S2E17: The after-school special variety of Glee is back with a vengeance. When they released footage of Sue Sylvester and her legion of doom earlier this week, I thought maybe we were on the right track to get back to the show we originally fell in love with, but alas we were not. The show also squandered another golden opportunity to use its unlikely good luck charm, Gwyneth Paltrow. As much as I hate Goop.com, I have to admit, the few episodes she’s been on had a little more punch and were just way more fun. Sadly, that reign has ended. Gwynny's was one of the worst parts of the entire episode.
But it’s not all her fault. I blame the episode itself. They eschewed any semblance of a reasonable plot and what we were left with was a Gleetastic variety show for no one and a PSA about cyber heckling celebrities and TV shows. Yeah, we hear you Ryan Murphy. You can’t take the fact that people are bashing your show. How about you produce better episodes and then maybe we’ll stop.
“Brittany was the only one we could get on short notice. We bribed her with dots.” –Artie
So, out of nowhere Artie, Mike, Tina and Brittany are part of the academic decathlon and they’re in more need of funding than the glee club. (The only thing I loved about this was that Artie clinched the title because they had a category called “White Rappers.” I guess all that painful rapping was worth it. Well, almost. What kind of academic decathlon tests your knowledge of Vanilla Ice and Eminem?) Naturally, because he’s still stuck in 1992, Mr. Schue thinks they can raise the funds for both the glee club and the academic team selling taffy. I’m sorry, but that alone is insane. Even out-of-touch elementary school teachers know that’s not going to work.
Anyway, they finally come to the conclusion that the taffy idea sucks and Holly convinces Schue to hold a benefit in its place. It’s called a “Night of Neglect” because the glee club and the academic team are so neglected. Boo hoo. This is the first time any of them have gotten a slushie in the face in a long while (and yeah, it was finally Santana), but this whole boo-hoo act just isn’t working for me. It’s probably because they’ve spent so much time allowing the show to be aware of how much of a pop culture behemoth it is, that when they want sympathy, no one cares.
“You’re hunky and I’m what they call predatory gay.” –Sandy
And the award for squandered opportunity goes to: Sue Sylvester’s Legion of Doom. Sue has lost most of her bite. She’s almost become annoying at this point, but with this legion I thought she just might be back. Just maybe. I was wrong. All the potential was completely squandered. Sue had this nebulous, sprawling plan that I guess is ongoing, but that involved the coach from Vocal Adrenaline seducing Holly Holliday. Mega fail. It also involved former glee coach, Sandy Ryerson, enlisting a few hecklers to make the gleeks cry at their benefit concert. Also mega fail. She's also got Terry Schuester in the mix, but we're still not sure why.
She does succeed in one accidental way. Sunshine Corazon makes an unexpected appearance. For some reason that makes no sense whatsoever, she wants to perform in New Directions’ show and she offers up her 600 twitter followers as bait. She sings “All By Myself” and yes, the girl has an amazing voice. But it makes no sense that she was in the episode and she’s pretty cardboard when it comes to dialogue. (Then again, part of that was because the dialogue was poorly written.) Sue spills the beans about the gleeks’ idiotic plan to add Sunshine to their show and the Vocal Adrenaline coach quickly removes her from the lineup. Boom, the benefit is rendered pointless because no one is buying tickets.
“You just got poked. Poked by the dagger.” –Sandy
So despite the fact that no one is coming, the glee club puts on the show anyway. Can I just point out that they are the most well-funded glee club with zero funds in their account ever? When my dance team put on a benefit in high school, we had to use a boom box and costumes from the 5 dollar store. That is what it’s like to be a school club in dire straights, not hiring a gospel choir to sing behind Mercedes. Anyway, they perform numbers by “neglected” artists, except that only one could maybe be called neglected, and that’s Lykke Li. It might have been a cool performance, but the hecklers yell over the whole thing and it’s just plain awful. We see Mike Chang dance to Jack Johnson, which was really fantastic, but once again completely ignored the premise.
In the meantime, Mercedes has decided she wants to get more attention and more solos and Lauren Zices turns her into an over-the-top demanding diva and she ends up refusing to perform in the show. While Rachel turns her bipolar switch back to sweet and convinces Mercedes to perform, Holly takes the stage and attempts Adele’s “Turning Tables.” Yes, one of the most critically acclaimed and most talked about artists is definitely neglected. Not. Also, as I thought, Gwyneth can’t cut it for this one. Adele’s a tall order for a Glee cover.
Finally, Mercedes gets up there and sings Aretha Franklin’s “Ain’t No Way” fantastically. (But sorry, Aretha Franklin is not neglected by any stretch of the imagination.) So fantastically, in fact that Sandy Ryerson stops heckling and decides to donate the entire amount the two clubs need from his medical marijuana sales. Was he selling it to these writers? This is the most haphazard plot we’ve seen on here in a while.
“I am both awesome and unavailable at the same time.” –Holly
Well, since Schue and Holly are dating we have to run a little update on that front. We all knew it wouldn’t last – probably because Matthew Morrison spilled the beans that it wouldn’t earlier this week – but this was Holly’s last episode. While the Vocal Adreneline coach’s seduction doesn’t work, she sees that Schue is still in love with Emma and takes a job in other town as a French teacher. Oh, by the way, Emma is suddenly single and very interested in Will. I know Will and Emma are supposed to end up together. They’re the Ross and Rachel of Glee, but come on. Could you tease us a little bit longer? That’s been a problem this whole season. They’ve got seasons and seasons of conflict that they’ve already brought up and solved in two episodes. They don’t give us time to worry and feel and pine before these romantic or otherwise emotional issues are solved.
In fact, I went back and watched the first season of Glee last week, and I think that’s one of the major reasons this season has descended into madness. They’re churning out plotlines like they’re pulling them out of a giant hat filled with slivers of paper scrawled with ideas. Chill out for a second, guys. The romantic plot between Kurt and Blaine could have been huge. This plot between Will and Emma should be huge. Even the romantic plot between Santana and Brittany could have been huge. They constantly squander these opportunities by wrapping them up before anyone can feel anything. Slow down, smell the roses, and take a little more care and maybe, just maybe we could have a little more of that Glee we used to love.