Glee: Can Kitty Be Fixed? We Take a Closer Look at This Season's New Villain
Melissa Benoist, Becca Tobin
Sure, that headline may sound most reminiscent of Bob Barker's famous parting line on The Price is Right, but unfortunately, we're talking about a much bigger issue than having the feline population spayed or neutered. Ever since Glee returned for its fourth season in September, there's been a new bully sending fear into the hearts of New Direction members — and pretty much all McKinley outcasts. But while Coach Sue drew big laughs and critical acclaim as the sharp-tongued villain, the character of Kitty (Becca Tobin) is no laughing matter.
In her first episode alone, Kitty spewed insults of the racist, homophobic and elitist variety too evil to be funny. Sure, in Glee's heyday Coach Sue went nary an episode without berating the New Directioners, but at least 70 percent of her comments pertained to Will's excessive hair gel use. Same for Quinn, who at the height of her hate for Finn-stealing Rachel back in Season 1, only went so far as to — gasp — call her "man hands" and tease her about the "tranny prom." In stark contrast, it's hard to laugh at someone lamenting that they can't have an all-white-person float at the homecoming parade or calling a handicapped student "gimpy."
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Like Coach Sue, Karofsky and so many others before her, it only seemed a matter of time before Kitty got her own dark and sympathetic backstory to humanize her. But seven episodes into Season 4, such an explanation for her evil ways is nowhere to be found. Last week, Kitty *appeared* to set aside her disdain for Marley and her "finger-licking, lard-loving, Gilbert Grape-looking mama" in the name of friendship. But after hearing Kitty rattle off different incarnations of the same fat joke at Marley for weeks and even turning Marley onto bulimia, it's hard not to think she doesn't have some super-secret evil scheme up her sleeve.
After all, what do we really know about Kitty? We know she says she used bulimia to stay skinny and that she is extremely religious — remember the whole rapture episode? But why was she so eager to ditch her jock posse and join glee club after Grease? To win back Jake? To get close to Marley? Simply for the attention? How are fans supposed to get invested in a girl, especially a mean one, they don't understand? It was nice to see Kitty act like a human being — like watching a dog walk on its hind legs — but is it too little, too late?
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Or the bigger question may be: Does Kitty need to be compassionate? Back in September, when a fan asked on Twitter when Kitty's "soft pitiful" side would be revealed, co-creator and executive producer Ryan Murphy said he wanted to keep her a villain. But even Coach Sue, the show's closest thing to a true Big Bad, has had her fair share of tearjerking moments, like her sister's death and the problems in her love life. And if Kitty is meant to stay bad, must fans be subjected to her singing instead of listening to the characters we're really invested in?
The show's other villain, Rachel's spiteful dance teacher, Cassandra July, has a semi-good reason behind her love for tearing down ingénues like Ms. Berry. And for all of her evil ways, Cassandra's super-tough love approach has been an important catalyst pushing Rachel to work harder, dream bigger and be sexier (peace out, reindeer sweater!). What has Kitty done, besides giving an innocent student an eating disorder?
We haven't lost hope for Kitty just yet, but turning her into a beloved — or even likable character — might just take a Christmas miracle.
Glee airs Thursdays at 9/8c on Fox. What do you think of Kitty so far? Do you think she makes a good villain? Or do you want to see her softer side?