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TV Recap: Glee “The First Time”

Hi. My name is Ryan. I’m 36 years old. And I watch Glee.

I wasn’t always ashamed of being a Glee watcher. I fell in love with the dark, absurd pilot and was immediately hooked. Sue Sylvester was hilarious, Mr. Schu was optimistic and earnest, yet not above framing and blackmailing minors, Finn and Puck were dreamy, and Rachel could really sing. But soon I became disenchanted by the inconsistent characterizations, the twee moralizing, the incessant auto-tuning. Oh, and that one time the deaf kids sang “Imagine” and then the Glee kids got up and took over. Seriously, what the fuck was that?But I still watch. Sue is still hilarious (as are previously non-speaking characters, Brittney and Santana), Mr. Schu has been rightfully marginalized, Puck and Finn are still dreamy, and Kurt and Blaine make the 15-year old gay Ryan from half a life ago so damn jealous of gay kids today that get to watch this on TV and take it for granted like it’s always been there.So I still watch Glee. I know that the show promised in the pilot is but a distant memory, and I’ve made peace with that, but this year the show has improved leaps and bounds over last season, and it’s enough to keep me hopeful. Just like a student at McKinley High, Glee is often annoying and inconsistent, and not nearly as clever as it thinks it is, but you still can’t help rooting for it.Last time on Glee:


Mercedes wasn’t given the part of Maria all for herself, despite giving the best audition, so she left in a huff and joined the rival Glee club run by Rachel’s birth mother. Then she managed to get Santana and Brittney to join her, setting up an inevitable split between our friends as more and more Glee kids leave New Directions in the coming weeks. It’ll be like that one time Jack and half the passengers of Flight 815 went to the caves while the other half stayed on the beach, setting up some kind of civil war before the whole story got dropped. So weird for Lost to drop a story line like that…

But I guess we’re gonna have to put a pin in that for now, because this week is all about getting’ biz-zay. Specifically, Finn and Rachel and Blaine and Kurt are Losin’ It.
It all started when Artie the director sensed that Rachel and Blaine had no passion for one another and basically ordered them to have sex. Not with each other, of course. Artie also took it upon itself to lecture the football Coach Bieste to go after the man of her dreams, some football recruiter guy with exceptionally low standards.

So Finn and Rachel and Kurt and Blaine took center stage, with both couples finishing the night’s episode with some hard-core gazing into each other’s eyes and some sweet, sweet fully-clothed cuddling. Now Glee has never been a sexually explicit show, but it’s definitely shown characters going at it more graphically than that before, so I’m not sure why they felt the need to pull back here. I’m guessing because this time, half of the sexing involved boys with other boys. But it still worked, ultimately. Do I believe that two out teenage boys who have been dating for months haven’t exceeded first base yet? Sure, as much as I believe these kids could throw together a set list on their way over to Regionals last year. But if you’re still pointing out unrealistic shit at this point, you probably ought to move on, and pop in an old episode of Law and Order or something. I really liked that both couples got story lines that made sense for their characters, and weren’t resolved that neatly. Finn learning that a career as a professional football player is unlikely was done in a realistic and heartbreaking way. (Hmm…hopefully he has another life passion to fall back on. But what could it be?) And it was nice to see Rachel be the rock in the relationship for once, instead of spazzing all over Finn like usual.

And then of course, there’s the new evil gay, Sebastian. He’s got an evil name and everything, and he’s going to steal Blaine away from Kurt, leaving Kurt with the baseball cap-wearing bear cub, Karofsky. I mean, that’s where we’re going, right? Ryan Murphy has shown time and time again that he’s only interested in watching these kids breakup and make up and breakup again, then everybody switch! I guess on a nightime soap, that’s what generally passes as drama and character development, and it’s kind of cool that for once the gays can get involved in all that messy crap. Usually, the one token gay character stays a eunuch or gets a boyfriend who is not a part of the regular cast and is safely kept out of the main action. So I like where this is going. And I’ll even go with the fact that the characterization of Blaine has been inconsistent (Drink!) compared to last year, when he was confident and sexy and Kurt’s gay spirit guide, compared to now where he’s virginal and uncertain and most bizarrely, younger than Kurt.

The only part where the episode really biffed it was with Mike Chang. “Asian F” was a great episode earlier this season (one in which I must admit I agreed with his father much more than I was supposed to) where Mike with Mrs. Chang’s support, chose to disobey his father’s wishes to concentrate on a real career and dance and perform in The West Side Story instead. Well, here we are with the performance, and Mike’s story is barely even picked up, with a perfunctory “You are not my son!”bit of bullshit before moving on to Blaine and Kurt’s visit to the world’s saddest gay bar. Tina didn’t even register at all, and we didn’t even see Mike sing! I also would’ve liked to have seen Mercedes react to the play and realize what a fool she’d been, and that obviously Anita was a much better role than Maria.

Who else? Oh yeah, Sue didn’t show up, which is fine, they don’t always have a place for her, and Schu pulled his usual Mr. Belding crap, not affecting the story at all, which is as it should be.

No, the night definitely belonged to Kurt and Blaine and all the girls and gay boys who squee at the thought of Klaine 4 Ever. Somewhere, 15 year old Ryan is smiling.
He has no idea.