Glee! 1.21 Funk

My brain hurts, you guys, and so does my back, just looking at these ladies. WHAT IS THIS BULL MESS.

We’re back after a forced technical hiatus! I have a delicious drink for you as an apology, the Chaka Khan Bomb. (But do you promise to funk? The whole funk, nothing but the funk?)

 

Our free space is to drink when things aren’t funky. Yes, I’m getting you sauced up.   Also, funk is one of my all-time favorite musical genres, so this one hurt me.

 

Kurt, Artie, Mercedes and Tina are feeling super pumped about Regionals, like they have a chance. As soon as they say that, they seal their fate. Rachel races over to them: there is an emergency. An auditorium emergency!

Vocal Adrenaline is on their stage. And Jesse is with them. When Rachel looks confused, he breaks it down for New Directions. He was way superior to all of them, which they failed to acknowledge, and they weren’t nice, so he transferred back. When Finn asks why the hell they’re there in the McKinley auditorium, that’s when Vocal Adrenaline lays it out for them.

“Another One Bites The Dust” blasts out of the speakers (that…they…brought?) and they put their stank on it. Like, there’s Reverse Cowgirl on stage. In your face, New Directions! Jesse and Rachel share a smoldering look. He leaves.

Artie tells everyone that Carmel High is known for their psych outs before competitions. (Why didn’t you remember that when Jesse transferred to McKinley, Artie, whyyyyyy?) They leave the other school in a deep funk. It’s called: Funkification. (Aren’t you glad I didn’t make the drinking game around abuse of the word funk?) Kurt tsk, tsks them, surely New Directions can beat them?

Doubtful. I mean, they show up to Glee and the music room has been TP’d. Oooooh, sick burn! What’s next, short sheeting beds? Did everyone learn pranks from Camp Cryalot? (Puck will show everyone how you get back at people, don’t worry.)

Will tells the gang that Vocal Adrenaline is going after them because they know competition when they see it. Mercedes just wants to know how the hell they got in. Sue, of course! She’s got some lackeys carrying in a ridiculously huge trophy as she plans on building a glass storage case for it, right there in the music room, so the Gleeks can read it and weep.

Mr. Schuester finally reacts like an actual person. He smiles, asks Sue if he can see the trophy, then smashes the hell out of it and orders her to get out. Sue is barely fazed, however.

“You know, trophies for me are like herpes. You try to get rid of them but they just keep coming. Because I have tons of burning, itching, highly contagious talent.”

Later that night Terri and Will sign their divorce papers. It’s official. Also, it’s awkward and uncomfortable and a little sad for Terri. She tells him that he’ll always be that 16 year old boy that she fell in love with. She pats his hair and kisses his forehead before leaving. (Sue wakes up in a cold sweat, a sneer on her face and the scent of Bryl-Cream in her nostrils, unsure of what’s happening.)

Will channels his personal issues into class again and talks to them about regrets. [DRINK!] He prepares them (and the audience) for a potential loss at Regionals. But as long as they work their buns off, they won’t regret giving it their all. Now how about we get them back with a prank of our own, kids? Maybe they could steal their school’s statue? [DRINK!]

“It’s a bronze of a white shark eating a baby seal. It weighs three tons.” Thanks for being a buzzkill, Kurt. Then again, hernias never look good on anyone and it’s almost impossible to bedazzle a back brace. (Just ask Romy and Michelle.)

Whatever, guys, we all know it’s going to come down to Puck saving the day here, it’s what he does. Making other people miserable is like his super power. He and Finn share a look. It’s Bro-Time. They decide that means slashing the tires on Vocal Adrenaline’s Range Rovers.

Principal Figgins decides that means their expulsion. Shelby Cochoran, Sue, Will, Puck, and Finn have all been called into Figgins’ office after the tires are slashed. Sue is only there to be funny, otherwise, why on earth would she be called in? Shelby’s pissed, those cars were illegal gifts from their very active boosters! No one was hurt, Will argues.

“That’s what they said about a man in Chicago, 1871, who thought he’d play a harmless prank on the dairy cow of one Mrs. O’Leary. He successfully ignited its flatulence and a city burned, William. That young terrorist went on to become the first gay President of the United States, Abraham Lincoln.”

One, Sue Sylvester: you are gold. Two, this explains a lot about our current political potentials and their skewed understanding of American History. Three, I think we all know the first gay President was Millard Fillmore. Please, he was so fabulous the Whig party couldn’t continue without him. (Parties named after accessories? Hel-lo!)

Principal Figgins wants to expel the boys for committing a felony, but Shelby doesn’t want that, just pay for new tires. (Burt Hummel tosses in his sleep, dreaming of potential business. Those don’t come cheap. Think of the McQueens they could buy his son!) Finn and Puck will have to get jobs and pay for them.

Will meets Sandy Reyerson under the bleachers, a scenario Sandy has fantasized about, I’m sure. Will’s thinking of selling some of Sandy’s medical marijuana to raise capital for Glee Club. [DRINK!] Sandy doesn’t sell pot to the clinically depressed, though, so Will best come correct. And is it really going to take Sandy telling Will how to beat Vocal Adrenaline? FINE.

“FUNK.” Mr. Schue writes on their white board in big print. He asks the class to use it in a sentence.

Rachel offers, “This cheese smells funky.”

“That’s because it’s frumunda cheese,” Puck says, pantomiming cupping balls. (Looks like the writers paid attention to actual teen aged boys.)

Kurt whines, “I’m so depressed I’ve worn the same outfit twice this week.” (Quelle horror!) [DRINK!]

Will has some of Jemma Mays summer job rub off on him and gets smurfy with the word Funk. “We’re gonna funkin’ funk those mother funkers in their funk hole. Funky funk buckets!”

See, Vocal Adrenaline has never done a funk number. Why? Because they have no soul. (Not because they’re in Western Ohio? Okay, then!) Their assignment (writers: you don’t have to do this every week, honest) is to turn McKinley into Funk-ay Town! Oh god. [DRINK. Saying funky like that is funkin’ un-funky.]

Mercedes dusts her shoulder and tells them she’s got this covered. Uh, excuse me, because how dare you ignore the white blond girl with a penchant for Christian pop songs, because clearly she can get it on the good foot, good God! Quinn pulls up her cardigan sleeve to show her “Mother Popcorn” tat on her shoulder. Mercedes fixes her with a look and is all, “Whatevs, KC and the Sunshine Belly.“ Quinn puts on her Most Determined face and smooths her pony tail. They’ll see. THEY’LL ALL SEE.

Will ignores all of this and calls Rachel in to his office. He thinks she’s taking this whole “Jesse seduced you, made you love him, almost got you to give up your V Card, led you to dream of becoming a power performance couple, and then totally tricked you by dumping your ass” a little too hard. He hands her a “Hang In There!” kitty on a tree poster, chucks her shoulder, and rolls his eyes as she walks away. Plot against you, schmot against you, get over it already, yeesh!

Plot against you….? Wheels in Will’s head keep on turnin’. Plotting against your enemies, eh? He makes arrangements for Sue to bump into him in the music room later. He flirts with her (and she doesn’t immediately sniff something amiss? SUE?) and tells her that nylon knit really brings out the sparkle in her eyes and the glow in her skin.

“Placenta masks and microdermabrasion.”

He just wants her advice, what with her being a national champion and all. Is this song idea he has for the kids a little too… suggestive? (Short answer: if you’re wondering that, then the answer is yes. Also, Sue would have stopped him after “song idea” and said that she stopped listening and that she’s got to race out to meet with Brian Williams, who wants to get training tips on proper technique for squats. Or that the Croatian Olympic weight lifting team called, wanting to know her recipe for protein shakes made from stem cells.)

I then become very uncomfortable as Will sings “Tell Me Something Good” by one of my all time favorites, Chaka Khan, and I can just imagine Amber Riley having a fit in her trailer (justified) because Mercedes should have knocked that out of the PLANET, not Will Schuester singing it as a come on to Sue Sylvester. I mean, he drops something to pick it up, like she’s all into his buns. And almost lap dances for her. GROCE. [DRINK. Copiously.] I hear the James Brown high-pitched shriek, GOOD GOD!

Look. I get it. The writers are super hot for Matthew Morrison, and hey, he’s a good looking guy. But you have to pick! Is he the “moral center” for the show, the grounding force for all of the crazy? Or do you want to live out your teacher fantasies with that character? Take your pick, writers, I’ll be along for the ride, but PICK because I can’t root for your “lead” when he’s flip flopping like that.

Because this episode is now firmly in Crazyville, Sue is totally hot and bothered by her arch nemesis rubbing his scent glands all over her. Will asks in a husky tone, “So. You feel anything there?” Nope. “Was I too dirty?” Sue replies, “I didn’t notice, I was bored.” Ahaha. This would have been a great place for a “greasy hair” joke, Sue. “Only above the eye brows.”

Finn and Puck are now working at Sheets-n-Things. Sandy is there buying tacky crap for his lair (you know what would make an awesome B-plot to an episode? Sandy Reyerson having a Carrot Top fetish. I could see those two hooking up. And now I can’t see anything because I just bleached my eyeballs.) Sandy rags on the guys for not being perfect and instinctively knowing he wanted a crocheted Grandma Mouse air freshener cozy with pip cleaner glasses. And a Snuggie with Justin Beiber on it.

Puck grabs his guitar and starts singing Beck’s “Loser,” and he sounds awesome. Finn joins in, also sounding great. The other employees break in on the chorus, and this is the kind of number they should do more, and oh, wait. It was a dream sequence. Just let it happen, writers, let it happen. It’s a show about music, let it be a musical, we’re all on board. That’s why we keep tuning in.

Meanwhile, Terri gets the tinglies when she sees Finn because he’s “so much like Will.” You know, they’ve been telling us that from the beginning, but I’m just not buying it. What, they’re both guys? They both had women lie about babies? So…they’re so much alike? Suspending belief through drinking, hang on. Okay, I’m all better. Anyhoodle, Terri is all tingly about Finn and wants to help him get on her with his Glee assignment. They’ll type “funk” into the iTunes and see what comes up! He’s touched. You know, she’d be a total MILF if it wasn’t for that whole lying about a baby thing. Sweet smile. “Uh, thanks?” (You know she loved it.)

Sue doodles the beheading of one William Schuester and laments the moment where her body betrayed her with stupid, dirty feelings. Sexy, non-murdering ones at that! Will shows up with some flowers for her, and they match her track suit. He also brings her a tub of Extreme Lifestyle Carbo Gels in her favorite flavor, Appletini. This is funny. Sue baffled and mumbling “appletini” is hilarious. Jane Lynch makes everything better.

And then Will asks her out to Breadstix (the only place to eat in the whole town) and says they’ll go out on Wednesday. Know why? Because it’s Hump Day. Good hell. I’m surprised he didn’t thrust his junk and pump his fists at her.

The most bizarre performance in Glee history is next, and guys, that’s saying something. And again, I love this show. But… Quinn. Quinn singing a mother truckin’ James Brown song. While being backed by a group of pregnant girls, all miraculously the same level of pregnant as she is (which is in the final month.) “It’s A Man’s World,” one of the more misogynist songs out there (and I love me some James Brown, best concert I have ever been to) and I get that they’re trying to flip things on their ear, but… Quinn.

She has no growl, no depth, no soul in her voice. She doesn’t have the soul of Jewel, let alone James “Hardest Workin’ Man in Show Business, Help Me Maceo!” Brown. And then you have the pregnant girls writhing and dancing and pulsing and you cannot move like that when you are nine months pregnant. Not unless you’re in the middle of natural childbirth, and then it’s involuntary.

AND THEN!!! The pregnant girls move in a circle like a Ferris Wheel of unborn hopes and dreams and missed opporunities and bounce while doing the “Hee hee hee! Hoo hoo hoo!” Lamaze breathing. Am I supposed to take this seriously? Or is this camp? Because I think they think it’s serious, but then chickened out and made it campy, then went back to serious.

When she’s done, everyone gives her a solemn “Poor, poor dear, oh how you have suffered!” hug while Mercedes sits in her chair trying to get the number of the truck that just hit her. [DRINK. And drain your glass if you haven’t already.]

Sue sits in a booth at Breadstix (in a track suit with pearls, ha ha!) waiting for Will. Who stands her up. Ouch. It’s ouchy because we love Sue. Sue is true to who she is, and when she’s hurt, we actually care, even though she is awful. That is because Jane Lynch is outstanding. Will is at home with a tub of cheesy poofs when Sue barges in. How dare he stand up a six time Nationals champion!

Will lays it out for her. She got what she deserved. She’s awful, vindictive, mean, and more than a little psychotic. How you like me now? He knew cruelty would be the one way he could get through to her. He kicks her out and feels a smidgen of glee.

The next day at school, Santana leans against her locker, sobbing. Will asks her what’s wrong but she races off. It seems all of the cheerleaders are freaking out. Kurt tells him that Sue hasn’t gotten out of bed in days, there has been no Cheerios practice, and if they don’t win at Nationals, there are several girls on the team that will lose scholarships, the only way they have to go to college. So how does your victory taste now, William? Like the ashes of the dead?

In class, Finn and Puck – in black satin jackets like a couple of bad asses from the 1972 musical Bad Ass Roller Gangs – are gonna show them kids how funk is done, yo! Yo homie, kick it one time for me, boy-eee! Mercedes joins them in a rousing version of “Good Vibrations” by Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch (come on come on, damn! DRINK!) It’s the most wholesome rap about staying fit and being tough while getting 5 servings of vegetables a day that has ever been written outside of a Saturday Morning PSA. (The Bod Squad!)

Artie mouths to no one, “Is that your good vibration? Is it your sweet sensation? Well? IS IT?” When the wheelchair bound A/V nerd has more R&B in his non-working foot than the two dudes singing, you have a problem. None of the kids dig it, except for Mike Chang who just wants a chance to pop lock so he can get a bigger paycheck this week.

Will and I agree on something: that’s not funk. Just because they say they’re the “funky bunch” doesn’t make it so. But Mercedes does throw down her cheesy bridge, because she can’t sing badly if she tried. [DRINK.]

Quinn finds Mercedes and apologizes for being white and not understanding what it means to be a black woman. Because… now she gets it because she’s a pregnant teen? I…what?! I am so lost this episode, you guys, I have no idea what they’re trying to do. Quinn explains. For nine months now she has been a minority (wow) and she gets it, Black Woman, she gets it. I kinda wish they would have made Quinn say something like, “Thank god I’m giving this baby away so I can go back to my life of privilege. Sucks to be you!”

Instead they decide to be best friends and have Quinn move in with Mercedes’ family. “Us sistas gotta stick together, right?” WRONG. Oh how I wish this was some kind of long con on Mercedes’ part.

Will feels terrible about the whole standing Sue up thing, so he goes over to apologize. He wades through a sea of trophies to find her supine on her bed. She’s alone. So very alone. And even though she hates him, he would have made an outstanding Trophy Husband. (I think that’s true.) Will tells her that the sun’ll come out…tomorrow, and she bets her bottom dollar that…tomorrow there’ll be her getting in his face and making him miserable. They share a smile. “Bring me my bullhorn, William!” She’s back!

Rachel gets a call from Jesse to meet her in the parking lot. She thinks he wants to apologize, get back together, something, and she races out there only to be egged by the entire crew of Vocal Adrenaline. Oh, ouch. Jesse stands there, watching. He’s egged on [hurr] to contribute, and he smashes an egg on her forehead. The final nail in the coffin. Poor forlorn Rachel! The nightmares of the unborn chicken babies will haunt her for years.

The guys are furious on her behalf and Kurt tells Mr. Schue that Rachel belongs to them, and only they are allowed to humiliate her! Will is ready to be an educator, tells them to watch and learn. He calls Shelby. “Our place. Friday. Be there.” He snaps his fingers and barrel rolls, forgetting they’re on the phone and that she can’t see his sweet Sharks moves.

Funny moment: Will watching the news, sees that the Cheerios won, and it’s in large part to Kurt’s 14 minute medley of Celine Dion songs, in French. He high kicks and smiles. I love you, Kurt Hummel. Right then, Sue shows up at Will’s place with the trophy. She’s going to have it built into the choir room. Also, he can kiss her. With tongue.

And for some reason, he leans in to kiss her (why?! Why is this happening?!) and she stops him just before they touch, whispering, “No. Even your breath stinks of mediocrity and it’s making me sick.”

Friday comes, Vocal Adrenaline shows up, and Rachel tells them to take a gander at what they can do, because it’s something VA can’t do.

Kurt comes out and sings in a really low voice (to the point where I wondered if he’s lip syncing, has to be, right?) “Tear the roof off the sucker, tear the roof off the mother sucker, tear the roof off the sucker!” And New Directions busts out a decent version of “Give Up The Funk” and I’m on board until once again Quinn – nine months pregnant and about to blow – is pop locking and dropping it like it’s hot and GUYS. You can barely breathe without getting heart burn, you’re not going to be Running Manning it up and singing at the same time. [DRINK.]

Vocal Adrenaline, however, looks quite nervous. They’ve never been able to pull off a funk number because they are soulless automatons. And with Rachel making her ass clap like hands in pink satin shorts? VA better be nervous. But maybe our Gleeks need to stick to songs that aren’t so… out of their league. They’re just not so high I can’t get over it, nor are they so low I can’t get under it.

 

Drunken Thoughts: This episode just felt rushed and forced. A lot of stuff just didn’t make sense, and it’s a case of “here’s a theme of music we’ve not done, let’s just knit some stuff together!” Oy. Not to mention that there were some seriously missed opportunities in that last number: someone dressing like a baby in a top hat while smoking a fattie, or Kurt channeling his inner Elton by taking on the Bootsie Collins sparklemotion look.

Not having Mercedes perform a “funk” song is HUGELY disappointing. No Earth, Wind, and Fire’s Mighty Mighty? No Sweet Sweetback’s Baaadassssss Song? (The extra a’s and s’s are for ass kicking sssssuper sexinesssss.) Not having her sing the Chaka Khan song… is it because it’s sexy and she’s in high school? That’s the only excuse I can think of, and even that doesn’t hold water because Vocal Adrenaline faked boning at one point during their song, not to mention the time New Directions did that during “Push It.”

Marva Whitney’s “It’s My Thang,” would have been fantastic to hear, too. I just want to hear Mercedes sing more, is that so wrong? They don’t often miss the mark so much in an episode, so we’ll just be grateful for that, I guess. Tomorrow: REGIONALS. (And maybe New Directions should have settled on a damn set list by now, am I right?)

(JOURNEY TO REGIONALS, Season Finale!)

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  • Suzanne

    Just let it happen, writers, let it happen. It’s a show about music, let it be a musical, we’re all on board. That’s why we keep tuning in. Oh, I’m so right there with you!

    This was the most unmixy themes on a never ending season of thematics (I’m making that a word.) Your telling my life with your songs every time you talk about Mercedes and all the missed opportunities for Mercedes goodness!

    • Calling a new band name: Thematic Schematics. It’ll be a post-modern electronica groove quintet.

      I mean, if I don’t get some Roberta Flack in Season 3, imma cut a bitch. I know you feel me.

  • darkhavens

    Kurt comes out and sings in a really low voice (to the point where I wondered if he’s lip syncing, has to be, right?)

    Nope, Chris Colfer can get that low. After the ep, people kept asking if it was really him. He actually repeated the performance on live radio, completely stunning the interviewer, and providing proof for occasions such as this, if I could only find the damn link… ;)

    • Oh, I’m sure he can, it’s just SO DIFFERENT than we normally hear him that it sounds like someone entirely. :D I didn’t know about the interview/sing proof, though, that’s amazing! Yes, if you ever do find the link, I’d love it!

  • Fabrisse

    Quote: “And a Snuggie with Justin Beiber on it.”

    It’s Sandy, so I think you misspelled “in it.” *G*

    I think The UnWed Mothership connection is supposed to be camp from the get go — the perfect belly rubs while doing the Swan Lake pas de six is just icing on the cake.

    Plus — Bootsy Collins is from Cincinnati. That’s some funk royalty right there.

    • No, I hold to my opinion that they started out as camp, but then meant it, then didn’t know which way to finish it out. Not to mention the fact that they have the whitest girl in the whole Glee (well, minus Will) singing James mother truckin’ Brown. And I think they mean it, like, they think Quinn did something ground breaking.

      George Clinton is from Jersey, proof they’re not all orange and into tight clothes and blow outs. ;)