“Glee” recap (5.05): A Streetcar Named Predictability

I’m going to say one more thing and then hush and talk about what was right with this episode. People often get grouchy with me because I hold Will to a different standard than Sue when it comes to terribleness. They assume it’s because I’m a lesbian and, hey: Jane Lynch. But that’s not it. From the very beginning of this show, Sue has been played as an over-the-top cartoon villain, twirling her mustache and tying damsels to the train tracks. Sure, she has her redemptive moments, but on the whole, she is a caricature of a sociopath. I nearly punched my TV every time she referred to Unique as “him” this week, but we’re not supposed to side with Sue. That’s not how this story is written. Her evilness is characterized as evilness. Will, on the other hand, has been played as The Great Straight White Hope from day one. He is the Messiah of Lima. And so we’re supposed to root for him. That’s the thing the writers keep telling us: That his terribleness, unlike Sue’s, is actually noble and heroic and correct. And it’s not, not, not. That’s my problem with Will Schuester.

And actually, to a larger extent, that’s the real problem with Glee. It tells us it’s heroic, and in some ways it is, but that doesn’t excuse the awful bullshit it pulls on the regular. Schue is Glee. Maybe that’s my real problem with him.

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ANYWAY. Two other things go down at Lima this week and both of them result in commanding performances. The first is that Unique chooses to use the school restrooms during class so she can use the ladies room without any grief. Because she identifies as a woman, right, and as a woman, she doesn’t want to use the men’s room. During one of her bathroom breaks, Bree peeps her and dimes her out to her classmates and the school descends into chaos! Stoner Brett in the girl’s bathroom, Cheerios in the boy’s bathroom, cats and dogs sleeping together, and it all culminates in a co-ed toilet rave with lightsabers. Sue’s solution is to put a port-a-potty with Riddler-y question marks all over it in the choir room. Get it? Question marks? Because what gender is Unique? Ha ha ha. Oh, ha ha ha. What a hoot that is. (It is not a hoot.)

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The best thing about the port-a-potty situation is that Unique uses it as a springboard to perform a stunning rendition of “If I Were a Boy.” Alex Newell frikkin crushes it, man. It gave me goosebumps on top of my goosebumps. The second-best thing about the port-a-potty situation is that Tina takes a shining to using it—because “What? Its convenient. Jeez, get your priorities straight.”— and she keeps going in there, even though Artie hilariously observes: “She just used it like five minutes ago!” In the end, the glee club rallies around Unique, threatening to beat up the dudes who bullied her out of the girl’s restroom, and then “sacrificing” their “right” to “twerk” so Sue will give her a key to the co-ed staff restroom.

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The other good Lima thing is that Bree tells Marley she’s been sleeping with Jake, and not only does Marley dump his ass so fast; she also performs “Wrecking Ball” with the kind of energy and emotion this show scarcely allows her. It was Melissa Benoist‘s most commanding performance and we didn’t even have to hear Will give her an inappropriate/patronizing speech about her V-card! She stood up for herself without any straight men swooping in to solve her problems for her! Even though standing up for herself last week caused her to get suspended! Sweet Marley Rose, you are so much better than these dudes. One idea is you could become a lesbian. Just a thought.

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At the end of the day, New Directions twirls around on a merry-go-round and sings “On Our Way.” On their way where? To Nationals, presumably, in only two weeks with exactly zero songs prepared. I hope Marley’s got another ditty about gay marriage and otters holding hands in her pocket.

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