Gleecap: Ricky Martin Delivers an Infectious Performance in ‘The Spanish Teacher’

by | February 8, 2012 at 8:13 AM | Glee, Recap

Ricky Martin in Glee (FOX)

After this week’s episode of “Glee,” all I could hear was Fred Armisen’s voice echoing through my head exclaiming “Ay dios mio!” I wonder if “SNL’s” Fericito would have been as (lovingly?) exasperated by some of the humor as I was.

There was this tenure track storyline for the WMHS faculty that was maybe supposed to be funny in that it saw Schue and Sue get progressively more insane.

The Schuester is a bad Spanish teacher. Like, not just a little lacking in the accent department, which is what I always figured was the case. No, my especially simple cat could watch Univision for a week and then teach a better Spanish class than Schue. And yet he was delusional enough to think that a few night classes and a performance as a bilingual matador Elvis would improve his language skills and earn him tenure.

Meanwhile Sue’s ovaries were gasping out a mighty eleventh-hour call to motherhood. She, too, sought the long-term security that tenure would bring to her family, and she set about getting it by terrorizing people who threatened her chances at it, while simultaneously seeking sperm from just about every male she encountered.

The “Glee” gods often attempt to blend realism, irony, and camp to create an overall tone of hopeful (yet snarky) humor. Although this Schue/Sue arc provided some wickedly funny dialogue, it also cast both characters in a pathetic light, which is a description I’ve never attached to them before, and one that reminds me I need to refill my Prozac.

On the other hand, world-famous (cough, cough… stunt-casting) guest star Ricky Martin was endlessly optimistic and level-headed, despite being confronted with a guy requiring his help at a job he wanted and would be way better at. Although this resulted in an incredibly high risk factor for cheesiness, it totally worked. Much like the kids in New Directions, I found myself grinning and wanting to wiggle, wiggle, wiggle, wiggle when he showed up.

So Schue’s quest to be a better español teacher led to an assignment to do songs by Latin artists and/or in Spanglish. The results were mixed. Amber Riley’s take on “Don’t Wanna Lose You” didn’t bring the house down, but it was another recent reminder that the girl is muy talented. Oh, PS, she’s still conflicted about her feelings for Sam.

Speaking of Trouty Mouth, his performance with the rest of the glee boys was nutso. I don’t care that they sounded pretty good; it was a nonsensical mess. They mashed up “Bamboleo” and “Hero,” which don’t really blend well to begin with. But they did it wearing bolo ties and super pointy Mexican cowboy boots. Um, not to be all know-it-all, but the Gipsy Kings and Enrique Iglesias have Spanish heritage, and “Bamboleo” is a version of a Venezuelan folk song. Obviously all things Latin are not the same, so the stylization of this number was pretty short-sighted.

That was the point Santana ended up making in her Snixian rant to Schue about how clueless and therefore disrespectful he was regarding the subject he “taught.” He saw the light and recommended Figgins hire Martin’s David Martinez to take the Spanish gig, while he would sidle into history.

Sue ended the episode still wanting a baby, but not before enduring a scathing tirade from coach Roz about how washed up her career and uterus were.

And who got tenure? That would be the “prolific” pamphleteer Emma Pillsbury, who will hereby be referred to as Professor Dollface. Schue was so wrapped up in his own pursuit he completely missed his that his fiancé had the same opportunity. The soon-to-be Professor D quietly persevered, despite Schue being an imbécil gigante about her clever and helpful products.

Oh, and the brotherly relationship of Furt is alive and well. Rachel spilled about her engagement to Finn, and Kurt promptly told Finn not to give up on himself ‘cause he’s a star. Aw.

I’ll wrap up with all the usual superlatives below, but just in case you’re as entranced by those boots as I was, the folks at Vice magazine made this video about them, which Ryan Murphy clearly didn’t watch or he would have had New Directions dancing to tribal beats.

More love:

Best musical number: “Sexy and I Know It” deserves the most acclaim, not only for Ricky’s infectious performance, but also because the choir room happyfuntimes that I always enjoy seemed more authentic (and well choreographed) than usual. And Sugar Motta’s push-ups? Come on! Damian McGinty wishes he could compete with Vanessa Lengies (aka future winner of the first ever Emmy for non-verbal performance), but he remains awkward instead and hilarious.

Best Sue-ism: “The good people at Kroger have been keeping a box of my championship ova cooling in their meat locker.” Since the late 70s, apparently.

Pamphlet of the Week: “Taint Misbehavin’” generated as much enthusiasm in my living room as it did at the WMHS teachers’ lounge and locker room.

So good they had to use it twice: “With whose vagina?”

And more exasperation:

Worst musical number: “A Little Less Conversation.” Not even Mike and Brittany as dancing bulls could save this stinker. (Sorry, Matt. I still love you.)

Most unnecessary lighting: That laser show during “La Isla Bonita” could have caused retinal scarring.

Things that make you go “eeeek”: Why, Sue? Why did you have to talk to the boys about staining their mothers’ drapes? They didn’t want to discuss that with you. They can’t unhear those words. I can’t unhear those words.