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'Glee': Give back the funk


“Bring in ‘da Noise, Bring in ‘da Funk?”

Well, there was a whole lot of funk – the stinky kind, not the hip-shaking groove that the kids of New Directions were looking for. Given the fact that this was the penultimate episode of the season, all that I could muster up was “what … the … funk?”

There wasn’t a single moment that built the tension I’d expect to see leading into next week's finale (including the return of Terri).

The episode was just one big funked-up mess. 

Jesse bites the dust

Gleeks, I promise you I watched the entire episode (I actually came to Fox an hour early and watched “Hell’s Kitchen” – yes, I forgot “Idol” was off the air just that fast), so excuse me for completely missing the fact that Jesse switched right back over to Vocal Adrenaline. Now, I saw the preview last week just like you, and I knew it was inevitable, but I kind of thought I’d get some explanation. The road the show took? Jesse didn’t like the way he was treated. Well, boo-hoo, Jesse; you never exactly played nicely. You didn’t partake in the Gaga festivities (Where were you anyway?), you went on spring break for a week (seriously, Jesse) and you missed a perfect opportunity to partake in the pretty hair showdown that was Will and guest star Neil Patrick Harris. I fully expected him to switch sides, but I wanted that story to be tied up. Instead we get a haphazard story line of him now “hating” Rachel – and wait, did he sort of blame her before egging her? “I loved you,” he said as if she did something to him. I’m so confused. Vocal Adrenaline decides to show up to McKinley to "tear the roof off the sucker" with a rendition of "Another One Bites the Dust" that was somehow enough to put the Glee kids in a funk (yeah, they made the theme that easy this week). Gosh, these kids can’t be that insecure still, can they? This of course leads to a plot line of revenge and yada, yada, yada.

Tell me that you like it … actually, I don’t

The good news: Sue was back after a brief absence, and her zingers were so wickedly inappropriate (Show of hands, how many parents now have to explain to their kids what herpes is?). The bad news: She was handed the worst story line ever. Look, I got the humor behind pitting her with Will in an ill-fated romance, but come on, really? I checked my calendar and it is June 1, not April 1, and truly a fool cooked up that story line. As harsh as that may sound, having the two of them be anything other than adversaries just doesn’t work for me. I couldn't care less about Will’s revenge-seeking motives. Though him telling her off was brilliant, the story line did nothing but make my stomach, heart and head ache with pain. It was, however, entertaining to see the Cheerios go mad without their fearless leader while she was in her brokenhearted funk over Schue, who stood her up at Breadsticks (I love that Lima only has one nice restaurant).

(Not so) good vibrations

The music selections of the evening were meant to be awkward, right? God, I hope so, because if not I seriously was watching the wrong episode. First, Vocal Adrenaline gave its weakest performance (I thought) with “Another One Bites the Dust.” The only reaction out of me was “meh.” It just seemed to lack that je ne sais quoi they have given us in other performances.

When it came to Will taking on the Rufus and Chaka Khan classic “Tell Me Something Good,” I was game. I had been so sick of seeing this boy rap that it offered a nice reminder of his pipes, though I giggled like a little schoolboy at him shaking his tush – did he actually drop the piece of paper and slowly pick it up? William! Ignoring the fact that he was seducing Sue, I enjoyed the number.

I wish Terri had been given more to do in the episode (minus being a pedobear and flirting up Finn), but thankfully her working with Puck and Finn at Sheets-N-Thangs (that’s how I’d greet customers, FYI) served as the setting for a very neat rendition of Beck’s (I doubt any hipsters are reading, but yes, that Beck) “Loser.” I’ve really appreciated how Puck has been utilized in the back nine.

The most awkward award goes to Quinn and her take on the ultimate funk daddy, James Brown. But I loved the awkwardness of her spin of “It's a Man's Man's Man's World.” Though I’ll admit I couldn’t stop laughing at the Unwed Mothership Connection’s dance moves. Come on, admit they were hilarious – especially how they incorporated old '70s girl-group moves and Lamazed them up. My question is, where has the UMC been all year long to help out ol' Quinn? In keeping up with the newly found relationship between Quinn and Mercedes in the back nine, the tune was a way for her to relate to what Mercedes goes through with her weight. Gosh, that was a cringe-worthy stretch. The girl is curvy, NOT knocked up.

My favorite number, hands down, was “Good Vibrations.” Somewhere Mark Wahlberg is at home, in his Calvin Klein’s, feeling either nostalgic or ashamed. I hope it was the former as Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch (I LOL every time I think about 'em) weren’t that cheesy. OK, yeah they were. But that’s what made the second Puck-and-Finn duet of the night – this time with Mercedes, who oddly played a small role in an episode about funk music – all the more charming. And yes, it left me with good vibrations after some not so good ones.

As for the final group number? Another "meh" moment. Cute to see the kids do "Give Up The Funk,” but after devoting all this time to the feud between the two camps, it’s impossible for me to be OK with the fact that the only thing that terrifies Vocal Adrenaline is a funk number. I guess it’s a nice play on the perfection of the group. Sigh. I guess. Sadly, the episode proved that when the show goes cold, it goes sub-zero “Ice, Ice Baby” cold. However, I’ll turn this to my advantage the next time I have a heated debate with my friend who thinks every waking minute of the show is breathtakingly perfect.

Last week, reader Maya asked me to share my favorite quotes for this show like I did weekly with my “Modern Family” recaps. Well, Maya, I had some favorites – I hope you all laughed as much as I did during these moments.

Sue: Trophies are like herpes. You can try to get rid of them, but they just keep coming. You know why? Sue Sylvester has hourly flare-ups of burning, itchy, contagious talent. 

Will: You know what Wednesday is, right? Hump day.

Quinn: Thinking "Trust me" was a sensible birth-control option.

Sue: That’s what they said about a young man in Chicago in 1971 who thought he’d play a harmless prank on the dairy cow of one Mrs. O’Leary. He successfully ignited his flatulence, and a city burned, William. And that young terrorist went on to become the first gay president of the United States, Abraham Lincoln.”

Sue: Dear Journal: Something strange happened yesterday. I felt something below the neck. Dare I admit it? I have feelings for one Will Schuster. Sexy, non-murdering feelings. Oh, it all makes sense now, journal. True love always springs from true hate. I’ll admit in the past I’ve fantasized about waking up with Will’s head on the pillow next to me, except now I picture it attached to the rest of his body.” 

Reporter: Let us know about the decision you made to have Kurt Hummel here do a 14.5- minute Celine Dion medley entirely in French.

Vocal Adrenaline girl: Well, that's because we're soulless automatons

Terri: We'll type funks into the iTunes, and we'll see what comes up!

With next week finally being regionals, any predictions from our loyal Gleeks? What were your thoughts on the funkdafied episode?

-- Gerrick D. Kennedy


Photo: Amber Riley as Mercedes Jones on "Glee." Credit: Fox


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Comments () | Archives (21)

I'm a bit confused by this posting...or maybe just don't agree...finally having sue back at all was great...the entire scene with will singing to her was hilarious...all the butt shots ha.....finally he got back her once in the entire season...every line she delivers is pretty much the no. 1 reason to start tuning in...this was finally an episode in these back 9 that i watched all the songs and didn't fast forward most of them, like the madonna heavy ep, and pretty much any ballad not from rachel
i do agree having jesse just suddenly leave and turn his back hatefully towards rachel was confusing..not sure if the haphazard writing had anything to do with his gay/straight actor/character article...the way he left made it feel like the entire reason to have him on the show was useless...if we needed an in into Vocal Adrenaline then rachel's mother story line would've done just fine w/o him
now that the finale is next week i'm still unsure bout how the timeline will play in the second season...they already treat the episodes like a real school ala 90210 but once they win next week (of course they have to if the constant threats of shutting them down meant anything) are there going to be state competition? nationals? or are we just gonna start a new school year back at the beginning of competition again?

Yay! you read my comment!!!

I agree with you about the Will "Tell Me Something Good" I could not stop laughing...he totally did "bend and snap" during that episode.

Yeah the show was sort of weak, and I feel like they should of done more with Terri and Will's relationship and Rachel and Jesse's relationship..because even though I know everything..maybe some confrontation alone would of been nice. I also wish something would be done about Kurt and Finn's relationship, and maybe Kurt apologizing for making Finn feel uncomfortable at home since Finn seems to always apologize....(don't want to start anything just both sides would of been good!)

I hope next week was just as amazing as Sectionals! Though when I was looking at the preview for next week, I noticed they were saying "Showchoir championship!" wouldn't it just be "regional championship?" then doesn't it succeed for state and then nationals? I guess I am too much of a show choir know-it-all. ..

anyway, good review...i don't think the episode was awful...just needed more explanation. and my favorite quote is when Shelby said the range rovers are from the booster club...because I am from Indiana and Carmel is a big rival against my school's show choir and the fact they are portrayed with lots of money kind of sums up the way everyone else feels like Carmel...haha

You can't blame Jesse for not participating in the Gaga numbers since he was technically part of Vocal Adrenaline again by that point. Remember, they flipped the air dates of Theatricality and Funk. I did think they didn't do a very good job of showing his motivation to switch though. No love for Sue's line about Will being a good trophy husband and how much she loves trophies?

I too am very confused about the way Jesse acted in this episode. I was thrilled when she got the call from him because I was hoping that would mean some explanation or wrap up conversation. Now, I don't see how that is even possible. However..... Maybe it was just me but did I see some hesitation and lack of conviction on his face as he saw her running towards him/egging her. Kinda like Finn and the football team - doesn't want to but has to in order to save face with the team? Wishful thinking because I have loved Jesse up until now - despite his sneakiness....

I agree that it was a pretty weak episode. I always like the pentultimate episode because it usually is setting up the finale. But I found myself wanting the episode to be over. I found Will's behavior to be cruel and didn't find it funny. I like how he told her off, but I think his behavior was too much.

I think the whole Jesse thing hasn't been handled well all season. They introduce him, with a ridiculous reason for transferring, then they don't use him at all during the season. Then he leaves with no explanation. I mean, aren't there attendance requirements at any of these schoosl.

He keeps ping ponging back and forth and it has ruined his character for me. I am not emotionally tied to the character because it has been all over the map, through no fault of his. I don't think his character was mapped out from the beginning and they don't know what to do with him.

I don't think the writers mapped out a storyline for the back nine episodes because they don't have a main focus. I fear that it might end up like Heroes that was so promising and then went all over the place with no storlyine mapping.

I think they lose next week. It will set up next season with the group disbanded and then they have to fight to get back together.

I laughed through a lot of the show. Puck and Finn as apron wearing stock boys doing spanish rap...hilarious. Quinn dancing and singing with her fake belly and the other unwed mothers doing their breathing exercises while doing ballet...cracked me up. Seeing Kurt in the background doing a very good split jump and high kick in his cheerios outfit while Coach Sue was interviewed...priceless. I liked it. I especially liked the dance number where the other Asian showed his stuff, Becky the blonde cheerios kicked butt and Puck scissor kicked his way down the train row. To me the highlight of the show was Mr. Shue seducing Coach Sue in song. The saddest part was Rachel getting egged. Kids are cruel and Jessie...just became most hated Glee dude ever. He should have stopped vocal adrenaline. Boo Jessie.

100% felt absolutely the same. As soon as I finished watching, I posted "Sad to report I'm officially over Glee. Blasphemy, I know, but honestly the format and musical numbers can only sustain it so far - a little more story development, depth of character, and momentum building could go a long way. The back nine has left much to be desired."

I have no idea who is friends with who, who hates who, who is in love with who - nothing. No momentum leading up the finale, nothing. And I absolutely LOVED the first half of the season.

While they haven't done a great job of handling Jesse, I think most of the audience should pay closer attention as well. I think Jesse's still upset over the "Run Joey Run" video and he being the melodramatic person that he is wanted revenge. He already admitted that he wanted to win regionals and that it would a good acting exercise but he also admitted that he developed feelings for Rachel. Those feelings however were practically null and void after the "Run Joey Run" video but he was willing to play along to break Rachel's heart. When he said "I loved you" right before he crushed the egg on Rachel I feel like that was a direct reference to his line a few weeks ago "you broke my heart first." In real life, people hardly ever do anything for only one reason because we're complex creatures so I don't understand why people expect simplicity from characters on TV.

I don't get the terri quote, the one about typing fubks into iTunes, how is it funny? Can someone explain?

Email me on [email protected]

Or reply please :)

I'm pretty sure that Quinn and Mercedes bonded because she is black, and therefore "oppressed" and judged unfairly, just as Quinn is judged unfairly for being a teen mother. At least thats what I took it as.

Agreed. Aside from a few good lines from Sue and the kids (loved Quinn's "trust me" quip), it was yet another episode with an arbitrary rather than organic premise -- like the Gaga and Madonna eps -- and thus seemed as forced and flat as both of those. And am I alone in thinking that "glee" -- both the show and the type of school singing group -- is supposed to be, well, group singing? TV is allowed some creative license for drama's sake, of course, but actual competitive choir singing involves very few of the types of solos so abundant in this show (chorales don't have "lead singers" like Rachel and Jesse) and a limited amount of dancing, if any. ("Another One Bites the Dust" was not a glee number. It was a dance exhibition.) "Glee" 's story format is fast becoming tired, and many of its characters are morphing from being entertainingly larger than life into being unrelatably surreal. Ryan Murphy, et al, would be wise to ground the show in a bit more reality, and to make more consistently solid musical choices. Diana Agron is a complete babe and a winning actress, but I don't ever -- ever -- want to hear her sing James Brown again.

Give a soap opera caliber storyline some zesty musical numbers, and presto, Glee.

Can you find another show with characters so impossibly shallow or thin skinned?

I guess I don'u understand why everyone is so serious about analyzing this show. It's a fun light hearted show. Can we please stop with the over analyzing?

@XM: but high-school kids ARE impossibly shallow and thin-skinned...

I just wanted to point out that in the episode where Jesse gives Rachel the tape of her mom singing, did Idina's character tell Jesse in the car that one Rachel found her, he would come back to Vocal Adrenaline? Because he was gone in Theactricality, I assumed this was because he followed her orders and returned toVocal Adrenaline once the tape had been given to her.

Yeah, what's up with Jesse? I think they shouldn't have tried to make him so 3 dimensional by having begin stuggle with developing feelings for Rach and just stuck with the he's-being-paid-to-meddle-in-Rachel's-life route. I mean, then the line about Voc Aderenaline being "soul=less automatons" would have truly applied to him.

Regarding Quinn and Mercedes: I didn't think that Quinn was relating to Mercedes' struggle with weightism, but rather, racism. Especially since Mercedes made that comment about white people not being able to pull off Funk and her later not congratulating Quinn for the positive attention she rec'd after performing "Man's World".

The problem with Glee is that they have so many characters that they fall short on filling in plot holes at times. Jessie was a huuuge plot hole. I worry about next season, with the introduction of 3 new characters, I have a feeling the plot lines are going to get a little more rushed and thin.

Melody is totally spot-on. Jesse was really upset about the "Run Joey Run" video switcheroo, and essentially broke up with Rachel that episode. And he's still pissed.

Another thing about Jesse being upset over "Run Joey Run" -- I just watched that number and "Total Eclipse of the Heart" again from "Bad Reputation." During "TEotH" Rachel was singing to Jesse, and there was a connection, and his face softened a bit. But then she immediately stole a glance at Finn, and Jesse noticed, and his face got all angry again. So, she did break his heart because he was willing to give up Vocal Adrenaline, and she's still torn between him and Finn.

I heart Jesse. He's super sexy.

On Jesse:

I think he's still upset about the "Run Joey Run" video. He only came back to Rachel because Shelby made him do it so she could get closer to Rachel (remember how deceiving he was in that episode?). He does still have feelings for Rachel, but as he showed in Bad Reputation he was very hurt, and he's only that hurt because he did have real feelings for her in the first place. Now he wants revenge for his broken heart. This would have made a lot more sense if they hadn't switched the air dates.

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