Fighter — Blaine Anderson (Darren Criss)
the original first listen friday post was nearing 10k notes the last time i saw it, so mine might seem a little pointless, but a) i’m not in this for the notes, son! and b) i pulled a jaymee and cut out the spoken intro.
this beast remains my favourite from big brother despite the in-show context being my least favourite and i’m really sad because i really wanted it to be awesome. the claims that it’d be problematic for a female empowerment anthem to be sung by a dude were completely valid, but the claims that blaine had nothing to fight against were completely not, and so i was rooting for the show to give us the concrete angst we needed for the number to make sense. ultimately, though, it mostly ended up being an excuse to give us darren criss’s naked wet back.
and i feel bad for darren because he clearly knows the song goes deeper than a self-absorbed brother. he says in his billboard interview that he has so many ideas about what makes blaine tick but is aware of the fact that his voice is not christina aguilera’s and worries that he oversells the anger, which is why the shade being thrown at him for fighter makes me pout because i think people are using it to eclipse what was (in my opinion) an otherwise effective and nuanced performance. fighter was tonally jarring because it fell outside of the relatively light blanket they’d been using for the rest of the blaine/cooper story, but what makes me more forgiving is that at least 90% of that story was cohesive, you know?
because i personally thought everything besides fighter was pitch-perfect. it was comedic, it was fun, and i think glee is at its least offensive when they’re going for comedy but the actors bring in an added undercurrent of something tender and tangible. matt and darren were so attuned to each other and so hilarious together and it was so refreshing to see a queer character get a conflict that had nothing to do with being queer. lyrically, those puzzle pieces for fighter were there — sadie hawkins, the bullying, the fact that blaine turned to boxing after being bullied — but big brother was never going to be the right place for them because the writers made the conscious decision that blaine’s issues with cooper weren’t about them. the song really should have been used at another time and for another antagonistic relationship (maybe papa anderson?), so i’m going to have to do what i do with most blaine songs: ignore the botched potential, close my eyes, and dream up a perfect execution in a parallel universe.