‘Glee’ misadvises about needing a bf/gf to be happy

— Glee spoilers below. You’ve been warned! —

Glee is known for “tackling” problems that teens face every day — bullying, body issues, etc. — but it often misses the mark. That is exactly what happened this week on Glee, when Kurt kept ditching Mercedes to hang out Blaine, his only gay friend and a member of a rival Glee Club. Instead of both addressing that Kurt is a crappy friend for ditching her and/or further explaining what Blaine offers as a friend that Mercedes can’t, the conclusion is that Mercedes is eating her feelings and needs a man to be complete. Uh … what??

So the background of the storyline is this: Kurt meets Blaine, and they hit it off. Kurt is the only openly gay student at his school, and he is bullied because of it everyday. Blaine is someone that Kurt can identify with at a different level than anyone else at his high school because Blaine also was bullied for being gay, plus Kurt and Blaine get along and share a lot of common interests. Blaine is someone Kurt feels totally comfortable around, so it makes sense that he enjoys spending time with him.

But this new friendship actually started to interfere with his friendship with Mercedes — I think at first Mercedes just wanted to hang out with Kurt and he already had plans, but he actually started breaking plans with Mercedes in order to hang out with Blaine. Glee could’ve addressed how this can turn into a shady habit, and how in real life, relationships in which partners completely ditch their plans with friends at the whim of the significant other are unhealthy — but I give this a pass because Kurt only did this one time, and he eventually invited Mercedes to hang out with them (though she ended up feeling like a third wheel).

And then, to get Mercedes off his back, he tries to hook her up with another guy — eventually telling her that she has been using him (Kurt) as a stand-in boyfriend and then replacing Kurt with food, when really she needs to put herself out there. This could have been a moment where he tells Mercedes that she shouldn’t define herself with food or with men, but instead he tells her that she needs to define herself with a man.

Glee completely missed an opportunity to promote finding happiness within yourself and instead promoted relying on a significant other to find that happiness. If your own happiness is always in the hands of someone or something else, then you will cling to unhealthy relationships or habits because you’ve given them control of your emotions — it becomes not about being in a healthy relationship, but simply about not being alone. Of course a significant other can bring you happiness, as could eating unlimited soup, salad, and breadsticks at Olive Garden, but those things shouldn’t be the foundation of your identity and who you are as a person.

Also, this isn’t the first time this season that Glee has completely gone askew when it comes to dealing with problems that teenagers face. In the Rocky Horror episode, male body issues were discussed, and the explanation Artie gives for those problems was related to Internet porn — yeah, no. Perhaps it was for comedic effect, but that entire episode brought Glee‘s mismanagement of these problems to the forefront. For a TV show that on the surface is cutting edge and different, its resolutions to many of these problems are pretty typical and lame.


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