S2E15: Are you ready for another after school special? Well, it doesn’t really matter, because Glee is determined to give it to you. At least this time around they figured out how to crank up the fun parts to help mask the message a bit, but it’s still like that time my dad taught me to take vitamins by hiding them in a spoonful of peanut butter – the peanut butter is delicious and all, but not enough to completely hide that distinct metallic vitamin taste that makes me want to gag a little bit.
“My sex-tape with J.D. Salinger was a disaster.” –Holly Holiday
Well, Gwyneth Paltrow is back and while I actually kind of liked her presence in the episode, that contrived line about J.D. Salinger was just upsetting – for shame, Glee writers – and somehow she forgot to act. Then again, maybe it was just the cardboard lines the writers fed her. Either way it fell a little flat. You guys do know this woman has an Oscar, right?
Anyway, the kids at McKinley High are sorely uneducated when it comes to sex – I’m talking cartoonishly uneducated. Brittany actually thinks that because a stork is building a nest by her house that she’s pregnant. Come on. I appreciated the reference back to Finn’s stupidity when he believed that he got Quinn pregnant because they made out in a hot tub and the temperature “helps the sperm swim faster.” That’s something a dumb teenage guy might fall for, but the others were just embarrassing. Schue enlists Holly, who’s subbing for the health teacher to educate the kids about sex and Emma, WHO STILL HASN’T DONE THE NASTY with Uncle Jesse even though they’ve been married for four months is up in arms about explicitly talking to the kids about sex. Cue the episode’s debate: schools don’t teach kids enough about safe sex so they screw up, but parents get upset when their kids learn about safe sex, so hey, let’s get that changed so we’re all super educated about safe sex, RIGHT? Yes, thank you. We get it. Moving on.
Holly sings Joan Jett’s “Do You Wanna Touch Me” and gets the kids all riled up and sexually charged, throwing in some two bit advice about safe sex at the end after a ton of hairography and sexy dancing. Yeah, real effective. It was fun though and she called Quinn and Rachel frigid which was hilarious, so I’ll give her that.
“Porcelain, you just made a powerful enema.” –Sue
Coach Sylvester’s only purpose in this episode was to deliver that questionable but still slightly funny line and to spread the intel about the New Directions’ new sexy approach to their competitors at Dalton. While Kurt refuses to play along, Blaine grabs onto the idea that they need to sex up their routine so naturally, they put together a routine for Neon Trees’ “Animal” and perform it for Catholic school girls in an abandoned barn with a Jonas Brothers-style foam cannon while Kurt hops around like a constipated baby tiger? What is going on here?
It turns out that Kurt can’t make sexy faces because he knows nothing about sex – I don’t know if that direct correlation works, but I’ll allow it. Blaine tries to help and it turns into a discussion about sex, with Blaine offering to answer any questions Kurt might have. Kurt is extremely uncomfortable, admits that he’s looked at “those videos” to learn but they disturb him and he angrily kicks Blaine out. Being the way better friend than anyone has ever been as a teenager, Blaine actually talks to Kurt’s dad and convinces him that their close relationship means he should explain sex to Kurt. Being the great dad he is, Burt does his best though Kurt is still resistant (didn’t he just ask for this LAST WEEK?) but he eventually realizes he needs to learn and thanks his dad for helping. It was a little much, but it does serve a purpose and the moments between Burt and Kurt are always touching.
“It’s better when it doesn’t involve feelings. In my opinion it’s better without eye contact.” –Santana
Well, it’s time for the Santana bubble to burst. She’s trying to get Brittany to hook up with her again “for fun” but it turns out there’s a lot more to that suggestion. Brittany asks that they talk about their feelings and since Holly is the go-to sexpert for the episode for some reason, they ask her advice and she tells them to sing a song about it. She “helps” them – or sings the lead for the entire song – and by the end, Santana is crying because she realizes she is in love with Brittany. Yes, in love. Santana is a lesbian.
Brittany says she loves her too, but she’s with Artie and she loves him. Cue Santana rage. This was quite the flip of the switch, but it gives us a reason for her anger and promiscuity so it at least makes a little sense. It’s just a little strange because Glee can’t make up its mind about whether it’s serious or complete camp. The writers seem to change their minds every week and the result is a bit disjointed.
“Afternoon delight is a dessert. It’s made with coconut and pinapple and marshmallow fluff.” –Emma
Emma’s been heading up the celibacy club with Rachel and Quinn – the only members – because she’s afraid of sex with her husband and Rachel and Quinn are both aching over Finn (though it turns out a telltale hickie tells us that Quinn is back with Finn and guess what? She’s not so celibate). When Holly comes through on her wave of sex education, Emma thinks that the celibacy club needs to combat all the sexy with a delightful, wholesome song. Clearly, “Afternoon Delight” is the right choice. Puck has joined up at the last minute because he’s seen the error of his ways and Emma enlists Carl’s help on the drums for the song while they sing in outfits fit for a Partridge Family reunion. Emma thinks it’s about dessert, but Karl knows better. He sneakily sets up a therapy session with Holly “I’m not a doctor” Holiday where the truth comes out: Emma is still in love with Schue. Cue marriage counseling. I like that they’re finally acknowledging that there is something mentally wrong with Emma and that she needs help, but they dealt with it in a sweet, funny way.
“That’s a waste of some fine man-butt.” –Holly
First of all: Yuck. Second of all, this is the part we knew would happen. They’d been flirting all episode, first with an out of place aerobics class that I hope was a comedic homage to this scene from Perfect, and second with the tango version of Prince’s “Kiss” that we’ve all been anticipating. “Kiss” was actually the best performance of the episode and Gwyneth was the best part. It was sexy and fun and hearkened back to those old Glee numbers that were actually, dare I say it: FUN. The first time around Holly says she can’t date Will because she’s “damaged goods” – really, writers? You couldn’t write your own version of this interaction? You just had to take it from every Lifetime Sunday afternoon movie? That’s what we call being lazy. Step up your game.
Of course, by the end of the episode, Holly is on her way out because of parent complaints (oh hi, reality) but she’s had a change of heart. She’s ready to let Will teach her about romance and with that she ties the whole sex versus love debate up with a nice little bow.
This wasn’t my favorite Glee episode, but I actually think it’s back on track. They’re still a little all over the place, but they always have been. I didn’t really enjoy the vitamin bits, but the rest of it really was like the spoonful of peanut butter around the vitamin: a little tacky, but delicious and worth the time it takes to get the stuff off the spoon.