Is there one girl on Glee who is not a slut? Mercedes, Santana, Brittany, Rachel—they were all fighting for the attention of men last night. At least it gave them some pretty things to sing about.
To be fair, it wasn't just the girls who were doing some serious lusting, Kurt, Finn, and Puck were all on the prowl too, to varying degrees of success. The only people who we really didn't get to see last night were the adults. Yay! A refreshing change to have just a hilarious taste of Sue Motherfucking Sylvester and barely any of Mr. Schue's drama. Let's see what all those teenage hormones were all worked up about.
Jessie's Girl: The big question is, did they name Rachel's boyfriend Jesse just so Finn could sing this Rick Springfield hit or did they just name him Jesse and someone was like, "Um, hello! Jessie's Girl?!" Either way, it was an inspired choice and slightly ironic because the song is about the singer falling in love with his best friend's lady, but here Finn and Jesse—who was supposedly on spring break with his Vocal Adrenaline friends, but we bet he was just trapped in the world's largest bathhouse in nearby Cleveland—are clearly rivals for Rachel's heart.
Finn still has it bad for Rachel, but he isn't quite sure why. When pressed, he can't think of one good quality, and he knows that she is an overly-dramatic needy mess. Does he only want her now that he knows he can't have her? Probably. If there's one thing we've learned about Finn is that he acts more on instinct or because of what he thinks he's supposed to do rather than any self-actualized motivation. Though the song initially makes Rachel a bit nervous, by the end of the episode, she's glad that she has Finn looking out for her best interests.
Rachel, the Jesse's girl of the title, is going through something herself. Convinced that she's the only one singing in the group, she bugs the choir room and discovers that, indeed, everyone is keeping mum. Quinn is too pregnant, Santana too bored, and Brittany too befuddled by all those pesky lyrics. Maybe this is why she got laryngitis or tonsillitis. Whatever it was, it made her sound worse singing Miley Cyrus' "The Climb" than even Miley sounds singing it, so that's really bad. In typical Rachel fashion, she freaked the fuck out and thought she was going to be Julie Andrew and never sing again after she has a surgery. Everything about her reaction is so Rachel Barry. Even when she's not getting attention with her voice, she's making sure that everyone is paying attention to her for not having a voice. This Tinkerbell doesn't need applause to live (a great line), she just needs someone looking at her.
"Lady Is a Tramp": It was a tough spell for my imaginary boyfriend Puck, who had to shave his mohawk because his Jewish mother was afraid he had cancer on his scalp. His hair mojo gone, everyone stopped being afraid of him, even the nerds. How was he going to get his popularity back? By dating Mercedes, now one of the most popular girls in school (God, the popularity in this school goes up and down more than Oprah's weight). How is he going to win "R&B" Mercedes when he's so "Top 40?" By singing this classic of the American songbook.
And it works. The two have great musical chemistry together and Mercedes is loving the attention. Like she tells Quinn in the hallway, she knows she's getting used but she likes having the eye of a total fox, even if it is just to get his own way. Oh, Mercedes, we have all been there before. There is something about a sexy bad boy that, even when you know the whole relationship is going to end badly, you just can't help but fall for him. She promises that her heart is steeled against disappointment.
As for Puck, as soon as he's seen around with Mercedes, Oprah is skinny again—I mean he is popular again. Since he's used to bedding ladies left and right, I'm glad the first lady he really had to work for was Mercedes. If she's going to be used, she's not going to come cheap. Next episode, we'd love to see him realize that he actually misses her and tries to win her back, but we don't think it will happen. OK, I'll settle for a shirtless scene, which this episode was sadly lacking. Deal?
Pink Houses: How funny that when Babygay Kurt is trying to butch it up, he sings a song called "Pink Houses." Even his macho is girly! He's doing this because his father is into Mellencamp and he's trying to connect with his father by being straight and masculine. This comes after his father, now dating Finn's mom, spends a few nights doing things with Finn like going to a baseball game, talking about vaginas, and seeing who can spit a darker, gnarlier loogie of tobacco juice.
An only child with a dead mother, BG Kurt has never had to fight for his father's attention, and now that he does, he doesn't like it. He thinks that by changing the exterior, he can change the way his father, and the world, sees him. He gets a vest, jeans, and ball cap and starts messing around with Brittany, who needs to make out with Kurt so that she will have kissed every guy in McKinley High. It's a little sad that Kurt kissed her before he kissed a guy, but at least she informed him that boys lips sometimes taste like her armpits because, she's right—there are plenty of guys out there who taste like Brittany's armpits.
"The Boy Is Mine": One of the best parts of Glee is that it introduces awesome songs to new audiences. As soon as the show as over, I was on iTunes downloading this Brandy/Monica jam from back in the day. This was always a killer track and when these two started into it, I nearly lost my gay mind. And they fucking killed it. Usually vocal gymnastics in R&B tracks get too tired and muddy to be of much good, but this has always been the perfect vocal duel for two songstresses going absolutely crazy on each other. The whizzing camera work while the two swirled around each other in a flurry of musical notes, like the Sharks and the Jets dance-fighting their way out of a conflict, just added to the night's most electrifying scene. Mercedes, of course, is always up for some booming vocals, but look at Santana stepping up to the challenge. She'll always be the Monica to Mercedes Brandy, but still!
Speaking of Santana, who is like the female equivalent of Satan, she was none too happy with Mercedes when she was dating Puck. She had already given up on Puck after he shaved off his hair, but now that she couldn't have him, of course she wanted her back. That is always the way. Naturally, Mercedes does not give a fuck about Santana. If there is one person who is strong enough to stand up to any threat it is the self-assured Mercedes, the luxury sedan of confidence. Even if their fight kind of fizzled out, it was totally worth it for this track!
"Rose's Turn": What a perfect song choice for Kurt! Personally, this closing number from Gypsy was always the anticlimax to a great show (the ironic "Everything's Coming Up Roses" at the end of the first act is clearly the highlight) but it was easily appropriated for the show and was the right song at the right time. Just like on American Idol, it's all about proper selection. And, as Sue MF Sylvester says (in the best line of the night), liking musicals doesn't make him gay, it makes him awful.
After being ditched by his dad for the second time to hang out with Finn, Kurt let's loose with a "scrapbooks full of me in the background." But much like Rose in Gypsy, Kurt is really the star of the show, at least in his household. His father has done everything to please him and try to accommodate him, even though his coming out has been awkward for his father. This whole "don't hang with Finn" thing is a bit selfish (and for an episode that hinged on his father hanging out with Finn, how come we didn't see him actually with Finn even once?) but we totally understand where BG Kurt is coming from. My Pavlovian response to cry everytime BGK is on screen is still in full effect after their scene last night, which had a surprisingly real-world resolution. Kurt's dad admits that it's hard having a gay son, but he's trying his best and Kurt realizes that his father loves him, no matter if he wants to dip tobacco with Finn. There is going to be zero shared interest for these two, but it doesn't mean they can't find common ground. I wonder if his father spending time with another boy would be so bad if Kurt didn't have it so bad for Finn?
"One": I hate this cloyingly sentimental U2 song. Yeah, the message is great, but hearing it is like having your ears filled with the sugary gunk found inside a Cadbury Creme Egg. Also, Rachel Barry, U2 is not classic rock! I know I'm old and all, but this only came out in 1991. That is by no means "classic rock." Regardless, it's about supporting each other and the world coming together to buy each other Cokes. See, even more sugary syrup.
That is the message that Rachel really needed to hear. After whining about losing her voice, Finn took her to see a cripple. Why did he know this would work? Because it is a time-honored TV show convention that, when you're feeling down and out, you drag out the cripple. I don't quite understand why Finn had to drag her across town to some dude's house we've never seen before, because this show already has an underutilized cripple. If I was Artie, I'd be pissed that Finn and Rachel were going to some other paralyzed kid for perspective when a "wheel over here, Artie" would have had the same effect.
When Finn brings Rachel to the cripple the first time, she feels sabotaged and pulls away. Especially because his answers are a little more real that she's used to hearing in saccharine TV shows. He's not at all happy in his new body and tried to kill himself when he got his wheelchair. Yeah, it's not all sunshine and unicorns for this guy. But, on the bright side, he has discovered some things he does well, like solve math equations and sing. Well, he's not a great singer, but maybe belting out bad U2 songs with Rachel will help him improve. This teaches Rachel, hopefully, that she's more than her voice and that she would survive without it. She won't survive well, but she'll make it.
Mercedes also learns her lesson about being nice to humanity. After she sees what popularity does to Puck when he throws the nerds back in the dumpster, she decides she'd rather be a glee loser (in a fierce pink ensemble) than a popular cheerleader who sold her soul. Now the Cheerios will be doing the splits to 10 minutes of SMFS ranting about immigrants rather than Mercedes doing vocal runs to a Mariah Carey track. We think we'd rather hear the former anyway.
So, thanks to U2, everyone learned a valuable lesson about being true to themselves, whether that's an attention hog like Rachel, a big ol' queen like Kurt, a regal queen like Mercedes, a spacey nitwit like Brittany, or a total asshole like Puck. Hey Puck, call me! OK?