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'Glee' recap: Meet the parents!

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"It's not about doing your best anymore," Mr. Schue tells Mercedes in the first few minutes of "Glee" on Tuesday night, in an episode entitled "Asian F." "It's about doing better."

We could say the same to the "Glee" producers. Every week we show up expecting better from them. Sometimes, like last week, they give us an A- episode, and we, like Mr. Chang, are disappointed. Other times, the producers hit every note (emotional, musical, character, plot) as squarely as Rachel Berry auditioning for a coveted role. Tuesday night, we got that sort of an episode.

"Asian F" –- in which we got to meet not only Mike Chang's parents, but Emma's as well -- had emotional truth, character growth, new revelations and really good musical numbers: the kind that seem to emerge organically from the plot and deepen and advance it.

Some key developments/moments:

Mike Chang gets a personality and a real storyline: Mike's Tiger Dad, disappointed that his son has gotten an A- (aka an "Asian F") on a chemistry exam, wants Mike to quit the glee club and focus on his studies. Mike wants to please his father, but just can't bring himself to stop dedicating his time to the one thing that makes him special: dancing. Mike has always been about dancing, even back when the "Glee" world knew him only as "other Asian." But now it turns out he can sing too: He auditions for Riff in the school musical, "West Side Story," and croons his way through "Cool" looking and sounding very … cool. Also cool: Mike's mom, who vows to help Mike stand up to his father and pursue his dreams, and reveals that she too once dreamed of being a dancer. Awww, Ms. Chang! Awww, Mike. (No, you weren't the only one who teared up during that mother-son dance.)

Brittany revs things up with grrrl power: Noting that all the recent McKinley High student council presidents have been men, and look at where that's gotten us (recession, wars, etc.), Brittany rallies the troops with a rendition of Beyonce's "Run the World (Girls)." She totally nabs my vote. (Sorry, Kurt.)



And Mercedes is telling us she's not going: Or at least she's not going to play second fiddle to Rachel's star act anymore. Encouraged by her new football-player boyfriend, Mercedes gets her glam on and sings Jennifer Hudson's "Spotlight," and then battles Rachel triumphantly on a duet of "Out Here on My Own" from "Fame." And when she's finally really and truly had enough of "The Rachel Berry Show," she carries the group through a pitch-perfect take on "It's All Over" from "Dreamgirls." But it's only just begun for Mercedes. She's taking her star power over to the rival singing group Shelby Corcoran is trying to start, setting up what's sure to be a juicy storyline.



Emma's parents are way crazier than she is: Figuring their relationship may be heading toward marriage, Will wonders why he hasn't met Emma's parents. Finding her reluctant (she tries to convince him they're dead, despite the fact that she has spoken to them only the night before: "I have ghost parents"), he invites them over for dinner without telling her. They're even more deliciously horrible than you might have imagined: "Ginger supremacists" who revile anyone who isn't redheaded. But the weirdest part is that Emma's dad is played by Donny Most -– aka Ralph Malph from "Happy Days." And you know what, he's still got it! (Please, tell me someone out there got that reference.)

Rachel's taking a turn for the less appealing: Taking the role of Maria from Mercedes, whom she concedes is more deserving, and challenging Kurt (and Brittany) for student council president, Rachel is showing renewed ruthlessness. It's got to spell doom for her relationship with Finn, right?

Oh, and also, a question: What's with Mercedes' tiredness and dry heaves?  Does that mean she's pregnant? Is Shelby's adopted daughter ready for a sibling?

And what did you think of the episode? Favorite lines? (Coach Beiste was in rare form.) Favorite moments? Weigh in.

RELATED:

'Glee' recap: Unicorns and rainbows

'Glee' recap: Back to school (and basics) in the Season 3 premiere

Full Show Tracker coverage of 'Glee'

-- Amy Reiter

Photo: Brittany (Heather Morris, center) leads a flash mob in the "Asian F" episode of "Glee" that aired Tuesday. Credit: Mike Yarish / Fox

 
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