Glee! 2.18 – Born This Way

That shirt does make you seem like you enjoy a good flat top and jicama, though.

It’s time to celebrate that crazy thing that you hate about yourself, but we love.  Seriously, never remove the baby arm growing out of your temple, because that’s what we love about you.  Mostly it makes it easy to find you in the mall.  In honor of “what defines you day” our drink is the Paloma Pedregosa.

By the way, my shirt? TEXAN.

Paloma = dove.  Pedregosa = :)

Tequila notes: for a Paloma, you want to have a reposado tequila, not a blanco. The pungent aroma of a darker tequila is what gives this drink its unique flavor. My blanco of choice, as you should know by now, is Milagro, but for reposado I love Espólon. It’s old school, it’s delicious, and the bottles are really cool.

Free Space is to drink when the true uniqueness of someone is revealed.



It’s just a few weeks ’til Nationals (which means we don’t need to whip up a masterful set list until it’s been a few weeks minus 36 hours, right?) Will has the kids working on their dance moves at a “booty camp,” (caution googling that, it means something completely different in Thailand) and Brittany is rocking out in shorts and a ski cap, Mike busts some sweet moves, and Finn busts Rachel’s nose. [DRINK]

Like, blood coming out. Yikes. He goes with her to the doctor to see if it’s broken, but probably not, right?

“Yes, it’s broken!”

No worries, this is a perfect time for Rachel to go ahead and have her second Bat Mitzvah, wink wink. Rachel would never get a nose job, what about Barbra?!

“She’s great! She’s also one in a million.” The doctor goes on to explain how opening up her deviated septum might improve her singing voice, because she’ll get more air in there. Then he says something that I plan to wax philosophic about in Drunken Thoughts: “If you want to be an actress, you might want to look and sound the best you can.”

Back in Glee Rachel tells the club about her plans for a nose job. They are not okay with that, for the most part. Santana could care less. She bluntly points out that everyone has something they’d change about themselves if they could (like being gay, Miss Thing?) Examples? Sam needs a mouth reduction, Artie should get his legs removed, Tina needs an eye-deslanting. Whaaaaaat?

Tina calls her out for being racist, and Mike tells Tina that by wearing blue contact lenses she’s a self-hating Asian. Eh, she puts colors in her hair, I can see her putting color in her eyes, too, but I get where Mike’s coming from. Santana wasn’t finished, ahem. Finn has puffy pyramid nipples that could use a dusting of powdered sugar to finish the dessert look he’s clearly going for.

Will is disgusted by what he’s hearing. He’s a small, raisin-nipple man, himself. Wait, no, he wishes they weren’t bothered by their differences, that one thing they hate most is what makes them so unique! Well, that’s the definition, yes, Mr. Schuester? He means that the thing that’s quirky about them is what makes them special and is maybe even the neatest thing about them. So embrace your gougères, Finn, that is an art form in French cooking, and you get to look down on it every day!

Will talks to Emma about all of this, upset that Rachel is giving in to her insecurities. He wants to help the kids love themselves, and wonders if he can make a lesson plan about this, maybe even incorporating Emma’s OCD into it? She bristles at the term, she thinks OCD is too clinical. She prefers “neatnik.” Whatever she calls it, he wants to help her, but she explains that he needs to understand that she was born this way [DRINK], there’s nothing that can be done about it.

Will gets a light bulb moment, tells her he knows the solution, he’s going to use the kids two favorite teachers: Lady Gaga and Paris Hilton. He bids her adieu and races out.

Santana watches BritArtie being cute together and wonders if by becoming Prom Queen she could convince Brit that a royal decree has been given that she can only be with Santana from now on. Hmm, to win PQ, she’s going to need the jock vote, speaking of, here comes Dave Karofsky sauntering down the hallway all bad ass and manly, smelling of campfire and sweat and hunted animals and power tools and sweet baby Jesus, is he checking out Sam’s ass? [DRINK]

Santana’s grin creeps along her face slow and steady as she realizes that her gaydar just made a Klaxon screech. Well, well, well, things are starting to become much clearer in Miss Lopez’s mind.

At the Lima Bean, Mercedes, Santana, Kurt and Blaine all hang out. The girls miss Kurt big time, but know that he can’t come back with the Karofsky situation like it is. Blaine would be fully supportive of Kurt going back, because he knows Kurt misses New Directions, but not with David being a jackass gunning for his man. Santana pops out of her reverie thinking to herself, oh, so that’s what they meant by “the truth.”

Will writes on the whiteboard, “ACCEPTANCE.” Miss Pillsbury is joining him in class today. He tells the kids that acceptance will be their lesson this week and they’ll each perform a song about embracing everything about themselves. Oh, and after, they’ll all perform Lady Gaga’s “Born This Way,” to which the kids lose their damn minds. Emma will help them each make a shirt that says what is unique and special about them, and she shows them an example she happens to be wearing: GINGER.

“Being a ginger has plagued me my entire life. Some people says I smell like copper, I can get a sunburn indoors at night and, according to recent legend, I have no soul. But I’m here to say that this very curse is what makes me unique. Children, I claim my ginger-hood before you today. I was born this way – hooray! Hooray!”

Will is disappointed. [DRINK]

Lauren, dreaming of toddler pageants gone by, stares at the Prom Queen tiara (again, remember how these are looking: very wispy metal and rhinestones.) She wants to wear a crown again. Puck is surprised to know that she was Miss Western Ohio Toddler Grand Supreme three years running, until her thyroid kicked in (along with a love of potato chips.) Puck looks over at “perfect” Quinn and tells Lauren passionately that they are going to win this thing.

Rachel takes Quinn with her to the doctor to get a mock up of how she’d look post-surgery. She wants Quinn’s nose. The doctor is enamored with Quinn’s nose, it’s that perfect. Rachel nervously asks Quinn what it’s like to look like her and to be her and maybe she can put this lotion on her skin and breath deep into this napkin? [DRINK] Quinn sighs blissfully, explaining that life is pretty much perfection for her.

There’s a montage while the doctor takes pictures of the two girls, ending with them in class, as they sing a mash-up of TLC’s “Unpretty” and “I Feel Pretty” from West Side Story. It’s a great combination and turning it into a soft acoustic number is pretty clever. They sound wonderful together, even though they’re both unhappy and awkward about the song’s message. Rachel tears up at the end. [DRINK]

Lauren’s campaign to win Prom Queen is in full effect. She tells Fabray to watch her back, because Ms. Zises is all up in this now. Quinn is angry and tells her if Lauren does win, it’ll be as a joke. (Foreshadowing) Lauren thinks well of herself, Quinn isn’t going to stomp on her self love, and Quinn better bring it. Oh, it’s already been broughtened! And Lauren better quit acting like she knows anything about Quinn, thanks so much! Lauren strokes her mustache, getting ideas. [DRINK]

Santana and Karofsky are on a date, to which he smirks, saying, “I wondered when you were going to get to me, I’m Duke Stud of McKinley.” Gross, buddy, also, Santana has your number. She’s knows you’re gay. “What? Nuh uh! I just really like sitting on greased poles for the muscle workout and I kiss guys to show my male dominance and-”

Shut it, Meathead. She says he’s a “late in life gay” and will probably go on to get married, get drunk to make babies, hate his wife, and become a state senator looking for glory holes in airport bathrooms. She is A-OK with that, he’ll make an excellent Republican Congressman one day. But seeing as she plays on the same team… Ah, that got his attention. She also is a fan of Dorothy. But more literally. So they, like the Roosevelts, can be each other’s beards. And he’s going to do this so they can get votes and win Prom Queen and King. Karofsky wonders if it would just be easier to come out rather than deal with Santana. (Probably.)

Finn gets onto Quinn for encouraging her to get a nose job. Quinn is pissed they are once again fighting about Rachel. Finn just really believes in this lesson plan of Mr. Schuester’s. In fact, he’s ready to do his homework. He and Mike perform a jazzy version of “I Gotta Be Me,” where Mike dances amazingly and Finn tries to keep up. It’s cute, he really sounds nice on this song, and I can just see Finn asking Kurt at the Hud-mel house for tips on song choice.

Finn is back to who he set out to be in the beginning, a leader trying to learn to accept people for who they are, including himself. Finally! [DRINK] Mike only makes one Derp face [DRINK] and Finn’s big finish sounds great. His inability to bust out moves is funny (but Sam can’t dance, either, and Kurt can only club dance or do Broadway chorus barrel rolls, so…)

Tina tells Rachel she’s really not cool with the upcoming surgery, and she’s learned to love herself for all of her Asian-ness because of this lesson. She’s going to be her own role model for an Asian sex symbol, which totally turns Mike on, because he’s got an Asian girl fetish. [DRINK] Rachel shows everyone the “less Hebraic, more Fabraic nose” and they all feel sad – it just doesn’t look like her.

Puck in particular is angry about this. He thinks Jewish girls with their original noses are hot, and it always pisses him off when a girl after her 16th birthday, comes back to temple with a small nose. Finn, really upset at this point, tells her in a frustrated voice that he thinks she’s beautiful. She’s not quite sure how to process this, but stubbornly continues on with her plan, much to everyone’s chagrin.

Will tells Emma he’s upset she didn’t put OCD on her shirt. Emma finds that level of personal information from a teacher to be inappropriate. Will doesn’t know what that means, he tells the kids everything! Ahem. [DRINK] He tries to get her to eat some unwashed berries, and she deflects by talking about torturing her with pesticides and skin cells, and he only wishes she would just face her OCD head on.

Principal Figgins has Karofsky before the Glee club, and there’s an outrage racing through everyone. Will tries to calm them down so they can hear what Dave has to say for himself. He apologizes for throwing slushies on each one of them. He’s ashamed of who he is. (No duh, poor kid. [DRINK]) He tells them that Santana has shown him the light, he doesn’t want to be a bully anymore.

Everyone is shocked. San…Santana? Her?! Santana looks on calmly and smiles her encouragment to Dave. He knows they won’t be able to forgive him right away, or even accept that he’s trying to change, but he wants to. Santana joins him, says to the group that she wants Kurt back, and knows that getting Dave to apologize can bring that about. She wants them to win Nationals, and they all know they need Kurt to bring home the big trophy.

“And then a funny thing happened….” She takes Dave’s hand and tells the group that they fell in love. Puck dry heaves in his seat and Brittany scowls. [And I guess this means her relationship with Trouty Mouth is officially over, huh?]  They’re going to start a new club, The Bully Whips. They’ll beat the shit out of anyone that threatens to beat the shit out of anyone. Wait, they’re going to stop bullying in its tracks.

Figgins thinks this is a marvelous plan, Dave says he’ll reach out to Kurt to tentatively caress his beautiful, smooth skin, maybe see if there’s any love in his eyes and they can finally kiss, mutual on both sides, he just loves Kurt’s courage and-

Cough. He’ll reach out to Kurt and apologize. The Bully Whips are a go, and they have red satin jackets and berets, because nothing says you mean business like a beret. (Well, if it’s the dress lid for an Army Ranger, yes.)

Dave, his dad, Kurt, Burt, Will, Finn and Figgins all meet to discuss this new plan. Burt doesn’t buy this “change of heart” for a minute. The reason the bullying has stopped is because the number one offender is off the beat! [DRINK] Paul, Dave’s father, reminds Burt that he believed Kurt’s story, he knew something was going on with his son, but he’s really seeing a change in David now. This anti-bullying thing is real. Dave tells the group that he’s really a different person now, honest. Kurt narrows his eyes at him and asks the adults to leave them alone for a moment so they can talk.

Kurt tells Dave he wants the truth. Karofsky tells him about Santana and her plan for both Nationals and Prom Queen, and Kurt can’t help but be impressed with her “Lady MacBethian ways. Or maybe more of a Latina Eve Harrington.” Dave looks confused. “If you’re going to be gay you simply must know who Eve Harrington is.”

[I’ll take that a step further and say that if you’re going to claim to be a lover of film then you have to know who Eve Harrington is. Fasten your seatbelts, it’s gonna be a bumpy night.]

Kurt actually believes in this campaign of Dave’s, even if Dave doesn’t. And Kurt sees himself with two options: outing Dave, which he does not believe in doing, or coming back, supporting the Bully Whips, and forcing Dave to start a chapter of PFLAG with him on campus. “You need to be educated, David.” David looks like he wants to just die right then and there.

Burt, standing outside, quietly says to Finn, “Keep an eye on your brother.” [DRINK] Finn, not looking away from what’s happening through the office window, replies, “I’m one step ahead of you.” I love that the Hud-mels are really becoming a family, not a step-family.

Puck talks to Rachel in the ladies’ bathroom, one hot Jew to another. He wants to know why she’s using Quinn’s nose if it’s “to help you breathe.” If that was really the case, why not Karl Malden’s nose? (What an excellent point, Puckerman!) Every year when 16 year old Jewish girls lose their birthright, their symbol of their heritage having survived yet another generation (Oh, how I love this talk he has with her.) it may make it way easier to make out with them, less eye stabbing, but damn if they’re not less hot in his eyes. He asks her for one hour the next day, and she agrees.

I adore Puckerman’s pride in being Jewish. Love it. [DRINK]

Mercedes checks her watch outside in the quad, while all the school mills about. It’s noon, and that means, “I’M BACK!” Kurt throws his hands up at the top of the steps, in a celebratory top hat and white coat. The Gleeks give up a cheer and some hugs. Mercedes grins and tells him that there are a few people that wanted to say goodbye to him. The Warblers show up in their blue blazers and sad smiles, led by an even sadder Blaine. Blaine knows he’ll still get to see Kurt on weekends, but the Warblers won’t, and this is from all of them.

They start singing Keane’s “Somewhere Only We Know” and there’s a group from the orchestra playing and a piano has been rolled out, and at one point Blaine takes over piano duties as he sings an impassioned version of the song. Each of the Warblers in turn hug or clap Kurt’s shoulder as the song moves to the end, and Finn gives Kurt a big hug of welcome. (I love how touching this is for Kurt – people wanting him, people caring about him, he’s come a long way from the scared and angry loner of the first episode.)

But then Blaine, tears in his eyes, finishes the song and pulls Kurt into an emotional embrace, they’re both fighting back tears, and then they recreate the lie at the end of the Titanic: I’ll never let go.  [But she did.  She let go!]  Kurt tells Blaine “I’ll never say goodbye to you!” And then the bell rings and he has to say goodbye. (Please, passionate Klainers, I’m teasing here. Except for the Titanic thing, because she let go. SHE LET GO. She could have dragged her ice cube’d lover aboard the rescue boat!)

Kurt walks through the hallway and has his big third act Broadway number singing “As If We Never Said Goodbye” from Sunset Boulevard, and oh, Kurt, you will never be a Norma Desmond, never! Faded star? Shut your mouth! Let’s take a moment to appreciate the hard work Chris Colfer has put into his vocal training, because no longer does he strain or scoop to hit the high notes, he’s learned diaphragm control, he’s worked on maintaining the bell-like quality that’s been waiting to come out for every note. I have only one wish left: to see his teeth when he sings instead of the puppet opening that some people are evidently into. Just… you have teeth, let me see them.

While he walks through the halls singing with wonder and barely contained joy, we realize that he missed this, the noise, the craziness, the individuality that is public school. He finishes the song as a sort of love song to the group [DRINK], and they all sit transfixed, because really, Mr. Schuester didn’t lie back in season one: he can do things with his voice that no one else can. Either you love a countertenor, or you don’t. I happen to love it. And it’s sweet to see Finn, with Quinn on his shoulder, smiling from ear to ear, amazed at the talent Kurt has. He’s so proud of his brother, and gosh darn it, the Hudson-Hummels are great. I just love how chin-fists everyone is for him.

After class Lauren drops a bombshell on Quinn, or should she say “Lucy?” That’s right, she’s discovered “Quinn’s” deep, dark secret: she is actually Lucy Q. Fabray, fat girl from another township. Quinn, talking like she’s in a waking nightmare, explains that she was fat, had acne, had no friends, was mocked mercilessly, and when she found out she was athletic, joined gymnastics and lost some weight, went on Proactive, got a nose job, and demanded to be called Quinn when her father was transferred to Lima.

Lauren thinks that’s great and all, but maybe she should go check the bulletin boards, Lucy Caboosey. An homage to Election, Quinn races out in slow motion as a Navajo Joe-type song plays and she sees a group of people laughing at her 8th grade picture. She rips it off the board with a cry and runs away, sobbing, while wearing completely wrong for her outfit shoes. [DRINK]

Puck takes Rachel to the mall and turns her over to Kurt. Kurt (in a very “actorly way” – this moment feels tacked on and “performy,” the lines portion, not the actual performance) explains that she’s there for a Barbra-vention. Barbra knew there were other ways to define beauty, and if Rachel goes through with this nose job, she’s spitting in Barbra’s face. Before she can argue anything, he tells Puck (downstairs) to “hit it!”

Flashmob time! Safety Dance is still the better flashmob, and I kinda feel like that’s a unique enough thing to not do it again, but a techno beat with “Barbra Streisand!” plays and a bunch of strangers plus the Gleeks start to dance, and it’s awesome to see Puck rocking out with fists to techno. Everyone is involved, they pull her into the dance, and it’s cute. I like when they’re all supportive of each other.

Emma goes to a therapist. She cleans off the chair, thoroughly, then sits down, ready to begin. “That’s all the time we have.” What? It took her 48 minutes to clean the chair. The doctor tells her that it’s clear she has a severe case of OCD, but it can be treated. Emma tries to say that she was born this way, but the doctor says something beautiful.

Your illness is not who you’re supposed to be. It’s keeping you from who you’re supposed to be.”

She explains to Emma that she shouldn’t let this country’s view on mental illness cloud her judgment. It’s a serious problem, like diabetes is a serious problem. The intent isn’t to dope her up and make her someone else, it’s to help her control the anxiety and hyperfocus on aspects of life that aren’t important which will release her, making her able to enjoy life for a change. She writes a script for an SSRI and says she’d like to see Emma again.

Finn shows Quinn the picture he keeps of her in his wallet. It’s the Lucy Caboosey picture. She bristles wanting to know why he has that. He tells her that it’s the one picture where he thinks he can really see her. She swallows, tells him “Thank you,” and they kiss. When Finn is thoughtful, it’s really thoughtful.

A group of girls stare at the Lucy poster and say how she’s inspirational, “one of the people.” They tell Quinn, walking by with bafflement all over her face, that she can count on their vote. Lauren bumps into her and apologizes for playing dirty, and it seems to have bit Lauren in the ass -she’s trailing Quinn by 40%. They make nice. [This was a really forced ending to a plot line that could have been amazing.]

Brittany shows Santana her shirt: “I’m With Stoopid” with an arrow pointing up. That’s pretty hilarious. Santana’s reads “Bitch.” Brit’s disappointed with her, but fear not, she made a shirt for her! It reads “Lebanese.” [DRINK]

“I’m Hispanic! Wait.. is that supposed to say Lesbian?”

“Yeah, isn’t that what it says?” [DRINK]

Brit tells her that she loved how honest Santana was after singing Landslide, how he was proud of Santana. Well, tough, because Santana’s dating Karofsky now. “That’s gross.”

Then Brittany shows that she’s not as dumb as people like to think when she tells Santana that “Clearly you don’t love yourself as much as I love you or you’d put that shirt on and dance with me.” She leaves.

Emma stares at her pill bottle and decides to take one.

In the auditorium, it’s time for the big number. Will shows them his shirt: Butt Chin. Ha, that’s great. Rachel arrives, she’s not going to have the surgery (“Yay!”) and shows her shirt: NOSE. She can’t dance yet, according to her doctor, so she sits this one out. Santana is nowhere to be found, so they start without her.

Kurt is on stage with fabulous hair but weird head tilt birdlike motions and starts the song. Tina and Mercedes rip his plaid shirt open to reveal his shirt: LIKES BOYS. Tina takes lead vocals and sounds outstanding. Tina really should be given more opportunity to sing power pop vocals, that’s her strength. Mercedes picks up the baton and you know my girl busts it. [DRINK] As the song continues (they don’t alter it, they’re just having fun singing Gaga) we see everyone’s shirts:

Tina: Brown Eyes

Mike: Derp Faces

Sam: Remember Me?

Quinn: Loosey Vajuicy

Finn: Likes Girls

Mercedes: Flawless

Artie: Best Male Vocalist

Puck: I’m With Stupid (points to his crotch)

Lauren: Plot Device

Emma shows up with a shirt that reads OCD and Will applauds her for her bravery. As the number continues we see that Santana is sitting in the audience with the Lebanese shirt on and Karofsky sits next to her, sad, trapped, and desperate, and not just because of Santana.


Drunken Thoughts: I’m an actress. I’ve done commercials, I’ve done industrials (those “shop” movies you watch at work extolling the virtues of not leaving your long hair down at the drill table, or how to help a coworker having a heart attack) and I’ve done several independent films. One reason why I’ve not “made it big” is because a) I refuse to move to LA because it’s awful in the “biz” there and b) because I’m not perfect. I’ve been told by casting directors to drop 20 pounds when I was a size 2, to cap my teeth, that I’m not pretty enough, I’m not ugly enough, I’m not blah blah blah. It’s brutal. I’m a grown-ass woman, so I can understand that this isn’t about me, necessarily, it’s about the ultimate look for a character. But back when I was 18?

I hate that an adult is telling Rachel that she doesn’t look as good as she could. Yes, ultimately it turns out okay and the message is reiterated that being different is what is great about each of us, but this hit my buttons the first time I saw this, and then again during the re-watch.

Just… love yourself, you know? And don’t fall into the trap of picking apart other people’s physical appearances on TV and movies, because you’re contributing to this vicious cycle End of my own personal rant.


Next Episode: Rumors, right this way!