Class Discussion: 4×11 “Sadie Hawkins” Reaction

Editors’ Note: episode reactions at Deconstructing Glee will now be coming from a rotating panel of contributors from all around the globe. Let us know if you’d like to help, here.

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So . . . in “Sadie Hawkins,” Kurt considers joining the Grand Guignol Club, among other things. This style of theater (I’m not an expert here so help me out if you can) appeared around the turn of the last century in Paris and later, London, and featured staged violence with

notably gory special effects in their notoriously bloody climaxes. These plays often explored the altered states, like insanity, hypnosis, panic, under which uncontrolled horror could happen . . . People came to this theatre for an experience, not only to see a show. . . they wanted to be filled with strong “feelings” of something. Shockingly, many attended the shows to get a feeling of arousal. . . (source)

Reviewers of the performances in London didn’t know what to make of the plays, because there was “more emphasis on the totality of spectacle and action than text.” This either describes your experience of Glee . . . or its fandom. Or both. Regardless, the reference to a form of staged violence is sort of interesting in an episode about one character’s prior history with real violence. And let’s be honest: there are body parts all over the place this week.

So what else happened?

Screen Shot 2013-01-25 at 12.28.59 AMWe finally meet Adam’s Apples.
And discover that there’s more to NYADA than students (and by “students” I mean “models”) dressed in black! Plus the group’s performance of “Baby Got Back” gives us two sets of parallels to think about. One, the Apples’ performance versus other NYADA performances we’ve seen, such as in Rachel’s dance classroom. The Apples are colorful, playful and full of personality—so opposite from the sort of faceless dancers backing Cassie the first time we are introduced to the culture of the school (not that Cassie isn’t amazing). Second parallel? The Apples’ versus the Warblers’ singing to Kurt. The Apples aren’t rockstars, and Adam isn’t Blaine. But, you know—Adam sure is tempting. Damn! But what’s the penalty for plucking the apple from the tree?

Lots of people crush on other people.
Tina proudly proclaims that the dance was her idea while she sits in the science classroom, her head in the clouds (as planets hang everywhere). Tina watches Blaine’s ass, while Blaine watches Sam’s lips. Again: plenty of body parts on display, even if they’re being, um, injected with steroids.

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But what about those crushes? Tina asks Blaine to the dance in the locker room, which reads, “Attitude is Everything.” As Blaine lets her down, the room floods with young men. Even as the pair agrees to go to the dance, they both know it’s fantasy and going nowhere, and yet . . . there’s a moment. While the girls are literally dressed in feathers and dancing like birds, so to is Blaine, strutting to “No Scrubs,” talking about saying no while his body language and words convey something else to Tina.

Screen Shot 2013-01-25 at 1.07.26 AMAssorted imagery and other observations.
Snowflakes and peacocks (and other birds everywhere). And Warblers. The Peacocks replace the Warblers, don’t they, as Glee mascot? They’re proud and wise and royal. And not caged.

And Dottie and Lauren and bow ties. Lots of them.

Screen Shot 2013-01-25 at 8.22.21 AMAnd Kurt’s not an apple. He’s a star!

In other news, Marley asks Jake to the dance, Puck looks way, way older than Kitty, and Rachel thinks she’s being Very Grown Up by asking Brody to move in with her (and apparently, Kurt?). Wait until Kurt finds out!

By the way, Tina tells Blaine that Sadie Hawkins dances are sometimes called Snow Balls—and snowball is what’s going to happen to these new stories as the momentum builds . . . maybe “uncontrolled horror” isn’t off the table after all.

What did you think of the episode? Of the new characters we met, or the new relationships forming?

Sheryl (sothinky), Writer’s Club, A/V Club

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7 thoughts on “Class Discussion: 4×11 “Sadie Hawkins” Reaction

  1. Wow, I did not hear the “Snow Ball” line. (I love when other people do screencaps and quotes. How I actually understand the episode.)

    Still want to talk about Brittany’s magic and being locked out of Heaven, and “a walking study in demonology” but I think I may need to rewatch some stuff for that.

  2. I’m in love with the Apples, and Adam too. Wouldn’t mind if he stuck around for some awesome NYC hijinks. The Brittany magic thing is getting completely out of hand isn’t it? I’m still trying to figure out what to do with Marley and Unique being locked out of heaven — I mean, ok, Unique, I can do something with, but Marley still eludes me, much as she eludes Sue.

    I guess, mostly, I really enjoyed the episode and I’m dying to know what happens with these crushes. Tina’s crush sure hasn’t gone anywhere, nor has Blaine’s. I expect Kurt and Adam will have some fun, but ultimately that’s all it will be.

    Rachel and Brody is just ALL KINDS of bad news. And if we didn’t already know that, the giant red stop hand at the crosswalk was probably a damn good indicator.

  3. Oh, and also, does anyone else have any opinions on why Tina thought she deserved an apology when Blaine said no to her? I don’t know what he could have said. Other than yes, which wouldn’t have been right because he didn’t actually want to go with her. Is this the new “Nice Girl” meme?

  4. Yeah, it’s a good question about Tina. Regardless of Finn’s lesson or whatever for the week, it was her choice to ask him—and asking doesn’t ever mean an automatic yes in response. Was he supposed to say yes in public, but then no in private? That’s not right, either. And no one else looked surprised by his “no.”

  5. I loved every single one of the Adam’s Apples and hope they will stick around.

    The WMHS dance numbers were all weird and felt strangely jerky with those bird moves. But I get the idea that everyone was trying to do their best to impress a desired mate at that dance (and leading up to it)…

    Sugar, Artie, and Brett were also wearing bowties, but Joe wasn’t.

    Brittany’s magic and Marley’s reactions to it were wonderful, although I’m sad that all Marley was empowered to do was boy-related (ask Jake to go to the dance with her and then ask him to be monogamous/faithful and patient with her). Especially since Jake is actually one of the few people in her life who doesn’t seem to put any kind of pressure on her. Unlike Kitty, or her mom, or the glee club as a whole.

    I also wondered about Tina demanding an apology because I can’t see where Blaine went wrong (in my opinion, he said no as politely as he could).

    I don’t think any of the main crushes will turn out to be a big thing (I exclude the pre-existing couples Brittany/Sam and Sugar/Artie because their attractions weren’t new), but I assume they will stay a topic for a while. Tina and Blaine need to work their stuff out, Sam probably has to find out about Blaine’s crush and be cool about it, Kurt and Adam need to spend more time together and have fun. But what about the Cheerio-in-a-neckbrace having a crush on Ryder and going to the dance with him? Or Dottie Kazatori and Brett? And how does Joe feel about Lauren? (From the way Glee is set up, I don’t think any of the minor crushes will last or even become a storyline onscreen, but that doesn’t mean I can’t imagine those untold stories.)

    And Rachel and Brody? Just NO. Not a good idea, Rachel.

  6. I love, love, love the storyline of Kurt getting to know Adam. He deserves more experiences where he is desired, and through which he can grow as a man. The Apples were fantastic, can’t wait to see more of them. However, I was very disappointed in the Sadie Hawkins storyline. Really, is this all Glee has to say about women’s empowerment, that they ask guys to a dance? This story line would have been much stronger if they had added Unique’s perspective: who do they ask to the dance? Where do they situate themselves in all this? And I could not buy Lauren Zizes as a wallflower, nor could I buy how she and Puck would not notice each other after having had a relationship last season? So many gaps… Please, Glee, just make a New York spin-off and leave high school behind.

  7. Totally agreed on the Apples. And good things for Kurt.

    Re: empowerment, I just read a lovely discussion of that theme as it applies to all the plot lines, over at calanthe-b’s LiveJournal: http://calanthe-b.livejournal.com/783081.html. It’s worth the read.

    Lauren was a real surprise for me. When we first see her sitting in the chair, she laments that no one is interested in her anymore, since Puck (and then there was the STD joke). She sounds so . . . deflated. And this was arguably one of the fiercest characters we’ve seen, who seemed respected (or feared!) by others, who dumped Puck early in Season 3. To see her intimidated about asking a boy to the dance seemed odd, and the fact that she ends up asking Teen Jesus—probably the least-intimidating person at the school!—was also odd. Too, the main source of her bitterness is not being asked to things by a boy . . .

    Glee, I think, often has a pat message on its surface, but the way the stories truly play out ends up being a bit more interesting and even (gasp) real. With these empowerment stories, you have a lot of young people—many of them teen girls—growing up within a culture that asks them to play a certain role (note the astronomy classroom’s chalkboard, which reads, interestingly, “binary stars.”). First being aware of that dynamic is one thing; figuring out how to untangle oneself from it is another.

    But these empowerment stories are ultimately about young people having to face possible rejection, aren’t they? That’s a huge deal for Marley, even though she’s asking someone she’d been dating. It’s a big deal for Kurt, who not only asks Adam out, but if he’s going to be an Apple, too, risks rejection by the student body. He’s strong enough now (and wise enough) not to give a shit.

    Tina’s and Rachel’s stories are curious, and I can’t help but pull that “binary stars” reference back again, since binary stars are two stars that orbit together. Both women work so hard to align themselves with another person, even as they both desire to be true and independent “stars.” And even though both are confident, they are way, way over-confident—they don’t see that they can’t get what they want (Tina), or the way they’re acting just like they did before, in spite of looking different on the outside (Rachel).

    In the end maybe empowerment comes from taking the risk, but not bending the wills of others, you know? And so Trent’s story actually fits quite nicely, as he’s risking quite a lot of rejection by turning in Hunter—another over-confident character bent on getting his way . . .

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