Starsweep to the hormone-gobbling hallways of McKinley High and eventually to the Auditorium of Audio/Visual Atrocities, where Marley and Unique belt out an energetic rendition of Pink's "Blow Me One Last Kiss," which is fun save for the excessive scrap metal hanging from the respective children's neckholes.
Although I've got an aversion to Marley on principle — Just what this show needs! Another white girl with no discernably compelling personality traits! — holy fuck, she gets cuter every episode! Look at her hopping around with her mike and dykey pants. Everybody should wanna go steady with Marley forever-ever.
Cut to the Sonogramic Study Hall, where Finn catches Floppy-Haired Guy From The Glee Project studying away to raise his C-minus average. Naturally, Finn's got a plan for Ryder Bieber-Strong to raise his grades like the roof — a time-consuming extracurricular activity!
Finn, having dumped his wad of wisdom upon the bright-eyed lass, barks the audition time and extracts his fimo feet from the classroom, at which point Ryder Bieber-Strong gets another C- and complains that "all he does is study," which means he's gonna be diagnosed with ADD or dyslexia in an upcoming Issue Episode. I can't wait!
Sweep over to the auditorium where Artie and Finn volley some dialogue about jukebox selection and then Ryder Bieber-Strong arrives for a little Finnspiration.
They eventually break into "Jukebox Hero" and we all learn that Ryder Bieber-Strong is a better singer than Finn, just like my neighbor's pet parakeet.
Back in the Hallowed Heterosexual Hallways of McKinley High, Ryder Bieber-Strong introduces himself to Marley and they exchange banter about meatballs while Fake Quinn and Puck Lite exchange biting banter about jealousy and Bieber haircuts (Fake Quinn says Ryder Bieber-Strong's got one and it's way cute.):
Puck Lite: "Who wants Justin Bieber hair?"
Fake Quinn: "Half-black guys who can't grow it."
Really? Yup, really.
Fake Quinn, channeling some combo of Regina George and Carlene Cockburn, hits up Ryder and Marley on her way down the hallway to inform them she's auditioning for Sandy. She's also jocking to throw Ryder off the Marley tip.
Fake Quinn: "By the way, Ryder, you should know about this one's gene pool. She's only got a month or two before she starts ballooning to her natural weight of 5,000 pounds and starts writing her memoir, Fifty Shades of Gravy."
Ryder Bieber-Strong: "Wow, you're kind of a bitch. What did she ever do to you?"
Baby, baby, baby, OH!
At some point, Fake Quinn and Puck Lite audition for Grease with a song so annoying I cannot mention it here, lest it worm its way into my brain again.
Cut to Team Cast-Away pondering which moderately talented cast member will obtain the various roles Santana Lopez was born to play. Who will they ever pick? The children chatter and look at index cards and refer to Unique solely with male pronouns:
Artie: "So we cast a brunette as Sandy and a guy as Rizzo? Who's directing this, Julie Taymor?"
Sweep fabulously forward into the Principal's Lair, where Sue Sylvester is dishing out real talk re: Grease and weird talk re: everything else.
Sue: "The twin idiots seated before you are poised to cast the she-male-fabulous Unique Adams as Rizzo in Grease; the already oversexualized minstrel show featuring teen pregnancy and the ridiculously unnecessary lubrication of lightning. If they succeed they will set a legal precedent that will clear the way for Unique to become a Cheerio."
I feel like we're not at a place in society yet to joke about transphobic humor 'cause 95% of the population still thinks it's totally acceptable, so these transphobic jokes aren't edgy, they're just really irresponsible.
ANYHOW, Will wants to know when Unique expressed interest in becoming a Cheerio (she didn't), and Principal Figgins has this:
Principal: "Coach Sue I do not understand. Unique Adams is nothing more than an attractive, buxom young woman who's got it going on in all the right places. She's a brick house, Sue!"
Will: "Uh, Principal Figgins, Sue's right about that. Unique is definitely a guy."
Then he made a face. It was stupid.
Finn: "Look, I don't see what the big deal is. If Unique identifies as a girl and dresses as a girl, she should be allowed to play one onstage."
Will: "Cross-gendered casting is as old as theater itself. In Shakespeare's time, all the female roles were played by men."
Sue: "There's no way that's true."
At this point, Sue could literally leave Glee to join the circus, fall in lesbians with Emma and launch her own line of stationary and it wouldn't seem that out of character. Character development's got the longevity of a half-stick of Trident on this show.
Finn: "In the last few years, McKinley's become the kind of place where all kinds of outcasts can feel free to follow their dreams. I don't think that should change just because Coach Sylvester's a bigot."
Sue: "You know, I'd think twice about calling someone a bigot who's had gay Cheerios both male and female on her squad and resigned her post as principal in protest because this school wasn't doing enough to protect a gay student from being bullied! But you do have a point there, mashed potato pants. We've become somewhat of a progressive bubble here at McKinley High, and I think that's due to the fact that The Glee Club is being run by a strange, weepy man-child who has lotion in his hair but no adult friends. We live in Ohio, and if you choose to cast Rizzo with a naive, gender-confused boy in a dress, I guarantee someone is going to raise a very public stink about it [points to herself] and I don't think that's fair. Don't put this kid in danger because you want to make some grand gesture about how open-minded you are."
Four points for the strange weepy man-child, however.
Finn: "Enough! With all due respect, this is none of your business. I'm the director, it's my decision."
Sue: "William, maybe you need to remind Chubby-Wan-Kenobi of the daily nightmare that is borne of being my enemy."
Finn: "You can't threaten me, Sue. I've already lost my girlfriend, my future, my pride, I've nothing more to lose. I'm casting Unique, and that's all there is to it. And you know I thought that you would've known more about being an underdog after you helped us win Nationals and had a retarded baby, but..."
Finn: "I'm sorry, I didn't mean to say that. That was the wrong word to use and I apologize."
Who are these characters? What is this show? Look: This show is ambitious. It breaks form. It's consistently inventive musically. It takes risks with occasional aplomb and frequent flopping. When the show succeeds — that perfect song for that perfect moment, that look she's never given her before — it's more emotionally compelling than a similar success on a more traditional show because its reach is so much greater. But when it fails, it falls flat on its face like a dumb fish and that's where the "story" part of this show has been for a while now. The tropes are lazy, the love triangles recycled and the "issue episodes" an orchard of dead horses. The only "consistency" on Glee is that it consistently relies on the "Sue wants to destroy Glee Club" plot to sub in when nobody's got a better idea that week. Glee is trying to be so many things — a receptacle for the winners of a poorly-rated aggressively-branded reality TV program among them — and it can't be all those things. You can't stuff tropes into new holes or hit songs each week to fit the story you've decided to tell before checking in with any of your characters. You have to work with the characters you created. Because otherwise, this is the minstrel show. You know?
Back in the Hallowed Heterosexual Hallways of McKinley High, Mike corners Tina at her locker to inquire about why Ryder Bieber-Strong and Fake Quinn get more screentime than she does I MEAN why she's ignoring Mike and not auditioning for Grease.
Look everybody knows Tina's gonna get cast as Jan. I know it, you know it, and Jan knows it.
Smear to the Amazing Auditorium for Callbacks Part Duextathalon, where Team Cast-Away are ready for some hit musical number rocksongs! Hit it, Jack!
Marley, Fake Quinn, Puck Lite and Ryder Biber-Strong must prove their "chemistry" to Team Cast-Away via Born to Hand Jive, another classic hit from the comedy-musical Grease!
And while this season's rehashed love triangle is oft-grating, it works for this number 'cause it allows for the same rowdy partner-jostling utilized in the film/musical in which a tightly choreographed routine is punctuated by teenage jealousy and criss-crossed crushes. Who will become Danny and Sandy? I can't hardly wait!
Cut to the library, a Space For Books, where Finn's convening with Unique to talk about breaking into the hatch, taking back the iron throne, who will watch Gracie Bell and how to catch Abu Nazir. I mean! Finn Hudson, a stack of chicken gizzards carved into human form, is bestowing the honor of Rizzo upon Unique. Finn says all Unique must do now is learn the lyrics and get the wig, and Unique is like, um, duh, I know the song and I have the wig.
Apropos of nothing, Unique offers us a sliver of her thoughts:
Unique: "I don't feel right in the men's locker room. But I can't go into the girls'. And I don't feel right in men's clothing, but I can't wear dresses every day. It sucks to never know your place. It's just nice, for once, to feel like I've found one."
Finn: "Yeah, it is."
Finn warns her that she'll have to "take some heat" and Unique says "dreams aren't free."
That's true, especially if you dream of owning a lesbian separatist commune where we grow our own animals, harvest sunshine and make ice cream all the time.
Starsweep over the river and through the woods to the Hallowed Hallowed Heteronormative Hallways of McKinley High, where Finn has paper and a pin to pin it on the board so there HUMPH!
The students take turns approaching the casting list, locating their name, making a facial expression, and then returning to the outer circle of poker faced teenagers waiting for their closeup. The good news is: Brittany's still in the show!
Sue hates it:
Brittany - Cha-Cha
Tina - Jan
Puck Lite - Putzie
Blaine - Teen Angel
Sam - Kenicke
Unique - Rizzo
Teen Jesus - Doody
Sugar Motta - Frenchy (PERFECT BTW)
Ryder Bieber-Strong - Danny
Marley - Sandy
Fake Quinn - Patty Simcox
Fake Quinn's all upset like Patty Simcox about being cast as Patty Simcox, it's so perf!
How does this episode wrap up, fellas and lassies? Well, we may have won on November 6th when Obama got re-elected, but on November 8th, a new man took office and he was not the man I voted for.
Let me explain: see, Will is going to Washington to "fight for the arts" which I think is like, doing cabaret in a pit of Jell-O or being a congressional page or having meetings — JK I know what he's doing, I just don't care.
Anyhow, so Mr. Willshington's going to Washington for a few months. Who will take over Glee Club in his absence?
Yup, they're putting Finn in charge of Glee Club.
Will: "I can promise you that there's no greater joy in the world than helping a young boy like you grow into a man."
Uh, yeah there is. It's called Lesbian Sex.
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