I swear, I had no idea yesterday that I’d be predicting what happened on Glee last night! Don’t worry, this post doesn’t have too many spoilers about the episode if you haven’t watched it yet. (Although, in case you weren’t sure, a male duck is actually called a mallard.)
In case you missed my post yesterday, I postulated how straight men can benefit from friendships with gay men, both in how they reconcile their “masculinity” and how they treat women. On last night’s episode, Kurt and Finn ended up demonstrating just that.
Now, let’s be honest: Kurt’s crush on Finn is a little unhealthy. There’s always the chance that our favorite singing virgin might be open to experimentation, but Kurt’s potentially setting himself up to get hurt (not unlike how Rachel did in the episode). What I’ll give him credit for is that despite his innocent attempts to eke homosexual admissions out of Finn, he does seem to really care about the guy. While Finn might feel awkward if he understood how actually Kurt feels (a denouement we have yet to see), it definitely seems that Finn grows a lot in the episode thanks to Kurt’s compassion.
At the beginning of the episode, the Glee-ers have to pair off to sing a ballad to someone. Finn is concerned when he draws Kurt’s name, pleading to Mr. Schu, “I don’t know if I can do this with another guy.” But the fates have spoken, and Kurt’s heart is all a-flutter.
A bit later in the episode, we see the two meeting up for a rehearsal. Kurt implores Finn to sing everything he feels, but Finn explodes, saying, “I can’t! I can’t sing to a dude! I’m sick and tired of people pushing me to be somebody I’m not!” Finn cools back down and Kurt patiently invites him to open up about the stress in his life. He discusses his love for his unborn daughter (even though we know it isn’t his) and all the things he wants to tell her that he doesn’t think he can. Kurt encourages him to sing it out, telling him it’ll make him feel better. (Thank goodness Kurt never missed a piano lesson! Neither did I.)
It’s at this point in the episode we realize just how serious it’s going to get! Seriously, if you’re a regular Glee watcher, this episode gets pretty heart-wrenching. I’ll leave out the spoilers and let you watch for yourself. In the hallway back at school, Finn thanks Kurt for the idea of singing to the baby: “It worked like a charm. I owe ya one, dude.” Kurt launches into some narration about his love for Finn, including a cute scene where Kurt gives Finn some skin-care advice.
Finn invites Kurt to help him with some fashion advice as he prepares to join Quinn’s parents for dinner. As Finn unpacks his dad’s trunk, the two share some really touching bonding, relating to the experience of both having lost a parent. When Kurt talks about sneaking in to smell his Mom’s perfume, Finn adamantly reassures him, “That’s not stupid.” Despite an awkward moment as Kurt helps match a tie, Finn continues to open up about his feelings about his dad and the stresses of Quinn’s pregnancy. Kurt reminds him that his dad wasn’t empty-handed in battle and so he, too, should use his greatest weapon: his voice.
When Finn gets nervous at the Fabrays’, he actually calls Kurt in the bathroom for moral support. Kurt reassures him, “Just remember the power of the ballad.” Finn quickly hangs up, explaining, “I have to go; they’ll think I’m pooping.” Finn makes some karate chops in the mirror (to perk up his masculinity), but then follows through on the plan to sing to Quinn in front of her Glenn Beck-watching parents. (I won’t spoil how that goes, but it was not so gleeful. Talk about patriarchy!)
In their final scene of the episode, Kurt consoles Finn, who is upset, but has no regrets. He invites Kurt to sing his ballad, which he identifies is “I Honestly Love You.” Compared to the beginning of the episode, Finn seems totally chill (though of course a bit oblivious in true Finn style). “Sounds awesome!” he says, “I don’t know the song, or whatever, but it sounds positive and nice and stuff.” Unfortunately, Kurt does not have the opportunity to follow through on his own advice of openness and honesty because they are interrupted for the episode’s heart-warming finale.
While these new developments in their friendship have yet to totally play out, I think the episode speaks to the ideas I was discussing yesterday. By opening up to Kurt and connecting with him, Finn seemed to develop a stronger sense of security regarding his masculinity and sexuality. Even Finn can’t be so oblivious as to not have a clue what the song “I Honestly Love You” might be about, and his willingness to be sung that by Kurt shows incredible development.
Sure, it’s Glee, which is fiction and often absurd fiction at that, but I think there are some powerful lessons to be learned as well. If the fictional star quarterback can learn to be less homophobic, I’m willing to bet the real ones can too. It’s just about understanding ourselves and each other so we can truly all get along.
We all need somebody to lean on…