After the behind-a-cushion cringe-fest of last week’s ‘Grilled Cheesus’ (which traumatised me too much to review), this week’s Glee was a cracking return to form. There was even a lesbian kiss, always a joy. As in all the best episodes, the plot was wafer-thin. They had to perform duets to win a meal at the excellent-sounding Breadstix restaurant (where, Santana explained, ‘they are legally obliged to keep bringing you breadsticks’). I think a Breadstix would do well in Brighton. Anyway, as there was no story I will just bring you some highs and lows.
The songs – At last, some decent tunes: a marvellous Mercedes/Santana River Deep – Mountain High, which is so obviously a Glee-type song you wonder what took them so long. Gotta love Santana’s jazz hands. And I thought Tina and Mike’s duet, in which he spoke his words like Rex Harrison, worked really well. But these all paled into insignificance next to…
…Kurt and Rachel together – at last! The moment fans of high-end camp have been waiting for. All gimmicks shoved aside, Kurt and Rachel perched on high stools and ripped into the Streisand/Garland mash-up with great verve. Channelling his inner Judy – actually never very far from the surface – Kurt looked more relaxed than ever before. And this was easily Rachel’s least annoying Barbra impersonation. Marvellous! Mr Qwerty, who is just gay enough, leaped from his seat applauding.
That kiss – Wearing their cheerleaders’ outfits, Brittany and Santana twined together on the bed. ‘Ahh,’ sighed Brittany happily, ‘Sweet lady kisses.’
Glee’s back. And it’s exactly the same! Which is to say, it’s still very enjoyable but never quite as good as it could be.
Emma, we miss you.
Actually it isn’t exactly the same. Big-eyed Emma wasn’t there and to my surprise I missed her. She does often bring some kooky kind of centre to proceedings, and when she isn’t doing that, she’s totally rocking a pretty blouse-and-cardi combo. I don’t think she died (oh, my memory), so I hope she comes back soon.
Tina’s now going out with Other Asian instead of Artie, and Santana’s apparently had a boob job, though while everyone seemed to notice them instantly, I thought she ought to have demanded a refund. Not that I have the exact before and after measurements.
And someone called Matt has left the school, but I couldn’t tell you who he was if my life depended on it.
Thank god for Kurt and Sue Sylvester, I cry, and not for the first time. Without them, and the baaaaad girls from Jane Addams Academy, this episode would have been just too grim. The scene where the kids from the deaf school sing Imagine, and the McKinley kids barge in to join them (why? Did they think we couldn’t handle it sung by a deaf kid?) was just horrible. I barfed all over my Radio Times. I’m a big John Lennon fan, but Imagine is one of the most toe-curling songs out there. Why did the deaf students have to be represented in such a patronisingly uncool way? Their song, choreography and school uniforms – all uncool. This is definitely not the episode to start with if you’re planning to introduce a friend to Glee (though I guess it would be sort of weird, anyway, to begin at episode 11, so forget I said anything). Bad, Glee, very very bad. We’re going to fall out if this sort of thing continues.
Let’s focus on the good bits, as Gok Wan says. I loved the sassy Jane Addams teacher (played by singer Eve), who insisted on calling their group ‘show choir’ even as the girls were wiggling barely-covered bottoms and flicking their hair around like pole-dancers. I adored Aphasia (crazy name, crazy girl), who pinched Will’s wallet like a modern Artful Dodger. I very much enjoyed Brittany explaining how hairography works (‘you pretend like you’re getting tasered. It’s like cool epilepsy’); and I was rather taken with Will, up to his elbows in grease after working on his new car, saying ‘I feel like I’m in a Springsteen song’.
But really, it was all about Sue and Kurt. Sue had two great scenes. The first, when she boasted about her coaching prowess as reported in Splits, and curtly asked Will to return the magazine though he hadn’t gone near it. The second, her attempt to collude with the other schools’ teachers. To the affronted response of, ‘Who do you think I am?’, Sue said smoothly, ‘That’s a very good question because I’ve forgotten both your names.’ She’s just so deliciously true to herself.
This week’s theme was mothers. Quinn, soon to become one herself, had a telling scene with her own mama, a Barbie-doll Republican rather like Cindy ‘Loose Cannon’ McCain. Trying to zip Quinn into her gown, Mrs Fabray noticed Quinn was not as svelte as usual in the tummy department. Rather than asking some pressing questions regarding Quinn’s eligibility to be Celibacy Queen, she followed the ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ principle and merely offered to alter the dress.
Finn’s Mum was a nice contrast. When she discovered him in his bedroom singing to a sonogram image of Quinn’s foetus (don’t teenage boys masturbate any more?), she immediately deduced that he’d got his girl up the duff, and hugged him, saying in traditional motherly fashion, ‘It’ll be all right.’ She then offered a home to Quinn, who’d been thrown out by her simpering mother and plastic-faced father. Yay! Finn’s ma is best mother in show. (Mother in the biological and nurturing sense, not as in, you cheating mutha, or whatever it is young people say.)
This was another gloriously Terri-free episode, making me insanely optimistic that the writers have come to their senses and just quietly dropped the whole fake-pregnancy thing. Please, next time we see Terri, can she be filing for divorce on the grounds that Will is too good for her, and moving to Acapulco? Well, as Glee tells us, a girl can dream.
As can a boy with a very high voice. Kurt’s lifelong ambition to sing some crummily boring song from Wicked was nearly fulfilled, when he and Rachel battled it out with their high F’s. But Kurt blew the top note, and thus threw the audition, claiming it was so his dad wouldn’t have to live with the inevitable taunts. Er, hell-o? Kurt even breathes in a camp fashion. How would singing a showtune humiliate his macho dad any more than he is already, a million times a day? More likely Kurt suddenly realised what a rotten song it was, and decided not to embarrass his pa with such a shoddy musical choice.
The main theme this week was raising money for an Artie-friendly bus. Will insisted the club not only hold a bake-sale, but that the students spend a week in a wheelchair. All this was very well-handled; the many petty indignities faced by wheelchair users, the unthinking way disabled people’s opinions are assumed, rather than sought… I’m making it sound humourless but it wasn’t at all. It was rather moving, particularly Artie’s Dancing with myself. It would be a sour able-bodied meanie who didn’t enjoy the final dance – the entire Glee Club doing wheelies in their chairs, full of esprit de corps.