It's the kind of invitation every fangirl dreams about. The powers that be of your favorite TV fandom have invited you to come witness a defining moment of ultimate love between your chosen pairing. They're getting hitched and you can be there -- for real. You just have to sign a document promising you won't tell anyone.
So maybe a little more of a fandom nightmare than a dream.
Yes, I know I am the luckiest Klaine (that's Kurt and Blaine, of Glee fame, if you've been living under a rock since 2008) fan around. With Glee winding down it's final season, they decided to pull out all the stops in entertaining their dedicated if dwindling fanbase, and that includes putting some happy little bows on our favorite relationships and storylines. The fact of the double wedding was, for any dedicated fan, one of the series' worst-kept secrets. Santana and Brittany's nuptials were publicized, but care was taken to make Klaine a shocker, and rightfully so since the duo has been broken up all season long. Of course, dedicated fans already sussed out the outline of things, if not the details. Kurt and Blaine weren't wearing the same suits as the rest of the groomsmen in paparazzi snapped pictures. Extras on set told their friends what they'd seen, little tidbits of news leaking out to unattributed sources. While fandom sat and waited and obsessed over what might have happened at their big moment, I had a document in my phone with the vows hastily transcribed and I couldn't say a thing for fear of Fox suing me into my next life.
But what is being a fangirl if you can't share that joy with others? And what is Glee if it's not about opening yourself up to joy, especially the joy of gay teens finding everlasting love?
We've cared about Kurt Hummel's happiness for six years now, ever since he came out to his dad and pulled off a perfect "Single Ladies" routine on the football field. But for all Glee's first season, Kurt Hummel remained single and tragically enamoured with football jock turned potential new step brother Finn. There was a glimmer of hope at the start of Season 2 when Sam Evans showed up with his bleached blonde hair, but he was deemed straight -- and not flexible on it. Then, when dapper Blaine Anderson two-stepped his way into the pitcher in a pretty Dalton blazer, it was the purest of fandom explosion. They were here, the One True Pairing (OTP), and it was happily ever after or bust for the thousands are true believers. A canonically queer OTP on network television is getting less rare, but it's still a few and far between sort of occurrence, especially one that has had as much cultural reach as Klaine. They were on magazine covers, winning online polls everywhere, and incited fandom uproar when pivotal scenes between the duo were cut for time.
Brittany (Heather Morris) and Santana (Naya Rivera) in "Wedding" episode of Glee
Glee, of course, couldn't be happy with just one groundbreaking queer couple. They turned what started as a lesbian cheerleader gag into an enduring and beautiful love story between two beloved characters, known as Brittana for short. So when presented with the option of gay wedding bells in the final season, they doubled down, sent everyone to a fictional barn in Indiana, and sent the proverbial middle finger to the dwindling minority of anti-marriage equality states with some teenage nuptials. I'll admit, I am not a Brittana shipper by my soul, but I enjoy them as a couple. Some fandom members on both sides of the coin may have bristled at the idea of a double-wedding, but sitting there watching an expression of love multiplied by their interwoven vows, you can't really imagine a more Glee way to do it.
Sure, fine, parts of this wedding are the most annoying parts of Glee. The soap box parts, that brought us Very Special Episodes about school shootings and teen suicide played alongside Sue Sylvester's cartoonish mania. In a vacuum, they're powerful, in the landscape of singing-dancing-nonsensical-Glee they can sometimes feel like Ryan Murphy slamming an agenda down your throat. Luckily, in the script that tension and annoyance is tempered by Mike O'Malley's Burt Hummel, perhaps the most beloved TV father in recent memory, and the only person you forgive the heavy-handed, preaching lines about marriage equality.
Of course, when the choir like me -- or the rest of Out's readership -- is preached to, it may feel trite. The important thing to remember about Glee is there's still more than the choir out there listening to the sermon. The blockbuster numbers of Season 2 viewers who witnessed Kurt and Blaine's first kiss and exploded the blogosphere may have dwindled, but Glee as it finishes its tenure remains a touchstone to a shifting culture. It may feel too saccharine to us to watch a double gay wedding that reminds us over and over again the annoying legal issues forcing them to cross state lines. But if, for just one other person watching, it stretches their psychological boundaries, it's every bit worthwhile.
Behind the scenes, the tone was lighter. O'Malley joked about "his big gay son" during rehearsal, teasing Chris Colfer's Kurt that "Your mom would be so happy if she weren't dead," with the kind of practiced ease that comes with playing family for six years. When it came time to run the actual vows, the first few times through the actors couldn't keep it together. It's wordy. When they got to the parts that reference Shel Silverstein's "The Missing Piece," it required Colfer to stare into Darren Criss' eyes and say "Roll away with me, Blaine" with a straight face. Criss immediately bowed at the middle in laughter, and Colfer bemoaned, "there's no other way for me to say it, sorry." Eventually, they made it through.
We were watching the wide shots, not the emotion-filled close-ups that came later in the day, and despite that as time went on the delivery gets more loving, more sentimental, and more sure. They added in some extra lines, bits for Chord Overstreet's Sam to whisper to Matt Morrison's Will about it being a "double gay wedding" when the shocker for the grooms joining the brides down the aisle is revealed, just to hammer it home to the audience.
Of course, unlike a real wedding, a TV wedding is multiple takes of the exact same thing, over and over. Yes, that meant I got to swoon over the "by the power vested in me" part multiple times. However, this scene lasted a good eight hours of filming, and we only got to stick around for two of them. I considered locking myself in a portable toilet and hoping I'd get left behind to spy on the scene just one more time, from just one more camera angle, but alas. Even the most diehard shipper would rather get into a heated van than struggle through a chilly early morning of seeing the exact same moment over and over again. Thankfully, now I can just re-watch the GIFs on Tumblr and remember fondly my most treasured wedding invite of the year. I didn't even have to buy them a toaster.