So I’ve reached the third post of this blog series, and I just want to say thank you for all the positive responses I’ve received, but most of all, that you’re still continuing to read each of these fun, but important posts. This series of blog posts have been focusing on the importance of LGBT representation on TV, this time, I’m looking at Glee and True Blood.
*You know spoilers for the below shows if you haven’t seen them yet but you really should!*
I have a love/hate relationship with this show. But when it comes to LGBT representation Glee does have its merits. Particularly with its portrayal of Kurt Hummel, Santana Lopez, Brittany S. Pierce and Unique Adams. These characters were more than caricatures, they were people with feelings who were struggling with their own sexuality and identity in a society and school environment that was not welcoming to anyone that was different. Kurt found solace in the Glee club but the show did expose how difficult it was for him to come out to his peers, to his father and even his friends. Kurt was a target of homophobic attacks at his school, even from his own stepbrother Finn but after his father stood up for his own son, Finn also publically stood by Kurt. Eventually the attacks got so bad, Kurt was forced to transfer schools, but through that he met his soulmate Blaine and the rest is history. As a couple they had many problems but eventually got together by the finale, where their best friend Rachel happened to be a surrogate mother for them.
Probably my favourite character on Glee is Santana Lopez. Santana was portrayed as one of the most popular girls in McKinley High and had numerous boyfriends as a result. But it was in season two, it was revealed that she was a lesbian and had a relationship with Brittany who is bisexual. When things grew more complicated with their relationship, I had unfortunately just stopped watching the show (I won’t lie I tuned in the odd time for them).
But when I started watching the show again, they had broken up, Brittany was dating Sam Evans and Santana was having a relationship with Dani, played by my hero Demi Lovato (personally I loved them together, I know it was just a fling but I loved it). Santana and Brittany both struggled with their relationship and coming out, but when they did, they were much happier with themselves and if anything happier with life in general (Satanna was not nearly as bitchy and if anything, became friends with Rachel by the end of the season when they were former enemies).
The final character I wish to discuss is Unique Adams. Alex Newell who portrays Unique, was a runner up to Glee‘s talent competition The Glee Project. Unique was Glee‘s first openly transgender person on the show. The episode that broke my heart was when Unique was forced to use the boys bathroom, despite identifying as a girl. In a heartbreaking rendition of “If I were a Boy”, she poured her heart into the song, revealing her struggle and the pain she deals with everyday just by trying to be who she is. Glee can be ridiculous, cheesy, but this is one of the few episodes it got right in regards the struggle that many transgender teens have to go through every day with things as simple as going to the bathroom.
After a while I just lost interest in Glee, the characters and plots kept changing and I think my heart wasn’t in it after the tragic death of Cory Monteith, who portrayed protagonist Finn. But as finales go, Glee got it right. I indulged Glee one last time and for someone who was the most casual viewer, the finale moved even me. It was perfect ending to a show that despite being over the top in many things, spread the most positive message of all to be proud and embrace yourself for who you truly are.
True Blood is probably one of the most revolutionary shows of the noughties in regards sexuality and LGBT representation. It’s an awesome show and I am annoyed with myself that I haven’t done it justice by giving it a proper goodbye post (it finished last year). My favourite characters on this show without question are the LGBT ones. Lafayette Reynolds made the show and you cannot tell me otherwise. What I loved the most about his character was that the show didn’t leave him as the ‘fun sassy gay character’, and most importantly didn’t kill him off (like in the books). He was a drug dealer who refused to take anyone’s homophobic crap, he was there for his family and friends no question, but underneath it all he was lonely.
Lafayette eventually found love with his mother’s nurse, Jesus Velasque and probably had one of the most stablish relationships on the show. But True Blood being True Blood they had to get rid of Jesus (still one of the saddest scenes ever). But this brings me to the final season and why I love Lafayette so much. There was a lot of controversy surrounding Lafayette’s new love interest in the final season, and it mostly surrounded the actor Luke Grimes, who originally played James Kent. It was rumoured that he left the show because he felt uncomfortable playing a gay character. He has now said that wasn’t the case, but Nelsan Ellis who plays Lafayette seems to say otherwise. While we will never know for certain, I am glad producers stuck to their guns and told the story of Lafayatte and James.
Now we also have Pam who is played by the amazing Kristen Van Bauer Straten. She is so much more than Eric’s sidekick and really runs the vampire and human haunt that is Fangtasia. While Pam may have not had a lead role in the first few series, she has definitely become a fan favourite. Fans have been constantly rooting for Pam and Eric to succeed. Their relationship was complicated but a close one. Both characters are bisexual but their love for each other is undeniable. I think I love Pam though because she’s unapologetic for her love of women, and bluntly says what she thinks the whole time.
The surprise relationship of the series was between Tara and Pam. I won’t lie, Tara was not always a favourite of mine, but she has not had an easy life either. From her alcoholic mother disowning her to putting up with the craziness that was Sookie’s Stackhouse life, I am not surprised Tara abandoned Bon Temps. But when Tara became a vampire, it’s like she truly came into her own. She was probably at her happiest being a vampire, but also when she entered a relationship with Pam. Pam was her maker and gave her the support and confidence that she needed. Pam and Tara were probably the most out lesbian relationship on the show (yes there was Tara and Naomi but that was quickly written off).
So in ways, I am disappointed how the writers dealt with the main lesbian/bisexual relationship on the show by killing off Tara so swiftly in the first episode of the final series. While Tara seemed to resolve her issues with her mother, I am sad the creators didn’t give a fitting an end to the relationship that was Pam and Tara. Pam seemed to mourn Tara’s loss all too briefly and focused more on Eric’s possible death, while they got their own happy ending, it’s just disappointing that it wasn’t with Tara. But that being one of the few disappointments with the True Blood finale, it is definitely a show that prides itself on its portrayal of LGBT characters, as it rightly should.
Stay tuned for my next post in this series.