LGBT

Let’s Not Freak Out Because Brittany Is Dating Boys On Glee

Glee’s Brittana was one of TV’s most prominent same-sex pairings. Now that they’re broken up, Brittany is hooking up with Sam — is that really such a bad thing?

Santana and Brittany do the titular deed in “The Break-Up.” Jordin Althaus/__username__

Nobody said it was easy: when Glee decided to break up several of its most popular couplings, fans were bound to be upset. But the Brittana break-up cut especially deep. With so few strong lesbian relationships on television, it’s easy to get attached to the story of cheerleaders in love.

Chances are Brittany and Santana will find each other again. I believe in love. I believe in the TV myth that high school relationships are forever. In the meantime, the two can and should date other people, as hard as it might be for hardcore shippers to accept. That’s the healthy, mature thing to do — just as ending a difficult long-distance relationship was.

Santana makes the adult decision to end her relationship with Brittany in “The Break-Up.” Jordin Althaus/__username__

The problem for many Brittana fans is that Brittany seems to be moving on to Sam, a character who is just dopey enough to be perfect for her, except for the fact that he’s a guy. While Santana came out as a lesbian last season, Brittany has always been more of a free agent. Still, viewers — particularly Glee’s large LGBT fanbase — expected that she might just stick to the same sex.

And I get that: the old cliche of a female character dating a woman and then going back to guys isn’t exactly long-gone. It’s disappointing to begin identifying with a queer character, only to have her return to her hetero ways. But sometimes it’s realistic, particularly in the case of a character like Brittany, who always seemed more in love with Santana the person than Santana the woman. Having Brittany date Sam now doesn’t take away from what she had with Santana — nor does it change Santana’s stated orientation.

Brittany and Santana perform back-up for Quinn in “Thanksgiving.” Adam Rose/__username__

And what of Glee’s decision to call out “lesbian bloggers” with Brittany’s warning to Sam that the internet would be angry over their opposite-sex pairing? In general, I’m not a huge fan of shows going this meta, but I think it was actually an important point to address. As LGBT fans, we want to know that Ryan Murphy and the writers have considered our concerns, and that they know there are consequences to Brittany hooking up with a dude.

I don’t think it was offensive, at least not to the extent some of the bloggers asked by AfterEllen felt. Perhaps it was a bit callous, but it felt less a dismissal and more a knowing wink: “We get it, you totally hate us for doing this. Bring on the outrage.”

After rejecting Brittany’s attempt at reconciliation, Santana sings “There Are Worse Things I Could Do” in “Glease.” Mike Yarish/__username__

Where does the outrage come from? You can fault the show for breaking up a pairing you enjoyed, but calling Glee homophobic seems like a drastic overstatement. Never once have I gotten the sense that Ryan Murphy thinks lesbianism is a phase, or that — to paraphrase Chasing Amy — all a lesbian needs to become heterosexual is a good deep dickin’. (Gross.)

Whether Brittany identifies as bisexual (we could use more of those on TV) or just as Brittanysexual, she’s still a character who fell in love with a girl. Glee has honored and continues to honor that relationship, so let’s see how this dalliance with Sam plays out before we get angry.

If Santana starts dating Puck, however, we can all raise our pitchforks.

In next week’s episode “Glee, Actually,” Brittany delivers a gift to Ryder. They are not currently dating. Eddy Chen/__username__

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