Sunday, April 04, 2010


I've been totally flummoxed by this Rolling Stone cover for Glee. I don't know if I have a coherent analysis, but the cover is a hot mess. I'll bullet-point some observations:

1. I'm told it's supposed to be a 40s-esque Rockwell homage, which would explain the dog, I guess. Otherwise, DOG? There's no dog in the show.

2. Lea Michele is a gorgeous woman and an amazing singer. (Totally irrelevant, but I am pretty sure I saw her in the original Ragtime on Broadway.) But why why why must we see her underwear? Talk about gratuitous!

3. Aside from the cover, the show does have a strange madonna/whore thing going on. Obviously, there is some irony involved that the head cheerleader who belongs to the Celibacy Club and comes from a conservative Christian family who gathers around the tv every night to watch Glenn Beck is the one who gets pregnant. That's really a cliché at this point.

But it's amazing how consistently *pure* Quinn comes across as despite her "fall" and her pregnancy. Dianna Agron is stunningly beautiful, and she looks like she could cry without getting blotchy. Thrown out of the Cheerios and relegated to wearing street clothes, she still wears demure, sweet dresses and tops.

Meanwhile, Rachel Berry is brunette, Jewish, and ambitious. She is socially liberal (the daughter of two gay men) and aware of her sexuality. She sees no need to use her sexuality to control men (though she does get tricked into trying to attract Finn with a sexy get-up). But it is her "natural" self, complete with weirdness, imperfections, and bad clothes, that Finn finds so appealing sexually. He can't stand her in many ways, but he's attracted to her. To some degree, so is Puck.

Quinn represents "true womanhood" in the world of Lima: she is religious, demure, feminine. She is not pure precisely, but maybe she is the 21st century socially conservative version of pure: since everyone has sex and everyone can be tempted, then she is ideologically pure for "choosing" to continue her pregnancy, the same way Bristol Palin seems to be exempt from criticism from conservatives for having a child before marriage.

Rachel represents "new womanhood," perhaps. She is pure in her motives. She doesn't lie about what she wants. But this is confusing to men who are used to dealing with women who lie/hide their desires. Rachel wants fame, she wants power, she wants Finn, and she probably also wants sex. She has talent, a remarkable talent she does not try to hide.

As a Cheerio, Quinn is a phenomenal athlete, but you'd never know it when she's with Finn. She was also an excellent singer, but Finn seemed to have no idea until she joined the glee club. Quinn's needs and desires are perpetually hidden.

Wish I could write more coherently about Glee, like these people.

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