“Glee” Wraps Itself Up In Hearts And Fireworks

chris colfer

Posted by on 02/09/2011 at 6:27 AM News, Recaps

The Popdust Files: glee

This episode was about clueless boys. And love. And infectious diseases. A recipe for musical television success! It started with Puck gazing lovingly at the newest glee club member, Lauren, and went into a flashback to the “seven minutes in heaven” game the two of them played back when he was trying to get her to join glee club. Turns out Puck’s kissing skills are a disappointment to Lauren, and Puck, who normally has girls falling all over him, is suddenly turned on by a tough girl who is not remotely impressed by his antics.

Next up in the clueless boys club is Finn, who is riding high from his championship football win and has decided that he can have any girl in the school. Of course the only girl he wants is the one he “can’t have,” Quinn—who lied to him and broke his heart all last season. But high school is a crazy time, and clueless boys tend to want what they can’t have instead of what they actually should.

Blaine is our third clueless dude. He’s at a coffee shop with Kurt, who’s lamenting the trappings of Valentine’s Day only to have his tune changed when he finds out Blaine loves the holiday and is planning to use it as an excuse to sing a song to his crush object. Of course Kurt assumes Blaine means him, and we can’t blame him with all the doe-eyed staring and flirty coffee ordering from Blaine going on.

We’re back to weekly glee club assignments (the lack of plotlines relating to Mr. Shue’s personal life has been a welcome change, which probably means that next week will see the return of horrible Terri fake-baby drama); this week, the group must sing a song about love to someone else in the class. Finn, continuing the terribly annoying storyline of him being full of himself, announces he will be “giving back” to the glee club by opening a kissing booth and donating all the profits. In the ensuing chatter Santana finally gets called out as a bully, although a little too harshly. While she cries in the hallway, Puck again tries to ask Lauren out, but Lauren demands wooing beyond a box of sub-par chocolates.

There have been zero musical numbers up to this point, so it’s a good thing that the Chevy commercial from Sunday is back. Still want it to be an actual scene in the show.

We return to Kurt, drawing tell-tale hearts in his notebook, only to be ushered to an Emergency Warbler Meeting to discuss Blaine’s plan for a group serenade to his crush. I’ve never been more thankful that most of the New Directions group-song wrangling takes places off camera, because the level of ridiculous reached by the Glee kids talking each other into singing embarrassing songs would be too much to handle. While the rest of the Warbler council has a shit-fit over performing off campus (apparently the last time, The Spirit of St. Louis itself killed some stray Warblers), Kurt sticks up for Blaine and wins them over. And that’s when he finds out that the Warblers will perform at The Gap… because Blaine’s crush works there. Kurt, honey, we made the same face. He couldn’t work at Abercrombie? Or even Hollister?

Mercedes, Kurt and Rachel gather for a sleepover where Kurt and Rachel lament their boy troubles and Mercedes gives the solid advice that maybe they are too talented to be distracted by pining over guys who aren’t worth it. It’s good to see her being strong when she’s gotten the short end of the stick for several episodes now, and good to see the three divas of Glee warm and snuggly in their PJs.

Forever-long into this episode we finally get the first performance: “Fat Bottomed Girls,” which sounds great despite Puck being terribly creepy at the start. Wooing a girl by saying, “you’re big, but I’m into you anyway” at the end of your song isn’t really smart. And for a show that’s had spotty issues with women and weight over the past season and a half (I’d do anything to erase the entire Tots plotline from “The Substitute”) they finally get it right here. Lauren—while clearly into Puck on some level—calls him out, saying, “This is the first time anyone ever sang me a love song, and it made me feel like crap.” Touché.

I am just not buying this whole “Finn is a stud” thing. Why is there a whole plot around how Quinn won’t kiss Finn when she didn’t seem too reluctant to a few days ago? Why is this somehow succeeding in making me feel bad for dopey Sam? The only plus side is we find out Quinn is a vinyl girl.

Rachel, of course, shows up at the kissing booth as an attempt to prove she’s over Finn, which she isn’t, and Finn presents her with a delayed Christmas gift: a star necklace to remind her she’s a star and she doesn’t need him, which is the most bullshit excuse for why they can’t date but I’m happy for an independent Rachel so I’ll take what I can get. Her songs are better when they aren’t about Finn.

The performance of “P.Y.T.” reminds us that some boys on Glee aren’t completely clueless and have functioning relationships, like Mike and Artie. The song starts kind of suddenly, making it seem like a love song between Mike and Artie, and it turns into a nice excuse for Mike Chang to dance down the hallways before ending with the best one-liner of the night from Brittany: “That’s my man and his legs don’t work!”

Lauren and Santana do battle for Puck’s hand, and we learn that Santana is from the wrong side of the Lima tracks—Lima Heights Adjacent—but that’s no match for Lauren’s wrestling champ prowess. Puck is, expectedly, turned on by the fighting.

I can’t even care about this annoying kissing-booth plotline anymore. Can we all just agree Finn and Quinn are being kind of awful this episode and leave it at that? They aren’t even going to sing a song about it, so what’s the point?

It’s time for the Warblers Gap Attack, and Blaine daydreams about getting married to his crush Jeremiah and getting a 50 percent discount at the Gap. He must really love khakis. Kurt keeps him from backing out of the performance and Blaine mans up, adjusts his jacket and proceeds to stalk poor manager-boy around his workplace while singing Robin Thicke’s “When I Get You Alone.” I over-watched the spoiler clip for this scene over the weekend, but it was even better in HD. It’s thrilling to see gay teenage sexuality so outwardly expressed on a primetime Fox show. The fact that they got away with keeping the “you can keep your toys in the drawer tonight” line is its own triumph, regardless of what gender it was aimed at. Blaine’s cocksure attitude is so much less offensive than Finn’s since we see the insecurity behind it, and the once-over he gives to the object of his affection is ten times hotter than the interactions between any of the other couples this episode. Not to mention that this kind of ridiculous flash-mob musical number is the bread-and-butter of successful Glee episodes.

Of course, in the story it backfires. Once it’s over Blaine drops the charm and gets a case of the nerves with Kurt while he waits for crush to get off work. Jeremiah is not amused—his boss fired him, he’s not out at work, he doesn’t like Blaine, and Blaine is underage. Blaine is, understandably, crushed, and Kurt, surprisingly, doesn’t gloat.

Santana figures out that Quinn and Finn are sneaking around, puts on a pornographic candy striper outfit and becomes a carrier for mono (she’s had mono so many times it’s turned into stereo, natch) to trap them into admitting their infidelity. Meanwhile, Puck meets Lauren in the library and tries to explain that singing to her was his big move in asking her out and offensively explains that she “looks the way she looks and he’s into that.” Lauren shuts him down, but he convinces her to a pre-date with a ring pop and some smooth talking.

(More of the pointless Quinn and Finn plot. They decide to cheat, even though that makes Finn a hypocrite. They eventually get mono from this and tip everyone else off.)

Blaine has changed his tune about Valentine’s Day. He knows he made a fool of himself with at the Gap and can’t believe he made up an entire relationship in his head. This spurns Kurt to come clean and explain his own confusion about the object of Blaine’s affection. This is the first episode where Blaine hasn’t been portrayed as a confident gay Yoda who always knows the right thing to do. Instead he’s at a loss here, clueless about Kurt’s affection and terrified of hurting their relationship by being such a romantic failure. It’s a refreshing scene for Glee, which rushes in and out of relationships so haphazardly that you often get pairing whiplash. Blaine and Kurt are fast becoming the first couple on Glee to get a real, solid relationship base for their storyline instead of a quick infatuation-makeout-breakup cycle or some elaborate triangle melodrama. Kurt declares them a modern-day When Harry Met Sally and Blaine points out, “Don’t they get together in the end?” They’d better.

I was lost during Tina’s performance of “My Funny Valentine,” which she sang for her boyfriend Mike. She started to cry-sing, then dissolved into sobs and it was so confusing, I thought she was going to break up with him, or admit she was pregnant, or something that would explain her mess of tears. Apparently, she just loves Mike that much. Really? OK.

Puck calls out Lauren for standing him up on their Breadstix date (although he didn’t seem too upset while he was locking lips with the trashy waitress out back—he still has a few issues to work out) and he is finally is able to put into words why he really likes her—not because of her curves, but because she’s a bigger badass than him. Lauren finally explains her hesitation is that she’s looking for more than just to hook up and wants Puck to take it slow with her, and he’s wiling to give it a try, marking the first time a Puck-wants-to-change-for-a-girl plotline has lasted beyond a single episode. Actual growth might be happening to Glee characters!

Rachel visits poor mono-stricken Finn at the school nurse and finally realizes that she doesn’t need to be pining after him anymore, and leaves him to perform the third Katy Perry song on the show in as many months, “Firework.” Since they already pulled the “sparks from girls’ chests” trick on Sunday, Rachel here stalks the hallway surrounded by sparkler-carrying students and gets the emotional diva dark stage treatment. It doesn’t really work thanks to the cheap firework stock footage they put behind her, but the song itself is strong. Perhaps Katy Perry was made just for Glee? Unfortunately (fortunately?), they can’t really pull enough of her remaining hits together into a tribute episode now.

Rachel ends her song by showing up at Breadstix, where Kurt has brought the Warblers to perform a Lonely Hearts dinner for his friends. They break into Wings’ “Silly Love Songs,” and I do have to wonder, as much as I enjoy Darren Criss’ voice, if that poor Warbler group has no one else worthy of carrying a lead vocal. Like maybe Kurt? But I’m not complaining too much, and all the couples and the singles (minus Finn and Quinn) get moments that allude to their current and future relationships, leading up to to a pleasant V-Day ending that only made my teeth hurt a tiny bit.

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