Season 4 Moments We Got the Most Thinky About
This is the start of a little series I’m putting together, thinking back to all the conversation we’d generated out here during season 4. Maybe there’s something new to add on to these moments and themes, now that the season is over …
First Up: Images of Childhood
There are other images to add to this set, from the cups used in “It’s Time” to all the cosplay, and even the new New Direction’s penchant for freeform choreography where the gang is spinning, running, and simply having fun. Growing up—and in particular the divide between the kids in Lima versus the “adults” in New York was a huge season 4 theme.
That said, we found that at times, the adults in New York had a lot of learning left to do, and the kids in Lima handled a lot of their drama with great maturity.
Too, there was a lot to think about regarding the idea of being childlike (as Blaine so often was) versus being childish, which raises some questions about what maturity even means and how the various characters might define that term. Creative play, for instance, is seen most often in a healthy light and stands in contrast to so-called moments of “mature, adult conversations.” The only exception to that might be Finn and Puck’s college “play.” For Puck, it’s definitely play, but for Finn, it seems more like a place to hide from his fear of moving forward with his goals.
Kurt also got to come back and be childlike in “You Are the Sunshine of My Life.” None of the other graduates really did, though, did they? Mercedes and Mike were back for “work,” and Rachel didn’t have any childlike moments (though I’d say she had some childish ones, particularly in Diva. Neither Quinn nor Santana got to do anything particularly childlike, so far as I remember.
Oh I love that observation about Kurt! Yes, and we talked about that so much—he was SO playful! And that’s after a season of more or less taking that same line as Rachel often did about being a mature adult. That he could play like that, so freely, is really significant.
And right about the others … all work and no play I guess.
Oh, but Santana did get to play! She got her girlfriend pillow and then she had pigtails and danced around with Kurt and Rachel and hula hoops for “Mamma Mia” and that was a thing of immense beauty.
Even for Rachel, this was a remarkably relaxed and silly moment (although she still kept up way more of her adult facade than any of the other two). Rachel’s biggest “return to childhood” moment for me this season was “Torn,” after which she integrated the younger, “uncool” part of herself a little more into her adult persona. Still, I’m wondering if she ever actually HAD a truly childlike time in her life, because all we ever hear of her childhood is dance classes, competitions and schooling herself to be Barbra Streisand. So I’m not very surprised that she doesn’t seem to know how to play (= act childlike). However, she has been the most childish of the graduates (with the possible exception of Finn) with her refusal to do any actual work and to own up to her mistakes and learn from them.
Finn actually doesn’t do anything BUT play.
Puck plays hard and then switches back to being a responsible, if slightly wacky, adult.
Quinn got to play during her one-night-stand with Santana, although this wasn’t childlike play in any way.
The only ones of the graduates whom I really didn’t see play at all were Mercedes and Mike (but I’d be okay with counting Mike’s dancing at least as part play, just because he seems to have so much fun doing it).
Yay! Reblogging because of more examples—I’d forgotten about how much Santana, Rachel and Kurt had with “Mamma Mia” (and so did New Directions in that number, but they did that a lot in their performances anyway). And interesting comments on Rachel, too.
Great discussion! I also thought Kurt’s outfit’s after his Dad’s appointment in Wonder-ful were very playful, as well as his attitude when singing. Mike, Mercedes, Kurt and even Will were all very playful when they joined ‘For Once In My Life’. Although Kurt and Blaine’s gallop across the stage possibly the most playful.
I’d agree Rachel does not really have these childlike play moments ever, even if she bought her clothes from Kids R Us. Oh wait! Much as it was flirty, the whole ice cream and running around NYC with Brody thing had a large childlike fun element.
I would argue Finn’s against Finn doing nothing but play. His time as sole leader of ND was not just him playing, he generally took the role very seriously; even when dressed as The Almighty Treble Clef it was about him taking his role as an adult seriously and responding.
I need to revise what I said about Finn because I agree that he was trying hard to be super grown-up as the leader of ND (mostly by imitating Will, who really isn’t the greatest role model for an adult, especially not when you have Burt Hummel right at home in your living room). I still think, however, that he never really grasped what adulthood and/or being a teacher really means, so sadly he was best as a teacher the more he got out of the way.
His seriousness in Season 4 was a lot like Rachel’s, who also overreached and tried to embody her IDEA of an adult woman rather than actually behaving like one (her role models for “an adult woman” seem to have been Cassandra, whose style of dress she appropriated, the version of Barbra Streisand that lives in Rachel’s head - note the tokens to symbolize relationship success along with career success during Rachel’s fangirl narration-, and anything that young!Rachel from “Torn” was NOT: “uncool,” insecure, inexperienced, sexually shy).
When Finn joined the army, when he beat up Brody, when he did his “endgame” speech for Rachel in “I Do,” and every time he tried to be either his dad 2.0 or Will 2.0, he was acting out his IDEA of an adult man, all of which made him seem anything but. And when Will abandoned him for kissing Emma, Finn signed up for college, only to let all his constructions of adulthood break down, and to let go of any and all responsibility he ever had (including responsibility for himself).
I probably could make a similar argument for him as I made for Rachel: he never really got to be an actual kid because he felt responsible to “be the man in the house” for his mother and because he got pushed into a leadership role over and over again by teachers and peers alike, whether he wanted that role or was good at it or not, simply because he looked the part. So he started believing that this was who he was supposed to be.
In summary, Finn only started doing nothing BUT play when he started college. And perhaps that will turn out to be a necessary phase for him to have gone through since he hasn’t been able to let go of all expectations so much ever before. We’ll see where we find him in Season 5 and how that story continues then.