Glee "Naked" Review: Rachel Berry Uncensored

By MaryAnn Sleasman

Feb 01, 2013

Glee S04E12: “Naked”

I shall henceforth refer to “Naked” as “The One Where Kurt Slut-Shamed Rachel,” but first I must admit that the irate news anchor storming off the news desk after being forced to announce that the Warblers were disqualified and the New Directions were back in the competition made my evening, even if the trigger for her rage was a little off. I’m pretty sure that any student organization anywhere would make the news once systematic drug abuse was revealed to be the status quo, so simmer down that ego, Miss “I-Went-to-School-for-THIS?” And also LOL at the New Directions conveniently returning to the competition circuit. Sorry, Amish Glee Club. I was rooting for you.

To finance the sudden travel costs awaiting the group, Finn proposed holding a bake sale and Tina one-upped him with the idea of producing a pin-up calendar because Glee has gotten weirdly overtly sexual this season and I think the show was trying to make a point about male and female nudity double standards, but mostly the focus was on the male cast members’ abs. We learned that Brittany accidentally got a crazy-high SAT score by connecting the dots to make pictures of a clown and a penis while Sam got a mind-blowingly awful score. Also, in case you were wondering, several months, a deus ex machina save, and a buttload of therapy later, Marley is still known within New Directions as “the girl with the fat mom who ruined sectionals.” How nice.

But back to the sweet, sweet slut-shaming! What is it about admittance to NYADA that makes everyone completely insufferable? So Rachel got a part in a student film and she was super pumped about it until the director revealed that there was a topless scene. Still, whatever, she was nervous and who can blame her? Brody did the supportive boyfriend thing (though sitting his naked ass all over Kurt’s vintage chairs was some serious overkill) and Rachel argued with her inner-modest-goddess, complete with plain makeup, a high collar, and a plaid skirt. She really was in a tough position and certainly, in the end, made the right choice to back out. However, I’m glad Glee emphasized the fact that Rachel backed out because she personally felt uncomfortable “right now,” not because she was against women losing their tops on film or even, someday, doing a scene in her birthday suit herself. I like to think that Kurt’s negative response to Rachel’s possible breast-bearing scene was naivety rather than sexism masquerading as morality because it’s Glee and it’s Kurt, but his argument certainly caught me off guard.

Quinn and Santana, whom Kurt called in for backup when Rachel ignored his “SERIOUS ACTRESSES DON’T TAKE THEIR SHIRTS OFF” rant, didn’t, in my opinion, make a more compelling argument—mostly because even at their crappiest, student films are not the same thing as sex tapes. Still, it was nice to see them and Rachel ignored their opinions anyway. I don’t often think highly of Rachel Berry; in the good ol' days, I often found delight in watching people throw slushies at her. But the fact that she didn’t cave to pressure—from either the director who made her uncomfortable or her well-intentioned friends—was a good Rachel-growing-up moment. “Some women find it empowering to be naked on film.” Indeed, and what a relief that Glee managed to let a character outside of sometimes-villain Sue hold that opinion.

Back at McKinley, by some miracle of television, no one bothered trying to stop the glee club from financing its travel with a “smut calendar” except for Sue. Given her positive stance toward her Playboy past, I don’t think Sue opposed the calendar due on the grounds of its naughty nature as much as she simply opposed the idea of New Directions benefitting from it. Also, there’s the whole slew of issues surrounding the fact that not-a-teacher Finn was openly encouraging the creation of a sexually charged calendar featuring underage students. Maybe that cranky reporter would find this potential scandal more to her standards?

Depressed by his fail-tastic SAT scores, Sam dove into the one thing he knew he was good at: being physically attractive. He instituted a harsh workout regime for the Men of McKinley and got a little diva-esque. Okay, a lot of diva-esque. But he also coined the terms “haterade” and “bro-ga” so I can’t stay mad. Eventually, Emma (OMG SHE’S ALIIIIVE!) stepped in and pointed out that there are lots of colleges that don’t rely on SAT scores when it comes to admittance. Blaine hugged it out and everyone got together to make a video about how awesome Sam is beyond his abs. In the end, Sam decided to wear clothes for his Men of McKinley spreads to symbolize his new self confidence. And also because Artie dropped out of the calendar project since he didn’t want to be the only one wearing clothes, as that would turn everyone’s focus to his chair. The sentiment would probably have meant more if Glee itself didn’t consistently use Artie solely as a reason to focus on his chair.

Still, blemishes aside, in a season that’s been plagued by uneven quality, “Naked” ended up being pleasantly enjoyable. Really! What did you think of the episode?



MUSICAL NOTES


Glee playlist time: Idk, guys and gals, it was a pretty solid week. I kind of liked everything. Schizophrenic Rachel’s “Torn” was fun. I also dug the A Great Big World song at the end—even though everyone’s eyes were kind of excessively sparkly and creepy, like they were evil dolls or something.

– “Those Twilight books are poop on paper...” Wow. I never thought I’d find myself agreeing with Kitty. Strange days are upon us, man.

– Santana hinted that she might ditch Kentucky for New York. How do we feel about this possible turn of events?

– Puck Jr. and Marley said I love you. Do we care? I don’t think I care.

  • Comments (37)
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  • darcicomplex Feb 08, 2013

    So yeah that mash-up of "Hot In Herre" with "Angel is the Centerfold" was awesome. Perfectly ridiculous choreography to fit with this whacky mash-up but it turned out to be catchy too (someone put it on youtube at http://youtu.be/7wuG9bzyeC8 )

    Maybe Pharrell should produce a new J. Geils Band track because seriously this mash up made for an awesome song.

  • brag0031 Feb 08, 2013

    I was also surprised no else at McKinley was upset about the calender. Hard to believe the principal or any of the parents wouldn't be worried about a calender objectifying underage kids. To be fair, I thought the final product was in good taste.

  • TrinhVu Feb 02, 2013

    This is ridiculous! Wasnt there another team at sectionals?
    The Warblers got disqualified because of using steroids.
    The New Direction got disqualified because Marley fainted.

    Why is The New Direction getting another chance if there is a third team (there is always a 3rd who sings only 1 lame song right?)?

  • fleur-de-lune Feb 02, 2013

    I agree, I don't like the term "slut-bashing" either.
    The irony is that Lea Michele actually did a breast exposing scene when she was younger for Spring Awakening. I wonder how that emotionally hit home with her, since Glee said "serious actreses don't do that."

    I think that Kurt just saw the old Rachel he knew completely disapearing and disregarding all of her old values, and maybe he took it a little personal since he was the one who gave her the make over.
    Ps. I really missed the old Rachel. :( Can we please get a little bit of her back?

    Lastly, I really don't like any of these new couples. Marley & Jake (no chemistry) and Rachel & Brody (he's just a Finn replacement). It's as if the show just shoved them in our face and said "accept this!" and we're all like, okay... so they're a couple now.... but there's no emotion there. We didn't really see any of them struggle as couples like Rachel and Finn did, or even with Jesse. (MAN I miss me some Jesse! Can we bring him back???) Marley did have a lot of on-screen chemistry with Ryder, maybe make that happen instead???

    The only good relationship on there anymore is Sam and Blane's bromance. I love them as best friends because there's real depth there. Sam relies on Blane, and Blane truely cares about him as a friend and more. That's depth and great, and sadly the only two on the show with any depth.

  • QMargo Feb 02, 2013

    You know what caught me of guard? That NELLY song I think everyone on the planet used to "dance"to? Haha, great work Glee, I haven't been that surprised by a song ever since Will did a Sisco number!

  • airsign78 Feb 02, 2013

    Does anyone else think that the scene with Marley spitting out the fondue because it was too hot is going to be used in the future? Like somehow get turned around that it's a sign that she's not over her eating disorder?

  • radiumgirl Feb 03, 2013

    I actually had that thought. You're not alone!

  • airsign78 Feb 03, 2013

    & then, I'm like Nah I'm giving Glee too much credit ;)

  • radiumgirl Feb 03, 2013

    OMG GET OUT OF MY BRAIN.

  • BrookeDsBaby Feb 02, 2013

    I completely agree that Kurt was being over the top and ridiculous. Calling it porn was overboard (although old Rachel had a point, she does totally look like a porn star now). That Kitty line was honestly the highlight of the episode and I don't like to call anything Kitty does a highlight.

    I liked all the songs, I thought it was a great week musically. Marley and Jake's "A Thousand Years" was probably my favourite. That said, they really forced a few of them in there. The way they used "Torn" was a bit of a stretch and I don't even know what the point of "Love Song" was. It fit the storyline in no way. I feel like there are hundreds of empowering songs out there that fit that scene better.

  • torque_smacky Feb 01, 2013

    "Slut-shaming" needs to die. The term, I mean.

    I get that we have a culture going that praises men and denounces women for the same thing. But most of the people who say "slut-shaming" are the same people who call slutty behavior from men "treating women like meat." Uh, being a sexual female is treating MEN like meat. It's the same double standard, only reversed.

  • CiaraOHagan Feb 01, 2013

    I was really annoyed by the whole slut shaming that was going on with Rachel. I agreed with Brody, although I had to look it up to verify that Kathy Bates did a topless scene (she did. yikes). Anyway this whole idea that Rachel should be ashamed of doing one topless scene in a movie is ridiculous. Apparently her kids are going to find it and be ashamed of it. Sorry but Glee seems to think that the internet is this magical thing that shows you everything to do with you and your friends and family. Unless someone goes looking for it I doubt it will be found when Rachel has children. And even if it is so what? Rachel has a kick ass body and if someone is trolling old student movies looking for boobs then they're the ones we judge not Rachel. Had to say I wasn't surprised that she didn't do it though. For all Glees talk of being open and liberal it has some really conservative moments, such as this episode, the time they were talking about alcohol, the time they were talking about sex etc. Apparently it's okay to tell the guy you've been dating a few weeks that you love him but not to show your breasts in a student film.

  • BrookeDsBaby Feb 02, 2013

    I swear Kathy Bates is more known for her nude scene than even Misery. It's like all I think about when I hear her name. Some things you can't unsee.

  • ben45tpy Feb 01, 2013

    And I think it was strange that 'you can't winning an oscar without going topless' was one of the best reasons Glee could think of for Rachel doing the movie. I may be wrong but I believe all of the actresses they listed didn't win their oscars for their nude roles anyway, so what's the point in bringing it up?

  • CiaraOHagan Feb 03, 2013

    I agree. Plus Rachel wants to be a Broadway star. I didn't realise the Oscars decided they were going to do Broadway musicals now.

  • emmy021889 Feb 02, 2013

    I thought the exact same thing! haha Kind of a poor argument Brody..

  • JohnCouto Feb 01, 2013

    No stills of the calendar, Mary Ann? :( haha

  • radiumgirl Feb 03, 2013

    Lol. Sadly no. :(

  • JohnCouto Feb 04, 2013

    It's alright, I have the pictures now xerox' in my brain! ;P

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