I’m gonna start this Glee recap with a rant, because right now I’m mad as hell. The episode ended with New Directions (now with Kurt) singing Lady Gaga’s “Born This Way” while wearing t-shirts with the thing they don’t like about themselves on them, sending a message that they are embracing their flaws. Kurt’s t-shirt said “Likes Boys.”
Liking boys is NOT a flaw! I know Glee and the show’s producers don’t think it is either, but the message that it implied is one of the most offensive things I’ve ever seen on television. While other people’s shirts said things they don’t like about themselves but which they’ve accepted (Tina’s brown eyes, Finn’s bad dancing), Kurt’s shirt was, instead, something other people may not like about him, but something that he loves about himself. Kurt is a confident, proud homosexual, and I feel confident that he would never suggest that liking boys is a flaw.
But that’s what Glee did. It was a poorly thought-out costume choice and one that makes me furious and undercuts the message they were trying to relay. So let me repeat: liking boys is NOT a flaw.
If you missed them, here are the other “flaws” worn by the characters:
Kurt: Likes Boys
Mercedes: No Weave!
Mike: Can’t Sing
Finn: Can’t Dance
Tina: Brown Eyes
Will: Butt Chin
Brittany: I’m With Stoopid (with an arrow pointing up)
Puck: I’m With Stupid (with an arrow pointing down to his crotch)
Artie: Four Eyes
Sam: Trouty Mouth
Quinn: Lucy Caboosey
Lauren: Bad Attitude
Emma: O.C.D. (after starting the episode with “Ginger”)
Santana: Bitch (though Brittany gave her a shirt saying “Lebanese,” which meant lesbian)
My problem is that not all these flaws are created equal, but Glee wants to paint them with the same brush. Emma and Finn aren’t embracing their flaws, but actively trying to fix them. Quinn already overcame hers. And Artie’s could be cured with a pair of contacts. The suggestion that any or all of these are similar to homosexuality is preposterous.
OK, my rant is over. Now let’s get on to what else happened on Glee‘s 90-minute spectacular.
It all starts when Finn breaks Rachel’s nose during dance practice. The doctor virtually forces her into getting a nose job, which makes Will sad because he thinks everyone should be happy with themselves just the way they are (unless he doesn’t like the way you are, in which case you should absolutely change it).
Unfortunately for him, the week’s lesson of self-acceptance is full of strange mixed messages because the world is not black and white and loving your flaws isn’t exactly a practical or reasonable message. Will may be disappointed in Rachel for wanting a nose job, but Finn’s biggest flaw is his dancing, so after a performance highlighting that, Finn proudly says that he’s getting better.
So is Finn as bad as Rachel for wanting to improve his dancing instead of simply accepting and embracing how bad he is at it? That rhetorical question is proof that Will’s pie-in-the-sky philosophy is completely impractical.
On the other hand, there’s Emma, who is fine with her flaw (O.C.D.), but Will thinks she needs to change it. I’m OK with this because her condition is actually a disease, which we learn when she goes to see a shrink for a very serious and out-of-place scene.
Will can’t get through to Rachel, but after Kurt returns to McKinley, he does by taking her to the mall and staging a flash mob set to the song “Barbara Streisand,” which is just an obnoxious techno dance beat with a voice occasionally saying the name “Barbara Streisand.” I guess this means that flash mobs solve body image images.
Who Is Lucy Caboosey?
Speaking of body image issues, Lauren wants to run against Quinn for prom queen so she can get validation, because as much as Lauren Zizes claims to love herself, I suppose she isn’t really happy unless others accept her too. So she digs up some dirt on Quinn, namely the fact that she used to go by Lucy when she was 70 pounds heavier with zits and an unseemly nose.
Quinn worked hard to lose the weight, used ProActiv to clean up the acne and got a nose job, all of which makes her a terrible, awful person. That was sarcasm. In reality, she’s inspiring because she worked hard to make her outer beauty reflect how she felt about herself inside, and she realized it was easier to fix herself than to make everyone else nicer. Luckily Glee learns this lesson at the end, when Quinn gets a huge bump in the polls for prom queen because students find her transformation inspiring. It is, but it also undercuts the message of the episode since for her, not embracing her flaws turned out to be a good thing.
Santana and Karofsky Get Kurt Back
In order to win Brittany back, Santana wants to become prom queen, but to do that she decides she needs to get Kurt back. Luckily she saw Karofsky checking out Sam’s butt, thus learning his secret and giving her all the ammunition she needs.
Santana asks Karofsky out and lays it all on the line, ending with the fact that she wants them to be each others’ beards to win prom king and queen. The plan involves getting Karofsky to apologize to the Glee club and, having seen the error of his ways, he and Santana form a club to stop all bullying at McKinley.
Here’s where I get confused. Karofsky claims Santana showed him stories about gay teens committing suicide after being bullied and it changed his mind. Is Karofsky really reformed or is all of this an act? He has a meeting with Kurt in the principal’s office which clarifies nothing, as Karofsky tells Kurt in private about Santana’s plots and Kurt agrees to give it a chance.
So the next day Kurt is back at McKinley! As expected, I’m unhappy. Kurt’s dad gave up his honeymoon to pay for a fancy private school he couldn’t afford, and now Kurt is just leaving halfway through the semester. I’m guessing Dalton doesn’t have refunds. I know Burt is willing to do anything for his son, but does that include wasting good money because Kurt misses his friends?
It’s painfully easy and a sign of terrible writing that Glee just waves a magic wand and undoes an entire subplot with such ease. I’m guessing the show only introduced Dalton so Kurt could have a boyfriend, and now that they’re together, the writers are bored and are just erasing that entire subplot like it never existed.
Kurt’s back, Blaine and the Warblers sing him a farewell song and Santana is now happily Karofsky’s beard, though Brittany wants her to embrace her lesbianism.
“I Feel Pretty” / “Unpretty” (West Side Story and TLC) by Rachel and Quinn: I always love Glee most when it does mash-ups, because at least it’s slightly original and not just a bad karaoke version of a hit song. This mash-up worked for me and was very pretty.
“I’ve Gotta Be Me” (Sammy Davis Jr.) by Finn and Mike: As always, Finn sings and Mike just dances, but there’s never anything wrong with a Mike Chang dance number.
“Somewhere Only We Know” (Keane) by Blaine: I’d claim the Warblers also sang, but as with all their songs, they’re just background extras for Blaine to shine.
“As If We Never Said Goodbye” (Sunset Boulevard) by Kurt: Kurt came back with a big Broadway number, and while Chris Colfer can sing, this killed the momentum of the show faster than a Holly Holiday ballad. It was shamefully self-indulgent and the message of the song seemed to be: “Please, fans, forget that Kurt was ever not in New Directions because that was a stupid idea.”
“Barbara Streisand” (Duck Sauce): The song played during the flash mob.
“Born This Way” (Lady Gaga) by New Directions: See my rant for my thoughts on this song.
More “Born This Way”:
Discuss: Can Klaine survive a long distance relationship?
Discuss: Has Karofsky really changed?
Quiz: Fifteen questions on Lebanese and Lucy Caboosey
(Image courtesy of FOX)