By Jennifer Lund
This episode of Glee is entitled simply, “Sadie Hawkins”, referring to the dance of the same type. (For people who’ve managed to suppress unfortunate high school memories, the distinguishing feature of this kind of dance is that the girls have to ask the guys.) Picking up on this rather simplistic role reversal, all the TV Guide-esque descriptions of the episode emphasize the ‘female empowerment’ angle. After all, how positively liberating it must be in the 21st century for a girl to be able to ask a guy to a dance!
But the real focus in this episode wasn’t on “girl power”; after all, Artie accurately refers at the dance to all the “strong women who stuck their necks out” for dates. The real theme seems to be about learning how to like/love someone who may not feel the same way. It’s nerve-wracking to lay it on the line and find out how someone really feels about you, and most high school love is of the unrequited variety.
Tina, who suggested the dance in the first place, finds this out in spectacular fashion after the first musical number of the show. She’s been crushing on sad, sweet Blaine – who’s only half of the most shipped couple on network TV today. (Seriously, Google the word ‘Klaine’, and then have some brain bleach handy…) Blaine, unfortunately, is still stinging from his breakup with Kurt earlier in the season. He’s also crushing on someone he can’t have, and isn’t really in the mood to watch Sam dance with someone else. He initially turns her down, but they later agree to go as friends.
Marley has better luck with the object of her affection, even if she does need a little help from her friends to pull off the asking part. The best number of the night starts with Brittany breaking the 4th wall and telling Marley, “The music usually starts when I say something like ‘it’s Brittany, bitch’ or I do one of my magical turns.” With that, all the girls of New Directions are wearing amazing, frothy blue dresses and helping Marley serenade Jake into going to the dance with her. The number ends on a somewhat disturbing note, with Marley literally on her knees in front of Jake when she pops the question. But everything turns out better than expected, and Jake’s older brother Puck even runs interference to keep mean-girl Kitty from getting her claws into Jake.
Meanwhile, Kurt and Rachel are having their own romantic hiccups in New York. Rachel is busily throwing herself into what looks like a relationship with Brody, and Kurt’s trying to figure out where he fits in at NYADA. Since Rachel seems to have precious little time for him, he goes looking for extracurricular’s – and finds NYADA’s show choir, Adam’s Apples. Despite Rachel’s warning that joining will be professional and social suicide, Kurt finds a group that knows how to have fun, and a group leader who seems to be quite taken with him. The episode ends without explicitly revealing whether Kurt will join the Apples, but he does ask Adam out. (Note – anyone who loves ‘80s teen movies will adore Simple Minds’ “Alive and Kicking” playing while Lauren and Sugar and Kurt all put their hearts on the line. Somewhere, John Hughes is smiling.)
The final musical montage of the night sees Marley setting boundaries with Jake, and Rachel crossing some with Brody. Tina and Blaine still don’t know how to love their boys, but what else is high school for?