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“Slap Yourself with a Chicken Cutlet.”

By Katelyn Anne | TV | February 8, 2011 |

By Katelyn Anne | TV | February 8, 2011 |

It’s amazing how well “Glee” fares with a so-so football game and a downright abysmal halftime show as it’s opener: everything looks so much better in comparison. Was this the extreme show the producers kept touting? Not entirely. It may have been the most football displayed in an episode of “Glee,” but it certainly wasn’t that far off from what we’ve come to expect.

The show started as any show following the super bowl must, with cheerleaders and sparklers and Katy Perry. After the Cheerios catch their breaths and finish their routine, Sue complains that she’s bored with it all and wants something bigger than what they currently have. Where Sue expects to get something bigger than DMX bike tricks this side of 1998 is still a mystery when we’re redirected to the drama on the football field. Karofsky and Finn start to get into an argument and so Karofsky ends up letting them lose the game. Afterwards a fight breaks out in the locker room and we see how divided the team still is between the Glee club players and everyone else; poor Beiste is left trying to figure out how to hold the team together in order to win the conference.

Sue, menwhile, has been wracking her brain trying to figure out how to amuse herself. The 31-year-old legend has yet to top herself since she directed the cheerleading movie in the 70s. And then she is struck by inspiration from the cartoons playing into her office: she’ll shoot a cheerleder out of a cannon. After her deal settled with a handshake from a carnie, Sue happily lets her Cheerios in on the new addition to the routine. Brittany, who’s been lucky enough to have been volunteered for cannonball duty, seems reluctant to die at this juncture in her life and decides she doesn’t want be shot across the football field. Brittany’s voice of reason leaves Sue infuriated and Quinn, Santana and Brittany go to Mr. Schue to see if he’ll help. Once Figgins declares that Sue cannot fire a student out of a cannon against her will, Sue has the best tantrum we’ve seen from her thus far and Will actually manages a funny line (“That’s a lawsuit”) when she rampages through the hallways.

Will and Beiste have other things to worry about, though, like trying to get the football team back together. They decide that they only way to fix the problem is to make the football players join the Glee club, because the prisoners who performed the “Thriller” dance on YouTube had a drop in prison violence. While it’s not too far off to make a connection between high schoolers and prisoners, why do they think this is the best idea for Karofsky? While the other football players who have just been bullies may learn something, shouldn’t the homophobic kid who has a history of violent tendencies and (and I can’t stress this enough) threatened to kill someone, be left to professionals? I know the idea of a great big song and dance number may make sense in some regards, but this guy’s issue doesn’t just come from “ignorance” as Will suggests, it comes from a place of violence and hate. Karofsky obviously needs something more than feel good show tunes, so why isn’t the school asking that the kid speak with a counselor? And when his dad came to the school for the meeting, he seemed fairly concerned, so it seems doubtful that he’d be unlikely to have his son seek some help. The school only has so much power, but couldn’t they do just a bit more? But whatever, the Glee club is willing to let bygones be bygones and decide to welcome the football team (and the kid who harassed one member enough to make him transfer) to the Glee club for the week, because why should a few slushies to the face and death threats stand in the way of a potentially epic performance?

The big snag comes when Sue, after tearing apart the locker room, announces that she’s changed the date of the cheerleading conference to coincide with the football game and that she’s pulling the Cheerios from the halftime show of the conference game. Unfortunately, the Cheerios in glee club decide to quit glee in order to stay in Cheerios. While it makes some sense that Santana and Brittany would just fall in line with Sue, shouldn’t Quinn have been a little more reluctant to quit? Her motivations in quitting weren’t really fleshed out and Finn seemed just as frustrated with her decision so he called her out on it. They have a “poor pitiful me” spat about how hard it is to be pretty and popular and then Sam challenges Finn and they fight. Quinn gets more hot than bothered and Mr. Schue breaks it up and makes them play nice. Unfortunately, they are still left without any cheerleaders and Will and Beiste agree that the football team should perform the halftime show (I think they seriously may be over-estimating the energy levels of high schoolers). The footballers hem and haw about it and then go on with practice, until they are ridiculed by the hockey players. As much as it hurts to be mocked by a teenager with a mullet, the rest of the football players decide to bail on the performance at the expense of being able to play in the game. With only the glee club guys still on the football team, there aren’t enough players to compete in the game. Rachel gets permission slips for the girls to play football and comes up with the brilliant idea for them to just “lie down” whenever the play begins. Because being trampled could never happen in that scenario.

The girls “play,” but despite their laziest efforts and lack of practice, the team is losing. Tina ends up having a nice run after a ridiculous fumble, but the team is still a long way off from winning. However, after the small rally, Finn works to get the band back together and gives everyone their marching orders. He lets Sam play quarterback and runs off to find the cheerleaders before they head to the conference. After a quick pep talk, the girls remember that Sue is totally a bitch and that they had more fun in Glee. Brittany is saved from being shot out of a cannon and Sue is angry and heads off to lose the conference. Puck had been sent to get the other players to join the team again, under the condition that they perform at halftime. He gives a pretty decent speech and everyone but Karofsky agrees and puts on their zombie make-up. But when Karofsky sees how not grossed out the crowd is by the performance, he joins in, too. Honestly, though, aside from the mullety puckhead from early in the episode, is there anyone who automatically thinks “gay” when they see a halftime show with zombies? I know homophobia is a problem, but is it really that bad that people shun anything theatrical? In this case, though, it doesn’t matter since music fixes everything and the team ends up winning the game. After a weird cameo from Katie Couric, the episode ends on a high note with Sue in even more antagonistic spirits then before.

Not to mention the fact that Quinn kissed Finn. It’s weird to have a character declare she didn’t want to be in a relationship at the beginning of the season end up being in a committed relationship and also end up trying to hook up with her ex. At least the writers seem to be acknowledging the fact that any pairing is better than Finn and Rachel.

As out of place as the cameo was, two of music numbers felt even more unnecessary. As fun as “Bills, Bills, Bills” was as a performance, it was so out of place with the rest of the episode. And cut out the autotune, people, it was supposed to be an a capella performance and it was just embarrassing. The group sings well enough, they don’t need to sound like robots to make them cooler. “She’s Not There,” while OK, was pretty much useless. All it did for the show was show how creepy Artie looked without lips and to show that maybe Karofsky really secretly likes musical numbers. Also, what is with Karofsky’s secret love affair with singing? Are we to infer that because he’s gay he automatically secretly loves performing? I’m not sure why they need to have Karofsky secretly fit in with stereotypes. Not all gay men like performing in musicals and not all straight men hate it. Is that really such a hard concept? Again, I suppose since that’s the nature of the show I shouldn’t be trying to worry myself with silly questions about character development, but it may have been a bit more dynamic if he didn’t really care for performing. Not everyone has to like singing and dancing and if we meet one character who doesn’t secretly have a performing jones, we may actually be better for it.

Despite the fact that two songs could have been done away with entirely, it didn’t feel like there was that much singing in this episode. I was actually impressed with “Need You Now.” For the first time I felt like Rachel’s voice was a little more restrained and fit really well in the pop song. Puck also did a great job with his part of the duet and made me wish he had more performance time.

Of course the best performance of the night was the “Thriller”/ “Heads Will Roll” mash up. Despite the fact that New Directions really needs to lay off the mash-ups for a while, it was nice to hear Santana get a lead again and it was a very cool song to watch. The zombie make-up was freaky but everyone was having fun with it. Even the cheesy moment where Karofsky joined the gang didn’t detract too much from the moment. Considering the fact that, at the end of the episode, Karofsky acted like nothing happened, wouldn’t it have been slightly more satisfying if he hadn’t performed, thus, had not played and wouldn’t have been a part of the winning team? Just something to ponder, Glee writers, when you want to think of a better way to punish your antagonist.

This episode wasn’t exactly the over-the-top extravaganza the promoters were touting it to be, but it was a pretty solid episode for “Glee.” A lot of the one liners were good and it had a solid pacing to the episode. But in reality, I’d rather “Glee” give us normal shenanigans and do it well and forgo trying to top itself in favor of trying to pull in the coveted super bowl demographic.

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