Friday, April 29, 2011

Baby I'm "Born This Way"

After a highly criticized episode last week Glee returns with the another lesson....not in a bad way but balanced. This week's episode titled "Born This Way" did just that. Although I'm not entirely convinced we needed "Born This Way" stretched out to 90 minutes. Though an entertaining episode, there were a few moments that weren't entirely necessary. Still, for a series that often feels like it's spinning its wheels, telling similar stories in slightly different ways, there was enough forward momentum in Tuesday's episode to not be bothered by the fact that, once again, we're being reminded that it's absolutely okay to be different.

Spontaneous songs were back! I don't care if you are a Jackie or Marilyn, Peggy or Joan, Rachel and Quinn's I Feel Pretty/Unpretty mash-up was amazing. The choice of songs was made even more spectacular when we later learned about Quinn's past life as Lucy Caboosey. 

The crux of the hour and a half was centered around Rachel's debating on whether or not to get a nose job. It was one of those pointless debates that you already knew the answer to (of course she wouldn't), but the episode built enough around it with almost every character in glee club to make things interesting. Schue's idea to use Lady Gaga's "Born This Way" was a little too… um… on the nose, as it were, to the point where his "aha moment" about the song was a bit cringe-inducing. But moving on from there, the episode gave us many entertaining viewpoints of self-love and self-loathing. 

What I liked most was the fact that the episode wasn't trying to give us one easy answer. It wasn't saying that the right thing to do is love yourself no matter how you were born, and that doing so is as easy as deciding to do it. Sure, it was easy for Finn, but Tina,Santana, Emma and others had their dilemmas. Though I'm still undecided about the revelation that Quinn has changed her appearance (and name), I do like that she decided to do itbecause she liked herself, not because she didn't. It was a needed counterpoint to Rachel's nose issue. The closing performance of "Born This Way" could have easily been a triumphant celebration with everyone accepting the thing about them that was different (and for many, it was), but the episode was smart to have Santana sit the song out. It's not easy to accept your perceived faults, and I'm happy the episode didn't pretend it would be.

Kurt killed it in the Flash Mob scene at the mall and looked smashing in that USA tank from Toddland that has gotten so much press. His real moment of course came as he belted out Barbara's "As If We Never Said Goodbye." Seriously, the first word that came to mind was Emmy! If that performance didn't scream Emmy I don't know what would. All this just days after the 50th anniversary of Judy Garland's famous performance at Carnegie Hall. Kurt returned home from over the rainbow in a sense and will never again be alone. We will continue to watch him fly and teach the world new ways to dream.

As for forward momentum, I was happy to see something happening with Kurt's situation. It was even better that the whole thing was just an elaborate scheme conceived by Santana in an attempt to become Prom Queen. Except for the running storylines about gearing up for the next singing competition, many episodes of Glee are very standalone. So "Born This Way" succeeded in continuing existing storylines and setting things up for future episodes in ways the series often ignores doing.

As for the 90-minutes, I feel Kurt's return to McKinley was overdone. His rendition of "As If We Never Said Goodbye" was great, but a bit more dramatic than his fairly expected second coming had actually earned. And hearing one less song from the Warblers this season wouldn't have bothered me at all. But "Born This Way" delivered a believable message of the difficulty of accepting one's self, and it did so with smarts and laughs. Hard to knock it for squeezing in an extra number or two in the process.

Lastly the shirts, all of them, Amazing!!!


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