So this morning I was walking to work, listening to Glee songs, and I started thinking about that time when Santana came into town and took over the role of Rizzo even though Tina wanted it and actually, y’know, goes to the school and by all rights should have been the obvious next choice after Unique was out.
And I thought about how upset Tina was about that, and about everything, and how in the past she’s been annoyed at being backgrounded, but she was willing to wait her turn, and then this year happened and it was HER TURN in all the ways she’d been told to expect. Like, in the universe where waiting your turn and then being ready for it when it comes is a bulletproof formula, she did *everything right,* and that universe she’d have had all her Glee dreams come true happily ever after. But. She goes into the New Rachel competition in 4x01, fierce and ready and not above bribery, even, and gets fourth place. Out of four. And then she dives in again for role in Grease, and nope. Nope. Still not your turn yet, Tina Cohen-Chang. Maybe another time.
And even fandom is sitting here like, wait, but, no. This isn’t fair. This isn’t how the story goes!
And this is where it gets kind of awesome.
Like, this is basically when I fall in love with Tina’s arc, for the first time ever. This is when I start to see bits of my own soul inside this storyline, like I have with so many other storylines on Glee but never, particularly, with her before.
Because when you look back, Tina’s always been good at making things happen when she really wanted them to (Mike’s parents and school situation, yes, but I’m sure there’s more around Artie and other stuff—ugh, WHERE IS THAT TINA-SCENES EDIT OF THE SHOW, FANDOM, I WANT IT SO MUCH), but she kind of held that side of her in reserve, I think? Maybe she didn’t think it was such a great way to be, or she didn’t trust it, or didn’t quite recognize it in herself as a thing she could use more of the time? Or didn’t want to overpower anyone else, or be a bad friend—there are a lot of possible reasons.
But Tina’s always had it in her.
And finally, about halfway through this season, she says “fuck it” and starts *using* it. And holy shit, Tina Cohen-Chang, Asian Persuasion, you were not kidding with that superhero name. You can make things happen. You can be strong and confident and take a stand and bend the world to your will. Maybe you’ve always even been a little scared of how *much* you could do that. And maybe with good reason. Because it feels so good, making things happen, riding that high, not waiting your turn anymore but TAKING your turn. But then, where does that stop? Where’s the line of what you’re not allowed to take, what’s not yours to try for, what might not be worth the cost. You’re getting to the point where you’re starting to break things that matter, in the name of carving the path you want for yourself through the world. It’s a tricky balance, once you tap into that power, knowing when and what situations to go 100%, when to pull back, how to navigate back and forth between the two.
Tricky and amazing and beautifully told so far (and unsettlingly autobiographical, in ways I don’t think I even quite connected the dots on until I saw it played out on my TV like this), and I can’t WAIT to see where this storyline goes next.
And, in retrospect, I’m so so glad that the world didn’t give Tina what she wanted until her patience broke and she decided to take it, because a) the story of the the world magically doing the nice thing sometimes, while not unrealistic, is also not particularly interesting to watch, and b) the story of Tina Cohen-Chang Tops the Fuck Out Of Everything But Forgot To Give Everything a Safeword is just so incredibly my jam right now.
Okay, I want to get in on Glee Meta Week, so here’s a thing for Day 2!