You know I like to set expectations up front, so let me do just that: the best part about tonight’s episode is the commercial for So You Think You Can Dance.
I’m a little bit late with this post. I thought about summarizing the episode with one word: “Nope.”
See, I don’t like to complain. I LOVE it. And life has been shit-handing me lately. My house flooded, so I had to rip my carpet up and I am currently writing this surrounded by three of those noisy fans that look like giant whistles. I say all of this for two reasons: one because I live my life in a constant state of overshare. Two, because I want you to understand that the small amount of fuck that I give about this season of Glee was washed away in the Great Pipe Burst of 2011.
Tonight’s episode is called Night of Neglect, which is funny since I was trying my hardest to neglect the show. I think part of my struggle is that the plotlines and airing schedule have been more erratic than Samantha Jones’s menses. I mean, the last time I wrote about this show, I was happily married. Now I’m just a gay divorcée with an exposed concrete slab for a floor.
The kids are selling taffy. They are in some kind of academic decathlon in which you ring in your answer with an easy button. Gwyneth is back, which is terrible. Charice is back, which is confusing. Cheyenne Jackson is back, which is at once both arousing and underwhelming.
The show is front-loaded with jokes about former teacher Sandy being overly effeminate and predatory and swishy, which fits like a singular sequined glove into this show’s obnoxious and ignorant conflation of gayness and pedophilia. It further proves that the only people Ryan Murphy hates more than women, non-white people, the dentist, Kings of Leon, and himself are gay people.
Charice is back after her one-episode stint and thirty-six episode inexplicable disappearance. Glee is kind of the anti-Chekhov’s gun. If you see the gun in act one, the gun is guaranteed to disappear and never come back.
Will has a sweet moment with Emma in which he polishes her grape. I wish I could say that this is a euphemism, but it’s disappointingly literal.
Mercedes turns into a diva and makes a list of crazy demands which is cool or whatever. Actually, no it’s not. It’s a boring B-plot that makes us long to be on a beach with that fucking bloated, bloody-handprinted volleyball named Tom Hanks. And also, Wilson would be there too. Cut to Goop dressed as Wallis Simpson, which is a reference so obscure that kids aren’t even posting photographs of it on Tumblr.
Scheuster comes close to fighting with Cheyenne Jackson, but violence is never the answer. Couldn’t they just polish each other’s grapes?
Finally Blaine and Kurt show up. I never thought I’d be so excited to see them, but at this point it feels like those two drips of water you can suck out of a cactus. Suddenly it makes sense: Charice singing “All By Myself” was an in-joke about the fact that the song stands alone as the only one in the first forty minutes of the show.
Santana and Karofsky have a blow-up in the hallway and I mostly feel confused because they both could get it. When they start to do that circular sharks and jets getting ready to rumble dance in the hallway I’m all “sexy can I?”
The heckling squad ruins Tina’s song, which sounds like a neglected gem from MTV Party To Go 1997, and then Mike Chang dances to Jack Johnson. Just close your eyes and envision a puka shell necklace and a pair of Rainbow sandals making sweet, apologetic love in a patchouli-filled room at the Delta Chi house. Jenny Wade put it best: “An optimist views the Jack Johnson song as half-over.”
Gwyneth confronts the heckling club and it’s as though I can feel her Kabballah bracelet tightening around my neck. The hecklers joke about a TV blog (oh god, does Ryan Murphy hate US too?), and then Gwyneth launches into a rant about how we live in a “culture of insults” and “brutal cruelty.” I get what you’re trying to do here, G, but I still need an It Gets Better video to convince me that I’m going to make it past the bullying I endured just by having to watch the COMMERCIALS for Country Strong, so don’t you fucking prance in here and act like you’re some kind of Joel Burns for the celebrity oppressed.
She goes on to say: “We’re constantly bombarded with these images of people who are richer than us and happier than us and have more interesting sex than us.” Okay, a Twitter-length summary of your life story. Carry on.
“And it makes us feel terrible. We tear them down to feel better about ourselves.” NOW YOU WAIT JUST ONE MINUTE. This is what we call a false cause-and-effect. We’re mean to you because we’re jealous that we don’t have your life? No, we’re mean to you because when a middle class housewife writes in to your lifestyle blog about needing more affordable clothes, you tell her to buy a sensible, evergreen $850 CARDIGAN.
Okay, you know what I need right now to calm down from my angry blurring of the lines between that bitch Gwyneth and her TV character? I need a nice, sentimental scene in a car while it rains outside, a la Forrest Gump. Oh, Glee, sometimes you give with both hands! Rachel and Mercedes have a sweet little chat.
And just when my heart rate begins to settle, in comes that human reminder that the Oscar committee was hard-pressed in 1999. Here is why people hate celebrities: because being famous means you get to set your super-average voice on top of one of the most beautiful songs ever written. Adele’s voice is smoky, soulful, deep, strong in all the right places. Gwyneth is a karaoke artist at best. Average people are insensitive to celebrities? Only because we’re returning the favor. I mean, she sings like that noise you make if you were doing a little gag after you’ve eaten too much chocolate and your throat is burning. Somewhere in Birminghamshire, Adele must be shitting in her sensibly-cut, empire-waisted caftan.
Mercedes sings Aretha Franklin’s “Ain’t No Way” and we get a glimpse into the guiding ideology of Ryan Murphy’s life: “A woman’s duty is to help and love a man.” Oooh, somebody better call the bitter white boy police and tell them to send a paddy wagon to my doorstep and take me off to the Entitlement Ward. Rachel tells Mercedes that “the house has been brought down” and her passive voice reminds us that this dumb episode has a sentence structure to match.
And from here, I just can’t. Gwyneth calls the glee club “amazeballs.” She shares a quiet-talking goodbye with Will–the only way to do a goodbye on this show. We pray for some kind of Nicholas Sparks ending so we know that she can’t possibly come back, but Will’s “Will you still visit?” makes the ending feel like the first Jurassic Park: velociraptors on the loose, people flying away in a helicopter, knowing that the evil will re-emerge as soon as production budgets allow.
Clearly I loved tonight’s episode? What did you think? Share your favorite scene in the comments below, or come polish my grape on Twitter.