Thursday, September 24, 2009

Glee 1.04: "Preggers"

“Boy, the only thing missing from this place is a couple dozen bodies, limed and rotting in shallow graves under the floorboards.”


Last night’s episode was the most emotional episode of Glee to date, although it still had plenty of black comedy, as you would expect. It is impossible not to feel something, or perhaps even get a bit teary, while watching both Kurt and Finn’s plights in this episode. I don’t, however, sympathize all that much with Rachel’s plight this time around.

Early in the episode, Kurt is in his basement attempting, for some unknown reason, to recreate Beyonce’s “Single Ladies” video with two fellow Glee Club members (Tina and one of the Cheerios) as back-up dancers. Kurt’s father walks in, and the girls cover for Kurt (who has not yet come out to his father) by saying they’re helping him train for the football team. Kurt’s father buys the lie for the most part. There’s still one problem, though. This means Kurt will actually have to try out for the football team. Kurt asks Finn for help getting a try-out, or “audition” as Kurt would put it, and Finn at first misunderstands, thinking Kurt is going to ask him to the prom. In a moment that is both sweet and funny, Finn (very politely) turns down Kurt for the prom before he even knew what Kurt was trying to ask. Finn really is a stand-up guy and doesn’t deserve what happens to him later in the episode.

Kurt does get the try-out to be the kicker on the football team, and as long as he dances to “Single Ladies” all the way to the football, he can kick better than anyone else on the team. Kurt joining the team gives Finn a good idea. He goes to Will and asks if Will can give the football team dancing lessons. The football team is awful, and Finn read in a book (from the library, that he just discovered how to use…not sure if that’s funny or just really pathetic characterization) that a lot of the best football players were also dancers. Together, Will and Kurt teach the rest of the football team Kurt’s “Single Ladies” dance. The football team is, naturally, skeptical.

On the day of the big game, the football team is still having a rough go of it, not able to score at all. With only one second left in the game, Finn convinces the team that they should do the “Single Ladies” dance to throw off their opponents. The result is pretty hilarious and surprisingly good choreography. The team manages to score a touchdown, but in order to win, they need that extra point. Kurt is brought into the game, and “Single Ladies” his way to a win for his team. He is triumphantly carried off the field by his teammates. By his teammates who were, just weeks ago, pushing him into the dumpster on a regular basis. I don’t really mind “Single Ladies,” but I thought it was very overused in this episode at the expense of musical numbers actually sung by the cast. I suppose it had to be used so heavily because the license fee was probably steep, but I still didn’t love it. On a more serious note, Kurt makes the decision to come out to his father after the game. It’s an extremely touching scene and showcases some quality acting by Chris Colfer and Mike O’Malley. Kurt’s father assures his son that he has known Kurt was gay since Kurt was three years old (thanks to a Christmas request for sensible heels), and that he will always love and support him, even if he’s not crazy about the fact that Kurt is gay. This was an absolutely wonderful scene, where a difficult situation was handled realistically and tastefully.

Finn also goes through an emotional rollercoaster in this episode. Early in the episode, Quinn tells him that she is pregnant and he is the father. We find out that this can’t actually be the case, no matter what that urban legend about getting pregnant via hot tub may say, but Finn doesn’t realize that. In what ties with Kurt’s coming out for my favorite scene in this episode, Finn seeks advice from Will. At first, he can’t even tell Will what is wrong, he just sobs on his shoulder. It turns out, however, that when Quinn was a bit tipsy on wine coolers and “feeling fat” one day, she slept with Puck, who is the true father of her unborn baby. Puck is extremely upset that Quinn refuses to acknowledge he is the father. Puck wants a chance to do better than his own father did. Puck is pretty horrible to Quinn through the rest of the episode, but I kind of think Quinn deserves it. Quinn is manipulating Finn into thinking he is the father because she thinks Finn would be a better father. That makes sense on a logical level, but it’s such a horrible thing to do to such a sweet, naive person as Finn.

After Kurt’s and Finn’s trials in this episode, Rachel’s plot almost seems inconsequential. Will has once again decided to assign a solo (“Tonight” from “West Side Story”) to someone other than Rachel. Will thinks that if he gives Tina a solo, it will help her get over her stuttering and self confidence problems. Rachel has yet another excuse why this solo should be hers and nobody else’s. She tells Will that he is building everybody else up at her expense, and she’s not getting anything out of being in Glee. Sue’s latest plot to bring down the Glee club involves using blackmail to bring Sandy back to the school as Arts Administrator, and the first thing Sandy does is start to organize a performance of “Cabaret.” This was deliberately designed to steal Rachel, the best singer, away from Glee Club, and after not getting “her” solo, Rachel takes the bait. I’ve got to side with Will on this one. There are more members in Glee Club than just Rachel, and Rachel needs to learn how to take a back seat.

I think this was my favorite episode of Glee since the Pilot. Both Kurt and Finn’s journeys really left an impression on me. The only thing this episode was missing was more musical performances. A few bars of “Taking Chances” by Rachel and a scared rendition of “Tonight” by Tina just didn’t cut it.

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