Welcome to the seventeenth recap of the fourth season of Glee, a multi-colored fruit-flavor explosion in your mouth starring an assortment of punchy youths dedicated to performing spirited renditions of 90’s pop anthems, going dog-sledding, arranging flowers and harvesting fresh root vegetables, like potatoes.
This week’s episode was definitely one of my favorites of the season! (Issues with their handling of the near/dear-to-my-heart sex worker storyline aside — although even that didn’t play out as badly as I’d anticipated.) Perhaps we owe some of this to this week’s decency to the Guilty Pleasures director, Mr. Eric Stoltz:
Eric Stoltz has directed Glee episodes before, but my love for Eric Stoltz is rooted in many things, including but not limited to his work as an actor in seminal ’80s & ’90s films as well as his brief time starring in the short-lived masterpiece Capricia as well as his directing work on shows like Nashsville, Nip/Tuck, Boston Legal and Grey’s Anatomy. He also directed one of my favorite Glee episodes of all time, Blame it On The Alcohol.
More importantly, this episode was written by the dynamic duo of Garrett Lerner & Russel Friend, writers from House M.D, Roswell and Boston Public. I think they did a pretty good job, actually, so more of them please! Anyhow, enough about me and the zombies who live in the walls, let’s recap this bitch!
We open in the hallowed hallways of McKinley High School for Wayward Bois, where Gay Blaine’s offering Sam grocery cash. See, yesterday Gay Blaine was cutting through the cafeteria (shaves six seconds off his morning routine) when he saw something very suspicious going on…
…what could it be?!!!
Just kidding, that screencap is from an episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer I was watching yesterday where Buffy can hear everybody’s thoughts and she hears somebody plotting to kill the entire student body at lunch and it turns out to be the lunch lady. Um, where was I? Oh yes! Blaine caught Sam pilfering pasta from the caf.
Sam admits that the noodles aren’t for his starving destitute family, he’s gonna let those bitches eat cake ’cause he’s stealing spaghetti for artistic purposes. Mhm.
You think you liked Emma Stone in Easy A, just wait ’til you see Emma Stone in Easy-Mac!
Gay Blaine’s admiring Sam’s edible interpretation of Lady Hummel when Tina bounces in to announce that Mr. Shue’s got a week-long case of The Flu and Glee Club’s cancelled.
Sam: “Hey uh, just curious. Are you gonna go over to his house and straddle him while he’s passed out and rub some ointment on his chest?”
Tina: “That was a phase.”
This situation thus introduces us to this week’s theme: GUILTY PLEASURES! Since it’s only “a few” weeks ’til The Supernatural Fantastic Worldwide Universehood Regional Celebration Contest of Song, Sam and Gay Blaine insist on holding Glee Club in spite of Mr. Shue’s bird flu. I hope Regionals are in Berkeley so Gay Blaine can sleep on my couch and we can talk about Klaine all night.
Anyhoo, the children are lukewarm about this theme. “Unique knows no shame, baby,” says Unique. For example, Unique’s constantly referring to herself in third person, which a normal person would be ashamed of. Not Unique. Unique will talk about Unique in the third person all Unique wants.
This kicks off the evening’s first musical number, “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go,” an homage to perms, mini-skirts, jubilation, white shorts, scrunchies, white high-tops, yellow hot-pants, scrunchy socks and neon pocket-Ts.
Here’s the original version, by WHAM!, from 1984, starring George Michael as a spritely homo and Andrew Ridgeley as his straight best friend:
Here’s the Glee version, from 2013, starring Blaine Warbler as a spritely homo and Sam Evans as his straight best friend:
Cut to the hallowed hallways of McKinley High for Wayward Bitches, where Brittani tells Fake Quinn that everybody hates her because she’s mean and calls Marley fat, but because Fake Quinn is blonde and therefore has magical powers like turning Swedish, she should be on Fondue for Two.
At Fondue For Two, the ponytailed blondes exchange banter about their guilty pleasures, like farting around old people. Also, Lord Tubbington’s guilty pleasure is Scientology.
The following exchange is a rare example of a conversation that appears to have been written by somebody who has interacted with an actual teenager within the last ten years. Not because they keep repeating “guilty pleasure” like it’s an actual game and not a stupid device established for this episode of mediocre television, but because of their familiarity with the Greatest Films Of The Era.
Brit-Brit: “Guilty pleasure. Bring it On.”
Fake Quinn: “Guilty pleasure. Bring it on Again.”
Brit-Brit: “Guilty Pleasure, Bring It On, All Or Nothing.”
Fake Quinn: “Bring it On, In It To Win It.”
Brit-Brit: “Bring It On, Fight to the Finish.”
Fake Quinn: “That one’s horrible there’s no way you could like that.”
Fake Quinn refuses to confess her biggest realest guilty pleasure though. It’s probably Fun-Dip. Brittany notes, “come on, this is a safe space, we’re on the internet.”
Then something super-wacky happens — we witness Tina Cohen-Chang viewing Fondue for Two on an actual computer! It exists! This show doesn’t take place in the Glee Blackhole of Nonsense, it’s a real thing a person is watching on a computer! I can barely contain my excitement! Possibly this has happened before, but if so, I forgot all about it!
We then wrap our babies in soft towels, strap them to our backs with giant velcro belts, and trek across the wildnerness eating Astronaut Ice Cream until at last we arrive at an actual acting class at Fake Julliard in New York, New York.
Finally! An accurate representation of actual acting classes! Like the kind where you unload your traumatic life experiences and secret shame in front of a room of your judgmental peers and then go win an Oscar.
Regardless, we’re only here to listen to Kurt’s inner monologue, which’s that as a gay man, he’s got heaps of guilty pleasures, such as Powerhouse Women in TV marathons of Golden Girls, Murder She Wrote, Designing Women & Moonlighting. He also enjoys Sweatin’ to The Oldies with Richard Simmons, but I mean don’t we all. (Have you ever seen Richard Simmons’ David Letterman appearances? They’re the best.)
Also, Kurt’s got a weird creepy boyfriend pillow he bought online while on Ambien. That used to happen to me all the time before I quit ambien in the fall of 2010, for example I purchased three nearly-identical denim mini-skirts from e-bay, a complicated 3-step set of tiny rubber bands which promised to close unsightly gaps between my front teeth in 90 days or less, and a machine that claimed to kill mice through radiation waves when you plug it into the wall. Don’t do drugs kids.
Back in Lima, Ohio, birthplace of Phyllis Diller, Gay Blaine and Sam are hanging out in the locker room with all their bros when Sam pulls Gay Blaine aside to confess some important news:
Sam: “Lately I’ve been battling a really deep-seeded sense of shame about something in my life, and it’s a secret I’ve kept buried for as long as I can remember and I’ve been waiting to like, let it out and release this inner sin that’s tortured my insides.”
Blaine: “Do you have feelings for me?”
Sam: “What? No. Dude, come on-“
Blaine: “Obvious- obviously I’m kidding. I’m just… trying to losen you up-”
Sam: “It’s a million times worse than that.”
Sam likes Barry Manilow!!!! OMG!!! Yawn. Just like my grandmother!
Sam accidentally yells his confession, however, so all the spry young McKinley males overhear him, which must be SUPER embarrassing. I wish Gay Blaine had yelled, “AND HE MAKES MACARONI PORTRAITS OF EMMA STONE!!!” right afterwards. Remember when somebody threw rocks at Gay Blaine’s eyeballs? Lol.
Meanwhile or perhaps the next day in the hallowed hallways of McKinley High School For Wayward Feminists, the Angry Lesbians Of the Internet storm Fake Quinn and Brit-Brit, demanding they go public with their secret sex orgy parties or else confess Fake Quinn’s guilty pleasure.
Brit-Brit spills the dirt: it’s The Spice Girls.
Um, everybody likes the Spice Girls.
The ladies agree that they must do the Spice Girls, and Unique says that “this fierce black woman will be Scary Spice,” which inspires Fake Quinn to go…
Which inspires everybody else to go…
Which inspires Brit-Brit to go…
Which inspires Fake Quinn to go…
So basically what just happened is Fake Quinn made a transphobic joke… and got called out on it! (Or, more specifically: didn’t get laughs or complacency, as per ushe — compare this to Tina’s “angry inch” comment from three episodes ago, which I nobody on the show, let alone any TV critics, batted an eye at. Within the fucked-up universe of Glee where offensive racist, transphobic, homophobic, sexist and size-ist jokes are made (and unchecked) like clockwork, it almost seems like progress. What happened here was nobody feeding the troll (Fake Quinn), and hopefully it worked.) I expect a flying pig to crashland on my keyboard any minute now. Or who knows, maybe Santana will get a new girlfriend or something. Anything is possible at this point.