Another week, another fantastic guest post. We’re grateful to welcome such talented writers to our blog each week. This week we have Candace Havens discussing the latest Glee installment.
The “Never Been Kissed” episode of Glee has gone into my top-five favorites list. This is one of the times when the writers, producers, and director meshed the teen angst and music with the story in a powerful way. Using three stories about opposites, the show explored what it really means to be an outsider.
The episode began with the Glee kids being divided into girl and boy teams and given an assignment to perform a song meant for the other sex. This led into a story line about the boys trying to “cool off” while making out with their hot girlfriends. They imagined Beiste (Dot Jones), the football coach, in compromising positions. Those images doused the hormones so they could continue making out. Beiste finds out what’s been going on and she wants to quit. She’s tired of always being on the outside.
But Will (Matthew Morrison) convinces her to stay. Explaining that what makes her different is also what makes her special. The Glee guys sing an apology to her, and say they understand that while she’s tough on the outside she has a very sensitive heart, or that she’s a creamy nougat on the inside as Finn (Cory Monteith) says. Will stresses that this is what is all about, accepting outsiders. The Beiste also gets her first kiss.
Kurt (Chris Colfer) was also a part of a first-kiss storyline. He’d never been kissed and felt more like an outsider than ever because Dave (Max Adler), a bully, wouldn’t stop shoving him into the lockers. On the auspices of spying on one of their competitors Kurt visits an all-boys school to see the Warblers. What he discovers is the perfect world, where guys like Kurt are accepted without question. That’s where he meets Blaine (Darren Criss), a singer in the school’s glee club. (Seriously hoping we get to see more of the Warbler’s male group and more Criss.)
It is through Blaine that Kurt discovers what makes him different, being gay, is also the thing that can make him a better human being. Blaine explains that he ran away from his old school, but he believes Kurt has the courage to stay and fight. He encourages Kurt to stand up and make a difference. I don’t want to give away too many spoilers, but when Kurt does fight back he becomes more empowered than ever, and he also gets his first kiss.
The last story of opposites and acceptance was between Artie (Kevin McHale) and Puck (Mark Salling). The episode begins with Puck using Artie as part of his community service. But we end up discovering Puck feels like an outsider and like no one cares about him. All his toughness and bravado hides a really scared young man. Once Artie makes this discovery he is the one who ends up helping Puck. He says straight out that Puck has been hanging out with the wrong people. Artie is determined to help Puck be a better person. (And this is why I say Artie is the Alpha hero in my essay.)
The reason this episode is going into my top five is that it explores that feeling of being an outsider in a very real way. It was a great use of the cast, and it would be difficult for anyone watching the show not to relate to one of those characters in some way. Aren’t we all outsiders in one way or another? We all have our idiosyncrasies. But Glee shows us that it’s okay to be different — in fact that’s what makes us all special.
Have you ever had a time when you felt like an outsider? And what are some of your all-time favorite Glee episodes?