I suppose I should be touched by this week’s “Glee” story of two semi-reformed mean girls who rigged their prom election in the eleventh hour to crown a self-described “penguin” girl their queen.
Okay, fine, I thought it was a little sweet. Damn you, Murphy, for making me a sap.
But… Rachel Berry is allowed to be satisfied with her prom queen status for precisely 24 hours before she must pry open that box she stuffed her dreams into and reset her sights to much higher acclaim. Now is not the time to settle for being Lima’s leading lady.
Rachel forgets her lyrics in one (admittedly critical) moment and assumes her career cannot be resuscitated? But the most basic rite of passage in showbiz is to get up and repeatedly try again after a monumental failure.
Consider the alternative: Barbra (yes, that one) forgot the lyrics to three songs at a huge concert in 1966 and freaked so profoundly that she didn’t do another live concert for twenty-seven years.
So snap out of it, Berry, because a belt like yours belongs on Broadway, not on the local department store sales rack.
I’ll back up a bit. It’s prom time at WMHS, so class president Brittany is tasked with helping to plan it or losing her office. Since she can’t jail the prom committee for being incompetent fools who think clouds could withstand the weight of castles, she fires them and chooses dinosaurs for the prom theme.
Brit then makes two small declarations that manage to significantly propel the plot. First, she puts queen candidates Quinn and Santana in charge of counting the votes for their own race, and second she bans hair gel from prom, mostly because she hates Blaine’s look. Her reasoning is sound.
Before long, Rachel discovers that Finn and Quinn are campaigning for prom royalty together, causing her to feel like a double reject. She channels her sorrow into luscious harmonies with Blaine in a Fergie song while Kurt alternates with awkwardly high solo verses.
Afterward, the three of them plan an anti-prom so Rachel won’t have to watch Finn and Quinn together, Kurt can avoid a potential re-election as queen, and Blaine’s head can remain shellacked within an inch of its life.
Almost everyone chooses the real deal over the “all-inclusive” pity party anti-prom. The only takers are Puck, who’s depressed about failing geography, and Becky, who is on a destructive tirade after not being nominated for queen.
Meanwhile, Q and Joey Tentacles are sitting on a secret. Quinn has regained her ability to stand with little assistance, and she’s starting to walk again.
Since she’s Shallow Quinn in this episode (flip-flopped back again from Strong and Wise Quinn), she decides to milk her condition for votes and extra attention, hoping to blow everyone’s minds by standing to be crowned queen.
But Finn discovers her on her feet in the bathroom, and he threatens to expose her during their couples dance, which causes such a ruckus that Sue basically tosses him out.
Here’s the thing about Cory Monteith: he’s not as terrible as people say he is. He can be an auto-tuned lump at times, but I find Finn’s simplicity and sincerely good heart endearing. But now that he’s navigating more intense emotions, it has become clear that Monteith has a serious case of the Duchovnys.
You know how when Mulder cries it’s heartbreaking, but you can’t help being distracted by David D’s super weird sob face? It’s like that with Finn. I’m hopeful that Monteith is tapping into something in there, but I may never be able to get past the facial strain.
Finn rescues the conveniently dolled-up Rachel from the snoozefest she and the boys created, despite Becky’s attempts to booze it up and get it on with the gays. They head back to prom, followed by a newly brave Kurt and Blaine.
Puck and Becky hang back for more sulking and strip poker (Becky seems to have a bright future in professional gambling), but eventually Puck makes them beer-carton crowns and they wander over to the school to spike Sue’s punch and boogie down.
And we’re back to the part where the “sad little Jewish girl” fake-wins the popularity contest.
Rachel runs into Quinn when she’s about to count the votes, and she expresses her admiration for Q’s transformation into a decent person. Rachel is delighted and incredulous about their friendship. She voted for Q believes she deserves to be queen.
Cut to Quinn and Santana comparing their vote counts. Both got Quinn winning by one vote. They relish their desirable high school careers, but Q is moved to make a difference before leaving for Yale. You may not remember, since they only mention it about twice per episode, but she’s going to Yale for college. Yaaaaaale. Yale.
It really was a kick to see the spark in Santana and Quinn’s eyes at the announcement that Rachel was the write-in winner. Then Quinn stood as the two of them sang a song none of the students had ever heard before because “Top Gun” was already playing on the classic movie channel by the time they were born.
Oh, how could I forget Poofy von Poodletop?! Kurt’s darling bf has a head of hair that any of the Golden Girls would have been jealous of. And they danced happily ever after anyway.
Next week… Nationals!
What else took the crown:
Best musical number, vocal edition: “Take My Breath Away,” which sounded very pretty even though it was a dinosaur of a song compared to the other prom numbers. So I guess it was appropriate.
Best musical number, dance edition: “Dinosaur.” They probably would have had me at T-Rex cheerleaders. But Heather Morris was once again on fire in this number that looked like a hip-hop twist on an African jazz routine, if my “SYTYCD” dictionary is to be believed.
Best Sue-ism: “What are you looking at, Jar-Jar Binks?”
Best use of a faux leopard print hat: The Lea-Barbra resemblance during the silent nod to “Funny Girl” was eerie and fantastic.
Best prom outfit: Prez Pierce by a landslide. Obama needs a tiny hat, like, now.
And what should have stayed at the anti-prom:
Worst musical number: “What Makes You Beautiful,” because I’m not fourteen.
Most offensive voice-over sin of all time: I strongly suspect Becky’s inner voice in this episode was not Helen Mirren but an imposter!
Laziest physical therapist: I hope Quinn’s family isn’t paying much for her rehab, because her presumably certified therapist was clearly all, “Oh, you got this Teen Jesus? Sweet, I’m never coming back.”
Most worrisome absence: After last week, it wasn’t comforting that Beiste was MIA in this episode. Please follow up soon, writers.