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'Glee': Ah, fellas!

September 17, 2009 |  8:54 am

102Glee-ep102_Sc44_2514 Time for a pop quiz, Gleeks: What did we learn from last night’s episode?

A)  Cheerios coach Sue Sylvester will stop at nothing in her mission to obliterate the glee club because, by golly, she needs a fog machine.

B)  No matter whose dad he’s playing -- whether it’s Sydney Bristow’s or Will Schuester’s -- Victor Garber is The Man.

C)  It’s, like, really, really rough out there for a “Glee” guy.

You get an A if you answered "D) All of the above," though thematically, the episode spent quite a bit of time driving home C. The “Glee” guys sure were struggling in the confidence department last night, weren’t they? It started with teacher Will, who, still believing there’s a bun in wife Terri’s oven, confided to his dad over a glass of vino that he was terrified of impending fatherhood. Garber quickly blamed himself for his son’s lack of self-assurance, since boys learn that from their pops, and he’d hardly set a good example by shelving his law school dreams for an unfulfilling career in insurance. “Being a man is all about one thing: guts,” Papa Schuester said. “And you have about six months to figure out if you have any.” Cheers, son!

Glee club rehearsal didn’t help matters. More after the jump ...

In front of the whole gang, Rachel dissed Mr. Schue’s elementary choreography, just as those trouble-stirring Cheerios had encouraged her to do. How would they possibly be able to compete with Vocal Adrenaline, the powerhouse rival show choir first seen in the pilot? If they were gonna take regionals, they needed Vocal Adrenaline’s choreographer, Dakota Stanley, a man who had once been the understudy to the Candelabra in "Beauty and the Beast" on Broadway. With a credential like that, how could he not be the best? When Will pointed out that “understudy” didn’t necessarily mean the guy had performance experience, it was Cheerio Quinn who naturally gave the knife another twist. Had Mr. Schue ever performed post-high school? Had he even tried?

But it was lovesick colleague Emma, working overtime to pretend she wasn’t lovesick over Will, who finally pushed him over the edge. He’d harbored dreams of a showbiz career, he confessed to her, but never had the guts to actually go for it. The OCD-riddled guidance counselor made a point, in between scrubbing clean her plant leaves, of telling him that her new boyfriend, football coach Ken, might be flawed “but he knows who he is. There really is nothing sexier in a man than confidence.”

After some impromptu harmonizing in the teachers’ lounge -- an effort to cheer up the shop teacher, who accidentally sliced off both thumbs in a cough-syrup-induced haze -- Will decided that forming a hip-hop boy band was just the thing to help him get his mojo back. The scene in which the group debated a name -- Acafellas ultimately trumped Crescendudes and Testostertones -- was hilarious. As was Will dismissing the disgraced previous glee club sponsor with, “Sandy, we voted. When you’re in the group, it’s creepy.” Acafellas’ first performance at Benchwarmers Sports Bar was a roaring success: They sold all 17 copies of their debut CD, “and I didn’t have to show any of [the buyers] my bosom,” said a proud, and drunk, Mama Schuester. On top of it all, a thrilled Will was getting increased action -- once a week! -- from his wife. Too bad it had less to do with his newfound confidence than her daytime-soap-style ruse to get pregnant before he realizes the truth.

Ah, Terri: I agree with several of you who posted comments last week that the wifey is beyond annoying, though clearly she’s supposed to be. I wondered too how she and Will, seemingly so mismatched, wound up together until I re-watched the pilot and noted Will’s line to Emma that he felt Terri had changed over the course of their marriage. Not much to go on, granted, but I have confidence that creator Ryan Murphy will flesh out Jessalyn Gilsig’s character over time. Her seemingly sincere apology to Will for not being more supportive of his boy band was a nice first step.

As for Will, though the guy may have had his motivations -- hats off to him for wanting to set a go-after-what-you-want-in-life example for his nonexistent kid -- didn’t it feel as though his commitment to the glee club melted away rather quickly? He’s spent all this time alternately fighting the principal, Sue Sylvester, Terri and an often sneering student body to give the club a real shot at renewed greatness. How could he turn his back so easily?

Especially when two of its male members were going through crises of their own? Finn’s resolve was fading, because of continued cracks from his football teammates. “It’s hard being the quarterback when I get in the huddle and all the guys are calling me ‘Deep Throat,’” he said. It didn’t help that he got called out by Rachel in a strong hallway scene. “I have enough confidence to say out loud that what happened between us in the auditorium was real,” she told him, referring to last week’s make-out session. “You have feelings for me, but you just don’t have the guts to admit it.”

102glee_acafellas_gr08 And then there was poor Kurt, who seemed surprised to discover that fellow singer Mercedes didn’t realize he was gay but then couldn’t summon the strength to tell her during the glee club carwash fundraiser. (Getting the Candelabra’s understudy to be your merciless choreographer doesn’t come cheap, people!) Eventually, Kurt did find the words in a lovely, tearful scene near episode’s end, but only after Mercedes busted up the windshield of his prized SUV and broke into a musical number as fiery as her red fringey jacket. Over the top? Yep. But “Glee” is a musical. And the emotion behind the whole thing felt appropriately real. Look no further than Mercedes’ heartbreaking what-if-I-can’t-do-better speech? “I’m tired of being lonely, aren’t you?” she said to Rachel and Tina during their “gay-vention.” “He’s in our group; he understands what I’m going through. Maybe that’s not enough for you guys, but it’s enough for me.”

As for the show’s final musical number -- Acafellas’ PTA-meeting performance of Color Me Badd’s “I Wanna Sex You Up” -- I’m guessing some parents concerned about the show’s sexual content weren’t thrilled. (Or have you already stopped watching?) I’m guessing several other peeps out there think Matthew Morrison’s hotness hit a whole ‘nother level with that tie-undone number. No doubt there will be many more songs in his future, even though the boy band disbanded, leaving a wiser Will conveniently free to return his attentions to glee club.

The cause of the lineup-changing group’s breakup is worth mentioning, of course, thanks to Josh Groban’s laugh-out-loud appearance. Confronting his stalker Sandy with a restraining order, Groban implored, “Stop sending me nude photos ... edible gift baskets, locks of hair. I don’t want to read any more of the sonnets you wrote for me!”

Poor Josh Groban. Make that poor dirty dog Josh Groban, considering how, soon after, the singer was hitting on Will’s mom. Groban, we learned, likes a good middle-aged alcoholic almost as much as he likes talking about himself in the third person. The question is, do we think Mama Schuester went on to hook up with Groban?

Sound off below!

But first, two nominees for bon mot of the night:

“Artie, you’re cut. You’re not trying hard enough -- at walking.” -- Dakota Stanley, addressing the club’s wheelchair-using student

“I’m going to ask you to smell your armpits. That’s the smell of failure, and it’s stinking up my office.” -- Sue Sylvester to her Cheerios spies

-- Shawna Malcom

Photo credit: Fox