Episode 519: Old Dogs, New Tricks, Good Bitches, Bad Songs
Alright on to the nineteenth recap of the fifth season of Glee, Old Dog, New Tricks; an episode that was written by Chris Colfer and aired on May 6th, the day before my 26th birthday! Was this episode a birthday gift from the Lesbian TV Gods?
No. No it was not.
We open on Kurt who is, as you know doing his best impersonation as Freddy from Scooby Doo. Yet again.
Like I don’t know who’s running the costume department these days but, seriously, move on from the neck tie. He’s gay not a Ken doll.
Kurt invites his friends to go see a movie or something but they’re all far to busy having their own lives except Santana who is busy dying her hair blonde and starring in My Dreams.
Just as the group is about to settle into a nice long discussion of How Can Rachel Get Her Good Image Back After Lying and Missing A Performance, Rachel sees a woman stuff a dog into a purse.
Now, I don’t know, maybe that woman’s dog like being in that purse. My girlfriend’s cat exclusively like small confined places and I chronically find her like wedge behind drawers and stuff. But, we’re to assume this dog doesn’t want to be confined to a purse and Rachel give the owner a piece of her mind. It’s settled then, Rachel’s new cause will be animal rights.
Is it just me or does this feel familiar?
Later, at the Spotlight Marching Band Diner, Kurt meets an sweet older lady who wants to hang a sign for the Home For Retired Performers You’ve Never Heard Of’s performance of Peter Pan.
Kurt is so struck with this random woman’s chutzpah to put on a show featuring adults pretending to be children that he must immediately stop doing any work to sit down and talk with her. Kurt laments that his friends are all too busy for him and never even want to go to Cubby Hole anymore. The woman sympathizes with Kurt saying that most of her friends “can’t hear anymore,” which I take to be a euphemism for “have died.”
Suddenly Kurt realizes that he and this woman have been talking for hours without introduction and the two exchange names. The woman turns out to be, you guessed it, a retired broadway star you’ve never heard of: Maggie Banks. You might remember Maggie Banks as the lesbian lover of Helen Lyndon Goff who was written out of Saving Mr. Banks.
Just as the two’s conversation heats up, a couple of guys in white come to cart Maggie back to Xaviar’s Retirement Home For Gifted Elderly Folks. I hate the portrayal of nursing homes or assisted living facilities as places where we restrict older adults to prevent them from having any fun almost as much as I do the depiction of older adults as large children who need carting about. Blech.
Elsewhere in the city, Mercedes, Rachel, Sam and Artie head over to a local dog shelter to start planning their big event. The owner of the shelter doesn’t seem to care about Broadway much, but when Rachel says he won’t have to do any work he’s totally in.
As cute as the pups all are, they get one whiff of Lea Michele’s perfume for Candie’s and start barking like mad. What’s a group of former Glee clubbers to do? Duh! Sing! Fortunately Sam even has his guitar! This is a totally great idea because there is nothing, I mean nothing, that scared, rescued abused dogs love more than loud music.
Missing a perfect opportunity to sing Who Let the Dogs Out, the group instead sings Modern English’s classic song about sex-during-nuclear-war-turned-Hershey’s-commercial I’ll Melt With You.
A two hour sunway ride away in Bushwick, Santana and Rachel discuss Rachel’s new charity project Broadway Bitches. This starts a 50 minute experiment in which Glee attempts to see how many times it can use the phrase “bitches” in one hour. Santana explains that she’s orchestrated a plan to have Rachel photographed wearing a designer dress while walking three dogs. She also is dressed like the most delicious yellow-dress banana of all time.
As the two are chatting Kurt pops in and asks if he can help out with Rachel’s charity show. Now, as you may remember from last week, we’re doing this thing where Kurt isn’t talented and no one wants him around even though like three weeks ago it was decided that he’s studly and all the other gay boys want him. Whatever.
So Kurt can’t be in the show and in his sorrow he heads over to Xaviar’s Retirement Home For Gifted Elderly Folks. He arrives just as they are having a dress rehearsal for Peter Pan. The scene is just one joke on older folks after the next that culminates in the nonchalant death of the women playing Peter.
It is at exactly this moment that it becomes apparent that this entire script was written so that Chris Colfer could play Peter Pan. And he will, but not without an audition first! These folks are desperate for a new Peter, but not so much as so they would cast him without hearing him sing first.
Kurt does his best rendition of Memories and I roll my eyes so hard that I dislodge one of my contact lenses and spend the next five minutes trying to fish it out.
Over in Manhattan, Sam and Artie play video games and hang out with Sam’s new dog that he adopted from the shelter. Mercedes comes home and is furious because she never said Sam could get a dog and clearly he is irresponsible.
This, kids, is why you don’t UHaul.
When you live separately from your girlfriend of two weeks you can get a dog and all she can do is tell you it’s a bad idea. If you live with her though, she can actually make you return the puppy. Similarly if you live separately from your girlfriend and she gets a dog you can play with it without worry. If you live with her that dog will chew every last thing you own.
While Mercedes and Sam sort out their dog problems (another great song that missed its opportunity here), Rachel does her faux dog walking situation.
Of course we’ve all seen a romantic comedy before so we know as soon as someone is eating a sandwich that the dogs are going to take off and pull Rachel ass over head.
Also one humps some guy’s leg.
Back in Bushwick the girls debrief the publicity stunt gone wrong. Santana is pretty unconcerned but Rachel is, as usual, freaking out.
Kurt comes home and announces his new part to the girls. They are, understandably, pretty unimpressed with his new role. You know, because I would say it’s approximately at the professional level of high school theater. Still, Kurt is pretty bummed when the girls tell him that they can’t miss the show because they’ll be at the charity event that Kurt already knew was that night.
At one of New York City’s finest dog parks, Sam and Artie set off to train the misbehaving pup. Now, anyone who has ever owned a dog knows it takes basically daily training for months before you have an obedient dog, but we don’t have that kind of time. What we have time for is a musical montage!
While this would be a perfect opportunity for Sam to train his dog to Led Zeppelin’s Black Dog, he instead goes for Werewolves of London.
I actually love Werewolves of London because my best friend from high school used “I saw a Werewolf drinking a pina colada at Trader Vicks and his hair was perfect” as her senior quote and it felt like a big secret only we knew about. I particularly love Werewolves of London because it has no deeper meaning. It’s just about werewolves hanging out in London.
Over at Xaviar’s Retirement Home For Gifted Elderly Folks Kurt discovers that doing a sub-community theater level performance is not all it’s cracked up to be. Some of the actors even wonder why they decided to do Peter Pan, a show about children refusing to grow up. I agree since many older folks struggle with their adult offspring treating them like children. Perhaps Chicago or Rent would have gotten the Young And Hip point across better.
The rehearsal is interrupted when Maggie receives flowers from her daughter, Clara, who cannot attend the show. A nearby nurse immediately informs Kurt that actually Maggie just sends herself flowers. Clara doesn’t visit Maggie anymore and is probably a terrible person we should villainize despite not knowing anything about her circumstances.
Kurt is unable to mind his own business and takes a scooter to god-knows-where to find Clara. He lies his way into her law office and promptly starts telling her how she simply MUST reunite with her mother. Clara explains that her mother was neglectful growing up and that she doesn’t have a good relationship with her.
I have a good relationship with my folks, but I’m on team Clara. I really hate when people on TV make reconciling with abusive or neglecting parents something everyone should strive for. You don’t owe them anything.
A hour cab ride up to Manhattan, Mercedes comes home to find Sam on the couch with the pup. While he is quick to point out that he’s trained the dog, Mercedes still doesn’t think Sam is smart enough to take care of himself left alone another living thing. Sam is quick to point out that during the second and third season he wasn’t actually a one dimensional cartoon character but a full-fledged person who supported and helped his family while they were homeless.
And I feel like it’s in the middle of this fight about whether or not they can take care of a dog that I realize the problem I’ve been having with this season of Glee is that the characters new “adult” lives are impossible to buy because everyone last one of them has regressed instead of grown over the course of the fourth and first half of the fifth season. They feel even more like high school students than when they started.
At the Broadway Bitches charity event Santana shows off her publicist chops once again orchestrating an adoption drive. Santana even pics an adorable three-legged dog for Rachel to pose with.
This little plan goes awry when a woman and her son try to adopt the needy dog. Being batshit crazy Rachel refuses and, despite the fact that she is the only person on the show with a brain cell, Santana also refuses. The woman leaves calling Rachel a self-obsessed fake liar which is totally hurtful and mostly pretty true.
Meanwhile, Kurt prepares backstage for his big debut and Chris Colfer finally gets to wear the Peter Pan costume he so obviously wanted to wear so much that he simply had to drag us through the mud of this episode.
Rachel calls and the two reconcile as Kurt discovers that, yes, for the eighth episode in a row Rachel has realized that she’s been being a bad friend and is determined to turn over a new leaf.
I can’t have this be the plot of every episode of Glee anymore. It’s killing me, it’s killing all of us. Most literally, it is killing the show.
Regardless the show much go on, the lights dim and Kurt takes the stage to do a rendition of I Gotta Crow or Never Never Land or better yet I Won’t Grow Up. Just kidding they do fucking Lucky Star and it is just so painful. At least Clara shows up to see her mother perform.
After the performance Clara and Maggie reconcile but I don’t care because I’m not remotely invested in these characters I just met 22 minutes ago.
Just to make sure Kurt gets exactly all the support he wants/deserves, his friends also announce they’ve hire a bus to drive the entire cast down to the Spotlight Marching Band Diner where they can also perform the show again! I hope none of them have evening plans.
At the Spotlight Marching Band Diner everyone sings Take Me Home Tonight and, fortunately, the woman who had tried to adopt the three-legged pup magically shows back up to adopt him.
Even Sam and Mercedes get a happy ending deciding to keep their new dog because, hell, the show could really use some physical comedy.
Best of all Rachel, Kurt and Santana get to do a three-way interview about how they’re best friends and Santana is an amazing publicist.
My hope is that all the talk of Naya leaving Glee is actually just to cover up the start of her spin-off show: Lesbian Publicist in which she plays, you guessed it, a successful singing lesbian publicist.
In conclusion this terrible which is probably why it was the least watched episode in Glee history. Tune in next week when it has to get better because it certainly can’t get any worse!