In an episode that almost plays out like an afterschool special, we learn that home can be you being comfortable with your body, having someone to sleep with, or having someone to love you. Or if you’re April Rhodes (and I kind of am) it’s having a sugar daddy and booze. Wait, that’s not what home is, that’s just her rental. She’ll find her home one day.
In honor of this theme I’m going to share my home with you. By which I mean tequila. La Piedra Casa ‘Rita.
Some notes on tequila, because if you’re coming to my house, I want you to take off your shoes. (I started drinking earlier. Hey, it’s an April Rhodes episode, it’s only fitting! Pull my finger.) Tequila is lovely. If you think it’s gross or awful, that’s because you’ve had Jose Cuervo and nothing good, am I right? Look for reposado (the yellow kind, very pungent) or blanco (silver, or clear, very smooth) tequila, and make sure that it’s 100% blue agave. Multiple distilled is better, too. That’s what keeps the headaches away in any booze. My personal favorite is Milagro Silver, not expensive, and amazing flavor. Hornitas, Camarena and Herradura are also great and not super pricey.
Also, you can play with the lime cocktail recipe by adding in pieces of fresh, peeled ginger to steep. (Pull it out after 12-24 hours or it will make the batch taste bitter.) Then, add it to gin, mint leaves, and club soda for a fabulous refresher. Or mix it with rum and mint leaves and mineral water for an outstanding mojito. You can even just add it to club soda for a homemade Sprite. It’s fabulous. I make it in triple batches.
Our free square is to drink when the concept of “home” is jammed down our throats.
Coach Sue Sylvester chats up her newest soloists, Mercedes and Kurt (because cheerleaders should be accompanied?) “Mercedes, your voice has had more successful runs than a Kenyan track team. But your look will not do.” She isn’t down with Mercedes wearing pants and not a traditional skirt.
Mercedes just doesn’t want the boys freaking out over her extreme hotness (she and Kurt share a hilarious dap with matching laughs and hair teasing) to which Sue asks, “How do you two not have a show on Bravo?”
I would watch the hell out of that show, let me just put that out there.
Anyway, Sue demands that Mercedes drops 10 pounds and gains a gender appropriate skirt by Friday, as a reporter from Splits Magazine is coming for an exclusive. Kurt tells Sue off for that, but Sue says he could stand to lose some, too, he has hips like a pear. Oh, no she di’int! She did, and they’re both hurt, but determined.
She excuses them because she needs to make an important phone call to the DMV. She will no longer carry photo ID because by god, everyone should know who she is by now. She also makes a point to take over the auditorium, locking everyone else out.
Will finds out, is furious (Regionals is coming up!) but there’s no budging. He’s just going to have to find a new place for the kids to rehearse. They’re upset about it as well, but Mr. Schue is determined to find somewhere for them. Like a home? I wonder if that idea will beat us over the head. [DRINK.]
Kurt collars Finn before he can leave. He wants Finn’s opinion on some decorating choices. Kurt whips out his swatch board (ahaha) and tells Finn he’s going for a hunting lodge/Tom Ford villa look (what the hell does that even mean?) and he needs Finn’s help with the hunting portion. Finn, baffled, jams a finger at one bit of fabric, mumbling “That’s nice?”
Kurt is beside himself with happiness. “Toile? I always pictured you as a chinoiserie type!” This makes me laugh on a few levels. First, Kurt imagining what sort of prints Finn would like is so ridiculous because Finn would not have an opinion. Second, they are the same family of prints, in that they’re prints featuring the countryside, one being French and the other being Chinese. Yes, I just laid that out there for you. I need my own show, Fabric Star, coming this fall to Bravo.
Anyway, Finn slips out before Kurt can ask him whether crocodile or ostrich leather would be better on the chaise.
Mercedes grabs a healthy lunch of grilled chicken and a salad, but Kurt gets on to her. I mean, she has to lose 10 pounds in four days. (Good hell.) He, for example, had Splenda for breakfast and is eating peeled celery for lunch. Santana and Brittany pass by, and Mercedes asks them how they do it, how do they stay so slim? Simple! With Sue Sylvester’s Master Cleanse!
- maple syrup
- Cayenne pepper (irritates the bowels)
- Ipecac (a vomiting agent, any Anne of Green Gables readers know that)
Brittany says she sometimes adds a teaspoon of sand. [DRINK!] I think we now know why Brittany is so addle-pated. She’s also convinced that her cat (Lord Tubbington) is reading her diary. [DRINK!]
Mercedes just hates this. Santana lets her know that she can either feel terrible and look great, or get kicked off the team. Mercedes leaves her food and walks off. Nooo!
Finn comes home to find someone buying his mom’s old bed set. But that was Carol’s honeymoon set with his deceased father! Finn, honey, you were conceived on a pinball machine. Still, it’s a memory. When Carol tells the guy that he can have their old recliner, Finn wigs out. He only has one picture of his father holding him before he left for war, and they’re sitting in that chair.
“But it’s just a chair!” Carol says. What’s brought on all of this change, anyway? She’s sporting a new ‘do, has on snazzy clothes…. She’s met someone and she thinks she’s in love. (Way to pay attention to your mom, Finn!) And who is this mystery guy? Burt. Hummel.
Will checks out a potential rehearsal space, the roller rink. Fun Fact! I own my own skates, have since college. They’re old-style boots, gold lame, and have speed wheels. Yeah, I’m pretty boss. Or lame, take your pick. Will hears, “All couples skate, this is an all couples skate!” and it’s none other than April Rhodes! She spots Will, gets excited, and starts singing the Pointer Sister’s “Fire” getting him to sing along as well. I’m good with him singing, because their voices are wonderful together, but Will started doing “the snake” and I actually yelled at my television, “STOP IT.”
April gives Will the run down: booze is a yes, Branson was a no. Being a strip mall magnate’s mistress is a yes, being sober is a definite no. Hey, who needs those dreams of the Big White Way when all she is good for is calling out The Whip and flipping records? Oh, April, you’re worth so much more. He asks for a rehearsal space and she’d be happy to provide the rink.
Will needs to get out of there because he has to show his condo tomorrow. He needs to sub-let it because it’s too much for one guy. Oh, that’s right, he’s getting a divorce. She feels a tinglin’ in her naughty no nos and says, “Divorce! So you’re free to date? And by ‘date,’ I mean sleep with people, and by ‘sleep with,’ I mean have sex with people – people like me! Kidding. Not really.”
Let’s all take a sip to honor the hilarity that is the character, April Rhodes. It’s only fitting.
Turns out that she actually needs a place to stay, so maybe she could check it out? Get a feel for the place? Back him into a corner and ride him like a stallion? She does ask Will to note that she’s all fancy now, so hopefully his place is up to par. (Translation: booze ledge and ice maker.) She’s gonna grab a bikini wax and see him tomorrow.
Becky is at the weekly Cheerio weigh in and has dropped two whole pounds. Sue is proud of her as now she’s just like every other American teenage girl, regardless of her handicap. She, too, is obsessed with vanity. It’s Mercedes’ turn, and she’s been really good about eating right and getting some exercise. (Excellent!) Except for how she’s put on two pounds. How can this be? (Well, first you add muscle, then your metabolism- oh, sorry. We all know this stuff.)
Sue tells her that if she’s going to be a Cheerio, she needs to follow their motto: do whatever it takes to win. Mercedes is miserable.
Finn finds Kurt in school and asks how their parents even met. Kurt says it was fate, but really it was him setting his dad up with Carol at a parent-teacher conference. They hit it off instantly over acid-wash, and it’s been nothing but mullets, hot wings and NASCAR ever since. Behind the scenes, Kurt has been giving Carol a makeover, and it’s only a matter of time (hopefully mid-term) before he and Finn are sharing a bedroom. That’s why Finn’s opinion meant so much to him!
Finn is so not okay with that and doesn’t want any of this to happen. Also, whoa, Kurt, that’s pretty stalkerish and intense.
Will tells the kids that he thinks he’s found a place, they’re all despondent, and Kurt throws out his, “If I may?” and tells them all how important a home is, how they needs a sense of place so they’ll find a happy ending, pointed look at Finn. [And DRINK.] He starts singing a Burt Bacharach song, “A House Is Not A Home,” which is clearly directed at his heart’s desire, Finn.
Puck looks over at Finn and mouths, “You gay??” and Finn continues to look nervous. Kurt’s song is affecting Will, as well. Someone’s a little lonely without their crazy wife. Everyone is kind of weirded out as Kurt continues, because it’s so clearly meant for Finn. It’s too much, Kurt!
Cut to Finn at home, singing the same sheet music to his father’s chair and picture. “A chair is still a chair, even when there’s no one sitting there.” His voice is really lovely here, it should be noted. I can see Cory Monteith doing musicals in small theaters – his is a voice that works best in intimate settings. But back to Kurt – poor baby, he’s just lonely and doesn’t know how to fix it.
April comes over that night to Will’s, because she likes to sleep in places to get familiar. Ha. That’s one way to move things along. He’s not too okay with it, but she insists there will be no hanky-panky. She slips into a frilly nightie and puts on some Burt Bacharach (a theme this episode.) She sings “One Less Bell To Answer” – because nothing brings the kids in like a 60s ballad – and Will chimes in with the harmonies on “A House Is Not A Home.”
Fun fact: Ms. Barbra Joan Streisand did the original mash-up of these two songs.
Anyway, April is lonely, Will is lonely, and to them, home means someone to share your life with. [DRINK!] As the song wraps up, April slips under the covers with Will, just wanting to share space with another person. Will takes her hand, and they sleep. It’s actually a lovely moment, and is a great tribute to the musical films of the 60s and 70s.
The Hudson-Hummels go to Breadstix on their first meeting of the clans. Kurt is beyond thrilled and has his best Thurston Howell the Third nautical
themed Pashmina afghan scarf tied jauntily about his neck (white pants, navy shirt with white collar, he’s only missing a white hat and the nickname Cappy.) [And DRINK.] Kurt offers a toast to urgency and joy. Finn grumbles, “We’re not a family.”
Burt tries to keep it cool. He gets how Finn feels, and hey, he’s not wanting to rock boats. And isn’t Finn on the football team? Maybe Burt can get tickets to a pro game sometime and they can check it out. That gets Finn excited, and he and Burt start talking about all the guy stuff they have in common. Kurt tries to stay involved, but no one cares about what hair care product he convinced Carol to switch to, or the brand of jeans that fit her so elegantly. He starts to see the huge flaw in his plan to get the two families united.
Afterward, Kurt is in a snit back home, and Burt tries to get to the bottom of things. Kurt is hurt because he doesn’t share any common interests with his dad, and now his dad has a handy-dandy new replacement son, someone who is apparently the son Burt always wished he’d had. But this is Burt Hummel, gang, he’s not about to let us down.
“Suddenly I’m not the guy that sat through Riverdance three years in a row? Hey, we had a deal, I don’t try to change you, you don’t try to change me.” Nice point. [DRINK.] He tells Kurt that Finn may be great, but Kurt is his son. Who he loves very much. [DRINK.] Burt Hummel, that you were everyone’s dad.
Kurt doesn’t budge though, so his dad finally gets at the heart of things: “Why’d you fix me up? To make me happy?” Kurt doesn’t respond. (How can he?)
Mercedes, on her quest for perfection (Cheerio’s definition,) has a lettuce leaf for her lunch. She’s grumpy due to her starving herself, and when Artie and Tina try to convince her to eat, to be herself, to not give in to this ridiculousness, she snaps. Everyone looks like food. She gets up to run away and faints.
She recuperates in the nurse’s office when Quinn comes in. She knows what’s going on, she was head Cheerio, after all. She gives Mercedes a granola bar and drops some knowledge on her. She knows that Mercedes is starving herself, and it makes Quinn sad. Mercedes was the most confident person she knew, the most “at home” in her self of all the people in that school. [DRINK.]
Mercedes thinks it’s easy for Quinn to talk, she’s blond and skinny. Not so, because now Quinn is eating for two. That changed her whole outlook with food. Before, she starved herself without thought. Now, she’s willing to eat what’s right for her baby’s development. Why can’t she do that for herself?
Mercedes cries, I want to hug her, and Quinn admonishes her to not let Sue win. Be the fabulous, gorgeous girl she naturally is. Guys? Quinn is learning how to be a decent human being. ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE.
At the roller rink, everyone is skating around, no one’s singing, and maybe this wasn’t the best place to rehearse seeing as there is no rehearsing happening. There are some sweet dance moves on wheels in the background, though. Will tells April this was a bad idea, and then tells her that all of her life choices are bad ideas and he wants her to be different. No more drinking, no more mistressing, no more not seeking her dreams.
She says “thanks for the advice, you always give me good advice,” and my head whips around so hard I hear my bones crack. That’s not advice, that’s telling someone what to do! Attention Glee writing staff: STOP TELLING. Let Will be the wise sage you want him to be by leading people to their own decisions, instead of him telling them what to do and them agreeing to it. Ugh. Matthew Morrison can’t help the lines he’s given, but man. Wise up, writers!
Kurt finds Finn in the hallway and tells him that they have to break up their parents. “I feel like I’m the guy that set up Liza and David Gest.” Kurt, you just called your father a botoxed freak face. Finn, who is also doing some growing up this episode, says he realized that it hurt Kurt to see him hit it off so well with his dad. Finn doesn’t like that his own father is being forgotten, and they agree to split them up. It’s like The Parent Trap, but the sequel, The Parent Catch and Release.
Finn has his dad’s urn and heads to the bathroom with it to flush them down the toilet. Carol about slaps him upside the head. Finn smirks, “What? I’m just doing what you’re doing, getting rid of him.” Oh, is that so? She calls his bluff, plunks the urn into the recliner, and says, “Come on, let’s sit and watch TV as a family, then.” Carol Hudson is also a pretty awesome parent.
She tells him how selfish he’s being. She’s been alone for 16 years, she just wants someone to spend her life with, to share her day with, to talk about Finn, someone who will offer advice and hold her. Finn remains stubborn and says he’s not moving, because his dad wouldn’t want that.
“You didn’t know him, Finn!” She’s not wrong. She wants a family, a home, why can’t he see that? [DRINK]
The Splits magazine reporter is there, just in time for a Cheerio pep rally. Sue is slightly nervous, as this man doesn’t seem to be enthralled by her. This isn’t a fluff piece. Mercedes walks out, and this isn’t the planned performance. She asks the crowd if they ever have the feeling of not liking themselves? It’s a high school, so the answer is obvious.
Well you know what? She has the answer, and it goes a little something like this. She busts out “Beautiful,” by Christina Aguilera, and the kids respond favorably, joining her on the floor, singing and swaying and maybe, just maybe this school will turn things around. The bullying will stop, everyone will love each other and get along. The Cheerios and the AV Club will unite, the Band and Orchestra will stop the knife fights behind the cafeteria after practice and I’ve had a lot to drink at this point, I think. Speaking of, Mercedes nails it. [DRINK!]
Kurt apologizes to Mercedes, “I was wrong.” The reporter wheels on Sue and says he came to expose her but she surprised him by having such diversity on the cheer squad. (One gay kid, a black girl, and a mentally challenged person. That’s a lot of diversity? Okay, then.) Sue plays it off like it was her plan all along, because Sue knows how to turn it around for Sue Sylvester.
Finn goes into the kitchen later that night for a glass of milk and is surprised to find Burt there. “Uh…did you move in?” No, dummy, he’s just there to talk. Burt then gives the best potential step-father speech that ever existed, because Burt Hummel is the greatest dad on TV.
“You’re pissed. I get it. Your dad, he’s a hero both for what he did for our country and to you. No way can I fill his shoes. It’s just…I love your mom. She’s an angel, and I would never hurt her. I can’t be your dad, but I’ll be her hero for as long as she’ll take me.”
Are you kidding me with this?? How can you not throw your arms around a plain faced guy that just wants to be cool with everyone? [DRINK.]
Finn fights back the lump in his throat and asks Burt for a game of catch. No, they watch a game on TV, and just when you think Burt’s going to sit in The Chair, he takes a spot beyond it. Finn pulls the urn out of the way and offers The Chair to him. Burt gets the significance, they rag on Duke and it’s a great little guy moment.
Until the camera pulls back and you see Kurt in the doorway (hey, creeper?) watching them get along so well with tears in his eyes. Oh, Kurt!
April comes to the school to talk with Will. She took his command, I mean, advice and told her sugar daddy that she was better than that, and she deserved to be Top Dog. He had a stroke and died. His actual wife gave April $2 million in hush money. She’s sobering up (no drink in forty-five minutes, a new record!) and she’s headed to Broadway to realize her dream of mounting the first all-white production of The Wiz.
Ah ha ha. Also, RIP Michael, I watched that movie over and over as a kid. Diana Ross has big shoes to fill, Ms. Rhodes, but this is Kristen Chenoweth we’re talking about. Oh, one other little thing, she bought the auditorium for Glee (“The April Rhodes Civic Pavilion”) so let’s head over there and sing “Home” from The Wiz, how ’bout it, gang?
She’s resplendent in all white and I swear, her voice gives me chills and I tear up, I can’t help it. I adore her, maybe you’ve picked up on that? The kids back her up, Mercedes and Quinn sharing a significant look. They have all come home, and it’s right here, points at our hearts. [DRINK.]
Drunken Thoughts: April’s version made me choke up, and I wrote in my notebook, “Jesus Effing Christ, I love Kristen Chenoweth.” Guys, I love her. I know she works with Ryan Murphy to sass up her lines, and she slaps that Okie humor all over it, and I would totally watch the April Rhodes show, especially if it was like Mary Tyler Moore, but musical and in New York City. Don’t act like that wouldn’t be awesome.
There were too many threads in this show to not feel overwhelming in places. The music helped transition some of the stories to their ends (the April parts, especially) but Mercedes’ felt rushed. That alone should have been the major focus of its own episode, girls perception of themselves and how that affects their self worth. Oh, well, teen girls get short shrift in Glee, let’s just realize that.
That’s one of the big problems that keeps this show from being what it could be, that and the writer’s steady Schoner for dominating Will, instead of sage-teacher Will, which is what the writers think they have.
I can forgive almost all of that, though, for the amazing Hudson-Hummel stories, and of course, for the greatest TV dad, Burt. (Second greatest, Pa Ingalls. Third, Mayor Richard Wilkins III from Buffy. He loved his little Faith so much!)
Next episode, Bad Reputation with Sue’s video of “Let’s Get Physical.” Ha ha!