Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Glee 1x20: Gaga Lovers and Gay Defenders

This week Glee decided to get decked out in Gaga gear. First Principle Figgins makes Tina change out of her Goth look (due to his fear of vampires). This combined with Rachel discovering Vocal Adrenaline is going to perform Lady Gaga causes Mr. Schuster to make the weeks assignment Gaga.

Funny Girl: Quinn, Mercedes and Rachel go to spy on Vocal Adrenaline’s rehearsal. While there, Shelby is trying to teach her team theatricality is not just about the outfits (which are spot on with Gaga’s) but about attitude and expression. To show them she performs Barbara Streisand’s “Funny Girl,” which Rachel says is exactly the song she would have chosen. After the first note leaves Shelby’s mouth, Rachel realizes that it is her mother singing. Rachel gets up from her seat, forgetting that she is not really supposed to be there, walks up to the stage and tells Shelby that she is her daughter.

I liked that they picked “Funny Girl” as the song for Rachel’s revelation. One obvious reason is that one of the songs Rachel is most well known for is her fantastic rendition of “Don’t Rain on My Parade” which is from Funny Girl and sung by her idol Barbara Streisand. The second reason is because the song is about being an outcast, which Rachel is. Even though the song is about being an outcast for being funny, Rachel is an outcast because of her talent. Her talent is who she is like Fanny’s quirkiness defines who she is. I thought this was a very good song choice.

Bad Romance: All the female members (+ Kurt) come into school wearing a different Lady Gaga outfit. Tina and Kurt get chastised in the hallway by two jocks for being freaks but they stand their ground. Once they get to rehearsal (seriously do these kids ever have class) Mercedes announces that Shelby is Rachel’s mom. Everyone is scared Rachel will jump ship to Vocal Adrenaline but she walks in with her stuffed animal inspired Gaga outfit (stapled because her dad’s can’t sew) and says that will never happen.

Kurt was main vocals of this performance but others got their shot at a solo as well. I thought it was fun but not really show stopping. The costumes were great but, even though I can’t put my finger on it, I was not wowed. I was also really distracted by the fact they replaced “free bitch baby” with “freak baby.” This show has said bitch before, I do not get the censorship here.

Shout Out Loud: Finn get really insecure about his masculinity when he finds out about moving in with Kurt and the weeks Gaga assignment. He goes to Mr. Schuester and says that besides Kurt, none of the guys want to do a Lady Gaga performance. They decide to perform a Kiss song instea, decked out with Kiss makeup and all. While getting ready for the performance in the bathroom the same two asshole jocks come and bully Finn for wearing makeup.

This was a full out “theatricality” performance. They were wearing tight leather, metal bracelets, makeup and playing instruments. They also had fire and sparks exploding from the stage (impressive since they put this together in a day). Again it was a decent performance but I felt it was more like a group of guys getting together as a garage band instead of a Glee Club. It was fun though, I will give them that. After Will asks them what all the costumes represent AND WAIT WHAT IS THAT? DID MIKE CHANG JUST SPEAK! Wow I thought it never was going to happen; anyway he responds by saying they did their research and each explains their costume. Puck’s expresses his always present Jewishness with the Star of David around his eye.

Beth: Puck meets up with Quinn in the hallway to discuss baby names. He tell her that he wants to name the child Jack Daniels, or if it is a girl, Jackie Daniels. Quinn tell Puck that that this immaturity is the reason she is giving up the baby. After Puck Rock and Roll bad ass experience performing Kiss on stage, the boys perform another Kiss song “Beth.” He tells Quinn that it is more important to have a dad that is there than a dad that is a “bad ass” and he wants to name their daughter Beth.

Poker Face: Will asks Shelby to come to his office to discuss Rachel; he is worried about Rachel getting hurt because Shelby is not as into being a mother figure as Rachel thinks she is. She explains that she expected to feel different when she met her daughter, that it was going to be this special moment, but it wasn’t. She wanted Rachel to be her baby, but she is already a grown women. She feels it is too late for them to have a real bond.

Later she meets with Rachel to explain what she is feeling. Rachel asks if they can sing together, and Shelby agrees. They sing the acoustic version of Gaga’s “Poker Face.” I had not heard this version before the show and I thought this was so much fun. I don’t think there was a deeper meaning to the song choice but it was nice and heartwarming to see these two singing together and enjoying it as mother and daughter. Here is a video of Lady Gaga singing the acoustic version. Compare it with the Glee version and let me know what you think.





Kurt/Finn/Homophobic Storyline: I know I normally recap just the musical numbers but I wanted to discuss the storyline which did not directly relate to a specific performance. Kurt’s dad asked Finn and his mom to move in with him and Kurt, and she agreed. In order to live together Finn and Kurt would have to share a room and everyone but Finn seems to be happy about this move. Burt gives the boys money to redecorate the room so it works for both the boys. After their performance, when they are at home, Kurt asks Finn to ask the jocks to lay off him. Finn just responds like “just stop acting gay, we live in Ohio.” Kurt then tries to help Finn take off his makeup and Finn freaks out, slaps his hand away, and tells Kurt not to touch him.

The next day Kurt brings Finn down to show him the Morocco inspired room he created for the two of them. In between the two beds is a divider so they both have some sort of privacy. Finn’s first comment is “Are you freaking insane, I can’t live here. I’m a dude.” Suddenly all the fondness I have been feeling towards him in the last few episodes has quickly disappeared. He tells Kurt that he does not want to have to worry about Kurt having a crush on him in his own room. Finn starts screaming at him calling all sorts of things in the room “faggy” and Kurt’s dad comes down to give him one. Kurt’s dad storms down to the basement and defends Kurt’s honor. He tells him you can’t use the word “fag” without it being derogatory. He tells Finn that he thought he was different and he does not want him to live in his house. This was phenomenal, thank you Glee for showing this on a primetime television show. What you are doing for the gay community is so great and I commend you.



At the end of the week, Finn comes into school not wearing his Kiss costume like all the other guys, but in a Lady Gaga costume instead. As the jocks are bullying Kurt, Finn comes to Kurt’s defense. Finn has learned his lesson.

I liked this episode. They toned down the musical numbers and focused more on the dramatic aspect of the show, the storylines, and the characters. This show will burn out very quickly if they lose track of who the characters are and just focus on spectacle and music. I am happy they took a step back and dealt with real issues like homophobia and birth mothers. Good for you Glee.

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Anonymous said...

As a regular follower of your blog, for the most part I agree with your opinions or analysis of any given episode of Glee. On this episode, however, I find myself having some dissension.

In my opinion, the inability to cope with the bullying by his former football teammates as well as the over-reaction by Finn to living with Kurt (and more specifically Finn's comment regarding and the redecoration of his room) were out of character and inconsistent with what I have come to expect from Finn. Though I agree with the message the scene sent, as well as with most of your analysis of the scene, I feel it was a tactic by the show's writers to make a point at Finn's expense.

Keep on blogging and I'll keep reading.
Cheers.

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