Glee Season 2 Episode 20: Prom Queen
So Glee had its long-awaited (and twitter-spoiled) Prom episode and the world awaits our reactions. Will T Lo laud the proceedings or will they find themselves once again facing the ire of Gleeks everywhere because they’e cranky and old and keep harping on old-fashioned concepts like “plot” and “character” and “consistency.” To be honest, we were kind of curious ourselves because our reaction changed every ten minutes. Let’s break it down.
Right off the bat, they’re losing us. This is a TERRIBLE performance by the two of them. It’s not entirely their fault. You just can’t put two Broadway babies on a song like this and expect them to nail it.
In addition, we were once again puzzled by the reactions of twitter Gleeks; this time, to Jesse’s return. Their were many tweet-shouts to the effect of “JESSE’S BACK!” Really? People were clamoring for his return? We don’t have anything against the character (at most, we’re ambivalent), but we can’t say the return of yet another old plot element excites us. So it’s Quinn with Finn, who’s pining away for Rachel, who’s with Jesse. Hello, season one! This time, without pregnancy!
Really cute song and scene. But man, that was COLD on Brittany’s part. For all the complaining about how the gay and lesbian characters are portrayed on this show, we’re a little uncomfortable with how the bisexual is being portrayed. Jumping ship from one relationship to another at the drop of a hat and switching teams along the way plays into the worst stereotypes about bisexuals. Granted, she hasn’t hooked up with Santana yet, but that’s all on Santana right now. If Brittany had gotten her way, she would have gone straight from breaking up with Artie to making out with Santana.
Glee, we will never, ever forgive you for making this song listenable. WE WERE BOPPING OUR HEADS TO “FRIDAY.” We feel so dirty.
Pretty, but kind of a downer for prom, no? To be honest, we kind of side with Quinn on this one, even if we have a hard time working up the sympathy for her “It’s so hard to be pretty” schtick. Rachel’s been acting terribly all season. Just because her heart is broken doesn’t make it cool to openly sing a song to someone else’s date.
*shrug* It’s all right. We’re a bit over Blaine and his wide-mouthed performing style, but it’s fine; we’re not the audience for it.
We did enjoy the way the gay stuff was handled this week. We’ve heard a TON of complaining from gay men about what a cliche Kurt is and how they hate that a fashion-obssessed, show tune queen with a high-pitched voice and a way with a bitchy bon mot is once again being held up as an example of gay maleness. They almost have a point, so long as you ignore Blaine and Karofsky. Kurt may have been turned into a weeping saint statue this season, but the upside to that is, we got two other representations of gay males that don’t fit the cliche: the teenage dream and the macho jock. We can’t remember a mainstream network show that offered up three different representations of gay men. If you don’t like Saint Kurt, then root for Blaine or Dave.
And with these three characters, we got three nuanced views of the coming out question; out and proud Kurt on one end, deeply closeted Dave on the other end, and cautious, wounded Blaine in the middle, who is out, but doesn’t like rocking the boat too much. Amazingly, they depicted all three points of view without really taking sides. We really felt Dave’s pain this episode. His tearful apology to Kurt seemed so sudden that we initially questioned the sincerity, but the utter terror on his face at the prospect of dancing with Kurt was truly heartbreaking.
And we liked that they highlighted a conversation that many gay men have: how out do we have to be and is it a good idea to throw it in the faces of people that might not be comfortable with it? Not that we’d ever argue that Kurt should hide his kilt under a bushel, but we appreciated that they showed the conversation at all and we really appreciated – and we might run into trouble admitting this – that Kurt DID pay a price for his unapologetic flamboyance.
Look, for good or for ill (from a storytelling perspective) the show has largely become a primer on and for gay teens. When we heard the spoiler about Kurt being prom queen, we initially groaned at the news. For all the talk of how hard Kurt has had it, he in fact has had experiences that most gay teens in middle America would kill for: unconditional acceptance from friends and family and a gorgeous teen idol of a boyfriend. From both a storytelling and realism point of view, we would have considered a triumphant crowning to be mostly fantasy, and, considering how many kids view the show as a primer on gay teen experiences, a dangerous one at that. To be perfectly blunt, you have to teach gay kids that It Gets Better, but you can’t white-wash what they’re going through right now.
And with this FLAWLESS cover of “Dancing Queen,” the show managed just that. Yes, It Gets Better, but it’s just as important to show gay kids how to deal with the shit that’s going on in their lives right now: with humor and grace, with your head held high.
[Video Credit: hulu.com - Screencap: tomandlorenzo.com]