Glee "Naked" Review: Rachel Berry Uncensored

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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.

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