The many people who follow "Glee" have become well-aware by now that the show delivers spectacular musical productions of all kinds, but the writing, well, it can be a little dicey at times. Many times, actually. So what did the show's creators do? They put out an episode that featured only three songs. Everything else was yakkity-yak. Now here's the deal: they made it work.
The second episode of the show's third season, titled, "I Am Unicorn," featured a number of themes, among them, Kurt's campaign to be elected the student-body president. And while that was an important plot thread for Kurt, it was not the most important one. Another key element of the plot is that McKinley High has decided to stage "West Side Story" as its school musical. Kurt wants to be Tony, the male lead.
To be sure, Kurt puts on an excellent audition performance, at least for something. By the way, and please excuse the intrusion, but it may be important for budding performers who get the urge to try out for their school's next musical. Auditions at the amateur level (and, quite probably the professional level) do not work the way they do in "Glee," with a full orchestra providing absolutely perfect accompaniment to the song you want to sing. More likely, you will be invited to sing sixteen bars of your song to the accompaniment of a pianist who may or may not play the song segment the way you had in mind. Okay, back to the story.
Kurt's excellent audition aside, the directing triumvirate of Coach Bieste, Emma Pillsbury and Artie pretty much agree that Kurt is not romantic lead material; particularly not this romantic lead. Emma was initially inclined to give him some consideration, but Coach Bieste pointed out that the guy they cast as Tony should be able to excite her "lady parts," and Kurt certainly is not that guy. By the way, those three are directing the show because Will Schuester has begged off, albeit on a somewhat flimsy pretext. WHAT? A flimsy pretext in "Glee?" I am shocked, I say, shocked!
It is from this thread that we get a small foreshadowing of an ominous development that may come up in Kurt's story. As the show's followers remember, Kurt's fellow, Blaine, had transferred to McKinley in the Season 3 opener, so he is also eligible to audition for "West Side Story." He says he wants to try for the role of Bernardo (the leader of the Sharks) or Officer Krupke. Are you kidding? Krupke doesn't even sing. When the directors hear Blaine's audition, they urge him to try out for the part of Tony. Kurt overhears that conversation, just as he overheard the earlier one about his not being masculine enough for the part. If Blaine ends up getting the part Kurt wanted, it could spell serious trouble for their relationship.
There is another dark thread running through the story, even darker than Sue Sylvester's almost-comical attempt to scuttle the arts in high school. Quinn continues on her destructive path, and this leg of her voyage ends with an unsettling surprise.
Perhaps the best plot thread in this episode involves the return of Rachel's birth mom, played by veteran Broadway star Idina Menzel. Again, the pretext that has her working in the school is a bit unsound, even though it gives Principal Figgins a very funny line at the end of his scene.
Rachel wants to audition for the part of Maria, of course, and has selected "I Feel Pretty" as her audition song. It is a safe choice. Any girl with half a voice can sing that song and do at least an adequate job. Shelby, Rachel's mom, tells her to take the risk of auditioning with the duet "Somewhere," which is between Tony and Maria. While "I Feel Pretty" might be a piece of cake, "Somewhere" is a very bad accident waiting to happen, unless you absolutely nail it. We all know that Lea Michele will certainly nail it, but Rachel does not know she is Lea Michele. Rachel is a marginally-popular high-school girl filled with all sorts of doubt.
She starts in on Maria's part of the song, then Shelby shows up to join her in the duet. Is it beautiful and moving? Perhaps you should bring and onion with you and start to peel it when this number comes on, so that you can explain away the tears. If you are interested, here is what it looks like on the very small screen.
Better yet, see what the whole episode looks like if you missed it the first time.
"Glee," Season 3, Episode 2, "I Am Unicorn"
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