Glee! 1.20 Theatricality

Brittany can do no wrong. I mean, look at her!

It’s time for the Lady Gaga episode!  Today’s cocktail is the: Monster Fruit Salad.


Our free space is to drink when the Gleeks are NOT in costume once the assignment is given.


Figgins has called in Tina and Will for a conference. Figgins, aware of the Twilight phenomenon sweeping the nation [woe] has become terrified of normal kids gaining the transformative powers to change into bats. He knows the score, goth kids are obsessed with the occult and Vampires. Will is a bit shocked that Figgins believes vampires are real. Figgins shakes his head sadly. You know, Will, denial won’t make this problem go away.

From here out, Tina is no longer allowed to dress the way she dresses, or she’ll be suspended. Regardless of her needing to “express herself through fashion,” she’ll need to conform.

Carol leads Finn (holding his eyes shut) down a flight of stairs to a mini-surprise party. It’s the Hummel house, and they’re welcoming the Hudsons into their new home. Wait, what? This is how Finn finds out? Well, it was Kurt’s idea to go big. Burt reminds Finn of their sweet 55” television . But until he’s able to build an addition upstairs, he and Kurt will share the basement. Burt sweetens the deal with $300. Which Kurt promptly takes. Finn might need to call Borgen & Borgen, the whiplash attorneys, after this hit and run.

Tina slumps in a chair in Glee, wearing a sloppy sweatshirt. She’s not even wearing her hair extensions. The gang is sad for her. “I feel like an Asian Branch Davidian.” Everyone offers lightning fast suggestions for looks: cowgirl, hootchie, Catholic school girl, etc. Brittany adds, “Happy Meal, no onions. Or chicken.” [DRINK!]

Rachel bursts in with a horrible tragedy. In the dumpsters behind Vocal Adrenaline’s theater, she found 18 empty boxes of Christmas lights. (Oh, no.) And when she called the local fabric store, they informed her they were completely sold out of red Chantilly lace. (Oh dear god.) That’s right, everyone, they’re going… wait for it… GAGA.

When Will and the other dudes look confused, Kurt berates them. She’s only the most important performer of the past 10 years. “She changes her looks faster than Brittany changes sexual partners.”

Brittany, “It’s true.” [DRINK!]

Will strokes his chin, deep in thought. He decides they’ll help Tina pick a new look. This week’s assignment? LADY GAGA! Everyone is happy. Well, everyone attracted to men.

Vocal Adrenaline is rehearsing in their red ‘Where the Wild Things Are’ Gaga looks as Mercedes, Rachel and Quinn sneak in to watch. Shelby is disgusted by their lackadaisical performance. She went to the Will Schuester School of Performing Arts Education and sings a completely unrelated-to-them number from Funny Girl. (This is after she explains what theatricality is. It’s not just wearing costumes, it’s all about your emotions coming through. Um, how do emotions come through those Chantilly lace body tubes?)

Rachel is transfixed by Shelby’s voice. She moves towards her on autopilot, realizing that the voice she’s hearing was the voice on the tape. “Ms. Cochoran? I’m Rachel Berry. I’m your daughter.”

And time stands still.

Everyone has cleared out leaving them both alone. Rachel asks her if she regretted it. “Yes. Then no. Then so much.” They sit quietly, not looking at each other, until Shelby asks her how she feels. Rachel tells her “thirsty,” and it’s because when she was little her dads would bring her a glass of water when she felt scared or sad. Now she can’t differentiate between the two. Shelby takes that in and comments on how this should have felt… bigger. More substantial. Rachel asks if they could maybe go to dinner? Maybe they’re not connecting because they need more time together?

Uh, Shelby’s not into that. At all. She’ll give you a call. (Damn, that’s harsh.) Rachel is devastated. [DRINK!]

Finn asks Mr. Schue if the dudes can do something not Gaga. They’re tired of doing all the stuff the chicks want to do. Will agrees and before he can suggest some super fly Toto number or a bad ass Michael Bolton performance, Finn says he’s already figured out what they’ll do.

Puck tries to convince Quinn to name their baby “Jack Daniels,” because that’s a total rock star name. Somehow it’s almost up there with Drizzle. She also reminds Puck, for the fortieth time, that she’s giving the baby away. You don’t name babies you don’t plan on raising, she’s old school like that.

Tina and Kurt are wandering the school in their Gaga outfits (Tina in the bubbles dress and Kurt in the futuristic Mozart with armadillo heels ensemble) and I wonder how they manage things like the cafeteria, or sitting in a desk in History. Sorry, I’m always with the practicality like some kind of asshole. So they’re walking around in their costumes and naturally they’re bullied by Azimio and Karofsky. Kurt is not okay with Tina being accosted, because she’s a girl. (Kurt is pretty brave, let’s just all accept that.)

He shouts after the bullies and tells them that he gets them beating him up (sad face!) but it’s super low to pick on a girl. They mouth off about how they can’t tell the difference any more, they say a bunch of jack ass stuff, and as they walk off, Kurt shouts out after them, “Yeah, you wouldn’t want to be late for your appointment at Supercuts!” Ooh, sick… burn?

Nope, Karofsky just taunts, “You know what, Fancy? You don’t need an appointment at Supercuts. They looooove walk ins.” The two high five like he just got off the best insult ever. Um, okay? Also, there will be some massive discussion about these two dudes in Drunken Thoughts.

It’s time for the show, so Will applauds the girls (and Kurt) for their “Little Monsters” outfits. They all preen. Puck notices that Rachel isn’t there. Mercedes and Quinn break it down for them, Shelby of Vocal Adrenaline is actually her mother. Will is shocked. Puck just thinks that means Rachel is going to jump ship.

“Never,” she says, walking in. “I don’t want to talk about it.” Meanwhile, she is wearing the saddest dress ever. It’s a shift with carnival-quality stuffed animals stapled all over it. Her gay dads cannot sew. She hasn’t even bothered to style her hair, such is her wretchedness. She tells everyone that her dads are moving her therapist into the spare room this afternoon. (Ha!)

Brittany, wearing the lobster hat and silver/black Gaga outfit, tells her, “You look terrible. I look awesome.” [DRINK!] And she does, better than Gaga, I think.

They knock out “Bad Romance,” and I have to say again, I love it when Kurt drops his voice to a growl. Tina knocks out the lead vocals, and her voice is well suited for pop numbers. Santana, however. Wait, I need to fan myself. She’s wearing a black lace body suit, she serpentines on the stage and purrs out the bridge, and that girl is just pure sex, straight up. [DRINK!] My favorite part of this number, though, is how serious Rachel is taking this performance, like she’s getting paid, and she looks like she does in that stapled dress. It’s hilarious.

Finn is in the boys’ bathroom starting to put on some makeup when Azimio and Karofsky come out of stalls at the same time. (Oh, the jokes I could make here about glory holes and/or synchronized pooping.) They accost Finn, and I’m telling you, those two guys need a shot put to the nards. They’re so ridiculously over the top awful. “You moved in with Kurt and caught a bad case of the gays!” They explain that it is not possible to be a football player and a singer in Homo Explosion, and they will beat some sense into him. Finn eventually shoves them back, and they leave with menacing threats.

Rachel sneaks in again to see Shelby, calling her “Mom” to get her attention. Shelby is not cool with that, at all. Rachel gets that it’s weird, them spending time together, but – she unbuttons her 1960s Nanny Cape – her dads can’t sew and she really needs a mom right about now. Shelby takes one look at the sad sack and pitches in.

Rachel comes to Glee rehearsal looking faaaaabulous in a black and white number, complete with hat and accessories. It’s the guys’ turn to perform, and they come out as KISS. Of course. (It would have been awesome if they did some Ziggy Stardust. I mean, hey, KISS isn’t exactly the ultimate in Male Power. GWAR would have been a funny choice. I DIGRESS.) They perform “Shout It Out Loud,” and apparently spent a LOT of money on set design, costumes, and pyrotechnics, and all of this is for a homework assignment. For a bunch of poor kids (minus Mercedes and solidly middle class Kurt and well-off Quinn) they all seem to be able to put out a lot for their weekly school work.

So, it’s a KISS song, it’s not a good song on its own, but the guys give it all they have. Maybe you’ve noticed I’m not into KISS. At all. I love metal, proper metal. KISS is the Stryper of the 70s, but without the Jesus element.

Kurt and Tina, still in their outfits (I wonder how smelly and sweaty they’re getting by now) and naturally Azimio and Karofsky find them and bully them some more.

At the Hudson-Hummel house, Kurt asks Finn to maybe give him a hand with the bullies, and Finn laughs sardonically. He gets bullied, too, and the bullies already think they’re boyfriends. Kurt isn’t bothered by that, but Finn is. Like, a lot. He works himself up into quite the rage, wishing Kurt would realize they’re not in NYC, they’re in Small Town USA where big spectacles aren’t appreciated.

Finn angrily scrubs at his face with a dry cotton ball, which is irritating to Kurt. When Kurt tries to hand him a makeup remover cloth, Finn slaps his hand away. “Don’t touch me!” Kurt reels back not getting what his problem is. Finn grabs his things and goes to the upstairs bathroom.

Shelby is in Will’s office, talking about the Rachel mess. He cautions her to be careful with Rachel, she’s very fragile right now. He figures it out: Shelby doesn’t want a teen daughter, she wants a baby. She agrees. It was her only chance to have a child, and she wishes she got to be there from the beginning. Will says, “I can’t tell you what to do, but you need to do what I’m about to tell you.” (Hint: say this to Rachel.) Also: [DRINK.]

Kurt leads Finn down to the basement to show the finished remodel. It’s the first time Kurt’s not in his Gaga costume. [DRINK!] It’s Turkish Bordello, wait, later he says inspired by Morocco, so I was close. Finn is… less than pleased. He can not live in this place, he’s a dude! Kurt’s feelings are hurt; he even put in a privacy screen, to which Finn just blows up. He doesn’t want to change clothes around Kurt, because he knows, okay? He knows Kurt’s into him, he sees him staring at him, he knows all of the little schemes and things he’s done to get closer to him, and he’s not into that. At all.

Kurt shouts out in a tired and hurt manner, “It’s just a room, Finn. We can redecorate if you want to.”

Finn shouts back, hoping to hurt, “OK! Well, the first thing that needs to go is that faggy lamp. And then this faggy couch-”

“HEY!” Burt shouts, having come downstairs to investigate the shouting. “What did you just call him?” Finn stammers and says he meant the blanket, not Kurt. Oh, but let Burt break it down for you. You use a word like “faggy” around a gay person, and there’s only one way to interpret it. Would he use the N word around Mercedes? How about “retard” around Becky? No? And why’s that?

“Because that would be cruel.” Wow, Finn, wow. Oh, but he thinks he can be in the Hummel house and use that word? Burt was the same as Finn when he was a kid, but he’s figured it out. He thought Finn had, too, and since Finn is being a super dick about his language, he’s not allowed to stay in this house. It might cost him Carol, but that is his son. Kurt, meanwhile, has been sitting back with tears running down his face. Poor baby.

Finn quietly leaves, and you get the impression that he’s starting to feel ashamed of himself. Burt says “The place looks great,” with his voice cracking on the end [DRINK], grabs his son’s shoulder, and heads back upstairs as Kurt cries softly. I cry loudly, and wish for more Burt Hummels.

I’ve seen other reviewers pooh pooh the constant “Burt’s Outrage Over Mistreatment of his Gay Son,” and you know what? Eff you in the bee hole. When have we ever had that on a television show? Especially support from a working stiff like Burt Hummel? Like this? Never, that’s when. So there’s a lot of making up that needs to be done. Burt’s a man’s man, and he has a very flamboyant son who he loves the hell out, and Burt tries to appreciate him for who he is. It’s awesome and no where else on TV. End of my rant on that.

In Glee the next day Finn tries to get Kurt’s attention. “I want to talk about this.” Nope. Kurt’s not having it. Puck comes in and asks if he can take a moment of class time to tell Quinn something. He gets that the whole baby naming thing was weird, and that he’s been a jerk. He wanted to be a rockstar dad like his was, but his dad was never there, and now he gets it. And he’d like to sing about it, and it goes a little something like this: “Beth,” also by KISS.

As much as I dislike KISS, I love that Tinkles is getting some work on the piano. Puck sings the apologetic song to Quinn, who is trying to not cry, Finn and the other guys help out on the vocals, and at one point Will sits near the piano, his eyes closed and head moving side to side as he pretends to “conduct” and it’s just… STOP IT, WILL. Stop it.

The song ends, and Puck says he hopes Quinn might rethink naming the baby Beth, and when she’s born, he’d like to be there to support her and you know, maybe meet the baby? It’s incredibly sweet.

Rachel is on stage rehearsing [not in her costume: DRINK!] who knows what when Shelby shows up. Shelby makes nice for a bit until Rachel tells her that she’s guessed this is a goodbye visit. It’s just too late for them, Shelby thinks. She wanted to have the “thirsty” moments with her little girl growing up, not try and get to know an adult. (Wow, that’s just cold. More on this in Drunken Thoughts.)

Rachel says she doesn’t feel an instant spark, either, but she wants it. She tears up [DRINK!] Shelby explains that it’s because she’s just her mother, not her mom. Okay, that goes a long way to helping me not be angry about this whole situation because there really is a distinction. They decide to be grateful for each other, um, from afar [WE GET IT, SHELBY] but maybe Rachel could get a hug goodbye?

Shelby asks for one more favor: next time Rachel is thirsty, she could maybe drink her sad water from this crystal goblet adorned with seed pearls and a gold star? Gold stars are kind of her thing. Rachel holds in her need to love this woman after hearing this. (Gold stars are her thing, too.)

They sing together to fulfill Rachel’s biggest wish, giving Tinkles more work, and it’s a wonderful (albeit inappropriate [DRINK!]) rendition of “Poker Face.” But I need the choreographers to stop making the actors sing-stalk each other around pianos. If only for just ONE EPISODE. The song ends on a sad note, Shelby tells Rachel that “You are really, really good,” and she leaves. Rachel watches her go, and chokes up with tears again, as you would. [DRINK.]

Will praises the kids for their work on this week’s assignment, even though he has no idea what the point even was. Awesome lesson planning, Teach! Tina says she knows, it’s about dressing how she wants and being who she is. She tells them about finding Figgins late one night and telling him that her parents, the head of Asian Vampires everywhere, are super pissed about his dress code and if he doesn’t return things to normal, they’ll swoop in and bite off his face.

She’s back to wearing her usual goth fabulousness.

Kurt is near the bathroom and is accosted once again by the bullies for wearing his Gaga costume (it’s been a week. At least try a different one, Kurt. Also, don’t you know his feet hurt walking around in those platform heels all week?) Finn steps in like the God Damn Batman, if Batman wore pintucking and red pleather with puffed sleeves. (You know he does on off nights, please.)

He says, all majestic and deep, “No one’s hitting anyone today, Lex Luthor!” He thanks Kurt for making him see how far he needed to come to be a good person, Kurt is moved, but Azimio and Karofsky are still going to beat him up. Well, not with the other 11 members of Glee there to pitch in with a beat down, they’re not.

Azimio shakes his head knowingly, “Oh, I know how this goes from Biology. We done disturbed the hive. The worker freaks are trying to protect the Queen freak.” (Ha!) They leave with promises of showing up with more bullies and it’s going to be on like the Sharks vs. the Freaks, and they jazz snap away into the night.

Will shows up with a slow clap and praise for everyone. And evidently he witnessed the bullying and didn’t report it? What the HELL, Will? [DRINK!] He tells them this is the real lesson: they are going to be treated unfairly for the rest of their lives, so find safety in numbers. Wait, no, he says it’s about being true to yourself? I dunno, they all got to wear costumes to school, so that’s cool, I suppose.


Drunken Thoughts: Oh my god, the over the top bullying from Karofsky and Azimio… why haven’t the cops been called at this point? I mean, I know from bullying (believe me) but this is just… damn. It seems like every single time they bully someone lives are threatened. It’s so menacing. The little moments of levity sprinkled in are alright, but it’s just awful. I need a little more comedy in my dramedy, folks. Or more fighting back. I’m sorry, but that’s the only way to make bullies listen, is to stick up for yourself, physically, if needed. UGH, I hate bullying so much.

And while I like that the adoption story didn’t turn out happily ever after, meaning, “oh, there’s my birth mother and we instantly love one another and live happily ever after!” there’s also some really cruel behavior on the part of an adult here. I can mostly go along with it, because Shelby is cut-throat, but still, for someone that regrets giving up their child, she’s pretty put off by that child wanting to reconnect.

BUT I LOVED SOME THINGS, TOO. A lot of things, actually. I loved that Lady Gaga was super excited about this show and loaned them her designers to help make the costumes authentic. I loved that the scene with Burt, Finn and Kurt was so raw and painful and honest, and that’s how people really talk about that ugly stuff, it wasn’t cleaned up. That’s some of the best acting Monteith has done all season (finding out about the pregnancy was another stellar scene for him) and Mike O’Mally (Burt) is responsible for a lot of it.

But mostly I love the sad, sad dress Rachel made with her staple gun and garage sale beanie babies.

(Next episode, FUNK is right this way!)