Glee Season Finale — Sue Sylvester and the Briar Patch

Last night’s episode of Glee got off on the right foot with a snarky nod to Song of the South. Sue Sylvester, the deliciously evil cheerleading coach, takes a shot at Will Schuster, the dopey glee coach:

“Your hair looks like a briar patch. I keep expecting racist, animated Disney characters to pop up and start singing about living on the bayou.”

Gosh, I’m not sure whether to buy Sue a drank or punch her in the throat.

I’m thankful that the writers at Fox (a) finally made a fresh joke about Will’s hair; (b) specified that the racist characters are Disney’s; and (c) had Sue Sylvester deliver the line on the season finale.

Yet as much as I like getting folks to think about the Uncle Remus stories, I can’t say that I’m thrilled that this dimension of Song of the South is being perpetuated in prime time. Sue Sylvester is always over the top, and this is no exception. But given the film’s, uh, reputation I don’t think people will take it as such.

And seriously, how many people watch Glee? Millions!

How many people have watched this video of Akbar telling the story of Brer Rabbit and the Briar Patch? Like, 4. And half of them can’t tie their shoes.

It’s awesome that Glee provided such a great reference to Brer Rabbit, but it’s a shame that it further brands him as something so negative.

Also, can we talk about how it’s at least a little ironic that a show so reliant on stereotypes is calling out other stereotypes?

Brer Rabbit, briar patch, Disney, Glee, Jane Lynch, Song of the South, Sue Sylvester, Uncle Remus

Comments (7)

  • As soon as I heard it I thought to myself, I’ve gotta tell Lain and Amelia! You guys have me well programed. 🙂

  • I’m with you Lain. But I did laugh out loud last night and again today watching the clip. That Sue.

  • Hrmm. “Racist”? Even though it’s a good joke, I think they shorthanded it too much. The characters in SotS are racist? Or did they mean to say that they perpetuate racist stereotypes (the argument against SotS I’ve heard addressed here)? Two very different things. Admittedly, I haven’t seen SotS since I was a kid, so I’m sort of asking if they could have really meant “racist”?

    Regardless, the joke is precisely what Sue Sylvester would say – her goal is to infuriate those around her, and she’ll come at you from multiple angles, especially if they’re factually incorrect and sure to rub you the wrong way. From the Glee writers’ perspective, it’s a dangerous form of humor – dangerous because it’s so outlandish that it’s very funny, but it’s also easily repeated by people who don’t think about why it’s funny. And they just repeat it and lose the sense of why it is funny and then it becomes wrong. It’s like the guy who quotes lines from drunken frat boy movies – is he laughing at the frat boys, or laughing with them?

  • FYI, in this week’s edition of Entertainment Weekly, the quote is featured as one of the week’s best. So even more publicity for it. 🙂

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