Cut to “Beauty School Dropout,” another exact re-creation, this time starring Blaine as Teen Angel and Sugar as Frenchy, The Role She Was Born to Play. Teen Angel’s clearly Rex Manning’s godfather, sidenote.
Even wearing bedsheets with 56 rolls of tinfoil affixed to their brains, Santana and Brittany still manage to give each other silent sexy eyes while nearly toe-tapping their silver dancing shoes. Maybe I’m projecting. Kurt and Blaine shoot each other one forlorn but disturbed glance:
Smear to the ladies room, where Ryder Bieber-Strong catches Marley in the stage of almost-vomiting guaranteed to transform your eyeballs into crazy, watering drugged-out orbs of pain and possibly pop a blood vessel and definitely hurt your throat. (Pro tip: If you’re gonna do an eating disorder storyline, it’s probs best to root it in something deeper than a popular cheerleader’s three-day practical joke with no basis in actual reality.)
Ryder, high on The Themes of Glee, stops his maiden in her tracks and imparts a charming anecdote:
Ryder: “Google Johnny Poppas. He’s my second cousin. He was a wrestler at Bowling Green and the coach was always making him drop weight. So Johnny did all the crazy diets and puked every day and when that stopped working he used laxatives. Then last march, in the middle of a match—”
Marley: “He died?”
Ryder Bieber-Strong: “He crapped himself in front of the whole school.”
Ryder tells Marley he doesn’t wanna kiss someone with puke breath, during or after the show WINK WINK, which snaps her right into shape. Yay! Boys fix all the things!
Meanwhile backstage, Brittany and Santana are not having sex — but they’re talking about their (heart-shaped) feelings!!
Brittany: “I miss you.”
Santana: “I miss you too. The only reason I came back was so that I could see you again.”
Brittany: “Well, I’m not dating anyone new, boy or girl.”
Santana: “Brit, we talked about this. And it would be fine if you were… I’m glad that you’re not.”
Santana’s gotta be prepping emotionally for her big number, There Are Worse Things I Could Do, which’s from when Rizzo thinks she’s been knocked up. Obviously this made zero sense to me as a wee Grease fanatic and I usually zoned out during this scene. Santana insists she’s fine without excessive prep.
Brittany: “Yeah but this is like a sad song, right? So you have to think of something that makes you like really sad. Like how we’re not together anymore and it’s okay, but it still hurts a little bit. Especially on Friday nights because that was our date night.”
There’s a moment of sad, sweet recognition of how much sweeter and simpler things were then, and Santana looks briefly in the mirror like an actress unsure of where her storyline is going and then someone arrives to call Santana onstage.
There Are Worse Things I Could Do is Santana’s number, but it splits almost immediately from her stripped-down solo into a montage featuring Kate Hudson and Geyerdean’s Insufferable Sexually-Tense Dance Project Rehearsal and Unique, wilting sadly in the cheap seats.
The Hudson/Geyerdean hookup unfortunately reminds me of the Nikki/Shane hookup interrupting Tina & Bette’s fantastic Tango Of Love in Episode 604 of The L Word, which isn’t the first time I’ve mentioned that on this show, and their inevitable end-of-song hookup feels cheap and inconsistent with what we’ve seen of Geyerdean so far.
But Unique’s bold and heartsick solo on “I don’t steal and I don’t lie, but I can feel” is a gut-puncher — another one of those incidental Glee moments that reveal leagues more than its more deliberate tearjerkers do, because it’s literally true — and it’s quickly followed by Santana’s similarly affecting “and I can cry, a fact I’ll bet you never knew.” So when we swing to Brittany in the wings and see Santana catch her nearly-teary eye, it’s a solid heart-puncher, no way around it.
Cut to backstage, where everybody’s having Difficult Conversations ’cause “right before you go on stage” is a perfect time for such things. This time, it’s Mike and Tina — Mike thinks they should get back together but Tina’s not so sure. She enjoys her newfound feeling. She says they can talk about it, so look forward to an update on that in Episode 706.
Cut to four or six minutes later, when Marley emerges from the costume room in the skin-sucking signature black leather spandex get-up made legendary by the stick-thin Olivia Newton-John!
Ryder Bieber-Strong immediately notices that the power Marley’s supplying is electrifying. Marley feels like the outfit’s too tight. Maybe she’s a method actress and has worn nothing but her costumes for three weeks.
Fake Quinn pops up to inform the budding young lovers that some hack from the McKinley Muckracker is in the audience and will likely shred their egos into Kibbles & Bits.
Idiot Marley is successfully psyched, but Ryder Bieber-Strong quickly calms her jitters by sticking his tongue down her throat.
It’s time for “You’re The One That I Want,” my favorite and my mother’s least favorite scene in the film. Apparently the message that “the best way to Get A Man is to dress like a 70’s porn star, smoke cigarettes and pretend to be something you’re not” didn’t sit well with her feminist sensibilities. It’s definitely inconsistent with the “love yourself for who you are” Glee message, and the “YOU DO YOU” Autostraddle message. But whatever. Oh, also:
Me: [screaming incredulously] “This song isn’t in the musical it’s only in the movie!!”
My girlfriend: “Oh bless your heart.”
Here’s the original from the movie:
Despite relatively light character development overall, Marley and Ryder Bieber-Strong sell their romantic connection in this song — all tied up in the bloom of youth and awkward attempts to blend into their new surroundings.
They carry the scene handily enough until it morphs into The New Rachel’s trip down memory lane to when her and Finn did the song in Glee Club during Season One, which involves lots of horrifying Finn close-ups.
Then for 30 or so magical seconds, the collective fantasies of all Glee Club members are played out as Kurt & Blaine, Mike & Tina, Brittany & Santana and Finn & Rachel are the ones onstage singing and sticking their groins out.
See for yourself:
We then cut to The Bathroom, where Rachel’s escaped the show to have feelings but unfortunately, unlike last season and the one before, it’s unlikely Quinn’s gonna show up for some subtext-heavy heart-to-heart. Thus Rachel dials Geyerdean — but Kate Hudson picks up.
Rachel’s unsure why she’s talking to K-Hud and not G-Dude, who K-Hud says is in the shower. So this happens:
Kate Hudson: “Uh, let’s see. You blew off your playdate with the hottest piece of ass at NYADA to go visit your loser ex-boyfriend. Said hot-ass was lonely, distraught, didn’t know what to do with himself, and was more than happy to come help me choreograph a new routine when I called him up, and then one thing led to another and the next thing you know he’s at my place and you know —”
Rachel: “So, you and Brody.” [beat] “Why?”
Kate Hudson: “Why don’t we consider this one of those little nasty life lessons? Auditioning for an off-Broadway play, throwing yourself at an upperclassman and telling me that I need to get back in the game. That I need to get back in the game? I think you were overreaching and you need a little reminding. I am the game, Schwimmer, and you are what you’ve always been: a privileged, self-indulgent—”
Rachel hangs up and starts crying.
Cut to the hallway, where Rachel runs right into Finn.
Finn’s upset that Rachel’s crying over somebody else instead of him and so they decide not to talk to each other anymore:
Rachel: “You know I don’t know what’s gonna happen between us but I know that you used to be the guy that would make me feel like the most special girl in the whole world, and it doesn’t feel that way anymore. Now it just feels sad and confusing and the worst part is that it doesn’t even really feel that bad anymore.”
Finn: “And whatever happened with that Brody guy made you cry, and this doesn’t.”
Then Kurt shows up and Rachel says McKinley doesn’t feel like home anymore, and before I can wonder how Burt, Hiram & Leroy might feel about this — HEY-O it’s Teen Angel!
Blaine wants to talk to Kurt and explain himself and I know Kurt’s mad and everybody’s on Kurt’s side but why did Kurt come all the way out here to see Blaine if he doesn’t actually want to see Blaine?
Blaine: “I never told you about what happened. The guy that I hooked up with —”
Kurt: “What are you gonna tell me? That it wasn’t serious? That you only made out? That you didn’t care about him?”
Blaine: “I didn’t care —”
Kurt: “Do you think any of that matters to me? Relationships are about trust and I don’t trust you anymore. I was stupid to come back. Rachel’s right, this isn’t home anymore.”
Relationships are also about listening to each other, caring about each other, taking an interest in each other’s lives and not being a self-centered douche — and Kurt had yet to exhibit one ounce of care or interest in Blaine since moving to New York City, circumstances which quickly conspired to make Blaine feel unwanted and vulnerable. I’m not excusing Blaine’s actions, but Kurt’s sanctimonious attitude here is grating and unnecessary.
Smear to The Glee Club room for a roundabout read of the Muckracker’s rave review of Grease! There’s some bullshit about Finn being Michalangelo which in turn robs the Muckracker of any remaining thread of journalistic integrity.
Then Will gives a speech and I fall asleep while Finn and Will give each other a bro-hug.
Next week on Glee: