Glee: Bob Marley And The Beiste

As "Never Been Kissed," the latest episode of Glee's second season wrapped up, I took some time to reflect upon how great it must be to write for a show that only has about 20 minutes of actual dialogue each episode. Between commercial breaks and the trademark five or six musical numbers, there's precious little time to advance what passes for the story arcs of each of the many characters.

The writers generally do a decent job with this, even when they're introducing new blood, like last night. Darren Criss (no relation to KISS' drummer, as far as I can tell) joined the cast as Blaine, member of a rival glee club (the "Warblers") from local all-boys school. More than that, he plays the role of mentor and future love interest for Kurt.

Poor Kurt; the kid's had to watch everyone else in New Directions -- a collection of geeks and losers so pathetic they even make the high school band look cool -- loses their virginity, swaps partners, and freely exchange sexual innuendoes. Not the gay kid, though. Hell, Santana and Brittany receive no censure for their not infrequent Sapphic trysts, but as we all know, homosexuality is perfectly acceptable as long as it's a couple of attractive girls going at it.

Kurt, on the other hand, just can't win. Not only is he the sole "out" gay guy, but it also turns out the brutish Karofsky -- who's been victimizing him for a season and a half now -- also happens to...wait for it...putt from the rough. Everybody who didn't see that coming, please leave the room. You disgust me.

Puck's also back from juvie, and has taken Artie under his wing as part of his community service. They busk (Bob Marley's "One Love," because...hey, they haven't done any Marley on the show), date (Santana and Brittany, because who else would you want to double with?), and generally buddy around together, until his probation officer gets wind of things. Not to worry, as the two are now BFFs, everything works out fine.

Believe it or not, sectionals are just around the corner. This year, New Directions will be going up against...some continuing education school consisting of a bunch of elderly folks getting their GEDs (I can only hope it's as lively as that Buzz Cola senior citizens commercial from The Simpsons) and, of course, the aforementioned all-boys school: Dalton Academy.

The place seems like a utopia to Kurt: a bully-free policy, hot dudes in uniform, spontaneous musical performances. It's like a slightly more gay/less Nazi version of St. Matthews from School Ties. The Warblers perform Katy Perry's "Teenage Dream," which is vaguely interesting for a couple of reasons. First, it's always amusing to juxtapose a performer's public religiosity with their songs celebrating underage sex. Second, it's actually pretty catchy when performed by a bunch of dudes, proving that her singing is only tolerable when she's jiggling sufficiently to distract us from the sound.

The episode's other major subplot involves the male members of the glee club (and Tina) using fantasies about Coach Bieste to curb their urges while making out. I guess nobody really does watch baseball anymore, or they'd know the member deadening effects of calculating OPS while a girl has her tongue down your throat. The only other significant development is Will's somewhat dubious achievement (after throwing Bieste a charity smooch) of locking lips with just about every adult female cast member (he and Sue got close, but no banana).

Next week the stunt casting returns in full force as Gwyneth Paltrow takes over for Mr. Schuhe when smallpox strikes William McKinley High, though I may be getting that confused with next week's episode of House.

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