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Same-Sex Serenade

by Raffi Sarkissian

This scene from Glee's season two episode, "Never Been Kissed," featured the first appearance of Blaine Anderson (thereafter a series regular), who becomes the second openly out gay character on the series and love interest for Kurt Hummel. His appearance and performance here mark many important milestones for the show.

First, it introduces the Warblers, the competing a cappella group from rival school Walton Academy (where Blaine attends). Warbler performances hereafter become a recurring event on the show and offer much in the way of homosocial, homoerotic, and often subversive subtexts (see performance of "Raise Your Glass" in season two, episode sixteen, "Original Song").  

Blaine Anderson and the Warblers also became an instant hit with the show's fans and consumers as this performance of "Teenage Dream" became Glee's highest selling debut on iTunes by the day after its television airing.

But, perhaps most importantly, this performance established the series' first male-to-male love song serenade, if you will. Immediately after meeting in the halls of Walton Academy, Blaine brings Kurt to a room where he bursts into song and dance with his fellow Warblers, singing Katy Perry's "Teenage Dream." The mise en scène of the scene places the viewer in Kurt's subject position with Blaine's gaze unmistakably fixed/singing-to Kurt/the viewer.

The scene is doubly effective in capturing the delicate tension between emotional pain and pleasure that typically defines the queer youth condition as it takes place shortly after Kurt was assaulted and inadvertently kissed by the bully at McKinnley High and now seeking emotional refuge in the open and friendly (eventually romantic) comfort of mentor-model-like Blaine.

See also Roxanne Samer's take on the scene here:

Glee: Teenage Dream

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Blaine Anderson (Darren Criss) performing "Teenage Dream" on "Never Been Kissed," the sixth episode of Glee's second season.

from Glee (2010)
Creator: Ryan Murphy (creator), Brad Falchuk (writer), Bradley Buecker (director)
Posted by Raffi Sarkissian