Glee Episode 419 Recap: Sweet Dreams Are Not Made Of This Episode

Welcome to the 18th recap of the fourth abysmal season of Glee, a show about a family of donkeys running a profitable amusement park franchise and a bunch of good-looking kids in Ohio who like to sing about being losers and the first-ever giant potato to enroll in a non-existent University mid-semester! It’s sort of like Punky Brewster, but with more animals.

american horror story

american horror story

Hey did you guys know that Robin and Carly went to the GLAAD Awards last night? They sure did. Unfortunately, the closest we got to interviewing Naya Rivera was taking a picture of somebody else interviewing Naya Rivera:

photo taken from where robin and carly were standing near naya rivera

photo taken from where robin and carly were standing near naya rivera

Also, look how cute these kids are!

Alex Newell & Darren Criss

Alex Newell & Darren Criss

Well I guess we better leap into this recap, eh? FYI, Glee‘s being renewed for another two goshdarn seasons. For anybody keeping score at home, the following lesbionic programs never made it to Season Five: Lip Service, Sugar Rush, South of Nowhere, The Real Stupid L Word, Gimme Sugar, Exes & Ohs. If you wanna see Lesbian Executive Realness on your television box, may I suggest moving to Canada, home of Degrassi, Lost Girl and Bomb Girls.


We open in the deep sweet valleys of Lima, Ohio, where Finn has enrolled (mid-semester, apparently?) at The University of Lima, the lowest-ranked school in The Imaginary Ten, a prestigious group of imaginary academic institutions including but not limited to Joey Potter’s alma matter Worthington University, the esteemed UC – Sunnydale, California University (a historic vestige of academic excellence, the former home not only of Bette Porter‘s brief career in academia but also the thriving social lives of a rag-tag gang of rowdy youths from Beverly Hills 90210 and a similar assemblage of white people known as Saved By the Bell: The College Years), Degrassi-gateway-school Smithdale University, The Xavier Institute for Higher Learning, Felicity’s beloved University of New York,  The University of Los Angeles (Carlton Banks both attended and served as school mascot) and Cosby favorite Hillman University.

i'm so glad i chose mylanta

definitely made the right choice wearing that buttplug to class today

Lima U, howevs, isn’t like those Universities, or even like a real University, or even like anything real that has ever been real ever in the history of realness. At Lima U, classes, study halls, pleasant strolls on campus and alone time in one’s dorm room are repeatedly interrupted by a rabid band of Harlem Shakers in bikinis.

only moments later, this girl will fall backwards into that pool and then feel really happy about wearing a helmet

only moments later, this girl will fall backwards into that pool and then everybody who made fun of her for wearing a helmet will feel like a total asshole

Much like Ye Olde Gangham Style, I’d avoided even the most preliminary knowledge of the Harlem Shake prior to its inclusion on Glee, at which point I was forced to look into it. Much like Glee itself, the appropriation of this dance is racist. So there’s that.

yes my statistics 350 class was just like this

yes my statistics 350 class was just like this

Finn returns to his dorm room, which’s also packed with half-naked teenagers doing their own interpretation of the Harlem Shake.

i did number two without mommy!

i went number two all by myself!

When the Jimmy Eat World music video extras clear out, Finn notices that his roommate has vanished and been replaced by…

come on dude just lemme know if i've got any spinach in my teeth

come on dude just lemme know if i’ve got any spinach in my teeth

…Old Man Puck! Old Man Puck’s not here to take classes, he’s here for “my bro, some brews, and the bountiful Bettys.” Judging by that language, Puck’s approximately 75 years too old for this nonsense.


We then slap on our shin guards, lace up our cleats, put band-aids over our earrings and run a mile, another mile, and then a lot more miles until we reach New York, New York, where The New Rachel is preparing for her Funny Girl audition by looking at herself in the mirror in different hats and looking at her Barbara Streisand shrine.

god i love it when quinn lets me expand my hand inside her uterus

god it gets me so wet when quinn lets me expand my hand inside her

Rachel’s sworn off men and dedicated herself to this audition. Mhm. That’s what all the girls say about why they swore off men. Audition, aushmishon.

i love being wrapped up like this it feels like i'm wearing a condom made out of dead jungle animals

i love being wrapped up like this it feels like i’m wearing a condom made out of dead jungle animals


After some orange wedges and a pouch of Frui-ttastic Capri Sun, we land back in Lima for an adult scene, and you know how I feel about adult scenes.

snooze

snooze

The most important part of this scene is that NeNe Leeks, the new Cheerios coach, tells Beiste and William that she heard gunshots all the time in the ghetto and they need to move on. Also, Beiste compares Will’s relationship with Finn to her relationship with her sister and says he should reunite with his starchy friend. Thrilling!


Back in the hallowed hallways of McKinley High, Marley-Kate monologues that she’s snatched her songsheets from her bottom drawer and is on the road to becoming Joni Mitchell.

i'm definitely never wearing a thong again this shit is making my butthole ache

i’m definitely never wearing a thong again this shit is making my butthole ache

Marley-Kate says everyone’s got PTSD now, so Sam has an imaginary Australian twin brother and Unique is taking birth control because that’s what all the cool trans kids are doing to “turn their Bs into Ds,” and Tina is dressing like “steampunk” because that’s what all the cool kids are doing, and then Sam is on the phone with his smart twin. Also, MIT is recruiting Brittany.

yeah it's blaine's hair gel so what we have sleepovers sometimes it's not that b of a d

yeah it’s blaine’s hair gel so what we have sleepovers sometimes it’s not that b of a d

Marley says Unique shouldn’t take birth control pills, and I kinda wish they weren’t throwing this idea out there into the world sans context, ’cause Unique’s yet to broach the topic of HRT or whether or not she has access to a trans-friendly health provider and it seems a little irresponsible to start (and end, so far) that conversation with this? The internet’s got 245 conflicting opinions regarding the safety of transgirls taking birth control pills, but I think it’s pretty unanimous that Loestrin is unlikely to make a difference in her rack. Do any of y’all have a definite answer on this? (Also, do any of y’all know of a transgender woman who writes about Glee/Unique regularly? I’ve been combing the internet for three weeks and come up short, the closest I’ve found is a tumblr by a girl who is dating a trans* woman, I think? I’d love to hear a trans* female perspective on her portrayal.)

no you can't steal my birth control pills so you can have guilt-free sex with ryder bieber-strong

no you can’t steal my birth control pills so you can have guilt-free sex with ryder bieber-strong

Tina’s Steampunk phase, however, is delightfully reminiscent of her fashion-forward Season One attitude, and besides somebody’s gotta pick up the Ridiculous Outfit torch that Lady Hummel left burning a hole in the Glee Room’s linoleum.

brittany is thinking about how much she misses boobs in this picture

brittany is totally checking out tina’s boobs in this picture it’s true

Then Mr. Shue pops in with his marker to write DREAMS on the Whiteboard, ’cause that’s the theme for Regionals, which has been 2-3 weeks away for 2-3 months. They’ll be doing “Dream Weaver,” “You Make My Dreams Come True,” and “Sweet Dreams.” Marley suggests they do original songs ’cause she wants them to do her original songs from her secret box, and Mr. Shue shoots her down. I wish he’d shot her downton.

Marley-Kate dear, stop fascinating that young man and come make a four at bridge

Marley-Kate dear, stop fascinating that young man and come make a four at bridge


Cut to Glee Club Secret Meeting, where everybody’s gathered to discuss how much Mr. Shue’s setlist sucks. Artie suggests doing “current songs” and Marley suggests doing original songs, like the songs she wrote, and Fake Quinn says nobody wants to hear a song about a fat mom.

you know i've never really felt gay before, but sometimes when blaine talks i just wanna take him out for cupcakes

you know i’ve never really felt gay before, but sometimes when blaine talks i just wanna take him out for cupcakes


Back at the imaginary University of Lima, aerodynamic youths are eating ironed grilled cheezuses and squirting down the Slip-n-Slide. Turns out that Finn has finally ascended to the ultimate level of douchebag straight cis white male: college douchebag straight cis white male!

omg i can't even tell you used to be a waffle fry

omg we can’t even tell you used to be a waffle fry

Puck catapults down a Slip-n-Slide while a tater tot in an Aloha shirt forces nubile youngsters to discard their bikini tops to earn admission to his hallway.

i love pizzzzaaaaa!!!!!

i love pizzzzaaaaa!!!!!

Mr. Shue pops in to grovel and ask for Finn to forgive him for not forgiving him and return to Glee Club, but Finn just acts super-douchey and mega-busy. Then Puck pops in to gush that he’s secured the winsome duo an invite to the Biggest Party of The Year!

 I'm not a regular mom, I'm a cool mom.

look finn — I’m not a regular mom, I’m a cool mom.

“It’s a nice offer,” says Finn to Mr. Shue, unbuttoning his shirt like a sociopathic dicknail, “But as you can see, I’m busy with college.”

all this slip-n-slide needs is whitney mixter and a can of creamed corn

all this slip-n-slide needs is whitney mixter and a can of creamed corn

Seriously, Finn’s got this sociopathic dicknail voice that he uses sometimes that literally makes my skin crawl. Do you know what I’m talking about?


Meanwhile in McKinley High’s Glee Room, the children attempt to dissuade Shue from his setlist, which doesn’t go over well. Unique pulls a chicken cutlet from her bra and hands it to Blaine and says, “mm, you might need some woman parts to help you sell that.”

flesh-toned, my ass

does anybody have a baggie

Mr. Shue loses his shit:

Mr. Shue: “Honestly I don’t even know what’s going on in this room anymore. Openly defying me? Unique, you need to tone it down with whole boob thing. Sam, we all know you don’t have a twin brother and frankly, it’s distracting, and Blaine, I am disappointed in you for letting this go on.”

Maybe while he’s telling Unique to “tone it down with the whole boob thing” he should tell Artie to tone it down with that whole wheelie-chair thing and Blaine to tone it down with that whole liking-boys thing and yannow, maybe also ask Fake Quin, Brit-Brit, Marley-Kate and Tina to tone it down with their whole boob thing because seriously YOU ARE A GROWN MAN EZRA FITZSHUE, YOU CANNOT TALK TO YOUR FEMALE STUDENTS ABOUT THEIR BOOBS. Furthermore, cramming Unique’s boobs and Sam’s imaginary twin brother into the same point creates a really really problematic equation. Honestly can’t somebody in the Glee writers room at least scroll through the ‘transgender’ tag on tumblr or something? Anything?

um excuse me i just happen to have a call in the office? it's for tina. it's tank girl.

i wish tina would put on her magical goggles and weld something

I have this fantasy where the next time somebody says something obnoxious and transphobic or trans misogynist to/about Unique that Marley-Kate will punch that asshat in the face and Unique will just grab a motherfucking chair, stand atop that piece, and belt Wings by Little Mix like a boss. Alas, this world is not my world, it is Glee-world.

fuck i knew i should've transferred to degrassi instead

fuck i knew i should’ve transferred to degrassi instead

Mr. Shue says he’s gonna go grab some java and when he returns they better be ready to rehearse his songs, even though everybody knows they never rehearse for Regionals!

fuck i wish this hallway had a motherfucking slip-n-slide

fuck i wish this hallway had a motherfucking slip-n-slide


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Avatar of Riese

Riese is the 32-year-old CEO, CFO and Editor-in-Chief of Autostraddle.com as well as an award-winning writer, blogger, fictionist, copywriter, video-maker and aspiring cyber-performance artist who grew up in Michigan, lost her mind in New York City, and now lives in The Bay Area. Her work has appeared in nine books including "The Bigger the Better The Tighter The Sweater: 21 Funny Women on Beauty, Body Image & Other Hazards Of Being Female," magazines including Marie Claire and Curve, and all over the web including Nerve, Bitch, Emily Books and Jezebel. She had a very popular personal blog once upon a time, and then she recapped The L Word, and then she had the idea to make this place, and now here we all are!

Riese has written 1729 articles for us.

28 Comments

  1. Thumb up 2

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    “Gangham Style” made me snort.

    And thank you for reaffirming my long-ago choice to never, ever watch Glee. I mean, I will watch me some crappy television, don’t get me wrong, but Glee makes me want to hit inanimate objects and vomit and other terrible things.

  2. Thumb up 4

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    Shue’s delivery on “Lookin’ good, Unique!” was so unbelievably painful that I was cringing for days.

    Also, TV shows are always using my college to be some variation on Fake University of California, Los Angeles… the L Word, Beverley Hills 90210, and now Glee. I actually saw them shooting the Harlem Shake footage a month or two ago and have been anticipating the awful reveal for quite some time. It did not disappoint, it was just as painful and poorly conceived as I had imagined!

  3. Thumb up 17

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    This recap summed up all of my feelings on this episode so, so well. Everything from Finn’s total college douchebaggery to the terrible original songs, to the strangeness that came from characters making jokes about last weeks *very special episode*.
    Sorry that this is gonna get a little ranty, but I’m about to talk about Unique. As a Latina trans woman, I love, love, love, love that there is a trans woman of color on tv who is not playing a murdered sex worker. (I don’t have any problems at all with sex workers, I just have a problem with the trope that that’s the only way a trans woman can get on tv, and that it usually means she’s the victim of a violent crime or a joke). And I especially love that she is a plus size woman who has self confidence and sees herself as beautiful. There is so much potential for her to be an amazing character. But she’s on Glee. So most of that potential fizzles out. Every now and then, they get things right, like when the whole glee club got in Ryder’s face for misgendering her. But it was also weird because that came after weeks and weeks of every single person on the show misgendering her or treating her like she is trans one week and a crossdresser the next.
    This also comes from a show that has used many, many anti-trans slurs and jokes, including the t-word. And it’s usually not done in a way where only the villains make the jokes or use these insults. It’s the good guys too. And there aren’t consequences. They make these jokes and then shrug when Unique gets mad or hurt. Glee has shown that they are way too irresponsible and ignorant regarding trans issues to be giving out advice. When I heard the line about Unique taking birth control, this wasn’t the first time I had heard of trans girls doing that. But it really isn’t something that should be brought up and then dropped without discussion in the way Glee did. I don’t even think I want Glee to address it at all. When Marley started telling Unique that it wasn’t safe, the first reaction I had was “No, Glee Writers, you do not get to lecture trans women on how to be trans.” Regardless of whether or not it’s smart to use birth control as a replacement for prescribed HRT, Glee has not earned the right to act like it knows what’s good for trans women.
    This idea was just reinforced when Mr. Shue comes in and flippantly tells one of his female students to “tone it down with the whole boob thing.” I know if I had been told this by a male teacher when I was a sixteen year old girl I would feel extremely uncomfortable and violated.
    Unique has moments where her character is treated well. But more often than not, the writers seem to have no idea what trans people are like. It’s like they talked to some drag queens, watched Boys Don’t Cry, and called it a night.

    • Thumb up 9

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      A-fuckin-men

      I keep thinking how Unique should be a GREAT THING. However, the writers have time and time again shown a complete ineptitude in writing a decent trans character. Glee has mostly used her IMO to shield themselves from criticism of transphobia…while being transphobic with her character. FUN TIMES

      and just as a FYI to anyone wondering, birth control pills are relatively ineffective as DIY hormones. technical reason: amount of estrogen is too small to be effective, usually less than 1mg, for comparison I take 6mg AND I take anti-androgens (spironolactone)

      I mean come on Glee if we are gonna talk about getting DIY hormones for trans woman that don’t have access to proper healthcare (which was me for a time) At least be only 1 or 2 degrees separated from reality.

    • Thumb up 1

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      All I can think of when I see what Glee is doing with Unique is say to myself “Thank goodness Tyler Ford did not actually get cast on this show, despite the fact that he should win some audition somewhere” because, wow, can you imagine the shit he would be putting up with right now?

      And I really wonder how Alex Newell might be affected by this role and the way they’re writing Unique. I don’t know if Alex is gay or trans; I felt like Alex had not really worked that out.

  4. Thumb up 4

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    Riese! What is this it’s like we share a Glee-brain. I LOVE THAT SONG SO MUCH I just watched the video like five times. Man. That episode…and yes I love the old school Don’t Stop Believing too. Ugh. Thanks for recapping, your heroism means I never have to subject myself!

  5. Thumb up 4

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    Thanks as always for a recap far more delightful than the show, Riese. And yes, my ears are bleeding just thinking about Finn’s sociopathic dicknail voice (it’s the same one he used to “seduce” Rachel with that creeper flower scene at the non-wedding reception and also when he beat the shit out of Brody, a guy who wasn’t a perfect bf but did not deserve to be nearly killed by a potato). Agreed on all of your comments about trans* women and hormones– probably most of the audience was just confused by that. And it’s basically sexual harassment for Will to talk about Unique’s breasts as he did (though I know that matters for nothing on this show). Ugh and Puck’s inane diatribe. Were there even a kernel of any semblance to reality in there, they killed it with that hand gesture.

    You said exactly what I was thinking when they were singing that “Outcasts” nonsense. I kept thinking about how they used to get slushied, thrown in dumpsters– real abuse that really happens to kids like Kurt and Tina and Artie. You’re exactly right– besides Unique, have any of the new kids gone through anything that makes them outcasts? (Marley’s mother does not count.)

    Anyhow– thanks again Riese. And really excellent captions this week too, thank you intern Grace (or whomever made the captions this week).

    I really can’t believe I watched this episode. I swore to myself I was going to break the habit after nearly choking on that gun shitshow. When I was trying to quit smoking 5 years ago for the 7th time in 10 years, I did a voodoo ritual sacrifice, which basically just put the fear of God in my brain as a trigger to give me cancer if I ever picked up a cigarette again– I feel like I may need to go to such lengths with Glee. Or maybe just a summer detox. Except I will know there are two seasons still out there and maybe just maybe Santana will finally find her community. Or maybe she will move to Canada.

    P.S. THANK YOU FOR THE PICS FROM GLAAD!! Alex Newell and Darren Criss are adorbz!!

    • Thumb up 1

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      It’s that laziness of “telling vs. showing” in the writing process. They think they can just get away with saying “yeah, these kids are the geek outcasts” without actually illustrating it, and we’ll understand.

      I kinda get the impression that the problem the show writers have is similar to the transition alot of the original cast members went through on a personal level, from getting picked on or being unnoticed in real life to being super popular and going on stadium tours. When they reached a certain level of fame, channeling that outcast kid became impossible because they could no longer relate, but they don’t realize that the performance they’re conveying sounds completely off.

  6. Thumb up 4

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    OHHH and– I just watched the clip of “I Dreamed a Dream.” It gave me chills and brought a couple small tears– partially because it is so lushly haunting but partially too because of what Glee used to be and mean to me. We all dreamed a dream, didn’t we?

  7. Thumb up 1

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    I haven’t finished the whole recap yet, but I did want to take a moment to say thank you for calling my attention to Bauernfrühstück, because I now have a recipe for that an it looks delicious.

    Also, I’m late to work, but reading the rest of this recap anyway.

  8. Thumb up 2

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    Once again, thank you for this–I usually check these out before watching, and it seems that this is another one of those episodes that would be a complete waste of time…however, I will say this: Lea Michelle (and I suppose by extension the character of Rachel?) is a fantastic performer, and Don’t Stop Believing was great and nostalgic and everything I miss about Glee.
    I miss that instead of a show for and about the “underdogs”it is now about a group of people who were underdogs now climbing to/being on the top of the totem pole, so to speak. Thanks for touching on this a bit because I’ve been feeling like these kids are definitely “the cool kids” for the past couple seasons or so, and can’t imagine why they still get slushied from time to time. Maybe they have a deal with Kool Aid or something?

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    The show is just so terrible now. I don’t even understand how I can still watch it. The only thing that i can think is that it’s like a traffic accident, I just can’t turn away.

    Just give me a show about Rachel, Santana and Kurt having roommate shenanigans and I’ll be all over that.

  10. Thumb up 2

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    As a post operative transsexual lesbian. I absolutely love reading your blog. I am not a huge fan of Glee I just love Lea singing voice. I love Santana’s wit and sarcastic dialog. I can’t stand even looking at Cory let alone his character Finn the Asshole Hudson. I blame him for the end of Achele/Faberry. I love the real Quinn not the fake Quinn. I am huge fan of Dianna Agron. There is nothing I like about the new kids of McKinley. Your description of them is so entertaining to read.
    As for Unique, taking birth control pills will not result in the growth of breasts. A testosterone blocker along with a prescribed dosage of Estrogen is required to make any changes what so ever to her form. Glee writers should at least make an effort for reality to any possible transgender viewers. Kids tend to believe things on TV.

  11. Thumb up 5

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    I feel like Ryan Murphy was appointed by Dan Savage to be the pope of Gay things that only white cis gendered gay men like. And when he anointed Pope Murphy he said: “Go forth and tell stories of Lesbians, and of Trans*folk, but do not speak the truth, for it is hard to tell the truth. And when you tell these stories, say unto the straight folk: this is the truth, and I am not a bigot, because I am gay man and by the power vested in me by Dan Savage I speak for all the gays.”

    This is the only explanation for why Unique and Santana and Britney have the story lines that they do.

  12. Thumb up 0

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    Marley’s “terrible song “You Have More Friends Than You Know”” is written by Mervyn Warren and Jeff Marx, to support the “It Gets Better Project”. I thought it was quite nice…

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    I know there’s a blogger called biyuti, who doesn’t believe in the gender binary and kind of exists somewhere in-between. They talk about Blaine and Unique a lot (and literally ignores most everyone else), but yes, generally, this person finds the treatment of Unique offensive. Here’s a link if you’re curious.

    http://biyuti.com/blog/category/glee/

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