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Recapping "Glee": Gag Me with a Hairband, I’m Done

By Katelyn Anne | TV | February 24, 2011 |

By Katelyn Anne | TV | February 24, 2011 |

The episode started out so promising. First, Sue explains how she got the coaching gig for Aural Intensity, which I mistook for Vocal Adrenaline, but let’s face it, both names are equally terrible and forgettable and almost as lame as New Directions. I’d be lying if I didn’t say I was impressed with the fact that they actually gave some exposition to Sue as a coach for a rival school (even if it was a little weak). Then, we have a plot setup for the episode provided by the ever flawless Principal Figgins. Sure: an “alcohol awareness” assembly is contrived and ridiculous, but this is what “Glee” is for. After that, Rachel performs the best song about hair accessories ever written in three minutes and gets shot down by Finn, with whom she’s still desperately trying to get.

Weirdly, though, I couldn’t stay mad at Miss Berry for long because she decides to throw on her best mint colored pillow sham and dance the night away for the most radical house party ever to be had by a dozen people. The kids go from wine colors and drink tickets to booze from Rachel’s dads’ liquor cabinets. Finn gets a fun moment explaining the archetypes of drunk chicks, but I really feel like I’ve heard that speech in every single high school drunk scene ever. It was weird to see Santana as the weepy drunk, but worth it to see Rachel get shot down for being needy. Rachel did what almost every needy drunk does to get attention: plot to make out with randoms. The crew plays spin the bottle and Brittany makes out with Guppy Lips Sam and then Rachel and Blaine kiss and sparks fly.

Kurt watches the action unfold and has a look of horror, but lets it pass chalking it up to the two of them being wasted. Rachel believes that she and Blaine have a chance and so she asks Blaine out and he says yes. Kurt promptly freaks out about it because he feels it’d be ridiculous for his gay role model to entertain bisexual feels. I was really frustrated with Kurt at that point because he said that bisexual was a way for gay guys to not fully admit who they are. Listen, Kurt, I know you’re pissed because you desperately want Blaine to be your boyfriend, but bisexuality is not just a phase. People can be attracted to both sexes and it felt very hypocritical of Kurt to start judging Blaine for being attracted to someone just because she was a she and not a he. It was frustrating, but even worse was Kurt’s annoyance with his dad. Kurt so desperately wants to make his life more tragic than it is. Burt was doing what most parents would do: trying to make sure their kid wasn’t having illicit drunk sex. Obviously, Burt’s a little clueless about what may be going down, but he’s not homophobic and Kurt’s frustration against his dad was completely unwarranted.

Also unwarranted was the Will Schuester drunk dial. The whole Will and Emma thing is sad and even more desperate than Rachel and Finn. What’s even worse is that it’s gotten to the point of harassment and Will acts like it’s all cool. Based on Emma’s look when she heard him make a bull-riding joke, it can only be assumed that the show is trying to make those two happen, despite everything holy and good saying that it shouldn’t. Worse than Will’s encroachment upon coworker boundaries was his flagrant disregard for student/teacher relationships. No teacher (that I’m aware of) would be allowed to hand out his cell phone so that students could call them when they’re drunk. I know the idea of this episode was that “kids should be able to make smart decisions themselves” and everyone talked about having a designated driver, but most schools frown on teachers advertising their services to under-aged students as a DD. Of course “Glee” wanted to take the more modern route by advertising adults as co-signing on teenagers getting wasted, since, you know, they’ll do it any way, but most teachers wouldn’t be allowed to do that. Yes, there are some teachers who may imply that they’d be available to help out when it’s needed, but they’d have a hard time not getting called out for it. In the end though, the show paid lip service to discouraging under-aged drinking with a pledge and sparkling cider.

Tonight’s episode really only had one decent song and it was completely out of place for what was going on. “Don’t You Want Me” with Rachel and Blaine had two very talented singers. Again, Rachel didn’t dwell in the “try too hard” realm and just made it a goofy pop song and it was nice to hear Blaine without an a cappella backing. However, no one was drunk enough to taste pink sounds like that. I don’t care how good you are sober, when you’re three sheets to the wind and you’re jumping around your sound isn’t going to be solid. There are some people out there who perform just fine when buzzed, that’s not what I’m arguing, but Rachel and Blaine were wasted and it would have been a lot more fun if they had played that element up.

Of course nobody could get through a musical number sober. Since the kids went to a party on Saturday they were naturally hung over on Monday and decided to combat it with a little more alcohol in order to perform for Schue. The “Blame It (On the Alcohol)” was a decent number (insert standard argument about auto-tuning nonsense here), but none of them seemed drunk during—only afterwards when Will mentioned how drunk they acted. It was a weird moment and didn’t make munch sense, but its awkwardness distracted me from dwelling on Artie’s solo in that song. He’s been getting as many pop solos as Finn, it seems, and sometimes it’s ok and sometimes it isn’t. It’s just strange how he injects his faux-MC persona into almost all of the pop songs that he does.

Anyway, the kids also did “Tik (and also) Tok” for the assembly and it was just as bad as the original. Heather Morris did OK in the lead, but she kept the grating sing-talk thing that really only works when Rex Harrison does it. But the top-off of purple-gray vomit was magnificent. Maybe the vomit was the most obvious ode to Ke$ha in the entire song.

Will can die in a fire for “One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer.” It’s bad enough I have to hear aging frat guys mumble/yell it while they reminisce at the bar, I don’t need some squinting cocker spaniel to wail it into the microphone. “Glee” can do whatever it wants to pop songs and showtunes, but it needs to stay away from most everything else. And anyone who looks that bad in a cowboy hat should be thrown out of a honky tonk. It was miserable and it completely undermined Beiste’s foray into singing.

Overall it was a really unbalanced episode, which is pretty balanced for “Glee.” The crazy energy of the trainwreck party was funny, but the fall out from the party in the second half was just a mess. At some point, the show has got to remember there’s a balance between funny and obnoxious. We’ll see what the alcoholic teen drunk fetishist and the rest of the clubbers get up to in two weeks when Goop returns.

Dustin is the founder and co-owner of Pajiba. You may email him here, follow him on Twitter, or listen to his weekly TV podcast, Podjiba.

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