Glee: 102, “Showmance”; September 9, 2009

The day this episode premiered, the iTunes store reached 8.6 billion songs sold, and 1.8 billion applications downloaded. I’m sorry, I thought it would be neat to include an “also on this day” feature, but that’s all I could come up with after looking at one website. Ummm I guess it was also the 33rd anniversary of the death of Mao Tse-tung. This feature may not be a regular thing.

Um let’s see, Brian Lowry of Variety magazine, after viewing this episode, deemed the show a “one-hit wonder”. Jokes on you, Brian Lowry! Also this was the show’s “premiere” episode after the pilot had aired back in May.

Also, I’d like to give a well-deserved mention to The Swingle Singers. I didn’t mention it at all in the last review, but Glee throughout its run, particularly in the pilot, has some background music that’s often some classical piece, as performed vocally by an acapella group. That group is The Swingle Singers, and they NEVER get mentioned by anyone who works on the show despite them being kind of important to the feel of the show. No one’s even ever like “Oh by the way” about them. What a rip-off, eh? Well, lets just get into it already:

The episode starts almost the same as the first one did, with Schue driving into the school parking lot, with his broken-down car, as you won’t recall since I didn’t mention it in the last review.

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He also changed his license plate to say “glee”, which is amazing because it means that not only was “glee” not already taken, but also that Schue somehow had the money to pay for a custom license plate. Or maybe it’s just a novelty plate. I don’t know if in Ohio you need to have your license number on the front and back license plate holders, or if you’re allowed to have a novelty plate on the front, and I don’t care to look it up.

Rachel accosts Schue in the parking lot, saying she found some sheet music in the library that will give her an opportunity to be featured heavily on vocals. This is assuming that the glee club ever actually uses sheet music, which I think they do once in the entire five seasons of the show.

Artie, Tina, and Mercedes also run into Schue, saying they’ve been working on some vocal runs. They demonstrate. They have put effort into trying to become better singers. They are the true heroes of glee club.

Schue then completely misses that Kurt is about to be thrown into a dumpster, like in the last episode.

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I forget if Finn was in this opening part.

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Why the heck isn’t random guitar guy in glee club?

Emma intentionally runs into Schue in the hallway (literally runs into him), he thanks her for helping him decide to stay in a job that will cause him to struggle to raise money to feed his child because teenagers are inspiring or something, and then cheerleader Quinn comes by and tells him that Sue wants to see him.

Sue gives Schue some tablets to help keep his strength up while he’s menstruating (seriously), and reveals that she has actually read the show choir rulebook and knows he needs 12 kids to qualify for Regionals. He has 6. Also he hasn’t read the rulebook for some reason. Actually he never reads the rulebook for like the whole series, I think. No wonder they keep losing.

Oh and Sue hates Schue.

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Quinn is yelling at Finn for being in lame glee club when they have the opportunity to be the most popular kids in school. I can sort of buy that Finn would be super popular – even for the kids who don’t care that he’s football team’s star quarterback, he seems like he’s probably that guy who’s so harmlessly stupid that it’s kind of endearing to everyone else. Like the kid who tries hard, still gets it wrong, everyone laughs but feels bad for laughing, and then they go “Oh, honey.” But Quinn seems like a, well, a bitch. She’s probably got some people who pretend to like her just because she’s powerful, but I’d guess the majority of the school probably hates her for one reason or another.

Anyway, Rachel is “eavesdropping” on their conversation. This is a running thing in this show, someone “eavesdropping” on a private conversation, and by that I mean “standing at their locker listening to someone talk in a crowded hallway at school.”

Quinn tells Finn if he quits Glee, she’ll let him touch her breast, under the shirt but over the bra. Finn refuses, saying glee is fun and she has nothing to worry about. Quinn also yells at Rachel for eavesdropping and says she’ll never win Finn’s heart. Rachel assures Quinn she has nothing to worry about. Rachel is completely lying, as we will see later in this very episode.

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Featuring Brad the Pianist in the back.

Schue has the group singing Chic’s “Le Freak”, which Schue refers to as “Freak Out” for some reason. They can’t do the simple choreography very well, and Mercedes objects to Rachel almost kicking her in the face, and also says the song is terrible. Mercedes had best shut her mouth, because there is nothing terrible about that song.

But the other kids agree with Mercedes, Kurt saying “It’s really gay”, which is meant to be funny because Kurt is obviously gay even though he’s not out yet. Artie yearns for some more modern music to perform. I don’t really understand the complaint here – I mean, Tina’s audition song was the most recent song that was performed in the last episode. Mercedes’s audition came out nine years earlier than Le Freak did. This is a huge problem on this show – the characters will just randomly decide to complain about how X genre is terrible or they want to sing Y, even though they had no problems with it earlier. One character later on is basically like “ugh, the 80s was terrible” even though about half of the songs he performed on the show were from the 80s. Ugh.

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Schue and Terri are buying a house, because Terri’s sister Kendra told them to. Terri’s kind of crazy, but Kendra is like INSANE. To be fair we don’t see much of her so there’s not much of an opportunity for her to redeem herself, but man. You have no idea if you haven’t actually seen the show. Kendra also has three red-headed monster children and a very resigned, down-beaten husband.

Terri wants the best house there is, with a sun nook, a grand foyer, and a backyard full of baby Christmas trees so she can cut down her own every year as long as she lives. Schue insists they can’t afford a huge new house, but Terri doesn’t want a “used” house. She compromises by deciding not to take a house with a sun nook. Schue decides to get a second job. I would like to point out here also that Terri works 12 hours a week at her job at Linens’N’Things, so Schue is making pretty much all the sacrifices here in terms of money and time. I mean I know Terri’s pregnant, but even before they knew that she was only working 12 hours a week.

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Schue’s shirt says “Ditch Plains”, not “Bitch Please”. Kind of a weird shirt to be wearing as a teacher either way.

Oh apparently the glee club has to sing at a school assembly and that’s why they’re rehearsing a disco song. They’re trying to recruit more members, I guess. Anyway Schue brought them a Kanye West song to sing for fun – “Gold Digger”. Finn is terrible so he refuses to take the lead solo, so Schue takes it instead. This is the first “Will Raps” segment of the show. Everybody hates it when he raps, but I don’t get why. He does pretty well with it, even if he is a 35 year old white guy. Mercedes and Artie also take lead parts on the song and KILL IT. Amber Riley and Kevin McHale need to record every hip-hop song in existence.

Later, Rachel is trying to throw up in the bathroom. Emma is for some reason not using the faculty washroom and finds her in there, gagging. Rachel’s trying to be thin and pretty like Quinn, even though she’s probably the same dress size as Quinn already. Emma pulls her into the guidance office for a chat.

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It turns out Rachel’s trying to impress a guy (*sarcastic gasp*). She asks Emma if she can possibly know what it’s like to like a guy so much you want to lock yourself in your room and turn on sad music. Emma does.

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Emma suggests Rachel try to find out what some of the guy’s interests are, see if they have anything in common. And maybe if they do, they’ll find themselves hanging out together and something unexpected might happen.

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After the commercial break, we find Rachel and Finn in the principal’s office. They were caught doing something completely inappropriate in Sue’s office. “It just sorta… happened,” says Finn. Uh-oh. Rachel believes Sue is overreacting. Sue is. Sue always is.

See, Finn was apparently not feeling confident in his singing abilities, so Rachel tried to comfort him by telling him about Justin Timberlake. That’s a really weird comparison, because Justin Timberlake’s been performing since he was like 10, back in the 90s incarnation of the Mickey Mouse Club along with some nobodies named Britney Spears, Ryan Gosling, Keri Russell, J.C. Chasez, and Christina Aguilera.

But that conversation was just like “I’m not very talented.” “Well Justin Timberlake is an actor, singer, and owns his own clothing line!” That didn’t make any sense.

Also Finn doesn’t know who Justin Timberlake is. This is coming up now rather than when Mercedes called him “Justin Timberlake” in the last episode.

Anyway Rachel decides, rather than be embarrassed by disco music, they’d draw new kids to their glee club by print up fliers advertising the great talents who have come before who were also in glee club maybe.

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I like that there’s an arrow explaining Robin Thicke. I had certainly never heard of him before 2013’s whole “Blurred Lines” madness, I’m sure those other high school kids wouldn’t have heard of him in 2009 either. I’m still not even sure what other songs he has besides “Blurred Lines”, actually.

Anyway that’s a terrible poster. Who’s going to join the glee club because of Justin Timberlake, Robine Thicke, and I think that’s Kelly Clarkson on the right? They should’ve put a picture of The Rock, Chuck Norris, and Natalie Portman. I don’t know if any of them were ever in glee club, but that would sure make people think.

Erm, well, they used Sue’s copy machine to make copies of the poster. She walked in and dropped her power smoothie.

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The copy machine is only authorized for Cheerios-related use, and worries what would’ve happened to the program had the two teenagers somehow broken the machine. Schue, believing Sue to be overreacting, tells her to hold on a minute. Sue channels a Tumblr Social Justice blogger and says “I resent being told to hold on to anything, William. I will not be treated like a second-class citizen on because of my gender.” She says copy machines are SERIOUS BUSINESS and demands Finn and Rachel be “hobbled.”

Schue suggests the kids just pay for the copies they made. Principal Figgins agrees to this compromise, and asks Sue to clean up the mess she made, on account of half the janitors had to be fired due to the recession. Schue yells at the kids for betraying him, says the disco will go on, and tells them they can’t put up their posters. That last part I don’t get – if it recruits more members, what’s the big deal? The posters weren’t offensive or anything. And they’re already made.

WHOA hello.
WHOA hello.

Schue announces he’ll have to work more hours. Terri gets angry about that, even though he’s only doing it because she wants the huge house because she didn’t want to turn her craft room in the apartment they already live in, into a nursery. Schue volunteers to work at half-salary at nights as a janitor in the school.

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Rachel has joined the celibacy club because Finn is in it. Shared interests and whatnot. For the first half hours, the boys and girls separate, then they come together to “share their faith.” All of the girls are cheerleaders. At least half the boys are football players. I think all of them, like Finn, only joined to “get into Quinn Fabray’s pants” (or their respective girlfriends’ pants). Jokes on them, since all of them only wear their cheerleading skirts all the time.

That guy in the background should've been a main character.
That guy in the background should’ve been a main character.

Weird-looking kid (who we later learn is named Jacob ben Israel; he is Jewish, if that name wasn’t a giveaway) says he thinks he’s gonna kill himself (seriously) because of sexual frustration, while random background guy makes hilarious facial expressions in agreement. He also makes a reference to premature ejaculation, and asks how the others deal with it. Finn says it’s not a problem for him.

In reality it’s a huge problem. The only thing that can ever stop him from erupting early is thinking of the time he hit a mailman during a driving lesson. It’s the greatest scene ever, I wish I could find a video of it to show you in its entirety. Instead I’ll settle for this gif that I am not able to just put in this blog, so here’s a link.

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Right, well, the play “Immaculate Affection” aka “Make Room for Jesus w/balloons.” Rachel says celibacy doesn’t work and reveals that girls like sex. I don’t know about that first part – controlling your hormones and emotions and vowing not to have sex? That doesn’t work? Certainly there’s value in teaching kids about safe sex, but to say abstinence doesn’t work at all? Eh, well. “Studies show”, apparently.

Later that night(?), Schue’s cleaning the school. Emma finds him, having stayed late for SAT prep (she’s teaching, not receiving). They bond over… nothing. Emma reveals she has a big problem with messes ever since she was little and wanted to be a dairy farmer so her family went to a dairy farm and her brother pushed her into the runoff lagoon. For Your Information, basically a runoff lagoon is a part of a farm that carries off waste, including excess mulch and cow poop.

Schue wants to help her deal with her OCD and puts chalk on her nose, wiping it off after 10 seconds. The two feel a deep, personal connection, as I often do when someone violates my personal space and distresses my severe mental disorder by placing something on my skin.

The next day(?), Rachel calls a meeting of the glee club, explaining that she paid a freshman to get Schue to help him with irregular verbs (Schue’s a Spanish teacher, don’t forget). They would’ve all been meeting for glee club anyway, since none of them knew Schue wasn’t coming, so I don’t get why Rachel had to announce specifically she was calling a meeting. Also they’re in the gym for some reason. Anyway she decides to betray Schue and not do disco at the assembly after all, but to “give the people what they want”: sex. Rachel is an executive for the Fox network.

Half my jokes about Fox are stolen from the first 10 seasons of The Simpsons, so I don’t know if they apply anymore.

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Why is the assembly in the gym? The auditorium looks big enough for a school assembly. Eh.

After announcing that the toilets are broken again and no one should use them, Figgins introduces Schuester. He talks about how glee is cool and everyone should join, and then had the glee kids go.

GET UP ON THIS!
GET UP ON THIS!

They sing Salt-n-Pepa’s “Push It”. They were complaining about wanting “modern songs”, so they chose something that came out 22 years earlier. Buh.

And their choreography is all sexy and provocative and stuff. After they finish, there’s a pause, before the gymnasium erupts in applause.

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Once again the glee club has successfully arranged and choreographed a song on short notice with absolutely no help from Will.

Figgins received a number of complaints from parents about the performance, even though none of them were there and almost all the kids liked the performance. Figgins gives Schue a list of “family-friendly” songs his pastor recommended, that the glee club is supposed to use as its repertoire from now on. All the songs apparently have either “Jesus” or “balloons” in the title, or are about the circus. To be fair, that still leaves them with a lot of awesome songs – the entire soundtracks of Barnum and Jesus Christ Superstar, for one thing. They should do a pep assembly with a performance of “This Jesus Must Die”. Except that’s really hard to dance to, actually.

This is literally the only episode this list is referenced in, by the way. It comes up in ONE scene later in this episode, and then never again.

Figgins also mentions he’s cutting the Cheerios’ dry-cleaning budget to buy new costumes for the glee club, because he saw several flashes of “panty”, and he’s not talking about the girls! Sue is outraged, but Figgins tells her to just use dry-cleaners in America instead of ones in Europe.

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Emma’s cleaning her grapes individually when Tanaka invites her to Tulipalooza. She turns him down until he delivers The Truth and tells her to stop chasing after a married guy.

Rachel and Finn are rehearsing on the auditorium stage, rather than in the choir room room or gym or bathroom or wherever else. Finn wants to take a break, and conveniently Rachel has set up a picnic for them on the stage.

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Finn says something that’s a weird mix of him saying he thinks she’s cool and also that he was afraid he would find her hiding under his bed last night (not joking). They drink virgin cosmos and do that stupid thing where the guy is like “Oh you have something on your lips” and then he wipes it off and then they kiss.

Finn then almost ejaculates and leaves, leaving Rachel to cover her face in shame. This is the first instance of “guy cheats on girlfriend and we’re supposed to be rooting for them for some reason” on the show.

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Meanwhile, it turns out Terri is having a hysterical pregnancy. What that means is, her body believes it’s pregnant, so it’s mimicking all the symptoms, but there’s no actual baby developing inside. Also when the doctor bluntly said “there’s no baby”, Terri asked if the baby had fallen out. Terri’s so crazy, I don’t get why people dislike her.

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Cheerios Quinn (middle), Santana (left), and Brittany (right) are auditioning for glee club. They (or rather, Quinn, and the phantom backup singers that Santana and Brittany are lip-synching to) sing Aretha Franklin’s “I Say a Little Prayer”. Unbeknownst to Schue, Quinn is joining to keep tabs on Rachel, to keep her from touching her boyfriend. Sue Sylvester approves, wanting to take down Glee from the inside.

Schue invites Emma to try out some new disinfecting wipes that night (kinky), but Emma reveals she’s going out with Ken Tanaka, so she can’t just keep dinking around with Schue all the time.

God that pot pie looks delicious. I wish they weren't so loaded with calories, aaargh.
God that pot pie looks delicious. I wish pot pies weren’t so loaded with calories, aaargh.

Terri stayed up late, waiting for Will to get back from working as a janitor. She made him a chicken pot pie from scratch, to break the news about her hysterical pregnancy to him. But he says something about how he’s working for his family and whatever, and for some reason she can’t bring herself to tell him. So instead, she tells him they’re having a boy, and asks him to stop working as a janitor. She can give up her craft room, she says. They don’t need a new house. They hug, and we see her clearly panic-stricken face as she must be worrying what the heck she’s supposed to do now. I will give my opinion on this on another review.

Later, it seems that Schue gave Quinn the solo in “Don’t Stop Believin'”. Rachel believes he’s doing this to punish her, but Schue says “Contrary to your beliefs, it’s not all about you.” If only seasons 3, 4, and 5 of Glee had remembered this line.

Schue says something about how glee is supposed to be fun, so basically he’ll stop making them sing songs they hate [spoiler alert: no he won’t]. In return, he wants Rachel to stop betraying him and get used to the fact that she won’t always be the star [spoiler alert: yes she will].

Presenting guest director J. J. Abrams.
Presenting guest director J. J. Abrams. (’cause of the lens flare, geddit?)

Rachel sings “Take a Bow” about Finn, I guess. She’s mad because…? I don’t know, that song’s about like sarcastically applauding someone who cheated on you. Finn cheated on QUINN, not YOU, Rachel, shut up.

Final Thoughts: UGH WHAT. There’s literally no justification for giving Quinn the solo part to the song that Rachel had already been rehearsing the solo for. Schue’s just like “Well she performed a song on Figgins’s approved list.” SO? She’s BRAND NEW to the club, Schue. Give Mercedes the part. Plus, Don’t Stop Believin isn’t a duet, like they performed it the previous episode. It’s all a solo, with backup. Give ARTIE the solo. The whole song. Do it! Argh.

Compromise was a big theme in this episode, also. It was all really sucky compromise, though. Figgins ends up cleaning up the mess Sue made. The kids still do sexy things and Schue still makes them sing crappy songs they don’t like. Terri agrees to give up her craft room for the baby she doesn’t actually have. Guhhhwhat.

Best Song: Argh I can’t even remember all the songs from this episode. Ummm “Gold Digger”, I think, for the amazing pipes of Miss Amber Riley and the soulful tones of one Kevin McHale, and for it being generally a good arrangement.

Worst: “Take a Bow”. Because it doesn’t make any sense in-context, I think Lea Michele’s voice was a bit over-emotional for the song, and HER FACE.

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This is a problem with Lea Michele’s singing – she’s got like constant “Show Face” when she sings. Basically that’s this things for when you’re a stage performer, you overdo your facial expressions so people in the audience can see it (if your face is too subtle, the people farther away can’t tell a difference). The problem is, Michele is on television, so she doesn’t need to keep doing that. Argh.

Irrelevant thoughts: I’ve gotten around 100 hits to this blog due to someone, or several people, trying to find out who Arlene Grayson is. I had to Google her to figure out what was going on. I still don’t understand why exactly I keep getting so many hits because of her, but apparently she was a producer on Boy Meets World and other shows, and I’ve actually mentioned her before. I also discovered while looking her up that the recap I linked to is on the first page of Google results for Arlene Grayson!

And a friendly reminder that you can follow this blog on Tumblr now. Every now and then I post extra stuff on there, mostly random thoughts or other images, or videos, even! It’s absolutely not necessary to follow the tumblr blog if you’re already following on WordPress, it’s just an alternate channel for people who perhaps don’t want to join WordPress or sign up for email updates or whatever.

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