Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Glee-Cap: On Absent Mothers...

A lot happened in last night's Glee, Dream On,

There was Neil Patrick Harris as a School-Board, Budget-Cutting, Show-Choir-Anonymous Used-Hummer Salesman. He had some great monologues.

It had Artie (who is in the wheelchair)  got 2 songs, one of which is big dance number.

But the biggest deal in Dream On is the introduction of an actual honestly to goodness more than one episode story arc. Follow after the jump for a SPOILER including discussion of what happened.

I was so shocked I had to slushie myself to snap out of it.

It's shocking, almost more shocking and entertaining that Sue Sylvester and Bryan Ryan's educational-value-off and follow-up anger sex... almost.

The Choir director of Vocal Adrenaline got Jesse St. James to infiltrate the Glee club in order to get to Rachel. I know, GASP!, no one saw that coming at all.

But why would she do this? not because she's just evil and conniving. Shelby Cocoran, The vocal coach of Vocal Adrenaline, the glee club of Carmel High School in Carmel, Ohio, is actually Rachel's MOTHER.

 Super Gasp!

I have to say, this episode made me care a bit more about Rachel, in no small part because Shelby cares about her so much. After watching so much damaged female behavior about pregnancy in the first half of the season seeing a mother who is legitimately trying to reach out to their child is touching and highly affecting.

Also, the emotional resonance really hits in the duet of "the saddest song ever" from Les Miserables, I Dreamed a Dream:

I can't wait to see what happens when they have two female characters with an actually meaty story to work with.

While the subject of motherhood deserves much more page-space than I'm going to give it in this post and I must admit that like the mothers in Glee the subject has been absent at The Mystery of Girls Media because taking on the media's portrayal of motherhood is a daunting task.

Let's cover it in Glee though, I can at least talk about that tonight. There are three mothers who have spoken at all on Glee.

Quinn –yes I'm counting Quinn even though the baby hasn't been born, who is giving up everything else that was important to her.

Mr. Schuster's sister-in-law– who was constantly egging on her sister into bigger lies and horrid behavior.

and Finn's Mom– who until Kurt set up with his dad had selflessly supported Finn single-handedly for over a decade, fighting depression and apparently, not asking anything for herself. I do not count Mrs. Schuster's hysterical pregnancy.

Other mom's have been mentioned, mostly in conjunction with nagging or not letting Quinn eat bacon (Puck's Mom). Kurt's mom, who is dead, has felt pretty tangible in his conversations with his father.  But ultimately, this is the first time a mother has gotten real screen-time, and she has been absent from her child's life for 16 years.

A lot of stories feature absent mothers, or don't feature them, or.... whatever, the point is the mother is just not there. why is that? Is there a perception or anticipation that all the world's problems are solved if the mother is present? That puts a lot of stress on moms when they're just people like everyone else, and motherhood is hard. While I don't disagree that the mom's on the show are generally doing the right thing by their kids I do fear that because they're in the background, they might get forgotten and become caricatures rather than characters as has befallen so many maternal characters before them.

And I don't want them too disappear, you've set up some pins, Glee, knock them down.

To hear me rant about things that aren't Glee, follow me on Twitter: Caitlin_Burns and check in next week when Ra Ra Ruh hah haaaa! LADY GAGA! You can bet money on the fact I'll be talking about adornment, I know, you can't wait.

Later Gleeks.