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TV Review: Glee – “Preggers”

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This summer, I’ll be going back to review the season one episodes of FOX’s Glee. These are fresh reviews, not reposts, and I hope you will enjoy reliving the first season with me.

The Glee fourth episode, “Preggers,” is when I started to actually like the series, because there is real heart in it. This is a really moving story about a father and son, and that relationship has become one of the best parts of the entire series. I was less than impressed with the campy quality of the first three episodes. Upon rewatching the beginning, now embracing Glee‘s brand of humor, even the first three are great. But back in the fall of 2009, that’s how I felt. And it’s why Kurt (Chris Colfer) is still my favorite character, with Burt (Mike O’Malley) high on the list as well.

In the episode, Kurt is featured. After being caught dancing to Beyoncé’s “Single Ladies (Put a Ring On It),” he tells his father, Burt, that he has joined the football team as a kicker. Luckily, the McKinley players are so bad that Kurt is able to wrangle the position, accomodating his lie. In addition, Will (Matthew Morrison) teaches the football team to dance to the song, hoping it will make them better players. The big game doesn’t go so well, until the team pulls out their Beyoncé moves, and Kurt makes the game winning extra point kick.

Burt is proud of Kurt, and tells him so. Kurt finds himself finally able to come out to his father, who admits that he’s known Kurt’s preference for men since he was little. While Burt isn’t happy about it, he still loves his son just as much. Perhaps it’s a bit homophobic, but Burt is from a different generation. A problem many gay teens face is telling their less open minded families. Burt, at least, is willing to accept Kurt for who he is, even if that means embracing something he, as a “manly man,” has always been uncomfortable with. Not an ideal situation, but far better than what many kids face.

Amusing is the opening scene where Burt catches Kurt dancing to the Beyoncé song with Tina (Jenna Ushkowitz) and Brittany (Heather Morris). Burt asks if one of them is Kurt’s girlfriend. Even though Burt later admits he has always known Kurt is gay, it makes sense for the character not to out his son until he is ready. Or maybe Burt is even wishing that Kurt is just a very odd straight man, and he’s wrong about his son. Either way, it’s an uncomfortable confrontation, but it follows a fantastic dance number.

Meanwhile, Quinn (Dianna Agron) tells Finn (Cory Monteith) that she is pregnant. Both Finn and Quinn fear losing any type of successful future to care for their child. Finn opens up to Will, unloading about the issue. Will offers emotional support, and also tells Terri (Jessalyn Gilsig), who sees Quinn’s baby as the perfect opportunity to find a baby to trick Will. This is based on the idea Terri’s sister, Kendra (Jennifer Aspen, Rodney), suggests to keep Will in the dark about Terri’s pregnancy being hysterical.

In “Preggers,” Terri begins to take her little white lie too far. She originally spouts it because she can’t stand to hurt Will. Now, after consideration, she realizes it’s probably the only reason Will hasn’t left her yet, considering their marital problems. Still, her instinct is to come clean. It’s Kendra who convinces her to continue on with the charade. It’s so sad to watch Terri choose the wrong path, knowing that she is essentially a good person. While it would prevent any future Will/Emma (Jayma Mays) pairing, I still find myself wishing Terri would do things differently the second time I watch, and heal her marriage.

Quinn’s lie is arguably worse than Terri’s. For one thing, she unnecessarily worries Finn, who she says is the father, but he is not. Setting aside why Finn even believes she can get pregnant from sperm swimming through hot tub water, as he is a naive teenager, and there is a lot of misinformation out there, Finn is all of the sudden faced with a dampened future. He is going to do the right thing and stand by his kid, of course, even if that costs him the things he wants to do. While Finn may be dumb, he is also sweet and caring, proven in “Preggers” by this whole situation, and his reaction to it.

Puck (Mark Salling) is also hurt by the lie, as he knows he is the real father, and he, too, wants to take responsibility for his child, but Quinn will not allow it. Puck has little character development at this point in the series, so it may be a surprise that he makes the right decision here. Even more surprising, he asks a depressed Finn what’s wrong, even though he’s been giving Finn crap for four weeks over joining glee club. Thus begins Puck’s duality. Sometimes he makes dumb decisions, like sleeping with his best friend’s girlfriend, which can be explained, though not excused, by hormones. Then, other times, he is there for the people that need him as a genuine friend.

It is likely Puck joins the New Directions simply to be close to Quinn, and brings two friends along with him so he looks slightly cooler. Puck does love singing, and is good, but this isn’t obvious yet at this point in the series, despite his brief foray in the Acafellas.

The football game itself is a bit ridiculous. While the other team is certainly surprised and weirded out by the impromptu dance number, would they really stand there for so long, not even trying to get the ball, or get ready for the play? Perhaps the rules of football state they can’t grab the ball until after the hike, but isn’t there come kind of play clock? Didn’t McKinley’s little performance go longer than allowed? It’s a really fun scene, and a great example of the cheesy humor Glee is known for, but it goes on long enough to think about how unrealistic it is.

“Preggers” features the first “Sue’s Corner,” Sue’s (Jane Lynch) local news segment where she spouts her views. In this first piece, she supports caning, and then later mentions she spoke out in favor of littering. Even for Sue, this is a bit much. Setting aside that the character might hold those views, as it is almost believable for the character, why would the news station allow her to talk like this? Later “Sue’s Corner”s will get better, but the first one is weak sauce.

Sue’s latest plan to disrupt the New Directions is to bring Sandy (Stephen Tobolowsky – forgot how often he is in season one!) back to the school as Arts Administrator and have him stage a musical, luring Rachel (Lea Michele) away from the group. Since Sue has blackmail on Figgins (Iqbal Theba), and Sandy is never officially charged with any crime, the plans works… for now.

It’s sad to see Rachel being so disloyal to glee club, and yet, it is not out of character for her. Rachel points out to Will that everyone gets something out of glee club except her, and she’s right. Later, helping others and having friends will be her reward. But for now, looking at the situation completely selfishly, Rachel singing solos and using the group as her backup is the only beneficial scenario in her mind. She doesn’t need help coming out of a shell or finding her voice. Regrettable as it is, she is right. Sort of.

Musically, there are only two numbers, likely the lowest amount of any Glee episode. Rachel’s “Taking Chances” is every bit as good as any of the other songs she belts in other episodes. Tina’s “Tonight” is actually pretty good, too, other than the ending. This is surprising, because in season two, Tina’s solos are usually something of a joke, with a cheap laugh taking precedence over showcasing talent. Time to change that, no?

Random bits time!

In a flashback to the scene where Finn and Quinn have their hot tub fun time, Finn prematurely ejaculates as Quinn yells at him to “think of the mail!” This is a reference to an earlier episode when Finn talks of remembering his mom hitting the mail carrier with her car to stop himself from climaxing. This is hilarious and should be brought back the very next time Finn has sex, hopefully sometime in season three.

Finn helps Kurt join the football team. The two who will become brothers are growing closer already! Of course, they have very different reasons for working together.

Quinn tells Puck his pool cleaning business isn’t worth much because they live in Ohio. While I was unable to find an exact ranking, and Ohio may not have as many pools per capita as other, more Southern states, there are a fair amount of swimming pools. Trust me. I grew up there. We had one, and so did many of my friends. Though, admittedly, we didn’t hire a cleaner.

All but forgotten is the brief one episode appearance of Sue’s radio boss, Mr. McClung (Kurt Fuller, Better With You, Psych). Though he only gets one scene, Fuller is a comedic pro. Maybe he could come back some time?

Figgins’s Mumbai Air commercial is as confusing as it is funny. Why is an American principal doing an Indian ad campaign? Ah, well. It’s good for a laugh.

Heather Morris was actually a backup dancer for Beyoncé both before and after the “Single Ladies” hit. She appeared dancing the song on several television programs and on concert tours. Then Glee hired her. Good use of prior knowledge!

This episode marks the first appearance of the twelfth glee club member, Matt Rutherford (Dijon Talton). He is shown when joining the glee club along with Puck and Mike Chang (Harry Shum Jr.). I guess the rule is last in, first out, since he is the last one of the original 12 to be shown on screen, and is the only one who does not return for season two.

Look for a review of the next episode this weekend!

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About JeromeWetzelTV

Jerome writes TV reviews for BlogCritics.org and Seat42F.com, as well as fiction. He is a frequent guest on two podcasts, Let's Talk TV with Barbara Barnett and The Good, the Bad, & the Geeky. All of his work can be found on his website, jeromewetzel.com