"Glee" love is in the air
Well talk about a surprise! After not loving “Glee” on Sunday night, I did think last night’s was pretty great. I do appreciate and admire "Glee" undertaking tough issues but I feel sometimes the plot strength isn’t always there to back up the message. Last night, “Glee” kind of went back to its basic early season one strengths — embracing “high school.” There were backstabbing friends, unrequited love, the potential of new love, learning where the library is — it was a purely student-centric episode, and I loved it all the more for that simplicity.
Last night’s episode was all about the high school dating scene as Valentine’s Day was in the air and “Glee” looked at the club as a high school case study of people in the same group all dating among each other. Probably the most tangled storyline was the follow-up to the Quinn-Finn kiss of two days ago, and Finn’s insistence it had to happen again. Solution — set up a kissing booth in order to raise money for the Glee Club (or as his sign simply said, “a good cause”).
Despite boyfriend Sam’s concerns, Quinn paid her dollar as Sam watched Finn lay one right on his girlfriend — in stark contrast to the peck on the cheek Finn gave Rachel. And sadly she didn’t put her genius plan into action — “’Cause I’m gonna go up to that kissing booth tomorrow with a one hundred dollar bill. And he’s not going to be able to make change. And then he’s going to be forced to kiss me one hundred times.” But she did get a gold star necklace from her ex-boyfriend — the dramatics never stop at McKinley! Rachel has been kind of sidelined so far this season, but I’m hoping that this was a turning point. I also found her episode-closing rendition of Katy Perry’s “Firework” catchy, albeit randomly filled with sparklers.
Now who else must involve herself in this storyline but Miss Santana, who I feel is kind of like the Joker, a character with no real motivations to do anything that simply feels like wreaking havoc. So by extracting mono from a student in the nurse’s office (“I’ve had mono so many times it turned into stereo” she pointed out) and smacking one on Finn at his kissing booth, she was able to confirm her suspicions when both Finn and Quinn came down with mono after an auditorium make out session. Lying sick in the nurse’s office, Quinn felt stuck between two guys, and Finn between two girls. This can only get more dramatic — as the opening told us, “It used to be a love triangle, and now it’s like, a pentagon.” So true, but all the better for it.
Over at Dalton….“Do you think it’s too much to sing to somebody on Valentine’s Day?” Blaine asked early in the episode — of course not, this is “Glee!” However, the Warblers’ takeover of the Gap to sing Robin Thicke’s “When I Get You Alone” to the boy Blaine liked, while a fantastic performance that I would love to see at the mall, also ended up with Blaine finding out this guy didn’t like him back that way, ruining his favorite holiday. At the same time, Kurt ended up heartbroken thinking Blaine wanted to ask him out. However, after telling Blaine this at the episode’s end, the two settled on remaining friends, but with a “When Harry Met Sally” style of potential.
I’m actually surprised that Kurt is still at Dalton — normally I expect so little out of Glee’s plot that I thought they were just going to find some loophole way to make him transfer back as soon as it was convenient to the story (think Jesse’s abrupt departure last year) or simply have him appear back at McKinley with no explanation whatsoever. But I like that he’s actually thriving at Dalton and the show has still kind of shifted to him there versus trying to make up some way to bring him back to New Directions.
The last main storyline involved Puck trying to woo new member Lauren — somewhat of a plot continuation back to December’s sectionals episode when they made out. Along with Kurt’s absence, I really wasn’t expecting Lauren to stick around that long, but after last night, I really do like her. Puck found it difficult to win Lauren over, offending her with a seemingly well-intentioned rendition of Queen’s “Fat Bottomed Girls” and later finding himself stood up at Breadstix (aka the only restaurant in Lima?). Eventually Lauren told him straight that she’d give him a chance if they take it slow, starting with a just friends Valentine’s date (where it turns out everyone showed up and was treated to a Warblers’ rendition of Wings’ “Silly Love Songs”). I’m hoping this doesn’t end up being some stunt because I do like Lauren, and I enjoy that she is making Puck work for his affection.
The pairings of Artie-Brittany and Mike-Tina remained intact, with an Artie singing and Mike dancing version of Michael Jackson’s “P.Y.T. (Pretty Young Thing).” And Mercedes decided that to be divas, she, Kurt and Rachel all needed to be single for a while — which I’m fine with, but was a little sad that Rachel and Kurt saw a glimmer of romance during the episode and yet, none for Mercedes.
There were a couple over the top moments I didn’t love, namely the fight between Lauren and Santana, Tina’s overwhelmed-with-love breakdown during her performance of “My Funny Valentine” from “Babes in Arms” to Mike, Mr. Schuester using one of his only lines to mention nationals — if I have to hear someone reference nationals again I’m going to lose it. New Directions placed last at regionals last year! You tied to win at sectionals! Focus on the fact that you still have to win regionals this year! Gah, so frustrating. As a final note, while I do appreciate the accuracy of the Glee Club only dating within the Glee Club, I would love if there was some branching out into the jazz band that always has to come to their practices. I’m so intrigued by all of them.
But in all seriousness, I do think there is an important place to address big issues on “Glee,” and I don’t want them to drop the Karofsky plot. I think it’s an important issue, but I hope that the episodes are able to be stronger and plots more logical so that people don’t just shrug off the show and not take away any of its message. Last night reminded me that "Glee" really can tap into high school dramas and personalities and I’d love if they used that knowledge to really smack their bigger issue episodes out of the park. Next week appears to be kind of a Sue-centric episode, which I don’t always love. Jane Lynch is fantastic and Sue is great for cutting remarks, but when whole episodes revolve around her (I’m specifically thinking of the Sue marrying herself episode) they kind of fall flat. But Sam is singing Justin Bieber! So we’ll just have to wait and see.