Glee 303 Recap: You’re Knockin’ Off That Piece

Seriously whoever wrote this episode must have been as stoned as we get to watch this episode and I mean that in all the best and worst ways possible. Basically the episode just flipped back and forth between “killer musical numbers with paradisiacal costumery/choreography” and “really profoundly inane/repetitive and sometimes racially insensitive conversations.” Oh and, a lot of this:

But just when you thought you couldn’t listen to someone tell someone else to be who they really are because who they are is beautiful ONE MORE TIME (AHEM Aesop Amnesia), someone fucking broke out in song and you wet your pants.

(Sidenote: I do not feel confident about the quality of this recap or my ability to make it better. Just close your eyes and remember how funny I USUALLY am.)

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We open in Booty Camp.

quinn barely made it to booty camp after a grueling afternoon playing tennis with julian and blair at the lima polo fields. Meow.

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Santana’s back in Glee Club, because, Duh, this is Glee.

and we go round and round in the circle game

Santana: “I’ve re-sworn my allegiance to the Glee Club. Without telling Coach Sue.”

Mercedes shows up late and promptly ralphs in the garbage. Usually when a woman throws up on a teevee show, it means she’s pregnant, but it seems more likely that Mercedes is just so full of passion for her music that there’s no room for a 6-inch party sub.

and take off that headband who do you think you are, whitney mixter?

Satana: “Why are you babying her? She can’t do three steps without puking because she had a Quiznos before she showed up in this joint.”
Mercedes: “Mr. Schue, you have us scheduled to the second right now. With school, Glee Club and booty camp, when else am I supposed to eat?”
Santana: “When the rest of us do.”
Mercedes: “Oh, like you eat!”

Mercedes insists she’s doing her best but Mr.Shue reminds her that it only gets better if she gets better.

Will.i.am: “It’s not about doing your best anymore, it’s about doing better.”

Maybe Mercedes wouldn’t roll her eyes so much if Will.i.am didn’t talk like that.

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There’s this pretty significant Will/Emma storyline this episode that I’m going to totally ignore. Except I would like to share this with you:


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Mike and his Overbearing Asian Father summon a parent-teacher conference to discuss Mike’s apparent drug problem as evidenced by his A- on the chem test, for which OAF blames Mike’s girlfriend and other indoor sports.

tighten up my buttons, baby

Overbearing Asian Father: “My son got an A- on his chemistry test. An A- is an Asian F.”

Figgins is pretty sure Mike’s not hooked on Sudafed, but he agrees that Tina is bad news:

Figgins: “Tina Cohen-Chang and her vampire ways have no place in this school.”

Cut to Tina zooming around McKinley like a bloody bandersnatch out of hell, hypnotizing The Principal into excusing her from gym class.

But dancing is what Mike loves! Dancing is his heart, not Harvard! However if the career of Mike’s doppelganger Harry Shum Jr is any indication, Mike’s got a good shot at making a career of this ish, maybe even starring in a major prime-time television program despite a relative inability to express any kind of emotional range.

Overbearing Father has no time for such things. Only one thing is good enough for his Asian Son and that thing is The H-Bomb.

Fun fact: did you know that the practice of colleges judging applicants based on “character” started at Harvard in the 1920s because they needed to find a sneaky way to weed out the Jews? In order to assess said character, Harvard introduced The Academic Essay. Now everybody does it! It’s because of the Jews. Jews like me and Tina Cohen-Chang.

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Beiste: “Listen up, ladies. I kicked a fire hydrant when I found out Ace of Cakes was canceled, so… the crutches. Number two, the entire wrestling team has come down with a flesh-eating staph infection so fellas, wash yourselves! and that includes your batcaves and your bramble patches.”

Oh disgusting.

Cut to Mike, looking anxious and distracted because of his Overbearing Asian Father and Chemistry and how The Smash is always stealing the spotlight. Also because the entire football team is looking at him like a Christmas Turkey ’cause Beistie says they’ve gotta learn to dance by Wednesday, just like Chaz Bono.

Then big black guy jokes about how his Daddy didn’t raise him and I had to go throw up my Quiznos.

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Cut to the lunchroom, where Mercedes and Shane are about to have a conversation about how Mercedes has to follow her heart and be her true superstar self and be recognized for her passionate feelings/talents re: music.

never take advice from somebody about to eat four cheeseburgers at 11:30 am

Shane’s giving Mercedes the stinkeye as she conspiratorially embraces Berry Bramble despite the fact that they’re competing for the same role. It’s like the Trojan War, but with music. Maria is the only part in the whole entire play and if Mercedes can’t be Maria then the world is a terrifically unfair place. It’s like No Exit, but with Music.

Shane: “You say you’re Beyoncé, but on the inside you feel like Effie White.”

This means that on the surface Mercedes is real, but on the inside she’s a fictional character based on the life of a real person as represented in the musical “Dreamgirls.”

Shane: “You’re better than Rachel Berry, babe.”

Mercedes: “I’ve been here for three years, nobody has ever said that to me.”

Swish over to Mercedes’ Big Musical Number, Orthodontist-office favorite “Spotlight” by J-Hud. At first she’s sitting on her chair at Glee Club with all her feelings like Adele while Brittany and Tina are behind her harmonizing like musical bobble-head-dolls of delight.

tina is sort of dressed like a stewardess

Cut to Mercedes’ audition for West Side Story. Brittany and Tina are still behind her doing step-touches and it all seems very thoughtfully put together in a way that makes me feel like maybe Glee is back, FINALLY.

She’s wearing this wrap-around black dress folded by seventeen magical elves of night who pinned and clipped and birthed that thing on her body as she stood there and on the seventh day they looked at their work and they said “damn, this looks good.”

By the time you’re like DAMN this girl does need more solos, we pan over to Wynken, Blynken and Nod, cheering wildly.

Mercedes: “I just want you guys to see me the way that I see myself now. As a leading lady.”

AHEM luckily there are lots of parts in West Side Story, although as the pithy cast list later reveals, they’re apparently doing a Readers Digest version which’ll employ five leads and a bunch of lords a’leapin’ in shoulder pads.

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Cut to the lockers, where Tina and Mike are about to have a conversation about how Mike has to follow his heart and be his true superstar self and be recognized for his passionate feelings/talents re: music.

Ecclesiastes assures us... that there is a time for every purpose under heaven. A time to laugh... and a time to weep. A time to mourn... and there is a time to dance.

Tina’s super-stoked for Mike’s audition tomorrow and exposits the hell out of not only this scene but the entire plot of West Side Story as Mike stoically moves books around in his locker. Then Mike confesses his paltry Chemistry exam score and Tina winces, “You got an Asian F?” And I’m not talking about fellatio, that was in the Fondue for Two episode.

Mike injects the show with a tiny drop of executive realness by pointing out that on top of football, glee club, school, lunch, sleeping, and booty camp, there’s not much time to be a Jet all the way, but Tina lacks time management skills and disagrees. If he can bend his arm like that he can probably fuck with space/time, amirite?

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Elsewhere in the haunted hallways of hoebag high, Kurt and Rachel come eyeballs-to-eyeballs with Brittany and Santana who are disappointed that Rachel’s already voting for Kurt, who moments ago was tactlessly gloating that despite his bowtie, nobody takes Brittany seriously.

it looks like kurt is about to give rachel blow job lessons

Santana: “Did you know that after six years at this school we’ve only exclusively had male student council presidents? And yeah, Kurt looks like Jimmy Fallon’s butch daughter, but a vote for him would only empower yet another Frank and Beans.”
Brittany: “Yes, and where has that patriarchy gotten us? A double-digit inflation, economic free-fall, oil spills, war in Afghanistan…”

You guys. Brittany said “patriarchy.” Did you melt? I melted. Her lips, G-d’s ears.

Santana: “I tweeted about Brittany’s flash mob pep rally in the gym and we’re all showing up to support her with girl power.”
Brittany: “Yes, boys have made one hell of a mess in this school and there’s only one way to clean it up.”

This is maybe the last show in the world I expected to acknowledge, even if only by accident, that it’s often still harder out here for a woman than it is for a white man even if he’s gay.

and clearly i prefer femmes

And then “Who Runs the World (Girls)” begins, and everybody’s life changes forever:

The thrummy beats pound out of the school walls as Brittany thrusts her hips back and forth and swishes her head in circles like the air is her swimming pool. Her legs are long jockey reeds of playful power sheathed in gym socks and tall black hooker boots.

and on that day, we all became gay

She’s like this cheerleader dominatrix with a face like bubblegum and as she struts fantastically through the halls of McKinley, she’s gradually joined by other, elastic-limbed girls in short skirts. She’s like the Pied Piper of Girl Power.

Her pseudo-girlfriend Santana is in tow fairly consistently with Kurt at her side, but it’s impossible to actually locate any other familiar faces in the kinetic rows of girls running the world.

But that’s how it’s supposed to be because this number isn’t really about each girl, who they really are, it’s about one girl who can be half-magnet, half-mascot, and then of course what we can all be together.

we run this mothaaaaaaaaaa

And when Santana breaks out of the bleachers with a surprisingly smoky, “You’ll do anything for me”? Hot damn.

she's got hungry eyes

Before long the entire female population of McKinley High floods onto the gym floor by the end of the number, high on girl power and hairspray.

i think i saw this on national geographic and it ended up really bloody

Brittany may be dumb but she’s strong and open-minded and willing to learn and regardless of all that — when she dances it’s clear that yes, girls should run the world.

Brittany: “I’m Brittany S. Pierce and I’m your next Senior Class President!”

If only Hilary Clinton had hired Brittany to run her campaign.

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The post-Brittany afterglow is slightly tainted when Stop, Drop and Roll call Mercedes and Rachel into The Office for another irritating conversation.

L to R: Sex, Drugs, Rock 'n Roll

It’s just too close too call and because, as aforementioned, Maria is the one and only female part in the musical and everyone else may as well be a shrub, there’s no option but to stage a DIVA-OFF.

rachel's bangs look especially severe in this episode

Mercedes is livid and Rachel continues being obsessed with I Feel Pretty. She wants to sing the fuck out of I Feel Pretty but the Three Musketeers have already selected a song for both of them to sing — “Out Here on My Own” from Fame.

Rachel: “I know it.”
Mercedes: “I lived it.”

Rachel offers Mercedes a hug and Mercedes says “hug me after I get the part.” Audition hasn’t even started and Mercedes is already stealing Rachel’s lines.

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Riese is the 38-year-old Co-Founder and CEO of Autostraddle.com as well as an award-winning writer, blogger, fictionist, copywriter, video-maker, low-key Jewish power lesbian and aspiring cyber-performance artist who grew up in Michigan, lost her mind in New York and then headed West. 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 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. Follow her on twitter and instagram.

Riese has written 2838 articles for us.

64 Comments

  1. I don’t know if it’s just that my Brittana goggles are too firmly fused to my face, but I find the most of the parts of Glee that they aren’t in kinda boring these days. Sadly.

  2. worst episode so far. MIKE CHANG’S GRADES?! what the hell happened to glee? if i wasn’t being bored to death, i was cringing to death due to all the corniness. what a waste of an episode. the only (kind of) redeeming factor was brittany’s number in the auditorium. final thought- ZZZZZ & eye roll.

  3. I can’t believe that last season’s Rocky Horror episode was better than this piece of shit. Honestly, WHAT THE FUCK HAPPENED TO ALL THE CHARACTERS?? It was sooooooooo painful to watch, I just..I can’t even. I couldn’t even enjoy the awesomeness of Brittany’s flash mob because of all the other boring crap. WHY DIDN’T QUINN SPEAK AT ALL??? WHYYYYYYYYY!!!????

  4. Does anyone else kind of miss the wacky and over-the-top ridiculousness of season 2? I’m digging multi-episode arcs, but this heart-felt sentimental crap needs to die in a fire. Seriously.

    Stop trying to appeal to lonely teenagers and give us more mean-spirited snark!

  5. “This means that on the surface Mercedes is real, but on the inside she’s a fictional character based on the life of a real person as represented in the musical “Dreamgirls.””

    That made me snort-laugh at work. Thanks.

    I think Glee has brainwashed me because I really liked most of this episode. Or I’ve just learned to watch the parts/characters I care about and ignore the rest. Probably the latter.

    But OMG Santana as Anita is going to be the bomb. If she & Rachel sing the “A Boy Like That/I Have a Love” duet someone will have to scrape the puddle formerly known as me up off the floor.

  6. Surprised at the amount of criticism of Mercedes. She finally stands up and says that Rachel is a favorite of Shue’s(so true) and starts to feel real confidence in herself. This happened before,as Riese mentioned, when Zises encouraged her to realize her talent. ‘Cept Zises carried it waaay over the top and Mercedes went along with it for a bit. Some people need exterior reinforcement of themselves, from friends or boy/girlfriends.

    I guess I’m not as critical of Shue as a lot of others. I’ve dealt with mental illness myself and I can’t count how many friends and family members just want to do SOMETHNG, ANYTHING to help. Being a bystander while someone you love is hurting is a frustrating, helpless feeling. People don’t always do the right thing or the appropriate thing. I think Shue is new at handling OCD, just like Emma, and is trying to find a way he can help.

    I loved every song in this ep except “Fix You”, it seemed a little over the top. Mike’s dancing with his Mom also seemed a bit mawkish; Riese you’re not the only one who didn’t cry. Santana’s entry back into ND was just lazy. The griping by fans over WSS cast list is weird, who said this was a complete list? Who said they were done with all of the auditions? I dunno why they wouldn’t have shown Santana’s or why they would wait ’til the next ep, if they are. I really doubt they are going to, or able to, show WSS in it’s entirety. Therefore it wouldn’t be necessary to show auditions or casting for all the parts. Just my take on it.

    Funny that the most unrealistic part of the show, Britany’s sudden understanding of world events and the patriarchy that exists, actually gets applauded ’cause she’s, well, Britany. She doesn’t know the capitol of Ohio or who is president but suddenly is all about political awareness.

    I see that different viewers are selective about what pisses them off: too much Quinn/not enough Quinn, Finn being underdeveloped/who cares about Finn, Mike Chang being a prop/Mike Chang having a storyline, Mercedes accepting being second to Rachel/Mercedes being a bitch when she steps up and challenges Rachel and Shue about it.

    It was pointed out on another recap that during Brit’s number when the other dancers were writhing and thrusting on the floor, the only ones standing were the Unholy Trinity of Brit, Santana and Quinn. Interesting.

    I say Kurt and Rachel split the vote and Brittany wins the election.

    Brittany 2011
    Taste the Rainbow

  7. Was it just me or was this episode awful? It really bugs that Santana just shows back it’s a one sentence. “Oh, yeah, I’m back in the Glee club now.” Whaaat?

    I honestly thought the writing would be a lot better since they hired like 5 writers for this season, but this still was one of those Very Special Self-Contained Episodes. Mike Chang seems like a great kid, but that was completely out of nowhere. Also, sorry, but he sounded awful on “Cool” and the original choreography from the film is way better. Call me a West Side Story purist or a hater if you will.

    During the show I caught myself thinking of a great point Riese made last week: Glee is porn. It is bad repetitive storylines and no character development but you keep watching for the naked chicks fucking — erm, musical numbers. Maybe that’s why I feel let down… the musical numbers were weak this week.

      • No, he absolutely got the Asian F in this episode. And I know that because I was subconsciously calculating how many Asian stereotypes they could fit into one episode. They did pretty well for themselves on that front. I think before this episode, Mike literally has not had more then 5 lines in one episode.

        • I’m completely baffled why people aren’t generally more offended by the racism directed towards Mike Chang/Tina Cohen-Chang. I hear people point out the show’s racism towards Mercedes frequently, which is valid because it’s horrific (I mean, come on, doing stories on Mercedes’s laziness would be like doing stories on Rachel being money-grubbing, it’s THAT OFFENSIVE and based in historical injustice), but I find the “Asian Fusion” jokes to be just as bad. Also, did anyone else want to yell at the screen when Mike Chang, Sr. explained to Figgins that an A- was an “Asian F”? Like, first of all, shut up, white writers, and second of all, Figgins is also Asian! East Asia isn’t the whole of Asia!

          • I’m white and I can’t help but constantly notice how offensive the Asian portrayals on this show are. I guess people aren’t bothered by it because a) they are good stereotypes. I’d rather be stereotyped as smart over dumb. BUT I do know at least one American Korean friend of mine who hated that people assumed she’d be awesome at math and science because she’s Asian and hated that people assumed she must be a study nerd. b) I think, at least in recent American times, Asians are not any sort of systematically oppressed minority. I know they’re viewed in some ways as a superior minority — again, a big part is education — and don’t seem to contend AS MUCH with negative prejudices that will foster discrimination. The combination of that is why I think there’s a difference with Mercedes, who they’ve made the angry, sassy black chick. Maybe actual Asians think the Asian F jokes are funny, I thought it was dumb the first time and then they kept repeating them. (Another friend of mine, an exchange student from Japan informed me that she and her friends think Lost In Translation is the funniest movie ever. My friend, who is first generation American with parents from Greece, thought My Big Fat Greek wedding was the funniest movie ever. Both movies to me were just movies, really.)

          • “b) I think, at least in recent American times, Asians are not any sort of systematically oppressed minority. I know they’re viewed in some ways as a superior minority — again, a big part is education — and don’t seem to contend AS MUCH with negative prejudices that will foster discrimination. The combination of that is why I think there’s a difference with Mercedes, who they’ve made the angry, sassy black chick.”

            That is a really interesting point you made, oh glee making people think interesting thoughts lmao!

            My bff in the whole world is Asian and people assumed she was good at math and she was but still she’s more than that, lol. I remember talking about the differences of minority stereotypes and she said the same thing. For her it can still be annoying at times but better being seen as that so she can move around the U.S. (expect not knowing English, that is one very real annoying stereotype she had to always prove wrong, people even thought I was her translator once-fail, lol) more freely in compared other minority racial groups.

            I found the episode interesting because I related to Mike (although I am Nigerian*-born American, blah blah blah..). A’s were important and goddamit I was suppose to be either a doctor, lawyer or engineer! I think that is what resonated with me the most in this episode. I was aware of the stereotypes of Asians with out performing and academics but at the same time I related to it so much.

            * I could only imagine the stereotypes about Nigerians in America e-mail scams anyone?

  8. Man, I used to look forward to these reviews but they just get worse and worse. If your biggest complaints about episodes are always gonna be “MY FAVORITE LESBIAN COUPLES AREN’T ON ENOUGH,” you should really probably just stop watching the show. There are upwards of a dozen protagonists on Glee. Whining about every moment that isn’t Brittana is getting real old real fast.

    • Hey, remember that time that this was a website about girl-on-girl culture, so obviously that’s what the recaps are going to (hopefully) focus on?

      Yeah… I remember that. Hmm.

      Besides, I hardly think that is what’s going on in these recaps. Like, are we reading the same thing? And I think you’d be surprised at just how many people are only interested in the Brittany/Santana relationship on “Glee” right now. Like, everyone on Tumblr. Most of the lady-lovers. Anyone who’s fucking sick of the “Mercedes and Rachel have a diva-off” storyline/Finn’s gassy baby face. All of those people.

      • Hey, remember that time when we didn’t use hyperbole? Like, “everyone” on Tumblr? What about all the Rachel/Finn fans,the Will/Emma fans and the Quinn/Rachel(which doesn’t even exist, as of now)fans? All of those people.

        I’m a little insulted that it’s assumed because I’m gay that I am not interested in any other part of the show, other than the gay parts.
        I’m invested in the Santana and Brittany characters/relationship too but I guess I watch this show for the ensemble. I don’t really expect objective commentary on the non-gay parts when I read reviews or comments on a lesbian site though. Because I know better.

        What it comes down to is that I understand the point Ern was trying to make, she just didn’t make it in a very polite way. I would say maybe she needs to adjust her expectations w/r/t recaps and comments here.

      • Hey, remember that time that this was a website about girl-on-girl culture, so obviously that’s what the recaps are going to (hopefully) focus on?

        Hey um, I’m totally fine to go back to that. You guys asked me for more. But if I could go back to just recapping the gay parts, it’d make my life like, 5,000 times easier. JUST SAY THE FUCKING WORD, ASSHATS

          • Yeah, I was. I wish the show had more of the lady variety of gay going on so you could fill two whole pages with lady gay “Glee” parts.

          • Personally, I enjoy the reading the recaps so much more when the recapper (Riese) thinks the show/story line/character whatever is asinine and then makes loads and loads of sarcastic and irreverent comments about everything involved. It makes me laugh, every time. Autostraddle recaps never disappoint me.

    • lol wut. You did actually read the recap right? Most of it is *not* about Brittana, which makes sense because most of the episode was not about Brittana.

      Relatedly, I would like to thank Riese for reviewing the show as whole (minus adults) instead of just the gay bits, because the anticipation of snark makes me slightly more inclined to watch the non-gay bits.

  9. As much chatter and hype that there was for this episode I was actually pretty disappointed. I love all things Brittana of course, so I loved the locker combo with Rachel/Kurt and of course Brittney’s number. I love Santana but she should of had to work a bit harder to get back into Glee Club and Quinn should have.

    As far as Mercedes and Rachel goes, Mercedes can SANG no doubt about that but Rachel in my opinion has better range, especially when the notes get high. Also, I am all for Mercedes sticking up for herself both times the writers have just made her out to be a spoiled brat who demands tater tots and knocks over music stands. That said she should get more leads but I can’t stand diva behavior.

    I love Blaine.

    And last I love Mike Chang, get your groove on Secret Asian Man

  10. I can’t even. Just. The “We Run the World,” Brit, Santana, misc girls flash mob was just…so….

    Everything has been muted and all quiet to me since I watched that earlier today. It wasn’t even that “gay,” I guess. But I feel like, had I not already come out, I would have right after that. The rest of the episode was just like…what? Reading the recap I realized how much I missed because I was still in dream land. I already have a thing for cheerleaders. This was just like, sensory overload to badass music.

    Am I that gay?

    The answer is yes.

    Also big ups to riese’s Ani Difranco reference.

  11. I would like to join the compliments of Riese’s recapping skillz. And say that I’m really looking forward to more new names for the unholy musical-directing trio. For mine, Wynken, Blynken and Nod was the winner this time around.

  12. I only watch this show for Brittany and Santana. They are the highlight to me and everything else is boring.

    I think this recap was fabulous and I am going to use the word “asshat” in as many sentences as possible tomorrow.

    Thats a new to me and I like it.

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