Glee: 110, “Ballad”; November 18, 2009

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The theme for the week is “Ballad”. Brittany asserts that a ballad is a male duck. Kurt corrects her by saying it is in fact a love song.

Will corrects both of them by saying a ballad is a story set to music. Sometimes it’s a love song, but not necessarily. Such as “The Ballad of Davy Crockett” or “The Ballad of Jed Clampett”, which are both coincidentally old television show theme songs that utilize the banjo.

Schue goes on to say that a ballad is a way of expressing emotions that you otherwise are not able to convey, which is an explanation that’s on the borderline between a ballad and just a regular song. But anyway, it turns out that they have to perform a ballad at Sectionals. Considering Sectionals is only in like two weeks, that’s really short notice, but okay.

Schue then announces that he’s splitting everyone into pairs and they have to sing a ballad to each other. Schue has to put his name in the hat because Matt’s out sick because they found a spider in his ear.

I just can't watch this scene and not think about that story where A BUNCH OF SPIDERS HATCH OUT OF THIS GIRL'S CHEEK OH MY GOD
I just can’t watch this scene and not think about that story where A BUNCH OF SPIDERS HATCH OUT OF THIS GIRL’S CHEEK OH MY GOD

The pairs are as follows: Puck and Mercedes, Artie and Quinn, Finn and Kurt, Tina and Other Asian (it’s unclear if it actually said “other Asian” on the slip of paper or if Tina just called Mike that on her own), Santana and Brittany, and so Rachel pairs up with Schue.

Rachel demonstrates what a ballad is by singing “Endless Love” with Schue. She’s super intense about it and Schue is obviously freaked out by her. Also there are internal monlogues from Kurt, Finn, and Puck, all of them mildly disinterested by the duet, just like me.

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Schue should’ve told her it was way too inappropriate for them to sing a love song together and decided to sing “The Ballad of John Henry” or they could’ve taken 10 minutes off the show to sing “American Pie” or something. I do think it was pretty dumb that Schue specifically said that a ballad is not always a love song, and then his example of what a ballad is was a love song.

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Quinn’s trying on her dress for the chastity ball. Her mother, sipping a presumably alcoholic beverage, comments that she looks lovely, and also that it’s odd that Quinn’s dress doesn’t fit since they had it sized a month ago. Quinn claims it’s because she had a big lunch, and her mother tells her she’s just not getting enough exercise ever since she quit the Cheerios. Singing doesn’t burn many calories, Quinn’s mom says [apparently you burn 100 calories by singing for an hour sitting down, 140 if you’re standing up. They also do a lot of dancing in glee club, to be fair].

This scene serves to tell us, the audience, that Quinn has not yet revealed her delicate condition to her parents, and also that her parents are conservatives, as evidenced by their excitement that Glenn Beck is on.

Quinn’s dad walks in a makes a big show of not seeing Quinn in her dress. Quinn is embarrassed, pointing out that it’s not like they’re getting married. “Speaking of getting married,” the dad says, “How’s that boy you’ve been dating?” Her mother follows that up by making sure he’s not pressuring her. Haa it’s funny because Quinn is pregnant. Also technically she and Finn have never had sex, so… yeah.

The point of this conversation was that Quinn’s dad wants to invite Finn over for dinner. Quinn’s dad offers to refill Quinn’s mom’s glass, but Quinn’s mom finds this ridiculous, saying “I don’t want you to lift a finger for me. I’m your wife!”

No comment.

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Rachel wants to rehearse with Schue at 4 pm after school. Also she bought Schue a tie, pictured above. Gold stars are kind of Rachel’s thing, you see, and she thought every time Schue wore the tie, he could be reminded of the star he’s helping her become.

Cut to Schue talking to Emma about the problem. Emma doesn’t think it’s that ridiculous that Rachel developed feelings for Schue, saying “If we were ranking crush-worthy teachers in this school, you’d be number 1 with a bullet.” Schue reacts thusly:

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Schue reveals that this isn’t the first time some girl has had a crush on him. He talks about Suzie Pepper (who also wasn’t the first schoolgirl to have a crush on him, but was the hardest).

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She asked him how to conjugate the verb “to love” in Spanish, gave him a pepper tie so he could think of her whenever he wore it, and she called his apartment in the middle of the night and just breathed at him over the phone. Terri told her to stop calling or Terri would go crazy and kill her, and so Suzie got so sad she ate the world’s hottest pepper, which burned a hole in her esophagus, even though peppers don’t actually physically burn internal organs.

Schue doesn’t want anything like that happening again, and that’s why he can’t tell Rachel that her behavior is inappropriate and unwarranted, in case she stabs herself with a giant gold star or something.

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Finn doesn’t want to sing with Kurt because he’s tired of everybody pushing him to be something he’s not. Wow if only there were any ballads that weren’t love songs that they could sing so it wasn’t so awkward. Also what is Finn even talking about?? When has anyone forced him to be something he’s not? Finn is too ridiculous, ugh.

Finn goes on to complain that it’s hard with the baby and whatever. He’s doing all this stuff and she’s never gonna know him. Kurt tells him he should sing “I’ll Stand By You” to let his feelings out. Kurt has a sudden ability to play the piano that never comes up again, as well as a sudden ability to change his leggings into jeans on a closeup.

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Finn sings the song to the empty audience and then to the sonogram of the baby. His mom catches him.

He also has the sonogram on his laptop. Also he has a LAPTOP oh my god Finn is more wealthy than I am.
He also has the sonogram on his laptop. Also he has a LAPTOP oh my god Finn is more wealthy than I am.

She sits down and asks if Quinn’s pregnant. Finn bursts into tears. What if she wasn’t pregnant, and Finn was just singing to a random sonogram? That would be weird.

Anyone who finds me this coat and buys it for me is my friend for life.
Anyone who finds me this coat and buys it for me is my friend for life.

The next day at school, Quinn yells at Finn for telling his mom, assuming his mom is going to talk to her parents about the baby. She storms off, and Kurt hints to Finn he ought to just swear off girls forever because girls are crazy. As a girl, I feel qualified to explain that girls are indeed crazy. I don’t know if it gets better or worse as we grow, but it sure doesn’t stop. We’re born crazy, we die crazy. It’s all the hormones.

Oh also Kurt reveals to us that he’s in love with Finn. Already knew that, so big whoop.

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Ha. “Jazz Hands.”

Later, Schue sings to Rachel a mashup of “Don’t Stand So Close to Me” and “Young Girl” to Rachel to hint that she should stop crushing on him. Rachel takes the message to mean that she’s very young and it’s hard for Schue to stand so close to her. Emma, acting as a chaperone, is no help in explaining the real message.

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You know, there really aren’t a lot of songs that are entirely about someone being bothered by a persistent young girl. Even “Young Girl” is actually about a guy who’s distressed to find out his lover is underage, and not about him being annoyed by a young girl. I guess “Does Your Mother Know” by ABBA is a pretty decent “You’re too young, leave me alone” song, but I guess that’s not a ballad. Actually, I don’t think Don’t Stand So Close to Me and Young Girl were actually ballads either.

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Finn has Kurt helping him pick out something nice to wear for dinner with Quinn’s parents. Finn is ashamed of himself for not being brave enough to tell Quinn’s parents about the baby when his father was brave enough to fight a war in a desert thousands of miles away. Kurt points out that Finn’s dad didn’t go into the fray empty-handed. Finn understandably is confused by this and thinks Kurt is telling him he should bring a gun to dinner. Kurt actually meant Finn should sing again.

Or he could wait for Quinn to tell her own parents herself about the baby. But really, why would you think telling your teenage girlfriend’s parents that you knocked her up through song would be a good idea? Did Kurt suggest that because he knew it would end badly, and he’s trying to sabotage Quinn and Finn’s relationship?

Meanwhile, Schue comes home to his apartment. Terri is nowhere to be found, but Schue can smell some delicious food. He’s handed a bottle of beer, and gives thanks. Rachel says “You’re welcome.”

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Terri let Rachel, and was pleased when Rachel offered to cook (venison casserole, despite Rachel being a vegetarian and venison being deer), and also Terri is making Rachel clean the apartment.  Schue tells Terri she can’t use all the teenage girls who have a crush on him as slaves, and drives Rachel home. He makes her sit in the backseat, and she decides to use the time in the car as rehearsal time for their ballad. She sings Jennifer Paige’s “Crush” but Schue cuts her off.

At school the next day, Mercedes meets up with Puck. She tells him that she and everyone else in the glee club decided they’re all going to get together to sing a ballad to show they support Quinn and Finn. Puck gets angry, then reveals that he is actually the father. Mercedes tells him that, no, he’s the baby’s daddy but it takes more to be a father. Mercedes is incredibly incorrect, because all it takes to be a father is your sperm fertilizing an egg. It takes a lot more to be a dad. But anyway Mercedes tells Puck not to mess up Quinn’s life any more than he already has by wanting to be involved in his daughter’s life. Plus I’m a little offended by Mercedes telling Puck off for ruining Quinn’s life like Quinn had nothing to do with it. It was a stupid choice both of them made, not just Puck.

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Later, I guess, Finn is at the Fabray’s house for dinner. He freaks out and goes to the bathroom and calls Kurt. Kurt calmly tells him to just do what they rehearsed. Finn hangs up on him really soon after that because he doesn’t want the Fabrays to think he’s pooping (yes, really).

Finn comes back to the dining room with Mrs. Fabray’s kitchen radio. He’s lucky it had a cassette player in it so he could play the karaoke version of Paul Anka’s “(You’re) Having My Baby.” The Fabrays enjoy it less and less as Finn keeps singing, and Mr. Fabray cuts off the second verse and stands next to Finn menacingly. He’s like a foot shorter than Finn, though, so it looks more like a muppet is threatening him, which is only scary if it’s Uncle Deadly or the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come.

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Cut to the four of them having a little chat. Mr. Fabray talks about how he took Quinn and Quinn’s unnamed sister to a baseball game when they were little, and how Quinn fell asleep and he spent the whole game hoping nothing exciting would happen so Quinn wouldn’t wake up. Then he says he’s kicking Quinn out. And also apparently Quinn’s mom knew Quinn was pregnant because of woman’s intuition or something, but never did anything or said anything about it even though Quinn really needed her to.

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It’s all very emotional and whatever and apparently they submitted this episode to the Emmy’s for their consideration to get Diana Aggron a supporting actress nomination, but she didn’t make the cut. Honestly I think she was better in some other episodes, so I’m not surprised, especially looking at the actress who DID get nominated for the 2009-2010 season.

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Suzie Pepper tells Rachel to give up on Schue. And later, finally, Schue tells Rachel the same. Rachel actually was going to apologize to Schue, by singing Schue’s favorite song “Sorry Seems to Be the Hardest Word” and giving him a plant.

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Schue tells Rachel not to give up, though, because some day she’ll find a boy who likes her despite her being intense and crazy all the time.

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The glee club sings “Lean On Me” to Quinn and Finn, rightl ygiving Artie the solo. Honestly if Glee got rid of everyone except Kevin McHale I would still watch it. I’d actually prefer it to all of seasons 4 and 5. Just have him playing all the characters and singing with himself. I would watch the heck out of that.

Points to ponder: All of the ballads in this episode were some variation of a love song despite Schue saying not all ballads are love songs. Also since Sectionals are rapidly approaching, they really ought to be rehearsing their set-list rather than breaking into groups to sing songs that aren’t being performed for Sectionals. But I know they never rehearse their setlist because it would be really boring television to have them performing the same three songs every episode.

Also, all of the women so far who have been shown to be romantically interested in Schue are all crazy, in their own separate crazy ways. I know earlier I said all women are crazy, but Terri, Emma, Rachel, Suzie Pepper, and even April Rhodes are all specifically different kinds of crazy than normal women craziness. Now let’s be clear, if these were all real people, I wouldn’t be calling them crazy, because if this were the real world it would be more that Terri has some kind of mental illness rather than that she’s just crazy. But they’re fictional characters so I don’t mind calling them crazy.

Best/Worst: “Lean On Me” for best due to the amazing pipes of Kevin McHale and Amber Riley, worst is, let’s go with “Crush” because it was only like 15 seconds long.

Song count: 52 total performances / 39 full-length performances

Bonus: Here’s a Youtube video of Lean of Me that was uploaded the day after this episode aired in 2009 and is miraculously still up on Youtube despite it containing copyright material! Also bonus because of the “Grr Glee does covers of songs therefore it sucks because all bands that do covers are awful!” comments.


2 thoughts on “Glee: 110, “Ballad”; November 18, 2009

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