Matthew Wrather is joined by guest host Jordan Stokes to overthink Glee: The Power of Madonna, considering the crazy awesome sex montage, gender expectations, the many meanings of virginity, legitimate and illegitimate motives for losing it, the permeable boundary between public and private, the difference between serialization and storytelling, and the nature of identity.
There will be no spoiler warnings and there will be many naughty words. If either of those things bothers you, don’t click!
→ Download TFT Episode 14 (MP3)
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Gasp! Writing an essay on Joan Didion’s White Album, and although the concepts of legitimacy and inauthentic/authentic are there, I’ve just realized they’re so integral to my point because I’ve been listening to this podcast while doing the assignments.
If I’m going to record and post a podcast on Saturday night, I’m glad there’s someone out in the world to listen to it. :)
Really? You left out the Tarantino monologue from Reservoir Dogs when speaking about the meaning of Like A Virgin?
I expected better of you Wrather.
You know, it’s been years since I’ve seen that. I’ll have to go back and watch it a few more times.
The portion about the parents caught my attention. First, I couldn’t help but think of the tough-love relationship Apolo Ohno has with his dad (Apolo was a rebel, so his dad dropped him off in a cabin in the woods when he was fourteen). Second, the parents of the students rarely show up in the episodes; and when they have, it has been purely as plot devices. Perhaps it’s a time thing (episodes are only forty minutes and change), but we never see the students get home and tell their parents how their day went or ask their parents for advice or anything. It doesn’t really bother me that much unless I sit and think about it (like I am now), so I guess it’s just one of those things.
To piggy-back or reword Wrather’s assertion of what the show’s about (toward the false ending), my way of putting it is it’s a fantasy about turning our fantasies into reality for others. That shared yet personal pop experience. Everybody that listens to pop music relates pop songs to their lives (that’s how it becomes pop), but how often do we express it in detail to others? Every song being sung on the show, even if “privately” done, is that character doing out loud what everyone does in their heads all the time, and we can put ourselves in their places the same way we put ourselves in the songs being sung. And the characters sort of take the place the song typically would have- for example, during Rachel’s “Take a Bow” sequence, it’s really easy for a person that has experienced SOME form of deception from even just a CRUSH to say they totally get how Rachel feels and can relate, etc. And the use of the songs as the bridge between character and self makes the show EXTREMELY accessible (for those able to forgive the shortcomings or nuances unique to “Glee” in storytelling, that is), accessible like pop music.
My prediction for the reveal is that Jonathan Groff’s character is sleeping with MENZEL’s (or if not sex, at least in a tangle that is highly sexualized, or even the sex is a carrot being dangled, as in, “Do this and THEN I’ll sleep with you!”). And it doesn’t necessarily mean he *won’t* actually care for Rachel somehow, but the way he and Menzel looked at each other seemed to have some undertones not explained or elaborated on yet. In fact, it could make his “redemption,” meaning his actually caring for Rachel, more believable or sympathetic because he himself had been seduced and manipulated before doing it to her. And I guess I also think it would be kind of a relief to think he had more pressure to woo Rachel than just, “This would be good for Vocal Adrenaline,” as the reason- he’d be purely evil if that was his sole motivation (which relates to the earlier points about how seduction and sex as a means of power are reserved for the purely evil- hence why Sue used “sex” against Figgins). Just a hunch, and not necessarily *expecting* it to actually pan out that way, but yeah.
@Gab My prediction is that Jesse is gay. It will probably be wrong, but everytime I see him that’s what I think. It’s not because he dated Gavin Creel…it’s because he looks a little like Gavin Creel. Also, it would add weight to a conspiracy theory about the code of “St. James” see Marc St. James from Ugly Betty.
“Code of ‘St. James'” means what? I’ve never heard of this. Could you explain?
I love it. We should start a pool. Jessie and Menzel are schtupping. Jessie’s gay. My own prediction on the episode was that we’ll get a speech from him that begins, “It was deception… at first” before he professes how he has truly fallen in love with Rachel.
And would Jessie being gay somehow make him less deplorable for seducing Rachel? I’m inclined to say no. It wouldn’t make him *more* of a jerk, but it certainly wouldn’t be a way of decreasing the immorality of what he’s doing.
This reminds me of a conversation I had not too long ago. I’m of the opinion there are lines of impropriety that should never be crossed, regardless of gender and/or orientation. It’s just as much of a violation for a gay man to grab a gay woman’s breast as it would be if both were straight if the woman doesn’t want to be touched that way (and a woman shouldn’t touch a man in a way he doesn’t feel comfortable with, either- I realize it totally goes both ways), and the excuse of, “Well, I’m gay, so it doesn’t count,” is bullsh*t. And I guess I think of this because I’m afraid that if Jessie does turn out to be gay, that excuse would be put forth. “The truth is, Rachel, I’m gay, so I was just using you to try and get information.” I don’t see how else his sexual orientation could be relevant to the discussion, is my point. Gay, straight, bisexual, it doesn’t matter: he’s lying to her, and that’s not okay. If he ends up being gay and it’s an afterthought, okay, sure, but I’d like to think the way(s) his door swings shouldn’t matter in terms of how he’s misleading Rachel, because no matter what, he’s using her.