We continue our Pride celebrations over at 4YE with our next LGBTQ+ ship. And what list would be complete without at least one of Glee’s influential couples? That’s right, none!
They may not have been the first same-sex couple to grace our TV screens, but Glee’s Kurt Hummel (Chris Colfer) and Blaine Anderson (Darren Criss), or Klaine as they have become known, are certainly one of the most popular and beloved. You need look no further than any Favourite Couple/Ship list doing the rounds, be it LGBTQ+ specific or not, and you’ll find our boys up there, if not topping it. And this is still the case two years after the series ended.
So what was it about this couple that so endeared them to so many around the world? That had “They kissed” trending worldwide following their first kiss? That had fans in tears and up in arms at even the hint of trouble in paradise? And Heaven help the poor actors cast as potential love interests for either of them, either when they were together or broken up.
Firstly, and superficially so we can just get it out of the way, they are two unbelievably hot guys with amazing chemistry, who play off each other fantastically, and who doesn’t want to see that? However, if that was all they offered, they wouldn’t have had the impact and the following that they had, and still have. Somehow the stars aligned to get the right couple, mixed in with the perfect actors that played them and the social movements occurring across the globe and that combination created something magical.
While we adore Klaine, their relationship really fits into the bigger overall story of Kurt’s journey through adolescence to adulthood. When we first met Kurt in season 1, he was coming to terms with his sexuality and his identity, developing his first crush (awkwardly with Cory Monteith’s Finn, the straight quarterback who would go on to become his step-brother), and dealing with the bullying and hate associated with all this in small-town America.
Colfer didn’t play Kurt for laughs or as the comic-relief sassy sidekick (though his sass and awesome one-liners are pretty hard to beat, they were a character trait rather than a gay stereotype), nor did he play him as a victim or a PSA. Instead, what we got was a true, multifaceted flesh and blood character who struggled, had some wins as well as loses, stumbled along trying to work out just who he was and how he fitted in in the grand scheme of life and we all fell completely in love with him. We wanted to see him triumph, we wanted to see his dreams come true, and more than anything we wanted to see him fall in love and win the guy.
Enter Blaine Anderson, the absolutely clueless dreamboat who “sings like a dream” and sweeps young Kurt off his feet faster than you can say “Teenage Dream”. And with Kurt, he swept up all of us as well.
What was initially meant to just be a mentoring friendship between the pair was quickly rewritten following the obvious chemistry between the two and the very vocal fan reaction to the pair, with many openly campaigning for series creator Ryan Murphy to get the two together.
While it took another 10 episodes, some roadblocks and then the death of a canary for the pair to finally get together, when they did get together, the scene we were given was well worth the wait. There is a reason that “they kissed!” trended during and following the episode. What we got wasn’t a quick peck you might give a beloved family member, nor was there a quick scene change as the two went in for the kiss. It wasn’t overly sexual, nor was it used for comic relief. Instead, it was beautiful, simple, passionate and caring. The boys were given the time they and their storyline deserved. In short, it was the perfect “real” first kiss for Kurt and just what we have wanted to see for him if not from the beginning of the series, then at least from the third episode. To see what we mean, check out the clip below.
Many teenage TV relationships are widely unrealistic, and given some of the story lines seen in the first season of the show (Finn thinking a girl can pregnant from being a hot tub with him) it would have been very easy to turn Klaine into a caricature of how a teenage gay couple would behave. Thankfully this was not the case and Ryan Murphy and the writers showed the highs and lows of the relationship between the boys.
Even though Klaine did get their happy ever after as we saw in “Dreams Come True”, there is no doubt that there were quite a few bumps in the road along the way. Some fans may say that Ryan Murphy and the writers were too cruel to Kurt and Blaine and that they made them act in unexpected ways (Blaine cheating, Blainofksy), however very few real relationships are perfect and without their struggles.
In “The First Time” we saw Kurt and Blaine take their relationship to the next level, and it was dealt with in no different a way than the mirror story of Finn and Rachel which is something that was not commonplace in a TV show aimed at a teenage audience.
As all Klaine fans will know, the last time we saw Klaine together, they were happily married and they were parents (thanks to Rachel Berry acting as their surrogate), and for younger LGBTQ+ fans to see a gay couple get their “happy ever after” is a positive thing especially on Prime Time television.
To see Kurt find someone who accepts him for who he is, and go through life with was something all his fans wanted and by the end of the series we see that Kurt did get someone to slow dance with at prom, and at his wedding. Blaine is the one that Kurt gets to slow dance through life with and that is an awesome message for everyone.
The reaction from the fans to the couple was immediate and intense, Klaine fans are definitely some of the most loyal and enduring fans in the Glee fandom. Even now that the show has finished there are still pages and pages dedicated to the couple, and the amount of fanfiction that has been and is still being written about Kurt and Blaine is impressive. This is a fandom that raised US$9,500 on a tissue box signed by Colfer and Criss to mark the heartbreaking season 4 episode, “The Break Up”, well surpassing the funds raised from similar tissue boxes signed by Finchel (Lea Michele and Cory Monteith), which raised $3,500, and Brittana (Naya Rivera and Heather Morris), which raised $1,850.
In the interview with Colfer and Criss below, looking back over the five years of the relationship, Colfer sums up the Klaine factor so succinctly: “What I think is groundbreaking is the response that our characters got. That is what is truly groundbreaking about this story – the love that straight people, gay people and just the world had for all this.”
And it is a love that continues to endure today, gaining new fans as the series does the rounds of repeats and original fans introduce the next generation to this beloved couple.
Now that we’ve discussed this super couple, let’s have a look at two more key moments over their five years together on Glee!