As a followup to my recent mini-rant about Glee’s apparent double standard in the way they they treat straight vs LGBT romance on the show, I thought I’d post a few quotes from Ryan Murphy, who FINALLY answered a few questions on the subject. Of course, I’ve added my incredulous responses to what he had to say. Really. Ryan.
Ryan spoke with the Gold Derby mostly about the second season of his FX series, American Horror Story, but toward the end of the 25 minute plus podcast, the interviewer asked some Glee related questions. The Gold Derby guy had asked for questions from fans, and 2/3rds of the comments were questions about Glee’s “gay bias.”
Listen to the interview here. The Glee stuff begins at about 24:09.
Ryan Murphy: First of all- I have a couple of things to say about that. The thing about that is this: I think there are a group of fans that are very, very interested in the Brittany/Santana romance, and the Kurt/Blaine romance. I would guess, I would call them our gay fans, and they have become among the most passionate commenters and shippers and the thing I have to say about that is I really do understand it, I really do understand the passion for it. I really understand how important it is for so many young people to turn on a show and say, “Oh I’m like that character, I am like that.”
He’s missing the point. Yes, there are LGBT fans who want to see themselves portrayed realistically on screen. But heh, I’m straight a straight, middle aged woman. I don’t see myself in the characters much at all. But it’s not all about some need to see myself reflected in the storylines. I want to see well-crafted, REALISTIC portrayals of the characters I’ve become invested in. I can’t speak for LGBT fans, but I’ll wager that’s part of their issue as well.
The thing about that, I like with that sort of group of fans, you really at a certain point, and we do talk about it in the writers’ room, you really can’t win. I feel like this is a network show that is on at 8 o’clock, which is you know a family hour, and I feel like there is no other television show on television that has done more for gay characters and for gay storylines than Glee. I really believe that and I’ve really fought hard for it and I have a network and a studio that doesn’t bat an eye and says, “Great.”
So wait…are you saying that because 8 pm is the family hour, you can’t portray affection between LGBT couples? Could you explain that please? Then Murphy goes on to contradict himself by saying that the network allows him to do what he wants.
I feel like a lot of the lesbian fans want Brittany and Santana to have a full on nude makeout sessions sometimes, I feel like they feel the same way about Kurt and Blaine.
Exaggerating the issues fans have with how gay couples have been portrayed on the show is a deflection, and quite frankly, offensive. How about allowing the LGBT couples to kiss and show physical affection more than once or twice in a season? When the main hetero couple, Finn and Rachel kiss more in ONE EPISODE than the LGBT couples have in 22, I don’t think it’s unreasonable for the fans to question that. Defensive much?
I think that they also feel sometimes that we have not handled those characters exactly like they want. And to that I say, “You know what? You’re probably right. I think there’s some things in the last two seasons we maybe could have done a little more artfully, and a little bit more carefully and a little more- respectfully in the wrong word but I sort of do get the criticisms, but you know look- you’re doing a show very sort of- a lot things happen, you try to do you best, sometimes things don’t work out.
Hey Ryan…could you possibly be a little more vague? I really am enjoying the fact that I have no idea what you are talking about. Maybe it’s the complaints Glee got over the “I Kissed A Girl” episode, that had turned Finn into Santana’s savior after he cruelly outed her? Or that the over-emphasis on the Finn and Rachel romance, made the neglect of Kurt/Blaine and Santana/Brittany appear even more obvious? Really, it would be nice if Ryan answered the question instead of dancing around it.
Ryan didn’t say anything even close to “We’ll try to do better.” So, I’m expecting Season 4 to be business as usual.
On more general Season 4 topics, Ryan says, “It’s exciting how we’re dealing with New York, where Rachel went off to in the end and how we’re dealing with Ohio with the new kids coming up and which couples are breaking up and which ones are staying together.” And he says that some of the graduates will find new dreams. I’m guessing that he means Kurt, who will likely follow a career in fashion, rather than performing after failing to make it into NYADA.
I feel like it’s reinvigorated the show and the form, because I think we needed to do something because after three seasons of the choir room with a lot people it became kind of a bit much. But I also think one of the things that I wanted to do this year is cut down on the number of characters that we had. I think that that show grew into a sort of gargantuan, and one day I went into the choir room and I think there were 18 people in there, and I was like, “Okay, we gotta sort of streamline this storytelling a little bit here.” So we have been working on that, which is very much what we did in the first season, I think if people remember we really followed three or four of them, and the other people were just flavours and ingredients that sort of complemented those stories. So we’re kind of getting back to that which I like.
So…part of the streamlining plan is to gather the cast together to tell them that they are all invited back to Season 4? And airing a reality show that will add a new cast member? And then adding even more cast members? And guest stars? And complicating the story lines by having them take place in two different cities with two sets of characters? Ryan Murphy…keeping it simple! NOT.
A big thanks to ItDoesn’tMeanI’mLonelyWhenI’mAlone for transcribing all the Glee quotes so I didn’t have to.