It is a busy prom week in TV land. 90210 had its creepy future-themed prom last night, and tonight I was treated to Glee’s episode, “Prom Queen.” Dates were selected, dresses were analyzed (by Kurt/Joan Rivers) and songs were selected—it was time to party! But, not without a little drama to keep things interesting. For the first time in weeks, Glee finally delivered its distinct blend of dark humor, excellent song choice, energetic performances and touching moments. So, as Pink would say, “Raise your glass!”
First things first: Finn voiced all of our concerns when he asked Mr. Schue if they had to sing prom-themed songs this week. Thank goodness the answer was no. But Will did inform them that Figgins needed New Directions to perform at the junior prom. I liked the approach of individuals or smaller groups taking turns to sing at prom—it gave each a chance to shine while their performances helped showcase plot developments. This episode also worked really well because it allowed enough time for each character’s story to hit new milestones while keeping everyone contained within the event that is prom.
In addition to selecting their song choices to perform, pretty much everyone was stressed about the various dilemmas of “the most important night of their lives” (apparently marriage doesn’t count because you can get married as many times as you want!). Mercedes didn’t have a date, and for once Rachel was genuinely kind in wanting to help a friend have a great night. So, she and Mercedes banded together to ask Sam to be their mutual date—even helping him out with cash—which was a true win-win-win. But, while rehearsing the Adele song, “Rolling in the Deep,” Jesse St. James made his surprise return to McKinley High and joined Rachel in a powerful acapella duet of this emotional piece. Apparently, Jesse struggled at college, not understanding that even show choir majors have to attend other classes. And now he is back in town seeking Rachel’s forgiveness and to start a new business as a show choir consultant. Rachel agrees to let him join her prom threesome, but his presence really strikes a nerve with another certain couple…
Finn and Quinn are still campaigning to be prom king and queen, but Quinn has pretty much gone off the deep end in her self-absorption. Finn is not feeling Quinn’s focus on prom, and now he is also dealing with his drudged up jealousy toward Jesse because deep down he does still really care about Rachel. Things come to a head at the prom itself when the guys get into a physical fight and get kicked out by Sue. This leaves Quinn dateless at prom and angry at Rachel for stealing some of her boyfriend’s affection.
Meanwhile, Kurt is beyond thrilled to be attending prom with boyfriend Blaine and in a Royal-Wedding fashionable kilt. In a great scene with his dad, step-brother, and boyfriend, Kurt explains that prom is about joy, not fear, and he will wear his kilt proudly despite their warnings that it begs for trouble. Kurt is feeling particularly confident these days because, since returning to McKinley, the bullying has been pushed to the backburner, thanks mostly to the fact that Santana has Korofsky working BullyWhip Patrol with her (in red jackets and berets no less). Korofsky even apologizes again to Kurt—and is so emphatic that I wasn’t sure Kurt could trust him. Kurt wants Korofsky to stop living in his pain and come out, but this is still not something he is ready to do.
Even the Brittany-Artie-Santana love triangle got some stellar screen time this week! Artie still wants to make amends to Brittany and win her back, after carelessly calling her “stupid” last week. Artie even enlists the guys to help him interrupt home ec class to serenade Brittany with “Isn’t She Lovely.” But, to her credit, Brittany is determined to go to prom alone to try to work on herself, oh, and “dance with other people’s boyfriends” who will inevitably find her.
All of the tension and pressure come to a head at prom, but not until after a hilarious (and dare I say it) rather enjoyable version of that obnoxious “Friday” song. It is the big moment: the revelation of prom king and queen. Korofsky is named Prom King and takes his crown. Then, Figgins pauses before reading the name of Prom Queen—Kurt Hummel. Yes, it seems that McKinley students voted for a write-in candidate. Is it a joke? Is it sincere? The crowd is silent. Kurt and the Glee Club kids think it is a cruel joke and Kurt runs out of the gym, chased by Blaine. Santana is upset too, but because she did not gain that social acceptance she had desperately been seeking. And Quinn is downright angry—enough so to cruelly slap Rachel—before admitting she is actually scared about her own dismal future.
There is an excellent three-way cut scene where each ‘victim’ gets the pep talk they need. Brittany helps Santana by giving her tough love—that Santana needs to be open with herself if she wants others to accept her. And Quinn apologizes to Rachel (who takes the slap better than most would) by expressing her own insecurities. Kurt tells Blaine the best way he can fight this emotional bullying is head on—he will walk back in and happily take his crown. He does just that and announces, “Eat your heart out Kate Middleton” and then receives loud applause.
And, finally, what would kind of a prom would it be without some ABBA? The episode ends on an uplifting note with an awesome performance of “Dancing Queen” by Mercedes and Santana!
Just a sample of some of tonight’s funniest “Prom Queen” moments:
- Sue expressing viewer opinions at what songs Glee should NOT sing at prom (i.e. their most universally panned numbers like “Run Joey Run”).
- “Your dates are really my dates” (Brittany does actually make a lot of sense).
- “Go with god, Satan!” (Kurt telling Santana she is hot like a devil in a red dress).
- Brittany’s confusion in home ec class about “different eggs” (the kind with the chickens inside or the kind with the eggs inside).
- “It’s like gay Braveheart” (Finn regarding Kurt’s attire).
- Artie seemed to be dressed like Austin Powers at prom.
- Brittany jumping up/grinding on Mike Chang.
- “You’re the worst P.O.W. ever. John McCain is rolling over in his grave” (Sue, of course).
And, drum-roll please as I announce my personal pick for the King and Queen of hilarious lines for the Glee prom episode: “I’ve heard that the best time to start a business is during a recession. I don’t know why or even what a recession is, but it is my understanding that we are in one” (Jesse); “You’re so smart, I can’t believe you flunked out of college” (Rachel). Congratulations you two—your timely yet completely naïve remarks won my heart for funniest exchange of the night.
Until next time…You can dance, you can jive, having the time of your life…oooh…see that girl, watch that scene, diggin’ the dancing queen!