Monday, October 08, 2012

The Break-Up

Right. So let’s talk about it. I mean really, really talk about it. Process, if you want to be all lesbian about it. Yep, I’m talking about “The Break-Up.” (Quit reading now if you haven’t watched last week’s episode of “Glee,” so you can still have some deluded semblance of mystery about what breakup I’m talking about.)

So, Brittana broke up. Santana broke it off with Brittany and we all cried – don’t lie, you cried. My very wise friend Heather Hogan astutely noted in her lovely AfterEllen recap:

For all of its missteps and flip-flops and bizarro misogyny, the one thing Glee has always done exceptionally well is hit us where it hurts. See, because this show isn’t really about what we experienced in our teenage lives; it's a show about how we experienced our teenage lives.

And that’s the thing about “Glee.” When it works, it’s magic. When it doesn’t, it’s a fucking mess. If the emotions aren’t right, there’s no fixing it with a flashy song or dance. You can’t fake The Feelings, especially The Big Gay Feelings. Those either ring true or they don’t. That’s why it was all wrong when Finn song assaulted Santana. That’s not how it would feel if your outer got all up in your grill and lectured you that girls just want to have fun. You’d punch him in the nose with rage, not hug him tight in thanks.

But when Santana sits Brittany down and sings “you are the best thing that’s ever been mine,” you know it’s real. Those emotions, what it feels like to look at the first person you ever loved and know you have to let go, those emotions are ones we’ve almost all felt. Maybe not that exact circumstance, definitely not with those amazing legs that go on forever crossed just so. But the how it felt part, heavens, yes.

Now, we can argue about whether Brittany and Santana had to break up. Why, Ryan Murphy, why? But you can’t argue about how it felt. You can’t argue with the soft, ravaged anguish on Santana’s face. You can’t argue with the raw, pulsing nerve of Brittany’s tears. Breaking up with someone you love, man, does it hurt. Like crumple up your heart into the tightest, hardest ball ever hurt. It’s knowing you are leaving someone you will always love “the most” kind of pain. I can’t say it’s a good hurt, but it’s a true hurt.

And, for all its ridiculousness, that’s what I want from my “Glee.” Not that everything makes sense or is even remotely possible given the laws of physics and constraints of public high school choir budgets. But that the emotions they sell me feel true. Whether it be joy or pain or fabulosity, I want my “Glee” to be honest with me where it counts – The Feelings.

Also, can we take more than a minute and talk about Naya Rivera’s performance? The way emotions wash gently over her face, the way her eyes speak and her voice transcends. Yeah. We have not seen the last of this woman. Not even close.

So am I happy that Santana and Brittany broke up? Fuck, no! I will go down as a proud and faithful crew member of the S.S. Brittana. Let the band play as the ship sinks. I will dance to their beautiful music until the very last millimeter of deck goes under the cold, icy water and descends to the floor of the deep, dark ocean. Too many shipping metaphors? Never! But at least the way they broke up, as much as I hate it, feels real.

In a little over three short seasons this silly show about an even sillier show choir has managed to spin an entirely unsilly story about a super snarky cheerleader and her super sweet best friend who somehow fell in love and made it connect with countless gay girls and straight girls and gay boys and maybe one or two straight boys and more than a few of us who are too old to be called either girls or boys anymore. So while we may complain loudly and passionately and righteously about how some of it was handled and keep a hetero v. homo kiss counter running nonstop in our heads, we cannot deny that in some things the writers and even Ryan Murphy have done some things just right. Even if it was accidental, even if it started as a joke, you can’t deny that Brittana mattered. They touched people, some of them the most vulnerable among us at the most vulnerable times in their lives.

Some people think caring about TV is silly or dumb of that word Brittany hates most, stupid. Sure, it can be. TV isn’t real life, of course. Real life can be so much more mundane and magnificent and everything in between. TV is just TV. But the thing about it, the thing that can make it magic when it works, TV can make us feel real things. Real, horrible, beautiful, heartbreaking things. Oh what “Glee.”


Anonymous said...

Well, I stopped watching Glee with the beginning of this season - but tumblr has already prepared me about "the break-up." It's sad, surely, but you are right about what matters.

I wonder, though, is "the gay" or maybe just "the lesbian" starting to vanish from this show now?

Anonymous said...

"the lesbian" might be. "The gay" it's unlikely, considering both Kurt and Blaine are still on the show. "The queer" is also reinforced with Unique - a transgendered kid, played by Alex, the Glee Project S01 contender. So yeah, Glee is still the gayest show on TV, IMO.

About the original post: another great text, as usual, summing up all the reasons why we hate and love glee with the same intensity. Wish I had more reasons to love it more often, though.

Carmen SanDiego said...

I've been waiting for your take on "The Breakup"
Here's hoping that Glee doesn't go the LOGO route (Lesbians Out, Gays Only)

Anonymous said...

'Quit reading now if you haven’t watched last week’s episode of “Glee,”'

No, I certainly did not watch last week's episode of "Glee". In fact I have only ever watched one episode of "Glee" and quite frankly darling, that was enough!

And yes, I think it's best I quit reading now. I think it's also for the best if I quit writing too, seeing as I still haven't quite gotten over that damn villain Kenny's despicable behavior. Not one single solitary ruddy scene! Kenny you bloody trickster! Next time I see you I'm going to-



Anonymous said...

Who's Kenny?

Anonymous said...

So say we all
I will go down with my ship but i have a feeling the Brittana will rise again

Mandy said...

Sing it, Ms. Snarker!

As heartbroken as their breakup left me, I honestly cannot fault it. I thought it was such a mature thing for Santana to do so and the pair handled it emotionally and wonderfully. Long distance relationships can work, but it can also easily tear people apart and S did not want even a chance of that happening. So she let go so that one day, powers that be willing, they can be together again when circumstances and timing are right.

And then they will take over the world. Duh.

My favorite part (besides the song that makes me tear up even just thinking about it) was Brittany saying 'I would never cheat on you' and Santana's soft, loving, completely honest and believing 'I know'.

When I was reading mini-spoilers before the ep, I read that one breakup was because of cheating. With Sam in the picture, I pleaded and pleaded that PLEASE Brittany don't cheat! It would tear me apart, don't do it!

So I later bowed my head in shame at not believing in our baby B. But Santana believes in her with all her heart and that's all that matters and it makes me so proud. *sniffles*

That's what makes me believe that this is only a small detour and their paths will eventually meet again.

Anonymous said...

As a stand alone scene, as pure drama, it was everything a break-up scene should be and more. As the most pivotal scene of a 3-year long relationship it was absolutely horrid and out of character. I don't recognize Santana anymore, I don't see how someone goes from being 18 to 35 in 4 months. Read my review here:

Anonymous said...

I wish I could have been more moved by the break up. But I can't get past their physical interactions. I am offended by it, actually. I understand that if it was last season, all we could expect was a hug after a scene like that. But after seeing Rachel and Finn interact, even Kurt and Blaine, and then seeing Santana duck-face into Brittany, the differences become so apparent. It seems as if Naya Rivera is repulsed by any same sex affection, and that is offensive.

Anonymous said...

This! I love Naya, but I've totally given up on her ever kissing a female co-star with any kind of passion. Guess I'll switch to watching Sara and Jessica do it better on Gray's Anatomy.

Anonymous said...

Is it an "over 40" thing that I've just lost all interest in Glee? I loved it in Season 1, stayed loyal in Season 2, but Murphy & Co. lost me about 1/2 way thru last year. I just stopped caring about the characters and found it a chore to wade thru the episodes. I'm done. My DVR and I are on to new things...

Ana said...

I needed this. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

You NAMED the ship, baby! There should be royalties or something... Cgrrl