GLEE Recap: "Prom Queen" - Give Me My Remote : Give Me My Remote

GLEE Recap: “Prom Queen”

May 10, 2011 by  

I get nervous making such bold statements after just one viewing, but I’m going to do it – tonight’s episode of GLEE might be my favorite episode ever! (I of course reserve the right to change my mind after you all remind me of the numerous other times I’ve made the same exact statement.) At the very least I feel confident in saying that it broke into my top five list. As up and down I’ve been with GLEE this season, I think that’s saying a lot.

GLEE often strays far from the realities of the true high school experience, but tonight it got more right than wrong. Like way too many life events, prom is centered around the unrealistic expectations of a perfect night. The perfect dress. The perfect date. All leading up to that perfect moment. Sounds easy enough, but with all that pressure it’s no wonder that prom can crash and burn, just as it did for many of our McKinley High favorites. Don’t believe me? Go to any prom and check out the girls bathroom. I guarantee you’ll find plenty of drama and tears. (On second thought, please don’t crash any high school proms or girls bathrooms for that matter. That’s just creepy. You’ll just have to trust me on this one.)

Apart from the musical performances (and the amount of screen time Darren Criss logs) the episodes of GLEE that have worked the best are those which stay on point. Yes, it’s GLEE so therefore we have to expect at least five to six plotlines, but the zig zag of storytelling is much easier to digest when there is an underlying focus. Centered around the build up to and experience of prom, tonight’s GLEE allowed the audience to dip their toes into the romantic foibles of our favorites. Some were giddy in anticipation of the night’s events, but most were saddled with some kind of stress related to the big night.

As is often the case with my favorite GLEE episodes, tonight featured a solid balance of musical triumphants, biting one liners and just the right mix of gut-wrenching angst to have me on the verge of tears. And of course there was the drama of just who would be named Prom King and Queen. (Oh wait, there was no drama at all…thanks of course to that random extra who spoiled everything. Jerk.)

No, the episode wasn’t perfect (this is still GLEE we are talking about) and it did come close to breaking the very fragile and overused soapbox, but I laughed, I cried, I sang along and I swooned and at this point that’s really all I can ask for from an episode of GLEE.

Perhaps it’s only fitting that we talk about the prince and princess that were in the running for prom court – and perhaps those who go through life assuming they are royalty. Yeah, I’m talking to you Rachel Berry…what of it?!

Despite her natural beauty and well to do upbringing, Quinn Fabray has convinced herself that high school is going to be as good as it gets for her. Pretty bleak outlook given that she was the teen pregnancy “it” girl for most of her sophomore year. I suppose being named junior year prom queen would have a been a full circle moment for Quinn. Coming back from all the whispers and once again sitting high atop of the McKinley heap. Problem was, Quinn was the only one rooting for Quinn. Had she learned anything from her mistakes from the past, or shown any growth as a result of her personal experiences then maybe people would want to vote for her, and she wouldn’t have to succumb to the hallway begging and bribing. Despite her tears and violent outburst, I didn’t feel any remorse when Quinn ended her night crownless.  Despite her personal devastation, I don’t think losing out on prom queen warranted Quinn’s declaration that she was going to transfer out of McKinley. Here’s to hoping that was just a overly dramatic bullet point in her essay of self pity.

Mr. Quinn Fabray looked the part of the knight in shining Armani, but his heart wasn’t really in it. No, Finn’s heart is firmly planted in the grasp of Ms. Rachel Berry. This is something the audience has known for quite some time now. It’s pretty hard not to notice the longing looks and puppy dog eyes Finn throws Rachel’s way all the time. Well, I guess it’s easy not to notice if your name is Quinn. Who am I kidding…she’s noticed, too.

Tonight those long glances became something more as Finn couldn’t stand to see Rachel in the arms of another man. But not just any other man, we’re talking about Jesse St. James! Yes, my beloved Jonathan Groff returned tonight as the douchbastic Jesse. He may be smarmy, but damn if that voice doesn’t just make a girl melt. Despite their past history, I could see why Rachel would take Jesse back (ok, not really but he’s too hot to just ignore), but Finn couldn’t really seem to get past it. This coming from a guy that pursed his ex who cheated on him with his best friend and then pretended to be pregnant with his baby. Perhaps both guys should have avoided anything to do with “eggs”.


Did the Finn and Jesse showdown remind anyone else of the fight between Colin Firth and Hugh Grant in ‘Bridget Jones’ Diary’? I thought maybe they were just going to keep shoving each other until one of them got bored. Glad that Finn finally pulled a punch. It got both of them kicked out of the prom, but at least we got definitive proof that Finn isn’t as nearly over Rachel as Quinn would like him to be. What’s to become of the pair known as Finchel? My gut tells me that despite her all consuming love for Finn, Rachel will be the one to heisman his ass…at least for a little while.

From one triangle to another. Talk about the devil in the red dress. Santana deserved to be prom queen even less than Quinn, but I was more down with her intentions. While I’m not 100% there with Santana as a closeted lesbian storyline, I understood her need to use Karofsky and the prom queen crown as her beards. She’s trying to hide in plain sight. I’m glad that Brittany is standing strong alongside her best friend, but it’s starting to feel like Santana is getting a little needy when it comes to her love for Brittany. Glad that Santana figured out who she is and what she wants, but nagging and manipulating Brittany into a relationship is probably not the best approach. Left on the sidelines is Artie. I don’t think Artie knows just how much competition he has with Santana. He’s not completely oblivious, but I don’t he quite understands just how serious Santana is about landing his woman.

Amber Riley once again got shafted. When are the writers going to give Mercedes a real storyline of her own? Perhaps one that doesn’t involve tater tots? I loved the emotion in Mercedes confession about being dateless for prom. I really felt for her. But before the audience really got to experience her pain, Rachel popped in with a nifty little solution – Sam would take her and Mercedes as both his dates. There are often times where I really think GLEE would benefit from some female influence in the writers room. Tonight was one of those episodes. When Mercedes shared with Rachel her dream of being told she was beautiful before being asked to dance by her prom date, I don’t think she meant she really wanted those experiences with her platonic prom pity date. It was Mr. Schue kissing Coach Bieste all over again. Sigh. How about a little romance for Ms. Mercedes? I know plenty of adorable Warblers just over in Westerville. Kurt, hook a sister up already!

Kurt. Yes, my dear beloved Kurt. By now most GMMR readers know that Chris Colfer can do no wrong in my eyes. That boy is pure love. Once again he delivered an impactful performance. I was blown away. But I can’t say that I loved everything the Kurt storyline had to offer tonight. I won’t pretend to know what it’s like to be an openly gay high school boy in a less than accepting school, but I’m hoping the GLEE creative team will remember that for some young gays, life is not all bad. I found it really hard to believe that the majority of students conspired against Kurt to make him the butt of the joke and name him Prom Queen. Had it been revealed that someone rigged the vote or wrote his name on the card at the last minute, maybe I could have bought it. But so many people writing his name down? I’d be lying if I said it didn’t seem like an easy way for the GLEE writers to hand the heavy-handed reigns over to the more than capable, Colfer. I’m not hating that they did it, but there were certain facets of the storytelling that didn’t quite work for me.

Following updates on Twitter tonight, it did seem that there was some back and forth over the onscreen reactions to Kurt’s choice of prom apparel. I’m glad the writers showed both sides of the coin on this one. While Kurt should be allowed to wear whatever he chooses, the counter argument offered by his father and Blaine was valid. Kurt doesn’t seem to have the maturity yet to realize the layered world he lives in. Gay or not, there are times where everyone needs to compromise a bit in order to just get by. I’m not saying it’s right or it’s fair, but it is a reality of being an adult.

As I mentioned before, I don’t think it was a big surprise that Kurt was named Prom Queen. That spoiler had been out there for quite some time. But what wasn’t spoiled was the context of the announcement. Glee could have gone either way on this one. Kurt could have easily been named Queen, sauntered to the stage while pushing through the hoards of his adoring fans fellow students and accepted the award. Thanks God the writers resisted that route. While, as I mentioned, I did have problems with the full creative execution of this particular storyline, I was 100% fully invested in Kurt’s emotional journey. The look on his face and the way he ran from the auditorium? Oh yes, I had the ugly cry in full affect. It was tough to watch. And once again Chris Colfer nailed it .

My biggest pet peeve?  Where was the support from Kurt’s New Directions friends?  I was screaming at the TV, begging for someone to start clapping for him.  But instead they just looked on in horror.  So sad.

Darren Criss also brought it in a big way tonight. Blaine’s emotional confession that he was beat up at a school dance earlier in life was unexpected and quite haunting. The vulnerability he showed in talking about his apprehension of accompanying Kurt to the prom felt very authentic. As did his contention that he’s crazy about Kurt and would be willing to go despite his reservations. I’ll be honest, I watched and rewound Blaine’s ‘Sadie Hawkins’ story about ten times before I allowed myself to continue watching the rest of the episode. It was that good. And I for one am SO glad that I got to see my favorite GLEE power couple share a special moment on the dance floor. The chemistry between Chris Colfer and Darren Criss is insane. Off the charts! As for Darren, whatever “it” is, this kid has go it. Listen, I have loved GLEE from the beginning, but Darren Criss has single handily kicked my obsession into full gear once again. More Blaine!

Max Adler also kicked it up a notch with his emotional performance as David Karofsky tonight. His tearful apology to Kurt was quite heavy but an important step in Karofsky’s personal journey. I’m glad he didn’t come out at prom, despite Kurt’s urging. Kurt should know better than anyone else that David has to follow his own path when it comes to his sexual identity. He can’t be pushed. Once again, I think the GLEE writers showed quite a bit of constraint. The Kurt/Karofksy storyline is the one bit of evidence that we have that when they want to, the GLEE writers are capable of careful, consistent and evolving storytelling. I just wish they would give the same care to all the other characters that they do Kurt.

And now we come to the point in my GLEE post where I realize that I sound like I hated the episode. Despite any confusion I may have caused, please refer back to the first paragraph of this post and then let’s talk about a few of the highlights – musical and otherwise – from “Prom Queen”.

  • Kurt: “Go with God, Satan…I mean Santana.”
  • Jesse: “I traded love for a fourth consecutive national championship. It was a bum deal. For a first maybe, but for a fourth, no way.”
  • I’ve heard some mixed reviews on the Groff/Michele version of ‘Rolling in the Deep’ since it was leaked late last week.  I’ll go on the record and say that I’m obsessed with it.  Obviously nothing will beat Adele’s version, but as far as GLEE songs, this one is pretty damn fierce. I bought the single on iTunes and it’s been playing non-stop on my iPod since.
  • Kurt: “Blaine Warbler, will you go to junior prom with me.” (Swoon)
  • Rachel giving Finn advice on the perfect corsage for Quinn? My heart broke just a little for her.  I’m sure I’m not the only girl that has done that for the man she loves. Am I right?
  • Karofsky: “Everything look good. No gay protests or rainbow flags being lit on fire.”
  • Finn on Kurt’s prom outfit: “It’s like Gay Braveheart”
  • Another musical highlight for me was Lea Michele’s take on Christina Perri’s “Jar of Hearts”. Breathtaking.
  • I’m shocked that I’m typing this, but I didn’t hate the GLEE version of the utterly horrific “Friday”. The song has taken on a pop culture relevance and irreverence – fitting that the GLEE kids made it their own, and believable that the crowd would be bopping along to it.
  • Kurt: “Eat your heart out Kate Middleton”

Since Samantha has been covering GLEE for GIVE ME MY this season, I feel like I haven’t talked about it much with all of you. Looking forward to hearing YOUR thoughts on tonight’s episode.  Comment away!


Filed under Glee


8 Responses to “GLEE Recap: “Prom Queen””

  1. Kath (canakatydid) on May 10th, 2011 11:50 pm

    Thank you! Totally got a Bridget Jones Firth/Grant vibe with that fight!

  2. Brooke on May 10th, 2011 11:52 pm

    Tonight…everything was Finchel and nothing hurt.

  3. Lily on May 11th, 2011 1:50 am

    I wouldn’t mind to have Sam Evans as my pity date… Still Mercedes should get more in the spotlight…

  4. Sam on May 11th, 2011 8:19 am

    I’m OBSESSED with Rolling In The Deep. OBSESSED.

    And I agree about the writing, especially the way they dealt with Kurt being crowned queen.

  5. Rachel on May 11th, 2011 9:49 am

    I enjoyed this episode, too, but did anyone else think the writers completely ripped off ‘Ugly Betty’ by naming Kurt queen? The same thing happened to Justin in season 4, and, personally, it was better. I totally agree about Darren Criss–he can do no wrong. I melted when Kurt turned around on the dance floor and Blaine was there. I also agree about the Santana storyline: it feels forced, but I am getting used to it. I HATE that the writers broke up Artie and Brittany for pretty much no reason except, I assume, so Santana and Brittany can be together. They can be best friends, but I do not see them as a couple.

  6. Maggie on May 11th, 2011 10:01 am

    I liked the way Kurt “winning” prom queen was handled but I can’t help but think of how much more powerful it would have been if that random extra hadn’t spoiled it.

    The Glee guys’ version of Friday was awesome! I also really liked the Rachel/Jesse duet, although in that case the real version is better. 🙂

  7. Mere on May 12th, 2011 12:11 am

    I remained spoilerless to Kurt winning Prom Queen. I also did not find it believable and would have thought that the Principal wouldn’t have read what was on the card. However, I loved Kurt’s speech. Very Kurt-tastic!

  8. Marisa Roffman on May 12th, 2011 12:15 am

    @Mere, I’m with you, I managed to stay spoiler-free on the Prom Queen, but I also found it unbelievable. Unless the votes were rigged, it makes no sense. And Principal Figgins would NEVER have read that out loud.