I’m not “moved” by considering it a love letter to Chris Colfer from Ryan Murphy (that would be embarrassing, and as indefensible from a narrative standpoint as every other occasion of Ryan’s bizarre breed of self-insert; Kurt is not Chris and he fucking shouldn’t be), and I’m not much more thrilled about the idea that it’s just a parallel for inspiration, either.
None of it makes Beiste laughing at him less ruinous. It tears her characterization to shreds.
Telling me that it was only done to try and make us wet ourselves with joy yet again at Chris’s supposedly miraculous strength and ability to overcome adversity actually makes it even harder to bear.
I love that man like nobody’s business, and I respect him, but that’s it. That’s where it ends. He is just an actor, not the Second Coming, not a world healer; others have gone through worse and risen to greater heights.
I’ve heard his story. A million times. A million fucking times. I don’t need it told to me again, especially not through Kurt, who is not Chris, and not at the expense of one of the most positive characters on the show.
Long reply coming, because I have ~feelings and I want to hide under a desk from everyone I work with so I need a distraction.
First off, I completely agree that this episode was a bit of character assassination for Beiste. That said, I like to stick as closely to canon as I can when I write fic (I like to modify bits of it, but I like for the characters to still be the same people and have the same reactions they would if this was happening to them in canon.) I’ve been trying to think of WHY Beiste would react that way to Kurt. There’s a trope in fandom of making Beiste Kurt’s “champion,” of sorts, because when it comes to faculty on this show it’s clear Will doesn’t understand him and that Sue… Well, Sue is another discussion all together, but if she’s championing for anyone on this show it’s Becky. She uses other people, and just because she’s been a decent human being to Kurt in the past doesn’t mean she likes him or has a soft spot for him. (I say all that as someone who loves the idea of Kurt/Sue interaction, like a lot of fandom.)
Anyway, we latched onto Beiste for this role because she had the best chance of understanding the stereotyping that Kurt faces, but I can work this episode in and see how, actually, this might not be the case. It’s entirely possible that she’s so used to being “one of the guys” and to the stereotypical masculinity present in sports that she would look and Kurt and just see him as “girly.” It doesn’t mean it’s right, but one of the things I continue to love about this show is that all the characters have flaws. We’ve just been shown Beiste’s.
She isn’t perfect, and she’s got prejudices of her own. Just because she’s hurt by people making fun of her for being too “manly” doesn’t mean she’s going to empathize with everyone who’s ever faced the same kind of teasing. Does it mean she should? Maybe. But what’s clear from this episode is that she doesn’t. We haven’t seen Beiste try to embrace her femininity at all. When Puck asks if she’s crying to hides it and makes a joke. From this episode, I think we can assume that she accepts it from other women because they are women and that she views it as a flaw in men and in herself.
And to bring all of this around to West Side Story, and why they’re using it this season, the entire conflict between Beiste and Kurt comes down to passing. This episode was establishing that Kurt can’t, even if he tries. That Blaine can. And why there’s a difference and that it’s unfair but it’s life.
We’ve seen Kurt try to pass as straight before, in season one, and it’s always treated as a joke. (They do try to bring it back around to “why are you trying, you’re special just as you are,” at least.) I’m not sure why we’re expecting the reaction this time to be any different. It’s unfair, but a lot of life is unfair to Kurt.