I’ve been wanting to write about the Prom Queen episode since it aired, but I’ve been conflicted about it since, and it’s been muddying up my mind. But I’m here now, and you might be interested in my ramblings (I love you both!) so here I go.
First, what was really bothering me, and what’s been bothering me since the spoilers were made public, is that they ran with the gay kid being voted prom queen. There are so few gay teens on television. You’d think it wouldn’t be difficult to come up with original storylines.
And yet, here we are. Last year on Ugly Betty, Justin Suarez was voted Homecoming queen by his classmates. And there are a lot of differences in execution and in character, but the Glee plot was a bit of a disappointment. Again, it’s been done. And it was done very well. I’m just not sure Kurt’s plot was important enough to justify being a copy of another that was so well done.
There were other things too, that had me confused. I was one of the people that had no idea what to do with Blaine’s Sadie Hawkins dance story. Fortunately, Racheline Maltese, easily the smartest person writing about Glee at the moment, had some things to say.
Another friend quite rightly took issue with Jesse St. James’ casual racism when he made a comment about his high school having “some Asian kid” doing his schoolwork for him. Like, really, in a show with two Asian characters who, so far, have not exactly been stereotypes, why did the writers go there?
But I think, at the end of the day, that my real issue with the episode was the pacing. They tried to do so very much that most of the plotlines felt incomplete and unsatisfying. I know that’s always going to be a risk with an ensemble cast, but it was unsettling.
You know what I loved? Kurt’s outfit. You know what I hated? Burt suddenly being all “why can’t you just be normal” with Kurt. And just when Finn had finally copped on! The gay Braveheart comment was priceless.
Brittany telling Santana to be herself, and to be there for Kurt. That was awesome too. They way the paralleled Brittany and Santana’s talk with Kurt and Blaine’s was nicely done.
And over at Gaelick, Hal talks about how we are seeing all the stages of coming out in Glee‘s queer characters, and that’s awesome. Dave Karofksy’s “I can’t” just about killed me.
For me, the real squee! moment happened when Kurt resolved to stand up and be “coronated” (is that a word?) as prom queen. He said “They can’t touch me. They can’t touch us, or what we have.” We’re seeing just a glimpse of that incredible bond a queer couple often has to form. It’s them against the world.
What did you think of the episode? Did it live up to your expectations? I mean, does prom ever?
I think Burt’s comment made little sense since Kurt dresses flamboyantly all the time. Unless he felt that stakes were higher since prom is a couples thing, and he would clearly be there with his boyfriend, which was sort of a new scenario for McKinley? Except the “welcome back” song… gah, I don’t know, sometimes I can find rationale for characterization choices (read: inconsistency) on Glee, and other times I just don’t bother and blame it on their writer-of-the-moment format. (Did you read that they’re adding another writer next season? It made me laugh. Ruefully.)
This also made me laugh: “Did it live up to your expectations? I mean, does prom ever?”
I didn’t watch Ugly Betty (I don’t watch network tv at all, actually, and my Glee I download off Amazon) so I didn’t realize the plot similarities.
For me, I loved the episode, despite its problems which seemed fewer than typical. Kurt, Dave, & Santana all had me feeling like crap over their storylines, but it was that good kind of heartbreak. And pacing – at least I *cared* about most of the plots in this episode; I can’t bring myself to care about Will’s storyline, and time spent on the “guest stars” characters drive me absolutely nuts.
I’m totally in Glee for Kurt Hummel. It’s hard for me to imagine being like Kurt’s character when I was 17. He makes a pretty good reminder of the power of self-knowledge and strength even for my 37-year-old-self. (And I want to say fearlessness, but that’s not exactly the right word, and neither is perseverance, or vision… more like doing s*** anyway. Independence, perhaps.)
I really want them to add a woman to the writing team. Please, please, please. Oh, and let it be Tina Fey, thanks. 😉
And I totally agree about the guest stars and Will’s life (which is mostly about guest stars these days). Boooooring. I’m quite happy when the show is about the regulars too.
Okay, I started writing a response to this and it got WAY too long for a comment. So if you want to know what I think, head on over to my Tumblr!
lol you should have posted it here anyway! Great catch about the “I can’t”. It affected me SO much but I hadn’t connected it to what Kurt said oh so long ago. Well done. Now, I need someone to splice those two vids together for me. 🙂
Have you actually seen the Ugly Betty episode? Because I think it’s having seen it before, I was like, really? We’re doing this again? And it was hard to get excited about the same plot. I have no (well, very few) issues with how it went, and I loved the interaction between Kurt & Blaine in Prom Queen. Kurt was his amazing, technicolor self, and Blaine was oh-so-smitten. *sigh*
Wow, I have been waiting breathlessly for this post because there was so much to comment on, and I wanted to read your take. I totally agree with Raisin Girl’s comments. Jesse’s character is an asshole so it’s completely in character for him to make racist comments, and put down poor Sam’s prom outfit. He represents the worst kind of male abuser who alternates between jerk and seducer. Please, writers, do more with that story line for the sake of feminists everywhere! Please show Rachel waking up and kicking him out of her life. I was not familiar with Ugly Betty’s prom episode, nor have I ever seen Carrie to which some people have been referring in the last few days. Even though I had read the spoilers, I was still not prepared for the shock of the scene in which Kurt’s name is read out; the look on his pale dazed face in the spotlight has been haunting me ever since. To be honest – and this is where this show and Kurt’s story in particular resonates for so many of us – it triggered memories of a similar experience I had as a child, so no wonder I reacted as strongly as I did. What was powerful for me is this: Kurt’s fears are not something he faces once and never again, despite the optimisim of the previous episode. He has to continually struggle with, and overcome, them. It’s constant. I really liked that Kurt is shown slowly stepping back on the stage, facing the crowd even though he is clearly afraid. This inspires all of us to keep facing our fears, over and over again. Similarly, I think Burt has to keep facing his own fears as well. I wasn’t surprised at his, and Blaine’s, apparent “backing down” regarding Kurt’s prom outfit. When we are facing our fears, we are going to sometimes choose NOT to fight a particular battle, or we are going to default to an old way of coping because it’s habit and easy. I also love that, more and more, we are seeing the full continuum of gender presentations, both inner and outer. I agree with Racheline Maltese and Gaelick’s points. I particularly like the thoughtfulness around Blaine. His character would be so easy to depict as a one dimensional “dreamboat” but in fact he floats, depending on the situation and whose gaze it is, between “masculine” and “feminine”, – which is so beautifully complex and realistic. Don’t we all? I am looking forward to Kurt and Blaine developing their relationship around this dynamic. So far they seem to be alternating the power – so healthy. Brittany and Santana are also playing with this; I love that Brittany is often depicted as the Wise Fool. Lastly, I can’t help myself: Kurt in a kilt – freakin’ hot.
I guess I would have been more comfortable with Jesse’s comment if there was someone in the room who could have condemned it. And I’ve never seen Jesse was just an asshole — in fact, I like him with Rachel better than Finn, because Finn is so freaking weak. And Jesse matched her so well in ambition.
And yeah, I like that Kurt’s struggle isn’t a momentary thing — because that wouldn’t be realistic, but I just thought it might be possible to have two different plots considering how recent the Ugly Betty storyline was.
I am really hoping too, for a lot more Blaine backstory in Season 3. I’d like to see him be a fulltime character. Even if there are too many already 😉
Pingback: Mind Blown: “I can’t” « Deconstructing Glee
You need to read this re: the writing making any sense and the Prom Queen episode, quote by Colfer in a Backstage.com article (http://www.backstage.com/bso/news-and-features-features/five-actors-who-have-had-an-emmy-worthy-1005221192.story?imw=Y) . Bolding is mine.
Just picture me in my bed at home, reading the script, not expecting Kurt to be crowned prom queen, and I read that he’s in a kilt and tiara, dancing to “Dancing Queen.” I was like, “No, this cannot happen.” I was so concerned they were just pushing it way too much, because Kurt has been so helpful and progressive for some people, and I was afraid this would damage that—it was just too, too much. But they assured me it would be done in a great way. Originally it was written that Kurt was persuaded by his boyfriend to go back in and accept the crown. But I asked them, “Please let Kurt do that for himself and not be persuaded by a second party.” And they changed it for me, and it did turn out to be a beautiful episode. I was so wrong.
I think Colfer’s instincts here were good.
They were perfect. I’ve actually a post in the works about this!
Well, I had written “perfect” at first, just, gosh, should I stop gushing about Colfer? 😉
Yay on a post in the works. You are the antidote to so much tumblr cray-cray.
Well, we’ll see when it gets done. I’d kind of intended this blog to have a summer hiatus, but it just doesn’t seem to want to let go! I have a few other things on the go, so, we shall see! You’ll have to wait for my special brand of crazy (the brand of crazy that does not allow me to use the term cray-cray.)
Oh, I completely understand; I’m flipping between worlds and sometimes the grammar does not ride along.
Pingback: Can you imagine a Glee without Chris Colfer? « Deconstructing Glee