and Santana is probably more lesbian. But, again, what they really are is fluid, and that’s OK. There are gay men and lesbian women and bi men and bi women and trans folks and questioning people and everything else under the glorious rainbow in this big wide world. Showing the full spectrum isn’t problematic, it’s real life.
So then, Brittany saying she can’t be with Santana because of Artie also makes sense. She is already in a relationship. That doesn’t mean I have to like it and don’t not-so-secretly want to find a tall cliff to push him off of (his character, I’m not espousing actual homicide – yet). But she had made a commitment to him and doesn’t want to hurt him. My God, who hasn’t been on the receiving end of that speech? The important thing, the thing to cling to, is that Brittany loves Santana back. “I am so yours.”
Being gay can be really fucking confusing. If it’s not confusing for you, you’re lucky. It’s hard enough to find someone you love. And harder to find someone you love who loves you back. It’s even harder still when 90 percent of the planet doesn’t love the same way you love. And it’s hardest when you’re a teenager and you don’t know what it’s like to really love another person yet. So to see that struggle – not just about what it means to be gay, but what it means to be gay and lay your heart bare to another person – that matters.
Am I anxious to see how the writers handle Brittany and Santana’s relationship from here on out? Of course. I would be livid if they became yet another casualty of Glee’s gaping vortex of unresolved storylines. But I have to believe that the fact that they’ve even made it this far means there is more to come. Make no mistake, the fans made this relationship happen. I think the writers would have happily left them as a continuing in-joke. They would be a little sexy girl-on-girl aside to Kurt’s Major Gay Storyline, all caps. But Brittana fans demanded it, willed it out of love and tears and fanfic and endless hours on Photoshop.
Sure, I would have liked to have seen some sweet lady kisses in this episode, but to be honest, at this point I’d rather see complex processing of emotions. Yes, I realize that’s the most lesbian thing I think I’ve ever typed ever. But this just feels more like progress. And, never to be forgotten, are the wonderful, nuanced performances and tireless, wholehearted support of the actresses themselves. Naya Rivera and Heather Morris are the reason this ship left the dock in the first place.
Is this the happy ending we’ve been dreaming about? Well, clearly, no. But remember, every story has a beginning, a middle and an end. This is just the beginning of Brittana.
[Every Brittana scene from last night. Get your Kleenex.]
p.s. On a lighter note, I’d like to personally thank Gwyneth Paltrow for coining a new euphemism for lesbian sex: Go forth and get your Stevie Nicks on, ladies.