There are some things you can never plan for, nor should you want to plan for them, but then fate steps in anyway, and creates a moment. One moment in time, you might say. That happened on this week’s Glee, a Valentine’s Day episode that featured a dramatic performance of Whitney Houston’s signature song, “I Will Always Love You,” by Mercedes. The writers could never have known that this would come so soon after Houston’s death, or that it would echo the emotional tribute performance by Jennifer Hudson at the Grammys just two nights earlier. And to Fox’s credit, none of the promos were re-cut to promote this as Glee’s memorial to Whitney. It was just an unhappy accident, but one that almost certainly moved many Glee fans to tears, just as it did Sam, to whom it was dedicated.
But let's back up: In the rehearsal room, Sugar Motta bought her love by giving Mr. Schue the money needed for costumes, hairspray, and dance belts at Regionals, sparing New Directions from delivering singing telegrams in school. Then Sugar announced her dad had rented out (drum roll, Rachel! No, Rachel, that’s a drum fill) Breadstix so his daughter could have the Valentine’s Day of her dreams. Only couples were invited, except Sugar was single, which made no sense, and Artie and Rory battled to win her affections. (Question: So we like Sugar Motta now? I’m still not sure I understand what she brings to the show.)
Finally, finally, finally, we met Rachel’s two gay dads, the ones mentioned as a throwaway joke in the pilot. Jeff Goldblum and Broadway star Brian Stoke Mitchell played the dads, and while at first I had a hard time buying Goldblum as gay, by the time the dinner party rolled around and he was yammering on about how much he admires Nate Berkus, I was kind of sold on him. I’d like to see him and Brittany go head-to-head in a non-sequitur off.
Fans of The Glee Project likely squealed in delight with the first appearance of Samuel Larsen, the dreadlocked co-winner of Season 1. Samuel played Joe Hart, a
professional hackysack player and bong enthusiast devout Christian who joined Mercedes’ God Squad group of Jesus-lovin’ singers. Unfortunately, Jesus did not take the wheel, as Larsen’s acting ability was lacking, as was his screen presence in general.
Brittany made Santana a playlist for Valentine’s Day of all the songs she thinks of when she thinks about her girlfriend—classic love songs like “On Top of Spaghetti” and “Pac-Man Fever”—which earned a sweet thank-you kiss... and then a seat in Principal Figgins’ office, who buckled to complaints from the school’s religious students. This was another timely development, coming just a week after the Susan G. Komen/Planned Parenthood controversy, and the Rolling Stone story about the sick campaign to humiliate gay teens in Michele Bachmann’s district. I fully support Glee’s choice to call these trends out, and I particularly liked the debate in the God Squad meeting in which they pointed out that Jesus never said anything about homosexuality being wrong. Glee has turned down the volume this season on calling out bullying and bigotry, but it’s still probably the single most powerful platform to do so.
I thought the stuff with Rachel and Finn worked nicely. God only knows how many marriages have ended over an ill-timed Number Two (hopefully not too many), but the in-laws’ reverse-psychology tactics of forcing Finchel to co-habitate ultimately backfired.
And then there was Kurt’s “secret admirer” arc, in which a sweaty, hairy gorilla kept plying him with chocolates and flowers (hey, that’s worked on me more times than I’d care to admit), only to have the big reveal be that it was Dave Karofsky, his Season 2 bully, secretly pining for him. I’m not really sure what we were supposed to feel about this. It certainly came out of nowhere. Are we really to believe Karofsky is in love with Kurt? And what now? It seems a rather random dramatic choice to have him pop in every six episodes to look freaked out about being gay.
The musical performances were underwhelming this week. I actually thought the highlight was Artie’s boy band take on Mario’s “Let Me Love You.” It was unabashed, seductive, and quite musical, and reminded you why boy bands once ruled the planet, before a meteor took them all out. The “Love Shack” group number was fun, and it was great to see Blaine back, if only for the finale. Also, Mercedes knocked “I Will Always Love You” out of the ballpark. It’s kind of interesting to me that none of the stars of Glee have really made a name for themselves outside of the Glee brand. Matthew Morrison tried, and failed, with a solo album; but why isn’t Amber Riley, for example, putting out her own singles? Does her contract prohibit any non-Glee releases, I wonder? Probably.
1. With Rory’s announcement that he’s leaving (and another snore-inducing performance), and now the underwhelming debut of Joe, what are your opinions of the Glee Project winners? Can they hold their own?
2. Who is your favorite couple on Glee?
3. What did you think of Rachel’s dads?
4. Puck and Brittany have been relegated to the bleachers lately. What gives?!