Glee: The Whitney Houston Episode

By MaryAnn Sleasman

Apr 25, 2012

Glee S03E17: “Dance with Somebody”

“This isn’t about passing judgment on Whitney; it’s about celebrating her music.” Mr. Schue took a trip through the world of creepy characterization this week, but at least he made this point, which is a very important one to make considering the nature of this week’s episode. Admittedly, I wasn’t wild about the idea of a tribute episode a first. It seemed morbid and exploitative. To put it bluntly, if Whitney Houston hadn’t died in February, this episode would've never been written. But I came around to it. I had the same experience with the Michael Jackson tribute. I should have learned my lesson then.

The opening number, an a capella version of “How Will I Know,” was simple and awesome. The locker shrine was a nice touch.

Moving into the actual plot of “Dance with Somebody,” Schue decided that this week’s rehearsal theme would be the music of Whitney Houston. The only real downside to this theme for me was that I’m not terribly familiar with Whitney Houston’s music. I know “I Will Always Love You” and “I Wanna Dance with Somebody” and I’ve seen her stellar performance of the National Anthem on YouTube. OH, and she sang a duet on The Prince of Egypt soundtrack with Mariah Carey. That song did not make an appearance on Glee.

Kurt agonized over which Whitney song to perform and which to sing for his NYADA audition and, upset over the lack of attention Blaine had been showing him recently, bonded with newcomer Chandler at the music store. They began to exchange flirtatious texts and of course Blaine found them in Kurt's phone. Kurt and Blaine argued over whether the texting counted as cheating because Kurt had no intention of taking his relationship with Chandler beyond digitally transmitted messages. Both sides in the debate made strong arguments, but Rachel hit it right on the head when she asked Kurt, prior to Blaine stumbling upon the texts, that if it was all so innocent, why didn’t he just let Blaine in on the secret from the beginning?


Scorned, Blaine sang “It’s Not Right But It’s Okay,” publicly shaming Kurt in front of the glee club and recreating the actual Whitney music video. I noticed that Glee gave “I Wanna Dance with Somebody” the same treatment, and I loved it. I’m sure I missed all sorts of little details due to my lack extensive Whitney knowledge, but what I saw was really awesome.

Also, Darren Criss needs to get all INTENSE more often. Love me some Darren Criss. I was delighted when research revealed that he’s only about a week older than me, therefore, it’s not at all unacceptable for me squeal like a 13-year-old at a One Direction concert whenever he sings.

So, let’s take a moment from the song and dance to talk about Mr. Schuester and why his sudden desire to bump the wedding up by several months PURELY to guarantee that the glee kids can make it is creepy and...creepy. There is nothing wrong with teachers and students bonding, becoming actual friends outside of the classroom, or maintaining that relationship long after the student has departed. I’ve been exchanging letters with my fifth-grade teacher since I was eleven. I get it.

But the man wanted to completely alter months of planning—not just his OWN, but his FUTURE WIFE’S—without even really asking her, because he feared that the glee kids might not be able to make it to November nuptials, since most of them will be scattered all over the country.

It’s a valid concern, sure, but I think the action is a bit much. Maybe not by itself, but it certainly crosses an alarming line when you take into consideration his general dismissal of Emma’s concerns. It’s her wedding too, Schue.

So there was that. I don’t particularly care when the wedding takes place. If it were to happen in November, and some of the kids didn’t make it back, I’m sure it would be a reluctant decision on their part. I mostly feel bad for Emma at the moment. If she has to get married at a KOA campground, the woman is going to hyperventilate her way down the aisle.

Back at New Directions, Kurt tried to change Blaine’s mind with a heartfelt rendition of “I Have Nothing” but they ultimately ended up in couples' counseling with Emma Pillsbury. Despite Emma's admission that she was really not qualified for it at ALL, the boys managed to get to the bottom of their issues. Sure, Blaine was pissed about the texts from Chandler, but really, overall, he was upset about Kurt’s impending move to New York City. He has a lot invested in their relationship. He’s altered his life in a lot of ways to be with Kurt. And now Kurt is leaving.

It looked like, at the very least, Emma managed to slap a Band-Aid on Kurt and Blaine's relationship woes. Hopefully it’ll work out. I hate when those two look so sad.

And as though to counter the general angst pervading every other relationship on the show, Joe and Quinn tentatively became a thing. Joe spent most of the episode worrying about whether or not he’d have to compromise his faith to be with Quinn. When he finally just asked her, she was totally accommodating. Aww, they’re so cute.

Cue awesome group performance of “My Love is Your Love.”


1. Favorite song of the night? I’m going with Blaine’s “It’s Not Right But It’s Okay” and the ending number. What were yours?

2. Do you think we'll see Schue and Emma's wedding before the end of the season?

3. Was Emma’s counseling just a stopgap, or do you think Blaine and Kurt are going to be fine?

4. How do we feel about Joe and Quinn getting together?

5. And finally, I really missed Sue. Did anyone else miss Sue?

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  • shmoooey Apr 29, 2012

    I think the opening number should have panned back to show that the only person in the audience was the ever-present piano player kicking back and enjoying the show.

  • writergirl06 Apr 29, 2012

    I thought the whole jump to scorned lover w/o any discussion was a little much... I mean, did the two of them even talk about what happened? Also, Mr. Schue leaped to super creeper territory in this episode lol (he was also a bit of a douche too).

  • Jared3648 Apr 29, 2012

    The opening number, How Will I Know? was the best song of the night.

    I can't believe so many people here aren't familiar with Whitney Houston. Where have you all been? Even if you didn't grow up listening to her, people sing her songs all the time on American Idol and plenty of other awards shows.

    At least Glee was able to get the rights to so many of her good songs, unlike the Michael Jackson episode where they seemed to be mostly random songs.

    Loved the episode for the most part.

  • c07111 Apr 27, 2012

    Dang no mention of Amber Riley's renditons of Whitney, I will chalk up as an oversight. I would actually buy a cover of Amber singing Whitney songs.

  • hockeyrick Apr 27, 2012

    Just an observation, and nothing homophobic, but do all gay guys east of the rockies dress like pee wee herman???

  • trevorsnapp Apr 27, 2012

    Brittany dancing always makes the episode for me. She is amazing!!

  • spklvr12 Apr 27, 2012

    1. I love Brittany dancing, so that was an awesome song in my opinion, even if she isn't the greatest singer. Also, Kurt's singing bothers me now. His voice is awesome when his voice is deep (or has deep as that voice of his goes), but when he sings high pitched it sounds a little weak to me.

    2. I don't know. I'm really wondering what they're planning on doing this coming season, and I guess that could be something all the originals would come home for after not seeing them for a while.

    3. High school relationships rarely work out beyond high school. Though why is Blaine staying? Isn't he a senior? One would think he'd like to go to New York as well, so why wouldn't he just go with Kurt?

    4. I like it. But Quinn is Christian too, why does he think he has to have sex with her? Or that she'd let him? She seems to have turned a lot more to faith recently, so I'd assume she wouldn't have sex until marriage anyway (that's what happens when you get scorned by unplanned pregnancy). Btw, is that one time with Puck the only time Quinn has slept with anyone, or am I forgetting something?

    5. I didn't miss Sue, not because I don't like Sue, but I didn't really see room for her in this episode, so I thought it was a good choice.

  • AnimeMadness Apr 27, 2012

    I was not really excited for this episode because I don't really know Whitney Houston songs, but I actually enjoyed the singing and the episode overalll. Mr. Shue I thought was being a bit unreasonable. Joe and Quinn together is a cute thing but what happened with Arty? Santanna sang a lot this episode which was awesome. I felt so bad for Blaine... He looked absolutely gorgeous during his performance, but the rest of the glee cast standing behind him just looked awkward to me.

  • ben45tpy Apr 26, 2012

    Wow this episode was mind-blowingly good. The stories were great and the overall standard performance was the best I've seen for a long time.

    I'm also not a Whitney expert but i remember that silly Prince of Egypt duet

    "Who! Knows! What Miracles! You! Can! Achieeeeeve! When! You! Belieeeeeve!..." Plus also from the nineties she had a song a liked maybe a year or two earlier called Step by Step that had firemen in the video I think(?). Anyhoo:

    1. Kurt's was definitely the best I was incredibly moved and it's probably his best performance for the whole series.

    2. Of course. Don't be too hard on Mr. Schue, his bond with these kids is way beyond normal student-teacher (and not in a sexual way). Plus Emma was the one trying to change the date.

    3. Nah I think Emma's counselling did the trick. Now it's smooth sailing to the season finale.

    4. This is a really nice thing to happen and it gives Glee Project guy something to do. And since ArtiQuinn is never happening this will have to do.

    5. I've no issue with her getting a rest and they were more than fine without her.

  • iheartfrosty Apr 27, 2012

    I'm a huge Whitney fan but "Step By Step" from the Preacher's Wife soundtrack has always been a favorite of mine. Underrated gem.

  • sodapopgirl721 Apr 26, 2012

    i cried my way through this episode, i'm ashamed to say. it;s sad that glee is ending (i mean technically they;re coming back for season 4 but it won;t be the same or even include everybody).

    i thought this was good, even though i too am not all that familiar with whitney houston's music and only recognized about two songs, i still thought this was a good episode. although i wouldn't be surprised if finchel and klaine both break up before season;s end

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