Taking a short break from editing, I’ve been scrolling on my dash, not really paying attention, thinking about the people I miss who have left the Glee fandom. That list is growing, and I get it—the show is winding down, the characters have evolved, and maybe not in the ways people hoped they would. And sometimes fandom itself can dampen the experience; I get that, too. A lot has happened since that glorious time that was S2.
So why am I still here? Because I still believe in Klaine.
Now, that statement might inspire many eye rolls; I know some people perceive me to be a Pollyanna around these parts. But understand that I grew up in a time when the only queer representation on television ended up dead, or homeless, or forced back into the closet, or all three—for the five minutes that token character was allowed to be on television. Gay teenagers in love? Millions of people tuning in to watch them? A relationship on par with the leading hetero pairing? If you had told me that would happen even ten years ago I would have said, “Are you high?”
And I believe in Klaine because they are iconic, and because I know they are supposed to be. They get the same treatment as all iconic romantic couples, and that means pain, and odd twists, and conflict. Because they are iconic we get more than a side story; we get a “saga.”
Maybe I’m still here because I’ve lived long enough to know from experience that it is possible to love someone even when you don’t trust them to do the right thing, even when they piss you off, and stop making sense, and yes, even when you wonder if it will work out in the end. And I apply that to Glee. So, I’m sticking it out, man. For me, this is too important, and still so much fun.
I think Fandom often forgets how truly, amazingly, unbelievable it is that we have Klaine at all. 11 Years ago when I graduated High School, there was really only one show on TV that featured any kind of queer representation in the form of a relationship, and that was Queer As Folk - now I know we had a few others, Will and Grace is one that comes to mind. But that show never centered on any of the romantic relationships, gay or straight. The first time we saw 2 boys kiss on Will and Grace it was a joke, a ploy between two gay men who where never attracted to each other. The first time we saw Will, the main gay character, kiss a man he was seeing, it was 6 months into their relationship and they had just decided to move in together. It was very quick, just a peck. On the flip-side, Queer as Folk (US) was very focused on the promiscuous stereotype of gay men (so much so that most gay men I knew at the time refused to watch it) and being on Showtime, it had was essentially soft-core-porn with a great story behind it. But overall, it was about sex.
But now we have Klaine - a story that has been about true love from the very beginning, a story about two boys who fall in love and maintain that love as they become men. And the fact that we are getting to SEE them navigate through a reality based relationship is stunning to me. Have they had over-the-top moments? yes. Has every second of GLEE been believable or plausible? no. Have I agreed with every aspect of their relationship? no! But in 20 years, Kurt Hummel and Blaine Anderson will be written about in history books as an iconic couple who changed the hearts and minds of millions of people and whose influence over the advancement of our society in these matters will be forever notable.
They are giving gay kids a real, true, honest relationship to look up to. They make people question their preconceived notions about what it means for two men to love each other and as they grow up, together, they are proving that True Love is not the epic kiss in the final scene of a movie. It’s a constant decision, a choice that has to be made every second of every day - to devote oneself to another person.
Glee has never been perfect, but Season 5 has been damn near flawless
(ignoring the fake x-mas episode which was… idk what that was… unless fox demanded a holiday special)and if the writers/creators can maintain that flow in season 6, Glee will be remembered as a marvel of modern entertainment, both for it’s influence over society at a time when change and progress are at the forefront of our lives and the fact that no one believed a musical based TV show could ever work.
So if you haven’t heard from this post:
Emma Approved will be on hiatus in May, returning in June, and Pemberley Digital (fingers crossed) should be announcing our next series in May.
This got me thinking more about the state of this format, and by format I mean the book to transmedia/video series format.
A few days ago, Hank and I had a discussion about the true scalability/viability of doing these projects. No, it’s not going away, at least not anytime soon. But one of the attractions to doing this, and repeating it, was that it’s theoretically scalable - e.g. insert *blank* book into interactive video blog format -> make show.
Now theoretically, it can be done. Heck, it’s being done. - Here’s a list.
Tangent - Especially impressed with Autobiography of Jane Eyre, Notes By Christine, and The Emma Project which are all well past their 50th video. That’s A LOT of work! It’s hard enough getting these shows started, but what’s really difficult is keeping them going.
Emma Hiatus 2
Bringing it back to Emma Approved’s hiatus. After our first hiatus in January, what we worried about internally was that our views would fall off a cliff when we came back. What surprised us was that views actually rose 15% and have been holding/growing. (A lot of factors here - holiday viewing habits, discovery, people catching up etc).
When we started back up in February, we had thought about the possibility of going on hiatus again in May but hoped we wouldn’t have to. But when Kate had to leave the show (and to be clear: super super happy for Kate), we really had no choice. It’s a testament to how great/vital she was to this team. When you lose someone as talented and experienced as she was at such a vital position (head writer for months 4 and 5), it takes some time to recalibrate the team.
There’s evidence of this, by the way. You can see during the Caroline/Elton (Carlton LOL!) arc, there have been a variety of writers working on the episodes, two of whom wrote episodes for the first time.
Super excited that we’re going to get to announce a new show this early. What this should *hopefully* mean is that the new series should debut before Emma Approved gets to the end of novel.
No big details about the show yet, but I will say that it’s a very different flavor/vibe/tone than what Pemberley Digital has done thus far.
The X Factor that is Costume Theater
I was having a conversation about Emma Approved and The Lizzie Bennet Diaries last night and it’s hard to not compare the two (assuming you’re aware of both). I dislike comparing them more and more because even though they are cut from similar cloths, they’re designed to do very different things, and are succeeding at doing very different things (which I will talk about later).
The biggest observation I’ve had about it, though, was that the biggest advantage (both creatively and economically) that The Lizzie Bennet Diaries has is costume theater. And this isn’t just LBD to EA, this is LBD to ANY show that doesn’t use some device of a costume theater type.
I encourage you to analyze it yourself. Watch the first 24 episodes of LBD where it’s literally the same room for 24 videos with the same 4 super talented hilarious actresses. Look at what costume theater does both creatively and economically. It’s a big list.
That’s it for now. I look forward to talking more about Emma Approved and the Caroline/Carlton arc once we’re in the hiatus.