Glee Season 1 Episode 9: Wheels
Well, last night’s episode was the first time we didn’t have that reaction. Oh sure, they’re still pushing the implausible baby daddy storyline, but this time the characters involved are all acting like, well, like real people would act in such an implausible situation. For the first time, we actually felt a little tension there and wondered how it was going to be resolved and who was going to wind up hurt. Don’t get us wrong, we’ll bet you a dollar that it’ll all come out by the season finale and Quinn and Puck will wind up together, but for the first time we were actually curious about how they were going to get to that point.
Even more encouraging is that the writers seem to have gotten a better handle on each of the characters and they’re blooming right in front of our eyes. Sue Sylvester isn’t just a crazy fascist; Artie isn’t just “wheelchair guy”; Tina isn’t just “stuttering girl”; Kurt isn’t just — well, okay, Kurt IS the gay one, but they added some layers to that and honestly, any scene between him and his father is a scene worth watching. They play off each other so well and their individual pain is both subtle and utterly believable. Also, blonde girl has a name! Britney! And a personality! Dumb Blonde! Okay, maybe they need to work on that one in terms of fleshing it out, but they did manage to wring a “I can’t believe they just said that” politically incorrect joke out of it with the revelation that she copies her math answers off the girl with the developmental disability.
And speaking of disabilities, they’ve only really lightly touched on what it’s really like to be an outsider, especially in high school. Mostly, they’ve just played it for laughs, but we’re not going to deny that we teared up a little at Artie’s cute rendition of “Dancing with Myself.”
But then we really lost it when Sue visited her sister. Didn’t see that one coming at all. And for some odd reason, it really works for the character. Somehow, her previous flashes of sheer insanity and nastiness don’t actually contradict the warm, loving Sue we saw briefly last night. Credit must be paid to the awesome Jane Lynch, who nailed that scene.
Honestly, we were just happy to see a show that didn’t COMPLETELY revolve around the most attractive members of the cast. It’s not that we want them to ignore Quinn, Puck, Rachel and Finn (not to mention Will, Emma, and Terri), but a little bit of a spotlight on the so-called “lesser” characters was desperately needed, especially Tina and Artie. Their “date” was incredibly sweet, but this being Glee, had to end somewhat badly. We really hope they pick up on this plotline and don’t leave it dangling.
Also, Kurt and Rachel in a diva-off! Who doesn’t love that? The outcome was pretty much predetermined but they added a nice twist on it by having Kurt reveal he deliberately flubbed the note for his father’s sake. That’s an examination of being gay that you don’t normally see on television: how far out of the closet can I go before I pay a price? It’s a question that every struggling gay person has to answer at some point.
And finally, as the minutes wound down on the show, we were afraid we were going to be left without a big number to take us home. We should have known better:
Where did they get that ramp? How did they all master their wheelchairs so quickly? Where is the musical accompaniment coming from? You know what? We’re just gonna go with it. Because we honestly think this episode was the best of the series so far.
[Screencaps: Projectrungay.blogspot.com - Videos: hulu.com/photobucket.com]