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This article is about Born This Way (Episode). You may be looking for the song of the same name.

Born This Way is the eighteenth episode of Glee's second season and the fortieth episode overall. It premiered on April 26, 2011 in the US, and ran for an extended length of ninety minutes (57 minutes without commercials).

As Nationals approaches, Rachel's nose injury causes her to consider nose reconstruction. This brings the rest of the group's insecurities to surface, and Will decides to take things into his own hands and makes it an assignment to sing about loving yourself for your insecurities and flaws. However, Quinn doesn't agree. She's hiding something and Lauren's determined to find out what. Meanwhile, Santana hatches a plan to get Brittany back that also involves getting Kurt to come back to McKinley, but the only person standing in the way is Karofsky.

The episode was directed by Alfonso Gomez-Rejon and written by Brad Falchuk.



During dance rehearsals for the upcoming nationals competition Glee Club co-captain Finn breaks other co-captain Rachel's nose, caused by his confident, but bad dancing. The doctor confirms this and also recommends elective rhinoplasty, and Rachel considers modeling her nose after Quinn's seemingly perfect nose. Quinn seems unfazed about this, looking excited saying that more people should ask to do this. The two share a mash-up duet of I Feel Pretty from West Side Story and Unpretty by TLC. Rachel and Quinn look a little upset by the end of the song.

Kurt Barbra.png

Both Finn and Rachel's friend Puck oppose her planned transformation. Puck tries to help her accept her nose as part of her Jewish heritage and recruits Kurt Hummel, who convinces her to look to her idol Barbra Streisand; someone who famously refused to succumb to pressure to surgically alter her nose. The three of them join the rest of New Directions and a mall flash mob in performing Duck Sauce's 'Barbra Streisand'. In the end, Rachel decides against going through with the surgery.

Santana uses Rachel's broken nose as a launching point to highlight the other group members' flaws. Aiming to help them achieve self-acceptance, Glee Club director Will Schuester urges them to embrace their perceived flaws by printing them on T-Shirts to be worn during a group performance of Lady Gaga's Born This Way. He also encourages school guidance counselor Emma Pillsbury to confront her OCD. She visits a therapist and admits to feeling ashamed of her condition. Though she is initially reluctant to be medicated, her therapist attempts to convince her that she can be helped and prescribes a low-dose SSRI which Emma takes, before emblazoning a T-Shirt with "OCD." In the Glee Club Finn sings I've Gotta Be Me with Mike.

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Santana, now a closeted lesbian, plans to run for school Prom Queen in the hope that she can win the love of her best friend Brittany. Already suspicious that something is up with popular jock Dave Karofsky after hearing him arguing with Kurt and Blaine over "the truth" in ‎A Night of Neglect, she realizes he is also in the closet after catching Karofsky checking out Sam's butt in the corridor and suggests that they become one another's beards. Santana devises a plan to enable Kurt's return to McKinley from his new school Dalton Academy, ostensibly to bolster the group's chance at Nationals but really to boost her own popularity in an attempt to be voted Prom Queen. She claims to rehabilitate Karofsky (by blackmail), who'd previously bullied Kurt out of the school and the pair begin an anti-bullying scheme, called the "Bully-Whips" . Karofsky issues an apology to Kurt at a group meeting involving Will, Principal Figgins and their respective fathers. Kurt proposes that they start a school PFLAG (Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays) club and rejoices in transferring back to McKinley.


Once Kurt transfers back to McKinley, everyone in the Glee Club warmly welcomes him. Kurt's boyfriend Blaine serenades him with a rendition of Keane's Somewhere Only We Know, backed by the Dalton Academy Glee Club, The Warblers, during the performance Kurt shares a few goodbyes with the other Warblers and receives a brotherly welcome back hug from Finn, once the song finishes Kurt and Blaine share a loving hug and Kurt whispers "I'm never saying goodbye to you." Blaine walks off, looking back at Kurt as he is surrounded by his old friends with a smile on his face. Upon his re-entry to New Directions, Kurt gives a solo performance of As If We Never Said Goodbye from Sunset Boulevard.

As the race for prom queen intensifies, Lauren Zizes begins a retaliatory campaigning against Quinn. She discovers that Quinn's real name is Lucy and that she used to be an overweight outcast who had rhinoplasty before re-inventing herself and transferring to McKinley.

Born This Way Dancing.png

Lauren attempts to sabotage her campaign by revealing her former image with "Vote For Lucy Caboosey" on it to the other students but it backfires when Quinn's popularity actually increases amongst the girls who had previously looked up to Lauren. Humbled, Lauren apologizes but Quinn concedes and respects her for being proud of herself just as she is. Brittany tries to help Santana embrace her lesbian identity and prints her a misspelled T-shirt reading "Lebanese," that was supposed to read "Lesbian." Santana refuses to join in with the Gaga performance but does wear the T-shirt. The episode closes with the club embracing their identities and performing Born This Way, while Santana and Karofsky watch from the auditorium. They all wear the T-shirts reflecting the traits they have learned to accept.


Song Title Original Artist Performer(s)
I Feel Pretty/Unpretty  Cast of West Side Story/TLC Quinn Fabray and Rachel Berry
I've Gotta Be Me Sammy Davis Jr. Finn Hudson
Somewhere Only We Know Keane Dalton Academy Warblers
As If We Never Said Goodbye Cast of Sunset Boulevard Kurt Hummel
Born This Way Lady Gaga New Directions

List of Background Songs

  • Airmale by Yoko Ono/The Plastic Ono Band - Plays when Quinn discovers Lauren's poster.
  • Barbra Streisand by Duck Sauce - Danced to by New Directions and the flash mob at the mall.


Guest Stars



  • This episode had 8.62 million viewers, making it the least watched episode of the season.
  • This is the longest episode of Glee with 24 minutes extra screen time than usual.
  • This episode contains the only duet to date featuring Quinn and Rachel, despite them having one of the more prominent relationships throughout the show. 
  • This is the fifth episode which has the same name as a song featured in it (First was Home, the second was Dream On, the third was Silly Love Songs, and the fourth was Blame It on the Alcohol).
  • In a cut scene from Original Song, it's revealed that Rachel had been thinking of getting a nose job and told Quinn, who told her not to. Source
  • This is the second eighteenth episode of a season that involves a storyline which portrays Rachel suffering from a physical condition/injury that affects or may affect her voice. The first one is Laryngitis.
  • The custom made t-shirts:
    • Artie - "Four Eyes"

      The final T-shirts

    • Brittany - "I'm With Stoopid" (Upwards Arrow)
    • Finn - "Can't Dance"
    • Kurt - "Likes Boys"
    • Lauren - "Bad Attitude"
    • Mercedes - "No Weave!"
    • Mike - "Can't Sing"
    • Puck - "I'm With Stupid" (Downwards Arrow)
    • Quinn - "Lucy Caboosey"
    • Sam - "Trouty Mouth"
    • Santana - "Bitch" (Hers) "Lebanese" (Brittany's for her; supposed to be "Lesbian")
    • Tina - "Brown Eyes"
    • Emma - "OCD" (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) (Originally "Ginger")
    • Rachel - "Nose"
    • Will - "Butt Chin"
  • A reporter asked the cast members what they would put on their own T-shirts. This is what they answered:

Cultural references

  • When Santana says "I gotta gay. Go. Gotta go," this is referring to the quote in a MadTV Segment where at the end they say the exact quote. Source
  • When Quinn confronts Lauren in the hall about her running for prom queen,she says that "Somebody's going to spill pig's blood on you or something like that", referring to the 1976 supernatural horror film, Carrie, where outcast Carrie wins prom queen but it ends up being a prank and she gets pig's blood dropped on her.


  • In the scene where Karofsky is telling the Glee club about how sorry he was about bullying Kurt and his past, Santana tells everyone that she and Karofsky are now a couple. The camera then zooms to Sam and Mercedes. Behind Mercedes seems to be another Santana after she already walked up to Karofsky, because behind Mercedes was the same outfit Santana was wearing.
  • In this episode Emma claimed that she was five when her obsession with germs began. However, in the season one episode Showmance, she tells Will that she was seven when the fixation began.
  • As Quinn reads the poster, it says "VOTE FOR LUCY CABOOSEY!" even though Lauren only found out about the nickname a minute prior and thus, she couldn't have made the poster prior to the meeting. Though, Lauren could have known the nickname and just wanting to hear Quinn admit it to torture her further.
  • During "Somewhere Only We Know", Brittany appears in the background taking a step down while the Warblers are hugging Kurt. However, in the next shot of Blaine continuing to sing, Brittany appears back where she started, stepping down again.


Kurt Hummel is back at McKinley!


I do love you. Clearly you don't love you as much as I do, otherwise you'd put that shirt on and dance with me.

Brittany to Santana

Because you're Lebanese and I think I'm bi-curious?

Brittany to Santana

Quinn: I respect you. I had to get a nose job and go on a crazy diet to walk around this school like I own it and you just do it.
Lauren: I have to admit, I have considered going blonde.

Quinn and Lauren

Only straight I am is straight up bitch.

Santana to Dave

Legend has it that when I came out of my mother I told the nurse she was fat.

Santana to Brittany

Push yourselves, guys. Vocal Adrenaline takes no prisoners.

Will Schuester to New Directions

Lauren: I'm running for Prom Queen.
Quinn: As a joke.

Quinn Fabray and Lauren Zizes

No. I wanna wait and hear what the doctor says. I feel terrible.

Finn Hudson to Rachel Berry




GLEE Wind Born This Way


Glee - Born This Way Sneak Peek


v - e - d

Glee Episodes

Season One
PilotShowmanceAcafellasPreggersThe Rhodes Not TakenVitamin DThrowdownMash-UpWheelsBalladHairographyMattressSectionalsHell-OThe Power of MadonnaHomeBad ReputationLaryngitisDream OnTheatricalityFunkJourney

Season Two
AuditionBritney/BrittanyGrilled CheesusDuetsThe Rocky Horror Glee ShowNever Been KissedThe SubstituteFurtSpecial EducationA Very Glee ChristmasThe Sue Sylvester ShuffleSilly Love SongsComebackBlame It on the AlcoholSexyOriginal SongA Night of NeglectBorn This WayRumoursProm QueenFuneralNew York

Season Three
The Purple Piano ProjectI Am UnicornAsian FPot o' GoldThe First TimeMash OffI Kissed a GirlHold on to SixteenExtraordinary Merry ChristmasYes/NoMichaelThe Spanish TeacherHeartOn My WayBig BrotherSaturday Night Glee-verDance with SomebodyChokeProm-asaurusPropsNationalsGoodbye

Season Four
The New RachelBritney 2.0MakeoverThe Break-UpThe Role You Were Born to PlayGleaseDynamic DuetsThanksgivingSwan SongGlee, ActuallySadie HawkinsNakedDivaI DoGirls (and Boys) on FilmFeudGuilty PleasuresShooting StarSweet DreamsLights OutWonder-fulAll or Nothing

Season Five
Love, Love, LoveTina in the Sky with DiamondsThe QuarterbackA Katy or A GagaThe End of TwerkMovin' OutPuppet MasterPreviously Unaired ChristmasFrenemiesTrioCity of Angels100New DirectionsNew New YorkBashTestedOpening NightThe Back-Up PlanOld Dog, New TricksThe Untitled Rachel Berry Project

Season Six
Loser Like MeHomecomingJagged Little TapestryThe Hurt Locker, Part OneThe Hurt Locker, Part TwoWhat the World Needs NowTransitioningA WeddingChild StarThe Rise and Fall of Sue SylvesterWe Built This Glee Club2009Dreams Come True