Gleecap: McKinley High Catches Disco Fever

by | April 18, 2012 at 7:04 AM | Glee, Recap

Santana (Naya Rivera, L) and Brittany (Heather Morris, R) perform in the "Saturday Night Glee-ver" episode of Glee (Adam Rose/FOX)

Interior decorating as Sue sees it: Nothing pulls together a living room quite like a lit-from-within, shatterproof Plexiglas dance floor.

Other useful information from this week’s “Glee” includes that a bull testicle tastes just like a chicken testicle, and chubby house cats are a cheap and effective source for maid services. As always, Brittany, we thank you for your insight.

And… almost everything else about this episode was pretty dull.

Don’t misunderstand my criticism to mean that I don’t jive with disco. The tunes penned by the Bee Gees, in particular, have been favorites of mine since childhood. Of course it was a stroke of unfortunate timing that the song list this week played like a bittersweet tribute to Robin Gibb, whose sharp decline in health made news earlier this week.

Still, I can hear the naysayers complaining that today’s teens are hardly likely to get enthused about disco, but do you imagine they’d be more drawn to Roberta Flack, Cole Porter, or Hall and Oates? Because this season has featured songs by all of those guys. So I’d argue that the few winning moments this week were during songs, despite them being supremely dated.

The problem was that the episode was built around the misguided plot device that Finn, Mercedes, and Santana are destined to wander in a directionless oblivion if they don’t make formal plans for their futures RIGHT NOW.

Schue organizes a fake contest to entice them to share their goals with everyone after singing a song from “Saturday Night Fever.” Setting goals is wise, but let’s be real, Schue. It’s April, which is a little late to suddenly pressure kids to apply to colleges as if their lives depend on it.

According to Schue (as illustrated via his to-scale glee club diorama), the trouble with Finn is he has no self-esteem. Rachel, who is not in such a rush like Schue, makes up with Finn so she can tell him she wants to give his dreams a shot. It’s sweet, but now there is officially zero percent essence of Tracy Flick left in her, which was maybe her best quality.

Then Finn and Schue have a fight in which Finn declares a desire to be a popular perma-teen, while Schue encourages him to look to “Saturday Night Fever” for inspiration to follow unlikely dreams. Only based on my reading of the Wikipedia synopsis of the film, it sounds like Finn could only end up disillusioned on a subway train if he does the Travolta thing.

Santana’s problem in Schueland is that she lacks focus, but she’s actually really focused on what she wants – fame. She dons this coral jumpsuit of flowy foxitude and sings a luscious rendition of “If I Can’t Have You,” which Schue declares is a fantastic argument for fighting for marriage equality after attending law school. She’s like, “Um, nope. Wanna be famous.” He immediately showers her with guilt and disappointment.

And it’s Brit to the rescue! You can’t fault the logic in her initial plans to catapult Santana to celeb status, which include posting their sex tape online and prepping her to be on a trashy reality show. Those are indeed common routes to tabloid stardom. But it’s her idea to submit Santana for a cheerleading scholarship at a top cheer university that breaks through to S’s sensible side.

And Mercedes has no vision, says Schue. After tearing up “Disco Inferno,” she reveals that she’s simply overwhelmed and unsure how to start a diva career path (which is her vision). Where to move? How to get representation?

Sam takes it upon himself to record her performance and post it online, where she acquires hundreds of fans. He also plants a big ol’ kiss on her lips, which she did not appear to reject.

To sum up, Schue insistently implies that sticking to the decisions a person makes during the spring semester of their senior year is the only path to fulfillment. It’s irksome. I’m irked. Thankfully, everyone has a supportive romantic partner.

This week marks the appearance of the final “Glee Project” contender to win a spot on the show, Alex Newell. You’ll remember him for frequently throwing shade and displaying a mystifyingly blank stare when receiving direction. And also for the dresses and eye shadow.

He continues his epic drag journey on “Glee” as Wade, a super shy member of Vocal Adrenaline (now coached by a dictatorial Jesse St. James) who worships Mercedes and Kurt. Wade has an alter-ego, Unique, who is not only a flashy dresser, but she’s cheeky and quite the belter.

Wade wants to be Unique at Regionals and solicits advice from Porcelain and Weezie (Sue’s names) about whether to bust out the dress and wig for the occasion. They say no, but Sue has them send an old pair of Janet Reno’s strappy heels to indicate he should do it. She figures it will tank with the Regionals judges,

Mercedes and Kurt have a change of heart and rush to stop Unique from making her debut, but she goes on anyway in a true showstopper. Jesse St. James throws a fit and tries to get Unique off the stage, but the audience loves the performance.

And thus another “GP” runner-up clearly outshines winners Irish and Teen Jesus. I’m eager to see what Alex does in his remaining episode.

Final goodies:

Best musical number: “Boogie Shoes.” She’s got legs and she knows how to use them.

Best Sue-ism: What was that about a sex tape with Oliver North?

Best editing: The random shots of Lord Tubbington scrubbing and dusting and such were hilarious and also jealousy-inducing. What are my cats good for?

First Finn LOL moment ever: “I want to go to Inside the Actors Studio.”

And the rest of it:

Worst musical number: “You Should Be Dancing” was tolerable because of Mike and Brit dancing together like old times. But it was an awkward cold open to the show.

Unfortunate recycling of story: I realize the crossover audience between “Glee” and “Boston Legal” is most likely very small, but it still feels worth mentioning that the Unique storyline was not an entirely unique storyline (Clarence/Clarice, anyone?). They’re not exactly the same, but close enough.