Glee Review: A Beiste of an Issue

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Glee really is turning into a series of hour-long Public Service Announcements.

The topic on "Never Been Kissed?" Bullying. An important and relevant one, no doubt. But the way in which the episode forced the issue and insisted that each storyline was an example of this troubling action made me roll my eyes more often than dab them from tears, of laughter or of sorrow.

Male New Directions

Kurt, of course, was the focus of the hour - and I very much enjoyed his time on screen. Darren Criss was perfectly cast as Blaine and it makes perfect sense we'd dedicate an installment to the struggle Kurt faces as the only openly gay student at William McKinley.

It's also nice to see this relationship established as more of a mentor/student type than an immediate romance. Someone like Blaine would definitely take someone like Kurt under his homosexual wing before even contemplating anything more.

And the rendition of "Teenage Dream?!?" Sorry, Katy Perry, you've been shown up.

Still, I take issue with the football player kissing Kurt. Was it shocking? Absolutely. But it was also the easy way out. I'm sure there are many closeted jocks out there who only know how to deal with their feelings by turning against them in a violent, abusive manner.

However, I'm also confident in saying that a majority of bullies are simply mean because they are high school students, and most high school students are insecure, and a number of them deal with that insecurity by putting others down. Granted, Glee treads in over-the-top stereotypes, from gay Kurt to diva Rachel to dim-witted Finn. And the type of bully I just described is more nuanced and complicated.

But if a show is gonna tackle a realistic issue such as bullying, I'd prefer if it did it in a realistic manner. This kiss didn't feel like that that. It felt like a convenient way for the writers to tie Kurt's storyline together.

Sam and Quinn Photo

Mainly, though, I had a Beiste of a problem with this episode. First, Glee's habit of overdoing stereotypes came into play. A significant number of high school girls fall somewhere in between Santana and Rachel. They don't either spread their legs for everyone who takes them to Breadsticks, or keep them closed no matter how long they've been dating someone.

So it feels like a stretch to have so many characters picturing Coach Beiste in order to... relax. That complaint aside, did the kids really do anything wrong? Will was the one who blabbed their secret to Beiste. They were supposed to feel badly because of their personal thought process?!?

I've read columns by other critics that have called out Will for no longer being a character. He's merely a device for the writers to move various plots along. That's very much what it felt like here.

Look, thinking unsexy thoughts is something many guys do in those situations. And, I'm sorry, but Coach Beiste is unattractive. Sure, she might be beautiful on the inside and, absolutely, there's an important message to send about that. But the way this episode went about it felt cheap and manipulative.

In the end, as much as I absolutely loved the "Stop in the Name of Love/Free Your Mind" mash-up, I don't think the guys had anything to apologize for. Do you?

Finally, we get to Will and Beiste's kiss. Was this really as sweet a moment as the show wanted it to be? Will gave her a great speech. I was on board for all of it. But no matter how much you dress it up or pretend otherwise, he kissed her out of pity. It was a rather presumptuous move, as Beiste may very well have wanted her first smooch to be with a man who had actual feelings for her.

Not someone, who, again, feels more and more like a person who is around to make whatever points the writers want to make every episode about their Pressing Societal Topic of the Week.

Overall, I still love Glee. I love that it's different and that it tackles vital issues in interesting ways. But there are times when it goes overboard in trying to take a stand. My favorite episodes are ones that incorporate messages and points of view into an episode that might not directly deal with sex, or bullying, or Britney Spears.

I may receive flak for it, but "Never Been Kissed" didn't fall into that category for me. What did everyone else think?


Editor Rating: 3.2 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.2 / 5.0 (136 Votes)

Matt Richenthal is the Editor in Chief of TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter and on Google+.


Ou my lord. Homosexual wing? Are you kidding me?! Serves me right for getting sick and rewatching Glee while reading those reviews.
And, also, Dave wasn´t the only football player bullying Kurt, or am I wrong? His friends were merely stupid and not gay and hurt at all. So what´s the problem? His character was deveaped only becose he charmed the writters.
And they had so much to apologize for! Dear god! It´s one thing to think it but to say it? No matter the lack of bad intention, they hurt Coach a lot. No woman wants to hear she´s ugly, not even one that is.


"Granted, Glee treads in over-the-top stereotypes, from gay Kurt to diva Rachel to dim-witted Finn." ........I wasn't aware that being gay was an over-the-top stereotype X_x


The episode was problematic, sure, but the kiss actually almost worked for me, which says a lot for Morrison's and Jones's acting. I do think there's more to explore in the Karofsky line (I did *not* see that coming, and about fell over when he kissed Kurt)--I've yet to see any kind of nuanced exploration of the closeted homophobic bully type on TV, so this might be a first. I had way more problems with the presentations of the girls' sexuality--they were suddenly all portrayed as frigid (Rachel, Quinn) or sluts (Santana, Brittney), and...the comment square isn't long enough for me to explain why that is so completely and entirely disturbing, offensive and wrong. Also, the 'frigid' ones were apparently responsible for their guys' distraction as a result of not having sex--so it's women's job to have sex with men so they'll be relaxed?!? Good grief. Tina fared somewhat better, but not much. Mike never articulates what he wants or doesn't, so it's not clear why Tina has to keep a lid on her own sexual desire. I was surprised that I was mostly okay with the kiss between Beiste and Will, but overall I felt the character and the actress were really mistreated here. The guys' mash-up was great, but there was just such a huge cognitive disconnect there for me. "We're sorry we've universally established your physical appearance as the equivalent of a cold shower, but come give us a hug!" Um, no.


BTW the Blaine School guys were Black coats with Red Ribbons all over it ... I think it is pretty much a gay school , maybe they need a Mirror to see that every day they dress up like Gays. :p

Van ayson

ill stop reading the recaps, cause the recaps kills whatever good thing i had experienced from the show, and btw can this recaps be more objective and factual and summarize the episode as it was, and keep their thoughts and opinion in the forum or in the round table. sorry if im harsh, am just saying.


I loved Glee and Glee Cast but i can't stop to consider that In United States of Tara ... Lionel as Marshal's Gay mentor was far brilliantly presented... so Glee is coping the Whole Story from United States of Tara. Just because Cable Shows has less viewers than FOX it doesn't mean that We don't know from where they Stole the Story. Right? Even if you remember Pregnant Quinn was straight from "The Secret life of American Teenager" because it was becoming Phenomena how they dealt with he Issue..
So under all the genius mind of Mr.Ryan Murphy is a Stealer ideas I bet Dexter or Big C are coming Next in Glee :-D


I am not Homophobic But I'm fed of every show covering the gay issues C'mon, Modern Family, Glee, Brothers and Sisters, Desperate Housewives, True Blood, Gossip Girl, 90210 and United Stats of Tara ETC. its not like I hate gay stories they are fun to watch and speculate but now it seems like since Gays have high positions in entertainment business like Anderson cooper and Ellen Degeneres etc, even to call someone gay has become Slur.


I 101% agree with the review... Beastie a 40 years old virgin shit, that's just otter crap as crap as Will's character has become! I hope he comes out of the closet. my problem with Glee this season is there is no story at all. GLEE has become a sitcom, where something starts in first few minutes and then ends on it in the end. C'mon there is not a prolonged story for which we look out for.. what ya think? I love Glee cast they are great and they rocked the Mash-ups and I was thinking that they deserve every bit of Success ... But I have strong feelings that One day Glee will wind up like Ugly Betty which started off on Top notes and fell flat on its face.
Every other week Glee goes Off air and they run Re-runs then seems like after 13 episodes they will go on hiatus on 4months again like last year. that's too much...
Glee will run longer than Ugly Betty because there are NO.1 Smash hits songs comes every other week and as long as they will cover them people will tune in and go to their concerts and buy CDs. But lets be Honest if ya miss one of the episodes of Glee, you wont miss much in story and you will miss the songs only. All I want Glee to become a T.v show rather than a SitCom.


I thought the episode was great in its own right. The Mashups were great. The Glee girls can sure look hott when they want to. Chris Colfer delivered another great performance as Kurt. I can agree that the kiss between Will and Beiste was quite sickening but it was just a kiss. While it may technically be a kiss, Coach Beiste could very well not count it as her "first" kiss. The "first" kiss is different for everyone depending on how they value it. While it may have been presumptive/arrogant for Will to do so, I don't think it was anything malicious or demeaning towards Beiste, to ruin the experience of the "first" kiss for her. I disagree with the perception that the Jock kissing Kurt scene was the show's way of insinuating that bullies are closeted homo's or closeted whatever. I don't think the writers took the easy-way out with this scene. I think this show is like all others. It can only show one of many ways to interpret any situation. Was the kiss surprising? Yes it was. Did it resolve anything? Nope, it did not. I'm glad that it didn't. The whole bullying concept is still unresolved. It did however satisfy the need to teach impressionable minds that a person should stand up to oppression in any form, especially if it impacts them as a person. Bullying will almost never stop because of one instance where someone voices opposition to it but for the person that is being affected, that is all they need to avoid the common result of depression or insecurities problems that derive from not sticking up for themselves.


i LOVED this episode.
it is easily my favorite episode of the season so far.
It was amazing! I watch glee for entertainment. Not for some deeper meaning. I believe as for as enterntainment goes, they nailed it. And I also can't wait for any more episodes with Blaine and Kurt. :D:D:D (so excited)

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Glee Season 2 Episode 6 Quotes

There's no way I'm going back to juvee. There's no chicks and no Kosher meals in that place.


A little something something always leads to something more. I've been there, remember?


Glee Season 2 Episode 6 Music

  Song Artist
Livin on a prayer Livin' On a Prayer Glee Cast iTunes
One love One Love Glee Cast iTunes
Song Stop in the Name of Love/Free Your Mind Glee Cast iTunes