Gospel According to Glee – 40 Days at McKinley High
Day 20 – Thursday after 3rd Sunday of Lent
To Read: (Series 2 Episode 18)
[ During a dance practice FINN smacks RACHEL in the nose with his arm; She falls to the ground holding her bleeding nose. They visit the Doctor together]
RACHEL: Won’t Quinn be mad at you sitting vigil at my bedside?
FINN: Well, I’m standing, and-and she’d understand how awful I feel even if it’s not broken.
[Enter DOCTOR with an X-ray]
DOCTOR: It’s broken.
FINN: Well, I knew I was a bad dancer, but I never thought my dancing was dangerous.
DOCTOR: It’s a clean break, so I-I won’t have to set it. Considering your deviated septum, I’d consider this a terrific opportunity for a little vanity adjustment.
RACHEL: Are you suggesting that I get a nose job?
DOCTOR: You’re 16, right? That’s when I gave my daughters theirs. It’s like a rite of passage for Jewish girls.
RACHEL: First of all, I like how I look. Okay, and second of all, I don’t want to do anything that’s going to affect my voice. My Broadway career depends on it.
FINN: Yeah, we got a big show choir competition coming up, and Rachel’s kind of our best singer.
DOCTOR: Doesn’t impact the voice. That’s just a myth. The fact is, opening up that septum might allow you to take in more air per breath, which means bigger belts on your high notes.
RACHEL: But Barbra… [Streisand]
DOCTOR: Is great. She’s also one in a million. The fact is, if you really want to be an actress, you might want to consider looking and sounding the best that you can. I got an appointment open next week. Can I sign you up?
[Cut to New Directions and WILL in the choir room; RACHEL is standing in the front]
QUINN: Oh my God, you’re getting a nose job.
RACHEL: I’m…considering having a minor procedure to repair my deviated septum.
SANTANA: So, a nose job.
RACHEL: Look, I’m… I’m happy with the way that I look, okay? And I’ve embraced my nose. But let’s say I wanted to have a slightly more demure nose. Like Quinn’s, for example. I-I would never change my appearance for vanity, but, I mean, the doctor said that it could possibly improve my talent, which would help us all for Nationals.
WILL: Possibly? What about the risks? Your voice is amazing as is, Rachel.
SANTANA: Hold up. Could we all just get real here for a second? I hear that Rachel’s got a bit of a schnoz. I mean, I wouldn’t know because, like Medusa, I try to avoid eye contact with her. But can we all just stop lying about how there aren’t things that we wouldn’t change about ourselves? I mean, I’m sure that Sam’s been at the doctor’s office and rifled through pamphlets on mouth reduction. I’ll bet Artie’s thought about getting his legs removed since he’s not really using them anyways. And I’m definitely sure that Tina’s looked into getting an eye de-slanting.
TINA: That’s extraordinarily racist.
SANTANA: I’m keepin’ it real.
TINA: Sorry, Santana. I’m a beautiful person. I’m in love with myself, and I would never change a thing.
‘I Feel Pretty/Unpretty’ a mash-up sung by Quinn and Rachel
Original Artists: I Feel Pretty – Natalie Wood, Unpretty – TLC
From the Scriptures:
I am black and beautiful,
O daughters of Jerusalem,
like the tents of Kedar,
like the curtains of Solomon.
6 Do not gaze at me because I am dark, because the sun has gazed on me.
My mother’s sons were angry with me;
they made me keeper of the vineyards, but my own vineyard I have not kept!
7 Tell me, you whom my soul loves, where you pasture your flock,
where you make it lie down at noon;
for why should I be like one who is veiled beside the flocks of your companions?
(Song of Songs 1v5-7)
You can buy your hair if it won’t grow
You can fix your nose if he says so
You can buy all the make-up that MAC can make
But if you can’t look inside you
Find out who am I too
Be in a position to make me feel so damn unpretty
They say ‘Beauty is in the eye of the Beholder’ but then also ‘Happiness is an Inside Job’. It is very difficult to be comfortable with being ‘me’ when being accepted by others so often depends on ‘me’ become someone else.
The modern beauty industry is founded on the premise that we all want to be someone other than who we are and provides plenty of reasons why we should change. Rachel is tempted to get a nose job so that she may look a little more like Quinn and be more attractive to Finn. She tries to justify this by saying that it will improve her singing and the team’s chances of winning. Yet at the same time Puck and Kurt counsel her to leave her nose as it is since a ‘nose job’ would be to deny her Jewish heritage.
In the end she does not have the surgery and in today’s song we are left with the feeling that both she and make-up perfect Quinn are still uncomfortable in their own skin. (There is a remedy for this at the end of the episode which will be in tomorrow’s reflection).
We are who we are and if we try to set some sort of gold standard for pulchritude – and a recent sermon by an American preacher would suggest that this is God’s will for women (!) – we will forever be failing in self- acceptance and our only achievement will be to enrich the pockets of beauticians and plastic surgeons.
This is not to say that make-up and plastic surgery is not necessary. For many people it is literally life-saving and only after a procedure do they stand any chance of becoming who they are. Reconstructive surgery is a godsend to those who have had life changing injuries, are born with disabilities, or who have had cancers removed. The aim of all of these procedures though is not to help the patient become someone different but to become who they are.
For the Christian our identity, so wonderfully varied and different, is not determined by the opinion of others but in our Beloved’s declaration over our first parents;
God saw everything that he had made, and indeed, it was very good. (Genesis 1v31)
How could it be anything else since we are, with all our glorious variety, made in the image of God?
Happiness is indeed an ‘inside job’ for when we learn to find happiness then we accept our own beauty and are set free to find the image and beauty of our Beloved in those around us. Even if they have, like Rachel and me, a big schnoz.
The question for each man to settle
is not what he would do if he had means,
time, influence and educational advantages;
the question is what he will do with the things he has.
The moment a young man ceases to dream
or to bemoan his lack of opportunities
and resolutely looks his conditions in the face,
and resolves to change them,
he lays the corner-stone of a solid and honourable success.
(Hamilton Wright Mabie)
- Tell someone they are beautiful.
- Tell yourself you are beautiful.
Reprise: Click here to watch the original version of today’s songs
I Feel Pretty – Natalie Wood
Please Note: These reflections are also published on my blog: www.suffolkvicarhomes.com, on Twitter as @SuffolkVicar, and on my public Facebook page Rev Andrew Dotchin
Prayers from ‘Prayers for Hard Times’ are copyright © Becca Anderson 2017
Scripture quotations are copyright © New Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicized Edition, copyright 1989, 1995, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
Transcripts of Glee Episodes were made with thanks to gleetranscripts.tumblr.com
These Reflections, ‘ ‘Gospel According to Glee’ are copyright © Andrew Dotchin 2021 and may be reproduced without charge on condition that the source is acknowledged.