Kristin Chenoweth's boozy April Rhodes was back last night as our favorite musical misfits gave us a double dose of Burt Bacharach songs. It was a doozy downer of an episode, but we still shed some tears of joy.
Things got heavy last night. Body image issue, father-son struggles, dying strip mall tycoons! It's like a rainbow got sucked into a black hole and came out all warped and sullen and wanting to cry in its Cream of Wheat. Luckily in warped rainbow world we got some time to focus on Kurt, Mercedes, and Quinn and barely even saw, Emma, Rachel, and her new boyfriend Jesse (though I was hoping that every time the camera cut to them they'd be making out inappropriately like the band geeks in my high school did). Like a cat reading Brittany's journal, let us spy on the music from last night and see what it can tell us about the state of our favorite singing sitcom.
"Fire": I barely even recognized this Bruce Springsteen ditty, but it was the perfect duet to reintroduce us to April Rhodes, Kristin Chenoweth's tempest in a teapot who we last saw going to Branson, Miss-oora, to get sober and star in a some sort of Christian music revival or whatever the fuck entertainment they have there. Anyway, we find out that she got sidetracked by an aging old moneybags who was keeping her in diamonds and bought her a roller rink/cabaret to operate. If ever there was a gay man's fever dream it is walking into a roller rink/cabaret to find Kristin C standing in the center belting out a show tune under a disco ball.
That said, I feel like Kristin was a little shoehorned into the episode. Her storyline hardly made any sense—something about the glee club needing a place to rehearse and April needing a place to live—and it conveniently comes right when Ms. Chenoweth's new musical Promises, Promises opens on Broadway. Oh, and what is this? There are Burt Bacharach songs in this episode, who also happens to have written all the tunes in her musical. She even gets to deliver a few bars of "A House is Not a Home" which she is currently belting out eight times a week on the Great White Way (with Sean Hayes of Will & Grace. Get your tickets through TeleCharge!). How convenient! Also, this show built an entire roller rink set and didn't even do one number from Xanadu? Call the Hague because that has to be some sort of international war crime.
So, here is April's first number. It is a duet with Will and it means absolutely nothing other than that they can sing reeeeelllll good (that's how they say it in Branson) and look good doing it. Enjoy.
A House is Not a Home: Alright, now this is what we're talking about. The first time through, I was a little bored by this song, but when re-watching the musical numbers (oh please, like you don't?) this really got to me. I always forget what a great voice babygay Kurt has, especially when working his high tenor. It's like a crystal clear bassoon of sadness as he tries to woo his beloved Finn into his house, home, and heart. He started his plot by introducing his father to Finn's mother in the hopes they'll hit it off and get married and he'll get to share a room with Finn who will desperately fall in love with him and want to dress up like Sonny and Cher every year for Halloween, but Kurt would have to wear 20-inch platforms so he can be taller than Finn, but that is A-OK with him! Couples' costumes are so adorable.
Finn is having some trouble with his mother's new-found love, because he feels like she is betraying the father he never knew who died in Iraq. As good as Kurt is in this number, Finn is equally bad. I'm not a huge fan of his voice in general, but he just sounded horrible here. Where's that Auto Tune when you need it?
Also not at home is Mercedes, who is feeling pressure from Sue Motherfucking Sylvester to lose 10 pounds so that her body will fit in with the rest of the Cheerios. At first Mercedes wants to be healthy, but Kurt convinces her to stop eating and start drinking SMFS' toxic weight loss concoction, which may possibly be responsible for Brittany's mental condition and Santana's sluttiness (speaking of which, did you notice their little pinky hug during this song? They are so adorable). Mercedes used to be a luxury sedan of self-confidence, but everyone harping on her body type has her feeling like a rusty jalopy, and she will to do anything to hold on to the little bit of popularity that she is experiencing now that she is a cheerleader.
"One Less Bell to Answer": This is a song about loneliness after a loved one is gone. Will should be glad that he is free of the burden of Terri's fake pregnancy belly, but he still misses having her around, and he gets a chance to mourn her in this song, the second Burt piece of the night.
While it makes sense that Will misses Terri, why April is singing this song I have no idea. Yes, it appears that she is lonely now that she's out in the world on her own with only a bottle of cheap wine to keep her company, but for all intents and purposes she has a man to take care of her and a roller rink to run, so she should be pretty busy. These two wail the hell out of this song, but we don't know enough about April's character—other than the stereotypical boozy slut tropes—for it to really resonate emotionally. What is nice is that Will is finally connecting with a woman Platonicly. He went from Terri, right to Emma, with a little sidestep through Idina Menzel. He's always a lover, never a friend. Yes, April is a bit, um, unconventional, but maybe finding someone he can speak to honestly will help Mr. Schue get to a better place.
Babygay Kurt is also lonely now that his plan to bring Finn into his life has backfired. When his father and Finn get together, they get a chance to bond over guy things like sports and pussy and shooting rats at rifles from the cab of a pickup truck while drinking lukewarm beer and harping about their old ladies. BG Kurt never gets to do this, and he's heartbroken when his father finds the "son he's always wanted." Last night, my Pavlovian response to cry every time Kurt is on screen returned when his father confronted him in his bedroom. Kurt's father is insanely accepting and the type of dad every babygay needs and deserves, but there is always something lacking between a macho father and a fey son. No matter how much his father tells him he loves him, BG Kurt never feels that connection. "I don't try to change you, and you don't try to change me," his father, who patiently sat through Riverdance for three years, says. But Kurt wants more than that. He wants his father to try to be into the things he is.
Yes, I'm sad for Kurt, because I know his pain well (I think every babygay with a father does) but maybe he should try watching a game with his pops. Either that or cozying up to Finn's mom so that he can have the mother in his life that he hasn't had for a long time. So yes, shed a tear or two, Kurt, but you better rebound quickly, because there is enough love to go around.
"Beautiful": Yes, this Christina Aguilera classic was heavy-handed and expected, but boy did Mercedes kill it. Welcome back, diva. The message was solid too. After Sue Motherfucking Fucking Sylvester's Five Hour Energy Supplement was doing crazy things to her brain and making all the other kids look like extras from 31 Flavors: The Baskin & Robbins Musical!, she saw the error of her anorexic ways and found her inner strength again.
But she didn't do it alone. In a touching scene, Quinn (shouldn't her bump be bigger?) comes to the nurse's office to tell Mercedes to cut it out, because she's only hurting herself. Oh, here come the tears again. Quinn practically forces a granola bar down Mercedes throat to try to get her to eat again. The best thing about New Directions is that these kids from very different social groups always have each others' backs. Mercedes and company stood by Quinn when she went from queen bee to mother-to-be and now she is returning the favor to make sure Mercedes doesn't lose herself on the way up the social ladder.
There is no way that Mercedes is going to get kicked off the Cheerios now that she has saved Sue Motherfucking Sylvester's ass from a reporter from Splits! Magazine. The Pulitzer Prize runner-up (aren't we all?) was going to do a hard-hitting investigation into SMFS' nefarious ways, but once he sees the statement about being "Beautiful" he is going to write a glowing profile that will only strengthen Sue's stranglehold on the school. This is going to be good.
"Home": The Deus Ex Machina falls out of the sky just in time to whisk Ms. Kristin Chenoweth back to Broadway. Her rich lover dies and his widow gives her a cool $2 million to pack her Dodge and get out of Dodge. She even uses some of the money to buy the auditorium for the glee club and renames it the April Rhodes School for Wayward Girls. Yay! Everyone wins! Including Promises, Promises (now on Broadway!). Before April goes off to produce her all-white version of The Wiz she gets to sing one of the songs from the show with the whole chorus while wearing a beautiful dress and looking six feet tall. OK, 5'8", but that's huge for Kristin. Again, this song kind of means nothing for her, but it sure sounds amazing. Here is the entire number in case your DVR cut it off thanks to that evil American Idol (really, Fox, you need to fix this).
Home did mean something for Finn though, who finally came to peace with Kurt's dad, Burt (named after Burt Bacharach who wrote Promises, Promises, now on Broadway!). Burt thought Finn was going to be upset about him coming into their home and explained how he and Finn's mom are in love and he would never do anything to hurt her. Isn't it a little early to be making such declarations? Anyway, it was a great sentiment, as was Finn asking Burt to watch the game. Aw, everyone is growing!
And that was a very special episode of Glee. Can we get back to a little bit more campy bitchiness next week please? All this crying and emotion is making me hungry.