Tonight’s Glee, aptly titled “Original Song,” explored winners and losers on several levels. At the most basic level, this was the long-awaited Regionals competition, so some glee clubs had to lose in order to declare a winner to move on to Nationals. On a deeper level, Glee itself has always dealt with what it feels like to be labeled a ‘loser’ or outcast while striving to rise above this adversity and go after a dream. In this episode, the Glee kids recognized their loser status and then fully embraced their differences as their core strength—which led to them winning Regionals.
The first half of this episode was just not as impressive to me. It bothers me when Glee is wishy washy on certain developments over a few episodes, then has a character suddenly make a rash decision or important realization, and then the story gets dropped or brushed aside. I don’t know—I mean, maybe I just don’t think like a teenager anymore—but we got all that great buildup and chemistry for months between Kurt and Blaine (and Blaine insisting that he didn’t have romantic feelings for Kurt) and then Kurt sings one song and ‘boom!’ Suddenly Blaine has his moment of awakening regarding Kurt and has to be attached at the hip with him. I didn’t even think Kurt’s performance of The Beatles’ Blackbird was one of his finest or even as emotionally charged as his solos often are. Don’t get me wrong—it is not that I didn’t want Kurt and Blaine to finally get together, but it all came about so contrived and conveniently timed for Regionals.
Another plot development that bothered me in the set up, but not the resulting fall-out, was Quinn’s newfound gusto for reclaiming her power couple status with Finn. I think my problem with Quinn is that she is so flakey about which guy she wants or whether she is good or bad that I can never get invested with her decisions. Even though I don’t care for Quinn’s lack of personal growth, I did think her conversation about chasing happy endings with Rachel was quite powerful and meaningful. Although she came across as a bitch to Rachel, she showed us that deep down she has resigned herself to a future life as a ‘Lima loser’—that she is already settling for a lackluster marriage with Finn because she thinks that is the most she will ever be able to achieve; while she actually does believe Rachel has the spirit to really make her dreams come true. She also served to inspire Rachel with the words to her original power ballad that actually succeeded in getting Rachel to sing from true emotion, “Get It Right.”
Of course Sue was up to her usual antics of trying to sabotage Glee and further her own interests. This bit is really starting to feel old; yet the one part I did laugh at was when she put dirt in Brittany and Santana’s lockers because she ‘likes to play dirty’ and Brittany cried out, “I don’t even remember putting that in there!” The joke was ultimately on Sue, though, because Mr. Schue used her hurtful put-downs to tap into something that all the Glee kids could relate to—being losers who want to rise above and win. Hence the upbeat crowd-pleaser performance of their other original song, “Loser Like Me,” which helped clinch the New Directions win at Regionals.
I was definitely leery entering this episode knowing that it was going to contain original songs. And, despite two strong final original songs, I still prefer my Glee when they take well-known tunes and perform them in innovative ways. I did think it was funny how they had various characters pitch their original songs to the group, with each so-bad-it’s-comical creation reflecting the very distinct personality of its performer (from Santana singing about Sam’s “Trouty Mouth” to Puck making amends for “Fat Bottomed Girls” with equally as insulting “Big Ass Heart” and Merecedes wailing against tots being taken away in the cafeteria a la “Hell to the No”). I also appreciated the always humorous judging process—Glee knows how to build a judges panel that satirizes small-town politics and that both makes (Tea Party candidate) and breaks (former exotic dancer nun) stereotypes.
So, New Directions is off to Nationals this spring, and Kurt and Blaine won a romantic relationship as their consolation prize. What did you think of Regionals? Am I being too harsh on plot? In the words of Charlie Sheen, was it “bi-winning” in terms of the within-the-show outcome of Regionals and the episode itself as a whole? Or could it have used some infusion of tiger blood?