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Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Glee - The Substitute recap/review

The beginning of the episode found Sue as principal in Figgins’ absence. She had taken a student with the monkey flu and had her sneeze on Figgins, infecting him. Sue also unleashed her newest weapon on Will, causing him to develop a fever and hallucinate cute little versions of all the Glee members. It was adorable. Rachel, of course, took over New Directions and makes it all about herself, and Santana hilariously tried to kill her. When Kurt saw a substitute teacher go all out performing “Conjunction Junction” for an English class, he recruited her to substitute for Will in Glee Club. Good idea Kurt. This show just got epic. Schoolhouse Rock should be in every teacher's back pocket. Also, one of us performed Schoolhouse Rock in the 4th grade and will always have a soft spot for it.

Holly decided to let the kids sing whatever they want, rather than the boring old songs and rap that Will made them sing. Holly launched into a cover of Cee Lo Green’s “F*** You” (the clean version, of course). Leeard and Ern differ in their reactions to this song. Ern thought it was adorable, but Leeard didn’t like Gwyneth’s voice and likes the original (explicit version) much better. The kids loved Holly. Holly had to do a number from Chicago with Rachel to earn her love, but she did. We loved when Holly told Rachel that she sucked right before befriending her. Neither of us liked the Chicago song. First of all, we saw the exact thing, only with better visuals, in the movie Chicago. Sure, Gwyneth has a better voice than Renee Zellwhatsit and Lea Michele has a better voice than anyone, but this one was more dancing than singing on the show. Also, as if Lea Michele hasn't shown us her crotch enough lately, she did a cartwheel in this song and flashed it again. A secret, "Whatever, I do what I want" to the critics, maybe? Maybe the song would be better on a download. Because of Holly’s success, Sue fired Will and replaced with Holly.

Terri Schuester came over to try to take care of sick Will. She tried to seduce him by talking to him like he was a baby, asking to stick a thermometer up his butt, and whipping out one of his favorite films, Singing in the Rain. At first, Will sent her away, but then he had her come back so he could get well faster and win back his students. The baby-ing worked for Terri that time, and they did it in Will’s disgusting sick-bed. Poor Terri. After that, Will told her it was a mistake and broke up with her all over again. Sick Will also had a dream where he sang “Make ‘Em Laugh” and danced as well as Mike Chang (with Mike Chang). That was really weird, too old fashioned, and we bet just about nobody liked it. BUT it was nice to see Matthew Morrison do a song that he would actually be good at. Apparently old Broadway is the man’s thing (but we already knew that). It sounded perfect for him. SO much better than the rap and rock. We say more old Broadway songs for Will, but better ones next time.

As principal, Sue started a war on fatties by banning tater tots from the school. Mercedes was having emotional troubles and was feeling empty because Kurt was spending all his time with Blaine, so she had no more surrogate boyfriend. She NEEDED those tots, so she could eat her feelings. She started a revolt, stuffed tots up the tailpipe of Sue’s car, and snuck tots into school. This made Mercedes happy, but Kurt had to rain on her parade. He told her that she needed a relationship, because she was using him and tots to fill her emotional void. Yeah Kurt, she needs a boyfriend to make her whole. Great advice. That’s the answer for every insecure girl! A guy! That will make her more secure. (For all you people who don’t pick up on sarcasm, the previous lines were dripping with it.) We laughed so hard at Mercedes’ perception of the conversation between Blaine and Kurt at Breadstix. (By the way, Darren Criss and Glee reached a deal, and he will be a regular soon. Yay!) Also, Karofsky told Kurt that telling anyone about the kiss would result in an untimely death.

After the tots in the tailpipe incident, Mercedes was sent to Sue, and Holly (officially the substitute Spanish teacher and Glee Club runner, not Mercedes’ parent or lawyer, but whatever) was called in as well to defend Mercedes. Holly froze, couldn’t get Mercedes out of being suspended, and decided that made her a bad teacher. She went to Will's to talk to him, relaying a story about how she was attacked by a black girl who "looked like an attractive Biggie Smalls," and that was why she kept her life light and free of consequences, rather than teaching actual boring information. Funnily enough, even Female Biggie Smalls was a Christian, like all black people on mainstream TV. Oh Glee, with your inclusive messages paired with glaring, lazy stereotypes. We laughed at this flashback though, so we didn't totally hate it, and hey, there is nothing wrong with someone being a Christian. Even though beating up a teacher isn't very Christian. Whatever. We've forgiven this show for being way less logical than that, so we will let it slide. Holly resigned, Will got better and went back to his job. Sue let him have it because of how his New Directions kids came into her office to tell her how much they loved Will. That must have been painful for Sue to hear. Will's solution to his teaching problems was to show the kids how fun the song “Singin’ in the Rain” is. It’s not. So he got Holly to sing it with him and do a mash-up of it with Rihanna’s “Umbrella.” It should have just been “Umbrella.” This was Gwyneth’s best moment, dancing happily in the stage covered in water with actual rain falling indoors. Dear Will, if you want a bigger budget for your Glee Club, don’t spend your money on this type of thing.

Lesson of the week: Holly was fun, casual, sunny, and charismatic, but of course, this is high school, and the lesson of the day can’t be that children should have fun. Kids need to learn Journey. Other lesson of the week: Fat, unhappy girls just need boyfriends.

Overall, this episode wasn’t bad, tasteless, weird or offensive, like some Glee episodes, and Ern thought it was funny. Leeard was a little disappointed and thought the episode was just ok. The songs choices must have been meager this week, because they mostly sucked. Ern liked Gwyneth’s voice and performance, but it wasn’t Leeard’s cup of tea. However, they both liked the character of Holly. Gwyneth had a good vibe that went along well with the show, and she put a lot of energy into the performance. You could tell she was really trying and having fun. We thought it was nice to see Will interact with an attractive woman who was not Terri or Emma. We both love Principal Sue. May her reign over terror go on.

Episode grade: B

Catch it on hulu


  1. My grade: D-

    This was the first episode this season that I was truly disappointed in. Britney wasn't all I hoped, but it still had its moments. Rocky Horror was going to suck no matter what. But this? This should have just been a normal, enjoyable, hilarious Glee episode... but it wasn't. The kids didn't sing much, and the song choices were deplorable. I love Glee with my whole heart, which is why this episode was so disappointing. It was "Hey, Gweneth Paltrow has decided she's a singer, so suddenly we have to be inundated with her musical talents!" Her character started fun and quickly grew annoying.

    I wish the writers would quit trying so hard. We love the show, so they should just relax!

    P.S. Terri and Will were gross. Like... nasty.

  2. While we think that even a "meh" episode of Glee like this one is better than nearly everything else on TV, we agree with most of your points. You're right, Glee DOESN'T need to try this hard.

    We haven't had many episodes without some sort of gimmick or guest star this season. We guess with the popularity of the show, this had to happen. This just means (to us) that season three is going to rock once the show calms down and gets this out of its system. They've got to be hearing the complaints, right? They've got to stop sometime, right?

    We liked the tots thing too much to hate the episode. The humor was still there. But the songs were the weakest they've been since the "funk" episode.

  3. Only a week late, I finally watched this one. Loved Gwyneth, who, for me, lives in the irritating category most of the time (that said, I'm totally seeing "Country Strong").

    Okay, I must be one of the few because I really liked the "Make 'em Laugh" moment! "Singin' in the Rain" is my all-time favorite movie, though, so perhaps I can't be rational. But the old-school singing and dancing? Fantastic! I want to see more of that on this show, but judging from your reaction to it, they probably will avoid that in the future. Jury's still out for me on that "Umbrella/Singin' in the Rain" mash-up. Part of me thought it was really fun and clever (I definitely loved the dancing!), but the other part of me feels weirded out by the way they changed the melody on the later song. Will Shuester = NO Gene Kelly.

    I personally prefer the explicit version of the Cee-Lo song. It's such a mediocre song without the f-word (kinda like Mumford and Sons' "Little Lion Man")! Sometimes the f-word is just the right word for the situation.

    Oh, and, I'm with Mercedes on her tots rage. Those things are little fried pieces of magic.

  4. In hindsight, we like the Will dream sequence better. The dancing was fun. It just seemed out-of-place and weird. Maybe because it was a dream sequence. We agree with you that they should do more old-style Broadway stuff. Just not that song.

    After listening to the mashup on our iPods, we have to say, we're not into it. It was good on the show because of the cute visuals. One of us has liked Gwyneth since Se7en, and the other finds her annoying and doesn't like her voice.

    A part of us thinks that if a song needs the F word to be good, it's not very good to begin with, but we like Cee Lo's original too.

    Tots are the best part of a school meal.