Santana Lopez was one of the best characters in Glee. Played by the late Naya Rivera, Santana started as a supporting character with barely any screen time, but Rivera’s undeniable talent and tendency to steal every scene she was in made her a series regular in season 2.
Shady and at times outright vicious, Santana had no time for anyone’s tomfoolery. She was straightforward and always spoke her mind. Her mean girl persona hid a soft interior, but that didn’t prevent her from delivering some of the most scathing insults in the show’s history.
Updated on June 30, 2022 by Amanda Bruce: Rivera’s talent and charm made Santana Lopez a fan favorite despite her savage delivery of some of the most creative insults in the show. Santana was one of the few characters who could keep up with Sue Sylvester’s venom. Despite drama on set and the numerous tragedies surrounding cast members of the show, fans will continue to connect with Glee, especially because it’s now available to stream on Disney+.
Santana Sees Enemies, Not Gender
“When I Look At A Person, I Don’t See Someone Who… Has This Or That Number Of Chromosomes. I Just See Someone Who I May Or May Not Have To Destroy. So If You Ever Tell Me What To Do, I Will End You.”
One interesting thing about Santana’s savagery is that no one gets away unscathed. She is more than willing to take down anyone who gets in her way. It doesn’t matter if they’re a friend, an enemy, a teacher, or a student; Santana won’t allow anyone to mess with her.
Fans are quick to see that her anger is a result of deeper issues, but even as she works on them, Santana is quick to give insults to those who might block her ambitions. The only one to escape her wrath is Brittany.
Santana’s Insulting Pep Talk
“I Went To School With Rachel Berry, Not The Soggy Mess Of A Woman Who Stands Before Me Today Going Back And Forth Between A Flop High School Ex And That Terrifying Waiter With A Pager.”
When Santana makes the move to New York and lives with Kurt and Rachel, she doesn’t curb her insults for her new roommates. She does, however, work them into her supportive speeches.
Though Santana might call Rachel a “soggy mess of a woman” when Rachel finds herself in the middle of a romantic dilemma with Brody and Finn, the former cheerleader means well. She wants Rachel to be strong and successful, and she doesn’t think Rachel needs either of those men in her life to do it. While she does eventually side more with Finn in the struggle for Rachel’s affection, Santana also tries to give Rachel a pep talk to get her out of the love triangle altogether — even if it doesn’t exactly work.
Santana Isn’t Afraid To Call Out Mr. Schue
“You All Cheer Now But Just Wait Until He Starts Rapping.”
Will Schuester, arguably Glee’s main character, did several unpopular things during his tenure as coach of the New Directions. However, nothing was more infamous than his constant rapping throughout season 1. From “The Thong Song” to “Bust a Move,” it seemed no rap song was safe from Mr. Schue.
Santana had very little respect for Will — or any authority figure for that matter — and she always let him know it. During the New Directions’ reunion after the apparent disbanding of the glee club, she’s quick to point out how everyone hates his rapping. Mr. Schue, already used to Santana’s biting remarks, just smiles and shakes his head.
Santana Is Fine With Antagonistic Friendships
“Blink-182 Hated Each Other And Still Found A Way To Continue To Suck As A Band For Years.”
Glee spends much of season 5 building up Rachel and Santana’s friendship, only to ruin everything when the latter becomes the former’s understudy in Funny Girl. They spend most of their time arguing, and as entertaining as it was to see them trading insults, it was a shame that their friendship got destroyed.
Kurt always tried to fix things between them but never could. At one point, he demands they put their differences aside for the sake of their band, Pamela Lansbury — one of the many storylines that Glee dropped. Santana, ever the professional, claims that if Blink-182 could put their differences aside “to continue to suck as a band for years,” Pamela Lansbury could, too. It’s perhaps the most millennial insult Santana ever said, but it’s no less funny.
Santana Can Combine Her Insults For Maximum Effect
“You Were Born To Play Mrs. Claus, And Mrs. Butterworth, And Bea Arthur, And Barbara Bush.”
Santana and Kurt had a friendly but contentious relationship. But Santana’s unique brand of shameless and shady honesty also got the best of her, prompting her to offend even when she didn’t mean to.
During the “Previously Unaired Christmas” episode, Kurt and Rachel take jobs as Santa’s elves in the mall and lose control when Santa’s actor becomes drunk. She suggests Kurt step in to help, saying he was “born to play Mrs. Claus.” She then proceeds to mention other older women, including Bea Arthur and Barbara Bush. Kurt, already used to her savage ways, doesn’t even get upset.
Santana Uses Some Of Her More Creative Insults On Finn
“Worry About Yourself, Fetus Face.”
Another chaotic relationship was that of Santana and Finn. They sleep together in season 1, but their dynamic deteriorates, and by season 3, they have an ongoing feud. Things worsen when he outs her in front of the entire school.
Along with the rest of the glee club, Finn forms a quasi-intervention and tells Santana they’re worried about her. She dismisses their concerns, firing back at Finn and telling him to, “worry about (himself), fetus face.” The insult is hilarious in that it comes out of nowhere, but Finn refuses to back down. Their friendship eventually gets better, but not before she throws out myriad insults his way.
Santana Kisses And Tells
“I’ve Kissed Finn, And Can I Just Say? Not Worth The Buck.”
A big part of Santana and Finn’s relationship was their constant trading insults. Their dynamic is very toxic, and it’s one of the few things that make no sense about Santana’s character.
During season 2, Finn attempts to get back together with Quinn and devises a kissing booth to kiss her while she’s still dating Sam. When he announces his plan to his New Directions teammates, Santana points out how disappointing Finn is in the kissing department, adding that he isn’t, “worth the buck.” For once, Finn stands up for himself, and the rest of the team ends up lashing out against Santana.
Santana Gives Rachel A Dressing Down
“Anyone Ever Tell You That You Dress Like One Of The Bait Girls On To Catch A Predator?”
Santana Lopez always had a killer sense of style. In fact, she was one of the most fashionable mean girls on TV, and her outfits were always on point. On the contrary, Rachel’s wardrobe was full of highly infantilized pieces like sweaters, tights, and colorful, albeit off-putting, shoes.
Santana’s mockery of Rachel’s clothes was constant throughout the show. At one point, she even compares Rachel to “one of the bait girls on To Catch a Predator.” The insult is so accurate that even Finn, Rachel’s boyfriend at the time, lets out an involuntary chuckle.
Santana References An Obscure Sequel With Her Insult
“I Will Hit You So Hard That You Won’t Be Able To Wake Up Until You’re Old Enough To Be Funny Lady.”
Santana and Rachel’s rivalry over Funny Girl reaches a boiling point when rehearsals start and they have to play nice with each other. The director even has them sharing a dressing room, further complicating things between them.
The two get into a heated argument, with Rachel declaring that she’ll never let Santana play the role and she might even consider slapping her again. Santana fires back with a hilarious and menacing warning. The icing on the cake is the reference to Funny Girl’s actual sequel, Funny Lady. Immediately after the argument, the two perform a cover of The Police’s “Every Breath You Take,” one of the best duets in Glee.
Santana Welcomes Sam Back With An Insult
“I’ve Missed You So Much Since Your Family Packed Their Bags, Loaded Them In Your Mouth, And Skipped Town.”
Many fans forget that Santana and Sam dated during season 2. Their romance was short-lived and inconsequential; he was on a rebound from his doomed relationship with Quinn, and she was in denial about her sexuality and her attraction toward Brittany.
Sam leaves between season 2 and 3, but he returns to compete in Sectionals, rejoining New Directions. To welcome him, Santana delivers one of her most unnecessary insults, suggesting Sam’s family packed their bags “and loaded them in [his] mouth.” Sam doesn’t seem to mind and actually laughs at the jab. By that point, there had been so many jokes about his lips that he was probably numb to them, and also saw it as Santana welcoming him home.
Santana Calls Out Kurt (Again, And With More Venom)
The “Jagged Little Tapestry” Rant
Even though they are on good terms and share a fair amount of screen time, Kurt and Santana aren’t the best of friends, and that’s a shame. Their feeble relationship almost breaks during season 6 when Kurt interrupts Santana’s proposal to Brittany to say that they’re too young to get married. While Santana doesn’t clap back immediately, she does let Kurt really have it in the hallway.
The entire rant is nearly a minute-and-a-half where she throws every kind of insult at Kurt. She says he has “a mouth like a cat’s a**,” suggests he looks like someone “who removed (his) top-row dentures every time (he) smiles,” and makes fun of his clothing, saying he dresses “like an extra out of one of Andy Dick’s more elaborate wet dreams.” The rant, in which Kurt is left hurt and Rachel watches in shock, has become one of the most iconic Santana quotes in the series.
According to the Showmance or No-Mance podcast, Rivera and Chris Colfer hated the scene and found it difficult to get through because of the very specific insults, but it’s a testament to both of their talents that the audience can’t tell either of them had a hard time when watching.