Monday, March 07, 2011

Music Monday: We Really Must Talk About Glee


Photo from Essence March 2011, by Derek Blanks, via Black & Trendy

Are you still watching Glee? I am. Though I must say, I have become mighty disillusioned.

Aside from the dip in quality and Ryan Murphy's increasing reliance on stuff-that-would-never-happen-this-often-at-a-real-school, I am irritated, week after week, by the continued marginalization of the young woman you see in the above photo: Amber Riley, who plays Mercedes.

Let's just have me start by saying that I know someone has to play the secondary and tertiary characters. And I wouldn't be surprised if Riley is just fine with things the way they are for now. After all, a small part on a hit show is still a part on a freakin' hit show. But, why do the writers constantly ignore opportunities to broaden her character's scope, when we get peeks into every Puck, Mike and Lauren's lives?

Here's how this seems to work: main characters get a personal life and a school/glee club life, while smaller characters get a school/glee life and little tidbits of personal life info (if they're lucky). Mercedes is the only character who has no life outside of glee club.

Last season, when Mercedes' mom let pregnant Quinn stay with them after getting kicked out of her home, I thought for sure we'd get a scene or two of the three of them together. Or, you know, at least a shot of Quinn and Mercedes at home. But, there was nothing. How is it possible that we know Mike Chang's mom is super-Asian, but the woman who let a knocked up girl she'd never met live in her house, eat her food and use her hot water was only mentioned once and not shown?

I'm baffled by Mercedes' lack of a personal life. She had a brief crush on Kurt last season and actually thought they were dating for a time, (Which I found unbelievable, by the way. Does girlfriend really have NO GAYDAR AT ALL?) and had a very brief dalliance with Puck early this season when she turned Cheerio. That's it. We don't even know if she's a good student.

Come on Ryan Murphy. Don't make us think you're afraid to write interesting stuff for black people. Step up.

Now! Here's a great song for all the strong and under appreciated Black Women out there. Hang tough, my ladies!

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