November 10th, 2010 by thetvchick
There has been a lot of criticism of last night’s episode of Glee. “Never Been Kissed” was one of a several episode arc about bullying, which I think is a very important issue to address in these times. It might have been handled differently than other shows, but I find no fault with the way it was handled. I have also read criticism pointing out that it seemed like it was put together really quickly just to address the issue. Now, it’s possible that Glee shot the episodes out of order and quickly wrote this up, but I doubt that. Shows like this take a ton of planning and if I had to guess, I would say it was filmed months ago before the recent issues with gay suicide. In fact, Ryan Murphy pointed out in a New York Times interview that a part of the story was based on someone he knew in high school. This episode may not change the climate of bullying, but it starts a discussion among millions of people who watch the show week after week, which is incredibly significant to do. And before I get into the plot and the music and say more about the episode, I will say that I think Chris Colfer continues to earn another Emmy nomination every single week. His performance last night was phenomenal.
So, Puck is back! He got out of juvie by saying he’d do community service and help Artie (a cripple). Hilarious! Kurt is continually getting bullied (not by Puck actually) but by a football player, played by Max Adler who did a phenomenal job. He seems to stand up for himself a bit but it just keeps happening. He goes to spy on the Warblers, an all boys school glee club that will be their competition at sectionals and runs into Blaine, played by Darren Criss. The Warblers (led by Blaine) perform Katy Perry’s “Teenage Dream” which I thought was absolutely amazing. My high school had random Acapella performances so I didn’t see this as totally random. I enjoyed it quite a bit.
The Warblers guys figure out that Kurt is spying, but they just want to talk to him. Dalton Academy has a no tolerance policy for prejudice, so while Kurt expects them to beat him up, this isn’t happening. Kurt tearfully confides in Blaine. Blaine says Kurt has 2 options — go to Dalton or stand up to the bully and teach him. Blaine ran away to Dalton, but he tells Kurt to take courage and not to give up hope. What an important and mature stance for a guy in high school. It’s one thing to be out in high school but another to be so encouraging and supportive. Kurt confronts the guy bullying him in and it’s pretty intense. In the end, the bully kisses him. GASP FROM ME! Wow. For those saying that this was a little too easy of a storyline, this was what Ryan Murphy was talking about in the Times piece. He knew a guy like this in high school who came out in his 20s and had to get therapy. Honestly, the easy option here is just to make this character a heartless bully. The fact that he is gay shows that he has some depth to him. And as a colleague and fellow writer friend of mine pointed out, this episode shows us three very different types of gays — Blaine, Kurt and the football player. This is the complete opposite of stereotypical. How often do you see this many gay characters on network television? You don’t. So no matter what you’re feelings on the bullying story might be, this part of it was a novelty and a significant one at that.
Blaine comes to confront the bully with Kurt. Of course, he denies his sexuality and that anything ever happened with Kurt. Apparently, Kurt had never been kissed before this, and that is so heartbreaking. The Bully keeps bullying but Kurt hangs a picture of Blaine is his locker and the word courage. So sweet. And I think that’s the message we should all take from this particular story. Take courage. That’s what Glee is about…being different in a world where that might be frowned upon. Bullying is awful and terrible and the recent increase in gay bullying is completely unacceptable. Will Glee solve these problems? No, of course not. Can they start something good? Yes. Just remember that when you are bashing it’s “ridiculousness.”
In any case, Another big storyline besides the bullying is with Coach Beiste. Sam and Finn talk about a way to “cool off” when they are getting hot and heavy and Sam says he pictures Beiste in compromising outfits. This spreads around the school and Tina uses it as well. Dot Marie Jones has some amazing scenes (in lingerie and a ballet outfit) and she was absolutely brilliant in this episode. Because Sam called out Beiste’s name during a makeout session, Quinn is a bit pissed and goes to Sue. I love that scheming Quinn is back and Sue is brilliant. Dianna Agron was utilized a bit more in this episode and I was so excited. Mr. Schue finds out this information about Beiste and lectures the Glee club. I love Schue, but really you have done some shady things in school so a lecture might not be proper. She eventually finds out (Mr. Schue tells her) and is so upset she quits. Sue declares victory with confetti canons (um amazing!) but Schue is actually on Beiste’s side. I like this new friendship. Beiste confides in Schue and she’s never been kissed and she likes guys. This was another stereotype broken down…this is atypical. We all expected her to be gay. Schue kisses Bieste. Holy crap. Didn’t see that one coming. What a sweet (albeit somewhat creepy) gesture. I hope this friendship continues. Perhaps they will team up and take down Sue?
And I didn’t even really get to the music. It’s the 2nd annual boys v. girls tournament. Schue wants them to change it up — boys sing girls songs and vice versa. The girls mash-up is Living on a Prayer/Start Me Up which I thought was made of win. The guys mash-up is: Stop In The Name of Love/Free Your Mind/ I have to say I preferred the girls mash-up a little bit more. In the beginning of the episode, Puck and Artie sing “One Love” — and get money in the guitar case — which I enjoyed as well. Puck says they’ll use the money for a double date with Santana and Brittany. Puck wants to dine and dash even though they earned money from singing. Artie ends up paying. In the end, they form a new friendship — or really Artie offers to help him do community service and tutor him in geometry. I think this friendship might be fun to explore just like I really loved Quinn and Mercedes.
A big criticism of Glee in the past has been that it has too much music which drives the story and not vice versa. This episode was completely the opposite. There was not a lot of music (barely any for this show actually), yet criticism is running rampant. Everyone has the right to their own opinions, I just politely disagree. I don’t think this was my favorite episode of the series (by far) but it was an important one and I think that should be recognized and applauded. I would have liked to see Emma in this episode — I think Kurt could use some guidance here, but I loved all the scenes with Kurt and Blaine. Much like Sam, I think he’s a welcome addition and I hope he stays on for a bit. I think that this story could have been handled in many ways, but I think this way was a different perspective. Sure, we’ve seen the closeted football player before but it wasn’t the obvious easy choice and I’m curious to see what happens next. I don’t think it was quickly pulled together, in fact I think a lot of thought was put into it, and appreciate that the subject was even tackled in the first place.
Glee airs Tuesday nights at 8 pm on FOX.Tweet