Saturday, January 22, 2011

Glee - Never Been Kissed

Is it bad that as important its message and as well acted as it was, this episode doesn't really do it for me?

Never Been Kissed's main plots focus on Kurt and Coach Beiste. Karofsky's harassment of Kurt has been steadily increasing and causing Kurt to start to crack under the pressure, while Coach Beiste finds out several of the boys and Tina have been imagining her in compromising positions in order to cool down when they're with their significant others. The minor plots revolve around Puck getting out of juvie and declaring Artie his "community service," and Mr. Shuester setting up another boys vs. girls mash-up competition.

There are many great moments in this episode such as Coach Beiste, as the unlusty star in the gang's fantasies, is hilarious. Seriously, Dot-Marie Jones should get an Emmy nom for this episode. She's just amazingly funny, but when Beiste discovers the truth, Jones is just heartbreaking. Her speech at the end of the show was so painful but honest. Granted, the lines felt a little cheesy and predictable, but Jones made them work.

Other highlights include the introduction of Blaine, Kurt's new crush, as the adorable, older student at rival school, Dalton Academy. Darren Criss is wonderful as he lightly flirts with Kurt (you know he was  when he was singing Teenage Dream) and then helping support Kurt as he confronts Karofsky. Darren Criss and Chris Colfer have great chemistry together, and I'm excited to see how their friendship develops and whether it develops into something more.

The big revelations of the episode were Coach Beiste and Kurt had never been kissed until this episode and who did the kissing. For Coach Beiste, it was Will Schuester coming to the rescue to help her get past this, so she can move on and go forward with her life. If that sounded a little over the top or sarcastic, it is, because while Dot-Marie Jones was lovely during this scene, as I said before, it felt cheesy.

For Kurt, however, his first kiss was more traumatizing than liberating. In an intense moment during a confrontation between him and Karofsky, Karofsky grabs Kurt and kisses him. It's brutal and filled with anger, and I think left most people surprised.

Overall, this is an episode that should have left me emotional in some way, but other than a few moments,  I was left mostly cold. The acting was great. Chris Colfer once again knocked it out of the park, as I said before, Dot-Marie Jones was wonderful, Darren Criss - loveable, and Karofsky -violently self loathing and angry, but the writing was just rough. I think they've been laying on the bullying too heavily. I know this is the reality for far too many kids, but in an ensemble comedic show, there needs to be a balance and they tried to do it with the Coach Beiste plot and the Puck gets out of juvie sub-plot, but it wasn't balanced, and I feel like it hurt the episode rather than enhance it.

That said, the music was awesome. It was another boys vs. girls mash-up competition with the twist of the boys doing girl songs and the girls doing boy songs. The girls got to rock out with a mash-up of Livin' on a Prayer and Start Me Up, though Quinn's bandana and Rachel's hamming it up with the mic made me laugh. The boys, as a form of apology to Coach Beiste, were a little more old school with Stop! In the Name of Love and Free Your Mind. It was an unexpected combination that worked perfectly and in my opinion, won the competition for the boys.

Puck and Artie sang One Love (People Get Ready), and while it was a nice performance, it was really random and made little sense. But it was a lot fun and made me wish I could have done something like that when I was in high school.

Standout performance, however, goes to the boys at Dalton Academy. Darren Criss and the Warblers singing Teenage Dream is one of my all-time favorite Glee performances. It was just perfect. Rather than explain what made it so perfect, I'm just going to show you. Enjoy!

I never wanted to be a part of an acapella group so badly. Looks like so much fun.

So once again Glee offers us an uneven episode, but it shows signs of improvement. I'd say this was good, not great, but definitely better than the Rocky Horror ep.