Following on from last week’s controversial episode, this week’s Glee deals with the students pairing off into couples for “Duets”. All except Kurt, of course, who is unable to find a partner, not only to sing with, but also to be with in the romantic sense.
This theme is timely after the suicide of gay teen Tyler Clementi, who was filmed having sex with another man by his roommate, who was then going to broadcast the footage online, and the subsequent campaigning by Ellen DeGeneres and her fellow celebrities to stop gay bullying, and that life does get better.
Kurt expresses interest in duetting with the new kid, Sam, but Finn warns him against it, as the “ensuing beatings” will force Sam out of glee. Of course, Kurt thinks Finn still has issues with his homosexuality, but Finn retorts that they live in a (homophobic) man’s, man’s, man’s world, and breaks out the “no means no” shtick.
Later on, Burt Hummel, who is out of the hospital after last week’s stint in ICU, reiterates Finn’s sentiments, and Kurt asks, “So a gay guy can’t be friendly to a straight guy without it being predatory… You’re saying I shouldn’t sing with this Sam guy because it might upset a couple [of] homophobes?”
The episode also deals with the other kinds of pairings the glee club members engage in. There’s Brittany and Santana, whose lesbian relationship is taken to new levels this week when they’re shown kissing on screen; the proverbial straights, Rachel and Finn and Sam and Quinn; the (perhaps stereotypical) strong black women, Mercedes and Santana, singing “River Deep, Mountain High”; the “Asians”, Tina and Mike, who are having relationship issues and will attend “Asian couples therapy”; and the sensitive issue of Artie’s disability, how it relates to his sex life, and his deflowering by Brittany in this episode.
Thus, this leaves us with loner Kurt, who has more than enough personality and pizzazz to pull off “‘Le Jazz Hot!’ from Victor/Victoria” and steals the show.
Kurt is a strong enough character that he doesn’t let his peers’ (albeit not is glee club peers) discrimination get to him, and thus he comes across as a teenager who has the courage of his convictions to stay true to himself, a stance which can only serve to encourage and enable other young people struggling with their sexuality to stand up and own it.
Oh, and in a rare show of compassion, Rachel offers to do a duet with Kurt in the final scene, asserting that they’re more alike than they think. Perhaps a straight wife-gay husband relationship to rival Carrie Bradshaw and Stanford Blatch is blooming?