Glee "Naked" Review: Rachel Berry Uncensored

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)
Submit
Sort: Latest | Popular
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.
Reply
Flag
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.
1
Reply
Flag
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?)?
2
Reply
Flag
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.
More+
5
Reply
Flag
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!
1
Reply
Flag
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?
3
Reply
Flag
Staff
I actually had that thought. You're not alone!
1
Reply
Flag
& then, I'm like Nah I'm giving Glee too much credit ;)
3
Reply
Flag
Staff
OMG GET OUT OF MY BRAIN.
2
Reply
Flag
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.
4
Reply
Flag
"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.
3
Reply
Flag
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.
More+
1
Reply
Flag
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.
Reply
Flag
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?
1
Reply
Flag
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.
2
Reply
Flag
I thought the exact same thing! haha Kind of a poor argument Brody..
1
Reply
Flag
No stills of the calendar, Mary Ann? :( haha
1
Reply
Flag
Staff
Lol. Sadly no. :(
1
Reply
Flag
It's alright, I have the pictures now xerox' in my brain! ;P
Reply
Flag
I loved watching Rachel dueting with herself (only she would have a duet with herself) Love song by Rachel, Quinn and Santana was amazing. I felt so bad for Sam when he thought the only thing in his future was related to his how good he looks, teared up a bit when Blaine showed him the video of people talking about how much he'd done since coming to Mckinley. When Artie was talking about not being comfortable about showing skin I had a flashback to when Finn had a similar issue during Rocky Horror, I could relate to that aspect though coz I feel the same about my body. I have to admitt I laughed when Brody walked in naked and Kurt didn't notice until he sat down next to him then moved the carton to block his privates from view. The Ryder/Jake bromance was really well done in this episode. The fact that Jake was willing to stop talking about his relationship with Marley to spare Ryder's feelings then Ryder not only telling him it's ok then actually tries to help him with his relationship drama was really great. All in all, a good episode.
5
Reply
Flag
Yea when Artie was talking to Finn about that situation I kept waiting fo Finn to bring up his comfort level during Rocky Horror too! But Glee's continuity has always been kind of shaky haha
2
Reply
Flag
Schizophrenia does not refer to a multiple personality, you really shouldn't use it like that.
Reply
Flag
ALSO! Im sure I'll get slammed for this, but I agreed with Kurt. Half the time there is a topless scene in anything its during a movie that didnt really need it. All these B horror flicks that is noting but boobs, fine we get it! You werent oscar bound anyway! But you dont need nudity to win an academy award, trust in your actors abilities!
8
Reply
Flag
At the risk of sounding like a slammer, while there is a lot of nudity in film that is most likely exploitative and objectifies women, how can you excuse Kurt calling her a slut and the film pornography, it's hard not to see misogyny driving that remark. Plus if we had a society where all nudity was stigmatised then isn't that a little juvenile? If the ancient Greeks were okay with nude statues and paintings then aren't we a little pathetic if we say that there's something wrong with showing the human form? Plus would Daenerys Targaryen, Stormborn, Unburnt, Mother of Dragons (did I miss any?) would not have made it to the screen without a culture accepting of nudityl
4
Reply
Flag
WOW!!! Chill guy! Jeeze

I was only agreeing with Kurt about the line of him saying that real actresses dont need to be naked for a role. My own personal opinion! I dont care how juvenile that may seem to you. The main point i was trying to make was about nudity in sex scenes! I apologize if that didnt come across. Iwas never dissing the human fom. Great Leap! So until i see the statute of david in a intimate situtation with another and start slamming it, than i dont know if ur argumet was a bit immature yourself.

btw yes, Daenerys Targaryen was nude during her scenes... but has she won an award for that role? none that have mattered.. but way to not go personal! Good for you!
1
Reply
Flag
I wasn't calling you juvenile, sorry if you had that impression. Kurt wasn't talking about sex scenes and his comments were still borderline misogynistic. In fact no one really mentioned sex scenes at all in the show until you brought it up just now. So I don't think it was much of a leap to confine my comments to nudity in cinema and other forms of art.
2
Reply
Flag
I wasn't saying what Rachel was doing was porn, I just meant usually when there is a nudity scene most minds usually go to sex first. As did Kurt's. unfortunately society has created that way of thinking.. Also whether sex on screen is hard or soft core.. It's still sex.
Flag
Kurt only brought up pornography as a hyperbole. Pornography is pretty different from the soft core simulated sex scenes in mainstream movies and as such you'd be pressed to find an A-List actress who has acted in a porno, so I'm not sure how that fits into your argument. Are you now saying that pornography itself was a central theme of the episode?
1
Flag
Pornography was brought up a lot, out of Kurt's mouth and yours... so i wasnt the first to go towards sex scenes..
Flag
OMG, Awesome comment . You just like you were in my mind ! I was really going to write the same points you wrote , don't need nudity to win an award and the exact same example of B-rated american horror movies with alot of boobs!!, but i rewrite my comment cause i don't want it to be long ! Oh , Thank you ;)
1
Reply
Flag
I actually really enjoyed this episode and all the songs. I thought Marley's and Jake(?)s rendition of A Thousand Years was beautiful! HIs names Jake right? Im trying to break away from calling him Puck Jr... haha Also loved the way they filmed the two Rachels, that scene was interesting. ALRIGHT! I loved this episode cause all the male nakedness!!! Especilly Sam.... drool...
4
Reply
Flag
all I can say is old rachel looked better..
6
Reply
Flag
Emma is back and she needs to appear more often in this show before it is too late!
3
Reply
Flag
Yeah I was not a fan of Kurt being reactionary and calling Rachel a slut was offensive. Rachel's story seemed so arbitrary that it was hard to know what to make of it, a far cry from the REALLY IMPORTANT EPISODES we've had in the past. At least Sam had a very solid episode but the Marley holocaust continues. Even that most sacred of places - Fondue for Two - has been tainted. Where is Glee going with this? If someone as non-judgemental as Brittany casually abuses Marley then can there be any hope for her at all?

Musically I thought it was one of the weakest episodes of the season. Pretty much none of the songs impressed me, the last couple were probably the best but my partiality dictates that I must champion Torn as it's Australian YAY! I reckon if I looked at the songs on the show that there'd be hardly more than the fingers on one hand. But now there's been Torn and Don't Dream It's Over (which is about 1/2 Aussie to be fair) recently and Somebody That I Used To Know a little before that. Not too shabby.
1
Reply
Flag
Much better than last week. I loved "Torn" by both the old and new Rachel. Marley and Jake's duet scene was really nice as well.
6
Reply
Flag
Geez , this episode was pointless . So it is alright to get topless in a movie but it was not the right time for Rachel ??!
Any Good & Decent director knows that any love scene can be made without showing any boobs but showing will get more viewers . Sex always sells more :P
3
Reply
Flag
And other decent directors know that really, who cares about whether you see someone's boobs? Oh no, boobs! Terrifying and horrible!
Reply
Flag

Like TV.com on Facebook