Glee "The End of Twerk" Review: Split Decisions

By MaryAnn Sleasman

Nov 15, 2013

Glee S05E05 "The End of Twerk"

This week in "Things Glee Willfully Misunderstands to Hilarious Effect," Mr. Schue threw a tantrum because Principal Sue decreed twerking to be inappropriate for the hallowed halls of McKinley, Unique was used as shorthand for an anti-bullying PSA and a transgender restroom story that never really got a satisfying conclusion (isolate your differences!), and in New York, Kurt ended up with a misspelled tattoo. GOOD. 

We can scratch the Miley Cyrus/Robin Thicke item off our Glee End-of-Days Wishlist, but with surprisingly less enthusiasm than when I first stuck it on there. "A" for effort though, and hey, we even got a Bette Midler shout-out, sort of. Yay. 

Schue's obsession with being edgier than the edgiest and most WTF named show choir, Throat Explosion, had him using Blaine's twerking video (WHY BLAINE?) to inspire the rest of the gang to shake their booties for art. Or something. I don't know. Does Glee even know? For a show that loves a good social justice party, Glee opted to completely avoid mentioning the racial issues surrounding twerking, and instead reduced the controversy to a Sue-hates-glee-club issue.

Sue hasn't been New Directions' big foe in quite a while, and as Glee knowingly heads off to that TV choir room in the sky, a deliberate attempt to return to the status quo seems to be a large part of this season's foundation. She was busy this week, between dashing Schue's awkwardly pedo-rific dreams of twerking teenagers and responding to Unique's bathroom bullying issues by bolting a port-a-potty to the choir room floor and probably violating like a bazillion health codes in the process. Despite my forever-rage regarding how the Becky's-got-a-gun storyline was ultimately handled, it is nice to have Sue back in all her egomaniacal glory. 

In New York, Rachel began Funny Girl rehearsals and showed up in a wig just to test her director and also something about reclaiming her inner rebellion, which is how the whole tattoo adventure got started, which is when I started foaming at the mouth because my calm-your-titties-it's-just-Glee circuits got overheated. No legit Hep-C-free tattoo shop is going to ink two drunk-on-limoncello teenagers. I've spent a lot of time in the tattoo chair and seen a few Kurts make hilariously questionable tattoo choices, but the drunk ones were invariably asked to leave. It's a thing. A shop that isn't gonna kill you should smell like a doctor's office, not a bar. That's my token tattoo rant. So... deep breaths! It's just Glee and Glee runs on stereotypes.

Not gonna lie, though, I LOLed at Kurt's grammar-fail. That entire storyline was pretty much Kurt in a nutshell. He took it rather well, and "It's Got Bette Midler" is kind of amazing and would have made an even MORE amazing tramp stamp. 

Rachel claimed to have chickened out of getting a tattoo, but she actually got Finn's name all small and tasteful and personal. I definitely teared up. 

"The End of Twerk" wasn't the greatest follow-up to last week's genuinely good "A Katy or a Gaga" but it certainly wasn't the worst thing Glee's ever done. I wouldn't even put it on the list. It was disappointingly ho-hum and disjointed, with little overlap between the Lima and the NYC stories, or even between the pile of Lima-centric stories. 

In the end, Schue gave Unique a key to the unisex faculty restroom, which may have spared her the bullying she was experiencing in both the guys and the gals' rooms, but seemed kind of odd and off and strangely indicative of the narrative issue plaguing "The End of Twerk": isolation. There was just a lot going on here, but none of it ever converged at a shared point or even alluded to being aware of the world outside of each character's micro-story, particularly when it came to Unique, who probably could've carried an episode on her own if Glee had bothered to take its time with her story. Exiling Unique to the faculty restroom—no matter how good the intentions were—seemed to reinforce the notion that Unique is too "unique" to mingle with the general population, that she's neither man nor woman, which certainly could be the case, but that's a decision for Unique to make, not the staff at McKinley.

Rachel and Kurt, struggling to reconnect to themselves in the wake of Finn's death, also could've used more screen time. The disruptive Lima/NY narrative split has been an issue since Rachel's class graduated and went their separate waysthough some episodes have handled it better than others. It's episodes like "The End of Twerk" that make me want to advocate for a one-or-the-other focus, though, even if it's just on an episode-by-episode basis. 

What did you think of this week's Glee?


– Playlist shenanigans: Unique's "If I Was a Boy" was pretty. Marley's "Wrecking Ball" was boring. I never understand the point of doing a straight-up Glee-production of a song that's currently on the radio every ten minutes. At the very least, change up the arrangement a bit. Give me a reason to download it. Why would I want this lesser track if I already have the Miley original? /rant

 I just realized that Ioan Gruffudd is playing Rachel's Funny Girl co-star. OMG. Love him. LOVE HIM. After Jack Dawson, my tweenage Titanic crush was totally Fifth Officer Lowe. 

– So I guess Ryder got over that catfishing thing? 

– Marley knows about Jake banging Breh. Joy. 

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  • iolandaghita Nov 29, 2013

    I’m going to have to rewatch this episode.
    Cuz an episode I expected to be weird and cracky as all get out.
    Got shockingly deep in several instances, and I don’t know what to do with that.

  • chartah Nov 24, 2013

    Blurred Lines and twerking at a high school? No, just no. Wrong on so many levels. Sue was right to fire Mr. Shue. Sue was on point telling Mr. Shue what the song is about.

    On the other land; LOVED Marley's Wrecking Ball and Unique's If I Were A Boy. Hope Marley and Jake NEVER get back together.

    I liked the Rachel/Kurt story. I miss Finn too.

    Where the heck did Joe and Sugar go?

    Oh, and I miss Quinn and Brittany. And Santana (and her boo Demi Lovato).

  • chartah Nov 24, 2013

    ...other HAND... lol

  • ark1317 Nov 21, 2013

    Oh rights, Joe and Sugar are still missing ahahah

  • ark1317 Nov 18, 2013

    Of course Ryder is Unique's friend and protector now. God in 5 episodes they just couldn't do a scene that explained how they resolved things? To me Unique was, is and probably alwasy will a monster and this show's attempt at making the audience feel sorry for her won't work on me. At least I liked how her storyline was handled, for once it felt realistic: this world is just not brave enough now and the cultural statements Glee loves won't change it.
    Sorry about the rant, I hate the character.

    So finally Marley can have Ryder now!

    Tina was the weird character as always...

    Don't care about Rachel and Kurt: I felt too disconnected to them, also Rachel's destined to win, so it's not really interesting to watch.

  • psunshine Nov 18, 2013

    Did anyone else find themselves agreeing with Sue on the inappropriateness of Will singing "Blurred Lines" while his students twerked? While I can see both sides to the twerk debate in general, I really can't see how it wasn't inappropriate for a teacher to go down that path

  • vcivi Nov 17, 2013

    Really liked this episode.
    Likes Shuester singing again. It has been a while. Blurred Lines was pretty nice..
    Loved the rebellion thing of Rachel en Kurt..Rachel looked awesome with her wig...Kurt and his tattoo...that was funny...Rachel having a beautifull small Finn tattoo...which was very sad....
    Kurt Shirtless, he looked very nice!!!
    I completely teared up in the toilet with Unique, when she started to sing If i am a boy...thas was really sad...
    I liked the wrecking ball of was nice to hear her solo again..has been a while...loved to see her more aggresive....felt really sad for her when Bree told her about her and Jake...that was not cool...cheating is never cool...!!

  • safibwana Nov 17, 2013

    Glee writers do bad research. They skimmed the wikipedia article to find out twerking started in Atlanta, but failed to actually read the page or to read the obviously titled reference "Twerking: A Complete History" to find out the US origins are about a decade earlier in New Orleans.

  • ch0c0nutz Nov 17, 2013

    1. Mr Schue doing blurred lines was awesome
    2. Unique's storyline was boring and pointless... i wish they'd cut unique off of the show cuz its storylines are always the same plus, its rendition of if i were a boy was awful
    3. Kurt's tattoo storyline was funny!
    4. I also teared with the Finn tattoo
    5. Forget Miley, Kitty is the queen of twerking!

  • QMargo Nov 16, 2013

    "So I guess Ryder got over that catfishing thing?"

    Finally someone else noticed! Hello! Its been like what 5 episodes already and still for reasons unknown Ryder is with Glee club and very happy about being there....WTF?!

  • ark1317 Nov 18, 2013

    God this is eating me. Ryder was also so emotionally connected to Unique's issue in this episode... just horrible

  • La-Lady Nov 16, 2013

    I think Marley's 'wrecking ball' version sounded like Miley...

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