Blaine Anderson - I Pretend Like I Do.
Firstly: You know how I said that if anything, Darren playing him hinders my love of Blaine, rather than enhances it? You need to know how weird it is for me to be writing about, shipping, and analyzing the shit out of a character Darren plays. It feels very, very, very strange, almost like if one of you guys created or played a character and I was like, way too into it for it to be uncreepy. (I guess I DO kind of do this with The Wolf House, actually. Sorry, sharpest_rose
.)But I don't even see Darren when I look at Blaine in character. I can't see him at all.
That being said, let us put aside my ongoing Darren Criss Celebrity Conflict and focus on the fact that he is really... really, and truly, an OUTSTANDING actor. I will take down anyone who says otherwise (and oh, people are trying to say otherwise, that he over-acts and isn't subtle, etc, etc.)
I was going to write this post during the Glee hiatus, but then I thought no, I'll wait to see what they give us in the Superbowl/V-Day episodes, I'll just wait. But now I wish I HADN'T waited, so I would have written, dated proof that my head-canon (a lot of the fandom's head-canon) matched what they're actually doing and that we got that head-canon from what has been shown just from episodes 6 - 10 of this season. Due to what Darren put into the few minutes of screen time that he got.
Firstly, I am going to ramble about the stuff that I built about Blaine. Then I will address how the new episodes confirm/deny that, and what I think it all means.
You don't even know, guys, I am SO relieved. Both Ryan and Darren are like blah blah yes Blaine will have layers and... yes, I saw the potential, obviously. I saw what I thought Darren was doing with it, but I was scared that he was.. wasting his energy. Because this is GLEE. Ryan Murphy, God love him, does not create characters with layers, he creates one-dimensional characters who eventually get layers added later on, often extremely contradictory ones. So I have been wondering... and wondering and wondering.. how much of what we saw of Blaine's behavior - not his words, not the script, but his actions, expressions, his fucking eyes, was due to actual direction, and how much was Darren just making it up - making the character look deeper than the writers actually planned to make him. Just watching his eyes in the Don't Cry For Me Argentina scene, guys, watch it again and I challenge you to read him.
This is my Blaine. This is what I saw, based on the scenes from before the hiatus:
He's a Dalton transfer, not a legacy, so while he may possibly come from money, he didn't grow up in that environment like most of the Dalton boys did. This could be one of three things: a) he was messed over at another private school, b) he's rich but he chose to try going to a public school, or or c) that he actually comes from a relatively 'normal' family and isn't the heir to the Vanderbilt fortune or anything (we will save my meta on how Blaine = Anderson Cooper for another day.) I'm thinking it's a) or c), but he's not irreverent about money. I know a lot of very wealthy people - my immediate family include very, very wealthy people, multi-millionares (no, I have no claim on that money :P) and I went to a very Dalton-esque private school in one of the wealthiest areas in Sydney. The biggest tell, when a wealthy person is a douchebag, is whether they act like money matters - whether they acknowledge something as objectively expensive, even if they can easily afford it, and Blaine does. He says that "tuition at Dalton is kinda steep" - he understands that affording it easily makes him privileged. So that tells us something about his background - that even if he's rich, he's not a snob, not oblivious and he doesn't need to check his privilege.
His two most outstanding qualities are that he is desperately good-hearted and that he has a chronic need for approval. This means that for every single person he meets, he needs to fit the mold for whatever place they need him in in their life.
When it comes to Kurt - he was instantly, maybe even subconsciously, attracted to him. This is not my own meta. This happens. I have a gif of it. I doubt most of you have rewound and hashed the hell out of this like me and my comm have, but when he meets Kurt on the stairs, his jaw drops and he just, drinks him in. Just for two seconds, and then he pulls himself together, introduces himself, and pulls Kurt off by the hand (for no reason except to touch?), and Teenage Dream happens, which is just ridiculously unsubtle. Because Blaine only knows how to sing his feelings - more below on this.
Of course Kurt being there did not inspire Blaine to sing Teenage Dream. It was planned already. Some people speculate that it WAS put on for Kurt - not because Blaine was attracted, but because they knew there was a spy wandering around the school, and they wanted to show him what they were bringing. But either way, this did not stop Blaine choosing to sing the whole thing to Kurt, minutes after they met. This is because Blaine is a flirt. Blaine is a flirt because Blaine desperately needs approval from every person he meets. His actions in Teenage Dream are not sleazy, not even that cocky. It isn't arrogance or showing off. It's just 'like me, please like me, look at me and approve of me.'
So for like half an hour or whatever, he allows himself to be attracted, whether it is conscious or instinctual I don't know. But the second he finds out Kurt's problems, he firmly shuts that door in his mind and tries to be what Kurt needs - a mentor, a guide, support, someone who isn't asking anything of him.
Kurt does not know it, but Blaine has never been in that position before. All-Around-Nice-Guy Blaine who will give you the shirt off his back, yes, but he has NOT been in that dominant mentor position before. He is not a gay Yoda, he is not some great leader, he is a seventeen year old boy who left his last school because he could not handle half of what Kurt is handling. He takes on roles for people and does them until they feel real - forgets they were ever NOT real. When he represses things, he represses them so much that he forgets they were things he was repressing, they just become fact. And he thinks that Kurt needs him in that way. So he's repressed the fact he's attracted to Kurt and acts like the white knight who knows exactly how to handle all of Kurt's problems when he couldn't handle his own.
Which is why he sucks so badly at it. Honey, you can have a suave, sure voice all you like, but your advice fucking SUCKS. It SUCKS. Yes, Blaine does not know the full extent of Kurt's drama - the fact he uses the word 'taunted' enforces to me that his was much less physical - but he encourages Kurt to confront the people who are physically attacking him and as a result the whole Karofsky thing happens. Blaine blames himself for it. He was projecting his own guilt about running away and not standing up for himself onto Kurt - trying to redeem himself through encouraging Kurt - and it fucked Kurt over. Which is one of the reasons he'd take off in the middle of a school day and drive two hours to McKinley to help Kurt. I'm sure he would help him even if he had nothing to do with it, but he DEFINITELY feels responsible.
God, if I keep writing this much this is going to end up being ten thousand words no fucking problem. Have some dot points.
- He feels the need to do the right thing morally even when he disapproves personally (reaching out to Karofsky even when his tone was dripping with contempt for him)
- He tries very hard to be in control but has trouble hiding his emotions when they are snarky or bitter - "Kurt told me what you did." "I even complained about it to the faculty."
- It takes a lot for him to swear.
- He's very tactile with people who will allow him to be. He finds comfort through touch and assumes other people will find comfort from them touching him.
- He's a goof. His dapperness is part of his goofiness - it's a conscious affectation. The other Dalton guys are legitimately, mindlessly, woodenly polite, but he does the dapper thing and it's kind of an outlet. Because his natural goofy self was kind of reined in pretty fast when he saw no one else acted like that. His old-worldlyness like the pocket watch and some of his little gestures (start of Baby It's Cold Outside) are all conscious, dorky affectations. He admires the old world, the imagery, class and style of old Hollywood and the Fifties.
- That being said, he IS polite - not because he has to be, but because he is naturally earnest and courteous and good. And needs people to like him. His interactions with Rachel, Will and Mercedes show that pretty clearly, Mercedes especially because I am 100% certain he privately did not appreciate Mercedes 'tuning out' while he discussed the basic human rights of himself and Mercedes' best friend. Kind of also another example of him not being able to stand up for himself very well.
- Because of the whole fitting the mold thing, he goes out of his way to adapt at Dalton. He can't just be like, bare minimum fitting in, his need for approval means he needs to go above and beyond. This includes the hair. Not everyone at the school has hair that controlled - look at that guy with the 'fro in the Warblers. But most people take it as absolute canon that Blaine had The Hair - you know, Darren's actual hair - before Dalton and he adapted to this style in his attempt to become a perfect image of fitting in.
- He's more natural with Kurt, especially off-campus. Be it goofier, camper, more boisterous, less lecturing, whatever. He uses a different VOICE. He doesn't even realize it most of the time, doesn't realize he acts differently, but the more he gets close to Kurt, the more he starts to see Dalton/the Warblers through Kurt's eyes and the more he starts to question things.
- Part of this may be to do with the fact he finds Kurt delightful - laughing at Kurt's jokes about Pavarotti in front of the Warblers - and realizing no one else approves. That causes him a bunch of conflict - you know when he wankily starts using the royal We after Kurt's first rehearsal? I think he's really conflicted, like this has WORKED for him for so long and now here is this other boy, who has had SUCH an awful time and dealt with so much, but is still willing to be himself, be vulnerable, not hide himself in any way? I think that scares and confuses him, he admires and respects Kurt for not caring that people disapprove, and it reminds him that he's not the same way. He probably hasn't been reminded of that in a long time, he's just been doing his thing and has had no one shaking him up, none of the Dalton guys know him well enough to assume he's anything other than the role he portrays.
- Someone in my comm wrote something brilliant, that when Blaine was saying "you'll fit in soon enough," he wasn't saying "you have to fit in." he was saying "you get to." And he wants Dalton to work for Kurt, help Kurt in the same way it helped him. He wants Kurt to feel like he's a part of it. And at the same time that Kurt is actually listening to him and running with his idiotic gilded-canary-cage metaphors, Blaine, the more time he spends with Kurt, is realizing that it maybe isn't working for HIM. He fights it, but being around Kurt reminds him of who he is under the mask, and he starts to feel the cage himself, whereas before Kurt he'd forgotten there were bars there. It also, as I said above, scared the shit out of him because he has not seen someone so unbothered by expressing themselves. Blaine's not ashamed or afraid of being gay - in the sheer technicality of liking men - and no one at Dalton cares/can harass him for that, but they can and do severely disapprove of his individual personality, being informal or non-traditional, or being "weird."
- He's the front man of the Warblers - but he isn't the leader. He's liked and respected, but he isn't on the council. He was put into his position as front man by other people, because he's good - captivating and energetic - but not because he fought to have the solos or anything. That's why he says to Kurt 'you won't make it as a Warbler if all you care about is getting noticed.' - He has no arrogance when he performs - he's not Kurt or Rachel. (That being said, he really does like to make an entrance.) He's in that position because it simply just fit him the best, maybe even because he couldn't blend properly with others - not like Kurt can't/doesn't want to, but a literal physical inability to be co-ordinated. However, they do need a front man, so it works for him to be in that position. But the council want to reprimand him every time he doesn't take things quite serious enough - pulls faces, does something unchoreographed. They let him get away with it because audiences love him.
- When he's performing and goes off-script, it's the only time he feels free, like truly himself. He is subconsciously restless and needs an outlet.
- He doesn't handle going off-script in the real world very well, though. He is an idealist, a romantic, and he plans out situations, has a very set idea of How They Should Go. When they don't go how he plans, he does not know what to do - freezes up, doesn't know how to make the situation keep working in his favor. Like Karofsky pushing him into the fence. Or Kurt doing Don't Cry For Me Argentina - god, his face in that scene was incredible, it was full of so much awe and so much conflict.
- The last main point that is taken as absolute canon is that he will transfer to McKinley. With Kurt, or a while after. So he can face his running-away regrets, and not be stifled.
So yeah. This, and more, is all stuff that I, and other people in the fandom, drew from what was seen in the three episodes Blaine was in up until Christmas. There's more, I am sure there is more, stuff that will come to mind every now and then. I associate a million songs with him, which is something I very rarely do for characters - I don't automatically hear songs and think 'oh, good theme song for so-and-so' but for Blaine it happens all the time. I have a playlist. I have NEVER drawn so much meta, so much canon, from a character I'd seen only snippets about. The only one comparable is Remus Lupin. I seriously - Blaine grabs something in me, I am SO invested in him, and it's 100% not because of Darren. As I said, Darren could be a douchebag, or a nobody, or a robot they activate to play Blaine, but as long as Blaine was played like this, I would still be invested like this. I always expected to support Darren on Glee and like his character, but I NEVER expected to love him this much. NEVER.
And I have never felt so validated.( Blaine in Superbowl Ep and Silly Love SongsCollapse )
I just... this character, you guys. I am HOOKED on him. I am so in love with everything this show is choosing to be right now.