S3E4: Let’s see if I can get through this mess of an episode. It wasn’t all bad, but it certainly was all too much. Ryan Murphy promised us we’d get more centralized plots this season; he said the days of winding, out of control minutiae were over. It seems that Mr. Murphy was telling little white lies. This week’s “Pot O’Gold” did all the things we took issue with last season: two many ideas crammed discordantly into one episode, lackluster songs and an overbearing message that arts in schools is the most important issue in the entire universe. We agree with you, Glee, that’s why we’re watching, but if you keep spinning out of control, you may just lose us for good.
“Yeah, she’s kind of like Rain Man with boobs.” –Finn
Let’s see if we can wrap our heads around Brittany’s sprawling story this week. Her family is housing an Irish exchange student, Rory (Damian McGinty from The Glee Project), who she thinks is a leprechaun. She’s got it a little backwards – which is getting kind of old at this point – and thinks he grants her three wishes and then she gives him the pot of gold. He wants to “snog” her and has no other friends, so he goes along with it.
At the same time, she’s official with Santana, who threatens little loverboy and requests a wish of her own: he convinces Brittany that Santana wished for Brittany to leave the New Directions so she can join Shelby Corcoran’s group with Mercedes. Finn overhears all these murmurs of dissenting glee club members and does his best to pep up his club – but fields a little interference from Blaine, who’s used to being a leader at Dalton. Blaine brings the club – who are all fighting – back together with his predictably adorable rendition of “Last Friday Night (TGIF),” which is just a little risqué for high school kids, but I guess it’s better that they learn these things from Katy Perry than their own half-baked teenage peers.
Later, Finn tries to convince Britt to stay, telling her to stop believing in leprechauns and he pulls the Artie mistake: he calls her an idiot. She leaves for good, joins the Trouble Tones just as Mercedes and Santana intimidate Sugar into background dancer submission. The three ladies (with Sugar in the background) perform “Candy Man” in cute little USO Show outfits though once again, holy-inappropriate-song-choice, Glee. Finn and Schue see how good they are and Finn decides he gets it. He apologizes and the girls accept his apology. All seems well-ish.
Finn makes friends with Rory throughout the course of the episode, eventually saving him from a hockey bully who looks like teenage Conan O’Brien. Based on both the kid’s tunes in the episode (“Bein’ Green” and “Take Care Of Yourself”) we know he can sing, and he ends the episode by joining the New Directions. I just hope he tries something a little more upbeat next episode – the ballads are sweet, but tired.
“Beth is perfect. She’s my perfect thing.” –Quinn
Q is still on her baby-stealing mission, this time with a little sneaky subtlety and a dash of heartless diabolical logic. She and Puck convince Shelby they can babysit Beth and Quinn proceeds to try to frame Shelby for being an unfit mother, planting “baby botox,” hot sauce in a baby bottle and satanic baby manuals. She calls child services – who are terrifyingly backed up – and proceeds to wait for the chips to fall. She tells Puck his pool cleaning business isn’t good enough, eventually using this to segway into her mental breakdown about needing Beth to be her “thing” since she’s not going to college and doesn’t think she has a future. I thought choir was supposed to help her? But I guess it can’t help someone who’s gone completely crazy.
Evidenced by the fact that Beth only cries for Quinn, but coos for Puck, he’s got a better heart. Shelby offers him a year round pool cleaning job in her building and he suddenly feels bad for helping Quinn. He stops by to remove all the planted items and ends up playing “All I Ever Wanted” for little Beth – and here’s where things get a little Mary Kay Latournou. Shelby says she hates not being able to share Beth’s baby steps with someone, Puck offers to be that someone – but something’s a little off. It seems he’s offering too much. We think no way, they wouldn’t do that. And then, the last two seconds of the episode: Puck leans in and plants a big one on Shelby. I don’t know that I like this plot, but they certainly got me with the shock value. We’ll see how quickly they drop this next episode.
“Sue’s pom pom budget is $4000…a month.” –Schue
“Can’t put a price on cheer, William.” –Sue
Sue continues her rampage against the glee club by announcing during her news segment that the club is spending two thousand bucks on West Side Story. Parents get angry and Figgins pulls the play, but Schue vows to find the money. He has the kids selling 200 program ads, but when Kurt asks his dad for one, Burt becomes furious. He gets the full sum donated by the three mortuaries in Lima and vows to make sure Sue doesn’t win – “Your club saved my kid’s life.”
Schue asks him to run against Sue, but Burt’s already there. He’s too late to get on the ballot, but he can run as a write-in. Using the fair campaign laws, he uses his equal amount of time on Sue’s news program to announce his candidacy and expose what Sue’s hiding. We think he’s practically won, but as he dines with his family and Kurt worries that the campaign will harm Burt’s fragile heart, Sue shows up with a heart attack burger and delivers the shocker: she’s ditching the anti-arts platform and she’s using her connection to her sister to champion special ed. programs over arts. I’m not sure where they’re going to go with this, but maybe this means we’ll be able to lose the “arts are so important” vitamin this series forces down our throats every episode for the last two seasons.
And here’s hoping next week, the writers manage to rein it in. There’s just too much going on in one episode to be able to feel attached to any part of it. There are some serious issues coming up here, but we don’t have time to let them impact us because we’re immediately on to the next item. I get it’s the last year for many characters, but give us a minute to think, writers.
Brace yourself Dr. Laura. This clueless teen queen (Natasha Lyonne) has it all: good looks a football captain boyfriend and a popular pair of pom-poms. But her candy-colored world crumbles when her panicked parents stage an intervention after finding a Melissa Etheridge poster that leads them to conclude she's a friend of Ellen. After being carted off to an anti-gay rehab camp for teens the perky princess must choose between the straight and narrow-minded or the love that dare not speak its name.
The quirky ensemble casting is half this film's fun. Lyonne is charming as the pepster tempted by T&A and she sparks onscreen with swanky and sexy co-star Clea DuVall who plays the butch femme fatale suitor (alarmingly reminiscent of Nancy McKeon's Jo from "The Facts of Life.") Drag queen supreme RuPaul is unrecognizable out of his high heels and even higher blond wig wearing a "Straight is Great" T-shirt as a macho militant ex-gay counselor. Cathy Moriaty is sweetly sinister as the homophobic headmistress and Mink Stole steals scenes as the uptight upright meddling mom.
Kudos to Jamie Babbit for tackling this hot-potato topic but this well-intentioned film too often misses its mark turning potentially comical scenes into unbearably awkward moments. Babbit fouls when tugging at the heartstrings but hits home runs when the humor is at its broadest.