A key plotline in this week's episode echoes an arc from the sitcom Ugly Betty. Why this is good news.
Warning: This post contains spoilers for both the May 10th episode of Glee and the final season of Ugly Betty.
On last night's episode of Glee, Kurt got a rude awakening: He realized his optimism that his classmates were becoming more accepting of his homosexuality was misguided. He attended his high school prom proudly with his date, Blaine, but his false hope came crashing down when it is announced that had been elected—with an overwhelming amount of write-in votes—Prom Queen.
It was one of those moments so jarringly heartbreaking that it makes a viewer catch their breath, Carrie 2011. Chris Colfer, the young actor who portrays Kurt, played the moment perfectly. Countless emotions pass on his face as he swings from "prom night euphoria" to "victim of cruelty." Kurt's glee club friends, who so ardently support him and fiercely defend him from bullying, surround him, and a camera pan of their reactions makes the scene even more devastating. Glee crafted the scene brilliantly. Is it because the show already had a road map?
The storyline and the way it was shot is extremely reminiscent of a moment in the final season of Ugly Betty, the ABC show that ran from 2006 to 2010. In an episode that aired in November 2009, Justin, a flamboyant teenager who marches unapologetically to his own drum—and is routinely bullied for it—attends his school's homecoming pep rally. Like Kurt was at prom, Justin is deliriously excited; he had helped choreograph the event's cheerleading routine and his family came to watch it. Justin thought he was fitting in, finally being accepted thanks to his cheerleading work. But, as with Kurt's plot, he was mistaken. The homecoming king and queen are crowned, and Justin is named queen.
The moment is filmed in very much the same way as last night's Glee. Played by Marc Indelicato, the look on Justin's face is crushing. To tug a little harder at the heart strings, he is flanked by his loving, equally hurt family—just as Kurt was in a crowd of New Directions members. When Kurt finally went to accept his crown, his big kiss-off line, "Eat your heart out, Kate Middleton," was very similar to Justin's quip: "I'd say off with your heads, but for some of you that might not matter."