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'Glee' Gay Re-Cap: Santana BANNED! Glee Club Heartbreak...

'Glee' Gay Re-Cap: Santana BANNED! Glee Club Heartbreak...

The long, dry summer that was sans Santana and Brittany is long last over with Tuesday’s premiere of Glee season 3, and while there was nothing too overtly lesbian in the premiere, it’s still worthwhile to play catch up with gay girls’ favorite would-be couple Brittana. To quickly re-cap an entire storyline from last season, McKinley High’s proudly self-proclaimed slutty Cheerio Santana (Naya Rivera) finally let down her guard and confessed her love to BFF and fellow Cheerio Brittany (Heather Morris).

TracyEGilchrist

The long, dry summer that was sans Santana and Brittany is long last over with Tuesday’s premiere of Glee season 3, and while there was nothing too overtly lesbian in the premiere, it’s still worthwhile to play catch up with gay girls’ favorite would-be couple Brittana.

To quickly re-cap an entire storyline from last season, McKinley High’s proudly self-proclaimed slutty Cheerio Santana (Naya Rivera) finally let down her guard and confessed her love to BFF and fellow Cheerio Brittany (Heather Morris). The pair sang an unforgettably lesbian rendition of “Landslide” with Gwyneth Paltrow on guitar, but in the end, Brit wasn’t prepared to leave Artie – her boyfriend whom she loves as well as Santana.

Santana began using bully / closet-case gay boy Karofsky as her beard, and even attended prom with him. At one point she went as far as to sport a “Lebanese” shirt as her label, but she still never fully ventured out of the closet. When last we saw Ms. Santana Lopez really attempt to get a grip on being a lesbian she was having a prom meltdown when she and her beard failed to secure the empty titles of Prom King and Queen. 

“They must have sensed I’m a lesbian,” Santana said to Brittany after her loss. “Do I smell like a golf course?”

And Brittany, ever the flakey oracle said to Santana, “They don’t know what you’re hiding. They know that you’re not being yourself,” Brittany said. “If you were to embrace all the awesomeness that you are you would have won.”

And that pretty much takes us to the end of Santana’s lez story from season 2. Here’s hoping this is the year the feisty Cheerio comes into her dykedom full-on so that everyone can “embrace her awesomeness.”

Glee 3:01. The Purple Piano

First up, everyone’s favorite school blogger type Jacob Ben Israel corners Santana for an interview in which she claims that senior year –that’s right, Santana’s graduating so fingers crossed she comes out with a vengeance and they somehow work out that Pretty Little Liars Emily / Santana crossover story we viewers who don’t live in reality have been dreaming about.

Anyway, she says that her senior year is all about being “the Cheerios top ho and modeling my fierceness after my numero uno Latina Paula Abdul.” Jacob reminds Santana that Paula is Arab, but Santana’s never been a stickler for details, so she ignores him.

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Later, Santana’s out on the sports’ field attempting to convince new bad girl Quinn (Dianna Agron) to come back to the Cheerios and glee. It looks like Quinn’s been busy changing into an angsty wanna-be over the summer, sporting her “dyed hair, nose ring and ironic tattoo of Ryan Seacrest,” and smoking and smacking her gum. Quinn going bad girl is about as convincing as Olivia Newton John’s bad girl transformation at the end of Grease – don’t get me wrong, I love a little Olivia but she was no Joan Jett circa The Runaways years—but still, good for Quinn for having her moment.

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Meanwhile Santana’s sales pitch to get Quinn to rejoin the clubs she’s forsaken is pretty hilarious.

“This is for us. We could win two national championships this year. We joined the Cheerios together, we joined glee club together, we all slept with Puckerman the same year…” Santana implores with Brittany at her side. “We’re like besties for life.”

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“I’ve got a bar of soap and a bottle of peroxide with your name on it. Come on, Quinn, you can’t break up the unholy trinity,” Santana says. Personally, Santana would have had me at hello but Quinn needs some more time to discover herself and for Dianna Agron to continue testing out her stoner voice so she can audition for Pineapple Express the Sequel.

Next up, Santana and Sue Sylvester’s right-hand Cheerio Becky Johnson (Lauren Potter) are in Sue’s (Jane Lynch) office about to get an earful of some really big news as Sue sees it. The irascible Coach Sylvester announces that Santana and Becky will be co-captains, an arrangement neither of them is thrilled to hear.

“Nah, nah, nah. See, let me tell you how this is going to be if I may,” Santana says, pulling out her true bitch form. “When I look at a person I don’t see someone who looks a certain way, or has this or that amount of chromosomes. I just see someone who I may or may not have to destroy. So if you ever tell me what to do I will END you,” Santana shouts at Becky.

But Becky is nonplussed. “Bring IT!” Becky shouts, causing Sue to weigh in.

“Ladies, I am aroused, however, we have a more pressing issue at hand,” Sue says. She goes on to explain that it is the co-captains’ first order of business is to sabotage Mr. Shue’s purple piano pilot program, which he’s decided will help get kids to join the glee club if he scatters purple pianos around the school where the glee kids can bust out into song on a whim – as if they haven’t been doing that for two seasons already.

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“I want you to track down those pianos, take care of them and make it look like an accident,” Sue instructs. But then comes the best part of the premiere – save for Santana and Brittany dancing on the cafeteria tables to “We Got the Beat.”

Sue sits on the edge of her desk taunting Santana ostensibly for being both a Cheerio and a glee club member, but we know what Sue’s really getting at – and it’s just delicious that Jane Lynch gets to deliver the lines.

“Santana, you like playing both sides. What team are you playing for this year? The losers or the winners?” Sue sneers.

“Team Sue,” Santana says following a pregnant pause. But we know at the end of the day that Santana has admitted – at least to herself and to Brittany—that she’s pretty much full-on lez, so there really isn’t room for both teams. It looks as though Santana will end up picking.

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Even under Sue’s direct orders, Santana can’t help but be pulled into an impromptu version of a Go-Go’s mega-hit in the cafeteria. Of course the student body isn’t ready to universally embrace the number – this is not Fame after all--and it’s followed by a massive food fight with the glee kids as the primary targets. But it’s Santana’s enemy in all-things Cheerios Becky who kicks off the fight by tossing something green and wet on Rachel (Lea Michelle).

While it’s not really relevant to moving the storyline forward I will stop to honor one of the best lines of the night delivered by one Ms. Lopez. Following the food fight the kids are bemoaning the various foods they’ve had tossed at them, with Artie (Kevin McHale) stating that spaghetti sauce is so much worse than a Slushie.

“I have pepperoni in my bra,” Brittany says.

“Those are your nipples,” Santana says rather matter-of-fact. And we’ll just leave that without comment…

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Later, Santana and Becky are helping Sue brutalize would-be Cheerios at auditions –sorry, I’m a theater queen—I mean, try-outs, when Mr. Shue and his lady friend, guidance counselor Ms. Pillsbury (Jayma Mays), glitter bomb sue ala Michele and Marcus Bachmann, Tim Pawlenty and Newt Gingrich. There are big metaphors here regarding Sue’s politics, and the irony that Jane Lynch is a big ole leftie lez is just brimming over but I don’t have time for a dissertation on the politics of Glee. Just know that Sue got the glitter bomb treatment, which Ms. Pillsbury filmed for YouTube viewing.

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If anyone can unite the sticks-up-their-asses bulk of the student body and the glee kids, it’s Kurt’s hunky, pop-song spewing boyfriend Blaine (Darren Criss) who’s opted to leave his beloved Warblers and join his true love at McKinley High.

Having freshly arrived at his new school Blaine kicks things off with a rendition of Tom Jones’ “Its Not Unusual” in the courtyard. He’s got the Cheerio’s, including a dropping-it-like-it’s-hot Santana, for back-up dancers, but has he really succeeded in uniting the school?

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The Cheerios, as if in a girl-gang Busby Berkeley number, dance around the purple piano in the courtyard, dousing it with lighter fluid, just in time for newly bad Quinn to walk by and drop a lit cigarette on the piano causing it to combust. Oh, Santana, how could you?

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Some time later Mr. Shue introduces Blaine to the glee club as the group’s newest member, but at least one member is threatened by Blaine’s vocal prowess. Finn (Cory Monteith) is none to happy to seen the handsome crooner before him.

“Did I do something wrong?” Blaine asks.

“Well, yeah, you set a bonfire in our courtyard,” Finn says.

But a righteous Santana interjects saying, “Actually doorknob, that was an act of political protest.” I’d much rather see Santana getting her political protest on a float at dyke march, but she’s young yet.

Pretty Little Liars

Santana’s admission gets her into some hot water and Mr. Shue orders her to leave Glee Club.

“It was you and the Cheerios that set fire to our piano. How could you do that?” he asks.

“Mr. Shue, Sue made me,” not hesitating to throw her coach under the bus.  But Mr. Shue points out that Brittany didn’t help set the piano on fire.

“Well, yeah, I was gonna do it but I don’t know, I’m a water sign, so…” Brittany says in true fashion.

“You’re banned from glee. Don’t come back unless you can be as loyal to this club as the rest of the people in this room,” Mr Shue says.

Gobsmacked at Mr. Shue’s sudden show of a spine Santana hesitates before exiting. “You know what? I could use a break,” she says, defiant as ever.

Pretty Little Liars

And just like that Santana’s banned from glee club, missing the final production number of the evening – a stirring rendition of Hairspray’s “You Can’t Stop the Beat.”

Now more than ever Santana must choose who she wants to be. Yes, this little bit of pop culture is laden with metaphors. It’s like creator Ryan Murphy and True Blood’s Alan Ball powwowed over tea and finger sandwiches to determine how to make it into every nerdy high school seniors’ thesis paper on LGBT images on television.

Tune in next week to see if Santana will join Quinn under the bleachers –which is not the worst idea – or if she’ll follow her heart and make amends to the glee kids. The show is called Glee after all, and not Cheerios, so she just has to go back. 

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Tracy E. Gilchrist

Tracy E. Gilchrist is the VP, Executive Producer of Entertainment for the Advocate Channel. A media veteran, she writes about the intersections of LGBTQ+ equality and pop culture. Previously, she was the editor-in-chief of The Advocate and the first feminism editor for the 55-year-old brand. In 2017, she launched the company's first podcast, The Advocates. She is an experienced broadcast interviewer, panel moderator, and public speaker who has delivered her talk, "Pandora's Box to Pose: Game-changing Visibility in Film and TV," at universities throughout the country.

Tracy E. Gilchrist is the VP, Executive Producer of Entertainment for the Advocate Channel. A media veteran, she writes about the intersections of LGBTQ+ equality and pop culture. Previously, she was the editor-in-chief of The Advocate and the first feminism editor for the 55-year-old brand. In 2017, she launched the company's first podcast, The Advocates. She is an experienced broadcast interviewer, panel moderator, and public speaker who has delivered her talk, "Pandora's Box to Pose: Game-changing Visibility in Film and TV," at universities throughout the country.