1 min

Popping culture: the world of Karofsky

When it first started, Glee was a wonderful little piss-take on teenage melodramas and after-school specials. It had jocks, nerds, cheerleaders and ridiculously talented and underappreciated kids left to fend for themselves. It had zingers and pop-culture one-liners that spoke to both young and old. And it had Kurt.

Kurt was the kind of gay kid who never was really in the closet, who loved Lady Gaga but knew who Bette Davis was (and could quote her). He was also the kid who got picked on by homophobic jocks. Kurt was the gay kid in all of us who knows how life sucks sometimes, but who goes through life knowing that you have to be yourself.

Last year, it was discovered that the avatar for Kurt’s bullying, Dave Karofksy, was, in fact, gay himself. This little tidbit of information was delivered via the PC version of a hate-fuck, the hate-kiss. Eventually, Kurt forgives Karofsky for the hell he put him through, an act that Karofsky misinterprets.

Unfortunately, Karofsky has begun to experience his own form of bullying, from both straight and queer peers.

Karofsky can’t handle either his internalized or externalized homphobia and tries to commit suicide.

In a weird way, Glee has started to eat its own tail. What started as a satire of teen angst and drama became a shining example of it, tinged with pop-culture references and occasional tongue-in-cheek jokes. In a weird way, Glee is like Karofsky. It used to bully and make fun of shitty after-school specials, but now it has become one and embraced it. It knows what it is and is learning to stand on its own feet, on its own terms. Karofsky’s suicide attempt is a classic example of “call for help” episodes, but taken in a slightly different way. The bully becomes bullied and is saved by the person he used to bully. Who knew Glee could be meta?

Not everyone can forgive, and not everyone gets to go home, safe and secure. If the writers are smart, they’ll keep Karofsky around, if only to show people how to survive.

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