Glee 312 Recap: The Spanish Teacher and Santana Are Too Sexy For This Show

In the gym, a bunch of hot cheerleaders dance to a song I can no longer remember for a reason I can’t recall. I think it’s somehow related to Christmas or string cheese.

Sue and Roz fight, because NeNe Lekes, who plays Roz, is from The Real Housewives Show, which I think is about women fighting with other women.

Roz: “Sue, you can’t have no baby. You are as old as a hill. You ain’t gonna give birth to no child. You gonna give birth to a grandchild. You gonna get in them stirrups, and you gonna push and push, and a full-grown adult gonna pop out with a briefcase and a job talking on a cell-phone.”

Wow, yeah, mhmh.

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Rachel, still under a bizarre retcon spell, spills the beans regarding her engagement to Count Chumpula to her best friend Mercedes, and Kurt Hummel the Magical Sprite Gay. Rachel spews some nonsense regarding knowing Finn is “the one” and Mercedes and Kurt are all like “WHAT?!” but for all the wrong reasons.

oh god rachel you cannot spend the rest of your life melting Kraft Singles on Finn’s chili-dogs

Far more compelling, however, is their gripping Twilight-related conversation because it combines a stupid show lacking in lesbian action with a stupid movie lacking in lesbian action, and at the end we’re all super-pale and dead.

oh wow “world’s wildest police chases” gets so scary these days

We segue into Cuban-American Gloria Estefan’s “I Don’t Wanna Leave You Now,” which you may recognize from the Dentist’s office.

i cannot eat green eggs and ham i cannot eat them sam i am

GAH THIS SHOW — Okay, look. I know what you need, reader/nation, I have predicted your desires. I think you need this:

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Um.

For the last three minutes I’ve been staring at the screen, trying to visualize little monkeys inside my brain searching for the bit of information surely stored somewhere in the “memory” area that will reveal what happens next on this show.

Oh yes! The boys perform to an Enrique Iglesias mash-up wearing those ridiculous cowboy string-ties and tiny skis on their boots which Finn explains are “Mexican Hipster Boots” because Finn is an Instant Mexican Historian this week. Also clearly Finn missed the part about Enrique Iglesias being Spanish, not Mexican.

Then Santana wins the day:

Santana: “The teeth, the duende, the bizarre Mexican fads, Señor Martinez is, like, the best Spanish teacher EVER. I can’t wait to see your performance, Mr. Shue?”
Will: “My performance?”
Santana: “Yeah, to defend your Spanish teacher honor. I’m sure you have something muy amazing planned.”

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Kurt recently injected thirty liters of rocksalt into his brain in solidarity with Blaine, and as a result, having heard word of Rachel and Finn’s Disgusting Engagement, he’s not worried that Rachel is settling for a dumbshit that’ll squash her dreams like a bug. But he is worried.

why does kurt have a folder from adelphi university in long island when everybody knows NYADA is the only school in the entire world besides Yale and Ohio State

In fact, he’s just worried sick about Finn giving up his own dreams in exchange for the dreams of his far more talented girlfriend, who will almost definitely leave him for one of the Altar Boyz the instant she arrives in Times Square.

Look Kurt & Rachel, Finn don’t know much, but he knows he’s got no talent. Just let it be. I’m speaking words of wisdom: let it be.

i am 96.5% sure i left the toaster on

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Will & Emma fight and Emma says this:

don’t we all

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Back in the auditorium, respite arrives in the form of Ricky Martin and Santana Lopez doing a strange but exciting duet to Madonna’s “La Isla Bonita,” because why do Spanish songs by Spanish people when you can do a Spanish song by a white person?! Santana’s dressed in a black satin pillowcase, boots and lipstick.

It’s super hot and fun and the only thing missing is Santana’s re-creation of this aspect of the original music video:

Will, jealous of Ricky Martin’s groin, questions Ricky’s inclusion in the number and Santana asks “Hey, wasn’t that number fantastic and truly authentic?” which I believe is a reference to their ability to speak Spanish in a way that doesn’t embarrass all of us here at home or make my ex-Spanish teacher laugh.

Then Will does something terrible I’ve blocked from memory involving singing and dancing. Even Brittany in a unitard can’t save it:

At the conclusion of this atrocity, Santana slides into homebase, pillowcase-and-all, and wins the hell out of this episode:

Will: “It was you. You’re the one who complained to Principal Figgins about me.”
Santana: “Yeah, and I’d do it all over again after that performance.”
Will: “You’re messing with adult things here, Santana. This is my job. This is my life.”
Santana: “And this is my education, and it’s not a joke to me, although it seems to be one to you.”
Will: “What are you talking about? They all loved my performance.”
Santana: “Because they don’t know any better. It’s your fault. You’re their teacher. You went from “La Cucaracha” to a bullfighting mariachi. Why don’t you just dress up as the Taco Bell Chihuahua and bark the theme song from Dora the Explorer? You don’t even know enough to be embarrassed about these stereotypes you’re perpetuating.”

Will, who clearly has never been accused of cultural appropriation on the internet, immediately strikes back in ignorance:

Will: “That’s not fair.”
Santana: “Isn’t it? What did you want to be when you grew up? Why did you want to be a Spanish teacher, Mr. Shue?”
Will: “Because…it was the only teaching position open at the time.”
Santana: “I want to remind you of something that an amazing teacher once taught me: without passion, you can’t succeed.”
Will: “Who taught you that?”
Santana: “You did. And you do. When you teach Glee.”

1) really??!!, 2)really now?, 3)Wow. Really.

However, this final tender moment (followed by Will offering his Spanish teaching job to Ricky Martin, who then shares a “my parents were immigrants” story that made me groan so loud the neighbors complained) brought to mind the AV Club Todd VanDerWeff’s recap of Episode 306, Mash/Off, which noted that,” There’s something about this show that leads to messy tonal mash-ups. But where the show’s musical mash-ups are usually pretty harmonious, the tonal shifts can often be brutally unsubtle.”

VanDerWeff  points out that the show vacillates so recklessly between over-the-top wackiness and real emotional punches that it often ends up failing on both ends. In this episode, Santana’s accurate consciousness of the ridiculousness of Will’s Spanish Phase is dead accurate and surprisingly self-aware but it leads one to wonder who wrote the rest of the episode?

Because although there were hints that Glee was self-consciously mocking Will’s ignorance —  like his usage of the word “Latin” instead of “Latino/a” — it also seemed dead-serious about that week’s Spanish-Songs theme. Furthermore, Ricky Martin’s character came off as surprisingly genuine and subtly crafted, unlike the over-the-top antics granted to previous guests like Kristen Chenoweth, Neil Patrick Harris and Gwenyth Paltrow. It was incredibly difficult to figure out how this episode wanted us to feel, which makes me wonder if all it wanted us to feel was “like buying some singles on iTunes.”

From VanDerWeff’s 306 review:

” …I find it hard to watch an episode like this and be entirely certain what’s supposed to be satirical, what’s supposed to be taken seriously, and what’s supposed to be a mix of the two. Pull it off, and you get something like that Santana moment. Fail, and you end up with Kurt earnestly asking us all to reconsider dodgeball and a musical number that seems created exclusively to reflect the show’s promotional campaign.”

Although Sue remains super-funny, it seems the writers haven’t figured out what the hell to do with her now that they’re out of ways for her to try and sabotage Glee Club, and this episode’s pregnancy situation — which’ll undoubtedly be dropped next week — works about as well as the Senate Race (whatever happened to Senator Hummel, by the way?) and the battle-over-Cooter did.

Also where the hell is Tina? She’s like the Angelica of Glee.

via gleekstorm.tumblr.com

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Then everyone ordered tacos and ate them, and then burritos rained out of the sky. Everyone came to my house, and I made them quesadillas, and then we watched racist movies from history! THE END.

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Riese is the 39-year-old Co-Founder and CEO of Autostraddle.com 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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76 Comments

  1. I like Sam but he ruined ‘Hero’ for me. This is the best performance of it ever: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y5T0I60lC3k

    I love how both Santana and that coach had the same “With WHOSE vagina?!” line.

    I like Ricky Martin but I really can’t stand his acting. Bring Holly Holiday back instead of him to be the Spanish teacher.

    I love that Santana stood up for her heritage/community.

    Also,I know it’s a tv show but this show really goes so far with how unrealistic/inappropriate the teacher/student relations are. I mean, Becky being told by Principal Figgins to tell a TEACHER that Figgins wants to see them in his office? Really, Glee?

  2. i was literally eating a burrito when schue committed his matador atrocity and i had to throw half of it away because i was so sickened.

    p.s. longtime lurker here, but nothing brings me out of the internet woodwork like mr. schue doing horrible, creepy things to music and children

    • p.p.s. i knew this episode was going to be irredeemably bad when sue asked schue for his baby gravy and i was subjected to a mental picture of schue contributing to a holiday dinner in his own special way. i’m really sorry for sharing, but i’ve had to carry the burden of that mental image alone. i’m really done now, i promise. :retreats into woodwork:

  3. “La Isla Bonita” was aight, but this entire episode should have been scrapped and replaced with Naya Rivera singing “Objection: Tango.”

    The lack of Shakira in this episode was super disheartening.
    The lack of Shakira in anything involving a lack of Shakira is super disheartening.

  4. I thought this episode wasn’t bad. It wasn’t good, and I liked Santana overall, but it wasn’t bad. Is it sad if all I ask this show now is to please don’t be offensive?

    Also I thought the whole episode was self mockery. When I saw those pictures of Will as a torero I was scared because I thought they were going to be ignorant and unaware, at least it wasn’t the case.

    • Yea, that’s how I feel too. I mean, this episode wasn’t *amazing* or anything, but I sort of liked how this episode was dedicated to Will sucking at life, and how awful he was.

      Will was being a total asshole like usual, but at least the show was acknowledging that he was an asshole. Also, as bad as it was that “La Isla Bonita” isn’t by an actual hispanic person, I was honestly just relieved that Santana got a song/dialogue, seeing as she’s a main character who is hispanic, and whatnot. I was fully prepared for the writers to make no reference to that, but then she even got to call Will out on sucking at everything, or at least being an awful Spanish teacher. I could have done without her reminding him that he was a great Glee teacher, but I’ll take what I can get at this point.

      Also, I liked that Kurt was rightfully horrified that Finn and Rachel were engaged. That’s two entire character moments that made sense, its almost a record!

      • “Will was being a total asshole like usual, but at least the show was acknowledging that he was an asshole.” – yeah that’s what I mean, he is usually an asshole but the plot is trying to sell us that he is a really good guy, just like it happens with Finn all the time. At least this time the show acknowledged he was in fact being a huge douche.

        When Kurt went “SHUT UP!!? What about NYADA!?” he mirrored my two basic thoughts regarding that storyline, haha.

  5. even though you warned that this may be a terrible recap, it was absolutely hilarious and spot on as usual! loved the line about brittany demonstrating sex with santana. also, kudos for linking to todd vanderweff’s work. he’s my second favorite glee recapper. he actually sort of liked this episode, but only because he was paying more attention to petting his cat than to the show, and because he chose to view it as a very dark, twisted story about will’s painful inadequacy.

  6. Do public high school teachers really get tenure? I’ve only heard of tenure in reference to college or grad school professors.

    Schue is so bad and inappropriate I’m starting to expect he’s going to morph into the rapist cop that Morrison played on Numb3rs.

    • To the best of my knowledge, tenure is generally automatic in public high schools after a certain period of time. At my high school, teachers had a two-year probationary period. If they weren’t fired during that period, they had automatic tenure from then on out. This sort of system (one-year, two-year or sometimes a few more) is pretty common and is the reason why it can be really hard to get rid of useless teachers, especially since when there’s budget cuts and whatnot the first teachers to get fired are the newest.

      I didn’t actually watch this episode, but the “fight for tenure” like this makes NO sense. Unless Ohio exists in some alternate universe.

      That would be the only rational explanation. Otherwise it would mean that Glee has unrealistic plots and we all know that’s not true!

      • Glee is a show about a bunch of kids singing and dancing and having strange dream sequences and doing synchronized swimming. The teachers want to shoot their students from cannons and make up dance routines involving fireworks and giant stilts. Half of the faculty has committed fireable offenses, and Becky’s inner monologue is in the voice of Helen Mirren.

        This show is irrational and unrealistic and I don’t think it tries to be anything different. Except gay. I think it should try to be more gay.

      • The “fight for tenure” is actually only a thing at the university level. Public elementary, middle, and high schools across the US have automatic tenture after a certain number of years in the classroom (with varying rules about how long you have to be in the same school/district), but that’s the subject of intense reform currently, so it will likely change in the next few years.

        • Let’s forget about tenure for a second, and remember how you actually get a job as a teacher in Ohio. First you have to go to college and ACTUALLY STUDY A SUBJECT. Then you have to take A REALLY FUCKING HARD FOUR HOUR TEST that proves you know everything about said subject and it costs hundreds of dollars. And then you graduate and move back in with your mom because there are no teaching jobs in Ohio, and cry and drink wine, and fill out job applications every single day for about a year, and pray someone gets pregnant or fired and you can get a long term sub job. And then your entire first year is like a year long-job interview while you convince them they should keep you and not include you in budget cuts when the school tax levy does not pass. And if Ricky Martin comes in and takes your job, you don’t get to just be a history teacher instead.

          Glee writers, there are soooo many unemployed Spanish teachers who hate you for giving Will Scheuster a job because “it was the only open position.” Fuck that Glee writers. If you are going to make my profession look like a bunch of idiots, at least give Britney more screen time.

  7. Also, while there were oh so many things to cringe at in this episode, I felt that whole Nene Leaks (forgot her character’s name) convo with Sue was entirely unnecessary and harsh. I really don’t understand where these writers are coming from and I feel incredibly foolish for even trying. Do they go to work everyday and use those creative writing games where storylines are printed on popsicle sticks and just choose at random to finish a script?

    I’m glad you guys tweeted back to the “This is How We Live, No Fucks To Give” article ’cause now I offically give no fucks about this show.

  8. I literally couldn’t stand Mr. Schue from the moment the episode started until it ended. And that’s a first. The horrible opening sequence, and then him being a complete douche to Emma, and then him being all “I’m a white, adult, male” and therefore I know more about Latin culture than the hispanic, teenage, female in my class. It all just really grinded my gears.

    This says it all: http://27.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_lz2555hX2c1qgmqqpo1_500.gif

  9. I thought that this episode was one of the best of the season, to be honest. Irreverent, sort-of funny in a disturbing way, and then with a giant PSA as the finale. I think (hope?) that the show is more self-aware than it gets credit for.

    Sort of related: Todd was also on-point when he said that this episode was strongly reminiscent of the first half of the season one, with its focus on ‘how life is’ in the majority of the US. Scheuster’s life is terrible and without direction, and he isn’t doing his students any favors. Seeing as how this episode was written by Ian Brennan, it maybe shouldn’t be too much of a surprise.

    I’m generally with you, Riese, on most things, but I feel that we were watching different episodes of television on this one.

  10. I don’t think the show’s writers intended to make Will Schuester anything but a hero from the beginning, so while it’s vaguely interesting to see that someone at Glee finally realized that he comes off as an ignorant ass, I think it’s far from them being self aware. I mean, if a show needs to devote the bulk of an episode to address one character’s unintentional shittiness, it’s reaching a whole new level of jumping the shark. And while I can see how Will’s self-actualization might masquerade as character development, it seems more like an attempt by the show’s writers to restore his likeability (Watch our Will Schuester consider the opinions of minorities!) and retain the status quo. But I suppose those of us still watching have come to accept that Glee traded decent plot and character development for itunes singles and flashy guest stars a long time ago.

    I’m also holding out hope that Quinn’s Yale acceptance was a terrible joke Idina Menzel played on her for trying to get protective services to steal her baby. : )

  11. This episode was terrible and boring and I kept wanting to rip my eyes out and throw them at the TV. The only thing that kept me watching was Ricky Martin because there is a special place in my heart for him.

    Also, Santana’s Spanish is actually pretty bad but she’s the only good part of this show and that speech at the end was amazing so it’s ok.

    • Every. Single. Time. I see Santana speaking Spanish, I scream at my laptop “YOU SPEAK SPANISH LIKE A WHITE PERSON.”

      Modifiers:
      1. I am Chinese American, and I speak Spanish — let’s say intermediately/somewhat fluently/I can have conversations in it and often do when I do Activism(tm), but I don’t think I’m quite fluent yet.

      2. I don’t speak Chinese almost at all, so I actually have this irrational dislike of white people who speak Chinese better than me. Well..less dislike, more they-raise-issues-of-my-own-inadequacy-to-represent-my-ethnic-heritage-in-this-ridiculously-racist-country.

      3. Thus if someone shouted at me “YOU SPEAK CHINESE LIKE A WHITE PERSON” I would be kind of be amused, as long as they were also another person of color.

      4. Does this make it okay to shout at Santana on the TV?

      4b. Do I overanalyze myself? Almost certainly.

  12. This episode had moments of: “What the ever loving fuck is this?” “HOT DAMN SANTANA YES PLEASE” and “When is this over?”

    This recap though, gave me this and made me nearly fall off the bed laughing: “I BET SHE’S ONE OF THOSE GIRLS WHO CAN ORGASM JUST FROM STRETCHING AT THE GYM”

    (She must get that from Brittany)

  13. I could not agree more with this recap. This was hands down the worst Glee episode of yet. I’ve been pretty disappointed in this season in general, but this episode took the cake. So many bad stereotypes, so much bad music, and once again no lesbian action. The worst.

  14. “Back in the auditorium, respite arrives in the form of Ricky Martin and Santana Lopez doing a strange but exciting duet to Madonna’s “La Isla Bonita,” because why do Spanish songs by Spanish people when you can do a Spanish song by a white person?!” – Exactly! I was waiting for Santana to do Shakira or something so I was really disappointed when she didn’t, but then I remembered that Madonna gave Glee rights to her catalog or something, so why bother with a new artist when you already have a song that has something in spanish on its title?

    Also, Naya’s spanish is really really bad, I wish the writers would stop forcing it into her dialogue.

    Also, Mr Martinez’s parents are from Chile, I’m from there too, that made me smile. That was the only part of the episode that I liked, that and Santana’s speech.

  15. wow, there was so much wrong with this episode. One of the most glaring things I noticed was the whole plot line centered around Santana telling off Will for being an asshole who perpetuated stereotypes and then the show goes on to have Ricky Martin say that his parents were illegal immigrants.. I don’t know if it’s the unconvincing acting that did it or the hypocrisy but ..the dissonance! I don’t understand why Sue is having a child, since it does not make any sense in any context, but the scene with Nene and Sue made me vomit in my mouth a bit- what was that? Who says those things?

  16. worst.episode.ever.!! i seriously felt like i was asleep with my eyes open while watching it, i couldn’t even feign interest if someone was holding a knife to my throat forcing me to like it, i would have just chosen the consequences..the only thought i had during the commercial breaks, when i was snapped out of my brief self induced coma, was that the glee writers must have the easiest job in the world..simply because they don’t write anything substantial, maybe ryan murphy is paying 1st graders to write episodes to cut costs due to low ratings, because certainly second graders could write a more substantial script with an actual plot, and that would just cost too much..i want to thank the glee writers for stealing an hour of my life that i could never get back..

  17. I believe the chiste’s mostly on us, the watchers, for, you know, watching.

    I thought this recap was funny, in a sad, I-understand-your-lack-of-enthusiasm kind of way. I was laughing with you, Pia (and you do know how to break those pages like the best of ’em—fun!).

    [PSI: El iTunes Store es la tienda musical número uno del mundo. Está disponible en América Latina y en muchos otros países. Descarga todos los discos de Glee™ ahora, y recibe gratis “La Cucaracha,” auténticamente interpretada por Míster Guillermo Schuester.]

  18. Dudes. Where is Tina? I was wondering if my eyes were playing tricks on me. But she wasn’t there. I like to pretend it’s cuz Jenna Ushkowitz was all “Um… Screw this show.” But she’s going to be on this train wreck for years and years.

    I was hoping for one of the glee kids to go “This is why I take French.” Or something because 1) A Little Less Conversation was just awful and 2) Why is everyone taking Spanish on this show?

  19. – I thought the NeNe and Sue face-off was quite hilarious, especially with Santana referencing the “with whose vagina” bit later on. The Sue pregnancy story line however, was completely ridic as ush, I agree.

    – I actually thought Sam’s “and I wont stop till it’s trending” was incredibly cute. D’awwwwwwww. I can’t help that I like this couple. And as for the “racist aspect”, I’m pretty sure Emma would’ve given that “So you’re a two-timin Ho” pretty everyone, including white chicks, so I see no problem here.

    – Brittana canoodled during Mercedes song!

  20. I’ve been watching Glee through my hands recently. It’s too embarrassing otherwise. However, I would pretty much watch Naya Rivera read a phone book, soooo. Ricky Martin was fun here too. Can he just make Will go away?

  21. This recap totally summaries my reaction with this episode. I’m Spanish and -although no offended because, c’mon, this is the most Glee can do- I was relieved when the final credits appeared. They sang the crappiest songs ever -we have good music too, damn it!. Oh, and the whole “torero” Mr. Shue did? No, no, no! Most of Spanish people aren’t fond of that sadistic tradition. This episode probably wanted to be a critic to racism, but it ended being 43 minutes of offensive stereotypes and general crappy non-sense.

  22. Santana made the whole episode worth watching for me. I beamed with pride when she stood up for her culture, given that most of the time, we, latinos are portrayed as bean eating wetbacks…

    This episode made me really hate Mr. Shue… who is probably the biggest pendejo (second to Finnocence).

    Finally, RICKY… oh Ricky Fucking Martin… I can’t deny that I have always had a man crush on Ricky, ever since he was in that novela “Alcanzar una estrella” and I was a closeted 12 yr old little lesbian… He is just… hmmm papasito… and him+dancing with Naya, Jesus…

    Where are my panties?

  23. If anyone cares, mexican hipster boots are totally a thing. Except they aren’t actually worn by hipsters. People waer them in Texas clubs and you can get ones that are long enough to hold while you dance

    • THIS. Finn’s body roll was seriously the most cringe-worthy part of the episode. I actually started shouting “OHGODOHGOD MAKE IT STOP” and had to leave the room for the duration of the song.

  24. Why the f*uck, Glee? I found this episode really disturbing. So many awesome songs in spanish could be on that episode, but no, they instead preferred to have bad latino stereotypes. I feel somehow offended by it.

    Also, if Ricky’s character is from chilean heritage, why don’t they make a research about the greatest hits of latin rock? La Ley is an example of good latin rock, and they are from Chile. Just sayin’… because if I begin to write a list of good latin music, I won’t end in this lifetime.

    I just think Glee didn’t make the homework and did a sh!tty episode that should never be mentioned.

  25. My question about this episode was why did Santana appear rather more interesting in Ricky Martin’s sexiness than the average lesbian? Like… She was more into him than most of the show’s straight girls.

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