Monday, November 07, 2011

Let's get it on

I’ve been thinking a lot about sex. No, not like that. OK, a little like that. But mostly I’ve been thinking about sex as it relates to my favorite TV lady couples. And right now, sadly, we really only have three sexually active lady loving lady couples on North American primetime television: Callie & Arizona, Bo & Lauren and Brittany & Santana.

Now, there are a few more you could technically count. Thirteen and her zero-lines-of-dialogue girlfriend who disappeared off to Mykonos on “House.” Special Agent Diana Berrigan and her girlfriend Christie who has appeared once in three seasons of “White Collar.” And then there’s Emily Fields, though I’m not entirely sure where her revolving door of girlfriends is right now on “Pretty Little Liars.” Also, I’m pretty sure she hasn’t slept with any of them which makes me sad for her girlfriends because, well, you’ve seen Emily – right?

So, back to our big three. Calzona is the most stable and established, clearly. They’re married. They have a child. They’ve also addressed the whole lesbian and/or married-with-kids bed death problem already. And while their screentime has been all-too-short this season, what we’ve seen seems to be pretty normal, healthy and relatively lusty. We’re going to just call them the happily marrieds and move along to the more confusing couplings.

Now, it’s probably (actually no probably about it, but go with me) unfair to compare the representations of sexuality on “Lost Girl” with that on “Glee.” One is a dark, adult show based on overtly sexual themes. The other is a mainstream, teen show based on high school kids singing and dancing at random. They’re very different, but they both feature same-sex female couples who have seen their relationship develop on a very slow boil through the seasons. And in that respect, they’re very interesting examples of contrast.

On “Lost Girl,” the lust and the desire has been out there for a while, with little actual sex both on-screen or off-screen to show for it. But the two times they did sleep together, they were both explicit and exemplary in their depiction of a relationship in its various stages (i.e. First time – tender, exploratory. Second time – hungry, urgent.)

But, they’ve also done an admirable job of showing both sweetness and tenderness amid the push-you-on-the-bed, pull-you-back-to-me-by-your-thighs hotness. (Ugh – still so fucking hot.) The animal instinct is balanced by the small kiss on the cheek the morning after. The protectiveness. The genuine care. Nicely done, “Lost Girl.” Nicely done.

Sure, we don’t know how this whole frozen Nadia-sicle thing is going to play out and whether it’ll all end in heartbreak and more succuface rebounds with pizza delivery drivers. But for now, for now it’s pretty perfect. And the sex is downright rocking.

Over on “Glee,” the sexuality between Brittany and Santana has been handled very differently. Granted, teen show v. adult show. Coming out story v. will-they-or-won’t-they story. But while all the sex in Bo and Lauren’s relationship has been out in the open, all the sex in Brittany and Santana’s relationship has been off-screen. And, make no mistake, they have sex. They have sex-is-not-dating sex. They have scissoring-doesn’t-mean-I-want-to-have-lady-babies-with-you sex. They have does-taking-a-bath-together-means-we’re-dating sex. They’re getting it on like bunnies in cheerleading costumes – we’ve just never seen it. Any of it. Not even one little sweet lady kiss. And that, that’s pretty bogus.

While I do like that they’re taking their relationship slowly and delving into its ramifications, I don’t like that somehow this one couple in the entire Glee universe hasn’t had a chance to even share a small smooch on screen. Rachel has kissed Finn, Puck and Jesse. Quinn has kissed Finn, Puck and Sam. Heck even Kurt got to kiss Blaine – and Karofsky. And Santana and Brittany have both kissed their male dates in straight (or misguided gay, in the Britt-Kurt case) pairings. But Brittana together – nada. Not even a kiss on the cheek. Brittany has kissed that damn little Elvis-haired leprechaun more than Santana on screen.

And, having seen a screener for this week’s new episode, I can tell you the odds don’t get any better. We have not one, not two, not three, but seven – yes, SEVEN – kisses between Finn and Rachel. Kurt and Blaine, by comparison, get two. For the gayest show on television, that’s still pretty damn straight.

Now, certainly, a major mitigating factor here is that Santana and Brittany’s relationship is not out. Santana is not out at all. So, the lack of PDA is understandable. But, the lack of showing affection in private is not. And therein lies the rub. “Glee” isn’t just set in the classrooms and hallways of McKinley High. We’ve been in the living rooms, the bedrooms, the cars and even the motel rooms of our favorite Glee Club members. And we’ve even been in both Santana and Brittany’s bedrooms. Yet somehow, they never took the opportunity to show a little affection – let alone a kiss.

Now, this would make sense if they were still dancing around the issue of being into each other. But these two gals have been making with the sexytime since they were sophomores at least. And now, as seniors, it’s kind of about time we got to see it. And I’m not just saying this to be the pervy perv who perks up at the thought of girl-on-girl action. (Though, come on, we all know I’m the pervy perv who perks up at the thought of girl-on-girl action.) I’m saying this because seeing it helps make it real.

This whole idea of Brittana is still very theoretical. We’ve been told they have sex, we’ve been told they’re taking baths together. We’ve been told they do all the tender, sexy, hot things real couples do. But aside from that one nuzzle scene in Britt’s bedroom and the occasional shoulder lean or pinky link, these two could very well be besties with a touchy-feely side. OK, there was also that tequila body shot. God bless you, tequila body shot.

Yet still we’re stuck in this infernal cycle of tell, don’t show. We want some show. We want it now.

To be fair, part of this is just “Glee” being “Glee.” I don’t think they’ve been particularly good at conveying love, lust or longing. Will and Emma? Good lord, these are adults who don’t have sex. Finn and Rachel? They certainly have the awkward part of teenage love down pat. And do not get me started on this severely misguided, totally overdone and ridiculously dumb student-teacher thing between Puck and Shelby. Do not. And even they’ve kissed.

When you have a couple with real chemistry like Brittany and Santana and actresses up to the task like Heather Morris and Naya Rivera, you shouldn’t squander the opportunity. Brittana means a lot to a lot of people watching out there at home. People who might be questioning their own sexuality. People who might need reassurance of their sexuality. People who just want to know that love can be possible regardless of sexuality. Sure the sweetness of Brittana has been wonderful. The little looks. The little touches. Holding hands under the napkin. My heart, heavens, my heart. But that doesn’t mean we can’t ask for – even demand – more.

This silly little show about a show choir means something much more than jazz hands and diva battles to so many people. They say a kiss is just a kiss. But when it comes to Brittana, a sweet lady kiss is just everything.

NOTE: Tierra de lobos is a Spanish, not Mexican show. Hence it is European, not North American. Otherwise, trust me, I would have included that caliente.


Norma Desmond said...

I definitely agree with you on the wanting to see a little something-something (your point about the locations shown, public and private, is spot on), and I do think there are so many ways they could go about it. Mostly, I think it's just Glee being, well, Glee, and, therefore, kinda dumb about how it goes about, let's be honest, pretty much everything. After all, when was the last time ANYthing on that show made sense?

That said, yes, it is so, so, SO important that they show something, eventually. When I think of this show, when I think of what it could be, what it could mean to some girls (and boys!), it warms my heart. I wish they'd really embrace that fully and go with it. It's like they keep making attempts at it and falling short. I hope they figure it out soon. There's a real opportunity for it to be about so much more than a show choir.

... Obviously, I have a lot of thoughts and feelings about Glee. As much as I hate it. And I really do.

Kim M said...

I must agree that Brittana is the slowest slow-burn on T.V today, gay or straight.I have to wonder if the producers are not waiting for the "I Kissed a Girl" episode when supposedly Santanna will finally come-out. I do realize it is difficult at any age to come- out, but that being said it seems Brittany is very open and was ready to ask Santana to prom last year on "Fondue For Two" and called her out about wearing the "Labanese" t-shirt during the "Born This Way" episode, so it seems out of character for Britt to now be O.K with hiding like that. In my oppinion that is the major problenm with Glee. It sets up a storyline and then seems to go in a totally opposite direction. Continuity has never been a high on the minds of the producers, which I think shows a complete lack of respect for the fans and is making it extremely difficult for us to feel invested in this show at times.A good T.V show should have twists the viewer does not see comming but not at the expense of the characters growth. It almost seems to me Glee is trying its utmost to turn some beloved characters inside out and upside down this season. Perhaps it is looking ahead at next season when so many will graduate, thereby force-feeding us awful behavior to dislike so we will not miss them, when the new characters show up. Anyways whatever their intention it boggles the mind. One kiss, that is all we are asking for, it does not seem like too much to me.

cheekymonkey04 said...

Spot on! Brilliantly written post...cheers.

Caitlin said...

Very Well Said. Couldn't agree more

Lii said...

You are the voice of the Brittana fandom! Bless you! <3

linster said...

Oh, DS, this is why I love you. OK, one reason of many. Nobody rants as eloquently as you. Brava!

Solo said...

Remember the kiss on the live show in Dublin??? remember the reactions AFTER this peck on the lips ?? then imagine a real sweet-lady-kiss between those two? :)
I must say that it gets frustrating... i dont read spoilers,but still...when u have tumblr and twitter u r exposed to some ''too much info'' moments... nd so i hear that Brittana gets together for real...dont read details and then boom its just that they hold hands under a napkin moment (oh my heart was beating fast)..still thats not really getting together...sniff sniff.. i did however enjoy the possessive Santana when pulling up Brittany from the floor :)))loved it !
nd im glad there is finally some more Santana in the show !miss that hot lady... damn that crush lasts much longer than expected !!!

Anonymous said...

I don't mean to be a bitch... well, actually, I do, so isn't Mexico in North American too? I guess you could have said 'english speaking North America', but since you didn't. I bet there are some sexually active lesbian couples over there in Mexico as well. I know at least one, Isabel and Cristina from Tierra de Lobos. I don't know if there is more, since I'm not mexican.

PS. I didn't mean to be a bitch =P I just think it's a funny quote. said...

I do agree with Anonymus and her "México is in North America as well".
But, what I really want to say is: whatever happened to "naked lady monday"? and "tank top tuesday" and "gender fuck thursday"??? because even though I do appreciate your recent posts, truth to be told: I miss the weekly rutine that you've got us hooked on!!!

Semper Evo said...

I am a latecomer to this Glee stuff. I think it was this site or Dorothy’s twitter posts that finally got me curious enough to buy season one. I got it October 20th. A few episodes in, I ordered season two. In less than two weeks, I had watched all eps, including the season three episodes online. I’ve just about worn a hole in the DVD with River Deep... The Cheerios audition in Showmance will probably be the next to crash.

I’ve been obsessing. This past weekend, I spent some brain time considering the portrayal of females versus males on the show. To my eye, Glee is obviously the Kurt show. That’s fine, the gay boys need something like that. Kurt is the only one whose story is at all fleshed out and consistently treated respectfully. I can’t think of a single female character that gets that kind of treatment. We’ve seen moments where the women are humanized but, on the whole, they are caricatures. Must it be that way?

I wonder if the show creators are too much the boy version of me. I have no interest in seeing Kurt and Blaine kiss or anything else, though I do want to know that has happened. I can watch tasteful het encounters because there is a woman I can look at. When it is two males, there is no one there that I want to be...

I wish there was an option to watch the show with an isolation camera on Naya Rivera. She is the only reason I watch.

Heather Anne Hogan said...

This is such a great post.

I remember back in the day on the Tibette TLW forums when people used to get so hacked off at Chaiken about not showing enough Tina/Bette lovin'. It was always so funny to me because if there's one thing Ilene got right, it was Tina and Bette's sex life. It was more integral to their story than all of the other gratuitous humping on that show combined. It's like, you know, some shippers will never be happy until they're watching porn.

However! Sex is a really important story telling mechanism and you nailed (heh!) the why in this post. Sex scenes -- like real-life sex shenanigans -- say things dialogue cannot. The affection, the desperation, the longing, the comitment, the neediness, the power dynamic, the hopes, the fears, the struggles, the whole of it. My favorite lit prof used to say, "It's ALWAYS about sex -- except for sex." Which is why sex scenes are imperetive when you're writing fully realized characters.

I hope Glee's writers read this and heed your words like they've been so wise to do so many times before. :)

Lisa said...

Thank you for writing this! Amen to it. I can't help wondering, being completely ignorant of the TV business, if there is some money or contract reason this isn't happening. It really does seem crazy senseless. Especially since the actors constantly give credit to the fan community for birthing a real Brittana relationship.

Anonymous said...

I have a correction to make. I said earlier that Isabel and Cristina from Tierra de Lobos are a mexican couple. But they are actually from Spain. My bad.

Sara said...

In a related vein to what Semper Evo said, I'd love to get your take on the issue of how the guys are treated on the show vs. how the girls are: specifically, how the male characters tend to be more well-rounded, while the female characters are all too often reduced to stereotypes.

You articulated so well regarding the lack of any sort of onscreen kiss between Santana and Brittany, but today I noticed something even simpler that points towards this imbalance regarding how the male and female characters are fleshed out. By the end of the season we will, to the best of my knowledge, have seen onscreen the parent or parents of every single male Gleek aside from Artie and Blaine. In that same span of time, we've seen the parents of exactly one female character: Quinn. (I don't count Shelby—she may have given birth to Rachel, but she's never been a parent to her) I mean, seriously: that's such a glaring difference I could barely believe it when I realized it. It's so subtle, too, yet it's really the perfect example of the way the writers think about the male and female characters on the show.

So, yeah. Very long-winded way of saying that I'd be very interested in your thoughts on that sort of thing. ;)

Thais Dalloz said...

The tequila body shot was fantastic...
i think i watched this scene a hundred times already

Anonymous said...

I so agree. It's been pissing me off since last season that Santana and Brittany were the two most sexual characters on the show...until their love story with each other actually started. And then all of a sudden, nada. We even saw some Barfie action but no Brittana. They've bungled this story so badly in that sense that I feel like at this point, it may be the only way they feel they can remedy it is to wait for their first kiss to be when Santana's out. So that it's extra special. To be fair, Kurt didn't kiss anyone until he was out and Karofsky's closeted kiss was rebuffed.

That said, it's still a double-standard. You've got all the straight kids hooking up behind each others backs where no one can see it - why not Santana and Brittany? It's hard to buy them as a love story when there's no passion and they're really lacking that right now. Gah. Reminds me of all the ways Skins got this right.

Semper Evo said...

When I watch the show, I consciously turn off the part of my brain that notices the disparate treatment of the female and male characters. It is only as I lay awake under a waxing moon that it hits me and irks my feminist soul. It feels like misogynism but might be a more benign, but equally hurtful, indifference. I don’t know why the show is that way, if it is intent or accident.

In a way, Santana and Sue can be thought of as the real stars. They have the best lines. In real life, I would not like either character because they behave so abominably. On the show, I love them.

Here in the third week of my relationship with Glee, I wish we had seen more of Brittana. We’ve been given fodder for imagination and fantasy but that isn’t enough. I am old enough to know how lesbian story lines have been written in the past. They never ended happily. Knowing that, I have this niggling fear the writers will kill one or the other at the end of season three.

I watched the body shot in slow motion to see if it was faked. It wasn't. There was indisputable liquid transfer. Yummy visual...

Sara said...

Sorry—I meant to specify female gleeks with the whole parent thing, as I haven't forgotten we've met Sue's mom and Emma's folks. ;) said...

I'm Mexican and was confused about that Tierra de Lobos comment...but then I remembered this show on cable called "las Aparicio", Aparicio is the last name of the family the show is about, one with only women in it, and there's a lesbian couple.
Here in México things are different than in Europe or the States in this subject of equality, so this show made a huge impact...on those with cable tv.
If you may need more info about ir, dear Miss Snarker, I'd be glad to help!!
btw, thanks for the tank top tuesday!!! light is back in my day!!

Anonymous said...

The problem with Brittana is that they have SO much chemistry together, they are such a great couple, and Ryan Murphy still doesn't respect them enough to move their characters past "the bitch" and "the dumb blonde." The fact that they even fell in love and got together was because of Heather, Naya, and the fandom. Ryan Murphy wants one-dimensional characters for shitty jokes. He's all about the gay boys, but he doesn't give a SHIT about lesbians. Brittana needs to be on something other than Glee, because the show really doesn't like them.

Manu said...

Bo and Lauren > every other couple on TV right now.

Anonymous said...

Respect the Brittana storyline. i agree with you with all these stuff. All i wanted is to see them as in "really together". the scene when Finn asked Santana to come out of the closet is more heart-pounding than the napkin thing and taking-a-bath-together sex talk that were never given a single justice to show us visuals of the real score between them. The nice finger lingerings are sweet at some point but couldn't they just exchanging it with cute long coffee-conversations like Darren and Chris have once in a while? Give justice to THE KISS that they should have. They owe us one good smooching coming from Brittany this time.

Have you seen that one slipping kiss from Santana? I am actually talking about just a sweet "BFF's" kiss on a cheek type of scene that happened at the background while that guy from the mock-breaker was saying stuff about election. Santana just basically jump for Brittany and give that kiss in front of all people to see it. BUT WHY CAN'T THE WRITERS GET IT RIGHT. #onehotflamingkiss #withTONGUE People look up to The Kiss. Justice! Naya said she's down with it. Naya is downe. haha even Heather agrees.

Give us, shippers a nice heart bouncing, mouth puking rainbows moment before we die until we see them kiss. :)

girlwithglasses said...

Re-reading this article in light of the "big" Glee kiss reminds me how far mainstream US TV has to go in terms of lesbian representation. I'm a Lost Girl fan, and although in the LG fandom, we bitch about how little time Bo and Lauren have had in comparison to Bo and Dyson, Lost Girl is still streets ahead of Glee. I hope that your continuing championing of LG on this site and on AfterEllen will draw more viewers to the show, because we need a greater number of mature representations of sexuality, as seen in LG, rather than the tokenism or sweeps lesbianism that we're forced to accept in US TV shows.