Glee 401 Recap: The New Rachel and Mercedes and Puck and Quinn

Welcome back to another new season of Glee! The only show on TV where you can enjoy mediocre versions of songs you’re already bored of while trying to make sense of tightly prepared dance moves that are completely obscured by spastic editing and waiting patiently in the hope that some gay characters will maybe hug or something. Unless of course you’ve started watching Smash. (For the record, I couldn’t remember what Smash was called so I googled “like glee but for adults” and it was the first hit).

IT WAS PARTICULARLY IMPORTANT IN THE EXECUTION OF THIE GRAPHIC THAT SANTANA BE ON ALL FOURS

This year’s season premiere was full of questions! Will Glee successfully bridge the high school/college gap? Will the whole show jump the shark?! Can a show even jump the shark if it’s already had a teen pregnancy, three marriage proposals, a suicide attempt, three different coming out stories, one kid join the army and a girl get hit by a truck?!? Will we ever get to see more lesbosexy scissoring?!?!

I suspect the answers are: probably not, it already did, it will do it again and not unless Santana gets a spin-off where she transfers to Vassar. Who knows though! Maybe Ryan Murphy will surprise us all and dig this show out of the PSA preachfest pit it’s living in.

I’d also like to be honest with you about the fact that Santana doesn’t appear in this episode. That being said, Brittany has at least two more quips than usual. I know, however, that you guys need your weekly dose of hot Naya action, so I’ve taken the liberty to include Santana in scenes as appropriate.

Let’s do this.

We open not in the majestic halls of McKinley high, but instead in the anxiety ridden dance studio of NYAYADADAAADA where one miss Rachel Berry is having her first day of class.

YOU CAN SAY ANYTHING IF IT’S FUNNY ENOUGH. THIS IS NOT ONE OF THOSE MOMENTS.

The number one rule of NYADADADA dance class? Everyone wears head-to-toe black. Number two? Don’t roll your eyes at the instructor when she makes a sizest comment at a girl who probably wears an XXS leotard.

TWO FINGERS PEOPLE. NOT ONE, NOT THREE. TWO.

Whoops, Rachel blows both of them, particularly that second one even though Rachel’s full time hobbies include saying direct and rude things about other people’s lives to their face. Dance Teacher Cassandra July, aka Kate Hudson, does not fuck around and goes all Abby Lee Miller on Rachel. So what’s a girl to do when your brand new dance teacher already hates you? What any self respecting girl would do: fall to the ground dramatically and face the reality of New York City.

BUT ONLY BECAUSE YOUR CHARACTER WAS WRITTEN AS A SPINELESS BRAT LAST SEASON.

Rachel has a lot of feelings and misses Glee Club and her dads and her friends and her hometown coffee shop and her favorite Indian restaurant and Dyke Night on Saturdays and Queeraoke on Thursday and the really great deli down the block from her old place that has the best matzo ball soup. I would imagine. Not that I’m projecting.

THIS IS MY LIFE NOW

She also misses Finn who she hasn’t talked to in two months what with him joining the army and all. This better be the end of Finn. Like I hope he’s just gone from the show for two to four years. He better not dramatically die because then I’ll have to be sad and cry because I’m a goddamn sucker about death. Plus we’ll have to sit through a whole episode where everyone mourns the gigantic Gummy Bear and talks about how he was all dashing and daring courageous and caring, faithful and friendly with stories to share.

SOMEHOW THIS IS ACTUALLY NOT THE ONLY APPEARANCE OF A PICTURE OF FINN “I’M GONNA LECTURE YOUR FACE UNTIL YOU CRY AND THEN ACT SUPERIOR HUDSON” IN THIS EPISODE.

Rachel’s dorm has coed bathrooms, a bunch of people who make fun of her nighttime moisturizing regiment and bedrooms large enough to accommodate her roommate’s revolving door of hook-ups. For the record I think the roommate sounds like she’s having a heck of a lot more fun. Either way Rachel is off to the bathroom wash her face in the dead of night.

WHO’S AT THE SHOWER CURTAIN?!

It’s there she discovers, as all talented men are discovered on Glee, a guy singing in the shower. Brody is a junior majoring in musical theater and he ALSO has an extensive nighttime moisturizing regiment.

IS THAT A PIMPLE OR STRAY PIZZA SAUCE?!

Clearly he and Rachel are going to grind their crotches together ASAP.

TOO BAD BECAUSE HE WOULD HAVE MADE A GREAT GUY FOR KURT TO CHEAT ON BLAINE WITH.

The guy portraying Brody, Dean Geyer, is a South African guy who came in third in the fourth season of Australian Idol which I imagine is a really big deal on the other side of the world. Or maybe not. I like to pretend Australians are much more laid back about this stuff than Americans are. Also if the Glee writers would have really wanted to cultivate some Broberry shippers they should have really let the kid keep his South African accent. Also I want full credit for coming up with Broberry (which sounds delicious).

THIS WAS A REAL MISSED OPPORTUNITY TO GIVE RACHEL BERRY A BISEXUAL AWAKENING AND TREAT US ALL TO SOME SHOWER SCENES

Now then, back at the aforementioned sumptuous halls, Jacob “This is maybe offensive to Jews” Ben Israel is back at his vlog discussing how the New Directions kids are now just totally popular. Ignoring the ridiculous idea that winning show choir championships would somehow make anyone more popular, the Glee Club kids are all enjoying their new found small town local fame. Artie’s sitting with cheerleaders and high fiving people and stuff.

EXCEPT WHEN I DANCE OCCASIONALLY IN DREAM SEQUENCES. BUT THAT’S NEITHER HERE NOR THERE.

Tina even has a freshman assistant to go along with her Rachel Berry haircut. Blaine is cultivating the type of five o’clock shadow normally only seen on men in the mid-twenties. Imagine that.

IN WHICH EVERYONE GIVES AN INTERVIEW AND BRITTANY SAYS THE PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE.

Speaking of Blaine, his lovely manfriend Kurt decides to swing by his old classrooms and meet Sue’s new baby.

CAN SOMEONE PLEASE SUBMIT THIS TO BUTCHES WITH BABIES?

Sue’s gone through two whole trimesters over the course of one summer break. Sue also has a brand new freshman head Cheerio.

OR A YOUNG SANTANA EXCEPT SHE’S NOT EXPLORING HER SEXUALITY AND GIVING AN EMMY AWARD WINNING PERFORMANCE WHILE FULFILLING ALL OF OUR SECRET CHEERLEADER FANTASIES.

Kitty is a blonde bitch who will inevitably face adversity and overcome it by joining the Glee Club. Glee hasn’t done a Seriously Hooked On Drugs plot line yet so maybe that could be Kitty’s moment to shine and sing Lou Reed’s Perfect Day.

Sue points out that Kurt is a depressive sad sack who is merely lurking the halls to relive his show choir championship days. You know, as opposed to Mr. Schue who actually went so far as to get a full time job where he could lurk the halls reliving his show choir championship days. Kurt really needs to nut up if he wants to compete with that.

AND I THOUGHT ALL CHEERLEADERS WERE SECRET LESBIANS

Where is Mr. Schue anyways? Well, he’s spent the whole summer preparing what he’s going to yell as he runs in the choir room like an orangutang on steroids. He goes with “Glee.” Truly original that one.

THAT’S RIGHT! MY BRAND NEW STRAP-ON IS THIS BIG!

Mr. Schue has a big surprise for everyone that basically nobody ever didn’t see coming: Unique has joined the New Directions.

SERIOUSLY DUDE? THIS IS YOUR CHORAL ROOM? I’VE MADE A HUGE MISTAKE.

Apparently anyone who wants to can just leave their local school and travel across the city/district/state to whichever one they like. Riese did a great job when Unique first appeared of explaining why some of the writers’ choices with regard to Unique are problematic with respect to distinguishing between drag queens and transwomen. I’m going to suggest everyone go reread that because we’re going to probably definitely maybe be dealing with those problematic choices throughout this season.

OH P.S. I’M GOING TO STEAL ALL YOUR SOLOS AND MAYBE FORCE YOU TO RETREAT BACK TO THE WARBLERS MID-SEASON

The Glee Clubbers are totally unimpressed that there is now more competition for the coveted position of The New Rachel. They all want to be able to quit the club every fourth episode only to return the following one with a big Celine Dion solo number. So obviously they decide to throw down Thunderdome style.

FOUR TEENS ENTER, ONE TEEN LEAVES.

In a flash of brilliant originality, the quad sings “Call Me Maybe.”

C’MON BABY. DO THE LOCOMOTION

Did I say brilliant originality? I meant lazy cop out to find a song everyone hasn’t already replayed on their radio/iPod/iPhone/iPad/Zune all summer long. Fortunately, due to its inherently repetitive and single key nature, this song actually sounds way better arranged for four parts. Also we got to watch Brit-Brit shake her fine little ass.

I’d also like to take this moment to point out that this is a TV musical number featuring gay, trans and bisexual characters. This is why I have to keep watching this show. Because I am a baby child infant who still gets excited when I see shit like that. More importantly, Blaine has swapped his bright red pants from last season for a slightly darker shade of red. And is that a rainbow edged tie? Good move my friend. Good move.

GAY.

Timewarp to after school where Kurt has gotten a job mixing up lattes for the rainbow-bean.

THE APRON SAYS LADY IN THE KITCHEN, BUT THE SCARF SAYS FREAK IN THE SHEETS.

Brittany laments being away from Santana who has apparently gone to Louisville for college and a cheerleading scholarship instead of NYC like we were told last season. Which is a shame because I was just dying to see Santana in a Park Slope Co-Op smock. On the bright side, Santana is getting all educated and stuff. Well, maybe just learning all about the use of the flexor digitorum profundus. Heyoo. Hopefully Brittana can survive the distance! Or not, I mean I wouldn’t hate to see Santana start an all lesbian a capella group and then cheat on Brittany with a soloist who sings “The Right to Love.”

MOSTLY THAT’S JUST A GREAT WAY TO RUIN YOUR KEYBOARD

Kurt is substantially more excited than his manfriend and Brit-Brit are about upcoming glee auditions. Brittany points out how pathetic he is and then that snobby new Cheerio asks Kurt to make her a less-cold iced cockaccino. Life is so hard. We get it. Kurt needs to leave Lima and go off in to the great big ocean to follow his magical dolphin fantasy dreams. Yawn.

I AM TRAGICALLY BORED BY ANY CHEERLEADER WHO LACKS THE POTENTIAL TO SCISSOR ANOTHER CHEERLEADER. MAYBE IN THE SECOND HALF OF THE SEASON.

Back over in NYC — I’m going to have to start coming up with more original ways to say that — Dance Teacher McGrumpy Pants is mixing up a smoothie when a former student walks in. He’s come to tell her he’s made it to Broadway. Guys, BROADWAY! This is the part where we find out she really does care about her students. You know, until she starts boozin’.

LOOK I’M HELPING KIDS FOLLOW MY DREAMS SO YOU HAVE TO LIKE ME

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JK I’M A TEACHER WITH A DRINKING PROBLEM SO YOU HAVE TO QUESTION MY ETHICS AND THEN EVENTUALLY COME TO LOVE ME

When Rachy shows up for dance class, she calls her teach out on booze breath.

AND I KNOW ALL ABOUT BOOZE BECAUSE WE DID A WHOLE EPISODE CALLED BLAME IT ON THE ALCOHOL

This prompts Ms. July to strip down, sing and dance to a mashup of Lady Gaga’s Americano and J.Lo’s Dance Again. For the record, talking all your clothes off and dancing to pop music is not a great way to prove you’re sober.

THIS IS THE BEST NIGHT OF MY LIFE!

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YOU’RE WELCOME.
COURTESY OF INTERN HANNAH

On that note, let’s go get a drink and take a page break.
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Lizz is a consumer, lover and writer of all things pop culture and the Fashion/Style Editor at Autostraddle.com. She is also full time medical student at Brown University in Providence, RI. You can find her on the twitter, the tumblr or even on the instagram.

Lizz has written 272 articles for us.

54 Comments

  1. Thumb up 0

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    To be honest Australia doesn’t really care that much about idol. It finished in 2009. I think Australia doesn’t really care about reality tv as much as Americans appear to they dried to do the whole dramality thing and look what happened (I’m talking about the shire if you don’t know what it is look it up pacifically Sophie and vernessa) we tend to prefer stuff like the block and masterchef. Although some could argue that everyone loved the voice only 3 in 22 people watched it and even then all the contestants dropped off the charts almost immediately. From my experience Aussies tend to love a good drama/Australian miniseries (paper giants) and maybe the fact that the kardashians are only ever on tv at like 11:30

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    “It is my personal belief that no one besides Santana should ever be allowed to cover Adele, but that’s neither here not there. Literally. Since Santana is neither here in the episode nor somewhere else. She’s nowhere. Fuck this.” This is exactly how i felt/feel!

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    This premiere, and Ryan’s new show that just premiered have made me so blah/bored/angry. I’m so over it all. Ryan (and crew) have lost their touch and need to realize they are doing more harm than good.

    They need to step back, then come back and make Glee or some other new show actually make sense and be somewhat linear and take in to account all the people he’s offended in his mission to be “diverse.” I’m going to keep watching Glee because I am a masochist and there HAVE been some great moments throughout its existence (Burt, when Quinn was actually a real character, etc) , and I’d LIKE to think Ryan (who I am well aware doesn’t write and control everything) just needs a wake up call. He’s totally becoming another Dan Savage and it really makes me sad and I hope it stops. There WAS a point where I enjoyed watching Glee and could accept the camp-ness of it in exchange for the talented actors, but it has just become so offensive to sensitive issues and way too cut and dried horribly done PSA.

    This article by Frank Bua:

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/frank-bua/whats-wrong-with-the-new-normal_b_1884142.html

    …hits the nail on the head imo. It isn’t even about GLEE, it’s about Murphy’s new show The New Normal! But it is exactly how I feel about Glee. Quote from article:

    “Watching The New Normal is like watching a cookie-cutter cartoon; there’s nothing new, and over-the-top stereotypes make it difficult to differentiate between camp and just really bad taste. Worse still, many of the show’s generalizations are likely more damaging than entertaining…”

    Also they need to make Sugar a main character. Vanessa Lengies is fabulous and hilarious, go watch “Stick It” if you don’t believe me. They also need to keep Finn out and get rid of Will. I hope they make Rachel mature a LOT over the next few episodes. They really ran her character into the ground just like Quinn’s.

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      also …

      A few better alternatives to this show that feature queer/song/dance related things:

      *Smash – Fabulous – I haven’t been so happy with and excited by a theatre related TV show. Nothing like Glee. Better writing, great character dev, great flow, just all round a good show filled with brilliant talent. I <3 Megan Hilty.

      *Dance Academy – An aussie show ,comes on teen nick I think, I watched onine. About a ballet school written and produced by women. Minor queer stuff but amazing writing

      *GCB (cancelled but worth watching the first season)

      *True Blood – I was on the fence after season 4 but I think this past season (5) was spectacular.

      Also also also….go back and watch

      *Popular – The reason I can't totally hate Ryan Murphy. It was his first show and he wrote the majority of it is pretty decent. The season 1 Christmas episode had me sobbing. It was clichéd and somewhat out of the blue but it hit a nerve in me. There’s a lot of camp and just weird plot twists, etc like Glee, but somehow it seems to work out better and maintain a somewhat genuine vibe (kind of like saved by the bell if that makes sense).

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          Yes, too controversial/offensive to Christians was the general consensus. I thought it was a great show, there’s a petition to get it back on the air. Weirdly Kristen Chenowith said she didn’t think it was offensive to christians (she is an evangelical christian which i didn’t know and kind of takes me off guard). WHile I don’t think it is really offensive I think it’s more the satire ala Stephen Colbert’s satire style that drives home the realness of it to folks that want to deny there are people like the characters out there. I think Leslie Bibb’s character was a GREAT female lead in the heart of the bible belt trying to push through all the misogyny, and loved that she was a majorly flawed character in the past (high school) and didn’t skirt around the fact of how “horrible,” she used to be but had changed.

          http://www.theblaze.com/stories/abc-cancels-anti-christian-good-christian-belles-television-show/

          It took me three episodes before I realized Miriam Shor (cricket) was Yitzthak (sp), Hedwig’s semi lover/bandmate from Hedwig and the angry inch (a male character). Made my queer heart glow.

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      Could not have said this better myself! This is exactly what I think about his shows too….they just need to stop. Murphy needs to step back to his Nip/Tuck days and get his shit together.

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    i liked this. i usually can’t watch an episode more than once but i’ve seen this like three times. it feels different than last season, and that’s the best part.
    i agree mostly with this recap except that marley is awesome and blaine looks like he’s gonna take a dump every time he tries doing his seriousbutsweet acting bullshit. too bad there’s gonna be so much of him this season. also, jake is beyond cliche(even by glee standards) and he’s already annoying the shit out of me.

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    I thought this episode flowed better than any last season, but you’re right; it still has problems. I certainly hope that the realized Unique need to be better written, but it doesn’t look like it from this first episode. I wish I paid better attention to the credits to see who wrote which episode. I suspect Ali Alder didn’t have a hand in this one – she wrote a lot of the episodes I thought were problematic last season, and she’s working on The New Normal, which seems to have a lot of issues.

    We decided that Kurt must have located Rachel using that Find My Friends app on the iPhone that everyone thinks is so creepy but I secretly kind of love, mostly because when I’m rowing and my wife uses it, it shows me as being on the lake even though my phone is in the boathouse. Anyways…

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    My roommate pointed this out, and maybe she’ll come in and say it soon (I hope so! C’mon, do it Dialetheia!).

    The part where Marley admits that her mother (who seems to have serious self-esteem issues disguised as loving parenting, IMO) is the lunch lady and Unique says something like “What other club would have accepted me for who I am?’: no. Just, no on so many levels. From “cookies for basic human courtesy” to straight-up factual contradiction – NO.

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      Yes! In what sense did the glee club welcome Unique “with open arms”? After a less than enthusiastic welcome, they repeatedly tell her to tone down her femininity in order to protect their own popularity, don’t take her gender identity seriously, and, when their rude behavior is called out, never actually apologize. I guess Glee thinks that the best a trans girl can expect from her peers is grudging toleration.

      Outright bigotry is often times easier to take – you can dismiss the person spouting it as an ignorant asshole you wouldn’t want in your life anyway. But when your friends are uncomfortable with or embarrassed by who you are – that hurts the most. I remember that before coming out as queer it was always so much worse to hear certain friends of mine (who were not overtly homophobic and had openly gay friends) make casually disparaging remarks about LGBTQ people. That kind of subtle, unconscious, bigotry is the worst because it makes you feel like no one truly accepts you, that even the people who don’t hate still wish you were different. I think that a real person in Unique’s position would not get over those hurtful and delegitimizing remarks so quickly.

      That said, I really like that glee has a trans character, and I actually like Unique (although I agree that the speaking in the third person thing has got to stop). I am, however, unimpressed with the way her character’s storyline has been handled so far. It seems like they are brushing important issues aside far too quickly.

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    k so as much as I think Unique who is great will get butchered later in the season, right now she seems fairly true to herself and realistic other than the third person which is just awful. but whether she is trans, or if Wade ends up identifying as a man who enjoys drag, while these are ENTIRELY different demographics, maybe Unique/Wade is just trying to figure it out now? maybe they are exploring drag, exploring femininity, etc. i doubt the show will handle it well if Unique is thinking about transitioning (oh god i can’t even imagine how poorly glee would do that story) but right now it doesn’t seem to terrible.

    also i like marley-who-looks-like-blake-lively and her mom are sweet but WOW they have serious self esteem issues. especially her mom. i cringed at most of those scenes.

    anyway i’ll probably stop watching if santana doesn’t come back/i wish they’d just focus entirely on santana/brittany and rachel/kurt in nyc, so i may never know.

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    In spite of how crappy this show is…. Can we talk about Kate Hudson’s abs? Like sit down and have a serious discussion? So are they real? Were they airbrushed for this show (can they do that for videos? I don’t know, technology man.) I don’t really know what I want more, to have abs like that or to have someone who has abs like that.

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    I wanted to thank you for this quote. “I’d also like to take this moment to point out that this is a TV musical number featuring gay, trans and bisexual characters. This is why I have to keep watching this show. Because I am a baby child infant who still gets excited when I see shit like that.” Because I am totally using that next time I am forced to defend my continued watching of this show.

    However, I definitely have to agree with some of the other comments regarding Unique. I was really annoyed when the other Glee clubbers would tell her to tone it down. On one hand, I want to play devil’s advocate for them, given the atmosphere of their high school, Unique is most definitely going to face harassment. However, they seemed to be doing it more out of fear for their own reputations (indeed, I think one incident was before they were no longer considered “popular”) rather than out of concern for Unique’s safety and well-being.

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      Wasn’t it totally rich when Unique told that new girl that she’s lucky to be in Glee because it’s such a “welcoming and accepting place” or something? And basically saying they’d encouraged Unique to be Unique, when THAT WAS THE OPPOSITE of what they’d done, and NEVER apologized for? I can’t believe all the other Glee kids just smiled when Unique said that, like they BELIEVED they really were that accepting and wonderful. Ugh.

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    The only thing that made this episode bearable was being able to look forward to this recap. Thank you for forcing me to continue watching a horrible show. :P

    Also can I say that I was furious at the implication in this episode that HAVING A JOB is somehow demeaning and shameful?! Like, what? EVERYONE IN THIS SHOW SHOULD HAVE BEEN WORKING ALREADY, and working in a cafe is nothing to be ashamed of! We all have to start somewhere! I mean, if anything, good going on Kurt being the ONLY one to get a job, even though he seems to come from the most money.

    That just made me so angry. Yeah we sometimes have to work in places we don’t like, for people who sometimes treat us badly, but THAT IS LIFE. Don’t make kids who need these jobs feel like losers for taking them! Sigh.

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    “I truly honestly wholeheartedly hope that Kurt moving to NYC doesn’t meant the end of Burt on Glee. I just think he’s the most perfect role model for how parents should talk to their kids.” — YES. THIS. This father-son duo make me cry (and laugh too) all the time. Burt Hummel: “The Best TV Dad” FTW!

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    I also thought this episode wasn’t terrible, and even that it was kind of decent, but that always happens in Glee when the writing credit goes to Ryan Murphy. For some reason his episodes are always less shitty among the mess of a whole season of Glee.

    Also is it too soon to start fancying Marley? I know she’s basic and boring but omg her hair and her smile

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    I found it boring. But I think if I hadn’t created a Gleeaverse around Naya Rivera and Dianna Agron, I wouldn’t have found it so boring.

    I miss Santana-isms.

    I miss Quinnism. You know. Being a loony bitch and then being completely and sincerely sweet and charming only moments later.

    They were the Sweet & Sour gummy bears of the show and now they’re gone and now I yawn and FF my DVR through it all. Through it alllllll.

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