This is a “Recap” of Glee Episode 207, “The Substitute.” Gaygaygay.

Tonight’s GLEE made me feel really sad that I didn’t go to the ATM/make a living yesterday because maybe if I had, I could’ve been as high as the person who wrote this episode. Also, I forgot to assign “write Glee recap” to one of my minions this week, which means I have to do it myself and I don’t even have a teevee! So much regret already, you guys. This is gonna be a boatload of nonsense.

Firstly, I’d like to address a personal problem: from here on out, I’m going to start calling that guy with the hair “Mr. Shoe” because I don’t know how to spell and I get confused about the ch/h thing, as Jenny Whateverster and Shane McSomethingorotherton can attest.

Secondly, I’d like to draw your attention to last week’s episode of my favorite teevee program, The Office, which featured a “Glee viewing party” this week. Kelly had some wise words:

KELLY: That show. I mean, first they say that Mr. Schue doesn’t know anything about choreography, and then like three episodes later he’s this fantastic choreographer? Pick a lane, people! And what was with Jesse’s sudden turn on Rachel between Dream On and Funk? Where the heck did that come from? Honestly, that show… it’s just – it’s irresponsible.

This week was incredibly entertaining, slightly bizarre, and totally light on Brittany & Santana. Why. WHY DOESN’T ANYONE WANT TO GIVE US WHAT WE WANT.

Also hello Gwyneth Paltrow, relative of Kate Moennig and 90s superstar! I nearly forgot about you as you’ve been super busy giving birth to produce with the man responsible for Coldplay. I’d say “I didn’t even know you could sing!” if I hadn’t accidentally already seen you sing in a little classic film known as DUETS starring Gwyneth Paltrow and HUEY FUCKING LEWIS.


Sidenote; Margot Tenenbaum was my fashion icon for approximately six months circa 2002 (?). This has nothing to do with the episode, I’m just getting nostalgic for my barrettes/polo-dresses/bob/youth/hope.

So. This week on GLEE, everyone is sick with the Bubonic Plague or something and Mr. Shoe hallucinates that all the Glee kids are like, toddlers, in really inappropriate outfits for toddlers. It’s totally irrelevant and doesn’t make any sense, but then again, that’s sort of Glee’s MO: who cares if this or that is irrelevant or inconsequential to any kind of narrative structure? IT’S JUST SO MUCH FUN TO WATCH!


Seriously this couldn’t be any cuter if it was Ulysses S Grant’s great-great-gay-grandson and the conductor of The Polar Express:

Oh what the hell, let’s check them all out:

Because of the Cholera epidemic, Margot Tenenbaum/Holly Holiday takes over Glee Club and Sue Sylvester appoints herself principal, which enables her to deliver several choice detail-packed monologues. Per ushe, Sue’s attempts to get someone/something fired/underfunded work temporarily and fizzle by the episode’s end, at which point we’re all still wondering who killed Kenny.

Sue (to Will): Figgins has been fired and I’ve been formally offered the position. So why don’t you go home: rest. Watch some TV. Die. It doesn’t matter.

Holly Holiday, in the grand tradition of blonde female guest stars of Glee episodes past, is cute and enchanting but eventually proves incapable of holding her own. Oh, women! Also, you know how I feel about jokes made at Lindsay Lohan’s expense:

Here’s the first musical number, something called “Forget You” by Cee-Lo, starring Gwyneth and The Children:


Meanwhile, Mr. Shoe is holed up sick at home and therefore his ex-wife returns to pierce our eyeballs with uncomfortable, slightly terrifying moments, including about 10 seconds of baby talk that felt like 10 years and a nyquil-menthol-rub which morphed, AS EROTIC MASSAGES OFTEN DO, into a sexual-type scene during which I closed my eyes and screamed and considered licking the floor of my new apartment for any possible MDMA dust left here by a prior tenant. I don’t even know what MDMA is. I’ve just watched a lot of Skins. Is it lickable? Regardless, Mr. Shoe’s back is NOT lickable and really ENOUGH OF THIS PLOT ALREADY.

Later on, Kurt & Blaine go to Breadstix with Mercedes, and she falls asleep, predictably, as the boyz are making the same argument against Prop 8 we’ve already heard/repeated about 750 times since 2008.

Kurt: I’m just saying that drunk people who get married to someone they met an hour ago by an Elvis impersonator, I mean that’s a bigger insult to marriage than two gay guys getting hitched.

Blaine: Totally, if marriage is so sacred they should just outlaw divorce!

Kurt: I know right?

Blaine: What do you think Mercedes?

Mercedes: Oh about Don’t Ask Don’t Tell?

Kurt: No we’re on Prop 8 now.

Mercedes: Totally for it.

Kurt: Against it.

See that? At first that convo was MEH and then it became BRILL. Kurt’s a little curt with Mercedes this episode, but seeing as he’s riding the high of meeting Blaine, we’ll let him have it.
At different points throughout this episode of the hit TV show GLEE, there were song-and-dance numbers that made my heart sing. Rachel Berry and Holly Holiday had a very memorable number:


The children enjoyed it as well:

There’s also some sort of hallucination song-and-dance sequence to “Make ‘Em Laugh” starring Mr. Shoe and Mike — any opportunity to see Mike dance is good, really.

Furthermore, Sue exerts power by removing tater tots from the school cafeteria, which leaves Mercedes jonesing hard core. She even starts a revolt in the cafeteria. Here’s a screencap of Jane Lynch:

Which leads us to Mercedes arriving at that terrible/inevitable adolescent crossroads: the moment your gay BFF calls you out for being a fag hag. It happens to the best of us sassy females, but it’s still hard to watch it happen to Mercedes, especially as she’s holding a tupperware container stuffed with enough tater tots to fill sixteen pairs of Napoleon Dynamite’s cargo pants.

Kurt: “You are substituting food for love Mercedes. And more importantly, you’re substituting me for a boyfriend. Look at me. Two weeks ago I thought there was no way I’d ever find someone like Blaine and there he was. You will find somebody. But until then you’ve gotta take care of yourself, and treat yourself with a little respect.”

Mercedes, looking defeated/making me sad, says he’s right and she’s going to go hit on this guy Anthony.

Speaking of guys who hit, our favorite future Republican Senator is back in the house, WITH DEATH THREATS!

Bully: Question for ya. You tell anyone else what happened. How you — kissed me?

Kurt: YOU kissed me, Karofsky. And I understand how hard this is for you to deal with, so no, I haven’t told anyone.

Bully: Good, keep it that way. Because if you do, I’m gonna kill you.

The look on Kurt’s face after this encounter is heart-breaking.


Brittany, per ushe, is the highlight of the episode. During a “Bring Mr. Shoe back” montage, she confesses that “Mr. Shoe taught me the second half of the alphabet. I stopped after M and N. I thought they were too similar and got frustrated.”


The ending number, an “Umbrella”/”Singin’ in the Rain” mashup, was pretty much all I could ever ask for from Glee, besides Brittany and Santana MAKING OUT FOR CHRISSAKE. For once Mr. Shoe, who I’m 95% sure is too old to compete in sectionals, finally danced with someone his own age. Also, “Umbrella” is like my favorite song ever. Seriously.

At the end of the episode, I felt a really serious craving for Tater Tots, on top of a slight wave of nausea from the Carafe of wine consumed at a Thai Restaurant several hours earlier, when I was still young. It’s like a digestive mashup.

In conclusion, I liked this episode. Thoughts?

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Riese is the 41-year-old Co-Founder of as well as an award-winning writer, video-maker, LGBTQ+ Marketing consultant and aspiring cyber-performance artist who grew up in Michigan, lost her mind in New York and now lives in Los Angeles. Her work has appeared in nine books, magazines including Marie Claire and Curve, and all over the web including Nylon, Queerty, 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! In 2016, she was nominated for a GLAAD Award for Outstanding Digital Journalism. She's Jewish and has a cute dog named Carol. Follow her on twitter and instagram.

Riese has written 3202 articles for us.


  1. I enjoyed the recap more than the actual episode. Every time I watch the show and Brittany and Santana don’t make out, it’s just a disappointment.

  2. I missed the episode, and after reading the Shoe/sex rub recap, I’m horrified and scared to watch. Why must they always throw in awkward Shoe moments? Ugghhh.

    • She was hilarious as Mary Todd Lincoln. It made me love her just a bit. Gwyneth. Not Mary Todd Lincoln.

  3. My heart sank when I saw kurt’s face after the death threat.
    Other than that I wasn’t crazy for this episode. I felt like they were trying really hard to convince me that gwenyth paltrow is a singer. Especially after that commercial for her movie aired

  4. um hey riese, remember when you used to recap showtime’s hit series the l word and it was really funny and you made funny references to things and told us about your life also and we all really liked it?
    this was like that!!
    aside: i did not watch this episode but might later.

    • Yes. I thought this too. I probably won’t watch the episode later, but I might read this again just to laugh some more.

  5. When Mr.Schue and Mike Chang danced… that was pretty cool.

    The whole Kurt/Krofsky thing is getting real intense!

    And as always, gotta love Sue!

  6. Great recap!

    I hated the episode until the singing in the rain dance at the end, at which point I hated myself for liking it.

    Come back, Brittana. We miss you.

  7. LOVED LOVED LOVED LOVED IT. especially the part where you can see Santana subtly check out Paltrow’s ass. (scripted?)

    But still, we’ve yet to get a Brittany/Santana love confession, especially after their sweet lady kisses/no boobies for you/jealousy spree…and now we have the Artie/Brittany love-fest to look forward to. Grossies.

    Yes…I watch the show with a narrow lens. Can’t help it.

    Also, Paltrow is not Shuester’s age. He’s close in year to Puck, Finn, and Mike. But you’d never know it from Matthew Morrison’s unfortunate genetic disposition of super-speed aging.

  8. [/lurk]

    I didn’t like Glee at first, having watched episodes of season one sporadically. I didn’t WANT to like Glee. It is the only show that has ever clawed its way into my viewing schedule against my will. I binged a week ago and watched every episode of season two to catch up.


    THIS EPISODE. Mr. Schue is still incredibly irritating, and I LOL’d for real when they made those Journey jokes.

    Kurt and Blaine’s gayness made me remember all the times I have felt like Mercedes when hanging out with my homos. I love them but gurl plz I don’t care if I’m not wearing makeup and if we have to listen to “california girls” one more time I’m not driving anywhere with you anymore

    Umbrella MADE this episode. Maybe it’s my Rihanna bias speaking. IDK about everyone else but when I am having a bad day, watching RiRi’s video for “Umbrella” makes me feel a little better. I FUCKING LOVE IT.

    So yeah. My face when I realized they were going to do Umbrella must have been awesome.

  9. I don’t like the song umbrella, because Rihanna pronounces it ‘umberella’ and so now everyone pronounces it ‘umberella’ and its like WHERE THE HELL IS THIS EXTRA E COMING FROM GUYS?
    Also no one says “you can stand under my umbrella”; they just sort of silently put it over you.
    /end rant

  10. Every episode I like Mr. Schue less and less. Also, I think that the actress who plays his wife is funny and brilliant, but her story line is so played out, I think they just keep dragging it out so she can pop in and say something funny/scary/crazy.

    I loved the bit with Kurt and Blaine, sure it was uber stereotypical, but it was funny :)

  11. This was no way as gd as the last episode. But glad to see Blane as a regular now.


    the end with the bully made me quite sad,

    BUT WHY HAS’NT BRITANY GOT MORE LINES!!! aka the alphbet speech!

  12. This recap was definitely more entertaining than the episode. And that’s saying a lot because I was super excited to see Gwyneth Paltrow.

  13. I read that last bit as “and BRITTANY AND SANTANA MADE OUT FOR CHRISSAKE” and got really excited and mad that I had missed it. Then I realized I just can’t read. Oops.

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