The much-hyped Lady Gaga episode of Glee ended up not being so much about Lady Gaga as it was about mothers and daughters, fathers and sons, friends and lovers, and a diversion through the KISS songbook. It was still awesome.
If there was one thing the "Lady Gaga episode" was missing it was more of the singer's songs and outfits. Yes, we got two ditties and a whole career retrospective in terms of looks, but it's not like she took over like Madonna did. There seems to be something else that was absent about... hmm, what was it? I can't quite place my finger on... Oh! There was no Sue Motherfucking Sylvester! She didn't show her cute, track-suited little heinie once last night, and we sure did miss her. That means Brittany got all the good lines last night, and if SMFS isn't around to give us a chuckle, then we're fine with Brittany picking up the slack. After all, we look ridiculous and she looks awesome. And where the hell was Jesse? He wasn't supporting Rachel when she got close to mommy and he wasn't rehearsing with New Directions. Was he one of the boys in a red lace mask on stage with Vocal Adrenaline? Hmm...
But just what did all this going Gaga mean for our silly band of singers at McKinley High? It meant some crazy outfits and a whole lot of change.
"Bad Romance": This dance track with the crazy lyrics and creepy video became an instant hit, and with good cause. It's a fun and catchy tune about a love that's so pure the singer even wants all the bad parts of her intended, including his "ugly," "disease," and pure freakishness. And that's just what New Directions wanted to show the world.
After a pack of over-eager Twilight fans brought terror to the school (think that's just comedy? That shit is real), Principal Figgins told Goth former stutterer Tina that she had to change styles because he was afraid she was going to go around biting people. Like the timid little flower she is, Tina obeyed and showed up at school in a slouchy gray hoodie and no makeup. After all the suggestions for new styles (Brittany's were naturally the best: a cross country skier, a Happy Meal with no onions, and a chicken) all failed, the glee club and Mr. Schuester had an idea, why not all dress up like Lady Gaga!
I love where this story took us, but this is the sort of hokey conceit that takes Glee from slightly unrealistic into an utter cartoon. It's bad enough they are now getting an "assignment" each week, like glee club is an actual class. No wonder Vocal Adrenaline is so good. They're off rehearsing the same numbers over and over again and making them perfect while New Directions is flitting about doing silly exercises that are never going to see the light of competition.
Anyway, Kurt and the ladies sing this song and everyone gets to showcase their voice a little bit, which was nice for a change. Well, everyone except Brittany, but we're still not sure if she stopped being so confused by the lyrics to actually sing.
Things were literally a bad romance for Babygay Kurt and Finn, who will be forced to share a room now that Finn's mom and Kurt's dad want to move in together and consolidate their little pools of testosterone and singing aspiration under one roof. BG Kurt is very excited about the prospect, since this was his plan all along, and Finn is, well, he's none to pleased.
"Funny Girl": This is the classic tears of clown anthem that Barbra Streisand made famous from the musical and movie of the same name. In it comedian Fanny Brice is saying that she may be funny, but the men never love a funny girl. The real message we get from this is that things aren't so easy for people as we would like to think.
That's definitely true of Shelby Corcoran who belts this number. Idina Menzel really knocks it out of the park. If she is publicly auditioning to be the person to pull off a Funny Girl revival, I'll be the first one to say I would pay $129.50 to see that. As for Shelby, all she ever wanted was a daughter. We learn later that she can't have children anymore, which is why it became important for her to find Rachel, to fill that hole inside of her left by the child she gave up and the dreams she never realized.
Rachel has that hole inside too, the one she's trying to stuff with her voracious quest for fame, and it comes from not knowing her mother and not having someone in her life who is just like her. It sounds like her fathers are great and supportive, but no set of parents can give any child everything she wants and that is even harder for children of adoption to accept, because they feel that there is someone out there who will get them completely because of some biological link.
And the two have a great rapport at first, even sitting unnaturally in the theater to have a chat. Of course it's Shelby, the older of the two, who realizes that things are off. At first we thought this was all part of her plan to thwart New Directions—to pose as Rachel's mother and then shun her to throw her off her game at regionals—but this seems to be the real deal. However, she can make one hell of a Gaga costume.
"Shout It Out Loud": This is a KISS song. I do not know much about them, other than they wear makeup and Gene Simmons is like a trillionaire who is married to Shannon Tweed, who stars in some of my favorite Cinemax movies from when I was in high school. I always enjoy them when I hear them and this is a pretty good song. Mostly I like this performance because Puck in makeup, platforms, and a sleeveless shirt holding a guitar makes me tingle in parts that were reserved for watching Shannon Tweed movies in high school.
The boys got together to perform this number (the pyrotechnics were a good touch, but where do they keep getting all these elaborate sets?) because they feel like Gaga is too girly. It probably is, but that doesn't mean they can't play along. Wouldn't it have been better to have all the boys—minus Kurt—dress Gaga-esque and then make the girls—and Kurt—get all KISSed out to show each other that all freaks are really just the same freak in different costumes? Still, everyone was shouting their freakdom out loud, and that always makes for a good show.
Kurt and Tina were shouting it so loud, the bullies at the school think they are too showy and weird and are "hurting their eyes." Wait, isn't that the same thing Sue Motherfucking Sylvester said about fat people like the bullies? It's not easy being different, as any babygay can tell you, and they're really getting the brunt of it now that they're using their outfits to call attention to themselves. The funny thing is, Kurt says that they're "expressing themselves," but they're really not at all. They're just dressing in a costume. But isn't that the way of teenagers. They feel some great internal yearning to be different and express their inner selves to the world with their appearance, but they don't have the faculties or creativity to come up something original. Instead, they end up duplicating their favorite musical artists. Oh, sweeties, having a crazy look won't make you individuals, it will just make you followers with better clothes.
Finn is also starting to get guff from the bullies for being so "gay" that he's in glee club. His transformation from popular jock to mistreated nerd hasn't really been addressed properly. We see how hard Quinn took her fall from grace, and it can't be any easier for Finn. How is he going to handle it? By lashing out at Kurt, of course.
"Beth": Our second KISS song of the night is this sort of love song to the title lady. The singer says that he can't come home right now because he's rocking out with the guys. It's about being torn between your friends and the lady you love at home.
This song was an excuse to wrap up some weird Puck/Quinn storyline where Puck wanted to name the baby Jackie Daniels to be a badass (sorry, it's not as good a name as Drizzle) but she won't let him, explaining she's giving the baby up anyway, so it doesn't matter. So, he sings this song to say that he's over being a bad ass and he wants to just be there for Quinn. She cries and somehow manages not to ruin her pink feather eyelashes which means she either has superhuman powers or is a drag queen. This totally means she's going to keep the baby, doesn't it? This papa is gonna preach if she does.
This song was also a way for Finn to apologize to Kurt. When Kurt tries to help Finn out of his makeup with a moist towelette, Finn freaks out and doesn't want Kurt touching him. When Kurt redecorates their room to make it look like a Marrakesh bordello, Finn flips out and calls everything faggy. Burt steps up like the good PFLAG dad he is and says, "No one calls my boy a fag," and kicks Finn out. Usually this type of scene with BG Kurt would make cry, but last night it just left me kind of mad.
Here's my issue. Like Finn says, Kurt is totally trying to mack on him, and isn't very stealthy about it. I would hate it if I lived with a lady roommate who was always trying to get in my pants even though she knew I didn't want it. Yes, straight guys saying that they can't be in the locker room with gay guys because they'll look at them or the unfounded straight man fear that every gay guy wants to fuck him is totally unfounded. However, when the gay in question behaves like he wants to sleep with the straight guy in question, such fears seem warranted.
Also, Kurt is being pretty damn selfish about the whole thing. Of course the room isn't Finn's style, because Kurt didn't even try to find out what Finn's style was. Sure, Kurt was trying to make the room nice the best way he knew, but wouldn't it have been nicer if he started off their cohabitation with some sort of collaboration? No one deserves to be called a fag, and Burt was right, Finn calling the pillow or whatever "faggy" was really him calling Kurt a fag, but I think they both behaved rather badly in this situation.
"Poker Face": The only other Gaga song from the "Lady Gaga episode" sure was a doozy. Both of these broads can really sing and to have them duet on a slowed-down arrangement of the normally jazzy song was a nice change of pace, especially because every time one bothers to venture into a gay bar these days you hear it at least once. Lady Gaga says the song is about the face she puts on when she's having sex with her boyfriend but is thinking about another woman. Hmm, how does that fit in with the show? Well, it doesn't really, but it was a great song.
Well, maybe it does relate to Shelby and Rachel a bit, because they both let down their poker faces to show each other that they can't have the relationship they envisioned. With some help from Mr. Schue, Shelby realizes what she really wants is to be an influence in Rachel's life, but she's coming along too late, and Rachel is an (almost) fully-formed individual. Rachel thought she would have someone to take all her pain away and maybe teach her how to be a better Barbra, but Shelby can only give her one of the three.
Their duet is touching, as is Shelby giving Rachel a gift and telling her that they should admire each other form afar—for now. It seems that the two will eventually get to a good place if they can give each other enough room and get over their preconceived notions. Shelby should have pushed a little harder to be Rachel's mentor rather than her mother. If she can't raise her from a child, at least she can have some help in shaping her as a performer and an adult, and that seems like it would be the perfect way to contribute to her life in a positive way. My favorite little moment is when Shelby says, "[Being your mom] doesn't mean I'm going soft on you at regionals," and Rachel bows her head and responds, "Bring it" with a little giggle. That timid confidence is what Rachel Barry is really like in on the inside behind all the precocious bravado.
Everyone in the club puts on their poker faces to come to Kurt's aid when he's about to get beat in the hallway. In an act of contrition, Finn puts on his own Gaga costume and shows the bullies and Kurt that it doesn't matter what you wear, as long as you're true to who you are. Aww. It's like the little cartoon at the end of an episode of Jem except it's not about runways. The moment went from cheesy to touching though when all of the glee kids, in their respective costumes rounded the corner of the hallway to show that they had Finn and Kurt's back. They may not have much, but they have each other, a merry band of misfits. Oh, it's enough to make you cry tears of joy, or maybe just go a little bit Gaga.