Glee: Bullies and Substitutes

KT thought you’d never ask.

GLEE:  2.06 “Never Been Kissed”
GLEE:  2.07 “The Substitute”

Glee is rapidly turning into a show that’s fun to watch, but hard to write about.  It’s hardly worth trying to talk about the characters, because they’re only consistent in a very broad sort of way.  Is Rachel willing to be part of the team this week?  Is Will the cool teacher or the out-of-touch adult?  Is Sue trying to take down the glee club or are she and Will allies?  Any of those could be “yes” this week and “no” next week.  This really isn’t a show with story arcs, it’s a show with a premise-of-the-week — so then it’s hard to talk much about plot, either, besides recapping.

Anyway, at least things have been happening the last couple of weeks.  Happily, the competitors for Sectionals change every year, so the gimmicky schools we met last year have been exchanged for new gimmicky schools: a boys’ school with an a capella group and a night school group for adults getting their GEDs.  Not surprisingly, the boys’ school turns out to be a dating opportunity for Kurt.  Also their a capella group sounds amazing.  (Actually, it reminded me a lot of the mens’ a capella group at my college, except that the audience at their concerts always had a high percentage of women, haha.)

But most of the plots in “Never Been Kissed” had to do with bullying.  Kurt is still getting bullied by the huge football player — who turns out to be deeply in the closet.  Puck is back, but finally is forced to admit that he, the badass of McKinley High, was low man on the totem pole in juvvie.  After spending the episode being a bad influence on Artie, they strike a deal to try to invert that relationship so that Puck might pass geometry.  But they get a great duet – their voices go really well together.

There’s also a weird subplot in which some of the teens picture Coach Bieste as a way of keeping from getting too aroused — word gets around, she gets upset, apologies must be made.  That started out funny, but was a dead, dead horse by the end of the episode.  Both the boys and the girls produced some cool mash-ups, though.

This week, the amazing Gwyneth Paltrow visits McKinley High, earning my Least Likely Glee Guest Star award.  She plays the kooky substitute that all the kids love, and she earned my approval as soon as she burst out into “Conjunction Junction.”  Yay.  Her Chicago duet with Rachel seemed weirdly placed and under-choreographed (after all that talk about a good dance beat), but she rocked out on “Forget You.”

But the two numbers that make this episode worth watching (‘cause really, the plot didn’t do much for me) are the ones from Singing in the Rain.  It may only be Will’s fever dream, but Matthew Morrison and Harry Shum really bring their A game for “Make ‘Em Laugh,” and I loved that they used many of the gags that Gene Kelly and Donald O’Connor perform in the movie.  And while I was initially skeptical about what they might do to modernize “Singin’ in the Rain,” that number really blew me away.  Fantastic.

You know, I think this might be one show that could actually put together a worthwhile clip show episode:  just run a bunch of their best musical numbers.


2 thoughts on “Glee: Bullies and Substitutes

  1. I didn’t much care for their version of “Make’Em Laugh”. I’m probably bias in that I think Donald O’Connor is a wonderful comedian and dancer and god bless ’em, Will and Mike just didn’t stand up to par for me. And frankly they didn’t really do enough to make it distinctive from the original. They either need to go above what the original was when they do such iconic things or turn it on its head- like they do with their mashups and their odder interpretations of the songs (like the sweet version of “Dancing with Myself” in particular). It worked really well later in the epi with the mash up of “Singin’ in the Rain/Umbrella” which I didn’t think I’d like at all but I did. Besides, the “Make’em Laugh” number could’ve been replaced by “Moses Supposes” and it would’ve worked better I think.

    I was not impressed by the Chicago one either- that puzzled me. Rachel has proven to be a mediocre to poor dancer…why chose the dance-heavy song from that show? I know it’s a duet but they could’ve done “I Can’t Do it Alone” (better fit) or the opener from the show instead. It just…didn’t work very well at all (And Paltrow wasn’t any better of a dancer in that number either).

    Much as I’m complaining, I do still like the show, it just frustrates me on the decisions they make sometimes (okay, a lot of the times).

  2. Lee! ❤ Everybody, this is my good buddy, Lee.

    I guess what I appreciated about "Make 'Em Laugh" was that they attempted all those crazy gags — and no, they'll never match the original, but they pulled it off respectably. Using that number as Will's fever dream amused me a lot, too. Um, where do I sign up to have dreams where I pull off a number by Gene Kelley and Donald O'Connor?

    I adored their version of “Dancing with Myself” too. I haven’t purchased anything from the show’s soundtracks, but I’d start with that one and “Singin’ in the Rain/Umbrella.”

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