Glee 321 Recap: Nationals Smashinals

And off we go and here we are and it’s the Vocal Adrenaline Dressing Room, where Unique’s losing her shit about all the little Uniques — “Uniquettes,” if you will — out there expecting her to kill and eat dinosaurs onstage and then light the room on fire. Or um, win Nationals.

and if i don't win nationals, i'll never get into NYADA

Unique: “All I ever wanted to do was wear a dress and sing. And now I’m the poster child for any kid that’s different. I can’t handle it. I just can’t handle it.”

Yeah, me neither. Here’s Kurtcedes:

Mercedes: “You may not be able to handle it, but maybe Unique can.”
Kurt: “You’ve gotta move through that fear and expectation. At least that’s what real stars do.”

i can't think of a caption for this picture

Unique, inspired like Jesus on the cross, is ready to kill and eat dinosaurs onstage and then light the room on fire. Or, um, win Nationals, and then move to Lima and set Teen Jesus on fire. No wait! Gah, I keep getting my own fantasies mixed up with this show.

Unique: “I tell you what, Unique might need to transfer schools next year.”

Oh, so there’s that set-up.


Vocal Adrenaline opens with “Starships” by Nicki Minaj and okay listen — Unique is just fantastic, we all know it, hurray. But for serious, she’s got one dance move and it’s flipping her hair, often followed by a finger in the air, a sassy hip twist, and a flip-around-and-walk-away. Once Unique’s reached the stairs, she will again flip her hair, cock her hip, flip her hair again, and then walk forward and put her finger in the air, do a sassy hip twist, and then flip around and walk away. Over and over, while all these other kids roll around like Gumby dolls and push vintage arcade games towards each other while Unique stands on them and flips her hair. Anyhow, everybody does quite well in this number to nobody’s surprise.

Spectacular Spectacular

I love “Pinball Wizard,” but bringing out a bunch of arcade machines and rolling them around the stage does not a dance routine make! But can anyone else on that team sing, ’cause it seems like they’ve only got one singer, and her name is Unique, and she’s probs gonna move to Lima in the fall because of its proximity to Cedar Point, America’s Roller Coast AND my favorite Cracker Barrel.


The Incredibly Queer Showchoir Judge Team is rendez-vousing in what appears to be a hotel conference room and I still feel weird about Perez Hilton. And Jesus Christ, Lohan! I’m so Team Lohan, and I’m so against the obnoxious trainwreck celebrity media machine situation, but my heart aches for that girl in such a special way and every time she gets a new gig and doesn’t knock it out of the ballpark, I get prematurely sad for the inevitable backlash. I just want her to be happy.

first item of the day: let's talk about you getting back together with Samantha Ronson.

Perez is doing something gross on his portable electronic devices and Martin Fong is too excited to sit down, apparently, but in any event we all know this banter is irrelevant because this is The Year for New Directions. Perez digs at Lindsay’s presence on the judging team and Fong defends her:

Martin Fong: “If you have to ask why a 12-time Teen Choice award winner is a celebrity judge, then you don’t really understand what the word celebrity means.”

did brittany and santana invite me to partake in a victory threesome if i voted for new directions? maybe.

Fong says he was impressed with New Directions.

Lindsay: “I liked them but they weren’t the best singers and dancers. They were likeable. And is there anything better than someone making a comeback?”

Get it? Like how Lindsay Lohan herself wants to make a comeback? Hahaha!

hahahahahahaahahah! JK, this didn't make me laugh

Oh, but what about that Vocal Adrenaline?

Perez: “I think that Unique kid is a star. He’s like Tina and Ike Turner –”
Martin: “Together –”
Perez: “Exactly.”
Martin: “Again.”
Perez: “Just imagine how much it would mean to those poor unfortunate outcast kids to see him/her on national television leading him/her team to victory.”

Oh, Jesus Christ on a Cracker Barrel. I doubt any trans kid or cross-dresser or budding drag queen will find even the remotest of comforts in Perez Hilton declaring “him/her” victorious, but maybe I’m out of touch.

now where is that sexy boi tumblr i used to love so much


We cut to the expansive atrium of the Chicago Show Choir Auditorium of Greatness, where Sister Mary Clarence’s quick exit is interrupted by an effusive Jesse St. James:

Jesse: “I heard that you came here today to see Rachel Berry. And there’s something you need to know about her. Rachel’s the most talented person I’ve ever met. Bar none. If anyone’s gonna be a star someday, it’s her. She’ll make an excellent contribution to NYADA. You won’t regret it, I promise.”

and if you'd ever like to have me on "the view" again, you know, just say the word



We return to the Chicago Show Choir Auditorium of Greatness’s interior where the assorted children and guardians are eagerly awaiting the awards and everybody’s onstage in their Sunday Best.

Said awards are doled out as predictably as you’d expected: “Wade “Unique” Adams” wins the MVP Award…

at least 'person' is gender-neutral so they didn't have any opportunities to totally screw this one up

…and New Directions win Nationals! Yay!

mr. shue gets a facial

My notes for this scene: “Sad music plays, lots of hugging and glitter.”

But seriously folks: you know what they did right this time, this Club? They sang songs and danced. No nth-hour “write your own song” contest, no So-Called Finchel Makeouts, no crazy props or conceptual performances — just singing, and dancing, and whatever it is Finn was doing that I suppose resembled signing and dancing.

and this is what my people call "double fisting"

We segue into a segue leading into a segue wherein the children travel significant distances throughout space/time eventually bringing us to the Glee Club’s homecoming at the Eminently Hallowed Hallways of Dear Dear McKinley High, where candles sparkle atop endearingly-iced cakes, party paper falls from the sky, Slushee cups are filled with confetti and The Lima Record has for some undoubtedly insipid reason put William Schuster on the cover of their fine publication.

is this a fire drill?

What’s more, Sue gets one of those gigantic checks (the kind you always have to photograph with the check recipient, otherwise it doesn’t count), Dianna Agron and Naya Rivera smile so hard their faces freeze that way, Sugar Motta pops the bubbly, a random never-before-seen Hot Cheerleader Extra seduces me with her dancey eyeballs… and what else you ask? What else?


However, much to our collective dismay, the girl-on-girl kiss is immediately followed by some face-sucking courtesy of That So-Called Finchel. So, let’s just look at the girl-on-girl kiss again instead:

Um, also Emma and Will haven’t had sex yet? So she gives him a pamphlet called “When It’s FInally Have Intercourse” and I hope she made at least two hundred of those suckers because high school kids are basically the target audience for that kind of literature.

you should probably start by making your bed

There’s some time travel in this montage, too, I believe, but why get hung up on the details now, eh? When Emma walked out of the bedroom in this orange teddy catastrophe and Will’s jaw went agape, I laughed. Who wears those things for serious?

i'm a maxxonista

So, yeah.

We then detour to Figgins’ Lair, where for reasons surely known to somebody somewhere but not anybody here, he gifts That So-Called Finchel with bumper stickers, miniature pom-poms, and $5 for their wedding, which will get them about 1/5 millionth of the way to Niagara Falls.

can i be frank with you. i prefer faberry.

Anyhow, the real point of this meeting is that Figgins needs That So-Called Finchel to present an award at the Teacher Awards Ceremony —

Figgins: “Can you keep a secret?”

Um, as long as it’s not that you’re gay. Finn cannot keep that secret.


At some point the next day (???), Will thanks Emma, and this dialogue exchange happens:

Emma: “My man is a winner and he deserves to be treated as such. And it was as much for me as it was for you.”
Will: “Last night was way worth the wait, but I mean thank you for everything.”

my favorite part was taking a bath in Sex Toy Cleaner right afterwards


Cut to the McKinley High School Auditorium, where Mrs.Hagburg (she of the “magically transferrable tenure”) has got news about her upcoming episode of Intervention and Figgins plans to give out the Teacher of the Year Award to one of McKinley’s stunningly incompetent educators. Honestly it’s a wonder these kids can read.

i really like emma's dress, she looks super-cute in it

Figgins summons “That So-Called Finchel,” Prom Queen & King, onstage to present the award, which obviously goes to Will for his Magical Achievement in Keeping His Job as a Spanish Teacher Without Knowing Any Actual Spanish.

Sue: “Way to go, buddy.”

Schue stands up but Finn gets a bit angsty about the possibiity of being forced to leave the stage without talkng about himself for a few quick minutes:

Finn: “Three years ago, I thought I had it all. I was the quarterback of the football team, I was dating the head cheerleader, and then I met you, Mr. Schue, and I realized everything I was missing. There’s a lot of great teachers at this school who teach their students a lot of important stuff, like how to drive and fractions. But you teach your students how to dream and as far as I’m concerned, there’s nothing more important than that.”

if it wasn't for mr. schue and his girlfriend's amazing skills as dream-weavers, i might actually have a plan for next year, lol

Barf. Here’s Rachel!

Rachel: “When I first met you I was just an annoying Jewish girl with two gay dads and a very big dream. Today, I still have two dads, I’m still Jewish and I’m probably just as annoying, but I stand here before you headed to New York City come hell or high water, and I can honestly say I couldn’t have done it wthout you, and I will carry you with me every step of the way. No one deserves this more than you, we love you and this is for you.”

i feel like glee has weird ideas about how many days in a row a person can wear the same piece of clothing without needing to get it dry-cleaned

Well, that was cute, and leads us seamlessly into a musical presentation of the Vintage Queen number, “We Are the Champions,” and its inspirational message that there’s no time for losing because we are the champions, yes we are the champions…. OF THE WORLD.

and if you could just pee in the red cup and leave it in the metal box here, we can analyze your urine to see if you're on drugs or just truly a bad teacher

So there you have it! Next week we’ll be saying “Goodbye” to this band of misfits and everybody will be crying and Gloria Estefan will guest star as Santana’s Mom.

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Riese is the 39-year-old Co-Founder and CEO of 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 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.

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  1. If this had been real life, Vocal Adrenaline would have come out above them. I mean, for serious. LOOK AT THEIR DANCING. I would pick the team with the stunning vocalist and the professional quality dancing. I’m just saying.

    Of course, I recognize that Glee has no space in reality. And I liked the Brittana kiss. And I hated the Meatloaf number, except for the gay bit.

  2. I liked the songs and the plot and Santana and the awkward way HeMo said that stupid line and not even Finchel were able to annoy me as they usually do. And everything. Also cute (and kinda sad) that Brittana only kiss in the episodes Ali Adler writes.

    When Finn approached Jesse and Rachel like a bulldog and Jesse just looked at him and smiled, I whispered at my computer “Jesse you are so superior”.

    Also, *Whitney Mixter’s voice* I’m not gonna lie, that Tongue Tied montage at the end made me feel a strange sense of pride?! I hate that they wait until the last episodes to make Glee cute again and force in me these feelings.

  3. Unique: “I tell you what, Unique might need to transfer schools next year.”

    Be a bit more subtle glee

    On the bright side
    The irony they employed with Lilo was really kitsch
    It was perfect, you know?

    Mr Shue getting sex as an award for being a winner = PUKE
    I’d only have sex with someone as an award for the first time if she was a really cute Tom boi… He’s so slimey and ew
    It’s like he won. And now he earned the prize that is his wife…. So objectifying afuhisfhqsivpdwid jwdf

  4. “Unique, inspired like Jesus on the cross, is ready to kill and eat dinosaurs onstage and then light the room on fire. Or, um, win Nationals, and then move to Lima and set Teen Jesus on fire. No wait! Gah, I keep getting my own fantasies mixed up with this show.”


    Good recap, and this episode made me super emotional and nostalgic for Season 1’s Sectionals episode and just why. Why, Glee. Why was it so impossible to do this for an entire season again? It was good. I didn’t hate people. I actually squeed for minutes on end. It wasn’t offensive. And the worst thing that Finn did (besides exist) was be a complete douchebag in making that bet with Rick the Stick, but honestly? That was Stupid Finn, not Horribly Inappropriately Self-Righteous Misogynist Finn. And I can live with Stupid Finn’s existence.

  5. I was really uncomfortable that Perez Hilton was one of the guest judges. For one thing, Glee has preached in the past about how outing people is wrong (Santana’s storyline aside obviously).So why are they showcasing the person who has made a career of outing people?

    Also, Perez has harassed quite a few of the Glee cast, both in person and on his website.

  6. I absolutely love your recaps your descriptions of Finn never fail to entertain me. Aside from the multiple uses of he/she and Emma having sex with Will as a reward, I really enjoyed this episode. I was so excited to see the kiss and thought all the musical numbers were good and I didn’t even find the ending that cheesy. I am expecting a good amount of Santana next week so I am looking forward to it, I’m interested in seeing Gloria Estefan as her mother too but, mostly Santana.

  7. “And Jesus Christ, Lohan! I’m so Team Lohan, and I’m so against the obnoxious trainwreck celebrity media machine situation, but my heart aches for that girl in such a special way and every time she gets a new gig and doesn’t knock it out of the ballpark, I get prematurely sad for the inevitable backlash. I just want her to be happy.”

    …so, so exactly how I feel.

    Plus, for a stupid reason bulldog clips have played an unnaturally large role in my life this week (I didn’t even know they were called that before) so for a very, very long time I could only see a giant bulldog clip on Whoopi’s nose in that second picture of her.

  8. Did anyone else feel like Vocal Adrenaline was robbed? New Directions and Vocal Adrenaline both have great singers but VA had awesome dance moves! ND pretty much just ran around on stage. On another note, I’m kinda sick of Glee picking and choosing when its funny to be a bully and when its not cool. Sue constantly insults Beiste but gives her a hug when she tells her she left Cooter? I was expecting her to roll her eyes. What message does it send to kids? If people are your friend you should totally be cool with whatever they say but if its just an acquaintance then they are assholes? I don’t get it.

    • Yes and no?

      Vocal Adrenaline killed it but Starships was a horrible choice. It’s not the most vocally challenging song there is. If I were a judge I would have deducted points for that.

    • Totally agree about the bullying. I think we’re supposed to be extra-touched when Sue is nice (like 1 in every 10 episodes) b/c she’s actually a super snarky person. Instead it just sends the message that being an asshole is almost always funny except when it’s Not Acceptable: PSA Time.

  9. I spent the entire episode annoyed because ‘It’s All Coming Back To Me’ got stuck in my head and I couldn’t remember who sang it. Eventually I remembered it was Celine Dion, but I was so confused that for a while I thought it might be a Whitney Houston song.

  10. Carmen Thibodeaux’s headwear is bringing me back to Oda Mae Brown.

    This comment has been edited by the Autostraddle Community Managerettes because you need more Whoopi Goldberg in your life.

  11. Honestly, it kind of hurt my ears hearing Corey Monteith sing during “Tongue Tied”. Idk what his next job will be, but he should stay away from singing… & playing a teen because it’s getting creepy.

  12. I’m having a really hard time coming up with an acceptable joke that involves the freaky-friday style of the props episode, with Lilo and her throwaway “I was robbed for Freaky Friday” line. Like, I’ve been trying to do this since Tuesday and thus far I’ve only succeeded in laughing awkwardly to myself about it.

  13. I pretty much loved this episode although I constantly question why I watch this show. Lindsay Lohan was so perfect, just as if all the shit that has happened since Parent Trap vanished.
    Also, isn’t Mr Schue a history teacher now?

  14. Also, did anyone else notice that alternative lifestyle haircut on the girl from the Starlight Express rollerskating group? I feel like she’s also on our team, guys. Also that cheerleader extra from a few episodes back. Can’t there just be an episode dedicated to them?

  15. A few small items:

    1. Glee, every time I see you, I want to stab you in the neck.

    2. Finn, this goes double for you.

    3. Perez Hilton? EW.

    4. Meatloaf is vintage? 1996 is vintage? I now understand when I was 16 and my dad said, “Hilary, I feel like you’re saying “Dad, you’re an old fuddy duddy'” and my brain would only say “well, it hadn’t occurred to me until you said ‘fuddy duddy’, but . . .” but I wouldn’t let the words pass my lips because he would have beaten me fucking senseless. I just realized that I might be an old fuddy duddy. Weird.

  16. I watched this thinking it was the finale and got a bit of anxiety when they giving Will the “McKinley’s Most Inappropriate Teacher Award” like, “how are they gonna fit graduation in with 5 minutes left?”

  17. the ecstatic, jumping cheerleader in the brittana kiss gif makes me laugh hysterically. I don’t know what is it…it’s like she’s a representative of the brittana fandom right there on our screens. also, i completely missed the subsequent so-called finchel kiss and the wemma gross prize sex because i was too busy hopping around in excitement over the brittana kiss…kinda like that cheerleader.

  18. wait, I really don’t know what’s going on with Unique. I don’t watch the show, but people keeping telling me there’s a new trans character. When I read about the part, it’s presented more as in drag-queen way?

    Should I be angry? I’m reflexively angry, and I don’t know if that’s merited.

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