Glee Episode 205: Rocky Horror Glee Show, Extra Genderf*ckery Edition

Hi, this episode of Glee really affected me personally in my soul because I LOVE ROCKY HORROR. I knew it was gonna be epic when it opened with the signature Rocky Horror lips singing Science Fiction (Double Feature). I think it was Santana singing that one, and it wasn’t the only time the show flipped the gender of the performers.

“There’s no way I’m playing a transvestite in fishnets and high heels wearing lipstick,” says Kurt when granted the role of Frank N. Furter by Mr. Shue. Mike Chang stepped up for a hot minute but his parents ixnayed that “wearing a bustier in front of the whole school” idea. BUT MERCEDES KNOCKED IT OUT OF THE PARK. Don’t Dream It, Be It for real.

It was an interesting choice but a perfect one — Mercedes’ attitude and soul was way more important than whether Frank is a man or a woman. That’s the Rocky Horror spirit, and I’m glad Glee didn’t care too much either. A reinterpretation instead of a remake!

Also omg Barry Bostwick cameo’ed! Barry Bostwick interacting with Jane Lynch on my teevee was the realization of a dream I didn’t even know I had.

So did Meatloaf, I guess, but he was unrecognizable — Aging Republican Senator or Aging Rockstar? — and also, he’s Meatloaf.

The first number — Hot Patootie (Rest My Soul) — offered an opportunity for Brittany and Santana to dance together. Do you follow On Wednesdays, We Wear Pink? Because you should. They have animated gifs there like this:

Song selection was well-played: we got the soundtrack essentials like “The Time Warp” (obvs) and “Sweet Transvestite” and left the weird tracks out.

Oddly enough, they also used Touch-a Touch-a Touch-a Touch Me, during which Emma and Mr. Schuester basically had simulated sex. It was weird and unnecessary and I don’t really want to talk about it.

Thank god Brittany and Santana kept popping back up in the scene … and went home all riled up. That’s more like it.

Sidenote, who knew John Stamos could sing? I should’ve paid more attention in Full House, because apparently Uncle Jessie had a band. Through some tenuous logic by Sue, Stamos ended up playing Eddie and was kinda good, though he could lose the sideburns.

There was a big focus on male body image issues in this one, interestingly enough. Usually Glee takes on issues that are either cutting edge or so five years ago, then handle said issues with something vacillating between totally-offensive, groundbreaking or totally pandering.

Generally, when they do the cutting edge, they have a tendency to make me uncomfortable — not that male body insecurities are super cutting edge, but it’s rarely touched upon. Anndd…. I didn’t feel weird about this one. It was well-handled.

Yeah, yeah, it’s kind of weird for a guy with the figure of Cory Monteith to be the one with issues. But that’s how it happens in real life. Because EVERYONE has body image issues. Even the guys with six packs — I’m lookin’ at you Sam/Rocky.

In the end, the kids weren’t allowed to perform Rocky Horror for the school, for reasons that should’ve been PAINFULLY OBVIOUS TO WILL when he hatched this whole scheme to impress Emma. That was an uncommon bow to realism on the part of the writers. I guess not even those guys could explain how a public school would ever allow that musical.

I’ll leave you with the Brittany Quote of the Week:

Kurt: So what are you gonna be for Halloween this year?

Brittany: I’m going as a peanut allergy.

Glee returns in two weeks with promises of Livin’ On a Prayer. Oh, and if you’re interested, the Glee Christmas album is available for pre-order on iTunes! You can also get the soundtrack from this episode: Rocky Horror Glee Show.


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Sarah lives in Chicago with her partner and her big white Great Dane. She is a lawyer by day and a beer brewer/bread baker/knitter by night. She & her partner are currently learning how to grow their own food, and eventually they hope to move to a small farm outside the city. In 2009-2010, before jetting off to law school, Sarah was Autostraddle's Managing Editor.

Sarah has written 127 articles for us.


  1. “Touch-a Touch-a Touch-a Touch Me” was Jayma Mays’s Glee audition song (I don’t know why I know that!). So, sneaky in-joke maybe?

  2. “Touch-a Touch-a Touch-a Touch Me” was Jayma Mays’s Glee audition song (I don’t know why I know that! Also Jayma Mays is the lady who plays Emma, if you weren’t aware). So, sneaky in-joke maybe?

  3. Pretty sure it was Santana singing at the science fiction? No matter who it was though, it was amazing! (As was the whole show :])

  4. This reminds me of the time at summer camp when my counsellor thought it would be an excellent idea to perform ‘Time Warp’ for pre k and k children in the talent show. We were 10. By far, my favorite memory.

  5. Still have yet to watch the episode, but…I previewed the Christmas album, and…who the hell is singing? It sounds like a bunch of 40 year old men.

    Is it because it’s a “tribute” to Glee Christmas, and not actually the cast? Isn’t that more of a tribute to Christmas, then?

  6. I love you Autostraddle, but it was Kurt and not Tina who asked Britney what she was going to be for Halloween. How could you!

    • You’re right about that – Kurt asks Brittany that 4 minutes and 45 seconds into the show. Thank you Hulu. ;)

      Also, I never want to see Mr. Shue with his shirt off ever again. Ever.

  7. Honestly, I thought that was a pretty terrible episode, even for Glee. The songs were pretty good, but I kind of wish they had all been performed on stage instead of in that stupid rehearsal room where everything happens. Actually, you know what I really wish? That they would make the show like a regular musical where the songs are incorporated into the storyline instead of just being performances. But I guess for that you need a storyline.

    Highlights of the episode:
    I still wish that they had had Kurt play Frank N Furter, but Mercedes’ voice was pretty kick ass. I don’t know why they don’t give her more songs/plot points in general.

    I actually liked the Touch-a Touch Me song. Yes in the context of the story it was a hundred percent creepy, and completely out of character. But if you pretend that it had nothing to do with episode, and just watched it like a music video, and turn it off right before all the weird faces, you realize that Jayma Mays is actually TOTALLY SEXY.

    The best part of this episode of Glee was that it was followed by TWO NEW episodes of Raising Hope, which is a hilarious and awesome show.

  8. Touch-a Touch-a Touch-a Touch Me made me generally uncomfortable. Because all I could think about was how Will just told ab-boy it’d be inappropriate for him to play some of the aspects of that role. But then during the song all I could think about was how Rachel was actually the one cast as Janet. Obvs it wasn’t meant to go that far but I was very distracted by all of Emma’s wandering hands and how if they performed it, they’d be Rachel’s. Just sayin.

    Overall though, I really enjoyed it and rediscovered again (for like, the billionth time in my life) that I will always, always love Uncle Jesse. I mean, he’s so handsome, you know.

  9. No one’s mentioned how they edited the word transsexual out of Sweet Transvestite. Would that have been a safe harbor issue, because if not that’s pretty fucking bad.

    • I wonder if they did it because of the FCC or if they did it because they thought Sue would’ve probably made that change.

  10. This was the most watchable episode of Glee, by far. I’m saying that as a fan of the show! It was perfect.

  11. Because RHS/RHPS fans are pedants:

    Science Fiction/Double Feature wasn’t exactly genderflipped; in the stage show Magenta sings that song in her role as the Usherette. In the film, yeah, Richard O’Brian sings it but with Patricia Quinn’s lip-syncing, so a true genderflip would either have had male lips/female voice or just a male voice.

    Just sayin’. Couldn’t have people being wrong on the internet, now.

  12. Public service announcement: Ladies who live in Boston – if you were watching this at home on your couch, you were in the wrong place.

    My sister went to dBar, which becomes Gleebar on Tuesday nights. Us. Pumpkin martinis. Tons of very happy gay men (and a few lesbians) standing room only watching Glee Rocky Horror. Dancing, participating, cheering for Brit and Santana dancing together (they liked all the abs too, it seemed).

    Of course, now I have to watch the episode again tonight because I missed a bunch of lines while I was laughing, but whatevs – get over here next week!

  13. I didn’t like this episode. They made the Rocky Horror seem creppy and inappropriate when it’s really not. I watched the original for the first time when I was about ten and it’s been one of my favourites ever since. I think the problem for me with the Glee episode was that they lost all the fun and ridiculous campy over the top style of the original and made it seem like it was all about deviance.
    I did love Mercedes though and Brittany as Columbia.
    Also I grow to hate Mr Schue more every week and this episode seemed to be the height of his creepiness.

  14. Someone on tumblr directed me to here saying you had mentioned my blog. I just wanted to say how kind of you that was and thank you.

    Your review was great, and i like how you appreciate the fact it didn’t matter Mercedes was a woman playing Frank. I’ve seen many negative reactions to her role saying, she was unsuitable, Glee has ruined the character and the song etc. Which is absolutely ridiculous because Glee wasn’t trying to do justice to Rocky Horror, (lets face it no one can) but show it’s own interpretation. If people stopped hating so quickly and took a second to see that the show is all about personal interpretation on the messages it is attempting to get across, they would enjoy it more.

  15. I was a little disappointed in this episode, tbh. I don’t know what I expected , but it wasn’t that. I really liked how they dealt with the boys’ body issues, though.

    Years ago in London I saw the stage show (and got to meet Richard O’Brian) and loved it. The row in back of me was full of French schoolgirls and nuns, and I’ve often wondered what they made of it.

  16. lately when sue tries to sabotage will, i’m sometimes on her side because i cannot take any more mr.shue nonsense.

    • Agreed. Mr. Shue acts more like a foolhardy teen than some of his students. This whole “oh I’m gonna do a musical she can’t resist to maybe get in her pants even though she’s taken” thing was just such… douchebaggery. I was rooting for Sue the whole time.

        • “I will go to the animal shelter and get you a kitty cat. I will let you fall in love with that kitty cat; and then on some dark cold night, I will steal away into your home, and punch you in the face.”

          I vote on Sue’s plan.

    • Yes. This. He makes my skin crawl.

      Honestly, I only made it through part of the episode and then I turned to better things (coughLipServicecough).

  17. “It was an interesting choice but a perfect one — Mercedes’ attitude and soul was way more important than whether Frank is a man or a woman. That’s the Rocky Horror spirit, and I’m glad Glee didn’t care too much either. A reinterpretation instead of a remake!”

    Except…she’s not a transsexual, then? Also, it plays into the stereotype of Black women as masculine…

    Also, what was with not being able to say transsexual?

  18. So after shadowcast rehearsal for my college’s RHPS, the dude who plays Rocky and I (I AM COLUMBIA) went to go watch this. I was watching it because it was RHPS. He was watching it because he loves Glee.

    I yelled at the screen. I nearly cried. I yelled at my rocky. we ate reeses puffs.

    And in the end, I was just reminded that Shadowcasts are awesome, and Glee is run by the evil Fox agenda.
    And then Rocky and I drank orange juice.

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