'Glee': Going gaga for Gaga
Leave it to Lady Gaga and Kiss (and oh yeah Madonna) to spotlight the eccentricities of the kids when they play dress-up. I totally went into the episode with shrugged shoulders because I’m still feeling the effects of a “Glee” high.
Sorry, readers, not to rub it in your face, but there is simply nothing like experiencing the "Glee" kids live in concert. Nothing. Ever. Period. So I was likely one of few people not expecting – or needing – to be blown away by them going all Gaga. Seeing it live, including the costumes, took away the thrill of seeing it on the small screen.
Though I didn’t necessarily go gaga over Gaga (OK that’s the last time I use that pun), I was completely blindsided by the heavy drama – or, as they’d say, the “theatricality” of the episode.
Discover yourself by copying others?
In a bizarre and completely awful opening scene, Principal Figgins is voicing his concerns over how oh-so-quiet Tina dresses. I wouldn’t really have characterized her style of dress as goth anymore -- punk, sure, but not quite goth. But whatever. After dropping a number of so-far-behind-it's-not-even-funny references to “Twilight,” including a stomach-churning scene of the A/V kids, in Team Edward shirts, pouncing on the poor geek who’s obsessed with Rachel (one of you Gleeks help me out with his name). But let's put my putrid hatred of all things “Twilight” aside. Figgins actually has a fear of vampires and forbids Tina from dressing the way she does, and Will wants to help her try out some new styles.
Of course, Rachel being Rachel, she’s been spying on Vocal Adrenaline (and her long lost mommy) and figures out they are taking on Gaga. Of course, Will being Will, he suggests the kids do the same for their weekly assignment -- hmm, sounds familiar. Well, they do say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, right? That’s the only way I was able to rationalize Will essentially telling Tina either to be someone else or to copy the competition. Sigh, I know I’m being too harsh on Will, but I can only work with what they are giving me. I'm thanking my lucky stars Terri makes a guest appearance next week; I never thought I’d say this, but Will has been boring me a bit. My love of him stems from his train wreck of a personal life. The last action he got was a duet with Neil Patrick Harris, and although they're a couple of steaming cups of vanilla chai, I'd prefer that Will jump into another sexy and possibly awkward relationship.
Macho menWith the ladies, and Kurt, prepping for their big Gaga debut with some fierce costumes -- the famous Alexander McQueen claw pumps, that lovely lobster headpiece and the pop-tastic bubble dress -- Finn wants out. He and the guys want to take on Kiss, who last I checked still dress up and wear makeup and glitter. Finn isn’t only tired of doing what the girls want, he also is tired of having his "manhood" challenged. I’m glad the boys ventured out because their take on “Shout It Loud” was my very favorite performance of the night, so sue me.
After some brutal (and wow do I mean BRUTAL) bullying from some of the football squad, he brings that anger home. To make matters worse, that home has changed. Finn’s mom and Kurt’s dad decide to take their relationship to another level by moving in. Not a good idea. Sorry.
Finn isn’t comfortable with the idea, and although the teen years aren't the best time to be uprooted and moved into a classmate's home (we’ve been there before with these two), things can get even dicier if that classmate has a thing for you. Now here is where things get a little ... real. Kurt, upset at the bullying he’s receiving – these guys are really harsh; it makes the slushy in your face look like a kiss on the cheek – he asks Finn, whom he now shares a room with, for some help. Finn completely goes gaga (I lied, I had one more reference in me), demanding that Kurt try harder to blend in and berating him for having a thing for him. And oh yeah, there are a handful of cringe-worthy f-bombs (the other one) hurled from his mouth when describing the new décor. All of this as Kurt’s dad walks in and owns Finn with a speech as to how hurtful that word is and that, despite his love for Finn’s mother, he lets Finn know he has to go. Show of hands, who died when Kurt’s dad gently placed his hand on his shoulder and stood there frozen in time, only for Kurt to place his hand on his father’s? Gosh, Mike O'Malley continues to be absolutely brilliant in this role.
In my opinion, I felt that was a mini game changer. Kurt has never toned down his feelings toward Finn (please someone hurry and give him a love interest who will return the love), and you could see the discomfort brewing with Finn all season long. Though I was absolutely disappointed in Finn’s choice of words, I respected that he never used the epithet to refer to Kurt himself. That would have been unrecoverable. What breaks my heart is how quickly Kurt I think would accept it. At the risk of Ryan Murphy writing me an open letter, at times I get bothered at how stereotypical they make Kurt. Why does he have to fall for the straight guy? Why does he have to do drag? I understand that Kurt is supposed to be over the top, but employing virtually every gay stereotype is unnecessary -- and I fear one-note storylines for Kurt. I'm concerned his story will always be about being gay, as opposed to being a kid who can sing his butt off who just happens to be gay.
Bonus points to Finn for helping out Kurt after all -- and he didn’t look so bad in that red shower curtain either.Extra bonus points to Puck for completely manning up and proving that he could be a stand-up guy. He melted my heart like ice cream on a summer’s day when he got the guys to take on another Kiss track, “Beth.” Although Puck won’t be in the running for father of the year anytime soon, he gets an honorable mention from me for stepping up to the plate. That’s a lot more than you can say about a lot of these chumps walking the streets these days.
Parting is such sweet sorrow
Am I the only one confused by Shelby? I mean she practically forces Rachel to discover her identity and even toys with her heart by sending oh-so-dreamy Jesse to do the baiting. So not only does Rachel have this guy courting her -- and she of course is falling deep for him (judging by next week's preview, we know how that ends) -- she is now inches away from discovering her mother. That’s a lot for a kid to grapple with. Forgive my naiveté for kinda assuming they’d have a relationship. I get it. Idena Menzel isn’t a series regular, but you guys know what I mean. I could sort of see her carrying on some type of implied relationship. But nope, that is just a dream of mine that I cooked up. After sparking a connection with her teenage daughter, and a gentle yet assertive push from Will, Shelby admits that it's too much for her. Rachel needs and deserves a mom. Though I knew it wouldn’t work out, it broke my heart to see her get so comfortable so soon – calling her "mom" and seeking help on her Gaga costume (um, why didn’t Shelby scold her for ripping off the Vocal Adren. kids). They agreed to part for the time being and respect each other from a distance but not before offering a duet of “Poker Face,” though I really wanted Rachel to shout, “Mum, mum, mum, mah.”
FYI, in case you didn’t already know. “Glee: The Complete First Season” hits stores Sept. 14 and will include extended episodes, sing-along karaoke, a behind-the-scenes look at “The Power of Madonna” episode, Glee Makeovers, never-before-seen “Sue’s Corners” and a dance tutorial titled “Staying in Step With Glee.” Those of you who shelled out for “Volume 1: Road to Sectionals” can get a $10 rebate by submitting both proofs of purchase at gleebatedvd.com; the site goes live June 1.-- Gerrick D. Kennedy
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