One of the things I like most about “Glee” is its ability to seamlessly combine laugh-out-loud punch lines with emotionally poignant scenes that are often all too relatable. I mean, who among us hasn’t had a secret video of themselves jazzercising to an 80’s hit become a viral sensation?
Club of ill repute: After a “Glist” is posted all over school ranking glee club members based on a “hotness quotient of sexual promiscuity,” Figgins demands that whichever glee clubber posted the list be suspended. For the curious: Quinn has forty five points, followed by Santana, Puck, Brittany, Jesse, Finn, Mike, Matt, and Rachel (trailing by quite a margin with negative five points).
Worried the club is getting a bad reputation, Will channels his concern into a new assignment: Take songs with “bad reputations” and make them great again. Will, always up for a challenge, starts things off with “Ice Ice Baby.” Why do they have Matthew Morrison rap so often when he’s such a great singer? The raps are fun, but it’s not like glee clubs tend to perform a lot of rap songs, for obvious reasons.
The club members who were too far off the radar to even make the list (Kurt, Artie, Mercedes and Tina), plus Brittany, who’s determined to get into the top three, plan a stunt so scandalous they’re sure to get noticed: A fully costumed and choreographed performance of “U Can’t Touch This” in the library. Artie gets an A+ for this one, and I loved the costumes! Hammer pants need to come back into style NOW. Unfortunately, the librarian merely calls them “cute” and hopes to book them for her Sunday church service.
Rachel is also on a mission to dirty up her reputation. She sets about making a video of “Run Joey Run,” by David Geddes, recruiting Puck, Finn, and Jesse to star as her leading men without telling them she’s tripling up. Firstly, yay for Puck singing! Secondly, yay for “Daddy” being played by Sandy! I miss that guy. Thirdly, I love Rachel’s smile and self-ovation at the end. Classic. Finn, Puck and Jesse are less into it, with Jesse going so far as to call it mortifying. I’m not sure I’d say that, though I agree with Finn that it was just Rachel’s attempt to show she’s got three guys fighting over her, rather than being an outcast. And a pretty tame attempt, all things considered.
Jesse, though, as “the guy who gave up everything to be [her] one and only” (which she never asked for, I’d like to point out), can’t see past the betrayal, even after she explains her “pathological need” to be popular. Ugh. And okay, how have we made it this far without Rachel singing “Popular” from “Wicked”? Rachel says she knew Jesse would break her heart someday (which, seriously, kids — take a deep breath and a step back!), but he points out that despite his reputation as a heartbreaker, she broke his first.
It’s all rather melodramatic, especially considering she didn’t even kiss either of the other guys in the video, or anything — it was just a stupid choice. I don’t really care what happens to them as a couple, but I think the histrionics are over the top given the situation. But that’s high school, I guess!
Finn, Jesse and Rachel close out the episode with “Total Eclipse of the Heart,” which always makes me think of an anti-drug assembly we had in middle school, where a girl tried to escape from various dancing representations of drugs as the song played. It’s nicely done, at any rate.
When Will’s own reputation plummets (see below), he realizes that Quinn must be responsible for the Glist, since she had the most to gain. She never meant to hurt anybody, but now that she’s invisible she decided that a bad reputation is better than no reputation at all. After Will’s pep talk, Quinn gives props where props are due: “You’re a really good teacher, even though everyone’s calling you a man-whore.” Ha! Will, pointing out that the Glists have stopped, doesn’t give her up to Higgins, and everyone learns a valuable lesson about sluttiness, or something.
Let me hear your body talk: Kurt steals a video of Sue performing “Physical,” complete with doing the Cabbage Patch. Sue isn’t used to inspiring “cruel, slow motion laughter” in her fellow teachers instead of fear, and she’s totally shaken. Man, slow motion laughter is the worst kind of laughter. (For the record, evil laughter is the best kind.)
Sue goes to visit her sister Jean, who serves as an even bigger reminder this week that Sue is actually human. Jean reminds Sue that giving back can be therapeutic (well, Sue interprets it as a reminder that there’s always someone who’s got it worse than you do), and so Sue volunteers to counsel Emma. Her first act is to break the news that Will made out with the Vocal Adrenaline coach and had a sleepover with April. Wow, really ripping off the Band-Aid there.
On Sue’s suggestion, Emma sticks up for herself in a big way, confronting Will in the teachers’ lounge and interrupting his heart-to-heart with a recently widowed teacher. Once the dam is broken, there’s no stopping her! Emma calls him a slut several times, and assures him they’re through. You know what? Good for her!
And I don’t blame her for refusing to let it go when Will comes to grovel later. She was almost ready to give him her v-card, and he turns around and lets another girl spend the night? I’m surprised she gave him any hope at all: “If this relationship is ever going to work between the two of us, we have to start seeing each other for who we really are.” In Will’s case, untrustworthy. Okay, so it’s not a lot of hope. Still…
ONJ!: Olivia Newton-John (identifying herself as “star of ‘Grease,’ the most successful movie musical of all time,” ha) calls Sue while on her way to a ribbon-cutting ceremony for an orphaned koala sanctuary, and she has a proposition. Apparently, she wasn’t happy with the way the first video turned out, and wants to redo it with Sue! It’s 80’s heaven. Jane Lynch does an admirable job keeping up with ONJ, as do the numerous muscled men thrusting around in spandex.
Jean loves Sue’s video, and Sue credits her with the attitude change and the inspiration to impress, though her description of how she told the other teachers about her video’s success is a wee bit toned down. All the proceeds from her share of the video will go toward Jean’s nursing home, and she and Jean share an incredibly sweet moment together. Awww, I love that “Glee” can pull this out in the same episode they have Sue calling Will a man-whore.
Odds and Ends:
- Loved when Will interrogated the kids separately — very well-executed.
- Poor Kurt. When he finally determines that the only way to sully their reputation is to admit to posting the “Physical” video, he’s practically shaking and in tears as he prepares to confess. And then Sue thanks him! The guy just can’t win.
- I’m holding judgment on Molly Shannon’s new character, a transfer from Fort Wayne with some “drug problems,” and clearly some drinking problems. She seems funny, but could get old fast in anything but very low doses.
- At the very least, ONJ’s lips looked pretty puffy. No judgment, just an observation.
- Sue: “As soon as I figure out the difference between slander and libel, I’m filing a lawsuit.”
- Sue: “Will, I may buy a small diaper for your chin, because it looks like a baby’s ass.”
- Higgins: “Only last year, a list was posted ranking the school’s ten ugliest gingers. And the perpetrator would have been expelled had it not turned out to be a member of the faculty!” Sue: “I stand by that list.”
- Artie: “I’m going to stop you — you had me at ‘sex tape.'”
- Puck: “I go to school and I say ‘be cool, Puck, be nice.’ But by second period I’ve got a fire extinguisher in my hand and I’m spraying some dweeb with it and I don’t know how I got there.”
- Mercedes: “Why does everyone always assume I’m angry all the time? It’s called being sassy, Mr. Shue.”
- “Ice Ice Baby” by Vanilla Ice, performed by Will and New Directions
- “U Can’t Touch This” by MC Hammer, performed by Kurt, Artie, Mercedes, Tina, and Brittany
- “Run Joey Run” by David Geddes, performed by Rachel, Puck, Jesse, and Finn
- “Let’s Get Physical” by Olivia Newton-John, performed by ONJ and Sue
- “Total Eclipse of the Heart” by Bonnie Tyler, performed by Rachel, Jesse and Finn
Did Rachel’s video get blown out of proportion, or was Jesse right to dump her? Should Emma take Will back? Do you like seeing a softer side of Sue?