Last night’s episode of Glee transformed what was once a one-off joke about girl-on-girl action into a pair of wives, and made husbands out of two boys who were so obviously soul mates from the start. Marriage was much too hasty of a decision for both Brittany and Santana and Kurt and Blaine, and they’re all far too young to be getting married in the first place. The episode was overly sentimental, unrealistic, and a tiny bit too preoccupied with fan service.
It was also really, really lovely.
There’s definitely a precedent for television couples to get married when they’re barely out of high school. Boy Meets World’s Cory and Topanga make an excellent exhibit A. Plus, it’s bordering on traditional to have a wedding braided into a show’s final season — Parks and Recreation, The West Wing, Friends, Six Feet Under, and so many others — so really, there was no compelling reason for Glee NOT to throw an enormous double wedding at some point this season. It also provided the show an excellent opportunity to both celebrate the availability of gay marriage and point out that the battle isn’t over yet. Sure, if you told season-one-episode-one Kurt or Santana that one day all they’d have to do is drive across the state line to Indiana to marry the person they loved, they would probably be thrilled. But Burt’s pre-ceremony remarks are a reminder than any distance a gay couple has to drive that a straight couple doesn’t is unacceptable.
Anyway, it all kicks off with Brittany’s mother (Jennifer Coolidge) recounting the story of Brittany’s surprise birth in a barn in northeastern Indiana and suggesting it as a wedding venue. There’s a fun little montage of Brittany and Santana trying on wedding dresses together that goes weirdly unaccompanied by a music number — it’s underscored, but isn’t this a missed opportunity for SOME sort of mashed-up performance? It all gets rather more absurd from there: By minute five, Brittany’s trying to ritualistically slaughter a chicken in the choir room and Kurt’s still pretending to be in a relationship with Walter, who I think if you fudge the math is old enough to technically be his grandfather. But the chicken lives and Walter sends Kurt slow-motion running back to Blaine’s arms. About damn time.
Kurt and Blaine are back together, yes, but they’re not engaged, and everything continues apace until Carole and Burt start to talk about Finn and seizing the moment and set all kinds of wheels in motion. A few minutes later, Brittany, Santana, and Sue corner Kurt and Blaine and ask them if they’ll get married, too. “Will you,” Sue asks, “give America what at least 52 percent of it will legally tolerate?” Look, is it weird that Santana, Brittany, and Sue are basically shotgun-marrying them? Yes. Is it lame that we don’t get to see the conversation where the two of them have their “you jump, I jump, Jack” moment? Absolutely. But watching as those boys walk out with Brittany and Santana on their arms and seeing their friends’ and family members’ faces light up as they realize that they’re now attending a double wedding is really pretty incredible, especially because Artie and Mercedes sing them down the aisle with “At Last.” Mr. Schue’s supportive nodding is kind of the best, as Mr. Schue supports all rash decisions, forever.
Meanwhile, Brittany and Santana are an absolutely stunning pair of brides, and they’re only stalled a bit — first, by Brittany’s frantic preoccupation with making sure she and Santana secure the best wedding day luck possible, and then by Sue’s insistence on attending the wedding over Santana’s objections. To convince Santana, Sue (who is nice this week) tracks down Santana’s Abuela and talks her into coming to the wedding. It’s a nice little moment of reconciliation, made realistic by Abuela saying that she doesn’t agree with Santana’s “choices,” but doesn’t want to miss out on her life, either. Their vows overlap with Kurt and Blaine’s, and the four of them admit that the world is hard and they’re complicated people, but promise to try to do right by one another. I didn’t cry as much as I did when Burt and Carole got married, and I could’ve done with a few mid-ceremony serenades, but all in all, it wasn’t a bad way to get married. And, obviously, Burt Hummel (or Mike O’Malley, I’m not picky) should preside over all civic ceremonies, public or private.
And the reception is sheer show-choir kid and stage-mom pandemonium, in the best possible way. I’m beyond thrilled that we got to see Mike Chang and Brittany dance together one last time, as that’s always been one of Glee’s most reliable sources of joy, although I could’ve done without another episode of Tina Cohen-Chang Can’t Have Nice Things brought on by her decision to propose to Mike. (He declines.) Carole and Mrs. Lopez (Gloria Estefan) and Mrs. Pierce and Blaine’s mom, Pam (Gina Gershon), join the Troubletones in a rendition of “I’m So Excited,” complete with fringed costumes and dance solos for each mom. It’s a performance that safely redeems the song from its shameful days of being yell-sung by Jessie Spano. Later, there’s a moment where Rachel and Sam and Burt and Carole swap dance partners, made sweeter by Rachel’s fear earlier in the episode that seeing her with a man other than Finn would make Carole sad. Improbably, Sugar Motta turns up. The newbies sing backup vocals on “Hey Ya” and Puck macks on Blaine’s mom. It is a barn full of feelings and booze, just as every wedding reception should be. The brides and grooms wrap up the night by singing “Our Day Will Come” “for all the couples out there.” As they sing, Sue dances with Sheldon Beiste.
In a perfect world, I would have loved to see a final season of this show where characters found their happy endings in all sorts of people, places, jobs, and experiences. As it is, the show’s thesis of “being a part of something special makes you special” wears a little thin, since most of the special somethings Glee depicts are show choirs and romantic relationships. But, as ever, this is not a perfect world. This is Glee. It’s romance and grand gestures and songs and dance numbers and harebrained ideas and screwy continuity. It’s Santana and Brittany and Kurt and Blaine, together. It got better.