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Glee: Born This Way

Welcome to super-size Glee. Featuring more songs, more plot lines, more issues and waaay more cheesiness. Did I love it? Hell to the YEAH.

…Just Be a Queen

Kurt is BACK! Hands up who else felt like cheering as he appeared at the top of the school steps at noon? Kurt’s absence from McKinley wasn’t just felt by his friends in New Directions, he was also slightly eclipsed musically during his stint with Blaine and the Warblers, and this episode reminded us just how amazing Kurt’s solos can be. That said, he had an adorable send off by his boyfriend who seemed to be pretty gutted about Kurt leaving Dalton Academy. I am looking forward to Blaine taking him somewhere only he knows, we haven’t seen enough of them as a couple since they got together.

Strangely enough Kurt’s restoration was masterminded by Santana and facilitated by Karofsky in a plot twist worthy of a much twistier show. Worthy because Santana managed to become even more awesome while still retaining her self-serving nature (and obtaining her very own Dave Beard), and it gave said beard an important scene that was basically ‘The Scene That Teachers and Parents and Bullies and Victims Watch When They Need to Know How Heal a Rift Caused By Homophobic Bullying’. Glee excels at such Gayducation scenes so I am always pleased when they’re included. The plotline also brought Santana and Karofsky one step closer to busting outta that closet, which I am looking forward to. Karofsky is taking longer than Ricky Martin to say “Am a Fortunate Homosexual Man” and I was a little displeased it didn’t happen in this episode.

Santana’s straight talk/Mean Girl bitchiness was also the springboard for all of New Directions to examine what they would change about themselves. I was mildly appalled that Tina’s issue was her Asian eyes – we get it writers, Tina is Asian, Mike is Asian! Give them new character traits! Anyhow, the episode brought up a really interesting topic that divides public opinion – how much can you change your body and image before you become a fake? If you don’t like something about yourself, should you follow Santana’s advice and change it, or should you ‘embrace your eccentricities’ as Emma put it? I have a fairly strong opinion on this, but I’d like to hear your opinions, gentle readers. Answers on a postcard. Or, you know, in the comments below.

Emma and the Obsessed Cutie Debugger

Even though it wasn’t thrilling, it was important to have Emma’s storyline included as it sort of gave Glee’s answer to the question posed above. When the problem you have Isn’t something you’re born with, and it is fixable, you should fix it. Emma has been pretending for too long that her OCD is something she can’t change, like her ginger-ness, but over the course of the episode she learned to accept that she has a problem and took the first steps towards recovery. Did you know that it is considered lucky to sleep with a ginger person in Brazil? Maybe Emma should move there. I learnt a lot of interesting facts about OCD, but there were far more enjoyable parts to this episode.

The Rhino-Plastics

After Hurricane Finn’s flailing limbs finally find a victim in Rachel’s nose, she considers Quinn’s own perfect proboscis as a possible upgrade. Quinn is flattered but also conflicted as it reminds her that she is less than natural herself. This doesn’t stop her in her quest for validation through public adulation in the form of a prom queen tiara. Surprisingly, Lauren Zizes used to be a terrifying Tiara Toddler and wishes to reclaim the throne at high school. She butts heads with Quinn who tries to convince Lauren she is a fugly slut who will be laughed at or even Carrie-d off the stage covered in pig’s blood. In return Lauren uncovers Quinn’s rhinoplastic, pimple-ridden past. Three plain and creepy girls who are presumably supposed to represent the McKinley masses support both Lauren and ‘Lucy’ with her new ‘previously podgy’ cred, making both of them contenders for the McKinley prom crown. Meanwhile after being told by everyone except her nose doctor (vested interest) and Santana (Miss inflatable life chest) that she is beautiful the way she is, Rachel agrees to keep her schnoz.

It makes total sense to incorporate the themes of the nature of beauty, prom queen power struggles and self and public acceptance, which all feed into one another. I think that’s partly why this episode worked so well. Lauren becomes an ever stronger role model for bigger girls through her huge confidence with her body, and Quinn simultaneously gets an added layer of depth through her ‘ugly’ secret, while teaching us a valuable lesson about the dangers of measuring your own self-worth through the number of fans you have. Rachel and Barbra Streisand both refused to alter their noses in order to become famous. For Lea Michele it also worked – not only does she get to be THE star of Glee but her nose does too.


- In the opening scene Brittany was wearing another awesome hat. I want it! Speaking of… Santana’s hat in the Coffee Bean was amazeballs too.

- The scenes in The Coffee Bean not only serve to give the lovely Blaine screen time that he otherwise wouldn’t get, being from a different school but they also make me feel like the New Directions are growing closer to one another all the time.

- Rachel’s Quinn schnoz mock-up was freaky – looked like a dark haired sister to Quinn.

- Zizes’ gorgeous T-shirt was so very Zizes.

- Kurt’s return to McKinley. Couldn’t have been more perfect.

- Quinn and Finn’s poster photos are taken from Glee’s promotional material. This is brilliant – I’m picturing Quinn meticulously organising the photo-shoot for her campaign.

- Finn’s “Rachel please don’t do this, you’re beautiful” line. Could be there’s hope for those two yet.

- Santana really had it covered with the insults this week! Maybe that’s why I didn’t notice Sue’s absence.

- I just knew that Will was gonna choose his sexy butt chin for his thing to accept about himself.

- I liked the slushie run-down during Karofsky’s speech. Also good that he mentioned gay teen suicides as a reason for wanting to apologise to Kurt.

- Great that PFLAG were mentioned by Kurt. He is becoming quite the poster boy for teen gaiety.

- The I’m With Stupid T-Shirts that Puck and Brittany wore, one with an arrow pointing up and the pointing down. They both have tiny brains they just keep them in different places! Which was your favourite T-shirt?

Didn’t Love

- When this episode ended I thought “Wow, that was the quickest 90 minutes of my life”. Then I found out that the poor Americans who watched it live had to endure over half an hour of ‘commercials’. Boo!

- I only realised Sue wasn’t in this episode after it had finished. This is a Didn’t Love because I didn’t miss her, What’s up with that – she used to be my favourite character.

- Santana didn’t get up and show the world she’s proud to be Lebanese. I am glad they are saving that for another episode - this is mainly bad because she rocked so hard when they did Bad Romance.

- Puck is too nice these days. He’s losing his Puckiness.

- Did anyone else think that Lucy Caboosey looked a lot like Matt Lucas?

- Nice to see Burt and Dr Arzt but they didn’t get to do much.

Glee Against the Music

West Side Story - I Feel Pretty / TLC – Unpretty (Quinn and Rachel):
Great mash-up, and it perfectly fit Quinn’s voice. Grade B

Sammy Davis Jr. - I've Gotta Be Me (Finn and Mike):
Cute! Good choice for Finn’s voice, and I liked him trying to copy Mike’s insane skills. Glad that Mike getting featured more wasn’t a one off. Grade B

Keane - Somewhere Only We Know (Blaine and The Warblers):
I love Keane, at least their older, piano driven stuff so I was Rather excited to see how an acapella version would sound. I was a bit disappointed that they broke the Warblers’ rules (isn’t this the first time they’ve used instruments in a group performance) but maybe one could explain it away by saying it was Blaine performing, with the Warblers as backup (yes, I know that’s how ALL their performances are). Still, an amazing performance which made more sense once we saw how upset Blaine was that Kurt was leaving Dalton. I loved the hug with Finn, and Kurt’s whispered “I’ll never say goodbye to you” to Blaine. Grade A-

Sunset Boulevard - As If We Never Said Goodbye (Kurt):
This was beautiful. I liked how they took the staging so literally with cardboard trees and painted seas. They gave Chris Colfer lots of close ups and he acted the hell out of the song as well as recording awesome vocals. On the strength of this song I’m renting Sunset Boulevard tomorrow night. Grade A-

Duck Sauce - Barbra Streisand:
Good fun, and perfect song choice for the plot, but not as good as Safety Dance in Artie’s dream sequence in Wheels. It’s just not as fun when it’s the original song instead of a Glee version. To be fair, they couldn’t have done much with Duck Sauce. I shan’t mention the implausibility of New Directions being able to stage a flash mob when they can’t get more than 3 people to attend their Night of Neglect. Oh I guess I did mention it. One thing though, everyone in a circle pointing at Rachel and mouthing “Barbra Streisand” was epic. Grade C+

Lady Gaga - Born This Way (New Directions):
Well it was exactly what we were expecting right? Fairly good anthem done in fairly similar style by New Directions. I enjoyed Kurt, Mercedes and Tina’s vocals but missed Santana’s. Didn’t Kurt look more handsome than usual? I was initially skeptical of the T-shirt idea but I have grown to love them. In fact I want Puck’s! The choreography was also much better than usual. The best part of the song though, was its message, which is what the whole episode was about. In that respect, this was quintessential Glee. Grade A-

Quotes for Gleeks:

Santana: “Hold up, could we all just get real here for a second? I hear that Rachel has a bit of a schnoz. I mean I wouldn't know because like Medusa I try to avoid eye contact with her.”

Emma: “People say that I smell like copper. And according to recent legend, I have no soul.”

Lauren: “There’s our future queen. A size two teenage dream.”

Lauren: “You best bring it, Fabray because I’m hot as hell, I keep it real and the people in this school want a prom queen who’s like them.”
Quinn: “No, they want a prom queen who’s somebody they’d like to be!”

Santana: “I’ve gotta gay. Go. I’ve gotta go.”

Karofsky: “I was just seeing what jeans he was wearing.”
Santana: “Like that’s any less gay!”

Santana: “Only straight I am is straight up bitch.”

Kurt: “I am both repulsed and impressed by her Lady Macbethian ways. A Latina Eve Harington. Ok if you’re going to be gay you simply must know who that is.”

Puck: “I just want to talk to you. One hot Jew to another.”

Brittany: “Clearly you don’t love you as much as I do.”

Santana gets Quote of the Week for this little gem:

“I’m a closet lesbian and a judgmental bitch which means one thing, I have awesome gaydar.”

It wasn’t perfect, but this episode was really funny, had some great tunes and much better pacing than most episodes – it really benefitted from the increased runtime. More importantly it took on one of the biggest issues that high school kids have to deal with.

Four out of four ‘Likes Boys’ T-shirts.


  1. Favorite tee shirt was Puck's. Although you're right -- he's been way too nice lately. Lauren is having a good effect on him.

    I'm so glad to have Kurt back! Took waaaaay too long. I think he and Puck are my favorite characters. And I'm glad they didn't give Zarofsky and Santana a heartwarming coming out moment. Yet. Maybe they're saving it for the season finale. :)

    Terrific review, Harry.

  2. hi!

    loved the review

    i just wanted to add that i did not like the OCD t-shirt because for me they kinda mixed a problem with born this way

    it was correct for emma to see the problem but to wear a shirt that was about to accept who they are and live with it to me felt wrong...

    btw i'm from brazil and at least in the region i live there's no such a thing about ginger and luck... perhaps in the south... who knows but i got curious...

  3. Excellent review as always Harry for an excellent episode!

    Here's some of the additional things that I loved about the episode:

    -Kurt's fashion-sense's return! I missed his style!

    -The coincidental piano in the courtyard. I think the producers have just surrendered to the joke that instruments appear whenever the glee cast sings.

    -The choreography in Born This Way. In her reviews, Serena would always point out when they would do the 'gesture to the sky' move. I'm glad to see they got more creative, especially when the episode began with them needing to improve their dancing. However, I kind of just loved the whole number which would have only been better with Santana and her lebanese shirt (my favorite!).

    When I first heard Born This Way, I said that Glee would be doing it at the end of the season in Kurt's return to McKinley episode. I'm glad I was right and I'm also glad that it wasn't just a tear-jerker episode. Yay for joy and celebration!

  4. One of my fave episodes after Sexy and Original Song.

    Fave T-Shirt - Santana's Lebanese one. Oh,Brittany, even when she isn't trying she's excellent.

    Fave songs were Unpretty/I Feel Pretty mashup and Somewhere Only We Know.

    Great review.

  5. This was a great episode! it felt a lot more Glee season 1 than a lot of the second season has

    The character of Kurt is a good platform for exploring issues relating to homosexuality, but as he is a role model for so many gay teens and a spotlighted gay character in the media, the writer's should not be giving him lines like "A Latina Eve Harington. Ok if you’re going to be gay you simply must know who that is.” which just furthers the stereotype that all gay people are interested in the same films/music/pop culture, and that you have to be interested in these to be a "proper" gay person. There are many real people like Blaine and Karofsky, who are not interested in fashion, musical theatre or pink sparkly unicorns, but are just regular, "straight"-acting men, who are greatly underrepresented in the media compared to camp characters such as Kurt

    I'll get off my soap box now :)

  6. Mercedes: "It's noon, which means it's official."

    Sam (*in a normal voice*): "What's official?"

    Kurt (*from like 20 metres away*): "My transfer!"

    So comes the spontaneous manifestation of super-hearing by random TV characters - gotta love it (either that or Dalton has a very interesting curriculum XD)

  7. Haha, I noticed that Nick but completely forgot to mention it :)

    Anonymous - I heard about the ginger luck in Rio, maybe it's confined to there (or maybe it was just a chat up line some ginger guy used on my friend!) Thanks for pointing that out about Emma's T-shirt. Thankfully they also made it clear she realises she has a problem and is taking steps to control it with the pill scene.

    Stay on your soapbox Stephen, you talk good sense!

  8. cool review however I felt the Unpretty/Pretty mash-up to be Grade A+, it was beautifully put together and performed by Faberry!

  9. Fun review as always, Harry. I wish I liked the episode as much as everyone else. For some reason, I kept getting stuck on the details.

    Given his dad and step-mon sacrificed their honeymoon to send him to private school, shouldn't Kurt at least make the effort of finishing the semester? They're never getting that money back, you know.

    Is Will seriously comparing the stigma that comes with telling people you have a mental illness with having a chin you don't like? How is his t-shirt any better than Emma's ginger shirt? What. A. Colossal. Jerk.

    Why is it so important Santana claim herself as a lebanese? Can't she be a person in love with another person, period? She'll come out when she's good and ready. In fact, an argument could be made that her telling Brittany how she feels and deciding she wants a relationship with her was all the coming out she needed to do for now.

    I was also put off by the thinly veiled "you should be ashamed of being Asian" message (yeah, Tina is ashamed of her "brown eyes", uh-huh). You know, there was an epidemy of Asian teen suicides in North America less than ten years ago just like there is with gay teens today. In fact, some say it's ongoing, though I've made zero research on the subject. At any rate, it would help if shows that claim to be about acceptance stopped equating Asian with giant turd.

    I realise this issue may not be as close to Ryan Murphy's heart as what gay kids are going through right now, and that's fine (can't tackle every issue all the time), but did the writers seriously argue that there are no female Asian sex symbols? Uh, Maggie Q, Zang Ziyi, Olivia Munn (rrrroar!), Mallika Sherawat (double rrroar!), Aishwarya Rai (named the second sexiest woman alive by Roger Ebert; the first one is his wife), Shu Qi,...

    It feels a bit like they're trying to blame their own racist content on the all-powerful media. Hello, TV show! You are the media!

    Blah. The great thing about Ryan Murphy shows is that they're constantly evolving. They don't stick to their guns at all and always try to course-correct, so here's hoping these issues get ironed out as the series progresses.

  10. Harry -- in answer to question, I can see both sides of the argument. If you really hate your nose, get it fixed. What I don't like about plastic surgery is that so many go into thinking that "if my nose is perfect, my life will be perfect." We all know that is never the case.

    I think we're all guilty of our little vanities. I wear contacts and dye my hair to cover the gray. But, I would never go under the knife. Don't judge those who do; it's just not for me.

    Best shirt -- Puck's by a country mile. Made me laugh out loud.


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