Saturday, April 30, 2011

Glee 2.18: "Born This Way"

“Being a ginger has plagued me my entire life. People say that I smell like copper, and I can get a sunburn indoors at night. And according to recent legend, I have no soul.”

I wasn’t especially enthusiastic about watching this 90 minute “Glee” extravaganza, because I’ve kind of soured on “Glee” in general this season, but I ended up enjoying “Born this Way” more than I thought I would. It was lighthearted with good jokes, yet it tackled some serious stuff at the same time. Plus, the show seems to be moving towards a reconciliation for Emma and Will, and it’s a reconciliation that would put them in a much healthier place than they were in the first go ‘round. Things also seem to be on their way to righting themselves in the world of the kids. Finn and Quinn are still dating, which I find appalling even with the extra character development we get on Quinn in this episode. On the other hand, Kurt transfers back to McKinley High! I think trying to split each episode between two schools was hurting it. Now episodes can be more focused since we don’t have to have the token “Kurt at Dalton Academy” scene in every episode. Kurt seems to be quite happy to be back, too, although I really don’t understand his motivation behind the transfer.

Anyway, the episode begins pre-Kurt’s return, with Will running the glee club through a dance rehearsal. He thinks New Directions can compete with Vocal Adrenaline vocally, but their dancing needs a lot of work. And mostly thanks to Finn, he’s right. Finn’s dancing is so atrocious that he accidentally pushes Rachel in the middle of one of their numbers. Rachel falls and injures her nose. Finn, feeling guilty, accompanies Rachel to the doctor. The doctor says Rachel’s nose is broken, but it’s a clean break, so it’s not serious. The doctor then suggests that Rachel should have surgery to fix her deviated septum and make some “cosmetic adjustments.” He really tries to sell the surgery by telling Rachel that fixing the deviated septum will improve her singing (I guess because she’ll be able to take in more air). Always looking for a way to get a leg up on the competition, Rachel begins to seriously consider it.

Rachel announces to the entire glee club that she’s considering a nose job, and the reaction is decidedly unenthusiastic. Santana is especially bitchy about the news, which doesn’t make a lot of sense considering she’s had some more significant “cosmetic adjustments” herself. Hearing that Rachel is so insecure about herself makes Will upset, and he talks to Emma about this while helping her clean her fruit for lunch. He has an idea that he thinks will both help the kids and get Emma to finally admit she has OCD. And of course, it involves Lady Gaga. Will and Emma jointly present the next glee club assignment to the kids. They’re going to sing “Born This Way” by Lady Gaga, and Emma is going to make each of them t-shirts with their biggest insecurity with which they were born. The kids don’t quite understand this, so Emma shows them her own t-shirt as an example. Will encourages Emma, clearly thinking she’s about to make a breakthrough. Her t-shirt doesn’t say “OCD,” though. It says “ginger.”

Another major plot in this episode revolves around the election of Prom King and Queen. We already know that Quinn’s seriously gunning for the title, but it turns out Santana really wants it, too. She thinks that if she’s named Prom Queen, she can convince Brittany that she has issued a royal decree requiring Brittany to date her. Sadly, the idea probably isn’t that far from the truth. Which is why Brittany’s kind of awesome. She spots Karofsky checking out Sam as Sam bends over to use the water fountain, and she gets an idea about how to actually make her Prom Queen dream happen. For some reason, I’m not quite sure why, this involves getting Karofsky to pretend to date her and getting Kurt back to McKinley. I’m happy Kurt’s coming back, so I really don’t mind that I don’t understand the logic. Santana takes Karofsky out to blackmail him. She lets him know that she’s figured out he’s in the closet, and she reveals that she is too. She’s going to out Karofsky to the whole school if he doesn’t make amends with Kurt. To make the Prom King/Queen race even more complicated, Lauren eyes the crown and tells Puck about how she was once successful on the toddler pageant circuit. Puck says they can run for King and Queen so Lauren can once again have a crown.

In addition to “Born This Way,” the glee kids are all supposed to choose and perform a song about accepting who they are. My favorite is a mash-up of “Unpretty” and “I Feel Pretty” by Rachel and Quinn. The song starts when Rachel takes Quinn along with her to the doctor so the doctor can have a reference for the nose Rachel wants, and it ends up with them performing in the choir room. I think this is one of my favorite musical performances of the entire series, because it just sounded very natural. Then there’s poor Corey Monteith trying to handle a rat pack-style number all on his own. Well, he’s on his own vocally, but Harry Shum, Jr. is doing his dancing thing all around the room. Corey really shouldn’t try to sing solo like that, but Harry sure can dance! Like we didn’t know that already. After the performance, Rachel hands photos her doctor made of what she’ll look like with Quinn’s nose. The glee club still doesn’t approve. Finn even tells her she’s beautiful as she is. Rachel doesn’t care, though. She’s getting the nose job anyway. Rachel’s not the only one refusing to confront her issues. Will has a talk with Emma about not wearing an OCD shirt, and he tries to get her to eat unwashed fruit. Needless to say, it doesn’t go well. I just want the pineapple sweater Jayma was wearing in that scene. Since I’m not working for a big law firm, though, that’s never going to happen.

Going along with Santana’s plan, Karofsky makes a big speech to the glee club about how Santana has “rehabilitated” him. Karofsky and Santana also claim to be in love. To show how sorry he is and make amends with Kurt, Karofsky, with Santana’s help, is going to start an anti-bullying club. Following this, there’s a big meeting in Principal Figgins’ office with Kurt, Karofsky, and their dads. The discussion gets heated between the dads, with Karofsky’s dad desperately wanting to believe he has back the son he thought he knew from before all this bullying started. Kurt has had it with the bickering, and he asks to talk to Karofsky alone. He gets Karofsky to admit the truth about why he’s asking for peace. Kurt says he’ll go along with all of it and come back to McKinley on the condition that Karofsky starts a chapter of a group called PFLAG, which supports LGBT individuals. At noon the next day, Kurt’s transfer is official. The Warblers, led by Blaine, of course, give him a big send off with Keane’s “Somewhere Only We Know.” Kurt then goes into a big Broadway number about how everything’s as he remembered it and he’s happy about that. I’m not the biggest fan of Chris Colfer’s voice, but I did notice that the character of Kurt seems a lot more confident in his performance these days. He’s kinda sassy, which is fun.

Puck finds Rachel in the girl’s bathroom looking at her nose, and he asks for an hour of her time. Rachel continues to insist that she’s absolutely getting the nose job, but she agrees to go with Puck. He takes her to the local mall and hands her off to Kurt, who reminds her of her love for Barbara Streisand. Then we get a massive flash mob right in the middle of the mall that dances around to a song about Barbara. I think I preferred Joss Whedon’s take on the mall flash mob last season in “Dream On,” because it was a fantasy. A real flash mob of this scale just seems kind of unlikely. Rachel enjoyed it, though, and she happily dances along. I guess that’s what really matters. Near the end of the episode, Rachel makes yet another big announcement. She has talked to her doctor again, and she’s not getting the nose job after all.

Meanwhile, the Prom Queen race heats up when Lauren digs up some serious dirt on Quinn. Quinn didn’t come from the middle school she led people to believe. Lauren found her real middle school and found out that Quinn used to go by the name of Lucy. Also she was chubby and had horrible acne. And she had a very different looking nose. Quinn begged her parents to let her start over, and she got a nose job, too. Lauren has put Quinn’s old school picture up on the bulletin board, thinking it will cause Quinn’s popularity to plummet. Quinn thinks that’s what’s going to happen, too. They’re both wrong. Realizing that she was once just like them gets Quinn the vote of the masses, and she and Lauren eventually make amends.

Santana and Brittany have another confrontation about the state of their relationship. Brittany has made Santana a shirt that says “Lebanese,” which is really supposed to say “Lesbian.” Santana thinks the slip-up is sweet, but she’s not yet ready to forgive Brittany for shooting her down. Meanwhile, Emma takes Will’s advice and finally goes to see a therapist. She spends most of the appointment time cleaning her chair and the last few minutes denying she has OCD. Her therapist gives her a prescription anyway. The therapist tells Emma that OCD doesn’t have to just be a part of her she can’t change. It takes her some time to come to terms with it, but Emma eventually starts taking her anti-anxiety medication.

The episode ends with the glee club, minus Rachel and Santana, getting ready to perform “Born This Way” with their t-shirts. Rachel’s not performing because she needs to be careful of her nose for a little while. Santana’s just being Santana. Will is the first to reveal his shirt- it says “butt chin.” The performance itself was fine, nothing really out of the ordinary for “Glee.” Emma arrives in the auditorium with a new t-shirt. This one finally says “OCD.” Here’s hoping this paves the way for a healthy Will/Emma relationship in the not-so-distant future. Santana’s also got a more truthful t-shirt on. She’s sitting in the back of the auditorium with Karofsky wearing the “Lebanese” shirt Brittany gave her.

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