It”s not surprising that “Glee” dropped the Coach Beiste storyline like a hot potato, at least for this week. After all, who has time to deal with the serious issue of domestic abuse when there”s a dinosaur-themed prom that needs attention? “Prom-asaurus” is another unfortunately hyphenated title, but unlike “Saturday Night Glee-ver,” this one didn”t soar so much as lurch along. It wasn”t offensive, it wasn”t awful, it wasn”t good, it wasn”t coherent, it was just…there. It existed. This episode of television absolutely, positively existed.
Maybe I”m simply still strung out from last week”s episode. I wrote at the time that I wasn”t sure the episode could recover from that mess, and I definitely spent every minute Coach Beiste wasn”t onscreen tonight wondering if Cooter was smacking her around again. No matter how much “Glee” wants to hit the tonal reset button between episodes, scenes, or even lines of dialogue, it can”t do that through sheer force of will. It”s one thing to push aside the return of Awful Quinn when Puck is “crowning” Becky Anti-Prom Queen. But it”s another thing to contemplate all the darkness going on offscreen in other parts of Lima after the show has shone a light upon it.
So rather than just do a straight-up review, I”ve assembled some of the key players in tonight”s episode to do a little round-table to get their perspective on how things went down. After all, we saw how Senior Prom affected many of the students at McKinley high, even though prom this year came out of absolutely nowhere in terms of the show”s collective consciousness. Last season, “Prom Queen” served as the culmination for a fairly long-gestating story that featured many of the program”s primary players throughout the back half of the year. Here? It was an afterthought, not unlike Brittany”s president itself. “Glee” tried to treat the sudden return of that storyline as a knowing commentary on Brittany”s ineffectiveness as student body leader. But I think we all know whom the real ineffective leaders are when it comes to this show, hmmm?
In any case, onto the round table! Let”s kick things off with perhaps the most important aspect of tonight”s episode.
Blaine”s Hair: Hey, guys. Look: Blaine himself coming out was hard. But tonight was all about coming out of my personal closet. It”s only fitting that a good chunk of tonight”s episode revolved around Brittany”s bizarre obsession with me. Do you think it”s been EASY for me all these years? Do you know how hard it was to get that loaded Slushie out of my hair? Blaine”s eye got all the attention, but I suffered too, you know. I suffered in silence, underneath inches of gel, existing both in this world and yet out of it as well.
Quinn”s Wheelchair: OK, hold up a second, can a girl get in a word around here? You”ve been sitting atop Mr. Scream Singing for a while now, but God”s Gift To Yale has been sitting on me and using me as a sympathy prop for some time now.
Becky”s Cardboard Crown: Wait, that only started tonight.
Rick The Stick”s Mullet: Totally. Until now, Quinn has pinballed through five stages of grief, three seasons of storylines, and some Skinemax-esque PT sessions with Teen Jesus. But she hasn”t been the conniving Quinn that lied to Finn about his paternity or tried to get Shelby thrown into jail for a while now. So, naturally, tonight showed her using the wheelchair to earn sympathy votes for Prom Queen.
Brittany”s Tiny Prom Hat: Don”t forget about Brittany”s switch from “sweet but daft” to “raging beeyotch” tonight. I had a great view of the whole thing…until all the cheerleaders with the oversized dinosaur heads started dancing around us. Then the view wasn”t so much “great” as “the stuff of nightmares.” Brittany was perhaps the second-best character on the show last time we saw it stage a prom, but has completely cut the limber legs out from under her this year. If we”re talking schizophrenic characterization, this should be about us.
Quinn”s Wheelchair: Well, did you decide to reveal to the entire school that you could walk at the precise moment a fellow student, glee club member, and ostensible friend was just starting to think her life might turn out OK after all? No? You didn”t? Oh, that”s right….BECAUSE WE DID. Theoretically, Santana and Quinn rigged the vote in order to give Rachel”s a thread of hope in a desperate hour. Then Quinn Fabray, Moment Stealer, had to pull a Cousin Matthew and turn the theme from “Dinosaurs” to “Downton Abbey.”
Tina: Can I just say how happy I was to get lines tonight?
Sue”s Xylophone: Who the hell are you?
Tina: I”m Tina. I”m in New Directions. I”m a character on this show.
Brittany”s Tiny Prom Hat: Not ringing a bell.
Becky”s Cardboard Crown: Nothing”s coming to mind.
Tina: The “Glee” Wiki insists I”m a central character!
Puck”s Flask: That. Is. Adorable.
Blaine”s Hair: Sure, it”s great that What”s Her Face got lines. But let”s face it: Nothing that happened tonight is particularly meaningful because the show has never truly built up enough camaraderie between these characters to make their imminent departure meaningful. Santana chastises Rachel for selfishly not attending prom, because it means the former misses out on the event with the latter. But it”s completely unclear WHY that”s such a problem. If the show has to explain why such decisions matter to these characters, it probably hasn”t done a good enough job simply letting the interactions speak for themselves.
Rick The Stick”s Mullet: If I may follow up, my follicular friend, we”ve seen Santana recently confess to Rachel that she might actually miss her come graduation. So “Glee” is trying its damndest to actually lay some groundwork for such a scene.
Brittany”s Tiny Prom Hat: But you identified the problem right there. “Groundwork” by very definition can”t be laid down this late in the game. “Glee” wants to build a house without bothering to think about its foundation. So the whole effort is as wobbly as Sue”s dance moves.
Quinn”s Wheelchair: OK, but can we all agree those moves were .GIF worthy and maybe a highlight of the season?
Becky”s Cardboard Crown: Absolutely. And while I am biased, I thought the Puck/Becky scenes were surprisingly sweet. They weren”t surprising because there”s no precedent for “Glee” pulling them off, but they have been so few and far between that they are downright shocking. It”s perfectly plausible that Puck will be punching nuns in the face during next week”s two-hour installment, but I really enjoyed being a part of the pair spiking the punch bowl.
Tina: Can I just say one thing?
Kurt”s Outfit For The “Benny And Joon” Remake He”s Apparently Auditioning For: NO!
Finn”s Phallic Scepter: It”s just weird for a show that has recently depicted the domestic abuse of one of its last remaining beloved characters…and has also depicted the struggles of a girl wondering if she”ll ever walk again…to have an episode that focuses instead on the horrible life of…someone that blew an audition. That”s not to dismiss Rachel”s situation as unimportant. It”s plausible for someone in her situation to see life as hopeless. But for the love of God, context matters! Had the show demonstrated just how unreasonable she was being, that would be fine. A lot of the silly wedding storyline this year has been tolerable because “Glee” seemed to understand it”s a really, really, really terrible idea. But Rachel”s moment of “triumph” in becoming Prom Queen is treated sincerely, and that makes the entire endeavor collapse like a deck of cards.
Quinn”s Wheelchair: Did you hear when Quinn said being Prom Queen was, and I quote, “Everything I ever wanted”?
Brittany”s Tiny Prom Hat: Oh God, I thought I hallucinated that!
Rick The Stick”s Mullet: She does remember she had a baby, right?
Quinn”s Wheelchair: Your guess? As good as mine.
Blaine”s Hair: In closing: Do we have any idea why this episode spent so much time on me?
Ryan Murphy: I hate Darren Criss, and also happiness as a general concept?
Ryan McGee: That explains SO MUCH! Oops, sorry. I”ll stay out of this. Maybe it”s time to wrap things up, anyways. We have two hours of this to get through next week, and we”ll need all the strength possible.
Fake Helen Mirren: We”re just not going to mention me? Probably best.
Commander Taylor from “Terra Nova”: Was anyone worried I”d appear inside a portal during prom?
ZooeyDeschanel: Is that rain?
Siri: No, it”s oncoming traffic. Go out and shake hands with it!
What did you think of “Prom-asaurus”? A good return to form, or did the effects of last week”s episode linger? Did you suffer from Becky overload, or can you not get enough of her character? Does anyone on this show know that Nationals are around the corner? Sound off below!