S2: E6 After spinning wildly out of control in last episode (Schue really let the whole Rocky Horror theme make him crazy), Glee is back to what seems to be its mission this season: acceptance. The show has always placed a huge emphasis on the idea of accepting everyone for who they are, but as Kurt’s issues continue to be the main focus, the idea has really taken center stage for the Gleeks. This week, Kurt shares his misunderstood spotlight with two others: Coach Bieste and hot-headed football player, Dave Karofsky. This is also the long-awaited episode where we get to meet Kurt’s new friend, Blaine, an openly gay student in a rival singing group.
It all starts when Finn gives Sam some advice (while they both lounge in baths in the locker room) on how to make out with their girlfriends without getting too excited. Post teenage pregnancy Quinn is even stricter about her sexual practices than she was when she was dating Finn, so naturally Sam’s having a hard time. (No pun intended.) Finn shares his secret: he thinks of the time he almost killed a mailman with his mom’s car. Wow, that’s definitely a mood killer. Sam didn’t almost kill anyone, so he needs another image. As he watches Coach Bieste adjust her underwear while berating another student (she literally has her panties in a twist – they went there), a lightbulb goes off. Bieste is his “mailman.” That’s pretty messed up, even for the new kid.
Back in the choir room, Puck is back from juvenile hall and Schue has received the list for Sectionals: the Dalton Academy Warblers and The Hipsters. (Sidenote: The Hipsters are a bunch of elderly people in a continuing education program. Is it just me, or did they steal that bit from Community?) Anyway, in preparation for their new competition, Schue gets the kids pumped for round 2 of last year’s boys versus girls mash-up competition. As the groups split, without even looking Schue knows to tell Kurt he can’t join the girls team. Little does Schue know, he just ignited a hot spot in Kurt’s building frustration with being the only openly gay student at his high school. Just that morning, he was harassed by a football player, Dave Karofsky, for about the millionth time, and it’s starting to get to him.
Dave slams Kurt into the lockers again and again, but after Schue forces him to join the boys’ team his anger bursts and he yells at Dave demanding to know what the issue is. Of course, this does nothing but unleash another lame threat about “releasing the fury” (Dave’s fist). Thankfully, Kurt manages to choke down his emotions long enough to come back with a quip that completely destroys Dave and goes over his head. Double burn. Even in the face of complete intolerance, Kurt manages to come out swinging. Schue witnesses the incident and pulls Kurt aside to see if he can help. Finally, Schue’s more worried about the kids than chasing the anal-retentive redheaded guidance counselor. Schue notes that it’s obviously messing with Kurt (his attitude has been out of control), and he agrees but says it’s more about the lack of a challenge from the glee curriculum. Way to sidestep the issue, Kurt.
Schue feels badly because his insistence that Kurt stay on the boys’ team has worsened his state, so he changes the competition, requiring the dudes to sing the girls' songs and the ladies to do guys' songs. Alright, a little uninspired, but I’ll take it. Kurt, of course, helps the boys choose songs, like Diana Ross’ “Stop in the Name of Love,” and he’s already got the (very feathery) costumes picked out. The dudes aren’t having Kurt’s elaborate plans, so they send him off to spy on the Dalton Academy Warblers so that they can know what they’re up against. Kurt accepts and storms off.
Meanwhile, Finn and Sam’s “cooling off plan” isn’t working out so well. Sam and Quinn are getting hot and heavy again and Sam’s Bieste tactic hits a road block when he accidentally says her name instead of Quinn’s. Later, Tina is getting a little too excited while making out with Mike and she pulls the same mistake as Sam. Whoa. Things just got super awkward. Of course Quinn immediately thinks that Sam is hooking up with Coach Bieste. (Wow, little lady, did you break a leg or something after that huge, unwarranted leap?) She goes to Sue for help, and Sue sees Quinn’s issue as a way to dethrone Coach “she-Hulk” by making her look like a student-seducer. (Not without sacrifice though, after imagining the QB and the coach, she’ll have to go “stare at some wounds” to get the image out of her head. That’s enough retribution, right?)
Puck’s back (faux-hawk and all – ugh, I thought we were finally rid of that lame hairstyle) and he’s got to do some community service for his parole from juvy. He’s decided that helping Artie, “the cripple,” will be his way of giving back. They earn a little cash in quad (and Puck convinces Artie to break school rules for the first time) with their pleasant rendition of Bob Marley’s “One Love,” before Puck sees how he can really help his wheelchair friend. His plan is to help Artie get girls – or girl. After losing his virginity to Brittany, Artie is still hung up and will do anything to get her back. (Seriously, poor Artie. Why are girls so awful to him?) Puck says he’s got to be meaner to her, and that he’ll help him by setting a double date for he and Artie with Santana and Brittany.
Kurt sneaks into the all boys school to check out the Warblers where he meets Blaine. He’s instantly in puppy love, and who can blame him? Blaine is kind of a babe. He learns that everything’s easier for openly gay students at Dalton, and when he watches Blaine and the Warblers perform “Teenage Dream” (with some rather awkward, Lawrence Welk type dance moves – it’s a Katy Perry song for godsakes) it seems like he may be leaving New Directions behind. (He’s also clearly smitten…oh so smitten.) Blaine and friends pull Kurt aside when they realize he’s spying, and it seems that Dalton is the perfect place for Kurt to escape persecution. However Blaine convinces him not to run away from his problems and to stand up for himself instead.
Back at school, Sue’s plan goes into action and Quinn and Mike confront Bieste in the hall, telling her to stay away from their respective puppy loved ones. Bieste is furious (and confused) about the reaction and Schue demands an explanation from the boys. When he finds out, he makes them swear the very unflattering explanation never gets back to her, the boys agree, but I’m not really sure how they can fix this one in any way. Of course Bieste approaches Schue and asks him what’s up. Stupidly, Schue decides to be candid and tell her the awful truth. Are you kidding me, Schue? Haven’t you heard of the idea that sometimes the truth hurts? Have some tact, man. Unsurprisingly, Bieste already feels insecure on campus and this issue pushes her to finally quit. News that sends Sue into a glitter cannon victory frenzy. Great job, Schue.
Puck works his magic for Artie. In the most cartoonish way possible, Artie tells Brittany and Santana he wants nothing to do with either of them, so of course they both want to go out with Puck and Artie. Oh high school girls. At dinner at Breadstix – because where else would they go? – Puck tries to get Artie to complete his bad boy training and dine and dash, but he can’t do it. Come on, we all knew this awkward I-can-be-mean-to-girls-and-act-tough-phase wasn’t going to last that long. Puck gets busted for his less-than-inspiring attempt at charity work and needs to find another way to prove he should stay out of juvy. Though Artie didn’t really succeed with his tactics, they’ve become buds and Artie offers to make sure Puck passes Geometry. Woo, I guess that means we won’t be losing any more of that precious Puckerman eye candy. Thank you, Geometry.
The show awkwardly transitions to the girls’ performance of “Start Me Up/Living on a Prayer” – but I guess there wasn’t really an easy way to make the switch. I don’t know if they got the memo, but Bon Jovi isn’t exactly jumping to the extremes of the manly spectrum, but then again it’s not like they were going to attempt to channel Tom Waits or something. Not that that would have been a good choice either, my head hurts just thinking about how awful that would be. Also, they’re depending a lot on “hairography.” Didn’t we cover this last season? Didn’t we conclude that it’s just a way to mask actual talent? Hmm.
In the hallway, Kurt fields more torture from Dave, but this time he’s not taking it. He reads a text from Blaine that says, “Courage” and follows Dave into the locker room proclaiming that he won’t change and that nothing Dave can do will alter that. Just when it seems like Dave is going to give Kurt an entirely new facial structure, he kisses Kurt instead. Whoa. Whoa. This summer we heard rumors that Kurt would have a boyfriend this season and that it would be a football player, but we all thought it would be Sam. Despite Blaine’s help, Dave is solidly stuck in the closet, so don’t get too excited just yet; and his denial of the event just makes Kurt feel worse because it was his first kiss ever from a boy.
But that’s not the only first kiss. Schue approaches Bieste to try and get her to stay, touting the students’ praises for her. But that’s not the issue. It’s her self image that was on its last limb when the glee boys’ awful trick finished it off. Like Kurt, she’s never been kissed and hasn’t felt like a real woman her whole life. While he’s trying to be sweet, Schue ends up being super slimy when he kisses Bieste to show her how beautiful she is. Even though it creeped me out, it works on her and she agrees to come to the choir room so the boys can perform a tribute to her.
The boys perform a mash-up of “Stop in the Name of Love/Free Your Mind.” Once again, Coach Bieste was more wowed than I was, but I did really enjoy the Frankie Valli-esque suits. Nice touch – I’m sure that was Kurt’s influence. Bieste decides to stay after the serenade and thus the Glee reputation for total acceptance is restored and everyone’s happy…again.