This week on Glee, Kurt befriends another gay teen, stands up to a homophobic bully, and shares a shocking same-sex kiss...but not with the dude we were hoping for.
In "Never Been Kissed," we learn Kurt is still being shoved into lockers by a guy named Dave Karofsky, previously known as half of McKinley High's most stereotypical pair of bullies. Schue sees Kurt being harassed, but rather than disciplining Dave, he calls Kurt into his office and offers him a stiff drink.
(Or maybe it's water and I've been watching too much Mad Men.) Schue says he's noticed that the bullying has been getting to him, and Kurt informs him that,
You like everyone else at this school are too quick to let homophobia slide...And your lesson plans are boring and repetitive."
After learning that New Directions will be competing against the Dalton Academy Warblers and another glee club consisting of adorable old people getting their GEDs (cue the Betty White guest spot), Kurt decides to scope out their rivals.
At Dalton, everyone's rushing into the common room for a Warblers performance. A student named Blaine explains glee clubbers are considered "rockstars" at Dalton. Blaine's cut his hair since we first learned he'd been cast as Kurt's love interest, and he looks totally adorable. He takes Kurt's hand, and they skip in slow-motion down the stately halls of the Dalton Academy. Being wealthy is so much fun! But despite what the tabloids say, the rich are not "just like us" — for Dalton boys, an a cappella performance of Katy Perry's "Teenage Dream" calls for fist-pumping.
Later, three Dalton guys confront Kurt about spying, and Blaine casually reveals that he's gay.
Since Kurt can't afford to transfer to the utopia that is private school, Blaine advises Kurt to stand up for himself when he's taunted for being gay.
When Dave hits Kurt again, he chases him into the locker room and as he's schooling him on homophobia, Dave kisses him.
Up to this point, Dave has been one of the most one-dimensional characters on the show, and it seems unrealistic to suggest most generic bully types are only homophobic because they're unsure of their own sexuality. However, in a New York Times interview about the episode, creator Ryan Murphy says he based Dave's character on a real person,
Somebody who regularly and routinely beat up other gay kids and called them [slurs] and hit them, and the truth of the matter is, he came out of the closet in his 20s and had to get himself to a psychiatrist to deal with the hell he put so many people through because of his own issues. I will say that's not the only bully or homophobic character that will arise from that storyline this season.
Murphy adds that there will be other characters who pick on Kurt simply because they're bigoted, not "because of their own secret, sad agenda."
As for Dave, Blaine and Kurt try to talk to him about being gay, and he reacts the only way he knows how: by shoving Blaine into a fence. Kurt pushes him off of Blaine, who's unfazed and jokes, "Well, he's not coming out any time soon." Kurt confesses to Blaine that he's upset because, "Up until yesterday I had never been kissed. Or at least, one that counted." Technically this is Kurt's first gay kiss, but isn't a peck from your homophobic tormentor just as meaningless as making out with Brittany?
On the topic of disturbing make-out sessions, in this episode's B-plot the boys of New Directions unintentionally bully Coach Beist when they start picturing her in lingerie as a way to "cool down" while making out with their chaste girlfriends.
Will lectures the kids about making fun of another outsider and says Beist can never find out, though he winds up telling her himself in the very next scene. She confesses to Will that the boys mocking her is especially hurtful because she's never even been kissed and, "Deep down inside where no one can see, I'm just a girl. Am I nuts that I just want to be reminded of that sometimes?"
Will tells her he thinks she's beautiful "inside and out" (but not like, beautiful enough to date) and tries to heal her with his magic kiss. She quits anyway, but agrees to stay after the boys perform a medley of The Supremes' "Stop! In The Name Of Love" and En Vogue's "Free Your Mind."
But the power of song can't save everyone. At the end of the episode, Dave shoves Kurt again. But now rather than facing homophobia alone, Kurt can draw strength from the not-creepy-at-all shrine to his new BFF, which includes a framed photo and magazine collage of the word "courage."