Ed. note: Gabe Liedman is a stand-up comedian, and one half of the Gabe and Jenny comedy team with Jenny Slate. But at the top of that resume it states that he is Videogum’s Official Expert on this season of Glee.
Joss fucking Whedon you guys, right?! Ugh, wow. Remember when Willow’s girlfriend gets shot by a stray bullet while they’re getting dressed in Buffy’s dead mom’s bedroom and she goes fucking psycho and skins the teenaged killer alive? Glee was so good last night. Maybe it’s the fact that I’d eat cold cat food out of Joss’s mouth just to say I met him, but I actually think he did a sick job of directing last night’s episode. He has a certain touch—this is was very authentically Glee, but with Whedon at the wheel, all the camp, all the archetypically inhuman characters, all the soap opera storylines and saccharine fart dialogue was dialed up and down in perfect balance. It felt real, and fake, and stupid and genius, it fit right in and stood out, and ugh, you guys, I’m cumming?
The episode started out with a new member of the school board coming to McKinley to make some budget cuts—Brian Ryan, Schue’s old Glee Club idol and nemesis, played by Neil Patrick Harris. Brian was the MVP of McKinley’s old Glee Club, with big dreams of becoming a star; but his life derailed somewhere along the cruise ship circuit and he became addicted to crack. Now he’s a born-again global warming denier who spends his time “curing” aspiring singers … GET IT?! (George Rekers is spinning in his fuck sling). He’s gonna cut the Glee Club funding to save some cash, and dash some dreams along the way.
Brian tells all the Gleetards to write down their life’s dream on a piece of paper, then crumple it up and throw it away forever. Tina’s ska-rebellious side fishes Artie’s paper out of the trash, and the poor cripple’s dream is to be a dancer. . She’s a sweet girlfriend, plus she knows some tricks from watching The Craft on her Droid every time someone tries to talk to her, so she’s like “honey, let’s do a dance number this week,” and Artie’s like “m’okay!!!!!!!!”
Jesse’s back from his vacation, and Rachel tells him her dream is to learn about her mystery mom—her dads never told her who she was, and she never asked because she was waiting for this episode about dreams (so many songs have the word ‘dream’ in them!). Jesse agrees to do some research with her, without her dads finding out.
Artie and Tina begin rehearsing their tap routine—Tina with tap shoes, and Artie with taps on his wheelchair wheels. Then Artie gets all brave, and wants to dance using a pair of Forrest Gump crutches he borrowed from a kid with Cerebral Palsy, but he falls right over and is super ashamed of himself. He takes it out on Tina, which is sad, but she’s watching Charmed on her Zune so it’s no big.
Schue asks Brian out on a date to try and convince him not to cut the Glee Club, and get him back in touch with the fairy that lives inside him, behind his abs. Schue takes him to the bar at their local T.G.I.HoulihanBee’s to chew up this hilarious line, and feed it to Brian like a bird feeding her baby:
“Glee Club is not about expressing yourself to everyone else, it’s about expressing yourself to yourself.”
That gay-ass shit reminds me—where the fuck was Kurt this week? I didn’t even see her in the background of any of the numbers! Brittany was at least in the background, even though they didn’t give her a goddamn line or song or any of that shit. See—Kurt’s not even in the background of the final number!
Wait—what’s going on?! Is Kurt okay?! I mean Puck is missing too, but, KURT!!!! NO MORE VIDEOGUM UNTIL I HAVE AN ANSWER.
Oh, right, so Schue is on a date with Brian, and he’s like “express yourself to yourself,” and then they sing “Piano Man” by Billy Joel, karaoke-style, as if they’re just two dudez hangin’ 10.
Brian is so moved by his own masturkaraokeing that he breaks down and realizes he can’t keep living a lie, the way he has been ever since he stopped smoking crack and started being a homophobe. Schue’s finally made a difference in someone’s life—someone other than the houseboy he bought off Craigslist to straight-curl his helmet every morning with a handheld cake mixer. The two decide to get their Glee back by trying out for a community production of Lay Miz.
Jesse and Rachel snoop through Rachel’s dads’ extensive files on her, looking for clues about her mom. While her back is turned, Jesse slips a cassette called “From Mother to Daughter” into the files, and then is like “wha? wha is dis?” and Rachel’s like “OMG!!!” but then is too much of a pussy to listen to it.
It’s Lay Miz audition time, and Brian tries to sabotage Schue by choosing the same audition song as him. But, the lard-ass director doesn’t have time to hear them both Glee, so he makes them sing “Dream On” by Aerosmith as a duet. It’s pretty fucking great, even though we had to wait 20 minutes to get to the first fucking number. That’s so Raven. The two queens tear it up, rock ‘n roll style, and Schue shows off her literally humongous guns, lugging that microphone around like it’s a gallon of Muscle Milk.
Tina and Artie go shopping at the mall to buy him tap shoes, because she read on her minidisc player that stem cell therapy is probably going to be able to let his dead legs dance super soon (George Rekers just fell out of the crib in his sex-baby roleplay set). She wanders away for a second to check out the novelty female condoms at Spencer’s Gifts or some shit, and while he’s alone, Artie has an amazing imagination-number to “The Safety Dance” by Men Without Hats.
Artie (Kevin McHale), a real-life member of the real-life boyband NLT, is an awesome dancer, and the whole fucking mall joins in, including Brittany the Perfect, who obvsnodoy kills it with her perfectness moves. Some asshole filmed it off his/her TV last night. Check it out:
And here’s the audio, because nothing’s perfect am I right? Good thing we’re all reading this on two, side-by-side computers!
Brian’s all reformed now, so instead of cutting Glee Club, he’s gonna cut The Cherrios. He goes and tells Sue all about it, and the two of them go toe-to-twinkle-toe spewing educational statistics into each other’s gender-neutral mugs. They get so horny being mean to each other (literally) that they decide to go to Sue’s secret room in the school (literally) and fuck (literally). Sci-fi.
Jesse meets up with MILF Rachel in her sedan in a rainstorm, and tells her he’s delivered the cassette. We “learn” doyoyoyoyoyoyoyoyoyoyoyoyoy that MILF Rachel is Rachel’s mom, but because of the contract Rachel’s dads made her sign when they knocked her up, she’s not allowed to make direct contact with her until she’s 18. So, Jesse hasn’t been trying to sabotage the Gleetards this whole time, he’s just been MILF Rachel’s tool to get in touch with her daughter—kinda cute, very weird. He tells MILF Rachel that he actually like-likes Rachel Rachel, and that’s kinda nice. Just wait ‘til he finds out she’s Jewish…
Artie goes to talk to Emma about the mental preparation he needs to do to get ready for his inevitable walking career. Emma’s like “uhm…” and does her best to break it to him gently that those dead legs of his are gonna stay dead for a loooong time (unlike Buffy, who dies A LOT but not permanently, it’s just an awesome way to introduce other Slayers like Faith “The Fonz” (ugh she was the worst) and my personal fave Kendra the Reggae Slayer, mon)). This scene between Artie and Emma made me cry pretty hard, thanks in no small part to Emma’s highly-awesome acting skillz. I’ll give Joss Whedon some credit for toning down some of the insane characterizations we’ve seen jazzing their fingers onscreen for 19 episodes so far. Emma, as well dressed and adorable as she is (in person, too—she walked right past me at the Betty White SNL party and I SBD’d pure joy bubbles into my khakis!), is usually all over the damn road—but in this scene, in particular, I was like wow: so, that’s why she’s so famous. Good job Emma, all the devils in your brain can take the day off!
Schue gets cast as Jean Valjean in Lay Miz, and Brian gets cast as Fantine. JK, he gets “Townsperson,” and only has one line. He gets so pissed off that he decides to ruin everyone else’s day too by shutting down the Glee Club once and for all. But, then Schue gives him a talking-to about how when stars die they create Black Holes (he knows all about that, check his browser cookies), and then sacrifices the role of Valjean to Brian to make her happy. Brian IS happy about it, and flits off into the sunset to steal a loaf of bread and scream about it for 3 hours wearing all the makeup in Ohio.
Jesse finally gets Rachel to listen to MILF Rachel’s cassette single. It’s “I Dreamed a Dream,” and Rachel’s like “my mom is Susan Boyle?! No wonder I’m so pretty!” Not really, but that woulda been pretty gr8. Rachel’s so moved by MILF Rachel’s rendition that she sings along, and then they imagination-duet in clingy black dresses—their loose curly brunette layers framing their faces like the masterpieces of flesh art that they are.
MILF Rachel and Rachel are so identical, so talented, the song is so cheesy and perfect—this sequence ruled. No holds barred Glee, unashamed of being cheap fondue, just fucking flooring it before it hardens.
Artie gets real with Tina—he’s not going to walk, or dance, any time soon. Sure, maybe one day, but c’mon. He’s made his peace with his situation, like Lost’s John Locke in alterna-future-present when he and Peg Bundy are like “thanks but no thanks, Dr. Jack, you can keep your experimental surgery and suck a dick.” One thing Artie’s good at is singing, so he sings “Dream a Little Dream” while Tina tap dances with Mike, as the rest of the Gleetards (sans Kurt) look on with meaningful expressions and baby blue shirts.
I sobbed out loud when this happened:
<3 <3 <3 QUINN, why are you so fucking wise, lately?! First you make Mercedes feel so good about her body, and then you comfort Artie with your hand while he watches some stud tap [with] his ska girlfriend?! You’re gonna be a good secret mom from afar—like MILF Rachel, with her perfect pitch and sexual charisma. Aw, remember Charisma Carpenter? Hi, Cordelia!!!! Finding out that you’re poor only made me <3 you more!
Joss Whedon did a bang-up job with this episode of Glee, no surprise. It’s a real shame he didn’t bring back newly-single Miss Emma Caulfield for a cameo—she tore it up in “Once More with Feeling.”