Oh prom! The most important time in any teenagers life where all the details of what dress to wear, what limo to get, and what substances to take seem so important. Well, they're not. But they do make for good television and great Glee.
Wow, for the second week in a row I've really liked a Glee episode. Maybe they're on a hot streak. As far as the show goes, this was a narratively coherent episode with some great emotion, some great songs woven into the action, and not a lot of interference from the pesky adults. It was like the perfect episode.
But naturally prom means stress, and there was quite a bit at McKinley High. The band that was supposed to perform, Air Supply (and considering I once saw Air Supply performing for free at the Wolf's Den in the center of the Mohegan Sun casino, the prom in Lima, Ohio, isn't far off), canceled at the last minute, so Figgins is going to pay New Directions to perform at prom which solves the prom problem and the pesky plot problem about them not having any money to go to Nationals in New York.
Prom is also hard for Mercedes who is sad that she doesn't have a man to take her, but Rachel, in a rare fit of altruism, says they can go together. They draft Poor Sam to be their third date for "Prom on a Budget," which sounds like a really bad show on Teen TLC or something.
Babygay Kurt (and his all camo ensemble that made the ghost of Beau Brummell cry) asked Blaine to the prom for the express purpose of reprising the classic Pretty in Pink line "What about prom, Blaine?" Well, it turns out that Blaine got beaten up outside of a high school dance and now he has Prom Traumatic Stress Disorder and doesn't want to go, but his love for Kurt will make him do anything. Awww.
As bad as Rachel thought things were before, they get even worse when Jonathan Groff sashays back into her life.
OK, Adele's "Rolling in the Deep" rocks in the first place, but it super rocks as sung by a man and a woman with this crazy chain gang gospel feel like it's done here. And it's the perfect song for the situation, about a girl who is angry that a guy took her heart and ruined it. Great job, all around.
So, yes, Jesse St. James is back and he got kicked out of college because he never learned anything in high school except for the step touch and kick ball change. He's bored and back in town and wants to try things again with Rachel. She's hesitant, but decides to let him join her and Mercedes and Sam for "Prom on a Budget with Genevieve Gorder."
Finn finds out about the plan and is naturally skeptical. God, Finn, you can't have it both ways (unless you're Brittany), you are either broken up with Rachel or you're her boyfriend, but you can't keep pretending like you like her and you don't. It's so annoying. Rachel points this out, but then she says, "Be as supportive of me as I am of you and Quinn." Um, does that mean Finn is supposed to try to break you two up continuously and passive aggressively sabotage your relationship? Is that what that means?
Speaking of Brittany, since she is broken up with Artie, she decided that she was going to go to prom to steal other people's dates. That is why we love Brittany. But Artie still wants to go to prom with her. Here's how he tries to convince her.
When they pulled out Stevie Wonder's "Isn't She Lovely" with percussion provided by cooking utensils, I was so into it. Great song, great usage, good version. Then Glee did the thing I hate the most. It tried to make a problem with the song disappear but acknowledging that it was a problem. Mercedes says, "Isn't this a song about a baby." Yes, it is. So maybe the writers shouldn't have used it. Or, maybe not bring up the fact that it's about a baby because then people know that it is and know that it's the wrong song to choose. I repeat, Glee, acknowledging that things suck (like your song selections that Sue Motherfucking Sylvester pointed out at the beginning of the episode) does not make them suck any less, it just draws even more attention to their sucking. It's like a fat girl in horizontal stripes! Give that girl a black dress and a shrug and cover up the problem areas or, you know, go on a diet and get rid of the problem altogether!
Also, "Prom Proposals" are apparently a thing now. Ugh, don't make me sound like an old, kids. Too late, that shit is about to happen. You wanna know how I got my Senior Prom date? I was sitting in my car in the high school parking lot listening to the Cranberries (yes, it was the '90s) and smoking pot with my friend Amy and I took a hit and then said (in that stoner voice where you're still holding your hit in but trying to talk), "Hey, we should get really fucked up and go to prom together." Then she said, "Sure." That was it. Now you have to write a song and put it on YouTube and it's this whole fucking process. Man, it's just prom. Calm the fuck down already!
OK, so Artie's song doesn't convince Brittany to take him back (good for you, Brit!) so instead Puck convinces Artie to help him spike the punch bowl which will somehow restore Puck's flagging street cred and get Artie rolling with Brittany again (get it, cause he's in a wheel chair!).
Speaking of lovely ladies, Kurt has designed his own prom outfit and it's a jacket and a kilt (which made the ghost of Alexander McQueen cry and the future ghost of Marc Jacobs applaud). Both his dad and Blaine are like, "Um, maybe that's a little too gay to be wearing to the high school you had to leave because you were bullied for being gay." OK, I'm all about letting your freak flag fly, and god knows I was also out in high school and wore some faggotty ass shit to my prom, but they have a little bit of a point. And BG Kurt puts on his sanctimonious face and is all, "I'm wearing whatever I want and you have to like it!" God, why can't Kurt compromise just a little bit. His boyfriend is already going out of his way to go to prom with him even though he's uncomfortable, can't he make a small concession. You know, like pants! That's what you do for your boyfriend.
Speaking of Babygay, Kurt finally talks to Karofsky in the hallway when Karofsky is "protecting" him from the bullying. Kurt thinks that now that Karofsky is nice to him that everyone in school loves him. Their conversation was really sweet and it was good to see Karofsky apologize for real and to see his pain. It was clear for the first time that he wasn't a Bully Whip to get the votes for prom king (like Santana was) but as his penance for being mean to Kurt. Awwww.
Now it's the prom and that means "Friday" by Rebecca Black. Yes, it was cute and timely and fun. Finally, the one song in the world that might be campier than Glee itself! For some reason when these guys sung it the words seemed even more idiotic than they do normally. I have no clue why, but they did.
On the way to prom, Quinn and Finn run into the cast of "Prom on a Budget with Scott McGillivray." Finn gets in a fight with Jesse cause he thinks he's using Rachel. Really he's just there being stupid and thinking that he's going to become a show choir guru and Rachel is so in love with him that she eggs him on. Whatever, get prepared for that plot to come up in future episodes.
I remember this Christina Perri song, "Jar of Hearts," when it was on So You Think You Can Dance and I loved it then. I don't know that Rachel's voice does it justice, its like she makes it too sweet and proficient. Still a good song, but a bit of a bummer. It's Prom, the slow dances should be about romance and falling in love and being young and getting pregnant in a crappy Motel 6 behind a Denny's.
While Rachel is singing (or after or something) Sue Motherfucking Sylvester catches Artie spiking the punch bowl. She hauls him into her office to get him to confess that it was Puck who put him up to it so she can catch him with alcohol and have him kicked off Glee. This is the most coherent plot that SMFS has ever thought up. Congrats for finally making a bit of sense. Naturally Artie only spiked the punch with lemonade because he wasn't so into getting caught with alcohol probably because he also remember the awful "everyone gets drunk episode" and doesn't want to go back to that place.
OK, now Blaine is performing, but I'm just going with it, because it was a good song and if I did take a boy to the prom, I would want it to be Blaine. Even if he danced like that on stage and made a goober out of himself. But what's up with using Black Kids' "I'm Not Going to Teach Your Boyfriend How to Dance?" It's another bummer song about liking a girl who is with another guy and having her treat you like shit. It's prom, people!
While everyone is dancing to this Jesse and Rachel are getting all PDA and Finn goes over and punches Jesse and gets kicked out for fighting. Quinn is pissed, but not nearly as pissed as she should be, especially because it's time for prom king and queen coronation.
We all know that Quinn, Santana, and Lauren all want to be prom queen really bad. When Karofsky gets voted prom king, Santana thinks she has it in the bag and celebrates a little too early. The prom queen is...Babygay Kurt!
OK, that was shocking in both a good and bad way. It was nice to see the writers make a truly original selection for who it would be and to have a totally Carrie moment without letting any blood splatter on the stage, but it was heartbreaking for BG Kurt, who learned the hard lesson that no matter how nice people are to your gay face, they'll still hate you behind your back. That fucking sucks, but better he learn it young and learn to fortify himself, especially considering his sartorial choices which would be outré even for New York.
My biggest question is, where was Principal Figgins in all of this. How did he let this happen without reprimanding anyone? Oh well, Kurt didn't need him because Blaine, the best boyfriend in the world, ran out into the hallway to comfort Kurt and help him through his humiliation.
Everyone is actually pissed with the prom queen decision (except for Lauren, who totally got the shaft this episode—let's just hope it was Puck's). In the ladies' room, Quinn slaps Rachel for somehow causing her to lose. We didn't quite follow the logic, but we love a good smackdown, so have it! Santana is crying because this means she's thinks everyone can smell the golf course lesbian on her and that she's going to move to Tribeca, where all the lesbians live. But Brittany has some sweet words for her and I wanted them to make out and get together and become militant lesbian separatists. Not really. Well, I did want some girl on girl.
But then Kurt decides he's going to do what any good queen would do and take his crown and show those motherfuckers how it's done!
OK, Abba, "Dancing Queen," classic, we get the joke, moving on.
It might have been a weak song selection, but Kurt really did rock it with his "Kate Middleton eat your heart out," and showing the assholes at McKinley that it takes more than giving a queen a crown to get her down. In fact, almost every homosexual I know would be up on that stage brandishing that scepter around for everyone to see and rubbing their noses in it. It's not a joke when you make the joke your triumph.
Naturally Kurt uses his first dance with Karofsky as a teachable moment and tries to get him to come out. He's sadly not ready, but that gave Blaine, the best boyfriend in the whole damn world, another chance to be, well, the best boyfriend in the whole damn world. When he stepped in and saved Kurt from standing there all alone in his crown, I had one of those old Babygay Kurt cries that Glee was so famous for in the first season.
My real favorite scene though was the aftermath in the bathroom with Rachel and Quinn. Of course Rachel Barry is the only one who can appreciate the drama of a slap to the face and sort of respects Quinn for it in a weird way. Then Quinn herself does something unexpected and shows Rachel that she's the one who is jealous of her. I love when Quinn gets her beauty queen pathos on and talks about how she needs the honors now because her beauty and popularity will fade and she'll be left with nothing. "I'm always afraid," she tells Rachel. Afraid she won't be loved anymore, afraid she has no future, afraid that if she doesn't live now then she's just going to be some fat dental hygienist living in Lima for the rest of her life.
Oh, Quinny, I just want to wrap you in a slanket and give you a big hug, but also, that's what prom is all about. It's about being pretty and finding a dress and celebrating your youth while you're still young, because for so many people, it's going to be the best moment of their lives. That's just how it was for Glee. The best moment of its life, at least in a long time. That's just how it is for everyone who never gets out of high school.