February 7, 2011

Episode Review: GLEE, "The Sue Sylvester Shuffle"

By now, we all know that big episodes of Glee could be a letdown ("Britney/Brittany" and "The Rocky Horror Glee Show" for example), so I was a little skeptical about the big post-Super Bowl episode. Thankfully, it was a pretty entertaining installment that could open up some interesting storylines down the road.

It's championship week in Lima as the Cheerios were prepping for their Regional Championship while the football team was getting ready for their conference championship. With the pressure building, tensions were high and the anti-glee bullying continued from Dave Karofsky and his goons. In order to instill some teamwork and a winning culture, Coach Beiste and Will Schuester decided to combine New Directions with some of the football players with bad attitudes for a week so they could put on the halftime show. After a shaky start, the jocks started enjoying their time in New Directions until the hockey players gave them a taste of their own medicine: slushies. All of the good will was gone, the renegade players were kicked off the team, leading the glee girls to join up. After a shalacking during the first half, Puck convinced his former teammates to come back with the typical "this is our moment" speech. Karofsky et al join in the halftime show, come back for the second half, and the Titans won.

While Beiste and Schue were trying to bring peace to McKinley, Sue was obsessed with making her Nationals routine bigger and better no matter who got hurt. She ended up spending most of her time outlining her special performance which included shooting Brittany out of a cannon. Quinn, Santana, and Brittany were on the fence about Sue's ideas, and were forced to pick between the squad and New Directions. They remained loyal to the Cheerios to save their popularity until Finn made them realize that they're great without being cheerleaders.

Yes, "The Sue Sylvester Shuffle" was wildly over the top, and most of the plot didn't make much sense (or was even feasible for that matter), but this is Glee so I wasn't expecting realistic portrayals of high school athletics. I just wanted a fun episode, and that's what I got, but there was some substance too. Like I mentioned earlier, the episode also introduced some potentially interesting plotlines for the rest of the season, especially involving Karofsky. It's evident that Murphy and Co. are not done with the Karofsky/Kurt arc, and fleshing out the closeted bully character was a good choice.

It's easy to hate Dave for what he's done to Kurt, but actually telling his story is more challenging, and I'm glad Glee might be going in that direction. As for him not joining glee club, it would've been to jarring for him to come around by episode's end, but it's a marathon and not a sprint. I don't even think Karofsky needs to join New Directions, but it'd be nice to see him be comfortable in his own skin by the end of the season.

It will also be refreshing to see Brittany and Santana deal with not being Cheerios. We all know that Quinn's strong enough to survive out of her uniform, but we'll finally get to know more about Brittana now that they're just in New Directions. I just hope the Powers that Glee don't send them back to Sue so quickly. One of the biggest gripes I've had with Season 2 has been how they sent Quinn back to the Cheerios so soon because she was more dimensional when she was just in glee club. Hopefully the same can be said about Santana and Brittany when it's all said and done.

Musically, the episode was pretty strong. I was glad that Katy Perry's "California Gurls" was just played and not performed, and it was a fun way to kick off the episode. The "Thriller"/"Heads Will Roll" mash-up was entertaining, and the zombie themed halftime show was just theatrical enough. I had never heard "Need You Now" or "She's Not There" before tonight's episode, but they were good. The only performance that fell flat was the Dalton Warbler's version of "Bills, Bills, Bills". It was good, but obviously shoe-horned in, and it took the wind out of the sails.

Other Odds and Ends:
  • It was good seeing Finn and Puck on the same side again.
  • Even better was Finn and Sam finally butting heads. This power struggle could be interesting.
  • Did Quinn really need to kiss Finn? Are any of the girls on this show faithful?
  • Mike Chang strangling himself was too funny.
  • All of the hockey players had mullets. Classic!
  • Rachel, Mercedes, Kurt, and Blaine are the new Fab Four.
  • I love it when Rachel is super competitive, and she was cute in her football uniform.
  • Tina Cohen-Chang for the Heisman!
  • Between this episode and "Glee Thang", I'm convinced that HeMo hates The CW.
  • Apparently, Coach Beiste took a page out of Coach Taylor's playbook with that last second win.
  • "Not even the can't lose combination of boobs and fire..."
  • "Like Maverick and Ice Man at the end of Top Gun." Hmm...
  • "That's a lawsuit."
  • "A zombie double-rainbow."
  • "Football Team! Football Team!"
"The Sue Sylvester Shuffle" wasn't the best episode of Glee, and it probably didn't spawn too many new Gleeks either, but it was still an entertaining way to spend an hour. Plus, the Glee halftime show was better than the Super Bowl version. At least that's what Twitter told me. It was good having the show back, and let's all hope it's back on track.


Kristal said...

My DVR only recorded up until the halftime show so I'll have to wait to watch the rest on hulu to fully understand what leads to Quinn/Finn kissing (Whaaaat? Didn't she JUST start seeing Sam?!) but I just had to say that I am SHOCKED you haven't heard "Need You Now" before. I feel like it's EVERYWHERE on the radio stations. What do they play on the stations out there in Texas?

Marcos said...

I will say the Finn/Quinn kiss made sense within the context of the episode, but not the series as a whole, but what else is new. As for the song, I don't listen to the radio, so I'm not familiar with today's music. I'm interested to see how you felt about the entire ep.

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