Season 2 Episode 18

Born This Way

Aired Friday 8:00 PM Apr 26, 2011 on FOX
out of 10
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356 votes

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Episode Summary

This special 90 minute episode features a tribute to Lady Gaga's "Born This Way" after Will sees the gang struggling with self-esteem and body issues.

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  • It doesn't matter if you're Lebanese or Lesbian...

    First off, let me say I tuned in at possibly the worst time of last night's episode – the scene where Karofsky is insincerely apologizing to the Glee Club – and I assumed the worst. This storyline has been dragged on for far too long and I can only stand so much before I want to fast-forward through it (but don't since I review shows in their entirety). I feared the episode's extended running time would affect the overall quality (say by devoting too much time to characters very few people care about). I will say this though, while Glee has certainly tried to preach the importance of self-acceptance before, this episode, bar none, did the best job of addressing it thus far.

    After taking a blow to the nose during practice, Rachel is escorted to the doctor by Finn, whose convulsive dance moves were accountable for the accident. The Otolaryngologist (yes I did have to Google what a nose doctor was called) ends up suggesting this is an opportune time for Rachel to get a nose job, since all the Jewish girls her age are doing it – advice that would probably result in an actual doctor's medical license being revoked, and possibly a lawsuit. This egregious guidance shakes Rachel's self-image and eventually leads the Glee Club to have another week dedicated to the importance of individuality. (I'm trying very hard not to overuse the term "self-acceptance", but I'm about as committed to this as Will and Emma are to avoiding the word "really".)

    Santana's placement in the episode felt a little too convenient. Allow me to explain…while I'm usually all for her voiceovers, she felt more like she was advancing the plot as a cog in the machine, not an actual character. I guess you could argue her sticking up for Blaine and Kurt last week warranted her visit with them at the restaurant, but to me it was simply a way for her to set the ball in motion for Kurt to come back to McKinley High.

    Also wildy out of place was Quinn at the ENT's office. I don't know why she would agree to come with Rachel, unless she was that desperate for prom queen votes, but it did lead to the best number of the night. It was slightly saccharine and the line "you can fix your nose if you say so" was too on the nose (for lack of better term), but "Unpretty/I Feel Pretty" was by far one of the show's greatest mash-ups and possibly Dianna Agron's best vocal to date.

    I've never been a huge fan of Finn (his vanilla character or his nondescript vocals) but I thought "I Gotta Be Me" was a nice change of pace. Maybe Corey Monteith wanted to make the most of his screen time since he's been given less numbers since Darren Criss' arrival, but the jazzy arrangement of the song suited him surprisingly well – I see a Puck & Finn collaboration in the works (and no, not another funk number).

    Speaking of Blaine, he and the Warblers performed their swan song "Somewhere Only We Know" to Kurt upon his return to McKinley. I still think Criss has a tendency to chew scenery when he performs but since it was played like a goodbye between his character and Kurt, it was a little more understandable given the circumstances. Judging from the recent music release featuring the Warblers, I have a feeling the singing group will be around for a little longer, but this number would've been a good way to go out.

    Kurt's cover of "We Never Said Goodbye" had perhaps the strongest connection to the scene it played in (Kurt walking the halls of his former school). I'm sure it was a dream come true for Chris Colfer, as he got to sing a Streisand number by himself for the first time, and his joyful demeanor throughout it made the song that much more enjoyable. I bet he also didn't mind dancing and singing along to Duck Sauce's dumb yet catchy "Barbara Streisand" but I won't complain if it starts a flash mob dance at the Ohio Outlet Mall once more – now I feel like watching the Brady Bunch storm Sears on Youtube.

    And of course, we have the requisite Lady Gaga number for which the episode is titled. When comparing it to previous songs the show has covered by the artist, I'd rank "Born This Way" above "Poker Face" and the very brief "Telephone" but slightly below "Bad Romance" – mostly because it didn't showcase as many vocalists and I was disappointed by Santana's exclusion from it (she killed in "Bad Romance", after all). The shirts were a fun way to inject some humor into the proceedings, but Tina's insecurity about her eyes felt half-baked since it's never been addressed before. For me, Tina has always been the preachiest member of the group and I thought they might poke fun at this instead.

    Lately, I've been trying to write Lauren Zizes' plotlines off as "intended-to-be-funny but a little mean-spirited" (that's the best way I can describe it), but now I find her unwatchable. I'll admit, I thought the inclusion of her in Regionals and in the following episodes would bring a new energy to the club, and it did for a while, but now she's become someone with very few redeeming qualities. I wrote something similar about Quinn a couple episodes back, but she's undergone a bit of a role reversal since then. I'm glad Lauren apologized for her actions before the episode came to an end, but I'm growing weary of her rotten attitude. To her credit, she did concede to having one on her shirt during the last performance and the first step is admitting you have a problem.

    Episode Highlights:

    Santana on Fire - Arguably the two best quotes of the night were uttered by a one Ms. Lopez. "Only straight I am is straight-up b*tch" and "Legend has it when I came out of my mother I told the nurse she was fat" were comic gold.

    Brittany's Attempt at Spelling Lesbian – Alright, I realize these episode highlights are now the sections where I praise only Santana and Brittany so I promise to mention someone new next week. But I have to give special mention to Brit-Brit for trying to help her friend out in her typical clueless and endearing fashion.

    Emma's Therapy Session – This could've been a throwaway celebrity cameo but thankfully the actress that played her (Katleen Quinlan) came off as a very realistic psychiatrist. Jayma Mays was equally believable and praiseworthy in the scene, and it stood out as the episodes' most accurate depiction of someone struggling to overcome a personal deficiency.

    This is usually the part where I ramble on about future episodes but since my TV is on the fritz, I've had to rely on Hulu which doesn't seem to include previews for next week. I guess I'll have to live in suspense until then, but I have a feeling if April & Jesse are slated to return one of them might appear at the beginning of May Sweeps.

    Note: I'm almost tempted to rate this as a 9 but since the Karofsky story took up airtime that could've gone to Sue I'll score it an 8.5. Here's a link to that Brady reference if you had no idea was I was talking about earlier…
  • Please get rid of Lauren Zizes, sooner than now.

    (There are spoilers in this.)

    First off this did not need to be ninety minutes. This is another Glee episode where you can tell where they're trying to go with it but they go about it the wrong way. This episode had way too much preaching and inconsistency. For starters:

    Santana. I mean I get what she's trying to do but wasn't she going out with Sam? Two episodes ago they were still going out and she wrote him a song called trouty mouth and the last episode he was in it for like two seconds so they didn't touch on it but when she told Karofsky they should date wasn't she still technically dating Sam? Her moment with Brittany was sweet when Brittany gave her the lebanese (lesbian) shirt.

    Quinn/Lauren. This was my main problem with this episode. Lauren Zizes was okay when she was just the AV girl but now that she's in the glee club she exists for two reasons: so Puck can have a girlfriend and to screw with the main character's lives. She's like Sue in the glee club. She made Mercedes into an obnoxious diva last episode and this one she made it her mission to take down Quinn. And then there's that. I thought that was the stupidest plot they could've come up with for Quinn to really be Lucy. I mean if they wanted to make her previously fat that's understandable but to change her name? That's a soap opera plot that doesn't belong on Glee. That just felt like a cop out.

    Lack of Sue. I mean while I thought the league of Sue-per villains last ep was stupid, Sue exists to be in an episode about self-acceptence! I mean a 90 minute episode where Sue isn't there to be tearing down the kids for the things about themselves they hate? If Sue was in this episode that would've eliminated like three stupid plots right there.

    This episode had a good message but was way too long and went about it the wrong way. On the plus side Kurt is back at McKinley. That's good at least.moreless
  • 90 minute long episode!

    After last week's very sub-par episode, we get an extended episode of Glee that actually does a better job getting back into the groove of Season 1 and those classic episodes instead of the new episodes the show has been doing. Of course, there was good and bad with the episode, but for the most part, the good outweighed the bad.

    What didn't work for me was Kurt's return. Okay, scratch that.. part of his return worked for me. I liked the send-off that the Warblers gave him, but I didn't enjoy the second song that came after the commercial where they allowed Kurt to sing yet another song that welcomed him back into the school. Yes, I've wanted more Kurt in the show, but not to the extent where they drive it into our skulls.

    But I really liked everything else. The way the plot involving Kurt and Karovsky came full circle was great, and I actually really enjoy the idea of Santana using Karovsky as a front for both of them being gay Sure, it's wrong, but it gives everyone a chance to get back together again and let this bullying plot get behind us.

    I also sort of liked the theme of the episode this time around.. with all the relationship drama going around, it was nice for the characters to take a second and forget about all that crap and focus on themselves. I'm not the biggest fan of the Lady Gaga song, but I thought the cast did, as usual, a good job with it.

    It's been a bit since I've seen the episode, so I'm a little vague right now.. but overall, it was a pretty good episode.moreless
  • Loved it

    Such a good contrast to A Night of Neglect. I really loved everyone in this episode, and really found my love for Glee at its highest in a long time. Rachel was funny, and Finn's dancing was wonderfully terrible. Some great songs too, really enjoyed Born This Way (obviously) and some great humour from Santana and Britney and the shirts and things. LOVED everyone's t-shirts apart from Mercedes' cos I thought it was going to be about her weight, but it was about her hair? Hmmm confusing. Anyway, wonderful ep, LOVED IT :)moreless
  • I would enjoy the episode more if the writers would actual showcase the lesson they were trying to shove down our throats for the last hour and a half.

    Watching this hour of television was like being in an hour long lecture drug free lecture, where the instructor is telling you "drugs are bad" while snorting some coke off his desk. I like Glee, I really do and the after school leasons are good as long as they are clear. This episode moral lesson is clear, "Be yourself and be proud", it is a lesson the show writers have got after listening to Lady Gaga's "Born this Way" a song that was a dissappointment within itself. It was loud (like this episode), upbeat (like this episode) and sometimes hypocritical (like Gaga using the word retard in a published interview). I appreciate the lesson, I enjoyed the Rachal Berry storyline about getting a nose job especially with the whole entire Tinsle Town getting plastic surgery. The problem is, the show makes jokes out of the exact things this episode told us to accept about these characters. Puck's comments about making out with jewish girls and their noses poking him in the eye was suppose to be a speech that would stop Rachal from getting nose surgery and have a little laugh about it. Same thing about Britney stupidity which is always played for laughs, (she can't spell lesbian) and even the anti bullying organization was played for laughs. It is okay to have preachy lessons and episodes like this but the show needs to learn how to spilt it's serious lessons from it's funny jokes. I am happy the kids learned to accept themselves for who they are but couldn't they also learn to stop making fun of people for being who they want (or are born) to be. What would really have made this episode great would be if it was shorter, and it didn't make jokes on behalf of Quinn being fat, Rachal having a big nose, Britney being stupid, Ms. P. OCD, and etc. Talk about these insecurites, don't laugh about them. You may disagree with me after you first read this but just think about it, is this episode not being a little hypocritical. I know it need to make jokes about something but no one told them they had to make an episode about accepting physical apperences.moreless
Daniel Roebuck

Daniel Roebuck

Paul Karofsky

Guest Star

George Wyner

George Wyner

Plastic Surgeon

Guest Star

Kathleen Quinlan

Kathleen Quinlan

Dr. Shane

Guest Star

Iqbal Theba

Iqbal Theba

Principal Figgins

Recurring Role

Harry Shum Jr.

Harry Shum Jr.

Mike Chang

Recurring Role

Chord Overstreet

Chord Overstreet

Sam Evans

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (3)

    • In the scene where Karofsky apologize, for bullying Kurt and Santana joins him to share the news that they are a couple, it appears she is still sitting behind Mercedes in the next shot.

    • Music Featured in this Episode:
      "Unpretty" by TLC/"I Feel Pretty" from West Side Story)
      "I Gotta Be Me" by Sammy Davis Jr.
      "Somewhere Only We Know" by Keane
      "As If We Never Said Goodbye" from Sunset Boulevard
      "Barbra Streisand" by Duck Sauce
      "Born This Way" by Lady Gaga

    • The t-shirts worn by the Glee characters during the "Born This Way" performance had the following text:

      Kurt: LIKES BOYS
      Mercedes: NO WEAVE!
      Mike: CAN'T SING
      Finn: CAN'T DANCE
      Artie: FOUR EYES
      Puck: I'M WITH STUPID ↓
      Tina: BROWN EYES
      Quinn: LUCY CABOOSEY
      Lauren: BAD ATTITUDE
      Brittany: ↑ I'M WITH STOOPID
      Rachel: NOSE
      Emma: OCD
      Will: BUTT CHIN
      Santana: LEBANESE

  • QUOTES (10)

    • Rachel: Why did you bring me here?
      Puck: To talk some sense into you. You won't listen to me, you won't listen to Finn-
      : But you will listen to Barbra Streisand.
      Rachel: Barbra? Is she here?!
      Kurt: No, this is a mall in Ohio.

    • Santana: Why don't you just settle down and let Auntie Tannie tell you a little story. It's about you. You're what we call a late-in-life gay. You're going to stay in the closet, get married, get drunk so you can have sex with your wife, have a couple kids, maybe become a senator or a deacon. And then get caught in the men's room tapping your foot with some page. And you know what? I accept that about you.
      Karofsky: Why are you doing this?
      Santana: Because I need you. And you need me. We play on the same team.
      Karofsky: You're-
      Santana: Look, I'm not ready to start eating jicama or get a flat top yet, either. Maybe in junior college.
      Karofsky: This is garbage! I'm not gay!
      Santana: I'm trying to help you out here! Have you ever heard of the term beards? It's when a gay man and woman date each other to hide the fact they're gay. Like the Roosevelts. So you and I are going to be each other's beards, and we're going to win prom king and queen and rule the school.
      Karofsky: And what if I say no?
      Santana: Then I'll tell everyone about you and your life will be over. The only straight I am is straight up bitch. You in or not?

    • Santana: (to Finn) Oh, please, you have weird puffy pyramid nipples. They look like they're filled with custard, you could dust them with powdered sugar and they could pass for some sort of dessert.

    • Santana: Legend has it that when I came out of my mother I told the nurse she was fat.

    • Rachel: Are you suggesting I get a nose job?
      Doctor: You're sixteen right? That's when I gave my daughters theirs. It's like a rite of passage for Jewish girls.

    • Santana: I'm sure that Sam has been to the doctor's office and rifled through pamphlets on mouth reductions.

    • Santana: You really need to be more careful with your leering.
      Karofsky: I was just checking out what kind of jeans he was wearing.
      Santana: Like that's any less gay.

    • Kurt: (to Dave) I don't believe in denying who you are, but I don't believe in outing either.

    • Santana: I hear Rachel's got a bit of a schnoz. I wouldn't know since, like Medusa, I try to avoid eye contact with her.

    • Quinn: I respect you. I had to get a nose job and go on a crazy diet to walk around this school like I own it and you just do it.
      Lauren: I have to admit. I have considered going blonde.

  • NOTES (2)

    • International Episode Titles:
      Czech Republic: Takoví jsme se narodili (We Were Born This Way)

    • Original International Air Dates:
      Canada: April 26, 2011 on Global
      New Zealand: May 2, 2011 on TV3
      United Kingdom: May 9, 2011 on E4/E4 HD
      Australia: May 10, 2011 on Channel Ten
      Sweden: May 18, 2011 on TV11
      Czech Republic: December 17, 2011 on Prima LOVE
      Slovakia: January 22, 2012 on JOJ