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Glee: Never Been Kissed

"You can't punch the gay out of me any more than I can punch the ignoramus out of you."

Glee tackles bullying this week – the kind of issue I expected them to make more of in the first season after Theatricality. Once all of the antagonists had actually joined New Directions, Glee needed some bullies to remind us that the club is still not the place to be at McKinley High. Dave Karofsky and friend seemed to disappear after ‘disturbing the freak hive’ so I’m glad he was brought back this week. Puck also makes a welcome return and begins developing a friendship with Artie, partly to fulfill his community service duties after a stint in juvvie. Coach Bieste almost quits the school after discovering the male Glee kids are using mental pictures of her as an erection killer, and Kurt (and thousands of gay kids who watch Glee) gets a new, positive gay role model in Blaine.

Blaine and the Warblers make an interesting bit of competition for New Directions – they look good, they perform wonderfully and they seem really sweet! Hello Wes and David – that’s already more named members than Vocal Adrenaline ever got, so I am guessing they’ll feature again in future episodes. I hope this isn’t going to turn into a fantasy romance for Kurt, just to have it all come crashing down if (when) New Directions win sectionals.

I was deeply unhappy that Karofsky kissed Kurt. It’s not only fairly unlikely, but it sends the wrong message to highschoolers watching Glee. If you’re a persistent gay basher – you might be a closet case yourself. That’s far too simplistic and I think the writers really took the easy way out. The only way this view will reduce homophobic bullying in schools is by increasing accusations that the bullies themselves are gay, reinforcing negative connotations attached to being gay. If you disagree with me on this, comment! I’d really like to know how others received the message this week.

The Bieste storyline was typically ridiculous Glee but it was funny and sensitively handled, and what’s more and it seemed to fit pretty well into an episode that already had a lot going on. Glee works best when no single character gets too much screen time and Shannon Bieste has potential to interact with everyone, so I like her addition to the show. She got a very interesting scene with Will in the locker room when he gave her her first kiss. That might have been unwise of Will – Shannon seems pretty fragile and I imagine she will treat it as more than a kind gesture.

Bits and Pieces:

Loved the confetti cannons – good purchase, Sue.

McKinley High apparently has a steel drum band who keep their instruments on them during break times.

Bieste in cheer gear and a tutu with a cigar – I don’t know about you but I was turned on.

Why was this episode almost all mash-ups? It’s not as if Will stipulated it.

I have no idea how the glee club system works with regionals and sections and nationals and so on. Help!

I still think about Santana and Brittany making out (don’t judge, I am a gay man, honest!) and I wonder why they aren’t included in the school’s out and proud LGBT quotient? They are bisexual aren’t they? I smell biphobia, writers!

If I was Kurt, I’d want to transfer to Blaine’s school immediately.

Glee Against the Music:

One Love/People Get Ready – Bob Marling and Curtis Mayfield: I really thought Puck was singing One by U2 to start with. That was my favourite song from Season One (get it?), in the episode Laryngitis and I can’t describe how much I loved it. So even though Puck and Artie do a great duet, I was a little distracted by how much it wasn’t One. I’m going to try rating the songs from now on, and I’d give this a B+.

Teenage Dream – Katy Perry: I’m a huge fan of college acapella groups and this was just top notch. It fit perfectly with the ‘too good to be true’ situation that Kurt suddenly found himself in, running through the halls holding the hand of a dreamy guy. I said to myself “ok, this is ridiculous, but it’s so much fun so just go with it”. It’ll be on my mp3 player for months to come. Grade A.

Start Me Up/Living On A Prayer – Rolling Stones/Bon Jovi: Sexy costumes! I enjoyed the song but it wasn’t as good as last season’s Walking on Sunshine/Halo. Grade B.

Stop! In the Name of Love / Free Your Mind – The Supremes/En Vogue: Again, enjoyable but not really stand out. Interesting choreography with the boys singing to Coach Bieste, then to their sweethearts. B-

Quotes for Gleeks:

Quinn: “A little something something always leads to something more.”

Tina: “I take it we have a lot of sweater trades to look forward to this season.”
Kurt smiles smugly.

Santana: “Okay, hold up – like a million awesome gay jokes just popped into my head.”

Mercedes: “How are we supposed to compete with a bunch of adorable old people?”
Puck: “Are you kidding? Brittle bones! Give one of those old ladies a good luck pat on the rear it’ll shatter her pelvis.”

Artie: “I know it’s not my place to ask, but can you push me down the back staircase – my injuries should be the same but it’s more lightly populated so the humiliation shouldn’t be as bad.”

Puck: “There’s no way I’m going back to juvie. There’s no chicks and no kosher meal options.”

Sue: “Who would rather be dry-humping She-Hulk. Oh god, why did I say that now that’s what I’m picturing!”

Kurt: “You like everyone else at this school are too quick to let homophobia slide...and your lesson plans are boring and repetitive.”

Bieste: "You crap on my leg and I'll cut it off." – How does that work as a threat?!

Rachel: “Spies!”

Surprise surprise – Brittany gets the best line of the week:

Will: “I’m not tossing the baby out with the bath water here.”
Brittany: “I’ve totally done that!”

Despite some dodgy parts, less songs and less Sue than I’d like, I thought this was the best episode of Glee in a long time. Four out four texts saying COURAGE.

10 comments:

  1. As an alumni of a college acappella group, I loved teenage dream. They really captured what it's like to perform an impromptu concert in that setting.

    I always found it interesting how groups like Glee in highschool are so condemned, but in college they are rockstars.

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  2. Harry, you have a point about the bully kissing Kurt. I think it does send the wrong message. Plus it was done much better on Buffy.

    And Shue kissing Bieste really bothered me. It felt... I'm groping for a word... condescending, maybe? Like I know I'm a gorgeous guy and I'm going to give you a thrill even though I would never ever ever be really interested in you, Coach Bieste. It didn't work for me at all.

    I liked Puck and Artie together. Their personalities complimented each other and so did their voices.

    And I liked that they gave Kurt a good story, and brought in another show choir that we can actually like for a change.

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  3. Harry, I completely agree with you about the bully. I thought exactly the same thing while watching.

    I was also astonished by Will's behavior and utter blindness. The kids were thinking something--not a crime, although it was affecting their behavior in school. Will made the problem much, much worse by telling Beiste what they were doing.

    And then he demanded that the kids apologize? Will caused a lot of harm there, and it felt like the show didn't realize it. Sue could have done exactly the same thing, with obviously negative intentions, and the meanness of it would have been clear. Will, what were you thinking?

    In other words: as a morality play, this wasn't great. As an episode of Glee? It was okay.

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  4. I hated that the bully kissed Kurt! it was so cliched, "homophobic-bully-that-turns-out-to-be-gay" is done so often its becoming a stereotype, and I agree that it's not a storyline that will promote homophobia rather than end it.

    Will did two ridiculously stupid things in this episode, firstly, telling Bieste about what the boys (and Tina) were doing, how could he think that Bieste knowing this would be in any way helpful or good for her to know? And then after she told him that she wants to be kissed because a kiss is something that means so much, he goes ahead and gives her a completely meaningless kiss! Is it the absence of Terri that is making Will completely crazy this season? Speaking of, when are we going to see Terri and Charice again?!

    But apart from all that, i think this was probably the best episode so far this season, i loved the music, and it all felt a bit more "Glee" than a few of the last couple of episodes

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  5. Great thoughts on the closet-homosexual-bully thing, Harry, and I am in complete agreement. My immediate thought when watching the episode, though, was that it was irresponsible of the Glee writers to show Kurt confronting his bully that aggressively (and following him to a secluded place) as "the right thing to do". There's a lot of real hate in the world, and this course of action could have got him killed.

    Please, younger readers, take it from someone who's volunteered at various centers for victims of abuse and who's experienced what it's like to get the crap knocked out of him by bigots: Standing up for yourself is important, so that you can remind yourself and others that you are in control of your life, yes, but do not take unnecessary risks when doing so. Sometimes walking away or letting someone else walk away is the strong/smart thing to do, and you should consider it a reflection of your ability to take control of the situation.

    Okay, now as I get down from my little soapbox, I'd like to add more evidence that Will is a terrible educator. When he saw Kurt get pushed around by the bully, he went to see Kurt to talk about how he seems to have given up. What the hell?! Shouldn't he have, as a member of the faculty, oh, I don't know, given a detention slip to the bully or something. Let everyone around know this behavior will not be tolerated at the school?

    Instead Kurt gets a talk insinuating that the reason he gets bullied is because he's not trying hard enough? You know, if I were Kurt's dad and I learnt all that transpired in this episode, I would sell the house and everything else I own, borrow from every bank and loan shark in the world, just to get Kurt in that other school, where his quiet tears of joy just about broke my heart.

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  6. Also agreed about the closet-gay-bully turn of events. Most of the episode didn't impress me, and I found this "twist" actively upsetting. I think it sends a terrible message.

    And I wasn't keen on Will kissing Bieste either, for many of the reasons mentioned above.

    Although I didn't really feel this episode did the gay-bullying topic justice, Chris Colfer acted the hell out of it. He's fantastic.

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  7. "Who would rather be dry humping she-Hulk."

    I don't want to be rude, but that is the correct line.

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  8. Thanks for spotting that Anon.

    Hmm I can't disagree with any of the comments about Will and Bieste - I would revise my rating were it not for the fact that Teenage Dream already has 171 plays on my mp3... I left it on overnight.

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  9. I think I'm just about on the same page as the homophobia-bullying thing. While the bully turning out to be gay really surprised me (haven't seen this on TV much) looking back it seemed really tacked on. And even if he was gay, why did he have to kiss Kurt? Just because they both have the same sexual orientation doesn't mean he has to be attracted to Kurt. It made no sense. (It WAS nice to see Kurt stand up for himself though - unwise as it may be to go so far, I do think most watchers like the feeling of seeing a bully get paid).

    What kind of school system is it if bullies don't get punished? I understand students not wanting to report it but Will did absolutely nothing. Kurt was 100% when he said they let homophobia slide way too easily. I'm surprised he hasn't transferred to Blaine's school yet.

    BUT, still it was a solid entertaining Glee episode.

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  10. First of all - great reviews! I've been lurking but haven't had a chance to post.

    You missed my favorite line: "I've never almost killed a civil servant." LOL.

    This was prob the most solid Glee ep this season. I've always been ok with plot-lite, but the first few were just totally pointless.

    It was also nice to see Will as a nice/understanding guy instead of a desperate lovesick puppy trying to win Emma with inappropriate numbers with kids.

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