I have noted before, Glee can be a little weird when it comes to gender and sewing. Then on last week's prom episode, sewing came up not once but twice! And it was all linked in to various notions of body image, gender, and sexuality.
I give you Exhibit A. Lauren bemoans that she can't find anything to fit her plus-size figure and says that she's considering making her prom dress because of it. The other girls practically recoil in horror. Brittany deadpans, "Don't, you'll look poor." So we never get to see the potentially awesome dress that Lauren would have made (I'm picturing something New Wave-inspired).
Exhibit B. The girls bring Kurt along on a dress-shopping trip. Lauren tries on a poufy yellow dress with a chic fur capelet and says, "I look like a lemon meringue pie." Brittany, with the line of the night: "I think you look delicious." I concur. Lauren looks pretty adorable, save the over-the-top skirt, which was obviously intended only as a punchline anyway. Kurt (who conveniently turns into a walking stereotype whenever the script calls for it) supposedly saves the day with some hackneyed advice about wearing a "slimming" darker color, and everyone applauds, including Lauren herself, who has never been ashamed of showing off her body. UGH. I hate this scene.
To be clear, it's not Kurt's flamboyance itself that bothers me. I love his colorful personality and I often don't think it's so out of the realm of reality. Plus, the show has done well showing a myriad of gay characters. It's when he becomes a caricature of the "gay sidekick" that I get a little uncomfortable.
Exhibit C. Kurt is super excited to bring ultra-dreamy Blaine to the prom. (Hello, who wouldn't be?! It's wrong how highly I, um, regard Darren Criss.) Being a long-established fashion history buff, Kurt of course can't just go with a half-price tux rental from his dad's buddy's shop. Instead, he whips himself up an ensemble inspired by the Royal Wedding and the late Alexander McQueen. LOVE.
Of course, the sewing nerd in me was saying, "I'm sorry, he WHIPPED UP a tailored jacket and kilt? Yeah, okay." But, yes, I can suspend my disbelief and enjoy a story. Blaine (who is out of the closet but a little afraid to rock to the boat) and Kurt's dad try to talk Kurt out of wearing something so flamboyant. Kurt declines, saying "prom is about joy, not fear." In a moment that any sewist would applaud, he declares, "I'm wearing this suit. I worked hard on it and I think it's fantastic." Go Kurt!
But . . . wait a second. Why is the show ultimately applauding Kurt's ostentatious ensemble while telling Lauren she should cover up and hide in something "slimming"? I'm happy to see Kurt express himself through sewing, but I want better for Lauren than to be given some dumb fashion advice and then made to wear a navy sack. (By Kurt himself, no less.) Kurt and Lauren both have larger-than-life personalities that create interesting storylines, but the writing so often forces them into the absurd and inauthentic.
Now, I always feel a little silly trying to analyze a show that doesn't seem to give much forethought to, you know, character development or consistency. But there's really so much to dissect here! Thoughts, readers?
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