(Glee cast version pulled from YouTube so I’m posting the most popular amateur cover).
I admit it, I never did put two and two together and realize that “landslide=orgasm.” Seems I can learn something from a Very Special Episode about Sex too! The episode of Glee was impressive not only for taking on a lot of basic taboos about condom use, pregnancy, etc., but also in terms of how adroitly it used songs like Landslide to underline the distinctiveness of female from male homoeroticism.
Where to date Kurt was the stereotypical mainstream stand in for queers — the porcelain show queen — this week’s episode revealed for the first time how much he feared actual sexual contact with a boy. It was left to the girls to turn up the heat around queer sex.
Kurt’s virginity proved a nice foil for Santana, the “hot blooded Latina” whose sexuality to date has remained within an equally established mainstream cliche of female-female desire performed for the titillation of a male voyeur. For the first time, we got a hint at how this ruthless enforcer of high school hierarchy really feels about the boys she has seemed content to be passed around like a trophy. Landslide became her metaphor, not for growing out of “teenage experimentation” with fellow cheerleader, but of the shock of realizing she may be growing into an adult who doesn’t need heteronormativity to prop her sexuality up.
I liked how the Sex Ed episode of Glee managed to be sex-positive without painting sex as anodyne. To the contrary it repeatedly drove home the Lacanian injunction that there is no such things as a sexual relationship. Love and Eros — “sex” and “relationship” — never can quite coincide, even as we cannot fail to aim for that sweet spot where we imagine they might. And this is as much the case, or even more so with the adults on the show as with the confused, horny teens. The swinging sex ed teacher who can’t sustain a relationship past 36 hours; the virginal school counselor won’t touch her own husband; the preening “glory days” choirmaster; the self-glorying cheerleading coach who is reduced to marrying herself; and the ‘mannish’ football coach who has never been kissed.
Only the god-fearing comic relief principal seems to occupy a place of full erotic (albeit marital) enjoyment, a location whose incongruity is underscored by the casting a South Asian actor to play a Christian mid-Westerner named Figgins. It is only in Figgins’ world of the perpetual double take and continuous malapropism, it seems, that “true happiness” on Glee can be permitted to reside.
The other big gay news this week was Adam Lambert‘s returning to American Idol to play an “unplugged” version of the song Aftermath which he is also releasing a dance version of to raise funds for the anti-suicide hotline the Trevor Project. :
Philanthropic motives aside, I can’t say this song moves me much. In my view, Adam’s incredible vocal talent and relaxed, exuberant personality (the latter best witnessed on his Twitter feed and in interviews) is still being squandered on milquetoast material. I blame it on LA. Underneath all the black dye and emo posturing, Adam strikes me as a happy, well adjusted, California strawberry blond who is having the time of his life living la vida loca. His songs on behalf of the isolated and alienated teen sound no better nor worse to my ears than Public Service Announcements. No landslide here.