Mike O'Malley (left) is a Boston native and a huge Sox fan - he emcees things like the Hot Stove, Cool Music concerts - so this is HubArts-related. The guy deserves a shout-out for one great scene last night in "Glee's" Lady Gaga-centric episode "Theatricality," so we're going to give it to him.
Fox's "Glee" is a fun show, though I get tired of its relentless fabulousness - everyone is always having a moment, and the high-school kids' let's-put-on-a-show inspirations keep turning into these giant, Oscar-night-worthy production spectaculars. But Jane Lynch as psycho cheerleading coach Sue Sylvester is pretty much a must-see, and the actors who play the kids are mostly very good. It's hard not to root for Chris Colfer, who plays the just-out-of-the-closet Kurt; not long ago Colfer was a gay high school kid getting a hard time from his peers, and now he plays one on TV, with flair. That's him below, in full Gaga getup.
O'Malley plays Burt, Kurt's father, a blue-collar widower who accepts who his kid is, but isn't always perfect. In a recent episode, Kurt was hurt when Burt (sorry) showed up unexpectedly at school - but only to take Finn to a ballgame. Finn, played by Cory Monteith (bottom left), is emphatically straight, a big jock who's trying to be a better dude since he accepted his own singing and dancing side and joined the Glee gang. Lately Burt has started dating Finn's widowed mom, and Burt was trying to bond with Finn, but also maybe just a little too glad to have a jocky kid to take to ballgames and such. You following?
So last night, it turns out that the thing between the parents is serious - they're moving in together. And Finn is not cool with it. Not cool with mom knocking boots with Burt? Maybe. Not cool with the idea of bunking in with Kurt? Definitely. So Kurt, who has a crush on Finn, tries to make him comfortable by re-decorating their basement quarters...like a Morroccan harem from the 30s. Or something. I mean...whew. And Finn finally loses it.
Now this is where a less well-written show would have him learning some easy lesson about tolerance, or maybe admitting it's just the mom thing. But, uh, no. He comes right out with it. He knows why Kurt is excited about him moving in, and he calls him on it. "You think I don't see the way you stare at me?" he says. It's a supremely uncomfortable moment, and Kurt crumbles, eyes welling up, exposed and humiliated. But Finn is freaked too, probably for a combination of reasons, including the fact that being a better dude isn't easy. And he starts raging against the "faggy" decor.
And that's where O'Malley comes in. Hearing the F word shouted, Burt enters, infuriated but in control, and blisters Finn's ears with a speech about why the word is wrong, and how he used to say it himself the same way Finn says it, and he knows what it means, and he's not going to hear it spoken to his son that way. And Finn is entitled to believe what he wants out in the world, but not in Burt's house. And Finn can't answer, he leaves without a word. It's less than a minute of acting by O'Malley, but it's terrific. It looks like authentic living, a guy who has crossed a line and isn't going back behind it.
Of course "Glee" always has to go over the top, so the writers fuck it up with a scene at the end where Finn dons major Gaga drag himself and sides with Kurt against some other jock bullies. It's way too on-the-nose, too much a moment, and totally "Glee." But in that basement scene, all three guys did some real acting, especially O'Malley. After that it was just a matter of mopping up and giving "Glee" loyalists their weekly tear duct hose-out.
O'Malley was funny in a gonzo supporting bit on "My Name Is Earl," and his laconic line delivery was the only thing worth saving in the terrible sitcom "Yes, Dear," which somehow ran for five season. His own show lasted a whole two episodes back in 1999. He's been very good as Burt, in what's really a straight acting role, and he just killed it last night in the most dramatic scene I've ever seen on "Glee."
You can watch the episode here (after the ad), and if you just want to see the scene in question, fast-forward to 25:17.
This blog will now resume not thinking about Lady Gaga at all.#