S2E13: I was actually actively dreading this episode. We all knew the “Bieber Experience” was on its way and by my calculations it wasn’t going to be pretty. Then I remembered why we watch Glee in the first place: full-on campy, silly, semi-cartoonish fun and musical numbers that make you want to sing even if you’re squirming in your barcalounger because you think it’s cheesy. That feeling of closet excitement and inspiration and stifled giggles is exactly what Glee accomplished last night. So yeah, I’m admitting to enjoying something that involved a fair amount of Bieber. I may need to see a therapist about this.
All that being said, this episode did depend heavily on simple plot motivation – ohmigosh, Sam sang Justin Bieber songs, now I love him, screw that Finn kid. I mean, yes high school girls are fickle, but that’s just too easy. As for Schue, he’s suddenly decided that he’s in the midst of a comeback and immediately becomes likable again. Was it all too easy and a bit far-fetched? Yes. But was it fun? Absolutely. You can’t win ‘em all and this season, Glee rarely does; so enjoy the parts that you can folks.
“I mean, who’s more rock and roll than Justin Bieber? No one. That’s who.” –Sam
Okay, this quote isn’t exactly indicative of how well they handled the boys’ “tribute” to the Biebs. Sam initially starts this to make sure Quinn really is all about him even though he believes her bullshit gumball story about saving Finn’s life and contracting mono that way – not through a clandestine makeout. Liar. Sam puts the moves on like Bieber, donning his signature purple hoodie and changing his haircut (or so he says, but we’ve been making fun of his Bieber cut all season so nice try). He tests his impersonation skills on 13 year old girls at a Bat Mitzvah and he’s tackled. Mission accomplished. That gives him enough confidence to sing “Baby” and while the song itself makes me groan, I did giggle a bit when we caught Puck SINGING ALONG. Because that’s what Bieber does. He’s like a little virus that makes you sing along to his terrible songs even when you’re trying with all your might to resist. Dammit.
This performance of course inspires the other dudes, all except jealous Finn, to join “The Bieber Experience” and sing “Somebody to Love” in different colored hoodies (Puck’s with a Bieber bangs extension, which was a cheap gag but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t laugh). This of course serves as a little post-Valentine’s Day slump comeback mechanism and their respective girlfriends are whipped into a frenzy – minus Lauren who’s still making Puck jump through hoops and thankfully pointed out that lusting over Justin Bieber is creepy because he looks like he’s twelve. (Thank God someone said it.)
“I wore a tank top today because I thought it was summer. No one ever taught me how to read a calendar.” –Brittany
Now that she and Finn have lost the fireworks, Rachel is on a mission of self-promotion. She’s paid Brittany half of her allowance (oh yeah, remember what allowance was like?) to wear one of her signature looks from the “sexy schoolgirl librarian chic” collection and make it popular, but of course it doesn’t work. Brittany wears the prescribed leg warmers on her arms and everyone else follows suit. When Rachel ups the ante and insists Brittany don the Reindeer sweater and plaid skirt look, the whole school copies Brittany – albeit with a carousel horse instead of a reindeer – and Brittany is named the most stylish girl in America by Teen Vogue, which we know is like the coolest thing EVER. Yeah, this show is cheesy. Deal with it.
“Yes, losers. I’m committing suicide.” –Sue’s Diary
Sue hatches a plan – of course it was a plan all along, it was obvious from the first two minutes of the episode – to get inside the glee club and screw it all up. Since she’s lost her beloved Cheerios mega budget and she's been named a loser by Katie Couric, she says she’s got no will to live leading Will and Emma to break into her apartment and find her passed out in a pile of gummy vitamins. Well, that was stupid; and yeah, let's make jokes about suicide because that's not awful at all.
This leads Emma to suggest a little gleetastic rehab for Sue, having her sit in on rehearsals for a week. Since when did glee club become the fix-all for William McKinley High? This is weird. Of course, she reveals herself to be scheming, pitting Rachel and Mercedes against each other and prompting a Diva-off, which I’m fairly certain is just called a cat-fight in real life. Anyway, the duo sings something from RENT! Why didn’t this happen when mini-Idina Menzel was sharing the screen with actual Idina Menzel? Poor planning, writers. Mercedes and Rachel sing the duet, “Take Me or Leave Me” from the iconic musical and do an okay job with it, but they both have much better voices than that and the song is by nature explosive. It should have been so much better, but I’m glad the song made it on anyway.
This duet brings the club back into happy harmony and Sue’s left wondering where all the hate went. Schue swoops in with a move to rescue his character who’s recently been drowning in obnoxious behaviors and terrible lines; he takes Sue to the children’s hospital where he sings to kids who have terminal or serious illnesses. Sue seems genuinely moved and even though she says she’ll never forgive him it seems like her heart may have grown three sizes that day. It certainly seemed that way when she convinces the club to sing “Sing” by My Chemical Romance because this week’s theme is supposed to be Anthems and a song about singing is such a good anthem for a singing club! Oh my gosh, that's so genius. (See what I mean? It’s fun, but totally obtuse.) This good feeling doesn’t last though, because Sue turns out to be a double agent when she signs on to coach the rival team, Aural Intensity (which kind of sounds like a new brand of electric toothbrush even though I know it’s Aural and not Oral). Ruh-roh.
Side note: what is with the lumberjack plaid look? Kudos to Sue's plaid track suit, but still this is Ohio, not super trendy Brooklyn. WTF.
“Do dudes ever get erections when they wrestle you?” –Puck
Yikes, Puckerman. Desperation does not suit you. Now it’s time for the rest of the incestuous glee club romantic roundup. First up, Lauren and Puck. He’s trying too hard and it’s not cute, but it does mean we get the opportunity to see Lauren sing. Okay, so she can’t really sing, but she sure has got the bravado and the boldness to put it all out there for “I Know What Boys Like” (and the imagination to let the viewers at home know what the glee club looks like in their underwear).
As we discussed, Quinn picks Sam over Finn because Sam’s Bieber impression makes him “an artist” (yeah, those Color Me Mine mugs are freaking works of art, right?) and this forces Finn to try his hand at the Bieber look. As soon as he does it, the hilarious, campy take on the phenomenon is killed stone dead (although I thought the sad version of “Baby” playing in the background when Sam dumped Quinn was hilarious). They’re really ramping up the dorky, adorable Sam quirks and making Finn look like a douche this season. Suddenly, Sam is with slutty Santana and they’re being obnoxious. (We saw this coming with that stupid wave at Kurt’s Valentine’s Day party last week. Ugh.)
“We need to write our own original music for regionals.” - Rachel
Oh that’s so META. Right? I’m so right. They have to write their own songs or they can’t win…at life or at regionals. Everyone’s been making fun of Glee for not writing their own original music, so what did the writers do? They turned it into a plot point. They would. Even though the club votes no, Finn convinces Rachel to write the song anyway. This could either be awesome or we’ll all end up crawling away from our televisions while simultaneously trying to shield our ears and the ears of our loved ones from the aural onslaught of a terrible original song. I said it could be awesome, okay?