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Sunday, December 29, 2013

Why I love Glee and The Carrie Diaries

I don't write about these shows much, but they both rank among my favorite shows.  I arrived a little late to the Glee train (the first episode I saw was "Preggers", the 4th episode), but was drawn in almost instantly.  Since then, I have faithfully watched each and every episode through the ups and downs, the good and the bad, and even the more outrageous stunts that they have pulled.  I will say that I do dislike that the show has a tendency to mess with characterization for the sake of a plotline.  The Madonna episode is a big one.  Another one was last year when Kitty was openly mocking Marley and Tina, Sugar, Unique, and Britney sing along with her.

In spite of this weakness, I find that there is a lot to admire about the show.  The show confronts a lot of social issues head on, whether it be through song or a plot line.  One consistent theme of the show is to be proud of who you are even if others don't like you.  Whether you are popular or not, whether you have the looks of a model or not, you are accepted by the club and you should accept yourself.

The show does catch a lot of flack because there are many "gay" storylines.  While most of the storylines are not "gay", there are many that are.  The show has 2 gay male main characters (Kurt and Blaine),  one lesbian main character (Santana), one bisexual main character (Britney), and one transgender main character (Unique).  There have also been several prominent secondary characters who are also gay/lesbian (Dave Karofsky, Sebastian, and Hunter to name a few).  One of the things I love is that not all of these characters are "good guys", in fact some are antagonists to the group or individual members.  All of these characters are shown to be flawed humans just like everyone else, only with some of them having the added stress of being homosexual.

Every character in the show is shown to be flawed, just like a real person.  Santana is a bitch (self-proclaimed), Finn was often thoughtless with his words, Rachel can be a diva, etc.  Despite these flaws and the sometimes heavy storylines (school shooting or Finn's death anyone?), the show manages to maintain its sense of humor and levity without trivializing what is going on.  I think that sort of balancing act really shows how truly awesome the writers of the show can be.

I love The Carrie Diaries for a very different reason.  TCD is light and fluffy fun.  Not that there aren't on occasion serious issues handled on the show, but the show has a serious feeling of a more old-fashioned teen drama with most storylines wrapped up by the end of the episode and lessons learned.  One of my favorite characters on the show is Walt.  Yes, I know he is gay, and honestly, that is a large part of the reason I love him.  Brendan Dooling, who plays Walt, brings something very, very authentic to the character.  If you are gay, then his struggles with coming out are very real.  In fact, they really do remind me of what it was like for me early on.  While I was not kicked out of my house the way Walt was, everything else about his story is as authentic as it could be.  I continue to be impressed as the show continues to show the trials and travails of coming out for a young person.