“I was wondering how long it would take,” says Glee star Darren Criss, talking to Radio Times about the days when his character, Blaine Anderson, was just friends with Kurt Hummel (Chris Colfer). The pair seemed made for each other romantically, but Glee held off for more than half a series before bringing them together.
Ever since Moonlighting famously jumped the shark as soon as Bruce Willis and Cybill Shepherd got it on, keeping viewers interested after will-they-won’t-they stories end has been a problem. “It’s that weird paradox,” Criss observes. “The best part is the anticipation, but at the same time you don’t want to p*** people off by not giving them what they want. I’m glad they finally did get together. The trick is there are so many other things happening in the show – unlike Moonlighting, it’s not just these two people.”
When Kurt and Blaine finally became a couple towards the end of season two, it was quite a moment: gay kisses are still a relatively rare sight on mainstream American television, let alone gay kisses between schoolkids on a show with a huge following among young viewers. It was to Glee’s credit that the storyline didn’t feel contrived or issue-led – but it was at the centre of a very direct treatment of the issue of homophobia in schools.
“One of the many reasons why I’m lucky to be on this hit show is that they happened to cast someone like me who’s incredibly invested in the social and political package that it entailed,” says Criss. “That was just blind luck, they had no idea that it’s something I cared about and grew up with.”
Criss says the quality of the Glee scripts means he doesn’t feel the pressure of dealing with such social issues, even though they mean everything to a lot of the show’s fans. “The fact that it’s a young teen homosexual relationship is kinda superfluous. That’s the beauty of what Glee’s been able to pull off. They’re making things accessible – music, ideals, anything. They make them fun and palatable to people. Never in my wildest dreams did I think a relationship like Kurt and Blaine could be as fresh and exciting to a mainstream American and world audience. Ten years ago, forget it. No way. But they’ve done it right.”
So where to now for Kurt and Blaine? “I think they’re in the honeymoon phase,” Criss says. “But before Kurt and Blaine got together, [head writer] Ryan Murphy said that if they ever did – and I hope this is true – he wanted it to be as flawed and as delicate and troubled as any relationship. I hope they continue to grow and learn from each other. I hope they have trials and tribulations like anybody else.
“Kurt and Blaine is a rather ordinary relationship. When people were rooting for them to get together, it wasn’t because there were these two gay teenagers who should be together [because they’re both gay]. It was more, I really like this person, I really like that person, they should be together. It was like rooting for Ross and Rachel, or Niles and Daphne. It’s just two people you like.”