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Glee: I Kissed a Girl

Back at the end of Season Two, I was rather frustrated that Santana hadn’t come out. In terms of plot build-up, there was a lot of baking, but no cookies. Now I’ve eaten them, I’m missing the cookie dough...

Sister of Sapphos, friend of Ellen

Santana’s coming out story was one of the most signposted events of Season Three and I was justifiably looking forward to it. But perhaps I shouldn’t have gotten so excited. This episode should have focused on explaining just why Santana is so angry, and unable to deal with her sexuality - I wanted to see her home life onscreen rather than just hear by-the-by that her parents were fine with her coming out. Instead we got an episode focusing on people singing to her to make her feel better. I know the New Directions (plus the Troubletones) are one big happy family, but showering Santana with musical goodness for three songs was overdoing it a bit.

The sudden love that Finn seemed to bear for Santana this episode rather came out of the left field. It was justified by Finn saying that he felt deeply for her since losing his virginity with her, and also that he’d heard about a recent gay teen suicide that made him worried about Santana’s safety. Props to Glee for taking the issue seriously, but if they were going to bring that up, it would’ve had more gravitas if we’d found out Santana’s parents were homophobic and she actually did have a lot to deal with, which would explain her anger and vindictiveness as well as her previous inability to come out.

I suppose I should be thankful that there was at least one meeting with a disapproving family member, but we’ve never met Santana’s abuela before, and who knows if we’ll see her again. That her grandma seemed, pre-Santana coming out, to be very supportive and sweet (in a stereotypically Hispanic way) doesn’t do anything to explain Santana’s deep core of anger either. The scene was very isolated, without any follow-up. It was actually quite powerful, and felt very honest, but this plotline could have been so much more.

Puckorcoran, or Take the Baby and Run!

I sort of want to like Shelby and Puck as a couple, if only because the new, responsible Puck is growing on me hugely, but other than Beth and sexual desire, there seems to be no reason why they should work. Then there’s the age difference (ha), the teacher-student aspect, and the fact that Ms Corcoran seems to like Puck just because she can’t handle being a single mother. These are the reasons why the hospital scene and the post-coital tiff didn’t really do it for me. I thought we were onto something good when Quinn practically flung herself at Puck, and he sweetly told her she didn’t need a baby or a man to make her worth something, but I worry that any potential character development is going to be overshadowed by her anti-Puckorcoran feelings.

Ms B’s Beautiful Blues


Poor Coach Bieste always seems to be a tragic figure, but this week Glee really got it right by putting her in a situation everyone can relate to, a love triangle. Bieste is infinitely sympathetic, while we all love-to-hate Sue, so as bizarre as it might seem, the two coaches are actually perfectly matched love rivals. It would have been nice if Sue’s thing with Cooter had had some set-up, or if Coot had been given some character development instead of just being someone for Sue and Shannon to fight over, but it was still very satisfying seeing the Bieste stand up to Sue and declare her love for Cooter. Finally, empowerment!

Loved

- Sue’s journal entries always crack me up. Yay for David Boreanaz.

- The twist at the end with Rachel being unable to compete in Sectionals was a good one, I didn’t see it coming.

- Kurt’s uber-gay poncho-esque apparel. I especially liked the strange studded neck-thingy.

Didn’t Love

- What a misguided theme for the week. “Hey Santana, you’re about to get publicly outed! We’re going to sing songs by ladies, for ladies, because you must be aching for More attention right now”.

- Puck’s hair is too short to comb over, it just looks ridiculous. Everyone goes through a dodgy stage when growing their hair – I guess this is Puck’s! If it was a bit longer he’d look awesome like Tyler Glenn from Neon Trees.

- Tina’s dress during I Kissed A Girl. And she normally has such style. Maybe she doesn’t care how she dresses since she barely has more screen time than Sugar Motta and people are stealing her audition song...

- Will’s face during I Kissed A Girl. Stop it you pervert, and don’t encourage them!

- Brittany barely spoke, in an episode that focused on the girl she loves struggling with a difficult burden. That’s not right! Brittany is the only character I would really have liked to see singing her support of Santana.

- iPhone 5 product placement. Boooo!

- Well done Burt for beating Sue – Kurt, couldn’t you be a little bit more supportive? Why weren’t there more people at Burt’s campaign win celebrations?

- Brittany campaign to become class president by dancing in cheerleading/BDSM outfits, promising robot teachers and handing out sweets should be harmless and funny, but if Kurt’s loss has real fallout, then the manner of Brittany’s win matters too - it makes her look pretty callous and shallow.

Glee Against the Music

Pink – Perfect performed by Kurt and Blaine:
Kurt and Blaine singing this song to each other while gleefully skipping through fields of roses would be charming. Kurt and Blaine singing this song to Santana was just uncomfortable. We’ve seen zero Blaine/Santana bonding moments, and Kurt has never been particularly close to her either, so her negative reaction was quite justified! Vocally it was great. Grade B-

Melissa Etheridge – I’m The Only One performed by Puck:
Another awesome vocal – the song really suited Puck’s voice, and I suppose they should get props for choosing a proper lesbian song, but it was really only Puck coming onto Shelby, which I just can’t condone! Grade B-

Cyndi Lauper – Girls Just Wanna Have Fun performed by Finn:
Grrrr! They did this song in the style of Greg Laswell’s cover, but Laswell, despite creating a truely innovative arrangement, will not profit. Adding insult to injury is that Laswell performs it far better than Cory Monteith, whose voice isn’t really pitched right for this version, he sounds a bit constipated. Santana inexplicably sheds a tear, despite the song having little personal relevance. The only upside was Artie’s harmony. Grade D

Dolly Parton – Jolene performed by Coach Bieste:
Bieste sings! This was actually a lot of fun, not just the sheer unexpectedness of the number but also the montage of Sue with hairspray and pumping iron with Cooter. Bieste obviously likes country, nice continuity from Blame It On The Alcohol there. Grade B+

Katy Perry – I Kissed A Girl performed by Santana and Rachel:
What? How is this remotely related to Sapphic pride?! Last time I checked, this was a song designed to arouse men, and I previously thought of it as pretty harmless but Glee, oh how wrong can you go? The falseness of all the girls being flirty and fake stroking one another jarred so badly with the female solidarity they showed to the rugby jerk who wanted to turn Santana. The sexual choreography, with Finn and Mr Shue clapping along, and Rory being so excited he was practically wetting himself, was diametrically opposed to the message that Santana is not interested in men. Santana’s just experienced fairly intense homophobia, and she seems over the moon about it. Quinn made the point that being a lesbian isn’t a choice, but the girls then act gay to turn on the guys. Not good. Grade E

K.D. Lang – Constant Craving performed by Santana, Shelby, Kurt and Rachel:
This was alright! But nothing to get excited about. Grade B

Quotes for Gleeks

Santana: “While there's nothing I'd love more than having two pretty ponies serenade me, I think we'd get further staging a gel-ervention for Blaine than singing lady music.”

Figgins: “Slushies are not on the school board’s approved list of suspend-worthy weapons.”

Sue: “If I wanna win this race, I need 20 cc's of man candy, Stat!”

Sue: “Why don't you hurry on to your next face-widening session at the John Travolta Institute for Head Thickening and Facial Weight Gain?”

Rachel: “Nobody cares. They’re all so lost in their own worlds that they can’t see how important this is to me. Elections have consequences and the consequence of Brittany winning this election is that I’ll have to move to New York without my best gay. What if I need an emergency makeover or a last-minute souffle?”

Beiste: “I'm so bummed out. I feel like I'm living one of those country western songs.”

Puck: “The advantage of a relationship with a younger dude is that I've still got four more rounds in me before I need a steak sandwich and a Coke Zero.”

Artie: “Where is Rachel? She never misses applause.”

Quote of the Week goes to Sue: “Why would someone assume I'm a Friend of Ellen just because I'm mannish and I have short hair and I only wear track suits and I coach a girls' sport and I married myself?”

To paraphrase Rolling Stone, I Kissed A Girl and it was ‘meh’. Two out of four stereotypically Hispanic grandmas.

4 comments:

  1. Great review and I agree with your comments. That particular Kate Perry song has always bugged me and it was the wrong choice. I really hope that Santana doesn't go all squishy now that she's out. The world is still ugly in many places for the GBLTQ community, not to mention women. She's still going to need her fire to survive. I also would have liked to see more nuances in the response to Santana. I still enjoyed the episode. Even with its flaws this show deals with issues that other shows won't even touch.

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  2. I agree completely, Harry. Wonderful review of what is ultimately a troubling episode.

    Funny "all lesbians are the same" moment: the closed-captioning on my TV reported the final song to be "Melissa Etheridge's Constant Craving."

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  3. Interesting, because I thought that the heart of the episode was really there, and hey, even the singing was pretty good - but then as you point out the song choices are pretty much inappropriate. The only relevant 'performance' for Santana was Finn's song, which to his credit was a very interesting departure from what he normally does.

    Kurt/Blaine as you said don't really relate to Santana, and Puck wasn't even singing to Santana, while someone important like Brittany got no time with her. And oh, that Katy Perry song. Such a terrible terrible choice.

    Rachel's ban from Sectionals was an interesting twist but...couldn't she have waited till *after* to tell Figgins the truth?

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  4. In general I really like glee even with it's flaws and try to enjoy episodes even though little things bother me. I have always been excited for Santana's story to finally be explored since Sexy last year. This episode was really the culmination of her coming out and trying to gain acceptance. Now I really liked the concept and idea that Finn had even if Santana should have had a say in it. But it's true that the songs didn't really fit well with the idea of acceptance.
    Now I agree that Kurt and Blaine don't have a strong relationship with Santana but prior to this season they were friendly, for example in Night of Neglect and Born this Way. Not to mention those two are the only ones who have any idea what it is like to be either A) outed or B) openly Gay and I actually thought their song was appropriate for the message try to be sent. That it's ok to be who you are and it doesn't matter what other people say. I can understand that her anger is a defense mechanism but we never really got an explanation for why she is so angry. That bothered me. She has never gone through the aweful things that Blaine or Kurt have and yet she threw it in their faces. I was kinda not so ok with that.
    Also I was really disapointed that Cooter ended up being a giant jerk. If I were Beastie I would have dropped him on his butt. She deserves better and she is a strong woman who should not be fighting with Sue of all people over a man. I loved that Cooter had been crushing on her for a while in the First Time, and now it turns out he's been Sues booty call?
    Anyway those were my main issues but even with these complaints I am not gonna lie I still some how love this show. I guess it's because even when they massacre characters (Mr. Shue season 2)*cough cough* I still love them and want to see them be sweet and wonderful. Plus the music doesn't hurt.

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