Welcome to the twelfth recap of the fourth season of Glee, a variety hour featuring a rotating roster of uninspired pop covers performed by lithe industrious teenagers with a passion for fundraising under the esteemed tutelage of the Great Goddess Rumbledethumps‘ one and only son, Finn Hudson. This week, all the boys took their clothes off and all the girls kept their clothes on. It was quite an experience.
But guys can I just talk to you for a minute? The Whole Foods across the street from my apartment just added a bulk cookies area! My whole life has changed. They even have hamentashen! In related news, this week I uncovered the secret to “why we got an apartment in this area for such a reasonable price” — the building’s previous owner killed himself and afterwards they discovered he’d been hiding his son’s dead body in the wall for four years! They found the makeshift tombwall in the laundry room which shares a wall with our apartment, so we call it The Laundry Tomb now. Anyhow, onward ho!
We open on a brilliant, beaming Ohio morning, where Hunter Warbler’s escaping a hectic courtroom bombarded by press desperate for news on The Warblers’ unceremonious ousting from Nationals due to their habit of sticking things up each other’s butts.
By “things” I mean “syringes filled with performance-enhancing drugs,” obvs.
We thus glide joyously over to what appears to be The Glee Room again, where Rumbledethumps scrawls “Regionals!!!” on the whiteboard of truth, inspiring the children to scream in simultaneous orgasm.
Finn then implores his charges not to “waste time celebrating” ’cause they’re short on prep time now that they’ve spent the last three weeks executing poorly-planned plot stunts like the dud Sadie Hawkins dance and a horrifying Christmas special. There’s only a few weeks left to audition, plan and perform a series of songs before pretending like none of that ever happened and doing the Macarena at Nationals.
Then Finn proposes they focus on raising money, because Glee Club loves fundraising (see also: Episdoe 111, Episode 217, Episode 221) and they’ve got to fund a bus ride to Indianapolis, “the Paris of Indiana” (-Artie). Some of the earnest youths chime in with solutions:
Teen Jesus: “I’d be willing to cut off my hair to sell it for extra cash.”
Meow Mix: “To who? Jamaican kids with Rastafarian cancer? Or as a rigging on a haunted pirate ship?”
Sam: “I could sell more of my semen.”
Riese: “WHO WANTS TO SELL TAFFFY???!!!!!!”
Although I’d personally be thrilled to see Teen Jesus shed his stupid white-boy dreads, Tina’s got another idea involving stripping one’s body of things: The Men of McKinley Calendar! Tina gushes that this year’s Glee boys are the best-looking Glee boys of all time, so I think they’ve wiped Mike Chang from the Glee Collective Memory officially now, and therefore they should pose in a calendar and sell it. Basically, she wants to see Blaine naked.
Tina: “I think Blaine should definitely be December. You can do a Santa thing, but sexy. Sexy Claus.”
We then zip on over to the Estate of Brittany S. Pierce for another rousing episode of everybody’s favorite Daytime Cooking Program, Fondue for Two!
Brittany, in an act of misguided goodwill, brings poor sad Marley-Kate onto the show to insult and attack all her tender spots:
Brit-Brit: “You may know tonight’s guest only as the girl with the fat mom who ruined Sectionals for everybody.”
Brit-Brit then pursues a psychologically damaging line of inquiry chock-full of zingers like “Do you think that you relate to The Hunger Games because you yourself are hungry?”
Marley desperately grasps to re-steer the conversation by offering her pet psychic services to Brit-Brit and subsequently suggesting that Lord Tubbington’s got an online gambling addiction and wants to lose weight, which despite being true, doesn’t sway Brit-Brit from her perspective on Lord Tubbington’s troubles: she thinks he’s a slum lord with buildings that aren’t up to code. Well, at least there’s not a dead body in the wall. Hahahahaha!!
Brit-Brit: “Please admit to my viewing audience that you are in love with Jake. I thought so! If Jake is brave enough to take off his clothes for the Men of McKinley calendar, don’t you think you owe him the same courtesy?”
Brit-Brit suggests that because New Puck is getting naked for the Most Horrifying Calendar Ever, Marley-Kate should consider getting naked with her feelings and confessing her love to New Puck, but don’t worry, New Puck won’t see it because “Fondue for Two” exists in another dimension of time/space. Oh also this happened:
We travel forward in time on a bat out of hell to the menacing lair of the ambivalent Principal Figgins, who’s called a meeting with the “sexy teen imbeciles” to discuss how they “managed to receive the highest and lowest SAT scores ever recorded at McKinley.” They should’ve taken their SATs like three months ago/last year and if this is January, college applications are due in like approximately a minute from now, but whatever.
Sam easily assumes he’s the secret genius, but not so fast — our underdog, Brit-Brit, employed a strategy which saw her filling in A for a while, and then C for a little bit, and then D and then A again and then using the dots to draw a clown and then a penis, and it earned her a near-perfect 2340. Meanwhile Sam’s score was at monkey-standards. Brit-Brit tells him he’s a handsome monkey, which’s probably kindhearted but also kinda mean considering the academic encouragement she gave to Santana when her prospects dimmed. This show has no consistency, so I doubt this disparity means anything because nothing! means! anything! in! Glee!, but still, just saying. Anyhow, Brit-Brit says Sam’s sexy and she knows it:
Brit-Brit: “Sam, don’t worry, okay? You don’t need to go to college like the rest of us. You have a great body. You could be a personal trainer. You could be a greeter at Abercrombie. You could be a greeter at Abercrombie’s corporate headquarters— whatever you wanna do. But meanwhile, my future looks bright, I’m gonna graduate, I’ll go to Harvard or Princetown or MITT or Stanford and Son or the University of California at Charles Barkley’s house because evidently, I’m one of the smartest people in America.”
What’s funny is that the only member of this graduating class who truly could skip college is Brittany S. Pierce, who I predict could have a promising career dancing with Beyoncé, an independent woman you may recall from this evening’s Super Bowl and last week’s press conference and your still-beating heart.
Thus we galavant gayly through mountains of snow and rivers of slush and gullies of mud towards the great great city of New York, New York, where The New Rachel’s chatting with the director of an inevitably abysmal student film, poetically titled “Come Back To Me, Grandmother: A Journey Into Alzheimer’s.”
I’m unaware of the director’s name so I’ve decided to name her Lorna (Doone, after Natalie’s favorite cookie) for the purposes of this recap. Rachel grapples for meaning:
Lorna: “The grandmother slipping into dementia is an allegory.”
The New Rachel: “Of course, Yeah —”
Lorna: “Obviously, the end of the world.”
Oh right, Lorna adds, also you’ll have to show everybody your knockers.
But is Rachel ready to unveil her naked breasts? The New Rachel can’t think of anybody better to consult than her younger, wiser self, before she moved to New York and got involved with eyeliner and a hunky nudist. New Rachel notes that her breasts are her prizewinner, but Old Rachel counters that she makes Geyerdean turn off the lights while cuddling.
Old Rachel: “You have a beautiful body, but are you really ready to expose yourself to the world?”
The New Rachel: “That’s what all great artists do, they expose themselves.”
Old Rachel: “Expose their souls, not their flesh.”
The New Rachel: “But it’s all part of the same package, am I really expected to be able to bear my soul if I’m ashamed of the body that holds it
Old Rachel: “I think a little shame is a good thing.”
Okay — Rachel Berry did you miss your Miss Lady Drama Business podcast today? Because woman, you’ve gotta save your rack for something really kickass, like The Real L Word. Just kidding! No truly, it’s just good business for an actress specifically to hold out on nudity until you get paid for it or, you know, if you’ve been offered the lead role in an ultimately Tony-winning Broadway musical like Spring Awakening. Or perhaps you’ve been offered a plumb role like Kate Winslet’s in Titanic, or if your name is Angelina Jolie and you’re in Gia. Remember Angelina Jolie topless in Gia? The first girl I ever kissed and I rented Gia from the video store and never gave it back.
Old Rachel points out that New Rachel’s not a porn star and notes that New Rachel’s hair and makeup are very Real Sex. Unable to reach a suitable conclusion, they choose the worst way possible to solve a conflict, which’s by performing a split personality duet of Natalie Imbruglia’s Torn.
At the song’s stunning conclusion, Rachel consents to the topless scene.
Thus we gather our gear, load up the canoe and paddle back to Lima, Ohio, home to four Burger Kings and one Buffalo Wild Wings, where Tina’s hitting up Blaine for a post-school shopping trip when Sam shows up in the hallway, topless; wearing only sunglasses, orange board-shorts and Uggs.
Blaine asks if Sam’s gone nude ’cause he’s overcompensating for flopping on the SATs, but Sam deflects, suggesting Blaine’s just jealous of his hard core rockin’ bod. Also Blaine probably wants to give Sam a rim job, but that’s neither here nor anywhere. Hey Tina!
Tina: “Uh, for the record, Blaine has an awesome body and a perky and delicious behind that looks like it got baked to perfection by some sort of master chef.”
Smear on over to the McKinley High School locker room for Sam’s “Modern Centerfold: Techniques That Work For Today’s Hot Young Posers” course, modeled after the award-winning seminar by the same name at The Learning Annex.
Sam dishes the dirt on sit-ups, hair removal, and stuffing their shorts with socks to make their penises appear larger. I’m not making that up. This quickly gets naughty enough to warrant a hormonal explosion of “It’s Getting Hot in Here,” starring the Men of Glee and the portable Cheerios of Glee. There’s also crunches, jumproping, spray-tanning, sprinting in bodysuits like zombie wrestlers, frequent trips to the scale of death and some stomach pinching.
I think the point of this performance is to make sure all the baby gayboys out there who find comfort in Glee‘s message that beauty is on the inside hate themselves.
We cut over to the Teacher’s Lounge, where Sue challenges Rumbledethumps’s decision to peddle smut throughout these “hallowed halls.” Rumbledethumps, always a wiley boy, calls Sue out on a previous Penthouse photospread she spread-eagled back in the day and threatens to xerox it and sell it to raise money for regionals, which honestly is the most cost-effective idea he’s had yet.
I tried to care but then I fell asleep and when I woke up I was surrounded by Care Bears on a cloud and everybody was eating butterscotch and filing their nails and little children sang sweet songs like the one about rowing your boat.
We then zip back across the country to the Barbie Dreamhouse Bushwick loft, where Geyerdean’s supporting Rachel’s decision to go topless in “My Grandma Is The End Of The World, Also Boobs” by going full frontal 24/7.
Kurt’s shocked/awed by this eyeball assault and subsequently by Rachel’s announcement that she’s letting everybody see her boobs for free. Kurt tells her that she shouldn’t do nudity in a student art film, which I agree with, but he uses the worst possible words and ideas to say it (I believe “Slutty Barbie” was invoked).
The New Rachel insists that she’s growing up, like a plant.
Back in Lima, Ohio, Marley-Kate and her boring boyfriend New Puck perform a platitudinous rendition of a Terrible Song I Hate Just Kidding I Sometimes Sing Along When It’s On The Radio But Don’t Tell Anybody. Um, it’s Christina Perri’s “A Thousand Years.”
Will Marley tell Jake that she loves him? I’m on the edge of my seat, actually not anymore, I’m on the floor now, that’s how close I was to the edge of my seat for the next breathtaking development in this breathtaking relationship.
Elsewhere in this esteemed academic institution, Rumbledethumps recruits Artie to track down Sue’s Penthouse situation, and Artie’s pleased as punch about this pornographic turn of events. Also, he doesn’t wanna be in the calendar because boys have body image issues too.
Artie insists his body is “broken” and Finn unhelpfully prods him in the direction of a spread featuring Artie lying on a bed surrounded by fluffy pillows. Artie politely declines:
Artie: “Finn, you’re not hearing me. I don’t want to pose for the calendar. and that whole pillow scenario you just described is incredibly emasculating. It’s not just girls that have body issues. Sometimes guys aren’t cool with showing off their bodies, either.”
Rumbledethumps then backs off and lets Artie go his own way, after sharing some sanctimonius sentiment about it being cool to keep a part of yourself private and Artie being brave.
Cut to Tina and Fake Quinn dropping in on the Muscly Manroom of Lockers and Steel to deliver wardrobe directions and when they leave, the boys pump some iron and josh around. New Puck says he lovs Marley and Ryder Bieber-Strong says he should tell her. Gripping stuff.
Turns out New Puck thought Marley-Kate was gonna drop the L-Bomb after their duet and was sad that she didn’t. He doesn’t think he’s got what it takes to say it first.
Smear to the Glee Club Room where New Puck is putting me, my unborn children and their children and their children’s children and a tribe of dancing vegans to sleep.
It’s Ne-Yo’s “Let Me Love You”! Fake Quinn says all there is to say about it:
Then we, the audience, get on our scooters, swing by Kentucky, hop a train to New Haven and zip on over to the barbie Dreamhouse Bushwick Loft, where The New Rachel waltzes into her apartment to find…
Santana: “Lady Hummel called begging us to do an emergency intervention.”
Rachel: “On who?”
We return from a commercial break to the now-lady-enhanced Barbie Bushwick Dreamhouse Loft for a sex romp. Just kidding! For a conversation.
Santana, always the practical sassy bitch, insists that going nude is a non-no, but Rachel insists it’s just topless, not full nudity, to which Santana retorts “topless is as nude as anyone is ever gonna wanna see you.”
Quinn, always the practical posh queen bee, breaks it down using the “2-2-2 rule,” which involves imagining your feeling about the nude scene in 2 days, two months or two years.
Quinn: “In two weeks, how are you gonna feel about the nude scene?”
Santana: “You’ll probably feel pretty great.”
The New Rachel: “Yeah.”
Santana: “You’ll get to feel a nice, cool breeze on them skeeter bites, you’ll feel refreshed, even.”
Quinn: “Then how are you gonna feel about it two months from now?”
The New Rachel: “I don’t know. Nervous. Worried it won’t even be good.”
Santana: “Rachel, it’s a student film. It’s not gonna be good.”
Quinn: “And two years from now? How are you gonna feel about it then?”
The New Rachel: “Guilty. just hoping my kids won’t ever see it online.”
Santana, who has experience with such things, insists that her kids will definitely see “My Grandmother Is Endgame And Also My Rack” on the Tube of You. Rachel isn’t sure she wants to take advice from the star of “One Night In Santana,” but Santana maintains her party line — challenging Rachel to google her for proof of what a mistake that was for Santana to make.
Santana confirms that’ll exist forever, and Rachel, still grasping for a thread of permisiveness in a situation you know she’s already barely on board with, tries “some women find it empowering to be naked on film” because hello, Romi Klinger and hellloooo Gia, and Santana points out, “Yes, but not in a student film that is probably about somebody’s grandma with Alzheimer’s.”
Exactly. As I’ve perhaps said already, possibly more than once, Rachel Berry should save her breasts for a down payment on a new waterslide or a Baby Berry’s college education, but of course nobody ever asks me what I think about these things. The “it’ll be on the internet forever” argument isn’t really that compelling, considering it’s unlikely Rachel Berry will never consent to a topless scene in the future and this isn’t really about whether or not anybody should be filmed or photographed naked, it’s about how up-and-coming actresses specifically should think about nudity. Everybody else should just take off their shirts right now though. If they’re comfortable with it, of course.
Quinn: “Rachel, We care about you.”
Santana: “And for once, Rachel, we actually have your best interests in mind.”
Quinn: “Please don’t do it.”
Back in the clothing-optional locker room of the great McKinley High School, the burly men of McKinley are posing in Walgreen’s holiday leftovers while Tina’s vagina explodes.
But during Sam’s turn, he freaks out that he’s lost his “pump” and storms offset to pump more iron. Blaine, best boyfriend ever, follows Sam into his cell of self-reproach where Sam notes that making it in this world requires specialness, but Blaine insists Sam’s specialness far exceeds his need for hot-bodiedness and then recites some crap from Glamour about eating a bag of Cheetos and skipping workouts sometimes.
I feel like when you have a crush on someone, the last thing you ever wanna do is disagree with them or challenge them on a personal issue, and so I admire Blaine’s commitment to doing the right thing anyhow. Obviously he really cares about Sam, so.
In the teacher’s lounge, Rumbledethumps snags Sue confessing to her past life as a centerfold by producing a manilla envelope he claims holds her Penthouse just like they did it in The Newsroom.
Cut to Emma’s Office Of Special Hopes and Dreams, where Blaine’s brought Sam to discuss his Future Options, such as colleges which don’t give a shit about SAT scores and scholarships available to people who can write essays.
Starsweep back to the East Coast, where Rachel’s on the set of a ridiculous student film, replete with haphazard cardboard columns and an ambitious rollocking steam machine reminiscent of the Bleacher Creatures performance at the 1988 Melody on Ice celebration in Ann Arbor. I believe I played a “bat boy.”
The New Rachel gets nervous when it’s time to drop the robe and requests the entire crew get naked and they’re all about it because men are THE BEST really THE BEST humans.
With all the men relatively undressed, shooting starts back up and Lorna launches back into Lorna Hootenanny:
Lorna: “Okay, you’re lost. Are you awake, is this a dream? Perhaps a life lived long ago, and now you see him: Titus. You’re filled with a carnal hunger. You need to be naked now. And drop the robe.”
The New Rachel, perhaps a tad chilly in this cold tomb of artistic despair, remains clothed. She can’t do it:
The New Rachel: “I think it’s okay for actresses to be naked and – and – maybe someday I’ll be ready, but… I just realized that…I’m not ready to be naked now.”
Lorna: “Well then what you can do now is get the hell of my grandmother’s lovescape.”
“Get the hell out of my grandmother’s lovescape” is pure poetry, so this’d be a good time to drop the mike but alas we plow forward unexpectedly into a big bright tomorrow featuring Santana Lopez, Quinn For Real, The New Rachel and another insufferable slice of American pop music, Sara Bareilles’ “Love Song.”
Rachel asks her girlfriends to stick around for dinner and they quickly agree to stick around, because there is no time in Glee, but more importantly:
Santana: “I’m in no rush to get back to Kentucky. I think I could get used to it here in New York. It’s more my speed.”
HELLO BEST IDEA EVER.
Back at McKinley, Blaine finds his forlorn lover alone in an empty room, full of despair, not writing his essay.
Luckily Blaine figured out how to use the new iMovie and has thrown together a video tribute to his mancrush starring everybody — Mercedes says Sam gave her the confidence to move to LA, Santana says he got her into songwriting, Rumbledethumps mentions how Sam supported his family, Artie notes a trophy-rescue I’ve long forgotten, Tina says he busted the Warblers, etc etc. And Brit-Brit, unfortunately making the case for her spot as Worst Girlfriend of the Year, thanks Sam for doing the first Sean Connery impression ever.
Blaine: “Now that’s your essay.”
Sam gives Blaine a hug but they don’t make out.
The following day in the hallowed hallways of McKinley High, Sam confronts Artie about the lack of models for two of the very best months of the year. Turns out the show just can’t go on without Artie.
Sam says he understands Artie wants to be known for his brain and not his biceps, and that’s why Sam is volunteering to also don an actual shirt in the calendar to make Artie feel less alone. I guess what happens next is they re-shoot a bunch of pictures, at which point I’m certain the cost of the photoshoot will far exceed any calendar profits but you know whatever, it’s Glee, so, NEXT!
Cut to The Glee Room, where calendars are flying off the folding tables like hot potatoes or Beanie Babies that one year when Beanie Babies were super popular. Humans are so weird.
Rumbledethumps declares they’ve sold 350 dollars of calendars, which’s abysmal. Even if they’re slinging these puppies for $10 a piece, they’ve surely sold more than 35. But you know, whatever, it’s Glee.
Then New Puck tells Marley-Kate that he loves her using a sharpie and nobody cares:
Except Marley-Kate, she cares and she loves him too.
We then transition into a performance of a song entitled “New Year” and basically it looks like a Gap ad.
The moral of today’s story is that gay people and women are the best at all the things and can fix all the problems and therefore we should be put in charge ASAP.
In any event, if this recap left you hungry for a Calendar full of ladies, the 2013 Autostraddle calendar, featuring amazing photography of half-naked hot queers, is available now for only $13 in the store, and also, if you’re not already aware of this, INTERN GRACE IS MISS FEBRUARY 2014. Regardless of those options, here’s how I would’ve done the Glee calendar had anybody asked me, which, of course, they did not. Because they never do.