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'Glee' Season 2, Episode 20 Recap

by Joel Keller, posted May 10th 2011 11:30PM
'Glee' - 'Prom Queen'
['Glee' - 'Prom Queen']

I don't know what most people's proms were like, but I remember mine as a pretty strange and mostly painful experience, punctuated by being rejected a whole bunch of times before finally landing a date that was so platonic that I think we got there in separate cars.

That same feeling of strangeness, tinged with discomfort, came over me as I watched the kids at McKinley deal with their junior prom. It was a very disjointed episode, and not because there wasn't a heck of a lot of music until the prom started. It felt disjointed because it seemed like it so desperately wanted to follow one or maybe two big stories, but so much is going on amongst the glee club, all of which is supposed to culminate at prom, that the writers felt like they had to shift from story to story without giving any particular one a lot of examination.

Then there was the prom itself. Boy, did that blabbermouth-by-Twitter extra really take the air out of the episode's balloon.

If you recall, an overzealous extra who was on the prom set of this episode tweeted that Karofsky would be crowned prom king... and that Kurt would be crowned prom queen. Producer Brad Falchuk dressed the extra down with his own tweet, basically saying "you'll never work in this town again!"

At first, I thought that Falchuck was overreacting a bit, even if the overreaction was understandable, given that he was only protecting his baby. After watching the episode, though, now I know what he means: hearing the words "And the prom queen is... Kurt Hummel" come out of Figgins' mouth would have had a much bigger impact had I not known about this beforehand. It's the reason why I tend not to read spoilers before I go into watching a show; but this one bled into the regular news cycle, so it was hard not to read it, given what I do for a living.

But I'll give the show some credit: after Kurt got the message that the school body was mocking him via their vote and he ran out, the fallout of the decision was well-played for all involved. Quinn slaps Rachel then apologizes, then says she wants to leave McKinley, thinking that being prom queen was all she had left in life. Santana, for her part, lamented that everyone was against her and they somehow sense that she's a lesbian. "Do people smell a golf course on me?" she asks Brittany. "When we get to New York, I'm going to bail and live in a lesbian colony. Or TriBeCa."

As usual, though, Kurt handled things the best. While Quinn and Santana had Rachel and Britt to get them down from their respective ledges, Kurt basically pulled himself off his own ledge and decided to go out and own it. "Eat your heart out, Kate Middleton," he said as he accepted the crown and scepter, which not coincidentally went pretty well with his royal-wedding-inspired military tux-and-kilt combo. He knew how Blaine is still affected by his awful Sadie Hawkins dance experience, and as usual, Kurt didn't want to be the victim.

Of course, he also used that same occasion to try to coax Karofsky out of the closet. We can see Karofsky teetering at the edge in this episode -- he sincerely, tearfully apologized to Kurt for torturing him, then took a long pause when Kurt encouraged him to come out right there at the king/queen dance. He finally said "I can't..." and ran off. That's some fine drama there, folks, and it was the redeeming scene in a really odd episode.

What made it odd? The return of Jesse St. James, for one. Now that he's a college dropout -- "I thought I was majoring in show choir," he said, forgetting that he actually had to study and take tests -- he's now back in Lima and wants to be a "glee club whisperer" of sorts. Um, great, I guess... why does this feel like he's just there to sabotage New Directions as it goes to nationals and/or torpedo whatever is probably going to develop between Rachel and Finn, which we know is going to happen because Quinn didn't get to be prom queen and knows that Finn cares more about Rachel, anyway? Why would Finn trump up a fight with Jesse and get himself kicked out of prom if that wasn't what was going to happen?

'Glee' - 'Prom Queen'What else was odd? Sue's desire to yank out Artie's teeth so he can give up Puck in the gin-in-the-punch prank. She doesn't even live on the same planet as the rest of the school anymore, does she? And then, Artie finally gets out of it by admitting he only spiked the punch with lemonade. That felt like the writers trying to write themselves out of a corner that they didn't realize they had painted themselves in until it was too late. Is it too late for Sue to get back to merely being scheming? Next thing you know, she's going to be mailing away to Acme for parachute helicopter kits and painting tunnel openings on the side of huge rock formations.

The last thing that was odd? The songs. It was one of the most disjointed selections this season. Puck, Artie and Sam singing 'Friday?' Well, at least it sounded like less of an earworm than the Rebecca Black original. Can't say the same thing about how badly Rachel and Jesse butchered Adele's 'Rolling In The Deep;' Lea Michele tried to get her voice into that soulful range that Adele can do easily, but didn't quite get there, and Jonathan Groff sounded like the Broadway singer he is. Michele did a better job with Christina Perri's 'Jar of Hearts,' which is more in her wheelhouse. And Blaine yet again took all the heart and soul out of a song, this one being Black Kids' retro New Wave-y song 'I'm Not Gonna Teach Your Boyfriend How to Dance With You.'

Artie's rendition of 'Isn't She Lovely' was OK, even if Brit rejected him. I just wonder if the non-glee-club students get tired of these gleesters interrupting all their classes with musical numbers. Santana and Mercedes did a nice job with 'Dancing Queen,' but there was more of a look of relief in their faces than anything else. Santana isn't out yet but knows Britt is there to support her. And Mercedes was just happy that a handsome guy in a tux -- Sam -- asked her to dance at the prom. Sheeh. I thought Mercedes was about more than that, you know?

More fun stuff:
-- A relatively Will-free episode, which is strange. Though he was on long enough for Sue to call his hair a "head merkin."

-- It was really nice of Mercedes and Rachel to create a "budget prom" plan in order for Sam to go. Is it me or are Goodwill prom dresses pretty nice? I'd imagine that would be the case, as they only get worn once, right?

-- I loved how Santana and Lauren ran their prom dresses by Kurt first. Tina thinks Kurt's approval is like "getting a thumbs up from Joan and Melissa Rivers."

-- I was surprised that Santana knew about the Hell's Angels guarding the Stones' Alatamont concert. Then I wasn't surprised when she said "... and that turned out well."

-- When Puck threatened Jacob Ben-Israel for saying that Lauren has his balls, JBI responds by saying, "I'm not afraid. I've been hit by a girl before."

'Glee' airs Tuesdays at 8PM ET on FOX.

Listen to the songs from 'Prom Queen' at AOL Music.

Follow @joelkeller on Twitter and on Facebook.

Watch the full episode here:

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Pretty much agreed with everything Joel said. They need to bring back character voice overs. When running this many storylines, it helps to fast forward to knowing exactly what a character is thinking, feeling, and his/her motivations. Plus, they're always funny.

Kudos on the Kurt story line. He is the only character who needs no voice over. He isn't shifty, quiet, or hard to figure out. His face is an open book. He is probably the most solid of the bunch, doesn't flip flop on his feelings or beliefs and his character is never twisted to fit within a story line. Everything Chris Colfer does it gold and his portrayal of Kurt Hummel is esquisite.

Glad Jessie St. James is back but I hope he's here to be a villian. While I don't mind him being a catalyst to a Finchel reunion because Quinn and Finn make me nauseated, I really hope that's not the only reason he's here.

May 14 2011 at 11:33 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

For God's sake. Get someone to proof read stuff you post. "Quinn" didn't get himself get out of prom...and Artie isn't a her. If you put something in quotes, you don't include the comma in the quote...this and many more things.

On Mercedes. Everyone wants to feel desirable. Everyone wants to feel loved. Everyone wants to say that someone was in a room full of people and someone passed all of those people to choose them. It's a basic need. Sure, Mercedes is tough and independent, but it doesn't mean that she doesn't want to feel pretty or special or loved. It is a basic and ever present emotional need for most people. It's cold, and not very empathetic, to think that this character doesn't have those same feelings

I can't believe it. Through sheer enthusiasm, the Glee boys were able to turn "Friday," by Rebecca Black, into something worthwhile.

(That last sentence was for the reviewer )

May 11 2011 at 8:11 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Piecar's comment

I think I do a Finn/Quinn mixup at least once per episode. No excuse, but it does seem to be easy to confuse the two names, right? I really wish Murphy wasn't being so cutsey in naming those characters; it's made writing these reviews that much harder. I fixed the "Artie" and "her" mixup; chalk that up to it being late night and trying to get a lot in.

Why is the last sentence above directed towards me? (And thanks for referring to me as "the reviewer." Makes me feel special. Maybe I'll refer to you as "the commenter.")

May 12 2011 at 10:08 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Joel's comment

I put a comma in the quotations. Punctuation joke. True that those names do get mixed up by some. Still, don't you guys have an editor? It's AOL isn't it? I appreciated the review though, with the strange exception of not giving the Mercedes character the right to want some love.

May 12 2011 at 1:37 PM Report abuse rate up rate down
Nancy Martin

I'm so over this show. I only watch it for the singing. And as much as I'm over Glee, I'm even more over Sue S.

May 11 2011 at 6:39 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply

So here's what pre-teens and teens learned from last night's Glee:
intolerance of gays happens. And it's wrong. Oh, and you can hit a female hard in the face with no repercussions if you're angry...or lost a contest...or simply don't like her. Or because it's prom.
The producers consistently drop the ball on this. They've said they use the show to explore life lessons--but showcase bullying of a female character at the same time that they decry the bullying of a gay one. Odder still, that they would create a toss-off line for Rachel in which she equates physical abuse to "a bit of drama." Odder still, that all the folks in all the Glee forums don't even comment on this--as if it's normal to see the bullying of the Rachel character...

May 11 2011 at 9:41 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to whawhawha's comment

I couldn't agree more. One of the main reasons I had been looking forward to this episode was because, based on the previews, I thought finally Finn would have a real excuse to break up with Quinn when he finds out that Quinn slapped Rachel square in the face. Instead, not only does Rachel seem to not mind this "bit of drama," she then goes on to comfort and console Quinn. Yes Quinn's 'world is unraveling," she doesn't get the crown and also has to come to terms with the fact that Finn will never get over Rachel. But has no one ever offered Rachel any sympathy or called Finn a jerk for his compete and utter hypocrisy in breaking up with Rachel and then choosing to get back together with someone who not only cheated on him but obviously didn't care enough about him to make him believe he was going to be a father at age 16. If it's because she's pretty, gimme a break, he's already told Rachel he thinks she's beautiful too. They are seriously altering reality just to wring out the most angst from this storyline and it better go somewhere without anymore *itch-slapping with no consequences.

May 13 2011 at 12:05 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I couldn't disagree more. A good slap in the kisser between rivals can hardly be called bullying. Kurt's torment was ongoing, but Rachel understood that in the heat of the moment faces may get slapped. As a big fan of Barbra she is no doubt also familiar with the films of another classic Hollywood diva -- Joan Crawford slapped someone in each of her pictures (it must have been in her contract!) So cut the baby divas some slack; they're only carrying on a beloved, time-tested tradition.

May 13 2011 at 12:25 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

"Why am I still watching this show?" is the only question I'm asking myself after watching this episode.

May 11 2011 at 4:54 AM Report abuse -2 rate up rate down Reply
Mike Siroky

BritBrit dancing with a girl in one of her "stealing your date" scenes was funny as well.
I agree on the reaches for the singers. Then again, I am thinking, we are supposed to beleive they are 17-year-olds and unafraid of their own mortality.
I havce often guessed Sue's reactions are all in her mind which sets up a jor intervention at some point. She was just fine escoringt Fin and the college dude (how sad is it that a college due wants to be accepted by high schoolers) iut. She carried that part off just normal, though I wish the football coach was there for backup.
With the natural season high being the NYC trip, everything else is just a side salad.

May 11 2011 at 2:45 AM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
T Money

This episode almost felt like the old Glee (season 1). Hilarious lines, funny lines from Sue who wasn't too over the top, and covers that broke the songs down originally. Lea Michele and Jonathan Groff's cover of Adele's "Rolling in the Deep" was AMAZING!

Check out my own recap here: http://rantsofacrazyperson.wordpress.com/2011/05/10/glee-recap-prom/

May 11 2011 at 2:07 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Neil C.

I agree with Stacie: Sue's character was fun the first season, now all she needs is a mustache to twirl. Her machinations have gotten too ridiculous, even in the odd world of this show. As one of my friends pointed out, why wasn't she taken to jail for punching the governor's wife at regionals?

May 11 2011 at 1:37 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

It's obvious this website is only out to criticize what's popular about the show. People love Jane Lynch. Now this website acts as if her character is bringing the show down despite being hilarious like always--and only cite themselves as confirmation of said "truth." Then it was Darren Criss, who's been the breakout star of the season and even got his own album for the show. So of course they must pretend he sucks.

Bitter much? We already know you hate the show, but you're not going to change anyone's minds.

May 11 2011 at 12:51 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to mchl105394065's comment

Believe me, we're not the only ones wondering what the hell happened to Sue Sylvester this year. And, yes, I think Darren Criss's character is pretty boring, especially as a singer. Most of what he and the Warblers do go in one ear and out the other, and it's pretty consistent in that regard.

May 11 2011 at 10:12 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Joel's comment

Anyone who actually pays attention to the show would already know why Sue’s been extreme lately. That’s already been established several episodes ago--around the time she was suicidal.

As for Criss, fortunately the sales and critics disagree. ;p

May 11 2011 at 1:24 PM Report abuse rate up rate down

The episode was pretty meh for me. I think the thing that really was the worst bit of writing on the show was the fact that Sue was at least threatning to do harm to a student. So Puck and Artie would have gotten suspended for spiking the punch, but Sue doesn't get fired or even put in jail for threatning to take the teeth out of a child(he's only 16 or 17)? Really writers? I feel so bad for Jane Lynch. She must be thinking that she was duped. They gave her this really fun character in the first season, Emmy and Golden Globe material, they get her to be one of, if not the face of the show, and then they turn around and make her into this cartoon, unrealistic character. I know she wants to destroy New Directions for messing up her cheerleading squad, but there is absolutley no creativity with the Sue character right now.

I felt so bad for Kurt. I also knew that he was going to win based on the leaked info a few weeks back, but you still have to feel so bad. I think he handled it as good as you possibly could.

Loved the Santana and Brittany exchange, but I think they have to get moving now. Although it is believeable that Santana is still struggling, one of her biggest concerns was that she wanted to be with Brittany but couldn't due to Artie, well Artie and Brittany are done, so the obstacle isn't in the way anymore. Something has to happen one way or another.

I feel just like I do with the Santana and Brittany storyline, that the storylines didn't get pushed forward that much tonight. Sure there was angst with Rachel/Quinn/Finn/Jesse, but there has been angst for several weeks now. There are 2 episodes left, and I'm sure the finale will be epic, I just hope next week really propels the show forward because tonight's really did not.

May 11 2011 at 12:47 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

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