*I was going to call the second half "Kurt's Journey," but this seemed more appropriate
As soon as we found out Kurt wasn't going to New York last year, everyone pitched a fit, yours truly included. When we found out he'd be leaving at the end of 4x01 after all, everyone breathed a sigh of relief. And yet, between the beginning of "The New Rachel" and the end, I wound up furious with the results. How could I have predicted that the writers would create an amazing world for Kurt to stay in right here?
Here is the biggest problem I have with the main Blaine and Burt scenes: besides being horribly, hideously rushed for time, I feel like everyone is ganging up to kick Kurt out the door when that's not necessarily what he needs anymore, not right now. Based on the spoilers - based on what Blaine says, even, "It's killing you" - I expected to see a lot of Kurt feeling miserable here. But you know what? I didn't see that.
Besides Kitty's bizarre mission to make his life a living hell, which I have no doubt Kurt would have eventually taken on as a challenge and triumphed in smacking her down like the hand of god, I feel like we saw a boy who was coping pretty well with the curveball life threw at him. In fact, he seemed largely content.
- Classes starting at community college? Check.
- A job to get experience & save up money while living rent-free? Check.
- Boyfriend? Acting like an alien has taken over his body, but mostly check.
- Volunteering at the high school to stay connected & add experience? Check.
Kurt's excited about the Glee club auditions, and I have no idea why anyone would consider that depressing, because it IS exciting. He is not "lurking the halls," he is there in a fairly official volunteer capacity as Mr. Schue's assistant. He is clearly helping run the auditions. It's just a bonus that he also gets to hang out with his boyfriend in the job where he won't get yelled at for doing so. He isn't walking around mopey and depressed that he doesn't get to sing with the club this year, he's invigorated. He has responsibility and authority, he has a hand in shaping and making it better. These are *good* things.
The classes at community college? Not as challenging as he might like, and yet something he could have taken pride in conquering, perhaps getting a 4.0. My brother followed the exact same pattern as Kurt (only switch NYADA for a more general competitive school), and he did better in community college than he did in high school. Homework & readings also would have kept Kurt sharp and focused and ready for the upcoming year.
The only thing we really see frustrating him is the job at the Lima Bean, and honestly, how long has he been there? I've never worked as a barista, but friends of mine have, so I know two things:
1) it is a complicated-as-hell job when you first start out, and
2) a lot of people enjoy it precisely because it keeps you on your toes, but it's much classier than a fast food joint
It WAS unprofessional to sit down and chat with his friends during what did not appear to be a sanctioned break; of course he got scolded. The thing is, I feel like before too long, Kurt would have really taken a shine to the work and in being successful at it...if everyone wasn't looking at him like they were embarrassed for him and/or pitied him having to work there. Yes, Kitty and her friends were awful and that would deflate anyone, but how much time do they really spend there?
Meanwhile, in the many hours they're not there, he'd know all the orders, there would be definite perks in the form of coffee and treats, and just look at all the time he spent organizing sheet music - you don't think he would have applied the same focus to work and turned into a star employee? I'd peg him for a promotion by New Year's. (or have found a better part-time job, either/or) He could have been getting his life firmly back on track while he and Blaine applied to schools together, and he should have been proud of how well he handled it, and Blaine should have been proud of him too.
Instead we get clumsy speeches about how "you're stuck" and "you don't belong here," which I know was meant to show us Blaine's concern, but instead came off as the rudest, most offensive slap in the face I've heard from him in a very long time. Excuse you, Kurt fits in here perfectly well from what I've seen. But no wonder Kurt immediately folds in on himself and says, "I know, I'm pathetic," because that's the reaction he expects from other people - that he's disappointing not just himself, but everyone around him who believed in him (see also, Lima Bean - not "why aren't you excited too," but "It's depressing that I'm excited at all, isn't it." He's internalized it.)
It kind of makes me want to cry because no, no, no. He is not required to be defined by his dreams. He is allowed to alter his plans to fit the circumstances, especially since it's clear that New York is still his endgame and he is taking the steps required to achieve that. Frankly, he is taking more sensible steps to achieve that than he did last time around, and that brings me to Burt's half of the ridiculousness equation.
[But first, on a personally bitter note, when Kurt brings up the only valid point in this conversation - "What about us?" - I feel like Blaine just dismisses it with a handwave, all, "Yeah, whatever BUT KURT YOUR DREAAAAAAM." And I'm sorry, but I didn't sit through two separate Blaine Anderson scenes full of questioning and anxiety about their future to believe he's doing anything except avoiding the topic again, and I call flag on the play. I also hate how fast Kurt folds, but I blame that on crappy writing/lack of time.]
On to Burt, because I cannot imagine a more reasonable argument for NOT going: "This is silly. I don't have to be in New York to reapply for NYADA. So I can find a job that pays the same amount as the Lima Bean, but pay 10 times more in rent?" The followup makes me want to scream, because Burt's reaction is even worse than Blaine's. No, you're right, you should totally move to New York without a job or a place to live and just blow through your finances for an "adventure." It's not like you could have the same adventure 9-12 months from now, right?
Kurt's doing it with a partner either way, only now it's Rachel instead of Blaine. Which is probably better as far as living together (I think it would be kind of the worst thing in the world for Kurt and Blaine to get an apartment together right off the bat; I can see them fighting and getting frustrated pretty quick when factored in with all the other changes) - but otherwise, just feels like a sidestep for Kurt rather than a step forward. It's not his time, it's Rachel's. I don't say that with hate - the only thing I love as much as Kurt/Blaine is Kurt & Rachel: Platonic Soulmates - but all I'm hearing are flimsy excuses to get Kurt where they want him to be for future storyline purposes.
tl;dr: if you want me to root for Kurt going to New York, don't set up such an incredible interim life for him in Ohio first.
I think I wish that they'd held off sending him there until midseason, at least, and let us try seeing Rachel learn how to truly make it on her own first. At the same time, they could have built to Kurt's departure so we could see life "left behind" beginning to take its toll, instead of just being told that with a few clumsily slapped-together pieces of exposition.
P.S. I would also really like it if they would stop pushing the message that "not leaving your home state" = somehow failing at life, but that's a lost cause.
#what is this meta #so sudden and new
I'll be back to clog your brains/flists with the regular review, I still have 9,000 feelings to work through and apparently my default mode now that there is new material to obsess over is CAN'T BE TAMED, but right now and for most of tomorrow I have to deal with work.