There were so many spoilers surrounding this episode for the last week or more so I really thought this BerryCap was going to be cut and dry. Plenty of thoughts had been swirling around my head in the days prior but after the episode aired I was kind of at a loss for words. It was really hard for me to separate the “Berry”-ness of it all from the show’s messages about having sex but I am going to try and make a whole ‘nother post about that… eventually. So, sorry this is a week late.
“The First Time”, as the title implies, was Glee’s Big Sex Episode. Also they’re preforming West Side Story (it is notable that a full musical production could be put together before the school election. What’s up with that, McKinley?).
The musical serves as the catalyst for all the sex talk. Artie, the director, questions the chemistry between his two leads (Blaine and Tony and Rachel as Maria, natch). He, rather inappropriately, asks them about their first times and when both answer that they have yet to have sex Artie questions whether they can play a role of “sexual awakening” without being “sexually awakened” themselves. Sure.
After rehearsal, we find Rachel supervising Finn who is helping her put up campaign posters: “Put a Berry on top of student government” it reads. Ain’t that the cutest! She questions whether he has decided who he’ll vote for: Rachel or Kurt. Finn says that he is still undecided because it’s hard to vote against his brother. (I’m not really sure why the writers keep trying to push the Kurt and Finn are brothers card, because uh, we never really see them interact that much… and Finn likes to keep shooting down his “brother”‘s boyfriend but I digress.) At least he’s helping Rachel put up the posters, right? That’s progress since the last time they discussed the issue and he embarrassed her in the hallway.
Anyway, Rachel is feeling confident because she’s sold out three night of the musical, she’s tied for first place in the polls for the presidential race, and she has a boyfriend. It is a wonderful thing to see Rachel Berry happy, since it usually doesn’t last very long.
Finn mentions that an Ohio State football recruiter is coming to the game on Friday night to watch him play. Rachel is supportive even though it’s a reminder that their lives are on different paths. Finn also says that his mom and Burt are going to be out of town tonight and invites Rachel over. She’ll be there are six.
Rachel sings some duets with Santana for the musical; Finn goes to Puck for some condom advice but Puck says he doesn’t use them and it works about 99% of the time. K.
Now Finn and Rachel are sitting down to dinner at his house. He cooked; she praises it saying it was the best fake meat she’s ever had (because it wasn’t fake). She proposes a toast to the last four months of their drama-free relationship. He offers dessert of Sara Lee pound cake (which also is probably definitely not vegan) but she thinks they should take it into the living room by the fire and get a little more intimate. They share meaningful looks; I sprain an eyeball.
The couple is getting cozy by the fireplace when Finn inquires why Rachel thinks now is the right time to have sex. She’s honest; she tells him she thinks it’ll help her WSS performance, but she loves him too. Finn freaks out and leaves. Boo hoo.
Oops, I forgot to mention that Rachel brought her own condoms as “every modern girl should”. Get it, girl.
Rachel calls a meeting with the Glee girls (minus Mercedes, unfortunately) asking for advice. She tells them about what happened with Finn and they all tell her she was basically horrible. Quinn says that Rachel should just wait to have sex because virginity is something you can’t get back (woo! purity myth!). Santana also says she should wait because having sex with Finn is like “being smothered by a sweaty, out of breath sack of potatoes that someone soaked in body spray”. But Tina says that her first time with Mike was wonderful because they were “in love”. Cue “I Have a Love” playing over Tina telling them all about it and then Rachel walking slow motion down the halls of McKinley towards Finn. Barf.
It’s opening night of West Side Story and Rachel and Blaine apologize to each other for not being able lose it. They watch Santana and the others preform ‘America’ and wonder how a bunch of virgins is supposed to follow that. Because acting ability is directly correlated to the amount of sex you have and Tony and Maria don’t come out until after ‘America’?
Then Rachel has an epiphany. Really the show is about having a soul mate and since both have boyfriends they’re good to go. I’m so glad Rachel came to this realization just 2 minutes before she goes out on stage. And I find it completely ridiculous that Rachel, who has had the a strong connection to the role of Maria since she was seven would really ever think that West Side Story was even remotely about sex. Don’t you love it when Glee sacrifices characterization for some contrived plot point?
Blah blah blah, the play is great. We don’t see it, but everyone was wonderful apparently. Rachel goes over to Finn’s house. Unfortunately Finn’s mental incapacity extends to his assuredness in football and the OSU recruiter wasn’t there to see him play but there for Mercedes’ boyfriend, Shane. He has a proper meltdown about the future and having no plans or dreams since he’s not good enough to go to OSU for football or NYADA for singing (or anywhere for braininess). Rachel tells him together they’re figure out new dreams for him and then offers her virginity to him as a consolation prize. Okay, not exactly. But she does tell him he’s special because she’s “going to give him something no one else is ever going to get.” So. Kind of.
They make out and look at each other deeply and then the scene fades to black over his shoulder. And that’s it. The Big Sex Episode. Good job with that, Glee.
“The First Time” really wasn’t about sex, but about love. Gag. Actually more accurately it was about virginity. The episode pushed forward a lot of notions about that word that are frankly pretty sexist. The “losing” and “giving” and “taking” rhetoric that surround that word needs to stop and I was hoping that Glee, a self-proclaimed progressive show, might take it upon itself to debunk some of those myths. Unfortunately it wasn’t the case and I shouldn’t have had any hopes that it would be different considering that Glee really is only progressive when it comes to white males.
Maybe things will change. Maybe the new female writers haven’t shaken things up enough yet. Who knows? All I know is that Glee should stick to more comedy instead of preaching in these “very special episodes”.