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“You just have to radiate emotion, express what’s deep inside you. That’s what theatricality is truly about.”: Theatricality (1×20) Gleecap

May 26, 2010

You and me could write a bad romance...

“Theatricality” was, well, incredibly theatrical – and I’m not just referring to the musical numbers. This episode left no punches unpulled, and their exploration of the theme of “not being afraid to express yourself” was especially fantastic coupled with several parent-child storylines. No matter which way you slice it, our favourite glee clubbers are freaks through and through, and watching many of them come to terms with their strange selves (particularly Finn) was a huge highlight considering how this theme essentially runs through the entire show.

Kurt and Finn’s clashing personalities reached their breaking point this week in an excellent use of the episode’s main theme. While Finn tries hard to blend in with the crowd and hide his “freakier” glee club side because he’s scared of being beat up and ridiculed by his fellow jocks, Kurt is (rightfully) proud of who he is and his uniqueness. And while Finn’s in the wrong by telling Kurt that he should try harder to fit in (since they don’t live in New York or San Francisco), our confused young leading man has admittedly been thrown into an incredibly hard situation. Burt and Carole dating is one thing, but moving the two families in together? It’s too much too fast, and Finn has every right to be freaked out and angry about his life changing so drastically and so quickly, and clearly a lot of his anger towards the situation is what’s fueling his fire towards Kurt.

My family comes first...

And then, of course, there’s the issue of Kurt’s crush on Finn, which is just another log being thrown onto the fire. It’s unfortunate that the crush was finally revealed by Finn, rather than Kurt himself, but I think Finn was right to finally get it out in the open. Kurt may say that he’s accepted that Finn isn’t gay, but right at the beginning of the episode at the Hummel/Hudson “Welcome Home” party, he says that he’ll redecorate his and Finn’s room so that it “represents who you are and who I want you to be. [pause] Who you want to be.” Kurt’s clearly still in denial about his chances of dating Finn, and if these two boys are going to live together (and in the same room at that!), this is definitely something they need to talk about, regardless of how hard it is. But Finn undoubtedly crossed the line, even if he crossed it out of anger and naivety, not out of actual hate for Kurt. And good on Burt for standing up for his son even when Kurt himself was too scared and upset to do it. Burt’s fierce love and loyalty for his family has never been stronger than it was in that scene, and seeing him reveal his regretful past actions at the same time was a wonderful touch. I’ve said before that I’ve found Kurt and Burt’s storylines to be too repetitive in the past, but seeing this further dimension to their relationship turned me around completely. Well done, Burt Hummel, and thank goodness that his speech actually seemed to get through to Finn who showed off his superhero-side by saving Kurt at the end of the episode.

Even the way we're sitting right now is so dramatic, yet we feel so comfortable with it...

Kurt and Burt weren’t the only example of an interesting family dynamic this week, as the episode also explored parent-child relationships with both Rachel and Shelby and Puck and his unborn baby girl (from here on to be referred to as “Beth”, although maybe also “Jackie Daniels,” just ’cause it’s hilarious). Rachel and Shelby’s first foray into being mother and daughter was incredibly interesting, and not at all what I expected. I thought that it was most likely that their reconnection would go very badly because Shelby would try to steal Rachel away to Vocal Adrenaline and Rachel would resent her for this or, that it would go smashingly well and therefore Rachel would willingly try to go away to Vocal Adrenaline. Either way, what I definitely didn’t expect was that Shelby would get cold feet about the whole situation, although it was a very realistic portrayal of the situation and I’m glad it unfolded that way. The two women may be very similar (not just in looks and talent, but in their love for gold stars, too!), but Will’s right: Rachel’s not hard like Shelby is. Rachel may no longer be a child, but she’s still only 16, and she’s extremely vulnerable to being hurt. She’s likely built up this reconnection so strongly in her mind, that if Shelby can’t handle being a real mom to Rachel now, then she’s better to rip the bandage off hard and quick now before she has time to create a bigger wound. Will was a perfect father figure to Rachel in his scene with Shelby, and it seems that Rachel’s better off with three dads and a mother, but no mom.

Jackie Daniels is a great name for a powerboat or something, but it's not right for a baby girl...

Puck’s relationship with baby Beth was a great mini-exploration of the parent-child theme, as it’s a) super lovely to see Puck maturing and coming into his own, and b) always great to see Quinn’s pregnancy actually be addressed on the show! The “Beth” performance was lovely and understated (a nice contrast to the over-the-top “Bad Romance” and “Shout It Out Loud”), and its hat tips to both Finn singing to the baby (when he thought it was his) with “I’ll Stand by You” and Kurt singing “A House is Not a Home” were both cleverly done. Tina also acted as a mini-exploration of the “express yourself” theme this week, and although her scenes were mostly for comic effect (Asian vampires are the deadliest vampires!), we also got to see some greater depth to her personality and her creativity. There’s definitely more to Tina than her just being a shy, goth girl who faked a stutter.

Favourite quote: “My mom won’t even let me watch Twilight. She says she thinks Kristen Stewart seems like a bitch.” – Tina

Favourite moment: Burt Hummel stole the show in his verbal takedown of Finn. Although Tina’s “Asian vampires” scene was absolutely hilarious and both “Bad Romance” and “Shout It Out Loud” were super fun to watch. Oh, and also! MATT FINALLY SPOKE! This was a very exciting moment for me!

Next week: The glee kids gotta get funky if they want to get out of their pre-Regionals funk. Also, Terri’s back on the scene, and Will’s getting frisky with…Sue?!

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. Megan permalink
    May 26, 2010 2:53 pm

    I agree with absolutely everything in here! And YES MATT SPOKE! I was trying to bring attention to this fact but everyone was too busy talking about all the drama parts of the episode!

  2. Jay Dean permalink
    May 26, 2010 11:25 pm

    While we might wish that Finn wouldn’t have said “faggy,” on the whole, Finn has less to apologize for than Kurt and Burt do. Finn was terribly upset and found himself in a terrible situation. He is least culpable.

    Kurt has had a crush on Finn. Kurt knows that Finn is not gay. Kurt manipulates both parents, trying to get them together for the sole purpose of getting himself closer to Finn. Premeditated. Planned. Intentional. Have you manipulated other people into relationships for your own personal gain? I think you probably haven’t.

    Some might get a big thrill out of saying “Haw! Haw! Look at the dumb redneck and how scared he is of the gay guy!” Consider what it’s like from Finn’s perspective. He is forced to share a room, and share a bathroom, and sleep in the same room as someone who is sexually attracted to him. What if a boy was sexually attracted to a girl, and somehow got their single parents into a relationship. On what planet would it be considered acceptable for the girl to have to stay in the boy’s room? No one would say that that is ok, yet that is the exact situation in which Finn finds himself, all courtesy of the manipulative person who is sexually attracted to him. As bad as Kurt’s behavior has been, at least he is still a kid. What’s Burt’s excuse?

    Finn has never had a father figure. He’s never had a male role model. He’s never had a man to do guy things with and to teach him what it means to be a man. Suddenly Burt drops in out of the blue, and this whole new world is open to Finn. Burt even makes quite an effort to explain to Kurt just how much Finn needs a father figure. So what does Burt do? What does Burt do to the boy who has just started bonding with him. What does Burt do to the boy who looks up to him? Does Burt try to mediate the situation? Does Burt try to discover both sides of what is going on? Does Burt tell Finn that this is not how things are done? Does Burt tell Finn that this is not how a man behaves? No. Burt tells Finn that he is poison. Burt tells Finn that there is no place for people like Finn. Burt tells Finn he can’t be in the same world as Burt.

    Essentially, Burt is telling Finn that Finn is an evil, sickening, murderous person who should be ripped out of the world. Finn’s substitute father, Finn’s male role model, tells Finn that he is unwanted and no good. And Burt is a grown adult. Have you told a child who looks up to you that the child is poison and you want no part of him in your life? I think you probably haven’t.

    Now we’re left with Finn. Finn has been moved into a new home without even being consulted. Finn is being forced to share a room with someone who is sexually attracted to him. Finn is very tense and nervous about the situation, just as a girl would be if she were forced to share a bedroom with a boy who is sexually attracted to her, but that she isn’t attracted to. And what if this boy, who is sexually attracted to this girl, and she knows he is sexually attracted to her, came up and wanted to touch her face with the excuse of “Oh, I just wanted to help you with your makeup?” It seems perfectly reasonable that Finn, already high strung over the situation, might freak out. It’s not a gay thing. It’s not a homophobia thing. It’s a being forced to endure sexual attention from someone to whom you’re not attracted thing. Does Finn beat up Kurt? No. He’s angry and nervous and afraid and he lashes out verbally. Would we prefer that he didn’t use the word “faggy?” Sure. And we might prefer that no one ever argues again, and that the world be filled with hearts and flowers. Based on everything we know about Finn, does it seem more likely that he hates gays and is an evil wicked homophobe, or that he’s a dumb kid who said something regrettable that reflects his anger in the heat of the moment rather than his deeply held beliefs?

    Have you manipulated people in a manner similar to how Kurt manipulated his and Finn’s dad and mom, for your personal, sexual gain? No. Have you told an impressionable child who looks up to you that he is poison and he has no place in your life? No. Have you been in an argument and said something hurtful that you wish you hadn’t said? For most people, that answer is probably yes.

    So I ask you. Who owes whom an apology? And should we really praise the “tolerant” lesson of this episode when what actually happened is that the person who is least offensive is the only one the show considers to have done something wrong?

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  1. Blog Highlights for May 17-30, 2010 « Books on TV

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