I have a lot of mixed feelings about Glee. On the one hand, I am super happy it's back on! And on the other hand, this episode was sorta awful, right? I'm sorry if that's an unpopular opinion, but it's true. There were some bright spots and really touching moments though, which I'll get to in a minute.
Basically this week was an after school special, and was written as such. I found the writing to be mostly bad this week. I guess my biggest complaint would be that it was terribly uneven.
So, the story. Six minutes in, my roommate Rebecca had predicted most of the plot of this episode, just FYI. The major storylines this week were: the Quinn/Finn/Rachel/Puck love quadrangle and related baby daddy shenanigans, Kurt and Kurt's dad and Kurt's gayness coexisting, and disability as plot device as it related to Artie, Tina, Will, and Our Glorious Lynch. MVP of this episode was Mike O'Malley (Kurt's dad), but more on that later.
Quinn is continuing on this ridiculous charade of making Finn think that he's the father of her baby. Still. Nine episodes in. Awesome. That was one of the more exhausting parts of this week, as Quinn was reduced to just having the same argument with Finn over and over again. Her scenes with Puck were really sweet though, I can't wait for them to resolve this already. They get into a food fight in the Home Ec room while baking for a bake sale and end up almost making out. Fictional Universe Rule #257: food fights always end in makeouts (sadly the one time this didn't apply was on an episode of The Practice that I was particularly fond of, but I guess that's what fanfic is for).
So yeah, Puck continues to be charming this week, trying to prove to Quinn that he can be a real boyfriend for her. She is touched but ultimately chooses Finn (who does show a modicum of growth by episode's end), but only after he gets into a totally amazing fistfight/wrestling match with Puck in the middle of the hallway.
Will: "Let's get this party staaarrrrrteddd!"
Carly: "Please do not ever say that again."
The aforementioned bake sale is Will's way of raising money to get a handicapable bus for the whole Glee club to take to Sectionals, so that Artie can ride with the team (the school can't pay for it). Will has obviously been reading my recaps because this week he made a concerted effort to Not Be Oblivious To Everything. The Glee kids are super insensitive to Artie's situation from the get-go but Will doesn't let them get away with it, forcing them to all spend 3 hours a day in a wheelchair all week. Which is odd, because we see them in the wheelchairs for almost the entirety of the episode. I noticed this because the wheelchairs are played for laughs and site gags quite a bit, which seems counterproductive to the message they're trying to send here, but I guess it is a comedy after all.
They end up actually raising the money necessary after Puck bakes a ton of goodies laced with weed (which he hilariously gets from Sandy after pretending to be in pain from an injury that left him in a wheelchair), but Artie decides to just get a ride with his dad after all, and gives the money to the school to build some ramps for future students. Aw. Will is super proud of all of his kids… for doing exactly what he told them to do. Great work, everyone.
Artie gets a lot of face time this episode, which is nice. He's pretty adorable. His crush on Tina is exposed -- she likes him too! -- and they kiss. Then she confesses that her stutter is fake (I KNEW IT!) and he gets mad at her and storms off. The final number is "Proud Mary," performed by the entire Glee Club in wheelchairs. The choreography is cute but, really? "Rolling on the river" in wheelchairs? Eye roll.
Principal Figgins makes Will help Sue hold auditions for a new Cheerio to replace Quinn. Obvs Sue is not happy about this, as historically all Cheerios are handpicked. So we are treated to an audition montage. Attention universe: until someone can top Bring It On's audition montage, no one is allowed to do any more. Ever again. We are treated to many stereotypical wannabees, including: The Gay Boy, The Fat Girl and The Scary Mannish Girl. Thanks, show. Are you really telling me that no one else wanted to be a Cheerio? I call bullshit.
Sue ends up choosing Becky, a girl with Down Syndrome whom we only first met earlier this episode. Oh, she's friends with Britney? You know that blonde Cheerio in Glee, the one who never talks? Yeah, she got a personality this week: dumb blonde. Thaaaat's a reach. So Britney is friends with Becky and now Becky is a Cheerio too! Later, Sue is riding her hard, pushing her as much as she'd push any other student. Will tells her to back off but Sue rightly points out that all Becky wants is to be treated like everyone else, so he's the one who's discriminating. Boo-yah! We find out that Sue actually has a sister with Down, whom she's extremely close with. Interesting development there, that Sue Sylvester can be so heartless at school but has a heart underneath all those dry-cleaned track suits. And the Lynch's heart grew three sizes that day.
I'm just saying, this show keeps trying to go against type but keeps falling into it anyway due to bad writing. There's a way to subvert stereotypes for laughs (see Ryan Murphy's previous opus Popular), but Glee keeps failing at this, which is really disappointing. I'm just saying, this episode felt flat and uninspired. Like they had some diversity casting quota to meet and decided to fill it in one episode. I just expected more, is all. Aside from the Kurt parts, that is.
"I'm full of ennui." - Kurt (girl, you and me both)
The Glee club is going to sing "Defying Gravity" from Wicked. Rachel is obvs getting this one, but Kurt wants a chance to audition too. Will -- doing exactly what he was preaching all episode about not doing -- tells him he can't 'cause he's a boy. So his dad finds out and has a meeting with Figgins and Will, totally yelling at them, which is AWESOME. I love Kurt's dad! He's kinda clueless but he loves his son unconditionally, and that's really important to see in mainstream media. Oh, whoops, sorry. Don't trip over my soapbox on the way out, guys.
So they have a diva-off, which actually has nothing to do with RuPaul's Drag Race, shockingly. Rachel vs. Kurt. Only Kurt throws the entire thing when he doesn't hit the high note at the end. You see, dear readers, someone called his dad and anonymously told him, "your son is a fag." In case you're wondering, the proper response to that is, "why thank you for noticing!" but instead he gets pretty upset. Not mad at Kurt though, but he does want him to dial back the… uh… pizazz? Yeah, let's go with pizazz (what's up, Andy Bellefleur?). So Kurt throws the big game and has a totally emotional heart to heart with his dad where he tells him that he understands how hard it is for him, and that he will in fact de-pizazz himself a bit for the time being. Wait, can you even say "fag" on network tv? Probs only on Fox. LOLWTFOMGBBQ.
Sigh. Don't get me wrong, I love Glee. I think it's a fantastic, campy, fun show. I just want it to live up to the wildly and impossibly grand expectations we all have for it. I don't think that's too much to ask.