Glee: Michael

Posted on February 01, 2012

We weren’t really looking forward to this episode, since it signaled the return to one of worst things about season 2 (other than the preachiness and all-around lack of humor): the “theme” episode. And just like last year, when suddenly a bunch of teenagers just could not stop talking about how inspirational and all-around awesome the older-than-their-parents Madonna is, this episode had every teenager in Lima, Ohio suddenly obsessed with the dead (and also older-than-their-parents) Michael Jackson. It’s lame and we couldn’t roll our eyes hard enough. There was a time when Glee wouldn’t have passed up an opportunity to make a tasteless joke about Michael Jackson, but with this episode it was all reverence, all the time.

“Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin'” with Blaine opened the episode and our fears seemed realized, since not only wouldn’t he shut up about Michael, but he sang pretty much a karaoke version of the song; a note-for-note recreation down to every hiccup and hee-heee. We realize this is kind of a silly complaint when it comes to Glee, which has a hstory of producing almost nothing but karaoke versions of popular hits. But sometimes it really jumps out at you and watching Darren Criss grab his crotch may have excited some fangurls still clinging to the dream, but it actually left us a little pre-bored with the episode to come.

Funny thing, though; we wound up enjoying the episode way more than we thought we would. It had its problems and we wouldn’t really place it high in the Glee Pantheon of Good Episodes (which has plenty of room for new entries, believe us), but the scripting here was tighter than we would have thought and the songs all had fairly decent lead-ins from the story. That’s a trick that all the great musicals have and all the bad musicals lack. Bad musicals – and far too many episodes of Glee – take what we call the “I’ll sing now” approach. Y’know; two characters are talking, they unnaturally pause for a beat, and then one or both of them start singing something that only marginally relates to what they were just talking about. We didn’t think all of the numbers really hit their mark, but several of them really stood out for us because they flowed naturally from the story. Let’s run them down, shall we?

Quinn singing “Never Can Say Goodbye.” Quinn hasn’t gotten a big showy solo in quite some time and there’s a good reason for that. Dianna Agron simply isn’t all that great a singer. Passable, but nothing that warrants the spotlight. But we thought the scene with Rachel in the bathroom was full of heart and this sense of a real connection between these two characters; one that goes beyond friendship because Quinn won’t stroke Rachel’s ego, is well aware of all her flaws, and will tell her the truth. We don’t particularly buy Quinn’s new role as the wise, experienced one in the group (mainly because it happened so quickly), but we like it as a sort of final destination for the character. In other words, Quinn wound up where we would have wanted her to wind up, but we never really got to see the journey there except in fits and starts and then wildly accelerated. Even so, this song was a perfect match for her vocal capabilities and the staging acknowledged her history rather nicely.

Artie and Mike singing “Scream.” It was jarring, to say the least, to see Harry Shrum doing his best Janet Jackson, but what made this number standout was the outstanding lead-in to it. We’ve seen Artie stand and dance once before, in last season’s fantastic “Safety Dance” number, but this time the emotional impact of seeing him stand up in rage was far more powerful and effective. We actually leaned forward in our seats when we realized we were about to get a Kevin McHale/Harry Shrum dance number. We were mildly disappointed because “Scream” actually isn’t one of Michael’s strongest videos, from a choreography perspective. That’s the kind of statement that’s going to be answered with a lot of howls of disapproval, but we call it how we see it. “Scream” was more of a special effects video than a choreography video. Anyway, it was still powerful and they looked great together.

Sam and Mercedes singing “Human Nature.” We confess, this rendition won’t make us forget the original (which happens to be one of our favorites out of the Michael catalogue), but it was sweet and these two have a growing chemistry together. And again, the lead-in gave the song emotional impact as it was both romantic and full of bright hope.

Sebastian and Santana (with 2Cellos) singing “Smooth Criminal.” AMAZING. Talk about your lead-ins. From the second these two vicious babygays laid eyes on each other and smelled the threat in the room, the story has been begging for a showdown. We got the one these two characters deserved. And Santana so won that one.

“Ben” was sappy nonsense (and always has been); ditto on “I Just Can’t Stop Loving You.” “Bad” was exactly what the title says. One major disappointment with this episode was that Brittney didn’t get a big dance number. “Black or White” was good, but not amazing-good, which is kind of what the story required of it. As soon as the number started, we wondered if they were going to do the morph thing. Of course they did.

And of course, the rather preachy aspect of it had us pretty bored. Frankly, we were totally behind rage-filled Artie and his need for vengeance, but that’s just us.

As for the Rachel and Finn thing, it’s actually playing out a little better than it has any right to. We’ll give them credit for one thing: both characters are doing things that make sense for them as characters. Finn is desperately clinging to Rachel because he thinks he has no future and Rachel only accepted his proposal once she convinced herself the same thing. Of course they’re both going to realize this at some point. Our bet is right around sectionals. Or maybe finals. Prom. Graduation. Whatever. They’ll have a heartfelt talk, maybe sing a little, and both come to realize that Quinn was right all along and you shouldn’t drag your high school years around as you go out in the world.

Are we bad adults? We were all for Artie’s plans to seek revenge and totally behind Quinn’s rather cynical take on the importance of high school in the long run; namely that it has very little, if you live your life right. Would you shield your children from us for setting a bad example or giving them bad advice? We’re asking. We probably wouldn’t like your children anyway.


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  • Anonymous

    “Pre-bored.” Heh. 

    It’s been months since I’ve watched this show. I kind of miss all the crazy, but I just don’t have enough time. But I still enjoy the updates. 

    • Anonymous

      Ditto. These recaps are my last link to this show. Project Runway as well.

    • me too. i decided to quit cold turkey a couple of months ago and i’m happy about it. but i still read TLo’s recaps to see if I missed anything really good.

  • Anonymous

    Rachel’s break down in the hallway talking to Kurt made me remember Lea Michele is actually a really talented actress; I teared up. Senior year is a legit mentally tough time and I remember the anxiety well. That’s all I really took away from this episode. I found all the performances really mediocre, but the character story lines were better than they have been in a long time.

    • Terence Ng

      I was actually impressed with that, too!

    • I totally agree! Rachel’s hallway crying was the first time in a long time that I thought one of the ‘Glee’ characters accurately portrayed a high school student. That’s exactly what a high school girl breaking down looks like, and it was a lovely reminder of what Lea Michele is capable of. Glad I wasn’t alone there!

    • Yeah, I had the same reaction. I was like, wow this girl can act. 

    • Anonymous

      I thought the same! I posted it earlier, but looks like it got erased.

    • I agree and I’m glad you said so! Maybe in part because smack in the middle of my senior year of college and grad school apps I’m feeling much the same way (minus the stellar pipes, of course), I was tearing up by the end of her performance. Besides this, the “Smooth Criminal” sing-off, and more Samcedes, I the episode bored me.

      I like the relationship between Sam and Mercedes–or what they hint at–but I agree with Terence Ng that that affinity probably isn’t based on much. I think Glee’s writers are a little lazy. They skip over what they want to.

  • You can be the gay uncles to my kids any day.  People who drag their high school glory days around with them are very, very sad and sometimes getting good and angry and standing up for yourself is the only way to go.  

  • Kyle Crawford

    I enjoyed it..esp Scream… but come on WWMJD ???  … too too many jokes there

  • Anonymous

    I thought the best part of the whole episode was Rachel’s little breakdown. For her to say, “I have no idea what I’m doing!” was shocking, in a good way. Nice to see that facade of hers break.

  • AC

    The entire episode I was silently pleading for a Brittney/Mike dance number (I mean c’mon, it’s Michael Jackson!). Although I kind of loved Artie and Mike doing Scream. 

    • Sobaika Mirza

      I thought it was one of the weaker moments, to be honest. Artie couldn’t hold his own dancing next to Mike, and Mike channeling Janet’s vocals was a joke. A voice needs to have a bit more… soul to do it justice.

      It was a fun episode, I guess. I lowered my expectations for Glee a long time ago.

      • Anonymous

        My sentiments exactly. I can vividly recall the original video and never thought that it was either Michael or Janet’s best. And I couldn’t quite put my finger on why I wasn’t digging Mike and Artie’s performances. I could watch Mike all day, but he just didn’t do it for me here.

      • Terence Ng

        I found it odd that the Scream video didn’t utilize McHale more. Shum’s spoken a lot about how McHale is actually the best dancer of the entire cast, but it doesn’t show up because Artie is in a wheelchair. You’d think for it being their likely rare chance to demonstrate his skills, they’d give him more choreography and better screen time…

  • It’s weird, but I was totally on the revenge boat as well. Hated Artie getting out of the chair, though. Seriously, is it any surprise to anyone that the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences had a roundtable to discuss “best practices” concerning the portrayal of folks with disabilities and Murphy declined to attend. Ug. So. Over. Him. And, TLo, I’d let you give my cats advice any day. Kids. Ew.

    • Terence Ng

      Seconded about Artie and walking.

    • Anonymous

      Well, I can’t speak from any sort of experience since I can walk, but this was a dream sequence. People daydream they can do stuff they are limited in doing all the time. I would think people in wheelchairs would dream they could walk and dance, and I can’t see how that would be offensive at all. In fact, it may be somewhat liberating for them to watch this. Like, “Hey, he daydreams that he’s walking and dancing just like I do!” This is the first major character in a wheelchair (besides Ironsides) and I would think Artie would be a hero to them.

      • Anonymous

        Not unlike Becky daydreaming with Helen Mirren’s inner voice, right? I loved the sequence and accepted that rage took Artie to a place where he had no physical limitations.

      • (In my opinion,) the problem is that Artie having to get up out of his wheelchair to express his rage implicitly says he can’t do it in a wheelchair or in his disabled body. You have to be abled, you have to have working legs, to express yourself, to speak out, to be effectively angry, to rebel against oppression.
        And I would tone down the thinking for people in wheelchairs because their brains are fine and they can do that for themselves.

        • Terence Ng

          That’s true. I can’t speak for the disabled, being able-bodied myself, but I doubt they’re all wishing they could, say, use their legs when they get really angry. I’m sure their bodies are fine at expressing whatever anger (or any other emotion) they feel at any given time.

          • Anonymous

            Well, I’ve lived with a couple of people in wheelchairs.  Both of them told me at different times that they dreamed of running–not walking–running.  One of them had been in a wheelchair for more than 50 years.  The desire to move doesn’t leave.  People deal with it, but not being able to walk and run is a bitch.  

      • amanda crow

        I would think people in wheelchairs would dream they could walk and
        dance, and I can’t see how that would be offensive at all. In fact, it
        may be somewhat liberating for them to watch this.

        Honestly, I wouldn’t really assume this. It’s a little presumptuous for able-bodied people to take for granted that disabled individuals dream of being more like them (the able-bodied person.)

        • Anonymous

          Wasn’t Artie’s Christmas wish (?) last season (or the season before) to be able to walk? So there’s some consistency in that Artie (and only Artie) desires to be able-bodied-sometimes. (In my opinion)

          • amanda crow

            In the case of Artie, that characterization makes sense. In real life, disabled individuals are not a hive-minded group of people who all have fantasies about swapping out “disabled” bodies for “abled” ones.

        • Anonymous

          Do you actually know anyone who’s lost the ability to walk?  Whatever makes you think that they wouldn’t notice that they can no longer move freely and regret that loss?  Wouldn’t it bother *you*? 

          You think that because someone’s in a chair that they wouldn’t have the same sorts of feelings as anyone else? 

          • amanda crow

            Oh, honey. Next time you get righteously indignant, try not to base your entire argument off of straw men and assumptions.

          • Anonymous

            Oh honey, I just get a little irritated when people don’t think.  

          • amanda crow

            You must irritate yourself constantly

          • Anonymous

            Time for bed, hon.  

          • amanda crow

            In all seriousness, I’d love to know where in my original comment you got the idea that I think that “because someone’s in a chair that they wouldn’t have the same sorts of feelings as anyone else”?

            My only point was that disabled individuals have myriad reactions and lifestyles adapted to our conditions. People like to assume that we all have healing fantasies about becoming more “normal,” but that’s not entirely the case. Do you think that “knowing” a few disabled people gives you license to attack someone on the internet, knowing nothing about them, just because I offered — from experience — a viewpoint different than others being expressed here?

          • Anonymous

            *Now* you want in all seriousness?  

            Okay, take a look at the post you just wrote.  You speak in *sweeping* generalizations.  It really does make me wonder, despite your claim of experience, if you’ve known anyone who went from being able-bodied to being unable to walk.  Because you sound naive about what that really entails.  I don’t just know people who lost their mobility, I lived with one for years and both my parents ended up unable to walk.  

            So, yes, your assumptions, your need to discount what a big loss mobility is is irritating.  That you feel *attacked* because I pointed out that you needed to think this through–and why–tells me that you’re inexperienced and probably fairly young.  

            The fictional character in question, Artie, lost his ability to walk at a young age.  He didn’t become magnificently and differently abled–he lost his ability to walk.  And that is a damned big deal.  And, yes, people have different ways of coping.  But quit pretending to yourself that some people just don’t care, that they don’t hope to walk again.  

            Or, hell, just not have to worry about infections from pressure sores–which can, in fact, kill people.

            Now, are we done?  Because out of courtesy to TLo, I don’t like to get into extended flameflests on their blog.

          • amanda crow

            Yeah, we’re done. I said nothing in my posts other than that disabled people aren’t a hive mind who all dream of having a different body, and you’ve misconstrued that into something else entirely. Doesn’t seem like you want to hear that very simple point, so no point in continuing this.

          • Anonymous

            I do believe that you both are not listening to the other. But noone can say how anyone else feels. Yet, both of you are correct. Many people do and Many people do not. As a therapist for 9 years, I can tell you MANY people do.

        • Anonymous

          but they do, at least a large number do. I have worked in rehab/occupational therapy for years and it is common for people to wish, dream and think about what life would be like if things were different. Does not mean they want it or think it can happen, but it is something they think about.

          • amanda crow

            You and Glammie both seem to have interpreted my original comment as all-negative, as in, “People in wheelchairs DON’T dream of walking again.” In fact, that’s not remotely what I said. I directly responded to this:

            “I would think people in wheelchairs would dream they could walk and
            dance, and I can’t see how that would be offensive at all. In fact, it
            may be somewhat liberating for them to watch this.”

            With this:

            “Honestly, I wouldn’t really assume this.”

            I’m frankly flabbergasted that a rather simple suggestion that able bodied people not assume they know what disabled people are thinking has been met with such ire and confusion.

    • Anonymous

      I don’t know about “revenge,” but it was ridiculous that they made it seem wrong to go to the police with evidence proving a criminal assault.

      • Anonymous

        This!  It’s one thing when Glee used to just revel in characters being awful, but it’s very jarring to get super-preachy Glee with the message that it’s petty to report an assault that wound up requiring surgery.  I don’t see how that’s particularly high road at all.

        • Anonymous

          Yep, that was just weird.  Does Blaine have parents?  Because if that were my kid, there’d be charges pressed.  

        • Yeah, actually, I think that was the wrong message for Glee to be sending. Sebastian threw ROCK SALT in Blaine’s eye and admitted to it on tape. He needed to be punished for it. The fact that his actions basically went completely unpunished? That’s not okay. 

    • Jasmine Moten

      It makes no sense that Kevin McHale is in a wheelchair when he is one of the best dancers besides Heather Morris and the lovely Harry Shum.

    • Anonymous

      Arties’ day dream is realistic.  One morning I woke up and could not move my arms or  walk.  For three months.  Each morning I knew I  could walk and move my arms.  I knew between the drowsy and fully awake stage that I could do what ever I wanted. Artie dreams of not just walking but dancing.  three years later I can walk and write ( thank you T & M) .  I started moving  my  fingers daily so that I could  post comments.  Happy New year. 

      • Anonymous

        No, T & L did not heal me; I just have always read them.   Artie wants to be ale to not be the person in the wheelchair.  He wants to do what we all want to do; he wants what we all want to be considered as a grown up.
        Did you notice Quinns’ reaction when Rachel said Finn asked her to marry him.  That expression was not the face of a friend.  Quinn is BAACK!  Use the ice princesss don’t send her away.

  • Anonymous

    Oh TLo, I steal phrases from you all the time.  Today it’s the phrase “Pre-bored.”  LOVE.  

  • Usually every week I look forward to reading along and finding out that yes, my dreamy illusion of the great episode I witnessed last night was not all it was cracked up to be in my head. And I can justify a great majority of your points. I’m open to criticism. However, this review is sloppy. I like the criticism each week, but this one seemed rushed. The episode “Madonna” and the “Safety Dance” number both took place in season one. “Brittany/ Britney” was the theme episode of season 2. Another note, while I was also disappointed with the lack of Brittany dancing (see correct spelling) I think there is only so much this show can do. Heather Morris is a fantastic dancer and comedic performer, but a well deserved Samcedes moment made up for the focus being off of her for this one. She did have a great one-liner about not knowing how to lock the door. “Ben” left a lot to be desired and honestly the eye patch could have been done without. We all know Darren is on Broadway, leave it at that (although I’m sure the entire Klaine fandom will unleash their wrath if I suggest the scene be cut out). 

    Maybe there is just too much going on. Red Carpet season (which don’t doubt for a second, I love every review thus far) and the Downton Abbey posts are simply divine. However, maybe take a minute to read over the Glee posts before you post them. 

    • Congratulations, you are today’s Biggest Nitpicker.

      • Brittany Lovely obviously “Just doesn’t understand all the Michae- I mean Glee hate!”

      • Please don’t be too hard on Miss Nitpicker- she’s a Gleek extradordinarre and a student well trained in critical thinking. (Plus her last name really is Lovely.)

      • Anonymous

        Ahh, so THESE are the people you are always worried about ruffling. I get it now.

  • Anonymous

    Two songs too many, and not enough dialogue.  Literally it was SONG , two lines, NEXT SONG.  Not one of my favorites, although several of the numbers had me reminding myself to do on itunes this weekend and get them.

  • Your attitude is right on the money boys.  I didn’t buy Kurt’s choice at the end not to give the information Santana procured to the police.  That boy deserved to be punished and should have to pay some doctor bills! And I think Rachel and Finn only cling to each other because they think they have nothing else.  You saw Rachel’s reaction once she got her letter from NYADA.

    I loved Artie and Mike together.  Solid number with great emotion.  I also loved Smooth Criminal, especially 2Cellos.  The intensity of the cellos made the number, but I would have liked it to be a hair slower.

    Overall, I think this was the best of the tribute episodes because they actually tied the music into the plot, and moved the story along.

    • Terence Ng

      Kurt’s reaction reeked of writers writing themselves into a corner. They wrote Sebastian as having committed what ended up being a serious crime that wasn’t provable, had Santana do a clever means of discovering actual proof, and couldn’t think of a way to not get Sebastian arrested for physical assault with a dangerous substance. Sloppy writing, per usual.

  • Anonymous

    That Smooth criminal number was intense Sebastian really could keep up with Santana on a singing level. But you forgot to mention those cellist. They were intense!

    Yes a few too many number but a nice progression of plot.

    A Burt Hummel giving 1 of his nice Burt Hummel speeches

    And you would have expected a great dance solo from Heather Morris. We could have dropped Ben for that

    I’m over Blaine…so, so over

    • Eileen Mannion

      I didn’t realize the scene was lifted right from their video (2 Cellos) ~ FANTASTIC!!

    • I don’t how you manage to miss it, but it’s right there in the post with a link to their youtube video. 
      “Sebastian and Santana (with 2Cellos) singing “Smooth Criminal.” AMAZING.”

      I like the episode a lot but I was a little disappointed with the songs they picked. Great review, guys!

  • Shelley H

    It was so weirdly uneven. I’m a total Darren Criss fangirl, but when he launched into that first song, I realized this wasn’t going to be an episode I really enjoyed. But then half an hour in, I was thinking that it was way better than I had anticipated. And then it was down again, but ended….okay.

    Scream was probably my favorite bit of the ep – I loved them and I loved Artie’s rant. Mr. Schue proved again to be a fairly worthless teacher (Wow, I’ve been seeing you guys slushied and abused for years and you were always fine! Is Blaine just a wuss?), which is par for the course, and Ben was just baffling. As was the Warblers’ dislike for Kurt and Blaine, which seemed to come out of nowhere. Were they so upset that Kurt took Blaine away from them? But Smooth Criminal made it almost worth it – love Santana and those cellos.

    • The whole Warblers v. New Directions thing was really more that they’re both competitive groups. You’ll notice that the Warblers were disenchanted with Sebastian by the end of the episode, because they want to win on their merits and not by putting rock salt in a slushie.

      The big animosity is really between Kurt and Sebastian. Sebastian has a crush on Blaine and is trying to steal him from Kurt, which makes Kurt pissy (and rightly so). And last night we saw that Sebastian doesn’t really care about Blaine, he cares about being a bitch and winning. Maybe at first he thought that he could seduce Blaine back to the Warblers, and when Blaine jumped in front of the slushie he gave up. But the basic premise is that Sebastian is evil and doesn’t care who he steps on to get to the top.

      • Shelley H

        But the Warblers were die-hard believers in their zero-tolerance bullying policy and knew what brought Kurt to Dalton. And they were okay with using the same bullying tactics? And when their friend was writhing on the floor in pain, they smirked and left? And when they heard Sebastian admit he added rock salt, they didn’t react? That’s not competition and that’s not in line with past episodes. Which I know Glee is not strong on, but still. That’s left field, even for this show. The writers may want it to be like you said, but that doesn’t mean that’s what they showed.

        • Terence Ng

          Exactly. It’s not like Sebastian acted alone. They handed him the slushie. Twice. And they were right behind him handing him the second slushie as he said “Rock salt.” 

          Dousing people in red food dye is cool by Warblers all of a sudden? And doing it to one of their legendary leaders and friends? And not being concerned that he’s crying in pain on the ground instead of wiping it off of him? WTF?

        • I think it’s been established that the Warblers are essentially sheep who will follow their charismatic leader. Even when that was Blaine, they let him have all the solos (until he decided Kurt deserved to duet with him), let him decide when to break traditions, such as singing off-campus to the Gap boy, etc. Because the anti-bullying policy was important to Blaine, it was important to the Warblers. Now, not so much. And I imagine that they may be hurt as well that their former leader threw them over for his boyfriend and is now their rival. Can you imagine the backlash if Rachel had transferred to be in Vocal Adrenaline when she was dating Jesse?

      • Agree that Sebastian is an amoral bitch, but it was clear from his face that he did care about Blaine, though he refused to admit it out loud.

        • Terence Ng

          Cared enough to not come forward and cared enough not apologize when confronted about it. I think Sebastian lusts after Blaine, but care is a stretch for any of the screen time given to him thus far. Cartoonish villain, away…!

  • Anonymous

    I feel like I am alone in not liking Mercedes with Sam. I liked her with Shane 🙁

    • Esmeralda V

       I personally dislike the Mercedes/Shane pairing because it reminds me of friends I had back in the day. You know the ones. The ones that change for the worse and dump their friends until they get dumped. The Nude Erections wouldn’t have broken up as easily if Mercedes wouldn’t have been listening to Shane. (My bff and I have discussed this at length.)

      • Anonymous

         I just think that Shane’s focus was on giving Mercedes the spotlight she deserved – I can’t fault him for that.

      • Anonymous

        agreed. Mercedes was not herself when she was with Shane. Shane pushed her around too much.

    • Terence Ng

      I just don’t like Sam and Mercedes because it’s a relationship with gravitas that is completely unearned. The audience is told they’re dating in a 3 second cliff hanger, but then it’s written out without a second thought, then brought back in with the expectation of truly passionate and conflicting feelings? A helpful tool is perhaps showing the audience WHY they actually like each other, not just how they react because of how much they like each other.

      At least with Shane, you could assume that Mercedes was dating him for a good reason, and in his interactions, that he cared about her (though creepily tried to pit her against her friends in an odd controlling way…).

      • Anonymous

         Perhaps it is down to the chemistry I perceive between the actors – for me there was just more with the actor who played Shane.

      • Anonymous

        Sometimes you’re friends but, is it equal or are one of you in the subordinate  role?  When was Mercedes ever on an equal footing?  Once she said she would do the wardrobe she was not praised for singing.  Until Shane no one told her how very good she was. Michael Jordan always talked about off court friends; on the court the man played to win each and everytime.  Mercedes, before Shaun,  without realizing it had given up.  As the song says, ” This little light of mine, I’m going to let it shine.

        • Terence Ng

          I think it’s fine for Shane to be supportive, to point out that she has skills, and that she should fight for what she wants, but it was things like discouraging Mercedes from hugging Rachel, who’s her friend, that bordered on creepy and controlling. He specifically tells her that since they are rivals, they shouldn’t be hugging, which tells me that he’s encouraging her to treat her friends not as serious competition, but to treat them as enemies. They’re not.

          I can compete with my friends, and only one of us is going to win, but rivalry doesn’t equate to enmity at all.

          I think it taps into the criticisms of the ways girls are encouraged to view one another as competition, rather than friends. There’s a focus on being better than the other girl in a negative context, and a disparaging perspective on girls’ friendships, which arguably are more productive and supportive. Girls should be encouraged to view one another as friendly competition when they compete, but not to view one another as enemies.

          Shane, sadly, was written as both supportive of Mercedes’ talents, but destructive and somewhat uncaring toward Mercedes’ other relationships.

          • Anonymous

            Most girls are taught exactly that.  Boys are taught win! Now it’s over you can go play golf.  Girls until very recently did not receive this mess.  Shaun told her what to do as a football player.  As a former girl, now an older girl I learned the lesson through observing males.

  • Shelley H

    Yes! I was completely surprised at the reminder that Lea Michele actually can act. That was a pitch perfect scene. Senior year is scary.

  • MilaXX

    Other than them singing Ben I enjoyed this episode. I knew once Rachel said yes to Finn that her letter would come. Favs moments were Artie/Mike doing Scream. And the 2Cellos.

  • I don’t have high expectations for this show, and MJ is NOT my favorite pop artist, but the first notes of “Ben” made my hair stand up on end because of the FLOOD of  memories of Junior High. Glee works for me that way some times–an emotional time machine. Did I care that they were singing “Ben” to Darren Criss and it made no sense? No, I just glazed over and went into nostalgia mode.  When we were kids, we made fun of that song for being about a rat, but it also has one of MJ’s most emotionally affecting vocals. I played it about 20 times in a row last night, and i can still sing along with every quaver.

    AND my daughter is going through the exact same thing as Kurt and Rachel with one of her best friends: she got accepted to art school but her friend just wanted to talk about how she hadn’t received her letter yet, so my kid felt all guilty and uncomfortable and resentful because why shouldn’t she get to enjoy her moment of joy, etc, etc (this, in the car this morning). It’s so great to look BACK on those teen years and be able to say “This, too, shall pass.’ (and then her friend did get it as well, so).

  • Anonymous

    Haven’t watched this in ages, no longer really care, but the giant crush I have on him requires me to say that his name is Harry Shum. Not Shrum. I do this solely out of lust for the boy, you understand.

  • Anonymous

    I was quite surprised at how much I enjoyed this episode.  Like Rachel, I never really “got” Michael Jackson, and “Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin'” was definitely a bit of “and we’re going to sing now!”  But as the episode progressed, it really came together and made me want to look into some of MJ’s music that I didn’t know well.  Like y’all said, most of the songs seemed much more relevant to the storyline than usual, and the numbers and acting seemed much better than usual.  When Rachel broke down crying in Kurt’s arms, that was one of the most believable displays of emotion I’ve seen in the history of this show.

    And I probably found “Scream” to be much sexier than I should have, but dayum, both of those boys looked hot as hell.  Just sayin’.

  • Anonymous

    What I found was bad taste, even though it could have been a mistake (knowing marketing, though, I doubt it) was the engagement ring commercial for Kay right after Rachel’s crying break down–it could have just been my area though.

    But, that said, I had more interest in my knitting than I had in the episode. Not great, Glee.

  • I’m a parent and a former teacher and going to the police would be justice and taking a stand against a sociopathic bully… not revenge.

    • Terence Ng


      • Anonymous

        Agree completely. And it’s also odd to me that Blaine had absolutely no part in any of the aftermath. Certainly HE should have been the one to decide whether to take action or not.

        • Anonymous

          He was busy singing and dancing on Broadway–no time for police reports….but I agree with you.

    • emily mcginnis

      Exactly. The way that storyline resolved was with Sebastian getting away with it. In essence, he won, not the ND.

      • Anonymous

        And he hospital would certainly have known what caused the damage-rock salt. Kurt guessing “What was in the slushie? Glass? Rocks?” Was kind of stupid, not to mention certainly police would have at least gone and questioned him (you have to tell hospitals how injuries happened, for insurance purposes).

  • Isadora Paiva

    Haven’t watched Glee in a long time, but I still occasionally read your great recaps to see if I’m missing anything. Apparently not much. 

    Still, I must correct something you guys have said here and in the past, thinking young people don’t listen to things that happened before they were born. I’m 19, and most parties I go to play not only Lady Gaga, but also Michael Jackson, Queen and AC/DC. I guess it’s normal to think that things that happened in our generation aren’t understood by the youngsters, and we’re never too young to do it (when I saw 10 year-olds waiting in line to watch the last Harry Potter movie, I was thinking “I bet they didn’t even read the books!”), but it doesn’t mean it’s true.

    Then again, I’m Brazilian, so maybe american teens aren’t as keen on music from the past? I’m asking.

    • You’ve misunderstood us or we weren’t clear, but we don’t believe (and don’t think we stated) that teens never listen to or know anything about music from before their time.

    • MilaXX

      Nope MJ is widely popular and even more so since he has a video game. My younger cousins, ages 16 & 23 love his music.

  • Anonymous

    It might not have been the height of successful singing but the show had a positive direction.  

  • I don’t buy that Quinn is now the “wise experienced one”. I read that scene/song combo as her manipulating the hell out of Rachel and then admitting that she isn’t actually over any of her exes. It was my favorite kind of Quinn, which is Quietly Evil Quinn.

    Also, Santana won the whole episode and she and Artie should have been in charge from the start. Sing-off, then tie Sebastian up and take him in for his tramp stamp. I would have watched that episode and loved it. And Britney would have gotten to dance because we know that they both love watching Britney do anything. There. Fixed the episode.

    • Anonymous

      I agree with the whole Quinn thing.  It definitely seemed like she wasn’t actually over her exes.  I don’t buy that she and Rachel have that level of friendship where she can be blunt and give advice that may be hard to hear.  It definitely came off as more manipulative than as a friend giving advice and I don’t buy that she cares at all for Rachel or her future.  When they were showing all of Quinn’s photos and stuff in her locker, I’m pretty sure there was a photo with Finn and Rachel and it had a magnet (?) deliberately covering Rachel’s face.

      You can see Quinn’s disdain for Rachel from a mile away.

      • Terence Ng

        I noticed that, too. It’s a bit tiring if true, but at least it’s a bit more realistic. No one goes from crazy polemic to wise sage in one episode.

  • Terence Ng

    I want to say this episode was terrible, but I have to be real and say that it’ terrible int he way that Glee has been consistently terrible. The writers want emotional pay offs, but don’t care to invest in the characters enough to build up those pay offs. In a word, it’s all unearned.

    You noted this with Quinn. Quinn’s big cathariss about going to Yale is hollow because though she talks about her struggle, what we saw of it was nothing. She made a bad decision, in an effort to deal with it, she made a ton of other bad decisions, then, as she’s about to do the one thing that would climax the struggle she’s facing, having Rachel say three or so lines to her makes her suddenly transform into her headband wearing, cardigan self again. It’s cheap. There was no struggle. Just being bad, then suddenly being good. As if she had never thought out at all where her rebelliousness was coming from. If the writers were decent, Quinn’s reflectiveness and intelligence would find her where she is at the end of the show now after a satisfying set of dynamics and real resolution with her issues. And how did she score all A’s when she was in her “fuck all of you” stage? Quinn is a wasted opportunity. She would have been one of the most satisfying characters to watch if they had gotten her to where she is now with good investment. But this is just rings hollow and cheap, even if the words are good.

    Artie’s rage was hilarious and so obviously out of character just so they could do this number. Artie has never been depicted as being particularly close to Blaine than anyone else. His rage about being put upon came out of nowhere, considering that he’s always been fairly level headed. It would have made more sense if the Glee club had been put down over and over again as a series of events, but that isn’t the case either. They had a successful musical, “interventioned” their token lesbian, won their competition…This is an outburst that makes sense for the end of Season 2 or the whole of Season 1. But for Seaon 3, it’s an unearned character pay off designed simply to give McHale and Shum a chance to dance (since everyone has already heard that McHale is the best dancer in the cast). The only one who reasonably fits into this level of rage is Kurt. Artie would have made more sense doing what Kurt ended up doing.

    The whole thing with Sebastian and Blaine was where Glee trips over itself in its “are these real/are these imaginary representations” musical numbers. Up until the slushie, you can look at it as a musical representation of some rivalry between the Warblers and Glee Cub, but when the slushie happens and Blaine is inured to the point of needing SURGERY, you realize that they’re actually in a parking deck doing a dance off against one another to settle their right to do MJ for the competition? What?

    The Smooth Criminal thing was bizarre and another example of that. Like, Naya looks fierce in this get up, but who goes to someone else dressed like that? They could have done the “imaginary version” and had them doing the duel in the Smooth Criminal finery, instead of having her actually dressed in it to confront Sebastian. The over the top cello playing would have worked beautifully in the imaginary setting, but seeing it as a “real” moment was hilariously bad.

    The Warbler thing is also so inconsistent. The key aspect of the Warblers was that they live by a code from their school of zero tolerance toward bullying. They were some Eutopia of positivity and drama-free crap that Kurt desperately needed. But now they’re totally into slushie-ing other kids and making fun of public school students? And they were all okay with slushie-ing one of their best friends who they apparently regularly communicate with when he drops by to see them? And they were completely unaware of what Sebastian just said about rock salt when they stood right behind him to give him the slushie to douse Santana with later on? And in typical fashion, they all just sing and get along to “Black and White”, which never seemed to prove at all that Glee Club “got” something about MJ that the Warblers just couldn’t understand. You have to decide if you want the Warblers to be the dream, or just be regular kids.

    And the mental gymnastics performed to justify the next plot twist were problematic. Kurt wants to hurt Sebastian for inuring his boyfriend. Mr. Shu’s in there for a hot second to be useless, but mentions an investigation and that the police would get serious if an actual weapon or substance was found in the slushie, only to fade away into pointlessness. Kurt deciding that getting revenge is meaningless is a decent plot point given his anti-violence campaigning, but his statement that he would rather defeat Sebastian at nationals than have the police punish him for physical assault with a harmful substance is insane. It would be fine if Kurt surrenders revenge because it’s impossible to implicate Sebastian in any way to the crime. But it’s a whole other issue for him to have proof of an actual crime that Sebastian committed that resulted in serious injury to someone else, and choose not to pursue it because “you can’t go after everyone who does something bad to you”.

    No, honey. That’s a philosophy for when people do bad things to you, but it isn’t illegal or dangerous. That’s not a philosophy when people do something like attempt to intentionally blind you with rock salt.

    As for the NYADA thing, I just don’t get how the school could be SO prestigious that a student with a thin singing voice, no credits to his name except for Officer Krupke could be accepted as a finalist. Especially when the reality is that, yes, he doesn’t have any extracurriculars or achievements to speak of for his application. He doesn’t even have community service or volunteer work. But I get it: A character like Kurt has to get a happy ending if the show is going to end. It just made no sense that someone as clearly talented as Rachel and with the musical lead to her credit, would get sidelined while Kurt moves ahead.

    The one interesting point was Rachel and Finn, which I expected to be a crap sandwich, but which was played generally well and honestly. Kudos to doing something right, writers.

    • Glen Coleson

      I was with you right up until the bit about NYADA. While Kurt is definitely not a terribly qualified candidate, the truism of theatre, (musical especially) is that the road is far far easier for men than women, simply by virtue of numbers. The available pool of actressess dwarfs the men by a factor of 10. Keep in mind that what they got in this episode was a callback, an invitation to come and audition in person in NYC, not admission. It is entirely plausible that every male applicant, with a decent background who shows even moderate promise would be invited to the final audition. 

  • Anonymous

    as usual i liked the show & always love hearing some michael jackson. sometimes i just dont get the harsh backlash.

    • Anonymous

      You’re right, people take pedophilia way too seriously…

  • I don’t find it that far-fetched that show choir kids would be totally into MJ.  I’m in my twenties and grew up loving him, and I’m not that far removed from high school.  Plus, it seems like every year on American Idol there’s a whole slew of obnoxious show choir teens naming Michael as their biggest inspiration and the person who inspired them to sing/dance/perform etc.

    • Terence Ng

      Don’t forget “Thebeatles”.

  • Anonymous

    I’m with you – I thought Artie’s wish for revenge sounded pretty good, although I thought it was a perfect ending when Santana tricked Sebastian into confessing, and was annoyed that they threw away the “legal” comeback option.

    Also, I realized about halfway through the episode just how many of MJ’s songs have hostility or violence as their main theme. I don’t think I had ever noticed that before.

  • This episode underscored even more just how over Finchel I am.

  • Laurie Bergman

    Sebastian and Santana and those 2 cellists on Smooth Criminal….absolutely riveting.  I had chills, and I’m usually far too warm in our TV room.  That was almost a feral performance.

  • CQAussie

    Let’s get something straight, shall we?  My children (if God has a sense of humour to give me them!) will be weaned on a steady diet of Project Runway golden years followed up TLo Blogging & Nina-caps.  Because you can’t start too young with the bitch-training.

    This episode…..I have opinions.  Let’s keep it short.  The parts that stood out for me were Artie’s rage (I didn’t get into the Scream rendition because I never much liked that song or video) and especially him going off at Shuster who as usual is trying to gloss over complex issues, Santana’s show-down with Sebastian, Rachel’s break-down at her locker when she thought all was lost and Sam & Mercedes Human Nature duet (which is a my fave MJ song EVAH).  

    As for Quinn – she did great in the number but I couldn’t really get behind Rachel asking HER about marrying Finn…..considering all the history.  Plus – why is Quinn always the emotional slut?  I didn’t see much growth in her to be honest – only that she was moving onto Yale and as she said, by the time the snow falls in Newhaven, she won’t remember why she was even interested in any of the high school boys she dated.  So just done, see ya later fellas, it was good times! A significant portion of her high school years was because of a teen pregnancy with one of these guys!!  How does that tie with all of her wrestling with her identity, how she wanted to be part of Beth’s life (the only mature impulse she had even if it was bizarrely followed-up on…) and how she wanted to be a different person?  It didn’t ring true for me – just felt like Quinn was once again the immature girl thinking she’s got it all together and ready to take on Yale – with no real thought process of how far she’s come.

    It was obvious from a mile away that Rachel was going to accept Finn when she thought she had nothing else to look forward to.  This isn’t going to end well.  All in all, I wasn’t blown away by this episode but it did have some enjoyable parts.

  • Anonymous

    This week, I feel like the strong singers seemed weak this time around and the usually weaker ones seemed stronger than usual. Like for instance, Artie and Blaine are usually so great but I didn’t like Starting something or Scream (tho frankly I didn’t think there was enough crotch grabbing from Blaine). I really loved Quinn’s song, and I am also okay with her sudden changes/growth b/c I think that’s how adolescence goes. One day you’re a preppy virgin, the next day you’re a pink-haired burn out. I thought Human Nature was a highlight, though I thought the football player was going to come in and catch them kissing. And I really didn’t get the villain and Santana singing together. How exactly is that a battle? And finally, Rachel can join Mr. Schu in the land of total relationship assholes. Totally could see it coming, but I still felt bad for Finn.

  • Anonymous

    Love your reviews — I appreciate that you guys obviously enjoy the show, but aren’t afraid to point out the (often numerous) issues that drag it down. Very few recaps I have read online are able to strike that balance.

    Having said that, I would like to pose a question about a totally insignificant throw away line from the episode that my detail-obsessed brain will not let me forget:

    Did anyone else find it strange that Burt wanted to be the one to tell Blaine about Kurt’s NYADA news? I figure the writers just did that to avoid the “Kurt tells Blaine” scene and get right to the “Ben” scene (why, dear God, WHY?), but the over-dramatic part of me also thought we were going to get a scene in which Burt warns Blaine against allowing Kurt to get too attached to him and feel tempted to give up his dreams to stay in Ohio with Blaine for another year (which is probably what is going to happen anyway).

    Maybe the writers were just concentrating too hard on the Finn/Rachel drama (as usual), which I have to admit was unexpected to me and kind of juicy.

  • Anonymous

    I think this was probably the worst episode of Glee I’ve ever seen, and it is the reason I will no longer even be DVR’ing this show. It just isn’t worth my time.

    You guys gave this episode some praise for not falling into the “bad musical” trap of having characters just start singing for no reason, yet at least two (maybe three) numbers were sing-duels. SING-DUELING IS NOT A THING.

    • Terence Ng

      I did love the “underboob” part and her exasperation as they all left the room.

      But WTH? What kind of message is that? If someone assaults you with a deadly weapon or substance and you can prove they did it and have them justly punished, you shouldn’t? Who is writing this show?!

  • Personally, I can never get over  that Ben is about a the leader of a telepathic group of killer rats. 

    • I kind of loved Chris Colfer’s Tweet about that: “Where else can a guy sing a song about a rat to a gay pirate? #OnlyOnGlee.”

    • Anonymous

      My 16 and 14 year old daughters were highly, HIGHLY amused when I told them “Ben” was a song about a rat.

  • Anonymous

    Every once in a while I watch this show to see if I am missing anything.  I ALWAYS read TLo’s recaps.

    I was glad they got Blaine’s number out of the way at the beginning.  Almost like it was a piece of business. 

    There were a few moments of genuine acting in this ep which pleased me.  I thought Artie’s anger was very heartfelt and well-written – in fact, his speech drew me back into the room when I was leaving to throw something out.  Not sure how I felt about the Scream number, but it was certainly something to watch.  I would not have wanted to miss that.

    I also think Dianna Agron did a nice job in her bathroom scene with Rachel.  It seems to me that Quinn can barely conceal her disdain for Rachel, but she is moving on.  She is going to Yale.  What’s she gonna study?  Any idea? (Maybe it was discussed in an earlier episode that I missed.)

    Watching Lea Michele on the red carpet and also watching her sing, I am pretty much at the point where she gets on my last nerve.  She was relatively subdued last night, I guess.  It’s ironic that when Glee started Finn was the bomb, and now in senior year post football season, he’s this sad dude who thinks he has no future, so that Rachel agreeing to marry him was like an acknowledgment that she had no future either.  Not buying that they are the love of each other’s lives.  Not buying it for a minute.

    Regarding the whole bullying thing, they seem to feel like getting slushies thrown in their face is their destiny.  So when someone does some real bodily harm via slushie, they get a little mad, then they convince themselves that not turning Sebastian in = taking the high road.  It’s like they’re afraid to stand up for themselves.

    This show is not must-watch viewing for me, but it was worth an hour of my time last night.  Somewhat thought-provoking, somewhat annoying, some clever musical numbers. Enh.

  • Well, I liked it. I liked that Santana was featured as a biatch, but for all the right causes. I did think the choice of songs was a little weak, but we decided maybe they were saving some truly classic MJ for future episodes….. I love that ‘Black or White’ has been stuck in my head all morning. Also, I am making my own kids watch the original video for that song…

  • Anonymous

    I’m sure I’m totally alone on this, but I, for one, am sick of Mike Chan’s spin-move and isolations. I think Britt and Artie should’ve done Scream. Then she could’ve done the best part of that video: the boob grab. You all know what I’m talking about.

  • Anonymous

    I really liked what Quinn had to say and actually got up to do dishes when I realized Finn was going to re-propose to Rachel. Artie is amazing, ditto with Santana. 

  • The biggest problem with Harry or Heather getting dance numbers is that the other characters dance with them and muck it up. I don’t need to see Shue dancing with Mike, or Santana dancing with Brittney. I want to see Harry and Heather kill it.

  • Anonymous

    I have to admit I just erased the last five episodes off my DVR, canceled the series recording and reset the DVR for SMASH…. makes me sad.

    • Terence Ng

      Smash…was not bad. Did you watch the pilot on NBC?

      • Anonymous

        Not yet. But I am thinking about it! I still have to catch up on Walking Dead (I live in Atlanta and just saw a friend of mine get killed by Rick & Darryl!!) and Boardwalk Empire AND Fringe!

        • Terence Ng

          I live in ATL too and I totally want in on the zombie extra action!!!

  • Tara Burkholder

    The eye patch that Blaine was wearing WAS necessary. It’s called a pressure patch and it’s used to keep the eye closed so it can heal.  I scratched my cornea in grade school & had to wear one for a week.  The surgery, however, that they kept harping on is not that big of a deal. When your cornea is scratched, a cloudy film is produced by the eye to protect the cornea.  The relatively brief and outpatient “surgery” is basically numbing drops in your eye and forceps to peel the film off.  That’s it.  No biggie.  DEFINITELY no chance of “losing an eye” as they kept going on and on and on about last night.

  • Anonymous

    I have two children and I feel the same way as you. I’m a bad mom, I guess.
    I was disappointed in parts of this show, but I did like Artie/Mike’s song. Kevin McHale is an awesome dancer!

  • Anonymous

    The best part of this episode was the hot cellists. That is all.

  • I didn’t get that Sebastian was trying to target Kurt with the deadly Slushie, but even so, that’s a criminal act and makes him unforgivable. I was hoping for more “you smell like craigslist” wars of words. They better not later try to make us like chipmunk face.

  • I really don’t like the way Glee and many other teen shows (such as Awkward) equate being nice with never standing up for yourself. I’m not saying we should encourage our children to go all Hampton’s Batman on everyone that gives them a wedgie, but not even suing for medical damages is positively un-American! All I retained from Scream was how cool those spiky sweaters were. Thought Chris Colfer’s voice was pretty in Ben, but nobody can top Crispin Glover’s version.

  • I liked parts of the show, as usual. Glee is always going to be uneven. Ryan Murphy has great ideas, but he tends to be kind of undisciplined in the follow though. In any case, I love Rachel’s soft singing in “Ben.” I wish she did more of that. Those cello playing guys are hot and hot players. Harry Shum is almost as pretty as Janet Jackson. They put “Never Can Say Goodbye” in a bad part of Quinn’s range (not that she has much of one). I never associated that song with MJ. It belongs to Gloria Gaynor. Reminds me of all those night missing the last train home to dance some more and then walking from Downtown Boston to Dorchester singing disco anthems and scaring all the muggers in Dudley Street.  

  • Liked it…but I will never be able to unsee Brittany turning into Puck (shudder)

  • butter nut

    this was clearly the ‘Goodbye, Quinn’ episode.  everything for her character was wrapped up pretty neatly in that one little solo & now she can fade in to the background till she leaves for Yale.  no chance she’ll be featured in any big plot points now.  which is kind of a shame, cause i think she’s one of the better actors in the cast.  also, i love that they’ve reduced that Irish kid down to just a blurry, out-of-focus male person behind Finn.  maybe he’ll be mysteriously deported before finals.

  • Anonymous

    Uneven episode, some good moments, some bad as Tlo and everyone pointed out the good and the bad.  But am I the only the one that hates, hates the song Ben?  For those who don’t know, Ben was from the movie Willard, about a killer rat.  And yet, it’s such a  sappy song.  (A love song for a rat?)  Oh, the single sold really well back in the day for Michael, but it was about a rat.  Bleh!     

    • No, you are not the only one. When they started singing that song I yelled out, “THEY’RE SINGING ABOUT A FREAKING RAT???!!!???”

      My husband didn’t believe me when I told him it really and truly was a love song to an ACTUAL RAT. I had to show him the synopsis of the movie on IMDB.

      I cannot believe they sang the rat song on Glee. Ugh.

    • Anonymous

      I used to have a lot of pet rats when I was younger. They’re very sweet animals.

  • Anonymous

    I thought they said they weren’t going to any tribute / theme episodes this season?

  • Anonymous

    I wish I could watch Glee through your eyes, TLo, but in my eyes and heart, this episode was a a study in pre-packaged, slick soulnessness and almost entirely stripped of the music’s inherent joy.

  • Anonymous

    So much to hate about this episode!  For starters (and I may be alone in this) it reminded me that I’m not all that crazy about MJ’s oeuvre.  Sure, I like a handful of his hits but a lot of his work leaves me cold.  And the whole “what would MJ do?” bit was disturbing.  The only way anyone should be urging teens to consider WWMJD would be to advise them to do the exact opposite.  The guy was a freak and a pedophile and probably mentally unbalanced.  Couldn’t they have at least made a snarky joke or two?

    I also thought the whole way the rock-salt slushie incident was handled was ridiculous.  There’s a big difference between how one should respond to bullying vs. how one should respond to a criminal act with intent to harm.  They completely missed the boat there and gave a very wrong and dangerous message to kids to boot.  They absolutely should have gone to the police or at least to the Dalton administration with the tape.

    And one other thing that’s been bugging me – why aren’t Burt and Carol helping Finn chart a future direction?  There’s money to send Kurt to private school and to NYADA but Finn can’t attend college unless he gets a football scholarship?  He so clearly wants to get out of Lima and doesn’t want to take over the auto shop and yet he’s floundering with no help from the adults, at home or at school.

    I usually love watching Harry dance but the duo with Artie just didn’t grab me.  Boring.  Also boring – Mercedes and Sam.

    I did like the Santana/Sebastian face-off with cellos.  And I confess that I loved seeing Sebastian totally bitch-slap Santana with his pointed taunts.  He may be the only one who’s ever left her speechless.  I also liked the Quinn bit.  Of course she was going to get into Yale.  It would have been nice to have seen more of her growth process, but that’s Glee for ya.

    • Anonymous

      Oh, God, I was wondering if I was the only one creeped out by “WWMJD?”.  Even if you don’t believe the abuse charges, the man was NOT a model of stable, responsible or healthy decision making.  Ew.  And also agreed on the “not reporting assault is taking the high road” message.

      I agree about the Finn thing–but pretty much all tv shows about high school kids and college majorly bugs me, because they are all so unrealistic.  It’s asinine that everyone acts like it’s NYADA or working at the Lima Bean.  There are other schools, people!  (I mean, teenagers may well think that way, but that’s why teachers and counselors and parents are supposed to reality-check them.)

      (i only noticed after i posted that you have THE GREATEST NAME)

      • Anonymous

        Thanks!  She’s one of my favorite characters.

    • Terence Ng

      I was shocked that nothing was made of Sebastian’s very racist statements against Santana. Sebastian can be a total bitch, but what he was saying to her was so blatantly racist that I was shocked–that her family are all in jail, pinatas… What the hell?

      If he had said similar stuff like that to Mercedes or Tina, shit would be flying.

      It’d be one thing if Sebastian is supposed to be played as a purely evil character, but like Santana, his barbs are supposed to be pointed, but comical. It was pretty disconcerting…

      • Anonymous

        Santana has thrown racially offensive slurs at Mercedes, Rachel and Tina though. And nothing came of it (except for my permanent disdain and dislike for the character that is).

    • Anonymous

      Well said, Cassandra — the WWMJD shtick left me open-mouthed in horror.

  • Anonymous

    Hated the Santana and mongoose duet. It didn’t even make damn sense. And Mongoose cant sing very well. Liked the Scream number – I like that song though. I just think it is so effing lazy when they just recreate a video…kids on youtube do that and to better outcome. HATED Ben – uncomfortably hated it. I feel like I am in a dysfunctional marriage to a douche with Glee – Yes hes an asshole but every time he does one ittty bitty thing right ALL is forgiven. I’m seriously out once this season is over. 

    • Terence Ng

      Good thing you didn’t sign the prenup. But then…what does Glee have that you’d really want half of anyway? 😉

  • Anonymous

    Didn’t watch Glee, but this write-up inspired me to head to YouTube & watch the original Smooth Criminal video. It never fails to blow me away. Possibly the best video of all time in my opinion.

  • Anonymous

    I never could get behind a love song to a rat (“Ben”), and it struck me as odd that they sang it to Blaine while he was in bed (Really??? Why was he in bed anyway?) preparing for eye surgery.

  • Anonymous

    It was a real mistake to do a Micheal Jackson episode. It really highlighted the Nude Erections deficiencies in charisma, singing ability, and dancing ability by comparison. The character development was some of the best we’ve seen from this show in awhile (though not the best they’ve done). Lea Michele had a sublime moment breaking down in the hall, Kirk being there for her reminded me of when this show used to have real interactions and relationships between characters instead of just set pieces.

  • Anonymous

    Speaking for someone who is young enough to be MJ’s child, I love Michael Jackson music.  He is viewed as one of the world’s greatest performers and I don’t think it’s unrealistic that glee club teenagers today would love a chance to do his songs.  The delivery of some of those songs was mediocre, and not necessarily the songs I would have picked, but the episode was all around better than I expected. Also speaking for the “younger crowd”, I think it’s very important to make sure high school kids understand the importance of the real world that begins after high school.  I cringe to see my classmates on facebook that have already gotten married or even had children (I’m 20).  Quinn’s cynical view is a realistic one – most people don’t marry their high school sweetheart, I shudder to think how different my life would be now if I had.  Interestingly, Kurt has made no mention of his plans with Blaine after high school.  He’s all about some NYADA and hasn’t shown any sadness at the idea of leaving Blaine or had any talks with his boyfriend about their future, as far as I can remember…. 

  • Loved the human nature number, also wanted more dancing from brittany.

  • Rosa Guillen-Vela

    Tom and Lorenzo we love you in our household.  You might not like my children but they would love and respect you both.  My 13 year old daughter loves to read  your wonderful, witty and biting commentary.  They are no longer allowed to watch Glee because of the preachy and odd points of view.  They prefer reading you both because you are the wise Uncles who provide a realistic point of view of what being gay in America was and is about.  
    Also they may not have a gay in their lives but you are giving them great lessons on how to dress.

  • Anonymous

    The problem with anyone doing a Michael Jackson song is that he so DID these songs.  No way to top him, so you can only come up short.  Rule of any cover song, if you are gonna cover a song and you can’t top the original artist, you better have a way to own it  so the comparison isn’t one to one.

    Overall, completely disappointing in terms of dancing.  The Gleeksters could have really made up for some lameness with more challenging, interesting choreography.  Again, hard to top MJ on this, but at least an attempt would have been nice.  Saw some glimpses of what Brittney could have done…not nearly enough of her and Mike dancing…they are so good.

  • Anonymous

    I just thought it was such a gaping plot hole that the tolerant, welcoming Kurt Warblers would be fine with causing an eye injury in a former Warbler. They do this all the time on this show where I say “don’t they remember what they wrote?” plus the whole what would Michael do response to how they’d been treated was so after school special, I agree with you Artie’s anger would be a hard thing to not want to advocate, , so no I wouldn’t shield anything you said from my kids as you are very smart and insightful guys, in fact one of them will ask me, what did TLo think of that episode, so you might even like some of our kids after all. 🙂

    • Anonymous

      Exactly.  Where’s the Dalton anti-bullying, zero tolerance policy?

  • Anonymous

    The thing that really got me about this episode was the college entrance storyline. I thought that Rachel’s breakdown was a really, really heartwrenching, realistic touch, speaking as a kid dipping her toes into the college applications. Of course, Quinn’s bit was ridiculous. I know people who have been rejected from Yale, I know kids who’ve been admitted, and honestly? There’s not a snowball’s chance in hell that Quinn would have ever gotten into Yale. I’ve seen kids WRECK themselves trying to get into these kind of universities.

    • Anonymous

      Once someone like Quinn would have gotten into Yale, but I don’t think Murphy and Co. quite realize what college admissions have become.  I found myself trying to figure out how her extracurriculars would look–she does have some good ones–being head cheerleader of the national winning team, member of a glee club that made it to nationals.  Then you have her comeback pregnancy story, which would certainly stand out.

      So if I pretend there are APs and straight As and some interesting stuff over the summer–I’ll give it a maybe.  

  • Anonymous

    The episode was pretty much “meh” for me, but I am dying to know – what happened to Tina? Halfway through the show she just disappeared and she wasn’t in the final group number. Disappointing.
    And I do have to say, the Warblers portrayal as a group was just bad, bad, bad writing. These are mostly the same guys that came to sing good-bye to Kurt, and were best friends with Blaine, and now here they are portrayed as mindless, bullying toadies of Sebastian? Just plain dumb.

    • Anonymous

      Thanks for noticing that Tina was gone. I’m wondering what happened to her too.

  • juliet L

    Am I the only one who got teary when Kurt got his finalist letter?

  • Anonymous

    I couldn’t disagree more about the Quinn/Yale storyline.  I have a lot of current experience with kids applying to top schools and at the Ivy League (and other top 20) levels, there’s so much more that goes into getting accepted than getting top grades.  We all know valedictorians with 2300+ SATs who get rejected – it happens all the time.  But Quinn was as much of a sure thing for Yale as it’s possible to be.  She said she had straight As (and we can assume that she had commensurately high test scores).  She had good ECs (head cheerleader until the pregnancy) and member of an award-winning glee club.  And she said she wrote a killer essay.  Surviving the pregnancy and doing well in school, as well as coming from Ohio, would be very important factors for an admissions committee.  They’re suckers for geographic diversity as well as overcoming adversity stories.  This is actually one of the most believable Glee subplots they’ve ever had.

  • Anonymous

    haha, Chord Overstreet was just on my TV playing a teacher!  And way more competently than Schu!  yea, cognitive dissonance.

    (Seriously, did Schu do anything this episode?  Not that I’m complaining. . .)

    • Anonymous

      He did more in this episode than he’s done in some other recent ones.  He had whole lines of dialogue.

  • Anonymous

    I told my kids all along that high school is nothing but 4 years to get through till your real life has a chance to kick in.  They listened to me and it was fairly painless for them.

    Revenge isn’t up to the kids – the lawyers need to take care of Sebastion.  It’s called battery whether it is a slushy or a fist.  I am
    really tired of it being dismissed as nothing anyone can do about it.  I am tired of the whining about  being losers. 


  • Anonymous

    I laughed out loud when Quinn got accepted to Yale. Yah right. Was there a unicorn in the envelope too? I’m not convinced her character can READ.

    • Anonymous

      I think you’re confusing Brittany with Quinn. 

  • vmcdanie

    Holy shit, 2Cellos were on Glee? A co-worker gave me their CD and had told me that her favorite song on it was “Smooth Criminal” and I was all, sniff, whatevs. But it’s actually a great version of the song, which I’d always been pretty indifferent to.

    I can’t imagine how anyone could make “Ben” good.

  • Explain this to me: “Let’s have a singing/dance competition in a dark parking garage without any objective viewers or judges! I’m sure nothing bad will happen!” and “Well, Santana, let’s have a singing contest, but everyone must leave the room!”

    WHO IS JUDGING THESE SINGING BATTLES!? You can’t really decide on a winner in a dance battle if there’s no one to say “this side won”. The Santana scene especially didn’t make sense because wouldn’t she want the Warblers to see her dominate over their leader? They were just two people singing in a room with no audience. At least the singing duels between Kurt/Rachel and Rachel/Mercedes in previous seasons made sense because other people were there to actually pick a winner. 

  • Anonymous

    Not my favorite episode. 
    Although he was crazy talented I don’t share the blind love for Michael Jackson. 
    I’m gonna sound like “Willam” now with the name dropping (please excuse & don’t hate). 
    I worked with him on the Disney short film “Captain EO” and the Video for “Chicago Nights”. 
    This was before all the allegations. 
    I’ll just say I found some of his behavior on set shocking & i wasn’t surprised when the charges came out.

    It was hard for me to LOVE him after that.

    So I wasn’t that excited about the episode.  I did like a couple songs though.

    • Anonymous

      What is “Chicago Nights”?

    • Anonymous

      Sigh, I wish you’d speak ill of the dead here and give more details.  

      Jackson was such an odd character that I found it odd to the degree he suddenly was seen as this saint of pop music after his death.  I was okay with the episode–mostly because it wasn’t as terrible as most of the ones this season have been–but not because of the Michael Jackson hagiography.  

    • Anonymous

      Chicago Nights  was a video he did where he turned into a Jet. It was the only job in my life that I ever quit and I never saw the video. It was more like a mini movie (lots of effects) he did it shortly after “Captain EO”

    • Anonymous

      You’re right, I don’t want to speak ill.  But, then  maybe it wasn’t ill…..
      his best “friend” & companion on set was an 8 year old (more or less) caucasion boy. 
      Everytime cut was called him would rush to him whispering & giggling together. 
       I came away thinking it was the weirdest thing ever & it seemed inappropriate. 
      I don’t think I’m a prude. 
      I’ve been out & gay since the days when gay meant you were just happy. 
      But something felt off to me. 
      And later when all the accusations came out I thought it made sense, but I don’t really KNOW. 
      My admiration dwendled however.

  • the episode of Safety Dance (Dream On) and the Madonna episode are from season 1 guys

  • AWStevens

    Michael Jackson was a child molester, no? 

    ENOUGH with the MJ covers! Move on now America…

  • Missed last week’s episode, started watching this, but too busy to finish now.  But I just don’t care about the characters much anymore, and Darren Criss is just too saccharine to me.  I’ll catch up later, but for now, this show no longer fills me with ‘Glee’.

  • I’m not going to lie, I was terribly bored by this episode and could not wait for it to be over. 

  • Anonymous

    @TLO – just saw the write up over on the Huffington Post! Hope you guys got paid for it! 🙂 Congrats on the new exposure.

  • I loved the choice of so many of MJ’s least-known songs. I loved reading comments from kids all day yesterday asking why MJ did a song for some guy Ben.

  • Anonymous

    eh.  It’s *possible* that Finchel would last.  I do know of one couple from my high school that started dating freshman year, broke up junior year to “try other relationships” got back together and 25 years later they’re still happily married.  So, you never know.  Still, not likely, I agree.

  • Shield my children from you two??? Never. I can’t bear the entire burden of teaching them to be bitchy and judgey and, most importantly, instilling them with a wicked sense of style.

  • glennethph

    I find it all too hypocritical but very very Glee. Why do I expect any kind of consistency or excellence from this show?

  • It has always troubled me the way they gleefully toss slushees around like ppl haven’t been shot for far less. The so passive let’s not do anything at all approach made absolutely no sense, especially when they got the perpetrator on tape confessing to the crime! 

  • I really am bothered by this episode from the theme perspective.  5 years ago, no one thought of Micheal Jackson as anything but a punchline.  And if you had suggested doing a theme episode around his music on a show with a large market of minors about minors, you would have gotten protests everywhere.  But he’s dead so he all of a sudden did nothing wrong.

  • I generally only shield my children from “bad examples” if it includes a felony… And bad advice is everywhere.  In fact, bad advice teaches a valuable life lesson: how to separate it. 

    However, I both agree and disagree with your point, as I saw it.  I think high school can be very important or very unimportant, like any other age. 

  • I thought a Mercedes and Santana Led “Nasty boys”  might have been a better rebuttal… sigh.

  • Larissa Pelc

    I don’t have kids & don’t want ’em, but if I did, I’d be hiring you guys as babysitters.  In fact, if you want to come hang out with me while I’m watching my nephews, that’d be cool.  There is NOTHING wrong with defending yourself.  And yeah… high school was a zillion years ago.  The experience makes you stronger if you do it right, but god I’m glad I didn’t keep my HS boyfriend.

  • Anonymous

    The fact that a bunch of teenagers LOVE MJ didn’t bother me.  This show has never been about realism.  If Glee chose only to stick to artists popular today, I’m pretty sure they’d be criticized for that too.  
    Smooth Criminal was freaking fantastic.  

  • Anonymous

    o.k., finally watched it– and in the last scene Rachel is not wearing her engagement ring. ???