Glee Episode 417 Recap: Guilty Pleasures Zig-A-Zig-Ah

Back in the Hallowed Halls of McKinley High School for wayward Spices, Tina’s dressed up as “Vikki the Robot” from “the TV cult classic Small Wonder,” which I’ve never heard of, despite the fact that I was alive for its entire existence, unlike these fellows:

it's like a remote controlled pocket rocket vibrator, basically

it’s like a remote controlled pocket rocket vibrator, basically

Fake Quinn’s had her fill of obscure pop culture references but before she can dash, New Puck insists on apologizing as he was informed post-performance that Bobby Brown “allegedly got Whitney Houston hooked on crack, right?”

don't hate the player...

don’t hate the player…

Fake Quinn: “Let me get this straight. You know about Vikki the Robot Girl but you didn’t know about Bobby and Whitney?”

Marley-Kate tells New Puck that each ocean starts with a drop of water and she loves Jessica Simpson and then they kiss and approximately six people care.

mmmmm did you have dr. pepper and a cigarette earlier because you smell like my car

mmmmm did you have dr. pepper and a cigarette earlier because you smell like my car

We then pack our go-bags, put on giant sun-hats, and drive in our topless cars all the way to New York, New York, where Rachel is being predictable by offering Geyerdean money for dinner, followed by, “I’m sorry, is it not enough? I wasn’t sure what the going rate was these days for male hookers.” NICE ONE, RACHEL. TWO THUMBS UP. What, no “get your dirty hands off of me?” Not a “I can’t even look at you”? Come onnnn.

rachel stop it nobody pretends to hold your hand and then slips you cash in a public place, that's not how it works

rachel stop it nobody pretends to hold your hand and then slips you cash in a public place, that’s not how it works

Geyerdean: “Don’t judge me.”
Rachel: “For selling your body?”
Geyerdean: “Not everybody has doting daddies to pay their bills.”

(Also my girlfriend pointed out that it’s kinda redic that even THIS story has been given to a straight white cis male. It’s not even the first time really, because Sam.) Again, his fault here isn’t “selling his body,” it’s the fact that he wasn’t honest about it. Anyhow I bitched about that enough last week, SO!

that's not how it works rachel i can't just take independent clients. you have to call the agency and make an appointment like everybody else. this is nonsense.

that’s not how it works rachel i can’t just take independent clients. you have to call the number and talk to the phone girl and make an appointment like everybody else. this is nonsense.

Rachel shouts that Geyerdean claimed that with honesty, they could do anything, and he’s like um, except when you lied to me about rolling in the hay with Mr. Potato Head, and P.S., your starchy friend came all the way here to punch me in the face! Rachel seems touched that Finn flew out to New York just to punch Geyerdean in the face, because she’s a total idiot I guess?

220 for an hour? but i only have 200!

220 for an hour? but i only have 200!

Rachel: “You’re right I haven’t been uh – completely honest with you. I think that there was a part of me that was … using this. Partly to make Finn jealous, and um, the other part to just fill my own personal heartache.”

Okay, if anybody ever said that to me during a breakup I’d wanna stick spoons up my nose. That’s cold!

Geyerdean: “So, what, this is… it’s just over?”
Rachel: “Yeah, uh, it feels like it is.”
Geyerdean: “Seeing you around is really gonna suck.”

Then they start in with Radiohead’s “Creep” and somehow, somehow despite all my feelings and more importantly, my not-feelings, about these kids, it’s really heartbreaking and full.

oh hey i think you still have my headphones

oh hey i think you still have my headphones

all roads lead back to the only classroom at julliard

all roads lead back to the only classroom at julliard

okay on the count of three, you're gonna stop snoring, okay? ready? stop snoring on the count of three. okay, one, two --

okay on the count of three, you’re gonna stop snoring, okay? ready? stop snoring on the count of three. okay, one, two —

fuck my hands are cold

where are my waffles????

return engagement at the april rhodes civic pavillion

return engagement at the april rhodes civic pavillion

My girlfriend also has a lot of feelings about Glee getting permission to cover Radiohead, but I don’t know, it made me cry a little.

Here’s Radiohead performing “Creep” live in 1997:

Here’s the Glee version:

We then slip on our killer high heels, sexiest corset and a pair of old sweatpants and fly back to Lima, Ohio, where Blaine’s making love to the piano by playing Phil Collins and Sam demands Blaine open up about his actual guilty pleasure. Sam’s obsessed with Blaine’s guilty pleasure.

like for example if you were to say that your guilty pleasure was fairy bread, i would admit that i too have enjoyed a sprinkle or 50 in my day

like for example if you were to say that your guilty pleasure was fairy bread, i would admit that i too have enjoyed a sprinkle or 50 in my day

Sam: “It’s okay, I get it, your guilty pleasure is me.”
Blaine: “Um… ”
Sam: “I mean – I mean, I’ve known all year and frankly I’m an attractive guy, and you are into dudes, and if you weren’t into me, I’d probably be pretty offended.”

Sam insists that he’s not freaked out, because they’re like brothers, and honestly he enjoys the attention, it’s flattering. Blaine’s shocked that Sam’s not creeped out. Honestly, it’s pretty cool.

hey bro this feels good maybe later we could do it horizontally

fuck i’m the best ally ever

I love Glee for moments like this, but I admit they frustrate me too, because they never pull off similar feats for the ladies. The gay boy/straight boy friendship thing is murky territory, and they just busted right through that friendship’s greatest taboo in like 30 seconds and did so with style. I wish there were more ladies in the writing room. Out of curiosity, I did the math: there have been 83 episodes of Glee thus far: six directed by a woman and seven written by a woman. That means only 8% of all Glee episodes were written by women. 8%! So.

Following a horrid red-eye, we return to New York City, home to my favorite restaurant Zen Palate, where Kurt, Santana, Bruce and Santana’s girlfriend pillow are watching a Facts of Life marathon. Santana catches on to the lesbian subtext right away:

Santana: “We have to turn this into a musical so that I can play Jo.”

Rachel pops in to add that she’d like to play Blair. Somebody make this happen!

tomboy my ass, that bitch is a capital-L lesbian

tomboy my ass, that chick jo is a capital-L lesbian

Rachel thanks Santana for sending Finn out to the city to “defend her honor,” which doesn’t make any fucking sense. Also seriously, who has the money to fly out to New York just to punch Geyerdean in the face? An unemployed kugel?

it's okay, i'm sure you'll meat a new potato product soon

it’s okay, i’m sure you’ll meet a new potato product soon

I have no idea why this show made me cry like fifteen times tonight. I don’t even like these people!

Kurt: “Don’t be sad.”
Rachel: “I’m not. I’m good, I feel, ready, you know? I’m ready for my Funny Girl audition and to maybe start seeing older guys, and I’m definitely ready for our new and permanent roommate. But I’m gonna use the pity card just for a second, since I’m the one whose heartbroken and going through a breakup and just found out that her boyfriend was some weirdo man-whore. I’m gonna get to pick the movie tonight, okay?”

She picks “the best guilty pleasure movie-musical ever,” Mamma Mia!

unfortunately for rachel, she'd left her pirated copy of "altar boyz" in the mamma mia case and everybody was in for a big surprise

unfortunately for rachel, she’d left her pirated copy of “altar boyz” in the mamma mia case and everybody was in for a big surprise

Unfortunately, I don’t care for this movie-musical, but you know what my guilty pleasure is? Really cheesy Glee musical numbers!

but wherever i go, there you are. my luck, my fate, my fortune. chanel number 5. inevitable

yeah, that’s right, we do it with the lights on

the brightest ring of angels around heaven

and the circle it goes round and round and the painted ponies go up and down

this one's for the christmas card

this one’s for the christmas card

this is a really mellow way to summon captain planet

this is a really mellow way to summon captain planet



oh, there's teen jesus! we thought he was written out of this episode

oh, there’s teen jesus!

kevin mchale wins this photo

kevin mchale wins this photo

And this one does not disappoint, mostly because Marley-Kate and Fake Quinn are hella cute, and the Bushwick Barbie Dream Girls are doing that cute roommate thing, and I don’t know, I just fell for it. What can I tell you?

Here’s the ABBA music video, circa 1975:

And here’s the Glee version, circa 2013:

See you in three weeks!! I’ll be taking vocabulary tests, trying to get my brain back, and g-chatting Laneia.

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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 3149 articles for us.


  1. If Rachel is going to start seeing older guys, does this mean she shall follow in Quinn’s footsteps? If so, then can we expect her to date a professor about twice her age, go to Jodie Foster’s clambake, then sleep with Santana about 6 episodes later?


  3. I’m (pleasantly?) surprised that Glee didn’t sell-out and actually showed some decent morality in their rebuke for Chris Brown. Too bad they can’t recognize the misogyny of their own fucking show though.

    (Also: Geyerdean: “Not everybody has doting daddies to pay their bills.” I swear I had to read this 4 times to realize he wasn’t referring to Sugar Daddies)

  4. I actually really liked this episode until I read the hulu comments [TW for abuse apologists]:

    “Jake (aka New Puck) deserved an apology from the girls; it was guilty pleasure music so he shouldn’t have been judged.”

    “Chris Brown was so young & he made a mistake and that’s not an excuse but still.”

    “he’s apologized, let the man make money for his music.”

    “rihanna posts pictures of herself smoking weed on twitter & she’s an abuse enabler & they still cover her music”

    “i agree with New Puck that you should separate the art from the artist.”

    “tons of celebrities do drugs & Glee still covers their music.”

    Lesson learned: don’t read the comments.
    Other lesson learned: ew ew ew ew so many abuse apologists watching Glee. Also one of these abuse apologists supposedly works at Disney. DISNEY. THEY MAKE MOVIES FOR CHILDREN.

    • i feel like we’ve fucked up as a society on both ends when somehow smoking pot is equated with intimate partner abuse

    • You know in that whole Chris Brown discussion, which was really intense, I was so happily surprised by how informed it was. They even brought up his tattoo which was/is super controversial (my take– whatever Chris Brown says it is doesn’t matter, it LOOKS like a battered woman and based on his past, that alone means if he was at all sorry for what happened he wouldn’t get it) AND they brought up the Frank Ocean fight. I mean, ok, yes, Frank Ocean is way popular and amazing and award-winning so it makes sense just on that level but that fight was very publicly about Chris Brown calling Frank Ocean the f-word. So though it seemed a little strange to come from Kitty, I was happy it was mentioned as he has had plenty of other public feuds they could have raised instead (doesn’t he have one with Drake too?). So– points to Glee on that one.

    • Never go to hulu or youtube for comments on Glee. ;) Go to autostraddle or avclub maybe (they have the most entertaining comments section of anything). ;) I’m on the fence about afterellen bec the recap is entertaining,but the comments sometimes turn into really passionate shipper discussions. hahah! ;)

  5. I’m happy you liked this episode, Riese– I think I now vicariously like it. Or maybe you just somehow persuaded me. I realllly did not like it last week but I was really stuck on the negatives of what you viewed as positives– I thought the scene in the hallway with Kitty’s “girl with a penis” comment was atrocious. I didn’t feel like she got called out at all. I loved the Chris Brown discussion but felt the Bobby Brown song was a cop-out (though, of course, that song is totes bomb– but of course that then led to me thinking too much about artists and their art and who they are as role models, ad nauseum). I can’t even talk about how much I loved the Spice Girls segment (though I was also at the theatre opening weekend for the movie with my college besties and a huge bin of buttered popcorn, combining 2 of the guiltiest of pleasures). I thought the wrapping up of Brody’s storyline was ok, like you wrote– not as bad as I thought it would be. Blaine’s cover of “Take a Look at Me Now” was breathtaking (sadly, I did not know that anyone didn’t know that was not originally by the Postal Service, I love that cover but loved the original when I was a kid too). But I thought the storyline of him and Sam was meh. It was always strained (typical Glee) and not very interesting so while I am happy it led to such a lovely song from Blaine to Sam, it was otherwise just — boring. (and really? the “what’s in your pocket?” schtick is sooo done).

    Anyhow, that was way more thoughts than I even knew I had about this episode! Thanks as always for the recap– and thanks for pointing out the happier/funnier moments to me again. At least, I thank you now and just hope I don’t somehow end up getting even more hooked on The Glee because of your excellent recaps (jkjk!). I am forever co-dependent with Glee. I have no one to blame but myself. And Klaine.

    • yeah i know what you mean that she wasn’t actually “called out” but honestly in my experience what happened there is representative of how younger people change their behavior in the real world. on tv people yell at each other a lot, and also on the internet, for sure, and those monologues and smackdowns are really epic and stuff — but in real life when you fully ‘call somebody out’ by explaining everything they’re wrong about, that person just gets defensive, and inevitably somebody else will side with them, and then all these differences build up between different sides, and then they’re too busy being bitter and close-minded to realize what bigots they are. but if you’re a person who thrives on attention — you want people to either be furious at you and getting all worked up over something you’re not even all that invested in (a common trolling instinct) or you want people to be entertained, to laugh. so when you tell a transphobic joke and nobody lectures you and nobody laughs, then what’s the point? she can’t get a rise out of anybody. she already knows she’s wrong at this point, that’s been established. don’t feed the trolls: real life edition. also nobody gets called out for anything on this show, and every week they say horrifically offensive things about all kinds of people but i usually leave the rest of it out, but i try to cover the trans* stuff. so it’s a miracle anybody ever responds negatively to anybody’s racism, homophobia, sexism, sizeism, etc.

      and yeah, the is-that-a-thing-in-your-pocket i wanted to pretend like that never happened and i had nothing to say about it. this show is just so weird!

      i mean, at least that’s what i saw. but if i’m totally misreading this as a cisgender human prone to making mistakes, i welcome corrections!

      • I was too busy screaming “She did NOT just SAY THAT!” at my television to hear Kitty being called out for that comment. But knowing she was, even if it was really subtle, makes me feel MARGINALLY better about this show.

        That’ll probably turn to shit next week though when we find out it was Unique “catfishing” Ryder. Blech.

        • yeah my jaw dropped and i immediately expected it to go un-checked, so when everybody scowled and brittany, who is usually too stupid to ever know what’s going on and usually thinks unique is mercedes, actually pushed her, inspiring kitty to take it back (which as far as i can tell, has never happened before). i was so pleasantly surprised that i possibly read it as being more positive than it was.

          i think what i thought was at least halfway-decent about this is that it wasn’t done in the typical style where glee says something obnoxiously offensive but So! Clever! and if anybody even reacts negatively to it, the offensive joke remains the source of humor. but here i felt like we were supposed to be laughing at kitty for flopping her “joke” so hard, not unique, especially since kitty’s joke wasn’t clever or funny or really anything besides one of the easiest and also worst things you can say ever.

          i cannot handle the idea of unique catfishing ryder (as discussed), that is crazytalk bullshit

      • you’re def right– it’s context for sure. that’s always the problem with glee– what it is in the context of society and tv right now is still far more progressive than a lot of shows. like, i loved when you very simply stated in one of your recaps (i think it was the diva episode) that there was a bisexual woman, trans woman, and gay men singing together. that’s crazy unheard-of anywhere else.

        but it’s also what makes it so infuriating. sometimes it feels like they are going for quantity over quality. it could be so good that i want it to be perfect!! which is impossible, i know, unless it was written by us :)

  6. I honestly don’t get why Santana would fly Finn out to hit Geyerdean. I think it would have been much more in character for her to be all “this is for hurting my friend, fucking stop it”, and then punching him herself.

    • also i know this show has no relationship whatsoever with reality, but for real it costs like $300 to fly from columbus to new york on a good day, and a last-minute flight, and he would go all the way out there and not even see rachel? or his BROTHER? that’s completely fucking insane. he just got fired. this show is nonsense.

  7. First of all, I LOVE that Santana’s lesbo cuddlepuppet is wearing plaid. How apropos.

    But really, Glee, you need to stop with this thing where you think it’s okay to make really offensive jokes as long as you cover it up by having another character say “Hey, that’s really offensive!” right after. It almost feels like the writers still want to make their awful jokes but are using other characters to cover their asses. It’s cowardly and backhanded and quite frankly I’m sick of it.

    … but I come back every week for summa dat Santana Lopez and those atrociously adorable teenybopper dance moves. Dammit, Glee, I wish I could quit you…

    • agreed. that’s what always gets me– they still make “the joke” but then add this little, hey, just kidding! except they weren’t because then they never would have written it to begin with.

  8. zombies who live in the walls = new irrational fear that will plague my sleepless nights. Damn you, Riese!

    • it would probably be even scarier to you if somebody had stored a dead body in the wall of your apartment from 2004-2008, but not everybody can be as lucky as me i realize

  9. Thanks so much for this recap!

    I thought this was a winner recap the minute you referenced BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER! Awesomest TV show ever! ;) Ah, Sunnydale – remember when it was just such a bidet of evil? ;)

    Strangely enough I actually watched this show. Twice.

    I can’t even explain why I liked it. Probably partly because it referenced TV shows I grew up with – yes, even Small Wonder. :) I used to watch Golden Girls, Designing Women and Facts of Life. ;) I liked the old music as well – but I prefer the original Phil Collins version, and it seemed a bit out of place, as you mentioned, being sung to Sam when it’s clearly for Kurt. Also, I’m kind of sick and tired of Blaine SINGING all the time, when I could hear Santana sing all the time instead. :) Don’t be hatin’. I didn’t like the Creep version or the Spice Girls version, BUT! I actually enjoyed the campiness and cheesiness of it. I have a soft spot for Spice Girls – I love, love, love em, and I love Posh and Scary, so! And of course, one can never go wrong with Abba – one of our hobbies during our parties used to be watching Abba videos, so that was a whole lot of fun! So yeah, I just realized I am the target demo of this show! hahaha! ;)

    Overall, I had fun, and I don’t know why – probs bec I just pretended maybe that some parts weren’t said or did not exist at all – like Geyerdean, or that white Glee Project winner. And that discussion about Chris Brown/Bobby Brown – I didn’t know what to think of that, but yeah, it’s Glee, and I guess it was better than when they tried to handle somebody being forcibly outed or a white cis guy being an asshat about a transgender teen? So yeah.

    But I think it was also because the NYC scenes were FUN, and we got to see Santana, Rachel and Kurt being friends. Now, if only Santana and Rachel would hook, I’d be happy! hahaha! ;) And Blaine and Sam as friends – that was nice, too. ;) The Wham! and Barry Manilow covers were just entertaining, too. ;)

    Also, Marley as Posh with a passable Brit accent, so hot. Fake Quinn actually interesting. And Jacob can dance! Please let him sing and dance more. More than Blaine please.

    So, yeah. I enjoyed this episode. :)

    Thanks for the recap, Riese! :)

    • hey totally valid comments and everything, but could you use “transgender teen” rather than “transgendered”? It just has some really problematic connotations.

  10. How come you never make comments about Unique in a sexual way? I’m pretty sure you’ve had all the other female characters having sex with Santana or each other in your comments (like Kitty in this one) but never Unique. She’s a sexual woman too!

    • I don’t think it has to do with her transgenderism, I think it has to do with traditional attractiveness. It’s the hard truth but a lot of us don’t find her as attractive. Just like the recaps never talk about Dot Marie Jones, Mercedes, or Tina in sexual ways. I don’t think her being trans* or cross dressing (not sure if she identifies as trans* or not) has to do with it. Don’t misconstrue/ misrepresent that

      • mmm… i’d argue that the show very blatantly doesn’t put those characters in situations that lend themselves to innuendo-based screencaps, or to any lesbian innuendo at all. as for why that is… well glee is pretty special like that. also, i totally make/made sexual comments about tina and mercedes! i don’t really go there with the adult characters, but arguably dot marie jones is closer to “my type” than anyone else on the program. (and personally i’m more physically attracted to Tina than any other teenaged character on the show besides maybe Santana sometimes, so there’s that.)

        i mentioned once that i wasn’t really attracted to dianna agron and all hell broke loose, but i know people are into the idea of her/rachel/etc., so i play to that.

      • I do know that one of the recent recaps did refer to Tina/Jenna Ushkowitz in a sexual way, although I do accept the “just not attracted” reasoning.

    • i actually commented last week that the show refuses to sexualize unique in any way or give her a romantic storyline and everybody commented back that it was better that way because they’d undoubtedly fuck it up… anyhow, unique is a pretty new character and she doesn’t get a lot of screen time or lines and also most of her lines/scenes have been about her gender identity, which’s not always the most appropriate time to make a sexual joke. who gets lesbian innuendo captions is based solely on who appears in screencaps that lend themselves to that and whether or not i can think of a better joke or not. anyhow, unique is in a few ‘caps this recap with sexual captions, sidenote. also i don’t think i’ve made comments like that about every female character on this show, i’ve been using more innuendo the last few recaps than ever before because i am running out of other jokes to make.

      i mean i know that you’re implying that i don’t see her as sexual because she’s trans*. i guess it’s definitely possible that i would be more careful with sex-related jokes around unique because innuendo with a straight female could be misinterpreted as me denying unique’s femaleness rather than what it would actually be, which is lesbian innuendo? ppl tend to take my words out of context and assume the worst where trans* things are concerned so i try really hard to minimize those opportunities. also she’s not been clear about her sexual orientation yet, and i don’t want to make any assumptions about that, either.

      • “ppl tend to take my words out of context and assume the worst where trans* things are concerned so i try really hard to minimize those opportunities.”

        Hm… seems like you’re deflecting accountability here. People probably “assume the worst” when it comes to you talking about trans people because they’ve seen the transphobic things you’ve regularly said in the past. I also think it’s interesting that you’re more concerned with avoiding getting called out than you are with actually not saying transphobic things.

      • She may not have declared her sexual orientation, but you do make lesbian/girl-on-girl jokes and references about Marley, Kitty, and Rachel, who have both only been portrayed in relationships with women. (Just pointing it out).

  11. …so um, guilty pleasure?
    I may have been distracted throughout the whole Spice Girls performance by Marley’s legs.

  12. Riese, I want to hug your brain because it is simply brilliant.

    P.S. this recap made me super glad I never took ambien and had internet access at the same time because holy wow shopping under the influence

  13. “you promised to call time warner this time don’t you dare back out on me, gaymo”

    wait have you been spying on my conversations with my girlfriend


    • i just had a sense-memory of a toothbrush in my mouth and a roommate in my ear and a small bathroom in new york and thought of time warner

  14. I could do without the constant worship of Blecch Blanderson and the comparisons between potatoes and Finn Hudson.

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