“I want Lord Tubbington to kick his ecstasy addiction”: On Brittany Pierce, Deflective Metaphor, and How Brittany Always Protects Santana, No Matter What
Okay, so in my rewatch of episode 3x14, I discussed Brittany’s quirky answer to Mr. Schue’s question about to what she looks forward in the future, namely: “I want Lord Tubbington to kick his ecstasy addiction.”
In that rewatch, I posited that Brittany’s two primary motivations for responding to Mr. Schue’s question with a Brittanyism in this situation are
1. to lighten Santana’s mood after Santana makes herself emotionally bare to the group (“I’m looking forward to the day when my grandmother loves me again”),
2. to conceal her true plans for the future, whatever they may be.
However, after subsequent rewatches and thought, I’ve realized that, in addition to filling these two other functions, Brittany’s answer fits the pattern for a particular type of Brittanyism: namely, the one through which Brittany veils negative feelings she has surrounding things which Santana does or things which happen to Santana by making inane statements about her cat.
Elsewhere, I’ve discussed how “Brittany assigns fantastic or uncanny origins to various occurrences in her life as a kind of code for people disappointing her, letting her down, making her feel vulnerable, etc.”
She, in particular, seems fond of channeling negative feelings she has surrounding bad situations with Santana into metaphors about her fabulous cat.
For instance, in 2x19, Brittany accuses Lord Tubbington of smoking in an attempt at levity during the second taping of Fondue for Two, even though what she really feels isn’t disappointment in her cat, but in Santana, who just broke her heart.
Likewise, in 3x04, when Rory reveals that Santana wants Brittany to defect from New Directions with her, Brittany deflects Rory’s curiosity about the exchange with a comment about how she wonders why Santana didn’t just wish for “Lord Tubbington to quit smoking” when she found out that Rory was a leprechaun.
While Brittany’s statement baffles Rory—and rightfully so—Brittany isn’t just jawing or making a joke with it; instead, she is expressing her disappointment that Santana didn’t voice her request to Brittany directly because it hurts Brittany’s feelings to think that Santana is too scared to talk to her about important things when she needs to do so.
So in 3x14, when Brittany references Lord Tubbington and his apparent addiction to ecstasy? She once again does so as a metaphorical reference to Santana, only this time it’s not because of something Santana did, but rather because of what other people did to Santana.
As others have pointed out—including my dear friend kairos27 in her emotionally wrecking new fic—others may have forgotten what happened to Santana Lopez after Finn and Reggie Salazar outed her, but Brittany Pierce has not.
Brittany remembers how scared Santana was and how much the whole experience shook her. Brittany remembers that Santana’s grandmother, whom Santana loves so much, disowned Santana and threw Santana out of her house after Santana had no choice but to reveal her secret. Brittany remembers all the crying, the shaking, the tears, and the fact that when Santana was at her lowest, the school threatened her with suspension and that the only thing anyone did to “help” Santana was sing her offensive songs about how her sexual orientation is just all fun and games and tell her to get over herself.
Brittany remembers that the guy who outed Santana never even really apologized for doing so.
Brittany sees that guy sitting across from Santana in the circle.
Brittany knows that guy has no clue how what he did to Santana is just like what those kids at Dave’s school did to him.
Brittany knows that because Santana is “okay” now, no one will ever fully apologize to her for what happened; no one will ever realize how perfectly fucked up the whole situation was or how much it damaged Santana.
Brittany knows that no one will ever even acknowledged how strong and brave Santana has been going forward from having Finn and Reggie out her. Nobody ever gives Santana the credit she deserves.
And, frankly? It breaks Brittany’s heart.
And when Brittany gets heartbroken in public, but doesn’t want to talk about it? She uses metaphors about her cat to divert attention away from her emotions.
Ecstasy addictions are pretty fucking serious shit.
They’re almost impossible to kick without help.
But for as serious as they are, the idea of a cat having an ecstasy addiction is absurd—almost to the point of DaDaism.
So when Brittany says “I want Lord Tubbington to kick his ecstasy addiction,” she speaks to the fact that what happened to Santana is every bit as serious as what happened to Dave and that the fact that people can’t see that is absurd—like just totally fucking ridiculous.
What she says is “I want Lord Tubbington to kick his ecstasy addiction,” but what she means is “I want you guys to realize that outing someone is never okay, no matter how the person reacts to it. I want you to realize that it’s ridiculous that everybody keeps treating Finn like a hero, even after what he did to the person I love more than anything—even after how he hurt her and never apologized. I want to keep Santana safe so that she never has to hurt like that again. I want everyone to realize that she has feelings and that, even though she’s strong, she’s vulnerable. What you say matters. Words matter.”
Some fans have wondered why Brittany “doesn’t say anything about Santana” in this scene, but I would posit that she does actually say something about Santana here.
As always with Brittany, she says more in metaphor, subtext, and the words she doesn’t use directly than in her actual, literal discourse (see here).
BrittBritt loves Santana so much; she keeps Santana’s heart safe.
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