Glee! 1.10 – Ballads


Come on, Will, a rolly chair can't stop the force of her ardor.

Got your game card?  Good.  Today’s cocktail in honor of the creepy stalker in this episode is the Suzy Pepper.


“Ballads,” Mr. Schue writes on a white board and then asks, “what do they mean?”

Brittany raises her hand and calls out, “It’s a male duck.” [DRINK!] No, silly goose, they’re epic story songs, like “Convoy,” but with more feeling. Their assignment is to be paired up with one another (to be chosen by fate, or names in a hat) and sing a ballad to them with feeling. As Mr. Schue reaches for the hat, Brittany whispers to Santana, “I bet the duck’s in the hat.” [DRINK!]

Matt Rutherford isn’t there (spider in the ear, we’ve all been there) so Mr. Schue puts his name in the hat to even out the couples. Puck gets Mercedes, Artie gets Quinn, Finn gets Kurt (he is BEAMING) Tina gets Other Asian (Mike, and ha ha ha), Santana gets Brittany, and Rachel gets… Mr. Schuester.

What can go wrong? Hmm, maybe they could just wait until Matt gets back? But Rachel insists. And to illustrate to the gang what constitutes a ballad, she has one ready to go. “Endless Love,” by Diana Ross and Lionel Ritchie. (And if you’ve never seen the movie, it’s all about a creepy obsessive and unhealthy love. I see what you did there, writers, and I approve. Also, it’s kind of hot in the beginning.)

Finn sits laughing in his chair as Will gulps and starts singing, “My love…there’s only you in my life,” and Kurt thinks to himself that this would be an awesome song to sing to Finn. As long as Finn doesn’t try to take the Diana part. Rachel starts singing back, and suddenly realizes through the force of emotional song that Mr. Schuester is kinda hot – when he’s not trying to destroy her career – and starts looking at him with heart eyes.

Will is thoroughly creeped but keeps singing, and now has to back away as Rachel stalk-sings him around the piano. “Oooooh, you know I don’t mind!” (But he does, oh, he really does.) Will thinks to himself that he shouldn’t have sung this with her [oh, ya think? DRINK] and “crap, she looks totally crazy right now.” Ha. “You will always be…. my….endless love.” Uh oh.

Quinn is at home trying on her Chastity Ball gown with her boozy, blousey mom (but the conservative Christian kind of boozy, you know, tasteful glassware and pearl necklaces) when her dad races in to tell them Glenn Beck is on. He hides his eyes so he won’t see her dress (the HELL?) and Quinn thankfully says, “I’m not marrying you, Dad!” and I heave a sigh of relief. Dad takes a swig of his scotch and asks if this Finn is a good boy, hint hint. Oh, and he’s coming to dinner tomorrow so your Mother and I can get a good look at him. What can go wrong?

Rachel brings Will a gift. He nervously sits there until she forcefully demands through her grin for him to OPEN IT. It’s a tie with her signature gold stars! You know, so that every time he wears it he can think of her. Oh, and the star he’s making. (Like Celine Dion’s creepy elderly husband/manager  René Angélil. They can be just like that!)

He races off to Emma to talk it out, but she’s not getting it. He’s had this happen before, and it was terrible. It also started with a novelty gift. Suzy Pepper, a nerdy little nobody with mucho amor for Señor Schuester. She gave him socks with little hot peppers all over it, so he could think of her every time he looked at his sweaty feet. She’s crazy intense, very Tracy Flick. PICK FLICK!

One night while asleep, he’s woken by a phone call, but the only noise on the line is heavy breathing. He guesses, “Suzy Pepper?” and she’s elated that he knew her just by the “sound of her breath.” Terri grabs the phone and shuts her down. The next day Will is blunt with Suzy: there’s is a love that cannot be. She races away, sobbing and broken hearted, and flings her locker open. The door is decorated with Valentines and pictures of Will, but there’s a vial and within it is a solid black pepper. A cyanide pepper, if you will.

And she will. She eats the pepper.

Immediately she begins convulsing and we’re told that she had to be put in a medically induced coma for four days as the pepper – the hottest known pepper in the world – has eaten through her esophagus. She’ll also end up with two years of intensive psychotherapy, but what’s important is that Will gets it. He’s totally hot and the chicks dig him. What, he’s supposed to make himself unattractive? You have to be gentle with the ladies.

Emma encourages him to follow his own advice and sing his feelings to Rachel. Feelings of NO THIS CANNOT BE, that is.

Speaking of not gonna happen, Kurt and Finn rehearse their assignments. Except for how Finn can’t think of anything to sing, um, to a dude. Kurt just wants him to sing what’s in his heart, and I hate to break it to you, darling, but enchiladas, X-Box and third base with Quinn are what’s in his heart. Finn lashes out in frustration about the situation he’s in regarding Quinn. Ha, maybe you should just quit girls altogether, huh? …right?

Finn tells Kurt that he’s sad they’re giving up the baby, he doesn’t want his daughter to grow up thinking they abandoned her and didn’t love her. He really, really loves this little fetus and wants to do what’s right, and ugh, this lying about the baby daddy story is AWFUL, you guys! Kurt pats him on the back in more of a caress and encourages Finn to sing a classic rock style song that fits his voice, “I’ll Stand By You,” by The Pretenders.

And he does. He even sings it to his computer screen where the sonogram is playing, and no, that’s not odd or weird at all, dude. (I know it’s supposed to be sweet. But it’s weird, guys. Especially when he gently strokes the monitor. Who does this?! The Suzy Peppers of the world, that’s who.) His mom walks in with the laundry, and sees the hinky.

“Were you just singing to a sonogram?”

“Uh…huh?” He breaks down and tells his mom all about it, and because Finn’s mom is totally a great mom that loves her kid like Burt Hummel love his (hey, this could mean something!) she just holds him close and lets him cry it out. God job, mom. Finn crying about the baby is really touching, he’s just a kid who doesn’t know what to do, bless his little simple heart.

Quinn’s Spidey senses tingled; somewhere Finn had a special moment with someone not her. She bitches him out for telling the truth to his mom. She’s so hateful and awful, just degrading him for his stupidity and on and on, and oh my god, woman, you are the WORST. You are three day old broccoli water with dead gnats floating in it. You are an unflushed toilet in a gas station on a hot day.

Kurt takes this as a perfect opportunity to recruit for the other team, but Finn just doesn’t have the ability to switch. Sorry, bro. Kurt flashes back to when he first fell in love with Finn (Finn chastised Puck for slamming Kurt into a locker, what a hero!) and then how they bonded over oily T-zones in the locker room, like a couple of dudes. “I don’t know why I find his stupidity charming.” Me neither, Kurt, but I’m suffering from the same thing.

Rachel has a scheduled rehearsal with Mr. Schuester. She checks her breath, smooths her hair, and frowns when Emma walks in with him. Will tells her to really, really listen to the words of the song medley he’s prepared for her (how is this a rehearsal when you’re singing a song and she isn’t?) because he really, really means them. He busts out an awkward mash-up of “Don’t Stand So Close” by The Police and “Young Girl” by Gary Puckett and the Union Gap. And take a DRINK for awkward song choice, because both songs are about dudes who are into under-aged girls. Not about them not wanting to be in those relationships, but that they recognize the dirtybadwrongness. And you know, keep on with the relationships. The baddirtywrong ones. Dummy.

Rachel (and Emma) is transfixed by his singing and writhing and jumping on the piano and watches the whole thing with more heart eyes and hands clasped to her chest. Will asks, “Did you understand what I was trying to say, Crazytown?”

“YES. I’m very young and it’s hard for you to stand so close to me.”

She leaves, beaming, and in the hallway stalking her is…. Suzy Pepper. (Cue the Psycho violins!)

Finn and Kurt are in Finn’s basement looking for something appropriate for Finn to wear to the Fabray’s. Kurt hopefully will find something less Don Knotts than the suits he’s been wearing on the show. They bond over being children of a dead parent, and realize they have a lot in common, a good parent that loves them and aching memories of the ones they’ve lost. They talk a little more about singing out your feelings to further the plot. Or rather, that it’s a good idea for Finn to sing his feelings instead of coming out and just saying them. This is what we call “foreshadowing” in the biz.

Will gets home from work, calls out to his “Sweetie” and is handed a beer. BY RACHEL. What!? It seems that Terri is using her coming over to Terri’s advantage by putting Rachel on dinner duty and scrubbing the bathroom. Rachel is more than happy to do it, because it means more time with her One True Love.

Will flips out at Terri and drives Rachel home, putting her in the backseat where “children should sit.” She pouts, but then hands him a CD she made just for him. She pops it in the stereo and “Crush” breathes out all seductive and sexual and Will shuts it off, freaked the hell out. But Will! It’s just [ahhh] a little crush [uhnnn] not like she faints every time you touch. (You touch?)

Suzy Pepper corners Rachel the next day in school. This would have been a perfect opportunity to use the creepy throat music from that Reese Witherspoon movie Election, “Navajo Joe” by Ennio Morricone.  Hahaha.

Mercedes has rehearsal with Puck, but she’s too busy on the phone to pay attention to him. He finally gets so pissed that he lets it slip that Finn isn’t the father, he is. WHOA, DUDE. Except for how Mercedes doesn’t care, Quinn chose Finn to be the daddy, so Puck needs to back off, he’s done enough to her already, head roll, mm hmm.

KIDS. It doesn’t work like that! You can want all you’d like, but if the person isn’t involved with the “making a life” process, it is wrong to make that person responsible for said life. Ugh, this story line is so distressful to me!!

It’s finally dinner at the Fabray’s and Finn is dressed in his dad’s best blazer, trying to not wet his pants from fear. Quinn’s dad is a bit intimidating, even if he’s half a foot shorter than Finn. Mr. Fabray offers a toast to money, Christianity, and all the pretty blond women in his life, in that order. Finn freaks out a bit and jumps up to hit the head mid-toast. He calls Kurt [who is wearing a hunter green and burgundy rugby shirt with a white collar, and has layered this with a soft grey and HOT PINK TRIMMED sweater. Is a blind person that hates Kurt and fashion dressing him?? DRINK.] Kurt attempts to soothe him, but Finn realizes that he’s been on the phone long enough that they’re going to think he’s dropping a deuce and goes back out to the table with a boombox (which can change the world, but you have to know your limits with a boombox. Now pass the boiled gooOoose.)

Quinn freaks when she figures out what he’s about to do. But he can’t be stopped, this train has to keep on rolling. And he starts singing the cheesy ’70s ballad “Having My Baby” [DRINK!] and for a brief moment, the parents sway to the gentle adult contemporary beat until he gets to the hilariously awful lyric, “The seed inside you, baby do you feel it growin’?” Both Mom and Dad seem to get hit upside the head with a clue-by-four and shut the song off.

We next see the kids on the Chesterfield with Papa Fabray glowering at them. Dad can’t get past his sweet little five year old innocent girl that he dreamed of taking to the Chastity Ball (guys, that is creepy. It’s like it’s the dad’s responsibility to hand off the daughter’s cherry, and I am SO not okay with that, blech) and Quinn sits there crying prettily. She keeps saying how sorry she is that she’s no longer a little girl, gets on to her mother for knowing (every mother knows this kind of thing, it’s true) and not helping her. Because she “needed [her] mom. But you were too scared of what he would do!” Jesus, who is this guy?

Daddy Fabray completely loses his shit and kicks Finn out. And then kicks her out. Even sets an egg timer (we’re later told) and gives her that much time to pack a few things before the door hits her in the ass. Wow, way to be all Christian, dude. I remember that Jesus passage, “And lo, for ifest thine own unmarried daughter dost arrive unto you with a babe growing, thou shalt call her names and throw her to the wolves. Unless it was mine own mother, for she is the one exception, yea verily.”

Finn finds his mom doing more laundry and asks if Quinn can stay with them. Because she’s awesome, she says yes. Maybe now Finn can finally slide into home, if you know what I mean. I mean, come on, the damage has been done, right?

Suzy Pepper confronts Rachel yet again, “Hey Barbra Streisand! We need to have a little talk.” And she actually offers some good advice, clearly hard won from two years of intensive psychotherapy and probably a few trust falls. And an esophageal transplant. “I’m a cautionary tale.”

Suzy, I drink in your honor. [And guys, milk, not water, to kill a capascin burn. Trust me.]

Rachel heads on to her rehearsal with Will, and he shuts this whole thing down. It was wrong to have performed “Endless Love” with her (oh, really?) and she has to know that it’s highly inappropriate, how she’s behaving with him. She knows, and she has brought him a plant as an apology. Bless her heart, she starts crying [DRINK!] feeling incredibly embarrassed. And a little lonely, too. Aww. He does his best to boost her up, because someone out there will love her for who she really is. One day.

Speaking of, Kurt and Finn have rehearsal again, and Finn fills him in on the awful situation that happened. Kurt apologizes for the lousy advice he gave Finn. And then he tells Finn that the song he meant to sing was “I Honestly Love You.” Oh, my heart! Finn is completely uncomfortable with that, but mumbles out, “Um, okay?” and they trudge back into music class. (Kurt, there is someone out there for you that will love you just as you are, too! Hang on just one more year! Drunken crying. BLAAAINE!)

Everyone has secretly decided to not do their homework as assigned, but instead they all join up and sing “Lean On Me” to Finn and Quinn, including Puck, although he just sways in the background and sings half-heartedly. Mercedes knocks it out of the part with the vocals [DRINK!] and before we get too emotional and maudlin, on the line “just call me” Kurt makes the international sign for a phone and winks at Finn. Finn is just bewildered, which is funny. Because he’s always bewildered.

FUN FACT: Diana Agron (Quinn) and Cory Monteith (Finn) weren’t allowed in the rehearsals for this last number so they could be surprised by the filmed singing, and they were, and they got choked up, and really, guys, this cast is pretty neat-o. Even to a jaded jerk-face like me. I’m taking a salutatory swig in their honor.


Drunken Thoughts: I know we’re supposed to be on Quinn’s side by the end of the episode, but I don’t think the writers thought it through. I think the idea is, “See what she grew up with? These monsters? That’s why she’s horrible!” and sorry, they’re not monsters. They’re typical spoiled narcissists and they raised a spoiled narcissist. She’s still mean. She’s her dad and Finn is a dopey version of her mom. I think I had just forgotten how horrible a person she was in the beginning and I’m mad on behalf of every person that was bullied by a girl like her.

On the other side of the spectrum we have poor lonely Kurt, who just wants to love a pretty boy, he’s not thought about things any further than the chase. And it mirrors the relationship between Suzy Pepper & Rachel’s affection/obsession with Will Schuester. They don’t think much of themselves (in that attracting other people way) and have pinned their hopes to an impossible dream person. It’s at both times exhilarating and impossible, which makes it safe. Kind of. Bless.

And the hottest pepper on the planet isn’t a blackened red pepper like they used, it’s a bhut jolokia from Indonesia and they are about 293 times hotter than a jalapeño. Dude. That’s as hot as pepper spray, the kind you use on an attacker. Habanero is as hot as I go. There was a restaurant in my town that had habanero in everything, and I always ordered this chicken and crawdad cream dish on habanero pasta and holy crap, would that clean out your sinuses. But it still tasted delicious, too. And a margarita was a perfect drink alongside this.

I don’t know why I’m telling you all of this, maybe I think it’s time we took our relationship to the next level, god, we’ve been drinking and watching Glee for 10 episodes now, quit being a tease. I love you. Could you get me a refill? Thanks.


(Hairography, the next episode, is right this way!)