Friday, January 25, 2013

The RBI Report: "Sadie Hawkins"

Glee is still a show!  I'm still writing about Glee!  I forget sometimes.  Unfortunately, "Sadie Hawkins" probably won't do much to change that.  Certain parts made me smile, but very little of the episode had me sitting up to take notice.  

"Sadie Hawkins," written by Ross Maxwell, directed by Brad Buecker

So, "Sadie Hawkins" was supposed to be about female empowerment... but this is Glee.  "The Power of Madonna" and "I Kissed a Girl" were supposed to be about female empowerment too, and we all know how those turned out.  "Sadie Hawkins" wasn't nearly as persistently misguided as those two episodes, though, and frankly it was too scattered to abuse the theme too terribly.  I mean, yeah, every girl's storyline linked back to a boy somehow, but that doesn't mean they can't be empowered.  You can still be an empowered woman with a dude in your life!  Don't get me wrong.  I'm just tired of Glee's girl storylines being primarily about boy troubles, and Glee's boy storylines being primarily about what it means to be the good guy.  (Both were present tonight, unfortunately.)

Let's just go through the list.

Really Awkward Unrequited Triangle

I guess Glee got bored of creating relationship drama through love triangles.  Or at least, they have now decided to shake up the usual three-person romance conflict by inverting it and developing a three-legged awkward triangle built on two unrequited (and impossible?) crushes.  I'm not really sure what they're doing with this storyline, because it seems so strange that Glee spend time on crushes that (probably?) aren't going to result in kissing or dating or someone else getting jealous.  Really, are we just building friendships here?  Are we just exploring the teenage angst of falling for someone who unfortunately is not attracted to your gender?


Regardless, most of the Tina-Blaine interaction was solid, simply in that they were nice to each other and supportive.  I'll watch friends be friend-like on TV; sure!  The thing that I keep getting stuck on, though, is that the writers chose Tina to have a crush on Blaine in the first place.  It crops up all of a sudden, and before we know it Tina's singing her Sadie Hawkins invite and we're flashing back to memories of Blaine's ass and a happy jaunt with tater tots?  The episode also kind of glosses over the idea that it's entirely possible to invite someone to a dance just as friends.  In fact, they never are really clear about what Tina's expectations are with Blaine, and we don't know if we should feel sorry for the poor girl who's knowingly getting her hopes up for a gay dude, or if she's really serious about it at all?  

On the other leg of this non-triangle, we did at least get those answers from Blaine.  He apparently has crush-like feelings for Sam, but doesn't want to be the "predatory gay," or ruin a friendship.  In other words, Blaine has zero expectations, and will continue to pine like a puppy dog.  Questions answered!  And it was sweet to see Tina commiserate with Blaine and form a nice little bond over his "human and moving dilemma."  But I do wish we could have gotten a little more explanation from Tina's POV.  Or maybe a reminder that it's possible to fall in love with people beyond the bounds of gender and sexuality - or is that too deep for Glee?  Never mind.  Don't answer that.

Sidenote: I will ignore Blaine thinking that Tina's empowerment is somehow a new thing for her, since he missed her only storylines back in S1.  I will also ignore the reply that she loves his everything because, ooh, gurl, I got secondhand embarrassment.

Jake and Marley 

So I guess Jake stopped calling Marley after she fainted during Sectionals, which seems kind of like a dick move if they're related incidents, but whatever.  With some random but cute encouragement from Brittany, Marley stepped up and asked Jake to the dance!  Not only that, but she was straightforward with him about her expectations for the relationship!  I dug it.  Although I don't quite know why the conversation was scripted against a backdrop of really enthusiastic dancing, and began with the poetic exchange "You're awesome/No you're awesome."

The conflict for Jake was a bit lame, though.  Naturally, Kitty offers her body up to Jake after learning that he accepted Marley's invitation to the Sadie Hawkins Dance.  Even though she and Marley are supposedly friends now, and the fact that Kitty doesn't even really like Jake?  Oh.  I kind of miss the days when they bitched at each other and sang duets.  Regardless, Jake has to choose between his penis and his heart, as all boys under the Glee treatment come to at some point, and Puck comes along and helps him choose his heart.  Which leads to...

Kitty and Puck

If Puck still had his old haircut, I'd say the ship name could be Kitty 'Hawk.  But alas.  Actually, the thing stopping me from assigning a ship name is the fact that Kitty is meant to be, what, in the 10th grade?  The fact that the show literally addressed the underage thing and handwaved it away with a fake ID is super gross to me, even though Kitty and Puck have an amusingly hateful back-and-forth.  But this is Glee, a world where Puck macks on Rachel Berry, Rachel Berry's mother, and the not-so-virginal head cheerleaders of 2009 and 2012.  A world where all the Cheerios are regarded as bitchy, back-stabbing, power-hungry sex machines.  A world where Puck can't spell, but still graduate high school and emerge a screenwriter talent.

I just... I can't.

Sadie Hawkins

Culminating the "female empowerment" angle of a Sadie Hawkins Dance, Coach Beiste encouraged the "Too Young to be Bitter" Club to go out on the dance floor and go for the guys they wanted.  First: points taken away for putting Lauren Zizes in that club, Glee.  Homegirl had Noah Puckerman wrapped around her little finger.  She does okay for herself.  Second: more points taken away for the "Too Young to be Bitter" Club comprising females only.  What, only ladies are lame dateless sad sacks?  Party foul.  Third: even more points taken away for cross-cutting to Kurt having the "female empowerment" to ask Adam out on a date.  Look, it didn't have to be a thematic parallel for Kurt to pluck up the guts to ask someone out.  It takes chutzpah to ask anyone out, no matter the gender or sexuality.  But by putting Kurt right next to the ladies of the club going up to their dudes of choice... it shuffles Kurt into the group of ladies through narrative and thematic association.  Sigh!  Friendly reminder that even though Kurt is gay, he is still a man.

("Sadie Hawkins" gets a few points back for the fact that Sugar went up to the boy in a wheelchair and asked him to dance, without any reservations.  And then they did.  Cuties.)

Meanwhile, in New York...

The New York storylines kind of hinted at the idea that even best friends can drift apart when their lives start to change, and I quite liked that a lot.  But unfortunately, it wasn't really about that.  Rachel's "All Brody, All the Time" lifestyle was really in place to facilitate Kurt looking into extracurriculars, and leading him to new love interest Adam.  We also got a pit stop in Rachel not wanting Kurt to join NYADA's glee club because it's social suicide, and the confirmation that the real Rachel is tied up in a closet somewhere.  Seriously, I don't know how the writers are flying the idea that this is the same girl who once screamed "There is nothing ironic about glee club!"  Girl takes glee club seriously, no matter the institution or social order.  This was practically the original bastion of Rachel Berry's character - may she rest in peace.  (The question becomes: when did Pod Rachel abscond with Old Rachel?  Did Finn put the wrong Rachel on the train?  Was the prom queen crown bewitched to effect a body swap?  Or maybe Finn's engagement ring caused Rachel to disappear when she put it on, not unlike the Ring of Sauron?  All possibilities.)

As for Kurt, I wasn't too enthralled by any of his scenes with Adam at first, because they were a bit basic in Adam's blatant flattery of Kurt.  Until!  Oh, until.  The dynamic became suddenly fascinating as soon as Adam purposefully (and charmingly, that bastard) reiterated his compliment to Kurt, so that Kurt would accept it without discounting his abilities in favor of Blaine's.  What a delightful angle to play, especially in an episode that also features the non-sarcastic question posed to Blaine: "Is there anything you can't do?"  I mean, if I really devote brainspace to it, I'm sure I could argue that Blaine complimented Kurt all the time (I can't really remember), that Kurt probably complimented himself all the time (I can't really remember), and that it's kind of weird how a 22-year-old guy is super enthusiastic about pursuing an 18-year-old NYADA newbie.  But whatever.  It was an interesting construct to bolster the new dynamic.  Color me intrigued.

I confess, I'm less intrigued by the strange Brody/Rachel scene tacked onto the end of the episode.  More than anything, I spent most of the screentime trying to catch up to the scenario.  Suddenly they have a mini-plot in this episode?  Something about Rachel making turkey burgers (I hope she caressed the meat with butter in a sensual way) and Brody being late and Rachel being mad and throwing dinner away?  What?  Did we just fall through a wormhole into a bad 50s sitcom?  And then suddenly Brody was making sweeping confessions about lifetimes and snow and they danced to no music and now they're moving in?  Could we not have stretched this out in an episode that had room for these two and their rapidly advancing love story?  And could we also not have staged half of Rachel's NYC dialogue in the middle of a crosswalk?  Because I was legitimately concerned a yellow cab would just come out of nowhere and hit her.  (I don't know why, though.  It's Rachel, not Quinn.)

Oh yeah, and apparently the Warblers cheated

So that's a plot device to get the glee club back in competition.  I guess it was supposed to be funny, the idea that performance enhancing drugs would help with an actual song-and-dance performance?  Sure. And I'll pretend I know who Trenton Warbler is.

In all, "Sadie Hawkins" was all over the place, mostly forgettable and contrived, even despite a few nice moments here and there.  Final shout-out to the weird editing and cutaways in the episode!  Glad to see you're having fun, Mr. Buecker.  

The RBI Report Card...
Musical Numbers: B
Dance Numbers: B
Dialogue: C
Plot: D
Characterization: D
Episode MVP: Sugar


  1. Isn't Rachel vegan/ vegetarian? Why would she eat a turkey burger?

  2. I would also like to add that in an episode titled Sadie Hawkins Dance, I was SO bummed they didn't actually perform Reliant K's "Sadie Hawkins Dance." For me, all the weird plots would have been redeemed.

    Also, I feel like Tina & Blaine's crushes came out of nowhere. Um, Blaine just went to New York to visit his ex-boyfriend, who he still loves, but now he's crushing on Sam? What?! And Tina and Mike tentatively briefly discussed a reconciliation at some point last season, except now she likes "I'm definitely gay" Blaine? Worst plot devices EVER.

    Also, I want to give Glee mad props for treating Becky like her own character instead of her just being the politically correct student with Downs Syndrome who everyone is fakely nice to. She looked SO pretty at the dance, and I think it's awesome that she's so confident in being a sexual person!

  3. I am SO confused.

    But I was happy to see Sugar and Trent Warbler back. Also, Joey Richter (Starkids rejoice).

  4. I can't wait to hear what you have to say about Nude.


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