It’s the entire Torchwood: Miracle Day panel from SDCC!!!
Warning: this cast is exceptionally silly and dirty. ^_^
Over the past
couple days week I’ve been trying to sort through what my imaginary internet friends call an “Emotionally Complex Reaction” to the most recent episode of Glee (2.13 ‘Comeback’). More specifically, this ECR relates to the competition / duet between Rachel and Mercedes in which they sing Take Me Or Leave Me from the musical Rent.
On the one hand, it’s a great song that Lea Michelle and Amber Riley performed really well, both musically and in acting out the emotional transition from “I want to beat you so badly because we’ve been pitted against each other” to “I can’t stay mad at you because we just sound so awesome together.”
On the other hand, the way the song itself was used within the narrative struck a bit of a sour note with me, because I’m familiar with its original context and connotations. You see, in Rent the song is a duet, an argument between longtime lesbian lovers Maureen* and Joanne — one impulsive and flirtatious, the other pragmatic and reserved — about accepting the person you’re in love with for who they are rather than trying to change them. In making it a “diva off” between Rachel and Mercedes, however, Glee has excised the gayness. As a “left-wing, liberal, softie” much like President Bartlett, this irritates me.
On a third hand (which I do not physically have), I’m a media geek who enjoys imaginative twists on things. I love cover songs done in different styles than the original. I absolutely adore Ze Frank's reinterpretations of pictographs. One of my favorite things to hit the internet in recent years is the Buffy vs. Edward mashup / commentary video.
So why does this one little performance bother me so much?
In the Glee version of TMOLM, both girls only sing Maureen’s part. I understand that they might have cut Joanne’s verses for time constraints — after all, they truncate songs all the time on this show — but to me it feels more like they didn’t want the second point of view in the song in order to avoid the lesbian issue. Which is strange, considering how eager they’ve been to explore Kurt’s coming out, and the ongoing Brittany / Santana “sex isn’t dating” storyline.
Only using half of the conversation that exists within Take Me Or Leave Me allowed Glee to use a gorgeous piece of music while still portraying both singers as singing to the men in their audience (i.e. Finn, Puck, etc.) rather than to each other, as originally intended in Rent.
Do they really think that two (as far as I know) straight actresses playing straight characters singing a song from a gay point of view will alienate or confuse their audience? It’s a show about a high school glee club and half the episode was dedicated to Justin Bieber songs. There are explicitly gay and bisexual characters. This is not a huge stretch, people.
Like I said, emotionally complex.
It’s okay, Glee, I still love you. I’ll get over it. I just wish you’d be a little more consistent in your attitude toward non-heterosexual relationships and trust that your audience can handle it.
* Oddly enough, in the 2005 movie version of Rent, wild girl Maureen was played by Idina Menzel, who showed up in the first season of Glee as Shelby Corcoran, the coach for rival glee club Vocal Adrenaline who later turned out to be Rachel’s long-lost biological mother.
If you’d like to see the original in all its glory, it’s on YouTube.
In my mind, there is an outtake from this scene in which the director told Hartley and Shanks, “Aaaand you’re kissing!” And they did. ^_^
[Photo courtesy of Michael Shanks Online. Screenshot from Smallville ep. 10.11 ‘Icarus’.]