Glee: “The Substitute”


I don’t claim to know what goes on behind the scenes over at Glee. But let me just say, I would not be surprised if it were to come out that there were some illicit substances involved somewhere along the line in creating this most recent episode. Seriously: what the hell ass just happened.

As a whole, “The Substitute” was not a terrible episode. I’m not saying that at all. It had some incredible moments, actually, and it had the potential to be amazing. Which is just the problem. That potential? Not reached. And then bogged down in a whole lot of inexplicably shoddy work.


Storywise, this was a good plan. Replace Mr. Schue for a week with someone who is the average high school student’s version of Way More Fun. (This also allowed for those fabulous little flashback/fantasy sequence moments of “Guys, I found a Journey song we haven’t done!”) Solid stuff. And while I will be a little sad if it turns out that Sue really is principal and Figgins really is gone, I can’t say that would be an entirely terrible thing. I mean, eventually there has to be some sort of change in the general Sue-tine. Otherwise it would get boring. (Well, maybe not…but you know what I mean.) And then there was the Return of Terri, which one would think could only lead to good things.

But somewhere in the middle of it all, everything went to hell.

Maybe it was the idea of the presence of guest star Academy Award Winner Gwyneth Paltrow. I mean, that is kind of a crazy and exciting happenstance. Has she ever done television? (Answer: No.) Maybe that whole thing just threw the whole crew into an OMGFRENZY fit? Or maybe Glee was just having one of its not-unheard-of off weeks. Anyway, the lady herself was excellent (and considering I’ve never been too terribly much of a fan, that is high praise).  I don’t think I knew she had all that singing and dancing in her. I did know about the comedy, I think, but I forgot. Until reminded. Repeatedly. The Mary Todd Lincoln moment came so close to redeeming the entire episode in my eyes, you do not even know.

Anyway. Here comes the actual scathing that I’ve been holding back.

Most of the episode was standard Glee goodness. The mini-me sequence? Adorable. The gay-talk fantasy? Hysterical. (Tiny purse!) Sue taking over the school? Brilliant. Gwyneth Paltrow’s introductory musical number? Rockin.

But.

But.

Three parts of this episode earned my all-consuming rage.*

1) “All That Jazz”

That was just a terrible number. I mean, the singing was fine. But you CAN NOT do a dance heavy number unless you are actually going to do some quality dancing. And, sorry whoever choreographed, but that was crap. Also, it was a really terrible rip-off of the movie version of that number. Also, I had no idea that it was possible to make a flapper dress that ugly. They looked like lifeguard suits coated in dollar store fringe.

2) The Whole Terri Thing

I love Terri. As a character. I mean really. She is just so wonderful to hate. The awfulness is entirely underused, and I wish that people would get over the low-level Merrrr I Don’t Like Her long enough to realize what that actually means about how awesome Jessalyn Gilsig is. (I’d also like a hundred dollars.) Anyway. We finally get some quality Terri time in and it seemed like it was going so well. And then apparently the writers just got tired of it and did the predictable Ooh And Now They’ll Have Mistake Sex thing and then made her re-exit a complete throwaway. STOP IT. I WANT MY TERRI TIME.

3. “Make ‘Em Laugh”

I’m sorry.
But I am morally offended by Glee‘s “Make ‘Em Laugh.”
YOU DO NOT TRY TO RECREATE THAT MUSICAL NUMBER. YOU DO NOT TRY TO RECREATE DONALD O’CONNOR. And even if you DO attempt such heresy, you certainly do so with about twelve million times more creativity. Because when all you do is water down the funniest physical gags and choreography and then try to make up for the obvious short-falling with only slightly better vocals, you FAIL. (And PS – Donald O’Connor did it BY HIMSELF. As in SOLO.) You can do The Beatles. You can do Rocky Horror. You can remix and rearrange whatever classic and/or hit songs. But certain icon bits are beyond your reach. Get ahold of yourself, Glee. You aren’t THAT awesome.

It was a definite relief when we finally made it to the end of the episode. Although speaking of that finale number, THAT is what I’m talking about, Glee. What the hell happened? You used up ALL your creativity and awesome on the final number and then let the rest go to hell? ‘Cause, unfortunately, even that wasn’t SO fantastic that it excused the embarrassments of earlier. Jee zuss.

I am glad we can now move on. I think. Because it looks like we’re going to actually deal with this whole Kurt’s-personal-drama thing pretty soon. And…yeah. Obviously I love Blaine slash Darren Criss and that whole business. That’s just fine. But this Karofsky thing is probably the one part of this season that I don’t have a solid opinion about. I just…don’t know what to do with it. I’m sort of afraid to see where it’s headed, but simultaneously anxious to get it over with and move on. Tuesday sooner, please!

*Well, four if you count the return of the GODDAMN HAIR JOKES. Even one good butt-chin poke can’t balance that shit out.

Quote:

“”You make the underflaps of my breasts burn like when I used to rub them with poison sumac.”

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