Glee: Preggers

"I've known it since you were three. All you wanted for your birthday was a pair of sensible heels."

After watching "Preggers", I'm rethinking my evaluation of last week's "Acafellas".

Like Puck, Glee came on a little too strong last week, but this week's episode showed that underneath the swagger is sensitivity. While I still don't love the way it was executed, I now see that "Acafellas" was setting up the foundation for "Preggers", just as finding your identity needs to come before you can get outside your box, and become truly spectacular.

"Preggers" was hilarious as usual, yet managed to be very touching and real. The episode centered around Kurt, who is terrified his father is going to find out he's gay. After he's caught prancing to Beyonce in a sparkly unitard ("Guys wear them to work out nowadays... they wick sweat from your body"), Brit lies and says that Kurt is on the football team, and that they were just helping him with his "conditioning".

Surprisingly though, very little of the episode was about whether or not Kurt would make the cut and be able to hold up his lie. The team, who is 0 for 6 this season, needs a new kicker, and with Finn's help, Kurt is able to "audition". And after Sue's gloating in the teachers' lunchroom - she has gotten a segment on the local news - Ken is willing to try anything to break the losing streak. After all, he says, "we already gave up our pride when we lost to that school for the deaf."

But then Glee turns the Miraculous-Football-Team-Comeback-Thanks-to-the- Unlikely-Kid cliche on its head: Kurt handily score an impressive field goal during tryouts, and the team is able to win the big game by learning how to dance. (I wonder if Beyonce knew what a comedic goldmine her video/dance would become - I don't think I've ever laughed as hard as when I saw a line of football jocks "sneak back to the finger.") Even better was the reveal that Kurt's dad always knew he was gay. I guess he was waiting for Kurt to feel sure enough of himself to tell him, and/or to finally be able to trust that his father would love him no matter what. I was sniffling.

That's what I love about Glee - it teases that it is going to do one thing with the story, then handily dismisses it and takes you down a totally unexpected road. For example, any other show would have dragged out the Rachel pining after Finn storyline, but they kissed in the 2nd episode, making what is usually the climax a jumping point for a larger story. At first, I was thrown off by this pacing - e.g., how did Glee Club come together by the end of the pilot?!? - but now I appreciate it, as it keeps me guessing where the writers will go next.

It is also in this episode that the characters - both lead and secondary - really start coming to life. Terri shows that she's not just a manipulative bitch, but a desperate woman caught in a lie, holding on to a husband that she pushed away with her selfishness. She's freaking out about the fake baby, and is ready to confess to Will when her sister stops her. ("Dishonesty is food to a marriage," Kendra advises. "It will die without it.")

We start to see past the arrogant confidence of key players as their vulnerabilities are revealed. Puck clearly envies his best friend. Finn has a natural talent that he's not afraid of hiding; even though Puck can also sing, he is too concerned about his "stud" image to perform. Finn has a beautiful (if not faithful) girlfriend; Puck has randy cougars, and sex on Star Wars sheets. So Puck seduces Quinn by getting her drunk on wine coolers. Ironically, the president of the Celibacy Club is now pregnant after losing her virginity to her boyfriend's player best friend.

And Sue's success is actually only hanging by a thread. Some of her Cheerios are defecting to the Glee Club, and if she doesn't win Nationals, the TV segment she's been lording over the other teachers will be canned. In desperation, she blackmails Figgins with a Mumbai Air hose commercial, and teams up with Sandy to bring about Glee's demise. The plan? Steal away Glee Club's star singer - Rachel Berry - by promising the lead in a production of Cabaret ("Four words: Liza. Minelli. Celine. Dion.") Rachel is ripe for the picking - Mr. Schuester has given the West Side Story solo to Tina, a role that Rachel has "had a personal connection with since the age of one."

A couple of weeks ago, I would have been massively annoyed by Rachel's brattiness. But in the last few episodes, the producers have done a good job of showing what is driving her diva-like behavior: Yes, she thinks she's good, but it is also the only thing she knows she has going for her. As she said to Will, kids are still throwing her lipstick down the toilet. She needs to be a star to show everyone that she's not a loser; she needs her high school years to mean something.

Finally, I am soooooo happy that the show is finally giving characters like Kurt and Tina the spotlight. I mentioned in my last review that I like how Glee is becoming an ensemble show, and this episode only reinforces that. Will's determination to give everyone an equal chance to shine seems to reflect the producers' thinking as well. Not only are "minor" characters now instrumental to the plot, they are being invested in with their own backstories, solos, and personalities. And since the writers seem to relish on turning stereotypes on their heads, I am overjoyed to say that I have no idea how the characters will turn out, but I can't wait to see.

GLEEful Moments:

- How adorable was Kurt with the pageant waves? First after he rocks the tryouts, then when he was jumping up and down waving at his dad, and finally blowing kisses after he makes the field goal.

- Sandy in his short, short kimono. I was waiting for him to flash Sue any moment, a la Sharon Stone.

- Wow, Rachel singing "Taking Chances." I've never been much of a Celine Dion fan, but I'm totally downloading this song. Lea Michele has a way of making so-so songs spectacular.

- The Figgins hose commercial was painful and not very funny. Sorry.

- Sue and her "that's how I 'C' it." So cheesy.

- Quinn telling Finn to "Think of the mail! Think of the mail!" when they were in the hot tub.

- The acapella version of "Moonlight Sonata" during the scene with Quinn and Puck was amazing. It really set the mood.

Quotes:

Terri: "If I tell you something, do you promise not to tell anyone?"
Kendra: "Oh my God. Is the baby black?"

** FYI, this conversation was a wink to Nip/Tuck. On that show, Jessalyn Gilsig's character, Gina, had convinced Christian Troy that she was pregnant with his baby, but when the baby was born, he was black.

Kendra: "Your wife is going to be pushing a watermelon out of her boy-howdy in 5 months. She doesn't need nice!"

Kurt: "My body is like a rum chocolate souffle - if I don't warm it up right, it doesn't rise."

Sandy: "I’m living in a cocoon of horror. Yesterday, I ate 9 cans of aerosol of whipped cream."

Terri: "Take these three times a day or your baby will be ugly."

Kurt: "Nighttime skincare is a big part of my post game ritual."

Kurt: "I need to ask you something."
Finn: "Thanks, but I already have a date for the prom."

Tanaka: "You make this and you die a legend."
Kurt: "Can I pee first?"

Finn: "I got this from the school library. Did you know you can borrow books from there?"

Sue's Corner: (she deserves her own, dontcha think?)

This week she called Emma "Alma". Last week, it was "Irma".

"Caning works."

"Boy, the only thing missing from this place is a couple dozen bodies lying and rotting under the shallow grave of the floorboard."

"If I was out to get you, I'd have you pickling in a mason jar by now."

"I'll often yell at homeless people 'Hey, how's that homelessness working out for you? Give not being homeless a try."

Music:

No huge numbers this week, but the Single Ladies dance and Rachel's solo more than made up for it.

"Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)" by Beyoncé

"Taking Chances" by CĂ©line Dion, performed by Rachel Berry

"Tonight" from West Side Story, performed by Tina Cohen-Chang

"Preggers" didn't dazzle me like the pilot; it also didn't make me wince or worry the way that both "Showmance" and "Acafella" did. In some ways, I'm happy that it was a solid, low key episode, and not an explosive showcase like episode one. These are the kinds of episodes that build characters, further plotlines, and makes a show a long term player.

Three out of four sparkling unitards.

Side Note: Did you know that much of Glee as we know it today grew organically from the auditions? For example:

- At least 3 of the songs the kids sang for their Glee Club audition - "Mr. Cellophane" by Kurt, "On My Own" by Rachel, and "Can't Fight This Feeling Anymore" by Finn - were the songs the actors sang for their audition for the show.

- Ryan Murphy created the character of Kurt after he met Chris Colfer.

- Finn plays drums because Cory Montieth drummed on Tupperware and glasses in his audition tape.

- Lea Michele actually got into an accident on her way to the audition. Even worse, the piano player messed up her solo. She got a little upset, which the casting directors thought she was doing on purpose to be funny, and incorporated that into Rachel's character.

11 comments:

Jess Lynde said...

Well, I know I said I'm not all that into the characters, but I really liked Kurt's story this week. The dancing to the Beyonce song was flat out hilarious, and I was actually quite moved by the scene where he came out to his dad. What a great moment.

I actively dislike the whole "Quinn got knocked up by Puck but is making Finn think he did it" story. Especially since it is leading to Terri trying to pass the baby off as her own. How is she going to do that if she is supposedly four months pregnant and Quinn is only a month or so? Utterly ridiculous and annoying.

I'm also still annoyed by Rachel's brattiness. I'm glad that Will stood his ground and let Tina continue to do the solo.

Nice addition of Sue's Corner to your reviews. She definitely deserves her own!

I feel like I'm caught in a love-hate relationship with this show. I really, really love parts of it, and it consistently makes me laugh, but I find other parts are just annoying and tiresome. It is a dilemma.

Moviemark said...

YES.WE.CANE.

Bloody hilarious!

Great review and I totally missed that nod to Nip/Tuck, nicely spotted!

Serena + Pumpkin said...

Jess -

I think the diff in opinion between you and me (for the 1st time on this site at least) is in our expectations of GLEE and its storylines. Coming from a musical theater background, I don't expect the plot itself to be very complex or groundbreaking. If you look at musicals like "Rent", "Les Mis", etc., there is generally only one straightforward plot and a secondary comment on society or such.

What I'm looking for from GLEE as a tv show is character development, snarky, laugh-out-loud humor, and over the top musical numbers. What I'm looking for from GLEE as a musical is how they can incorporate the singing and dancing without the plot feeling like its just there to carry you from song to song.

Once I got over my surprise that they would make Quinn pregnant, I saw the Quinn/Puck thing from a mile away. Very Gossip Girl. However, I agree that Terri's "plan" doesn't make any sense - I can't even figure out what she's thinking - but to be fair, she's never been the sharpest crayon in the box.

I've been pleasantly surprised by how GLEE has taken stereotypical characters and actually given them a persona. Perhaps once this wears off, I'll look harder at story development. In the meantime, I just downloaded "Mercy" from the Glee Cast, and I wish I could get back on the stage :-)

Jess Lynde said...

I actually kind of enjoy our difference of opinion on this show. I like getting your take on it. Especially when it is radically different than mine on the character development front. You certainly seem to have an appreciation for the things that just annoy me.

I don't actually think I'm looking for character development or meaningful plots from this one. I guess I would prefer plot turns and characters that didn't irritate me so much, but for the most part, if it is funny and tuneful (and less heavy on the character 'drama'), I can focus more on the love part of my love/hate relationship with it. :)

Keep the differences of opinion coming!

Anonymous said...

I love Glee and I like this review. One small point, I don't think feeling down and having a boy deliberately get you drunk = infidelity. I think it is more akin to date rape. Since Puck didn't deny Quinn's claim that he got her drunk I think it happened. I don't think either one of the thought it was date rape, but by my definition it was definitely not fully consensual on Quinn's part.

ManosTorgo said...

I thought this episode really raised the bar from previous episodes. The only two things that drove me crazy were the countless times I heard the Beyonce song. It was seriously driving me crazy by the end. The other thing I didn't like was waiting until there was 1 second left on the clock and the fake tension created. It actually look him longer than 1 second to finally throw the ball. If I had written that scene, I'd have made the scores a bit more even with the final play being a field goal. If he had missed the conversion kick, it would have just been a tie score. So the whole "Rudy" moment didn't hit as hard as it could have.
Yawwwn. I know. But I hate bombs being defused with 1 second on the clock.
But the character moments are what nailed it for me. A hot tub pregnancy? If he had any brains he'd know that the heat would actually have killed the sperm.
I also like that Kurt's dad wasn't shocked and he also wasn't 100% thrilled either. It was a more realistic scene as it showed he loved his son but had some misgivings.
Overall this episode scored high points for me.

Harry said...

I was hoping someone could clear up something for me - what's a lime-a-loser or whatever they were saying? You don't get that phrase over in the UK, or at least I've never heard it.

This was a great episode :-) They certainly got their money's worth from the rights to Put a Ring On It eh?

Jess Lynde said...

Harry, I wondered that, too. I was thinking it was "Lima" loser and maybe that was the name of the town? Lima, Ohio? Implying that the losers are the ones who don't make it out of the town or onto bigger and better things. But I really don't know. Any other thoughts?

Paul Kelly said...

I did hear it was L.I.M.A loser... as in lost in middle America. But since the town in which they live is called Lima, I agree with Jess... "Lima loser" makes more sense.

Serena + Pumpkin said...

Town is Lima, Ohio, but I'm sure they picked that name because of the acronym :-)

ChrisB said...

I just re-watched this episode and came on to comment, except that percysowner beat me to it. I'm not at all wild about the fact that Quinn was drunk when she got pregnant. Is it meant to be a comment from the writers that sex is bad, drinking is bad and the combination is very bad? I applaud the show for including teen pregnancy, but wish the act itself could have been a little less creepy.

Love Kurt coming out to his dad. One of the members of my family is gay -- I wish now that we had all been as understanding at the time of the great reveal.