By Katelyn Anne | TV | November 11, 2010 |
By Katelyn Anne | TV | November 11, 2010 |
Someone needs to punch Will Schuester in the tooth. Occasionally, I worry I’m being too hard on the guy. He’s a teacher (a thankless job with little pay) who works with a bunch of misfits and whose ex-wife had him believing that she was pregnant to keep him locked down to their crazy unhealthy marriage. Surely, this guy deserves some sympathy. Yet, consistently, Schuester manages to be the least likable character on the show. I was more uncomfortable watching Will trying to fix Beiste’s problems than I was watching Beiste hack away at meat in lingerie. Despite my own mailman fantasies for Schuester, the episode wasn’t terrible, but it wasn’t great, either. Kurt got to shine and Puck was back, but rather than focus on the story and just allow for two (mostly) natural song performances, they shoved in a total of four, which led to some poor hair crimping choices and lack-luster musical endeavors. Let’s cut off our crap-covered calf to spite the Cheerio, shall we?
Bullying was the main theme of the episode and it helped develop some nice character stories. The first victim of the night was Coach Beiste. The boys in Glee club, upon discovering that they’re dating the only girls who won’t put out, decide to find something to help cool them down when things get a little too hot. Finn, who has a traumatic mailman experience to help him out, tries to help Sam find something to stop from losing control too early. Upon realizing that he could never hit a public servant, Sam settles on imagining his coach in compromising positions. Some of the other kids in Glee club start finding out about it and start using Beiste’s name as a mental wet blanket, which is all well and good until Beiste finds out. Kids will be dumb and kids who are horny will be even dumber, so I can’t blame the teenagers for trying to find anything to help them relax, even if it’s a little mean. However, I can blame Will for telling Beiste. Who does that? Honestly, who in their right mind would volunteer information like that? Schuester, a simple, “The kids are being dumbasses and I’m handling it, but you don’t need to worry about it at all,” probably would have sufficed. But no, you decide to tell a woman who has expressed to you before that she has insecurity issues that kids are using her as a mental image in order to become less aroused. She, totally humiliated, decides to quit.
After a hilarious confetti cannon scene from Sue, Will tries to stop Beiste from quitting by having a sit down with her. And then he kissed her! Of all the dumbass moves in the history of dumbass moves, that has got to be the biggest. Beiste shares that she’s never been kissed and that it hurts the most because of what it symbolizes: the promise of a connection and intimacy and caring. In this revelation, it becomes clear that Beiste is less interested in a token of someone’s affection and more interested in actual affection. Will decides that a pity kiss will fix everything and just kisses her. I don’t know if I’m more frustrated with Will in thinking that he could fix everything with a little peck or the writers who believed that a woman who holds such high esteem for genuine connection would be totally fine with a loveless kiss. It was infuriating and ridiculous and had me yelling at the screen. It was a childish choice that further illustrates how immature Will is. He used to be the protagonist, the guy audiences could get behind, but now he feels like a self-absorbed idiot who’s less likable than the show’s antagonist, Sue.
However, there were mature character interactions that didn’t involve a single adult. The Glee kids are growing up and none as quickly as Kurt. If Will is becoming my kicking-post, Kurt is becoming my champion. Watching Kurt being assaulted by the bully, Karofsky, was painful, but I was so glad to see him call out Will and the rest of the staff for tolerating homophobia. Fed up with the school and the Glee club boys who ignore his ideas, Kurt decides to spy on the all boy’s school glee club, the Warblers (an obnoxious name for any group). Kurt meets Blaine (why they’d give him an 80’s teen movie villain name, I’ll never know) who makes eyes at Kurt during an impromptu performance and Kurt is star struck. Blaine realizes that Kurt isn’t a new kid and calls him out on it over coffee with some of the other guys. Kurt asks if everyone at the table is gay, Blaine says that he is, but his friends aren’t and the school has a zero tolerance policy for harassment. It was nice to see someone open up with Kurt who comes from a place of understanding. Blaine admits that he was tired of the teasing and abuse at his own school, but he admits that he regrets not standing up to the jerks who put him down and the staff who ignored him. For once, Kurt isn’t told what to do and given the option to figure it out for himself. So often, Kurt is told to dial it back, but Blaine is one of the few people that is allowing Kurt to choose his own option and dammit, Kurt deserves someone who can be an ally. Even if Blaine and Kurt don’t end up in a relationship, which the show seems to be alluding to, I’m glad to see that Kurt finally has someone to talk to and be encouraged by.
Kurt’s emboldened enough to confront Karofsky, but it doesn’t quite go as planned. Kurt stands up to the Neanderthal and after a few zingers, Karofsky grabs Kurt and kisses him. Poor Kurt is stunned and confused and immediately all alone. After the brutal kiss by Karofsky, Kurt needs a shoulder to lean on and he goes to Blaine. Is it a little cliché that Kurt’s biggest bully is struggling with his own homosexuality? Sure, but they handled it well. Despite an intervention from Kurt and Blaine, Karofsky didn’t immediately open up or vow to work on himself, he kept being a jerk and it seemed realistic. It’s disappointing to see someone reject himself so completely that it turns to outward violence, but for his position on the football team and the obvious stigma in the community, it at least makes sense for his character, no matter how heartbreaking it is to watch. It’s a hard truth that people will still lash out against themselves and others, because they cannot accept who they are and the show made a bold decision not to just gloss over this sad fact. Blaine, thank goodness, responded maturely, after finding out that Karofsky gave Kurt his first kiss that mattered (I’m assuming that this means from a guy, since last season, in a ditch to hide his homosexuality, he made out with Brittany) he offered to let Kurt talk it out with him. Blaine, unlike Will, knows a kiss isn’t a cure-all and sometimes someone just needs to talk. It’s nice to know that there are still characters on the show who can act maturely and I’m really hoping for Blaine and Kurt.
Puck rejoined the cast after his stint in juvey under the pretense that he’d be working with Artie for his community service. Instead of actually doing something parole officer sanctioned, he decides to teach Artie how to pick up chicks. After finding out that she’s been hoodwinked, Puck’s parole officer insists that he do a real community service or else he’s back in juvenile detention. Puck is scared and acts out like many young men do, by throwing a fit and acting like a rebel. When Artie stops him from “leaving town,” Puck admits that he was the one who was tormented in juvey and that he doesn’t want to go back there. It’s always nice to see Puck be vulnerable in some instances, but still maintain his high school asshole status. Quinn went from two-faced queen bee to a straight-laced nice girl, but I prefer the Puckerman approach: be nice when it works, but don’t hesitate to throw some kid in a dumpster. High school kids can be jerks, even after moments of reflection and Puck is a good reminder of this. Artie agrees to help Puck out (in spite of the fact that Puck left Artie with the check because of a dine-and-dash) especially since he likes the little bet of rebel that he’s picking up from Puck. Artie and Puck work as an odd couple: Puck knows he needs to reform his ways a bit (even if he doesn’t want to) and Artie was to be a little bit of a bad ass.
If only the show had spent more time working on the Puck/Artie dynamic and less time shoe-horning in the musical numbers. Glee gets its bread and butter from the iTunes downloads alone, but it’d be lovely if they didn’t try to force the songs so hard. The Glee club numbers were so boring in this episode. Despite being required to change things up, Rachel still sang lead for the girls’ song, a mash up of “Start Me Up” and “Livin’ On A Prayer,” and the whole crew danced around in leather pants and crimped hair. Maybe it was sexy? The boys pretended to act like it was, but the performance was so unnecessary it felt silly. The boys’ performance (“Stop in the Name of Love” and “Free Your Mind”) was less boring if only because smoking jackets will always grab my interest. However, the group hug with Beiste was awkward and felt more forced than the whole musical number.
Puck and Artie did well with “One Love,” it wasn’t terrible and it was exactly what could be expected from Puck and Artie: Puck played and Artie squint sang the back-up vocals. It was forced, though, but it was cute watching Puck bully kids into giving him money, but otherwise a forgettable performance.
The Warblers’ “Teenage Dream” would have been better had it not been so auto-tuned. A cappella, when done well, is extremely good and does not need strange computerized harmonies. Auto-tuning aside, the boy’s school has talent and I hope New Directions doesn’t just breeze over them come sectionals.
At this point, some of the musical numbers are getting to be obnoxious, sometimes it’d be nice if the song did one song well and then focused on cultivating the stories of the characters, but Glee has found its niche and will be hard pressed to deviate from it. However, they could write in all the strangely placed musical numbers if they want, if they would only work on their Schuester problem.