Glee: Redemption Songs

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Our favorite show that doesn't at all remind us of Fame halted the steady slide into mediocrity we've been witnessing since it returned from hiatus with a rather frenetic episode dedicated to the idea that reputations, like songs, can be redeemed.

So the assignment this week -- prompted by Kurt posting a video of Sue lip-syncing to "Physical" (to the latter's subsequent extreme humiliation) and the publication of a list (or "Glist") ranking the club's membership by hotness -- was to take crap songs and find "what works." The songs skewed heavily towards the 1980s, a logical move considering creator Ryan Murphy was in high school himself at the time.

So while historians of musical embarrassment might have found more laughs with "Billy Don't Be A Hero" or Scott McKenzie's "San Francisco (Be Sure to Wear Flowers in Your Hair)," we were left with "Ice Ice Baby," "Can't Touch This," and "Total Eclipse of the Heart" (no comment on which of those, if any, currently reside on my iPod).

I found the use of the Vanilla Ice track, performed by Will (minus the dance moves) with the assistance of the mysterious and omnipresent backing band, to be a bold choice. As universally reviled tunes go, it's hard to top. Still, the song sold 11 million copies, which is what makes current hatred for it so amusing. Why, you'd have a hard time finding anyone who admits to...oh, I don't know...drunkenly singing it with a couple of college friends at the birthday party of a girl he ended up clumsily fornicating with later that night, never realizing she'd come to his place of work the next day and spill the beans to another girl he was trying to date.

Man, I hate that song.

Not the version of "Total Eclipse" used last night

More importantly, from Rachel's perspective, this assignment allowed her a chance to redeem the fact she was ranked last on the Glist. She attempts to tweak her own rep by surreptitiously shooting a video (for 1975's "Run Joey Run") involving all three of her paramours (Jesse, Finn, and Puck). Unsurprisingly, none of those strung along were amused.

Molly Shannon makes a largely meaningless cameo(?) as transfer teacher Brenda Castle, who joins in the wholesale mocking of Sue. I've never been a fan of hers, even if she did a hell of a a job making Sue look temporarily sympathetic.

Sue, for her part responds to the YouTube humiliation by victimizing Emma (at the indirect urging of her sister). She tells Emma about Will's dalliances with April and Shelby Corcoran, prompting a confrontation in which Emma publicly denounces him for being a "slut."

Let me see if I have this right; he spends one platonic night with April, and makes out for about ten seconds with Shelby, and this qualifies as promiscuous behavior? Only to a 30-something virgin, I guess.

Redemption for Sue comes through a fortuitous meeting with Olivia Newton-John, who contributes to the series' burgeoning tradition of padding episodes with music videos by co-starring with the Cheerio coach in an update of the "Phsyical" video. Emboldened by this, Sue threatens to kick Brenda "square in the taco." The taco? Jesus, the FCC will rain misery all over you for an awkward nipple slip, but make explicit references to assaulting another woman's vagina (or sing "Who the fuck are you?" on classic rock radio) and they're apparently taking a nap.

We finished up with yet more Finn-Rachel-Jesse drama, this time set to the tortured stylings of Bonnie Tyler. All I can say is, the only way I'll be impressed with any of this is if Rachel engineered Jesse's transfer solely for the benefit of the club, and actually faked her feelings for him. Because otherwise it's getting pretty tiresome.

Quote of the Week: "Can you even feel your feet?" -- Brittany to Artie

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