Glee: 109, “Wheels”; November 11, 2009

Glee’s final season is reportedly not going to air until the winter/spring 2015 season. This makes me very sad, because that likely means there’s no Christmas album. It’s too bad, because I loved 3 of the 4 Christmas albums. I wish I knew what the heck was up with the 4th one – it had half the songs of the other albums, one of which wasn’t even a Christmas song. Ah, I remember someone commenting elsewhere theorized it was because they had just run out of Christmas songs. Indeed, little known fact that there are only about 40 total Christmas songs that exist in the entire world, throughout all history, so of course they could only put 5 songs on the last album. Because they just ran out of Christmas songs.

But anyway, this episode.

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Jumprope routine!

Quinn is watching even though it makes her sad because she’s not on the team. She’s trying to distract herself from the costs of having a baby. She’s mad at Finn for not having a job. Finn’s not even really her baby’s father and she’s chewing him out hardcore for being a 16 year old without a job. Jeez.

Meanwhile, it turns out that the “handicapable” bus is too expensive for the school to rent to transport Artie to Sectionals. The glee club either has to pay for it themselves or someone has to drive Artie to Sectionals. A thought occurs to me – why don’t they just rent a van? There’s only 12 kids, plus Schue. And clearly at least a couple of the kids can drive. I’m sure renting two vans, or one van and borrowing someone’s car, would be a lot cheaper than renting a bus. I’m also a bit confused, because Figgins said it would cost $600 to rent the bus for a week. The glee club only needs it for one day. That’s way less expensive. And I know for a fact you can actually rent buses for a single day, you don’t rent them by the week.

And, now, here’s another huge issue with this show in general – all these kids have parents, yes? The parents can’t pay for things? Rachel, Kurt, and Quinn all clearly come from very wealthy families, and I’m assuming Mercedes is well-off too since her dad is a dentist. They can’t split the costs and ask for like $20 from each of their parents to pay for a bus to Sectionals?

Later, Quinn is chewing out Finn again for being an unemployed teenager with no high school degree. I get that she’s freaking out, but, again, Finn’s not even really the baby’s father, and also, this isn’t the 50s. There aren’t a lot of jobs available for teenagers. Especially Finn, since with glee club and football he’d be even more limited in his available hours than other kids.

Then Schue comes in, saying that they’ve been focusing on pop so much but they want to cater to the Sectionals judges by performing “something more to their taste.”

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This show has a huge problem of someone complaining every other episodes that they perform too much this or too much that. This gets really bad later where they’ll complain about singing too much 80s music one episode, then the next episode will be entirely 80s songs and no one says anything.

Anyway the song is “Defying Gravity,” from the Broadway hit musical “Wicked.” This excites Kurt. That’s his favorite musical. He has an entire iPod shuffle dedicated exclusively to Wicked. You’ll recall he has an actual iPod, so this means he has an iPod AND an iPod shuffle. Why doesn’t he just use the regular iPod and just have a playlist of all Wicked songs? Why does he need a Shuffle entirely for Wicked?

But Rachel gets to the sing it. Rachel who was complaining a few episodes ago about NEVER GETTING THE SOLO EVERRR OMG. Schue also announces the club will be putting on a bake sale to raise money for the wheelchair bus. None of the kids want to do this because bake sales are lame. Everyone knows teenagers hate cookies, guys, omg for real. Finn points out that they’re all too busy for bake sales anyway, way busier than Schue was when he was in glee club, because they didn’t have homework or extracurricular activities in 1992. One of the kids asks why Artie’s dad doesn’t just drive him. Schue says that’s not the team spirit – part of the whole thing about competitions is the bonding experience on the bus ride there. Having been on a huge number of team bus rides myself, I have to say, eh. Some of them were fun, like one time we somehow all got singing Disney songs for half an hour, but mostly you got stuck with the loud, obnoxious jerks yelling in the back. I guess it’s easier with only 12 people who get along okay, but still.

Also, teenagers like baked goods. Come on. You know what’s even better, though? Candy. My marching band had an annual candy-selling fundraiser thing. We’d pay $10 for a bag of candy, and carry the bag around school with us, and everyone would be like “OMG YES CANDY WHAT DO YOU HAVE?? I WANT SOME.” I made over $100 one year just from selling candy in school.

Schue apologizes to Artie for the other kids, and Artie says he’s used to it, then asks if he can use the auditorium to rehearse.

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He performs a really jazzy, guitar-and-piano version of “Dancing With Myself.”

Artie likes Tina apparently!
Artie likes Tina apparently!

Schue observes this, and is sad. Er, he observes the song, not that Artie likes Tina.

Later, Kurt declares he wants to audition for the Defying Gravity solo. But it has a high F in it, which is out of Kurt’s range, apparently.

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Kurt looks like a Power Ranger in civilian garb.

Schue also says he’s disappointed in everyone for their treatment of Artie. They say they figured it wouldn’t hurt his feelings, but it did. Rachel tells him not to take it personally, so he says “Well, you’re irritating most of the time, but don’t take it personally.” HA. I wish Artie had evolved in Rachel’s arch-nemesis or something.

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Schue bought discount wheelchairs for everyone in the club. They have to sit in the wheelchairs for 3 hours a day. Also they’re doing a wheelchair number at Sectionals.

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Puck gives Quinn money from his pool-cleaning job. It’s not much, but it’s more than the nothing Finn is giving her. Then they have a flirty food fight in the home ec room.

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Better hope they didn’t throw any cocoa powder, that stuff is really bad for you if you inhale too much of it. I guess.

Kurt tells his dad about his Defying Gravity solo woes. Kurt’s dad (Burt) actually calls a meeting with Figgins and Schue about the issue, and Schue agrees to have an audition for the song rather than just giving Rachel the part. True to form, Rachel feels this is ruining her life. Like oh no she maybe can’t sing one song one time! Poor baby!

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Figgins is so inspired by all the glee kids being in wheelchairs, he wants Sue to make the Cheerios more accessible by letting in someone who isn’t hand-picked and perfect and whatever. Also the school doesn’t have wheelchair ramps.

The bake sale isn’t going well. No one will buy from them because they’re losers. Man this is like the least realistic thing on this entire show. What teenagers are so concerned about their reputations that they won’t buy delicious cupcakes at lunchtime?

They do get one customer, though.

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Quinn seems concerned and maybe partly disgusted that Brittany is daring to hang out with Becky, who has Down’s Syndrome. Brittany tells Becky to buy a cupcake, and gives her a dollar when Becky doesn’t have any money. Becky also thinks Santana’s cool because she’s a cheerleader.

And also, Brittany lost her wheelchair, somewhere, somehow.

Quinn also continues her tirade against Finn for daring to be unemployed. Finn finally tells her to lay off him, because he’s trying. He gets up and kicks his wheelchair and storms off. Here’s the start of a new Glee tally: Finn 1, Furniture 0.

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Schue accompanies Sue during Cheerio auditions… er, try-outs.

Yep, this is Mercedes.
Yep, this is Mercedes.
Aaand Kurt?? He did a nice baton-twirling routine until he lost control and it flew behind him.
Aaand Kurt?? He did a nice baton-twirling routine until he lost control and it flew behind him.
This is Lauren Zises. She's on the school wrestling team, which is all guys except her.
This is Lauren Zises. She’s on the school wrestling team, which is all guys except her.
Dunno who this is.
Dunno who this is.
Jacob ben Israel. Sue didn't even let him do anything before rejecting him.
Jacob ben Israel. Sue didn’t even let him do anything before rejecting him.
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Becky heard the Cheerios had a jumprope routine, so she’s got a jumprope.

Sue interrupts Becky’s tryout and tells her she’s on the squad. Schue thinks she’s up to something.

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Finn and Puck get into a fight in the hallway after Puck calls Finn an idiot who should try selling his stuff to pay for the baby, and also that he doesn’t deserve to have Quinn as his girlfriend.

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Artie trains the kids in how to do a turn in a wheelchair.

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In the corner, behind Kurt.

Ha, they even gave Brad the piano guy a wheelchair!

Tina tells Artie she has new respect for him now. She didn’t realize how hard it was. Artie says it just takes some getting used to, comparing it to her stutter. He barely even notices she stutters anymore. Considering Tina’s had like 4 lines since episode 1 I can’t say I’ve noticed it much either.

Tina asks what happened that put Artie in a wheelchair. He and his mom were in a car accident when he was 8, apparently. She was fine, but he… wasn’t. He then tells Tina that he wants to make it clear that he still has full use of his penis, and then she looks really uncomfortable and wheels away.

Meanwhile, or later, Kurt works on his range and hits the high F. And also someone called Burt’s place of work and said “Your son’s a fag” and then hung up. This rattles Burt, and he tells Kurt that he can still be great and out and whatever, but to be careful.

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Rachel’s sure she’s going to lose the diva-off because everyone likes Kurt more than her. In fact, no one likes Rachel at all. Except Finn. Finn likes her. Also Rachel thinks the judges will find “a female version of Defying Gravity much more accessible.” Yeah, sure, if this was the 60s. Judges love artistic interpretation of songs (and I mean this earnestly, not sarcastically)! Oh, wait, actually, the judges on Glee don’t. Never mind.

Quinn storms in with a past-due notice about the sonogram. Why doesn’t she just go to Terri to help? Tell Terri “If you don’t help me with this, I’m not going to get any medical assistance done before the baby comes, and we could all end up with a sack of potatoes instead of a baby.”

Also, why doesn’t Quinn get a job? Or apply for government assistance? Or something?

Anyway, Rachel has a plan, at least.

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Business is booming at the cupcake stand. Puck got some discount marijuana from the Chronic Lady, telling him that a shark at the aquarium crushed his spinal cord, thereby confining him to a wheelchair. He put just enough weed in the cupcakes to give everyone the munchies, so they come back to buy more cupcakes. That is brilliant.

Schue checks up on Sue, who is personally coaching Becky. Sue is being tough on Becky, and Schue tells her to not be so hard on Becky. Sue points out that what Schue is telling her, is to treat Becky differently because she’s disabled. Sue was treating her like she treats everyone else. So who’s really in the wrong here? As someone who has a disability myself, let me drop my opinion in here. I won’t say I speak for all disabled people, but I like to say, treat a disabled person like you would treat any fully-abled person, but try to understand the disability. Like, say, with a dyslexic person, don’t just read everything out loud to them all the time, but let them read things on their own, with the understanding that they might take longer to read it than someone without dyslexia.

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Time for the diva-off. Kurt versus Rachel. Kurt has like 9 pimples next to his mouth. That’s irrelevant, but I just noticed it on a close-up. It’s nice to see teenagers with acne on television, like they have i real life and whatever.

Oh, right, the song. They both do well. I hate the pop version of Defying Gravity. It’s different from the one that’s in the show. The show version is way more triumphant and… gravity defying.

Also Kurt messes up the high F. It’s odd, though, because in Rachel’s version of the song, she doesn’t seem to have a high F. She never goes as high-pitched as Kurt does. Why does Kurt’s version of the song have such a higher note in it??

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Puck gives money to Quinn. He stole it from the bake sale. Quinn thinks he’s nice and romantic, but he’s such a good person he should realize they can’t steal money from their friend in the wheelchair.

Then Finn rolls up. He also gives Quinn money. It turns out Rachel’s plan from earlier was to bring Finn to a restaurant and demand Finn be given a job, on account of him being in a wheelchair. To not hire him would be discrimination, and also if they don’t hire him, Rachel will get her Two Gay Dads  to sue them on behalf of the American Civil Liberties Union.

The bake sale earned $1200. Artie says he’d rather have his dad drive him, and use the money to pay for a handicapped ramp for the auditorium. Apparently there are other kids in wheelchairs at this school. It’s been 5 years and I’ve never seen even one. Not even Neckbrace Cheerio from season 4 was in a wheelchair.

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Then it turns out that Sue wrote a check to pay for three new wheelchair ramps for the school. Schue wonders if Sue maybe has a brain tumor, because that would explain her behavior lately. Figgins isn’t going to look this gift horse in the mouth, though, and is just glad to have money to improve the school for once.

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It turns out Sue has an older sister with Down’s Syndrome, and Sue loves her sister a lot.

Meanwhile, Tina and Artie have a wheelchair race in the school. Tina kisses Artie.

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Also it turns out Tina has been faking her stutter this whole time. She started faking it in 6th grade to get out of making a speech. She was really shy and the stutter got people to leave her alone. But glee club encouraged her to step out of her shell so she doesn’t want to fake it anymore. She doesn’t want to push people away anymore. She tells Artie he must know what that feels like.

But Artie doesn’t. He would never purposely push people away, because the chair does that for him. He’s disappointed, because he thought they had something very important in common. But they don’t. But good for Tina that she can just stop being disabled and go back to being “normal”, because Artie can’t. Artie can never stop being disabled.

I never noticed before but seriously Tina’s stuttering doesn’t come up much on this show. I should’ve been keeping a tally, but really, she’s only had about 4 or 5 lines of dialogue so far, and most of them were so short there wasn’t room for stuttering.

Umm and it turns out Kurt threw the competition so his dad wouldn’t get bullied for having a gay son.

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The club performs “Proud Mary” in wheelchairs. To say this is the most ridiculous thing to come up on Glee so far would be an understatement.

Fun fact: Apparently several members of the cast had a lot of trouble working in the wheelchairs in this episode. Lea Michele especially was prone to falling backwards in the chair, and most of them had a lot of trouble figuring out how to distribute their weight properly.

Point to ponder: This is the first instance of Celebrity Paradox on Glee. See, the actress who originated the role of Galinda/Glinda in Wicked was Kristin Chenoweth, who you may recall played April Rhodes on this very show. So this begs some questions: Did Kristin Chenoweth originate the role of Galinda/Glinda in Wicked in this universe? If not, then who? If she did, then how did Kurt, a huge fan of Wicked, not notice April Rhodes looking and sounding identical to Kristin Chenoweth? Or maybe Ms. Chenoweth looks different in this universe? If so, then how does she look?

Song count: 46 total songs / 34 full-length performances [I counted Defying Gravity as one song, since it’s basically performed as a duet on the show. They did release separate versions of Kurt and Rachel singing by themselves, but they sang as one performance  on the actual show, and that’s what I’m counting.]

I apparently never mentioned that Sandy’s drug dealer name is the “Chronic Lady” when it first came up in episode 1. Puck bought the marijuana from Sandy Ryerson.

And finally, re: “disabled” and other terms… Yeah, I don’t get why some people hate that word? I can understand being preferred to not be called “handicapped”, but I know I really hate the term “differently abled.” I get the sentiment behind it, but to me it sounds more like “yes I’m blind but I can ALSO SHOOT LASERS OUT OF MY EYES.”


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