I am a Gleek. Big time. I watch it, I contemplate it, and I download the tunes. But get ready for me to drop a hots sports opinion: the Puckerman-Lauren storyline makes me uncomfortable and put-out. For non-Gleeks, Puckerman is the super hot bad-boy jock who is chasing the ample tail of plus-size wrestler Lauren. In no world, universe, or galaxy would this happen. The football star never gets together with the overweight female wrestler. Never.
Now, before you judge me, a recap on my life: I was born, I was fat, and I never dated anyone in school much less a member of the football team. I never even got a look from a member of the chess team. And I was one of those fat girls that always heard "what a pretty face" and had a fantastic personality, if I do say so myself. But I was a really fat kid and a fatter teenager and it's hard to even make a friend in that condition much less get a date.
But is it the unrealistic nature of the story line that upsets me? I mean the whole show is pretty unrealistic- singing breaks out in the school's halls like lice in an elementary; every week there are over the top elaborate performances complete with costumes and sets, and then there is Sue Sylvester. It's all unrealistic, but who cares, it's fabulous! Clearly, realism isn't the issue.
So, what is it? What? Perhaps it bothers me because it might lead to deadly friendly fire. You know, when the U.S. accidentally kills one of it's own with an under thrown bomb or something. Friendly fire. You see, Glee's attempt to show that all people deserve love and are lovable is well intentioned. It is. But teenagers are unfiltered assholes and the Glee-affect might just backfire on my chubby sisters.
A lesson on survival of the plump teen: hide in plain sight. Not easy for a chunky kid to do, but is nonetheless essential to leaving the battle field at 3:00p.m. with all your limbs intact and your heart still beating steadily in your chest. Best way to remain unnoticed is:
1) Silence-- no talky talky, no raising hands, no nothing.
2) No sudden moves- step gingerly through the mine field lunchroom, walk don't run, and for God's sake don't dance.
3) Never, for any reason, eat where anyone can see you.
I know those rules are terrible. That I should advise young ones to stand in their own space and own it. That they should never hide, never be ashamed! Dance down the hallways, cheerleaders be damned! Ah. That's the impractical advice a thin person would give these fragile victims. Like telling a drowning person to swallow.
I had a tormentor in the 6th grade. I've blocked his name out so I will call him Monty (the name of my fifth grade tormentor). One day after Monty had been particularly cruel I confessed his assault to my mother. Bless her heart. She was angry and instructed me to ask him why he was so mean the next time he called me something like Ms. Piggy. Next day, I got my chance while standing in the lunch line. As I waited for the lunch lady to ladle some brown, green beans on my plastic, divided plate, Monty struck. Again, I've blocked the remark, but not the follow-up. Deep breath. "Why are you so mean?" Without a moment of hesitation, "Why are you so fat?" And the victory goes to Monty. My sixth grade self was unprepared with a response.
It's a war inside those hallowed halls and our young ones are not equipped to fight the bastards head on. Sometimes it's just about making it. Day by day. Moment to moment.
And that brings me back to Glee. Puckerman-Lauren shines a spotlight on the very people who's survival depends on the shadows. When I watch hot guy Puck begging for Lauren to go out with him I worry about the young girls going to school the next day. Well they be serenaded by a chorus of Fat Bottom Girls as Puck so lovingly sang to Laurie? Will jocks pretend to "pull a Puck" and ask out the fat girl only to laugh at her when she thinks her dream has come true and says shyly, "sure"?
What new torture might they come up with? What horror they might invent? All thanks to that lovely, well-meaning hit, Glee.
I'm not really condemning Glee. I'm just relating the terror my sixth grade self feels when she watches it and she hears a beep and then a douche bag say "wide load coming through." If only 38 year old me could have faced Monty. If only.
But I still love Glee.