I’d just like to start off by saying that I think this was one of the most genuine, nicely plotted, musically adept, borderline-moving episodes of Glee I’ve seen in a long time—by far the best episode of the season. Kurt and Blaine’s tentative sexual relationship is treated with a respect and sensitivity not usually afforded gay characters in prime time, to the point that this might even be a groundbreaking piece of television (last night, people in America’s Heartland, probably over some sort of braised meat, watched two well-adjusted gay teenagers have fulfilling, unregrettable sex—and that is CRAZY). The Coach Beiste story line (see below) is humane and sweet. Plus, the musical numbers sounded like actual humans actually singing! Nicely done, Glee. That said, now I will make fun of you because you are still totally bonkers.
Hey, Artie exists! In case you forgot! (I did!) He starts the episode off with a monologue about how directing the musical has led him to his new passion in life: yelling at people. Opening night of West Side Story is just days away, but there’s one great, big, throbbing problem: Rachel and Blaine (Maria and Tony) have zero chemistry! And Artie thinks he knows why — both of those losers are total virgins. (It couldn’t possibly be because one is a gay and one is a huge asshole.) Artie’s directorial solution is to publicly shame his teenage stars into running out and losing their virginities in time for the big show! Because a high school musical production is just that important (no, it’s not). Confidential to Artie: Even porn directors aren’t allowed to coerce their actors into having sex. You are creeping me out.
Kurt is worried that Blaine doesn’t find him sexually attractive, a strange concern for a man choosing to wear a knit leopard-print duster with a matching tie. “Tearing off all of your clothes is sort of a tall order,” explains Blaine. “Because of the layers?” “Yes.” And also the motion sickness.
As it turns out, there’s another virgin lurking on campus: COACH BEISTE. She confides in Artie (!?!!?) that she’s just never found the right guy, although she does have a crush on the visiting recruiter from Ohio State. “That’s my type,” she says (your type is recruiters from Ohio State?). Ever the romantic, now Artie is on the case. Because of course: It’s just a wheelchair-bound child helping his gym teacher lose her virginity at age 47. Which is not at all weird or creepy!
Blaine, encased in the World’s Ridiculousest Pants™, goes to visit the Warblers for some reason and walks right into a rousing rendition of “Uptown Girl” — an adorable and refreshing choice seeing as it’s actually the kind of song an a cappella group might actually sing. There’s a new Warbler in town — his name is Sebastian, he is not wearing a leopard-print duster with a matching tie, and he clearly wants to get his hands on Blaine’s virgin warblers. Blaine, his pants, and his warblers are intrigued. He sets up a secret date with Sebastian, at which Sebastian reveals that he used to live in Paris where he drank Courvoisier like it was mother’s milk (WHERE WAS YOUR ACTUAL MOTHER?). Then, by chance, Kurt shows up, wearing — how do I even write down what Kurt is wearing? — basically a white button-down Nehru-collared shirt beneath a fitted, asymmetrical military tablecloth formal capelet. Kurt flies into a jealous rage, but due to the restrictive capelet, he is unable to move his arms and commit hot-blooded gay murder. Instead, the three agree to go out to a gay bar called Scandals, because that is obviously a great idea.
Rachel heads to Finn’s house for her ritual deflowering. An excited Finn feeds Rachel some romantic meat—it’s real meat but Finn tells her it’s fake meat because he is thoughtful. Then, after dinner, it’s time for him to feed her his real real meat (sorry!!!). Except oops! Rachel, the most selfish human alive, reveals that she only wants to bang him to help her performance in the musical! “I’m doing this because I love you, AND so that I can act better!” Finn flips out and calls off the de-virginization ceremony, pretending like it isn’t just because of Rachel’s horrible boner-killing knee socks. But we all know it is. It is.
Oh no! (Oh yes!) Mike Chang’s overbearing Asian father is back! He shows up at school in the middle of the day (WHY AREN’T YOU AT WORK, BRO?) to yell at Mike, again, about how starring in the musical is impractical and brings shame on the family or whatever. Then they do the best acting ever:
Dad Chang: “When I was in high school I wanted to be a tennis player. But then I had to wake up that I wasn’t good enough! Grow up, Michael! You need to learn the difference between grown-up dreams and kid dreams.”
Mike Chang: “I’m not going to be a doctor. I will be a professional dancer!”
Dad Chang: “As long as you continue to waste your life with this silly fantasy, you will no longer be my son.”
Mike Chang: “Then I guess I don’t have a dad anymore.”
Dad Chang: “Correct. That is what I am proposing.”
I made up that last part. But seriously, Mike. Way to keep up.
Back to Coach Beiste! Her beloved (whose name, by the way, is “Cooter”) asks her out on a date, which makes her cry, which made me cry KIND OF. “You’re the kind of man that could have any pretty girl he pointed at,” she says, “and I don’t look the way pretty girls look.” “Good,” he replies, “Because I don’t date girls. I just date women. Beautiful women, like you.” FUCKING AWWWWWWW! (I’ve still got my eye on you, Artie.)
Rachel asks all the girls to weigh in on their feelings about sex and virginity. It’s quite sweet. Quinn advises caution, Mercedes is an asshole, Tina is pro, and Brittany reveals that she was raped by a stranger at cheerleading camp, which the show apparently think counts as a punchline (it’s wacky, see, because Brittany thought it was a martian).
Over at Scandals, Kurt notes that his fake ID says his name is Chaz Donaldsworth. (I would like to take this moment to propose a Chaz Donaldsworth spin-off.) Blaine spends the whole night dancing with Sebastian while Kurt pouts, and has a chat with former bully and former closet case Karofsky, who has been dressed up by the costume department to look 50 years old. Then Blaine almost kind of sort of tries to date-rape Kurt in the car because of romance. But he doesn’t. Because he’s no GUY WHO CREPT INTO BRITTANY’S TENT AT CHEERLEADING CAMP.
It’s opening night of the musical! Oh my god! Rachel decides that they have to cancel the show because she’s still a virgin. Instead, everyone just listens to Artie make an emotional speech about the hardships of his disability: “When you’re in a chair, it’s hard to ever feel like a grown-up. Everybody’s always doing stuff for you, they get freaked out about saying the wrong thing … Sometimes it’s hard to ever picture a life of being totally self-sufficient. But directing you guys — the way you trusted me, the way you looked at me and listened to me, it’s the first time in my life I ever felt like a grown man.” “We haven’t officially thanked you for everything that you’ve done for us,” says everyone. Like yell at us and pressure us into losing our virginities. You’re the best, Artie. (Note: I really do like Artie — I just think he’s hella creepy in this episode.)
Cut to Finn crying in the shower for literally one second. Terrible editing.
Then the musical goes off without a hitch! Everyone looks darling, the songs are classics done well, but I will never forgive them for not letting us see Kurt as Officer Krupke. Everyone involved in that decision should be deported to space. After “America,” Rachel utters possibly the greatest line ever written for television: “How are we, as virgins, supposed to follow THAT?!”
Luckily, they’re not virgins for long. Both couples make up, Finn quits crying, and the episode closes with simultaneous teen intercourse — which, as we all know, consists of both partners lying on their sides and pointing their knees toward each other. Ahhh, I’ll never forget the first time I lay on my side and pointed my knees at another person. It was a beautiful thing. Thanks for being so brave, Glee. (No, but seriously, it was kind of brave and I’m sure lots of gay teens are grateful. XOXO.)