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Proud Mary Keep On Burnin'

On the auditorium stage, Artie's teaching the others how to execute a perfect series of double turns -- they've apparently found a replacement for Britney's wheelchair, by the way -- until Mr. Schuester calls for a break. The club members roll off the stage one by one until Artie's left alone with T-T-T-Tina, who shyly admits to how much she's grown to admire him over the last couple of months, especially since she's been bound to a chair of her own. "I had no idea how difficult this was." "It's just like you," he replies, "with your stutter -- you don't really notice it after a while." T-T-T-Tina looks guilty, then awkwardly asks Artie, "H-H-H-How did it happen?" She's referring, of course, to his disability, and we learn that when he was eight years old, he and his mother suffered through a terrible car accident. His mother recovered from her injuries, but poor Artie's been stuck in that chair ever since. "But," he adds, oh-so-suavely, "I want to be very clear: I still have the use of my penis." T-T-T-Tina b-b-b-blinks, and p-p-p-putters off. Artie's all, "STOOPID! I AM SO STOOPID!" and wheels off after her.

Back in the music room, Kurt labels the piano keys corresponding to the high C, D, E, and F, then slowly works his pipes up from one note to the next. Over at Hummel Tires & Lube -- and no, I am not kidding about the name -- Burt hears the phone ring, and excuses himself from a customer to go answer it. Just as Kurt triumphantly hits the F, Burt answers to hear the caller sneer, "Your son's a fag." Click. Instant dial tone. And while I'm standing here all, "Um. Yes...and?" Mr. Hummel's considerably more upset. Enraged, even. Color me emotionally calloused if you must, but if that so-called threat had taken the form of a brick through one of Haus Von Hummels' windows, or even if that exact sentence had been spray-painted across Hummel Tires & Lube, I'd be able to take it more seriously than I can now, when it's been delivered more as a statement of fact by some queeny-sounding anonymous who, for all we know, might just have been working up the nerve to ask Kurt out on a date. Hey, I don't know how the Lima gays go about these things. In any event, Burt's so rattled by the call that even a half an hour later, when Kurt finally shows up from school, he can't properly work the coffee machine. Kurt assumes responsibility for the caffeine while excitedly announcing his high-F triumph, but quickly groks to his father's mood, and wonders what gives. Mr. Hummel fills Kurt in on the phone call and, long story short, while Burt definitely doesn't want Kurt to walk away from something he loves as much as Glee Club, and while "no one pushes the Hummels around -- especially cowards on the phone," he also couldn't bear to see Kurt hurt. Flailing a bit, he wishes aloud that Kurt's mother were still around, as "she was better at handling this kind of thing," but he pulls himself back together to congratulate Kurt on the "Kool-Aid or the Hi-C or whatever" before wandering off. Kurt looks pensive. And a bit chastened, as well.

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