GothWatch: Tina Cohen-Chang

Jenna Ushkowitz as ‘Tina Cohen-Chang’ in “Glee” (S1)Of course, there’s no way I could write about the first season of Glee without shining a spotlight on the show’s super-cute goth-girl ‘Tina Cohen-Chang’, played by Jenna Ushkowitz… who revealed to Out magazine that the character didn’t actually become a “goth” until the day before shooting began, when the costume designers decided that the frumpy “grandma jeans” and sweater vests they’d originally picked out for Tina made her look too much like her love-interest Artie! Although Tina’s dark punky outfits are consistently awesome, she doesn’t really behave in an overtly (or stereotypically) gothic way, and seems perfectly happy to smile and sing-along with the rest of the show-choir during all the sappy/poppy numbers they perform… so it seemed a slightly superficial, not-even-skin-deep affectation right up until episode #1.20, when Tina’s gothiness became a major plot-point and bone of contention…

Jenna Ushkowitz as ‘Tina Cohen-Chang’ in “Glee” (S1)After an outbreak of mock-vampiric Twilight-inspired attacks in the school corridors, ‘Principal Figgins’ (Iqbal Theba) decided to come down hard on gothiness in general, and explicitly ban Tina from dressing in what he referred to as “lacy demon clothes”, or risk being suspended… thus forcing her to slob around in non-descript sweats for several scenes instead. Boo! SPOILER: She eventually realises that she can scare the conveniently credulous Figgins into reversing his decision by sticking in a false set of fangs and claiming to be part of a super-dangerous Asian vampire clan, who’ll bite him up if he doesn’t respect their darkling dress-code. Hurrah!

Oh, and at one point in the episode she specifically mentions being “obsessed with death”, which to my mind marks her out as a kosher, capital-G Goth, rather than just a “poseur”… but that’s basically the only evidence we get over the course of the entire season. Hmmm…

P.S. Apparently May 22nd has been officially designated “World Goth Day”, so cheers to anyone celebrating their own gorgeous gothiness today. Paint it black, brothers and sisters!

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About deecrowseer

A comic book writer with an interest in feminism, philosophy, and affirmative action.
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