|In Short:||Glee explores the ins and outs of teen lust and first kisses.|
|Recommended:||Yeah. But mostly for Darren Criss.|
|KURT:||There’s this Neanderthal who’s made it his mission to make my life a living hell… and nobody seems to notice.|
Aaaaah Kurt. Everything seems to happen to you, doesn’t it, little buddy? Already this season you’ve had a family medical emergency, a gay crush on the straightest new kid in town, a spiritual awakening, and now your bullying storyline is ratcheting up to high gear. All that’s left is to meet the man of your dreams and gain a step family and then you can look forward to your 18th birthday with a bright new outlook on life!
So, Kurt is our A plot this week. That moose of a footballer, Karofski (Max Adler), repeat offender in the slushie wars, is shoving Kurt into the lockers several times a day. Everyone with half a brain has already made the closet-case assumption, and sure enough Karofski plants a confused kiss on Kurt during their heated confrontation. There’re a lot of mixed opinions about this kiss on the interwebs. Some folks are complaining because Karofski doesn’t seem “in love” enough with Kurt to want to kiss him, but I actually think that’s precisely what does work with this scene -- Karofski doesn’t have any feelings for Kurt, certainly not any positive or loving feelings, but the reading I’m getting off Max Adler’s portrayal of Karofski is blind, experimental panic. The young fella has probably spent every post-pubescent night waking from awkward dreams of men, while hating himself and forcing himself to think otherwise (and probably stocking up on Playboys to try to self-repress), and here he is having a moment alone -- and a shouting match no less -- with the only male in his entire world who would kiss a dude. So Karofski takes the chance; it’s a self test, a final barrier, not a loving thing or a response to a crush or even remotely connected to the person Kurt is underneath the “gay” label. I think Max Adler played it well. He gets my kudos, for a former bit-part player.
The REAL juice in Kurt’s storyline is the introduction of Blaine, instant and immediate crush of teenage boys everywhere. Played smoothly and handsomely by Darren Criss, star and brains behind internet sensation A Very Potter Musical (and sequel). I’m personally not a fan of AVPM, despite being a fan of all other things Potter, simply because of the overly distracting American accents used the cast, but I think Darren Criss is going to be a fantastic addition to the Glee world. Big part of that? How well he plays gay -- making total eye-sex with Kurt while singing Katie Perry a cappella with a bunch of dudes -- whilst being a straight man in real life. I’d like to present him with a Neil Patrick Harris Award for being awesome outside your own sexuality.
Some background: The Glee clubbers have found out who their competition will be at Sectionals, coming up in just a few weeks. A group of senior citizens gaining their high school equivalencies for one, and an all-male a cappella group called The Warblers from ritzy private boys school Dalton Academy for the other. Kurt is dispatched to spy on The Warblers and he chances upon their impromptu performance of Katy Perry’s “Teenage Dream”. The song choice is hardly subtle, given Kurt’s glazed and rapturous expression as he drinks in the vocal stylings of his new dream boy, but it’s a passable instruction to Life At Dalton, where singers are treated like rock stars, bullying is not tolerated, and the rooms are furnished even more sumptuously and luxuriously than the Gryffindor common room.
Blaine and Kurt have an instant connection, again this is all adorable and very well acted, and Blaine becomes a mentor and pillar of courage for Kurt. Blaine nudges Kurt into having the confrontation with Karofski, and is there for him as a shoulder to cry on after the disastrous kiss -- Kurt’s first, he claims, totally ignoring his make out sesh with Brittany back in “Home” (01.08), which make me feel bad for Brit. Are her make out sessions that easy to forget?
That was the A plot. This week the B plot is more of the dirty wickedness I’ve come to love from Glee. In a nutshell, the Glee kids who aren’t getting regular sex (ie, everyone bar Puck and Santana) but are dating, are finding they need a distraction from their teen lusty feelings. A cold shower of the mind, so to speak. And they find their solution in Coach Beiste, who may be large and masculine, but seems to rock a tutu and meat cleaver with panache. Dot Marie Jones, who plays Beiste, must have an awesome sense of humor, allowing herself to play up in those cheeky costumed fantasy sequences. It got a few big laughs outta me. Mr Shue, as usual, is the doofus of the episode -- once he gets wind that the boys (and Tina?!?) are picturing The Beast in lingerie to keep themselves from bursting with joy, he somehow manages to stick his foot in it and tell the whole thing to Beast. She promptly quits, citing her lack of sexual experience among other reasons. Like Kurt, she’s never been kissed (those clever, clever people who name each episode!). So Shue plants a chaste and condescending closed-mouth peck on the Beast as his own apology. Yawn. Get back to being funny and naughty, please, Glee. I want to spray my drink across the couch from laughing so hard, like I recently did watching The Big Bang Theory. (Although hopefully next time, I won’t be drinking red wine).
And finally, the songs this week: how do they stack up? The Warbler’s version of “Teenage Dream” is an amusing, big, gay wet dream. Kurt and Puck busk in the school’s courtyard and make all kinds of musical magic together. Show, I’d like to see this pairing again, please. The two biggest production numbers of the week are the annual girls vs. boys mashup numbers, last seen in early Season 1’s “Vitamin D” and which brought us two of the most memorable songs of the entire year. This week, the mashups are entertaining but not as good: The girls rock out (and where did they find the budget for all that leather, wind machine, smoke machine, and new instruments for their band?) with Bon Jovi and The Rolling Stones and it’s significantly better than the boys’ effort: “Stop in the Name of Love” mixed with “Free Your Mind” as an apology to Coach Beiste for the malarkey above. In 50’s-style blue suits. Cute but not bad ass and sexy, which the girls, at least, were.
Next week, it’s famous guest star time!
|Brit's Wit:||[to paraplegic Artie] I’ve been squeezing your leg for, like, the last hour and a half… are you not attracted to me?|
|Best song ‘n’ dance:||The unexpectedly awesome pairing of Puck and Artie. Who knew their voices would complement each other so perfectly?|
|Couples musical chairs:||Fighting between our blonde pair (Sam and Quinn) and our Asian pair (Tina and Mike), but they survive.|
-- Cathy Thomson