Monday, 3 October 2011

3x02 - I Am Unicorn

First of all - I’m really noticing how the writers are lightening the workload for the actors, this season. This was a promise apparently made after the cast experienced a lot of burn-out – their previous hours were INSANE – and it really seems like the writers and producers have come through. The lack of scenes requiring the whole cast to be on set is notable, more interaction happens outside of the choir room – scenes containing only a couple of characters – less group numbers to learn choreography for, and if the cast’s Twitter feeds are any indication, they are welcoming the change of having two, three, four days off in a row.

Now, the standout thing about Brittany’s role in this episode, for me, was that they did a brilliant job of showing that she’s not actually mentally disabled, or a child – something people have questioned a lot. In season 2, they used her stupidness as comic relief, but at times made her SO dumb, childlike, or naïve that it made you wonder about her sexual life and some writers in the press even questioned if she was mentally capable of consent with Santana, Artie or anyone else. This episode did a good job at repairing some of that – it didn’t make her smarter, exactly, but it painted a picture of someone whose mind just works differently, makes different leaps and connections, and she has trouble expressing those ideas in ways that “normal people” understand. I’ve known a few people like that – they’ll come out with bizarre things and at first you think it’s something they’ve put together in some weird, creative and planned out way, that they have an explanation for, and then you realise “no, your mind just really makes those connections, doesn’t it?” And Santana, she gets those mind-leaps of Brittany’s, and that moment between them was just so gorgeous and showed true understanding and friendship.

I also cannot believe that they got away with “Kurt Hummel’s Bulging Pink Funsack”, but I’m glad they did. When Ian Brennan pitched this show, the idea was that it’d be like Reese Witherspoon’s Election – an adult-themed show about a high school. (I mean, Tracy and Paul practically ARE Rachel and Finn.) One of season 2’s faults was that they tried to cater to the market they accidentally gained – the family market – rather than sticking with their original vision. Glee may be about kids, and about singing and dancing, but it is not FOR kids, it is not the Disney channel, and many little things this season show that they they’re really trying to get back to that adult vision. I could not be happier about this.

I made a prediction to myself when I found out some spoilers about season three – I said to myself, “Natalie, I bet that the first time you cry in this season is when they deal with Puck and Beth” – and I was right. When Shelby got that knock at her door, I held my breath, and when it revealed Puck I actually shouted “yeah!” out loud. Puck’s development has been one of the best and least-backpedalled on the show – he never wanted to give Beth up, and he’s become loyal and defensive of all his friends in Glee. He is so fucking noble and I adore him. So this storyline is so fulfilling for me. Quinn’s is less so – it kind of doesn’t currently make sense, but I understand she may be having emotional reactions and repercussions that SHE doesn’t really understand, and that, in itself, is very real and very teenage. I hope they explain it a bit, though, and I hope that her current insanity does not jeopardize Puck’s relationship with Beth. Long live ClownPig.

The dialogue in general is a lot more natural now than it ever was – I noticed this right from the start when Rachel is waxing lyrical about Barbra Streisand and Brittany goes “I hate you” In this really fond, conversational tone. This basically continued all the way through the episode and I loved it. SO many funny, funny, natural sounding lines with perfect delivery. "Finn, you look like you're stepping on bees" was a particular winner.

By the way, please stop putting Blaine in bow ties. It seems forced. He isn't Kurt-Lite and this style doesn't suit his personality at all.

Also, is it just me or did Mike and Artie both make some super gay quips? Between Mike calling Kurt’s sashaying “super distracting” and Artie calling Dustin Goolsby “so handsome” and ALSO being melted into a puddle by Blaine’s audition… I raised an eyebrow. (Oh wait; apparently I was not the only one to notice this.) LOL, Glee, what even.

Well, it looks like my Glee Chat prediction was right – Kurt’s storyline and point of view that Chris mentioned, that never gets told, was about stereotyping and typecasting and masculinity, and boiled down to that one phrase, “Could he pass?” I felt bad for him, I truly did, and I loved that scene with Burt – I mean, who doesn't love every minute of Burt screen time? I love that he calls him “dude” and “man” and how frank he is. He handles that kid spectacularly well. I also have a theory – based on some spoilers of further episodes – that this masculinity thing is going to be tied into more issues than just the musical role – and I also have a feeling about how he’s going to make peace with it. That story does deserve to be told, and done well. However, as sorry as I felt for him:

Dear Kurt Hummel,

You are an incredibly terrible boyfriend. You have always been a selfish and manipulative person. Whether this is conscious and crafty, or something you aren’t aware of, I don’t know, but either way, you do it. You are ruthless. However, I really didn’t think you’d carry this quality over to a relationship, when you were in love. But damn, boy. You are fucked up. Like it wasn’t enough that you asked that boy to change to your school – a school you got bullied out of – you asked him to change for YOUR final year, knowing that he would have one more year to go – either staying there alone without you, or changing back to Dalton, causing a ridiculous and unnecessary disruption to HIS schooling. At the end of the day, on paper, yeah, it was Blaine’s choice to transfer. But you didn’t even have the right, in the first place, to ask him to. That scene in season 3's first episode, where you said to him “you told me by the first day of school, you would have made a decision, yet there you are still in Dalton uniform” – honey, that would imply that he DID make a decision. He just didn’t make the decision that you wanted. And yet you pushed, and jokingly and sweetly threatened a break-up, but you are made of cold steel inside and I cannot help suspecting that if you had met any real resistance you would have turned stern and started throwing up ultimatums. It was the same with prom, I’ve said this before, but I am coming to see that this is how you operate and that little piece of work in the Booty Camp rehearsal was yet another example. That scene was evidence that you have perfected the His Dark Materials Mrs Coulter-esqe “oh you’ll do this favour for me won’t you, aren’t you sweet for being considerate of me” passive twisted manipulation and it makes me fear what you'd do if someone actually stood up to you. Blaine was completely chill and normal about it, and you pretty much told him not to try out. How dare you? How dare you drag him into this school and then cut him down when he wants to get involved and find his place? That little 'awwww' you gave Blaine when he said he'd be happy playing second fiddle to you? That was your moment to step in and be a decent human being. And yet. I. wanted. to. cause. you. physical. pain. 

I’m sure next episode that you will tell Blaine about how you are jealous, and you'll apologise, and encourage him to take the role even if he tries to turn it down, but you won’t be doing it for him. You’ll be doing it for you, because you’ve accepted your unicorn-ness or individuality or what the fuck ever, and have realised that you aren’t right for the role, or you're above it, or something. At the end of the day, if you had actually been in direct competition - something you both had an equal chance at - you would have never given it to him, and if he'd ever hinted or asked you not to do something, for his sake, you would tell him to take a hike, if that was something that you wanted. 


Dear RIB,

Are you doing this on purpose? Is this fucked up dynamic actually a plot point? More than just in relation to the West Side Story casting? Is “there are two people in this relationship in love with Kurt Hummel” actually something that is going to be addressed, or are we meant to think that Kurt is fine and Blaine is sweet for not applying for Tony, and that this is, like, cute? Because it is not fucking cute. That conversation in the dance rehearsal was not cute. It was evil. I think it’s very realistic, and very in-character, and you said their relationship would be flawed, but right now, are you intending for what I’m seeing as flaws to actually be Kurt’s flaws? Or do you think this is currently healthy and adorable aside from Kurt’s upcoming jealousy about Blaine being offered the role? Are you going to bring Kurt's manipulation into it? Blaine's happiness being an afterthought is becoming too much of a theme. Usually when you’re trying to show that someone’s behaviour is wrong, you have another character call it out. But so far, this seems normal and fine. Have you actually learnt subtlety and how to do a long-game story arc? 

The musical stuff was all quite nicely done – I like the director trio a lot and how over-the-top and analytical their discussion was. Also, their reactions to watching all the auditions (except for them laughing at Kurt’s Romeo, but I still am unsure why they all laughed that much? Was it meant to be at his voice? Because it wasn’t that bad. The situation was ridiculously awkward, and I know why I laughed, but it was because Kurt said “post-coitus” and it made me think of Jim Povolo’s Firenze from A Very Potter Sequel. But somehow I don’t think that’s why Beiste was laughing.

I am loving Finchel at the moment. Ew. But that scene in the workshop was so natural and gorgeous and I like that Rachel is self-aware and comfortable enough to know how difficult she is and to be matter of fact about it. I also liked that Finn and Will dance bit – Will’s strongest moments, where he’s been the best person he ever manages to be, are always with Finn. If Will did not disgust me as a general human being, I’d probably ship it.

Rachel’s audition was lovely and I loved her goofy, pleased laugh at the end. I am not looking forward to her apparent shitty behaviour next episode (based on Kurt telling her off in the trailer) because her development into a likable person has been so gorgeous.

Kurt’s audition was, of course, both ridiculously awesome and completely inappropriate for Tony. Was Chris actually ever a gymnast? Because I know he did that whole scaffolding stunt himself with no double and no wires. And it took a lot of upper body strength and going upside down. He isn't going to get the role, he should have realized he wasn't right for it in the first place or auditioned differently, but this episode reminded me that Kurt has a truly eccentric mind and has zero self-awareness. He's never ironic. He actually thinks these things are good ideas. It actually took me a long time to realize this about Kurt - that he's not terribly smart, he's not cuttingly sharp and ironic, that he's a fairly unusual but uneducated gay kid in small-town Ohio building a persona for himself that he legitimately thinks is sophisticated. He, a little like Brittany, his mind-leaps are really his and his alone, and he isn't adaptable. His attitude is "this is me, and what I do, and because it's fabulous, I should get what I want" which is a pretty great attitude for someone with ambition, but not so great an attitude when that ambition is acting. Chris Colfer could play Tony, if they transposed the songs for his range. He could do that role. Because he is a great actor. Kurt Hummel, however, could not, because he only really knows how to be Kurt Hummel. So, as Burt says, he must change the rules. Or, you know, just learn to act.

Blaine’s audition was perfection and it broke my heart. The classic little Blaine Anderson "pulling myself together" moment before starting, and his exuberance, hope, and his eyes - no one, not even Chris Colfer, no one on this show (or in fact, currently on television) can use their eyes to project as tangibly as the way Darren Criss does. It was Blaine's first actual solo - him and him alone - on Glee, and also his first Broadway number and he just killed it. And that outfit? THAT is Blaine Anderson. That is exactly him. But even after Kurt's little game in the choir room, when Blaine came on and sung Tony's song, I did not see it coming that he had specifically requested not to be considered for Tony. I assumed he was just trying his luck with whatever they'd give him and that he legitimately didn't expect to get Tony due to not being a senior, and that would be fine with him. Blaine's not competitive, but I NEVER expected him to be so swayed by Kurt that he did not put his name down for it and the way his voice broke nervously when they asked him about the roles he'd put down just ripped me open and made me want to, again, smack Kurt Hummel very hard. I don't even want to get into Kurt's reaction while watching it - I really wanted him to be looking even a little proud, but I know that character and based on how he reacts that's his frozen, fixed smile "oh shit" grimace. And then obviously his true emotions winning through at the end, and him walking out.

This relationship, to me, is currently a tragedy. I said before the season started that I worried about Blaine becoming a doormat because he is deeply in love with Kurt. And that is happening. Kurt - consciously or not - is happy to use that. Blaine does need to become aware of this and man up, but Kurt also needs to stop taking advantage of his devotion. I had hoped we'd start to see some equality, something of Kurt giving back, but... no. Because Kurt isn't in love with Blaine. He thinks he is, but he isn't. He's maybe in love with the idea of it all... but, really. As I wrote before, I thought that when Kurt fell in love, he would be changed by it - not all around changed, but changed in relation to that person. He's not, but Blaine is, and that's unhealthy and Kurt isn't in the position to be in a relationship, at least with someone like Blaine. There either needs to be two people putting themselves first - which, in my opinion, isn't all that loving, but it works for some people's casual relationships - or there needs to be two people putting EACH OTHER first. And at the moment we have two people putting Kurt first. The fact that Kurt doesn't automatically feel to do for Blaine what Blaine feels to do for him, tells me that Kurt will never really love Blaine. It doesn't matter if he realises afterwards that it was wrong or unfair - the fact it isn't his automatic go-to, but it IS Blaine's automatic go-to, which is what makes them unhealthy and unequal. Kurt needs a boyfriend who won't put up with his bullshit, who will tell him no when he needs it or just say "whatever, babe" at him when he's ridiculous. Blaine needs someone who won't let him not take care of his own needs, and who sees through his desperate need to please. They both need people who can call them on their crap, and those people are not each other.

People can change, but at the moment, I feel like no matter if Kurt realises he's wrong in retrospect, or if someone reads him the riot act about his horrid behaviour, the fact that he just doesn't automatically prioritise Blaine the way Blaine prioritises him means that Kurt will never love Blaine the way Blaine loves him. That dynamic, between two particular people, very rarely changes. You can't teach that. I know. I've been there. You can't say "hey, you should act this way" - if you aren't compelled to do it, then you aren't compelled to do it, and that represents something. And Blaine's behaviour isn't healthy either, if he was with someone who truly loved him he'd stop him from that, he'd take care of Blaine when Blaine won't take care of himself. Each person would put the other first; encourage each other, rather than two people putting Kurt first.

Fix it up. I don't know how, but fix it up. Because right now I want them to break up. People who are emotionally manipulative and selfish - even if it's not calculated - still aren't healthy in relationships, particularly relationships with someone like Blaine. You don't deserve him, Kurt, and at this point I can't imagine anything that would make me believe you love him.


  1. I didn't finish reading the post yet, but I LOVE the Kurt-Mrs Coulter comparation you made and needed to comment it before I forgot! I never thought about it but it's exactly like that. Hopefully [His Dark Materials SPOILER] he'll find the right track in the end too...