I loved last night's episode of Glee ('Wheels').
But once again I find myself a little out of sync with some of the fan reactions, particularly about Artie (who I now love even more), so before I launch into the squee, I want to give my impressions.
I'm not speaking from any place of authority when it comes to disability and able-bodied privilege so if I commit any fail in what I'm about to say, or if I'm not making sense, please do call me on it.
I don't think Artie is a jerk, not even a little bit of a jerk, for being angry with Tina.
The way I saw it, he wasn't angry with Tina because she turned out to be "normal"/no longer shared a disability in common with him. He was angry (more hurt than angry) because Tina lied about it in the first place. She faked something that he can't fake, if that makes sense.
Tina faked a disability to make her life more convenient for herself at the time. Artie could not do that even if he wanted to -- not that he would, because like he said, his chair does a good enough job of keeping people at a distance. It's not a convenience for him.
People without disabilities enjoy a privilege over those who do have them. Tina, it turns out, doesn't have to live with her stutter for the rest of her life the way Artie has to live with his paralysis. He can't ever get out of his chair the way she dropped her stutter. Artie felt a kinship with Tina because she seemed to know something about what he's going through, when in reality, she was only pretending to. But more hurtful than that was how she presented it to him, like it was a good thing. She tried having a disability for a while, but now it's more trouble than it's worth; now she no longer wants to push people away.
And isn't it nice that because she found glee club, she can choose not to do that anymore?
I know that Tina didn't mean any harm or offense, and things may work out for them (I hope they do). But it was very privileged of her, it was insensitive, and the way I see it Artie's hurt was justified. It was a big deal for both Artie and Tina wrt character development and I hope it doesn't get dropped because it was handled with a surprising amount of nuance, I thought. The show treats Artie's and Kurt's storylines a lot better than that one time it made a total mess of handling race issues.
I could talk about how deeply it irritates me that Glee has given us yet ANOTHER woman who's wronged a guy, ANOTHER guy wronged by a woman. Seriously, it's getting damn old (I used to joke about how Tina and Mercedes were the only women not portrayed negatively because they never get anything to do, but I guess the joke's on me, dammit). I really like Tina. But for me it's not really a question that she was wrong.
(ETA from the comments: While Tina was wrong I'm not outright condemning her either; I hope I haven't come across that way. I've always liked Tina even when she was being ignored by the writers, so I'm actually really happy that we've got something real to chew on with regards to her character. Clearly she has some deep-seated issues, some that I can even identify with re: social anxiety. I was just explaining my interpretation of Artie's feelings, but I don't wish to rag on Tina or say that I don't find her sympathetic as well.)
Now, on with the squee, because I really did love this episode.
+ I did mention how much I love Artie? His performance of Dancing With Myself is one of my favorites on the show so far. I love his voice, I love that he got a chance to shine for once, I love him period.
+ THE HUMMELS WIN AT EVERYTHING EVER. Kurt's always been one of my favorites, and his relationship with his dad, since the kicker episode, has been a big part of why. They could not be more awesome. Kurt's dad, oh I could kiss him. <3 And Kurt! Throwing his own performance and the chance to something he really wanted to do to protect his father from some of the crap he goes through on a daily basis. Oh, these two broke my heart this week.
+ I continue to feel for Quinn. Part of this is my own refusal to buy into the show's portrayal of her as manipulative and unsympathetic because it ticks me off and I am SO DONE WITH BOTH OF THESE PREGNANCY PLOTS, but seriously, I see a scared girl who's in over her head and not handling it the way she should. I don't think she knows how to get out of the hole she's in, and she's too scared to tell the truth, but she keeps digging. For sure she's dead wrong, and lashing out at all the wrong people when she's probably mad at herself. And I hope things work out for her.
+ Finn really is a bit of an idiot; he doesn't deserve to be called names for it, but still. I love the way the actor plays him - he really just doesn't understand things, much as he tries. He recognises the responsibility he has to "his" kid and really wants to step up, but he doesn't want said responsibility or feel the emotional connection or motivation quite the same way Puck does, and Cory plays that balance really well.
+ Puck is adorable and has better chemistry with both Rachel AND Quinn than Finn does with either of them. I also like that Quinn called him out for getting the money for her in the wrong way, taking it away from the fund for Artie. They're all good peoples. <3
+ I wouldn't mind Puck/Quinn/Finn OT3 now.
+ What Rachel did this week was in-character for her given her very eye-of-the-tiger, whatever-it-takes frame of mind, but wrong wrong wrong, getting Finn to fake being in a wheelchair to get a job. Rachel has grown on me completely since I first started watching this show and I like her a lot, but still.
+ I like how Will was mostly a douche this week and in some cases was called on it. I'm getting tired of him keeping everyone but Rachel and Finn in the background most of the time and his "yeahno" attitude whenever he's asked to do otherwise. And I freaking LOVE Sue for calling him on his ableist attitude while he tried to call her on the same. And she was right - she treated that girl the same way she would anyone. I like how this was handled because in a way, Will was speaking for the audience this week, so sure that Sue had some angle she was working, but they slowly revealed how much more there was to it.
+ SPEAKING OF SUE. OH MY GOD I LOVE HER. I did not expect her to be the one to make me cry, but from the moment she took out that book, I was done.
+ Holiday card post is still open btw, comments screened, if you want a card from me. <3