Friday, January 21, 2011

Checking in with Quinn Fabray: Part Five


I won’t lie; this portion of the Quinn Fabray epic was not originally planned.  And then, somewhere in the middle of the 12 pages I had written, I realized, with a touch of guilt, that I mentioned Finn twice and Quinn’s parents maybe three times.  Whoops.  I think this is largely because these two concepts represent Quinn’s original sphere - her earliest beginnings on the show, before her character developed.

So, I usually only speak of these relationships as a starting point and never really address them in terms of the current situations.  But it’s just as much of an oversight to exclude the original dynamics Quinn had with these people.  We talk about Puck and Beth and how they came along and changed things, and we talk about Rachel and Mercedes and how they came along and helped things, but we don’t talk about Finn and her family who never “came along” because they were there first.  However, it’s because they were first that we should be discussing them.  In a perfect world, these relationships would be the most interesting, because Quinn has changed.  She’s not the same person she was when she formed these connections, and therefore watching them adapt - readily or arduously - as one participant evolves could be fascinating.  But, we’re not seeing it.

Quinn’s family life is virtually invisible.  I understand that all of the characters’ family lives (excepting Finn’s and Kurt’s) are largely unseen, but Quinn’s has some unfinished business.  At the very least, it’d be nice to get a mention of her living with her mother again.  I assume this is true, judging by the events of “Journey,” and also by the ornate hunting-lodge-type setting we saw in “Never Been Kissed” - but it’d be nice to get verbal confirmation.  Remember in the Back 9, when we didn’t know where Quinn was living for five episodes?  Then when we found out, it was just mentioned in a throwaway line in “Laryngitis.”  Underwhelming.  And to boot, the third episode of that stretch was titled “Home.”  Y'know, you'd think they could have worked with that.

Ideally, we should at least understand the current status of Quinn’s relationship with her parents.  Does she hate her Dad for verbally disowning her and kicking her out?  Did she ever?  Does she hate her Mom for being so spineless?  Is she proud of her Mom for kicking her father out?  There’s a lot of interesting material ripe for the picking, if Quinn’s family were ever to be focused on again.  Even if it isn’t going to be explored onscreen - which is defensible, in terms of choice - we still need to at least know where Quinn stands, in terms of these relationships.

As for Finn, the show has seemed to lay the Finn/Quinn coupling to rest, for the most part.  And, when dealing with it romantically, I’d say that’s a good thing.  We’re given the impression that the couple only existed because they were The Quarterback and The Head Cheerleader, and those are the dating roles they're meant to fill.  Not to mention, the pair were hardly ever on equal footing - Quinn bossed Finn around, took advantage of his naivete, and in general was not terribly kind to him.  These are not the hallmarks of a healthy relationship.

But on the flip side of these conventions is where it gets interesting.  Yes, Finn and Quinn were The Quarterback and The Cheerleader, an outward ideal, but to each other, it’s feasible that they both represent a personal ideal.  To each other, they represent a time before things got complicated.  Things were simpler when they were together, before it all.  Who cares if they were happier now, or happier then?  Things were easier then, and that’s attractive.  On top of that, I do believe that they loved each other when they were together, in whatever way they knew how.

As such, the show has alluded to the fact that Finn won’t ever really be over Quinn, because she was his first love - as seen in “Britney/Brittany.”  That’s an interesting dynamic.  From Quinn’s perspective, however, things aren’t as clear.  When I was contemplating this, I began mulling over the atonement of Quinn’s actions towards Finn.  She told some pretty life-changing lies, and when it was all said and done, had put Finn through the emotional ringer.  Did she ever apologize to him for that?  Technically, she sobbed “I am so sorry,” at him right before he kicked the chair over, but I find it difficult to count that because it reads like a gut reaction, even if sincerely meant.  It wasn’t allowed its own time and moment - the scene was not about Quinn apologizing; it was about the calamity of discovering the truth.  For me, the closest Quinn has come to a genuine, unaffected apology is solely the admission, “I have hurt so many people,” to, of all people, Rachel Berry.  (This piece of information is now being filed away into my dossier labeled “Why Rachel and Quinn Should Be Friends, For Serious Though.”)

In general, I don’t want for Quinn to always feel like she owes Finn (or anyone) anything.  It’s just, I want to see Quinn’s perspective on her past relationship with Finn, and I can’t see it any other way than involving some sort of contrition, based on the character’s arc.  I don’t feel like there’s been any closure to the Finn/Quinn romance in any concrete way.  Again, looking at each other mournfully during musical numbers does not really suffice when it comes to conclusive character development.  And an official, simple “I’m sorry,” from Quinn, to Finn, without any ulterior motives or manipulation of sympathy towards either party, would be a really touching scene.

Of course, there are rumors swirling of a rekindling of the Finn/Quinn romance, which I am on the fence about.  If they are going to go back down that road, there are certain things that need to happen to pave the way.  And of course, being of little faith, I doubt the Glee writers are going to take those measures and I’ll find myself yelling at the television yet again.

While we’re on the topic of faith, I feel it would be remiss of me to ramble for a whole week about Quinn Fabray and not mention her religion.  This was a huge factor in Quinn’s previous relationships with both Finn and her parents, and her original identity on the show.  Yet, Quinn was virtually invisible in “Grilled Cheesus.”  To me, it seems a logical conclusion that, when devising an episode centered entirely around characters’ relationships with religion, it would be prudent to include the Christian character who got pregnant at 16.  I don’t know; it seems like she might have something to say about her relationship with God other than, “He helped me a lot through those dark times!”  And maybe that’s true.  Maybe I’m imposing my own preconceived notions about religion and prayer onto her character.  But to me, that statement seems like a discredit to her character arc - especially considering she doesn’t currently read like a character with a lot of faith.  More often than not, Quinn gives the impression of being disillusioned, hardened, and rather cynical.

Perhaps I am reaching for things here.  But if you’re going to have a character who has issues with Christianity, isn’t Quinn a great candidate?  I don’t mean to detract from Kurt’s atheism in the episode, but I have to imagine that at certain points during Quinn’s pregnancy/homelessness/parental abandonment, it had to have felt a little like God had turned His (or his, if you prefer) back on her.  I refuse to believe that Quinn’s relationship with her religion has been unchanged by her experiences, and yet all of “Grilled Cheesus” flew by without any indication otherwise.  But that’s understandable; having Finn pray to a sandwich so he can touch Rachel’s boobs is a 100% more worthwhile use of screentime.  (Okay, that was a low blow.  I realize bitterness is not very becoming, but the three storylines chosen for that episode just boggle my mind.  If you’d like to read my less-sarcastic thoughts on “Grilled Cheesus,” please find them here.)

So, after maneuvering through this section I wasn’t originally intending to write, I’ve actually wandered my way to an interesting conclusion:  the representation of Quinn’s original relationships is really rather convoluted.  You could argue that they have largely fizzled out onscreen in any meaningful way, indicating some kind of character development.  But when they are referenced, mostly in dialogue, it’s not in a way that supports the theory that anything has changed at all - it’s almost as if we’re back to Square One.  Yes, Quinn’s not shilling for the Celibacy Club anymore, but she lights up like a Christmas tree when Finn (of all people) mentions finding Jesus.  Yes, Quinn’s apparently not a minion of Sue Sylvester anymore, but she still needs to seek her out for advice about her dating life.  She appears not to care as much about image, but she still needs to be at the top of the pyramid and date a popular football player.  She doesn’t seem to be actively hateful towards Rachel Berry, yet she still wants to punch her in the face every time she talks.  Well, okay.

Of course, there’s also the inverse of these examples: Quinn saying she’s going to do something, and then her actions completely contradict it.  Remember how she stated that she was going to do things on her own?  And then, there she was in the background of the Back 9, appearing to be with Puck.  She said she didn’t hate Rachel Berry, and yet she needs to find a new way to torture her.  Or even better, she said this year was going to be about her, and now here she is, perfectly content to be dating Sam. 

Oh, writers.  It is these inconsistencies that are truly frustrating to the audience, and fans of the character.  Quinn appears to be a different person, having progressed through her character arc - and she should be.  Yet the writers sometimes seem to forget that, and give us episode-to-episode evidence that completely undoes her development.  I really do not understand how they can be so unwitting about the meaning of a character arc, and how it needs to manifest itself in the storylines.  And what’s worse, it’s like they don’t even know Quinn Fabray at all.





  1. I venture that, while they were dating, Finn also represented for Quinn what she thought she SHOULD have, SHOULD be doing (not in the slang sense, necessarily :B)--nice responsible white boy who doesn't pressure her. What all parents want for their daughter, right? I imagine that for most of Quinn's life she has been doing her best to manifest her parents' "values". On the other hand her pregnancy represents the lone choice she made for herSELF (arguably) and what happened after that. Despite all the familial and school fall-out, I can conceive that once the pregnancy was behind her, she worked really hard to just forget about it, because for a certain kind of mind, that is the sort of thing which reinforces that yes, Mom and Dad are right, yes, my pastor is right, yes, Glenn Beck is right, etc.

    Of course, if they were going to go that route, they shouldn't have made a big deal about the baby having a name and blah de blah.

    Ok. OK. WHAT IS THEIR HORRIFIC PORTMANTEAU I CANNOT REMEMBER. Their first names are basically the same. Fabrudson?

  2. Oh, Quinn and "should." I sincerely hope that the situation you have just detailed is not what they're doing. Because while it makes sense, it is not a good story and not a good character arc. Meh.

    Hee, and their horrific portmanteau is "Fuinn," if I recall correctly. Do I need to make you a chart? ;)

  3. I feel like you made a chart! Or reblogged one on Tumblr. I know this chart exists.

    Yes, I found it. I will just have to save it to a file and consult it as needed. Fuinn, pssh. Fabrudson is WAY better.

  4. I too believe that there hasn't been a real closure scene for Finn and Quinn. The show has alluded in some scenes (during "It's a Man's World," their scene in Britney/Brittany, "Beth," and several times in "Hell-o") that there's clearly still something there. Their small smiles during "Over the Rainbow" does NOT account for a closure scene. And I feel we really need one, because their story line and Quinn's lie was such a pivotal part of the first 13 episodes. (Don't get me started on the lack of PROPER Quinn story lines (that don't include boys and dating) in the back 9 - or this season for that matter.) I agree that Quinn telling Finn that she's genuinely sorry for last year would be a really touching scene. I do feel that they did love each other. As for the whole Puck/Quinn thing...though I admit they were cute, I never had the feeling that Quinn actually did love him - like him, even. It was always Puck, never Quinn. But on the issue of Finn/Quinn, I always felt there was something there. And this is coming from a huge Quinn multi-shipper.

    I heard the rumors and the spoilers. Have you heard about the (SPOILERS!!) whole Sam/Finn fight over Finn getting mad at Quinn for quitting the glee club for the Cheerios and then acting like Quinn's his girlfriend? (Sorry if I spoiled you if you hadn't!) I'm also on the fence about a possible rekindling of the Finn/Quinn relationship. Under different circumstances, sure I'd be down with it, because I love Cory and Dianna's chemistry. But not after Finn just broke up with Rachel and Quinn's still with Sam (and has unresolved issues with Puck that are the obvious elephant in the room). For now, I just want them to finally have the closure they needed, though almost a year late. I just want them to be friends again. Especially because Finn was such an important part of Quinn's life pre-pregnancy and after her parents kicked her out of the house.

    As for Quinn's parents...I'm just hoping (and praying) that the writers will devote an episode to Quinn sometime this season, discussing her feelings about her dad getting kicked out, her mom, and Beth especially. Though I think Sam's good for Quinn (well, the Sam in "Duets", before he became a Finn/Puck hybrid), I want Quinn-dependence for a while.

  5. Anne - don't worry; you didn't spoil me! I've heard that as well and definitely think that if they're going to revisit Finn/Quinn, it better be for some damn good reasons. I sometimes wonder if the writers didn't put closure on F/Q's relationship because they knew they would start it up again. But closure first, and THEN rekindling would make so much more sense, and greatly decrease the likelihood that I would chuck something at my TV screen.

    We really need a Quinn-centric episode; you're right. And even though I really think you can put some justification behind a relationship with Sam, Finn, or Puck, I too want Quinndependence.

    Thanks for reading!


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