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Gleeview: I Am Unicorn
mjacton
Spoiler Alert!

Last night, Glee featured one of its periodic episodes that was heavy but sprinkled with lighter moments.  Personally, I think that in general Glee does a good job with this mood.  I Am Unicorn, for me, was actually one of the better ones of this type.  Two of my favorite quotes are examples of funny lines that diffuse the heaviness of the storylines that contain them, and what follows are my thoughts on the two main story lines.  I'll give them arbitrary titles.

Kurt Hummel as Tony:  As I tend to tiresomely repeat, Kurt Hummel is not my favorite character.  On the other hand, I'm repeatedly surprised by how well-written his story lines are.  Notwithstanding the fact that I thought the bullying storyline for season 2 should not have dominated as much as it did, less dominant story lines like this suit the character and the show well.

The idea that Kurt Hummel, loud and proud gay teenager, wants to tone down his image to run for Student Body President and earn the role of Tony in West Side Story runs parallel to a media controversy that show runner and this episode's writer, Ryan Murphy, was a key player in.  I won't go into what I think about that particular controversy, but suffice it to say that it involved a Newsweek article concerning gay characters playing straight roles and Murphy's open letter calling for a boycott of Newsweek because he believed the article to be bigoted.

Whoever was right or wrong in the real life controversy, I believed the parallel Glee story was told in a way that was clear enough but not preachy.  We don't quite have a resolution to the story, but the message of the story so far is that Kurt is proud of who he is and should embrace it.  But, the fact that sympathetic characters, most notably Bieste, Emma, and Artie, reasonably argued that Kurt was too "delicate" to play the Tony and that Kurt himself had the initial instinct to tone down his flamboyance in order to become more "acceptable" as Student Body President and masculine Tony made the ultimate message more thought-provoking than dogmatic.  In fact, I didn't even realize the parallels until several hours after I'd finished watching the episode.

Quinn and Beth:  Yes, there are others involved, but Quinn is the focal point of this storyline.  Quinn is the one who tried, unsuccessfully (see the many references in season 2), to bury the memory of Beth.  Shelby Corcoran and Rachel are involved too, of course, because of the resentment and jealousy issues Rachel might have, but those were not explored fully in this episode.  Puck as Beth's father is of course a major part of this story line, but I think he took Quinn's lead on this issue until now.  I'm glad he took the initiative...the problem is as Shelby said.  He tends to do responsibility in bursts.

Quinn is such a complex character, and she deserves her own post.  But for now, I'll just say that I think that her determination to get full custody of Beth is not the result of her wanting to be "herself."  I think it's another act of aggression to try to be someone that she's not, or to put it simply, to "find herself" because she's still trying to dig herself out of the crap she's brought on herself over the years from her nose and dye job to getting pregnant by her boyfriend's best friend to joining the Skanks.

Also, Dianna Agron did some of her best work in this episode.  The way she went from "acting" for Sue's campaign commercial to lashing out in "real" anger against Will was like flipping a switch.  I'm not an expert on acting, but there's a subtle (usually elusive) difference between acting like your acting angry and acting angry?  Make sense?  Yeah, that's why it's hard.

I must say I like Will better, as a person, this season so far.  He seems to be much more focused on the kids, dishing out encouragement when needed and tough love when needed.  This is what a teacher should be.  Of course, he's still not perfect.  His temper is more volatile than a teacher's should be, but it's not Sue Sylvester volatile.  So, he could be worse.

Favorite Quotes:

SueFirst of all, smoking kills.  Second, it really does make you look cooler, doesn't it?

Kurt:  I'll be performing the seminal, and in my case semi-autobiographical, Broadway classic "I'm the Greatest Star" from Funny Girl.
Bieste:  Isn't that a Streisand song?
Kurt:  I know what you're thinking, but I got written permission from the woman herself, Miss Rachel Berry.

Shelby (after demonstrating perfect pitch):  Do you hear the difference?
Sugar:  Yeah, I sound good.

Musical Rundown:
Music lite last night (but quality counts):

"Somewhere" from West Side Story--Rachel's reaction at the ovation she received at the end of this sort of sums up my reaction.  It's almost comical how good Lea Michele is.  When she combines her voice with someone who can keep up (debate amongst yourselves who's "keeping up" with whom when the legendary Idina Menzel is involved), and it's indescribable.

"I'm the Greatest Star" from Funny Girl--I think this performance was really, really good.  Somehow Chris Colfer (through his character Kurt) always makes songs that are traditionally sung by females his own.  Obviously, one of the main themes of the episode was Kurt's struggle not be typecast, but I really thought he struck a nice balance.  Without prior knowledge, I wouldn't have known if this was sung originally by a man or woman.

"Something's Coming" from West Side Story--Darren Criss (Blaine) made his case for being cast as Tony.  We didn't get to hear Chris Colfer sing this (it wouldn't have helped the story).  I think he could do it equally well, but Blaine "looks the part" and definitely nailed the song.  Is he the most dynamic performer?  I don't think so, but the music is pleasant.

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