Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Glee Goes to Prom: Recap

Last night on Glee, the glee club kids went to prom! Even though this left the show open to even more cheesiness than usual, the episode was actually pretty fun - and had a lot of the poignancy that I've come to love about the show. And of course, there was still a healthy dose of cheese.

The principal hires the glee club to perform at the prom (Air Supply wasn't available) which they can't refuse because they need the money to get to Nationals. Sue Sylvester is not happy, but her biggest concern is about preventing her precious punch from being spiked. The girls are all freaking out about dresses and other prom bullshit...
Santana: "Prom is like our Oscars, it's seriously like the most important night of our lives."
Lauren Zizes: "We're not getting married."
Quinn: "Oh you can get married as many times as you want, you only have one shot at your junior prom."
Mercedes, Rachel and Brittney don't have dates for prom and Mercedes is pretty upset about it. She "just wanted to be Cinderella... just for one night." (barf)
Britney: "So? I don't have a date. I'm just going to dance... and then all your dates are gonna ignore you and come dance with me. So, your dates are really my dates."
Rachel and Mercedes hatch a plan to both go with Sam as their date. ("Kind of like a three-way date, but not the dirty kind." - Rachel) Their prom-on-a-budget idea is actually pretty adorable (and really, $20 is all you need after all) and when later Sam fulfill's Mercedes' fantasy of telling her "you look beautiful" and asking her to dance, I admit, I melted a little bit. (Even though, it's an annoying fantasy... she did look beautiful and it was kind of sweet. Which leads to the question - why doesn't Mercedes have a love life on this show? It's not all about Finchel!)


The three front-runner couples for prom king and queen are Puck and Lauren Zizes, Finn and Quinn, and the closeted Karofsky and Santana. Puck, concerned that he's lost all his street cred (because Lauren Zizes apparently wears the pants in their relationship) enlists Artie's help in spiking the punch, in order to maintain his rep as the "loveable but dangerous miscreant". Having been rejected by Brittney after sweetly serenading her in Home Ec. ("You called me stupid and I really didn't like that, so I'm sorry but... I'm gonna go to prom by myself and really work on me and dance with other people's dates") Artie agrees. He later gets caught and Sue attempts to torture him, but he's apparently the "worst POW ever" ("John McCain is rolling over in his grave!") and eventually gets off because he spiked the punch with... lemonade! Oh Glee.

More exciting than prom itself was the return of Jesse St. James! In a scarf! Harmonizing with Rachel Berry to "Rolling in the Deep"! I get Spring Awakening chills whenever I see hear these two together. (It's almost enough to forget what a douche the character is. Almost: "I traded love for a fourth consecutive national championship. It was a bum deal. For a first maybe, but for a fourth, no way.")
And of course, the return of the J-St.-J pisses Finn off. Rachel quickly puts him in his place by reminding him that he doesn't get to have an opinion on who she dates since he broke up with her - and even though she dies inside when she him with Quinn, she deals with it - she even gives him corsage-buying advice. Finn has been so annoying lately, that I almost hope that he and Rachel don't get back together. (Of course, the Gleeks would burn me at the stake for even suggesting that, but come, make up your mind already Finn. Rachel deserves better.)

Kurt is taking Blaine as his date (Glee is nothing if not topical) who is a little uneasy about it, having been beat up at his old school because he tried to take a guy to the Sadie Hawkins Dance. Santana, vying for sympathy votes for prom queen, offers to provide Kurt with extra security from the Bully Whips. This leads to a really sweet, touching moment between Kurt and Karofsky:
Kurt: "I see how miserable you are Dave. I could just hate you when you were bullying me... but now all I see is your pain. And you don't have to torture yourself over this. I'm not saying you should come out tomorrow, but maybe, soon, the moment will arise where you can."
Karofsky: (begins to cry)
Kurt: What's wrong?
Karofsky: I'm so... I'm so freaking sorry, Kurt. I'm just... so sorry for what I did to you.
Kurt: I know. I know.
Kurt decides to wear a kilt to prom in an homage to the Royal wedding and the late Alexander McQueen. ("It rocks! It's like gay Braveheart!" - Finn).

This of course, concerns both Blaine and Kurt's dad:
Burt: I'm not gonna stop you from wearing it. But I gotta be honest... I think you're just trying to stir the pot a little bit. I think you're trying to get some attention. 
Kurt: Exactly. What's the point of dressing up? I mean, that's why some guys wear the tales or the top hat and the girls wear the hoop skirts. Blaine, help me out here?
Blaine: I think your dad has a point. I think what he's trying to say is that we just don't want to give anyone a reason to cause trouble.
Burt: There's a lot of bad people out there Kurt, and they're a lot worse than this Karofsky kid. And all they're looking for is a match to light under the fire of their hate. Now of course I want... I want you to be yourself, but I also want you to be practical.
Kurt: I have done everything right. Now Blaine, I understand that after what you've been through you're worried, but prom is about joy, not about fear. So I am wearing this suit. I worked hard on it and I think it's fantastic. And if you don't want to join me, I completely understand.
Now, I know that both Burt and Blaine sort of have a point, but this just reminded me too much of the recent attempts at bullying prevention that police the behavior of the victims rather than the bullies. I love that Kurt stood up for himself and didn't back down just to avoid some negative attention. This show isn't always so great (um, continuity anybody?) but I have to say that they have consistenly handled LGBT issues in a really awesome way.

Now I'm going to get serious for a minute... why oh why did Glee cover Rachel Black's "Friday". Why? Oh the humanity! (I'd sooner listen to "Trouty Mouth" again.) If Puck was really concerned about his rep, covering the most ridiculous of the decade was a dumb move, don't ya think? Although honestly, they elevated that song to much higher heights that it ever deserved (it was almost catchy). Puck, Sam and Artie did look adorable rocking out to it... but it was still a total travesty.

Finn and Jesse get into a shoving match over Rachel and both get thrown out, much to Quinn's dismay. By the way, Quinn really did look beautiful in this episode (and really, is there a more qualified candidate for bitchy prom queen? Her name even sounds like "queen") although truthfully I prefer Santana, who looked perfect as a "devil in a red dress".

Unfortunately neither Santana nor Quinn wins. Karofsky wins for king, but the queen winner isn't his date Santana... it's a write-in candidate... Kurt. Ouch. I find it hard to believe that any principal would actually allow that to happen, let alone announce it to the room. (I'm not fully sure how I feel about Higgins doing that, except that I don't think it's realistic.)

The room is silent and Kurt runs off crying.

Then we're subjected to the three cry-fests happening simultaneously (Kurt, Quinn and Santana). Kurt and Blaine's discussion was quite moving and yet again, extremely topical... Santana's and Britney's was played slightly more for laughs, but was also pretty touching considering what Santana has been hiding... and then... there was Quinn and Rachel. Quinn's like totally bummed about not winning prom queen... because... um... why exactly? Poor beautiful Quinn. Your life must be so hard being that beautiful. I thought it was nice to see Quinn and Rachel have a sincere little moment, but meh, it just didn't match the emotion of what Kurt and Santana were dealing with.

Let's just say that one of these things is not like the other...
Kurt: "Don't you get how stupid we were. We thought that because no one was teasing us or beating us up that no one cared, like some kind of progress had been made. But its still the same..."
Blaine "It's just a stupid joke."
Kurt: "No it's not. All that hate - they were just afraid tos ay it out oud, so they did it by secret ballot. I'm one big anonymous pracitical joke."
Quinn: "This is your fault! No one would've ever voted for me because they know he'd rather be with you."
Rachel: "That's not true. (Quinn slaps Rachel)
Quinn: "...I'm so sorry."
Santana: "How could my running mate win and I didn't? I mean, just because I hate everybody doesn't mean they have to hate me too."
Brittney: "It's just a stupid crown, you can buy it at a party store."
Santana: "I'm gonna be an outsider my whole life. Can't I just... have one night where I'm queen? Where I'm accepted?" 
Kurt: "I'm not going back in there."
Quinn: "There's no way I'm staying at this school. I'm gonna transfer."
Santana: "As soon as we get to New York, I'm bailing to live in a lesbian colony. Or Tribeca."
See what I mean? Quinn is ready to transfer to another school because she didn't win prom queen... even though she's still easily the most beautiful and most popular girl in school. And it's not as though Santana or Lauren beat her... a cruel prank on Kurt beat her. So what is her problem exactly?
Blaine: "Do you wanna go? We don't have to go back in there."
Kurt: "Wasn't this prom supposed to be about redemtion? About taking away the lump you had in your throat from running away? If we leave all it's gonna do is give me a lump too."
Blaine: "So what do you wanna do?"
Kurt: "I'm gonna go back in there and get coronated.  I'm gonna show them that it doesn't mater if they are yelling at me or whsipering behind my back. They can't touch me. They can't touch us. Or what we have."
Rachel: "Most girls woud be upset about being slapped in the face. But I happen to appreciate the drama of it."
Quinn: "I know you think it's hard to be you Rachel, but a least you dont have to be terrified all the time."
Rachel: "What are you so scared of?"
Quinn: "The future... when all this is gone."
Rachel: "You have nothing to be scared of. You're a very pretty girl Quinn, you're the prettiest girl I've ever met. But you're a lot more than that."
Santana: "They must have sensed that I was a lesbian. I mean they must have. Do I smell like a golf course?"
Brittney: "People don't know what you're hiding. They just know that you're not being yoruself. If you were to embrace all the awesomess that you are, you would've won."
Santana: "How do you know?"
Brittney: "Because I voted for you. And because I beleve in you Santana."
Santana: "This prom sucks! Now what am I supposed to do?"
Brittney: "Go back out there and be there for Kurt. This is gonna be a lot harder for him than it is for you."
Leave it to Brittney to be the voice of reason!!! (Side note: Come on, writers, can we please get these two together already? I like Artie, but I want to see Santana and Britney as an actual couple finally.)

So Kurt goes back out there and I just wanna say that what happens next was a great, empowering moment... but I find it completely unrealistic and unbelieveable. Almost all of it.

Principal Higgins actually crowns Kurt queen. I don't believe this would actually happen in real life. I like that it happened on the show, but I don't buy it that a real high school principal would do this. Then Kurt says "Eat your heart out Kate Middleton" which the students all applaud. Again, don't believe it. Just a few minutes ago they were mocking him, by voting him prom queen, and now they applaud him? I suppose it's possible that the kids who didn't vote for him were applauding and the kids who did were impressed that he stood up to them, but still, I just don't fully believe it. It does make for a great TV sitcom moment - the happy resolution - but it's just not completely legit. I only wish that real gay and lesbian teens have such easy resolutions to their problems with bullying.

And then, even more to my disbelief, Higgins actually announces the first dance between prom king and queen. Kurt suggests to Karofsky that this would be a great "moment" for him to come out, but he isn't brave enough ("I can't") so he leaves. But Blaine is there to cut in and they dance to, what else, "Dancing Queen" as sung by Mercedes and Santana. Cue the dancing and smiling and laughing and playing with balloons and taking photos and having fun. (Brittney even dances with poor Artie.) Yay prom!


Foreshadowing: After having flunked out of college, Jesse's new career idea is to be a consultant for show choirs ("What are the two things I'm great at? Show choir and destroying the competition") so clearly he will be back next week. By the way, I already know my favorite quote from next Tuesday's episode: "Jesse St. james totally Jesse St. Sucks!" - Kurt.

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