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'Glee': Give back the funk

June 2, 2010 |  9:05 am
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“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

twitter.com/GerrickKennedy

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

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