March 8, 2011

Episode Review: GLEE, "Sexy"

Even though Glee was only preempted for a week, it felt longer, and the show decided to return full blast by bringing back Gwyneth Paltrow and John Stamos. "Sexy" also tackled teenage sexuality, which could've come off as preachy, but the subject matter was handled better than when Glee addressed underage drinking. Don't get me wrong, "Sexy" had its flaws like so many episodes that have come before it, but there was enough heart and laughs to make it an entertaining hour of television.

After Brittany had a pregnancy scare because she saw a stork building a nest outside of her bedroom, Holly Holliday (subbing for the sex ed teacher) and Will decided to help the glee clubbers learn about sexuality in way that wasn't over-sensationalized. The teaching moment was able to allow some of the students and teachers learn some serious insights about themselves.

The Adults
The return of Holly stirred the pot because she gave someone for Will to be attracted to who wasn't Terri or Emma, and she played the role admirably. Her mere presence put Emma on the defensive, at first because she promoted a discussion about responsible sex education which clashed with the latter's abstinence-only approach. It quickly became evident that Emma's animosity towards Holly had more to do with the fact that she still had feelings for Will, which has prevented her from being intimate with Carl despite being married for four months.

While I did feel that the episode spent too much time on the adults, I pretty much loved everything involving Emma because we actually got a glimpse of her as a character, which hasn't been explored since season 1. Seeing her lead the Celibacy Club meetings was gold, and her complete misunderstanding of "Afternoon Delight" was also amusing. I'm just glad that the writers finally brought Jayma Mays back and gave her a storyline instead of her just having her chime in on what Will was doing wrong. I could careless about Wemma, but I'm in favor of more Emma scenes and/or episodes like tonight.

The only drawback of the Emma story was the criminal under utilization of John Stamos, but at least we got an update on their so-called marriage. I can't say that I'm a big fan of Carl, but I have appreciated Stamos' role on the show. The thing is, I didn't miss the character like so many of viewers did, which made me wonder why it's OK to have Stamos around more regularly, but when other actors are brought on the show people love to complain about how too much time is spent on guest stars. I just don't understand why this double standard exists.

Holly herself even had some character growth (something some of the cast regulars cannot even say) as she realized that her short term approach to relationships are unfulfilling, and she's willing to give it a shot with Will. Obviously, we won't see a lot of this pairing on camera, but I'm hoping that she'll have a lasting effect of Will and will be responsible for brining him out of his douche spiral. I've never claimed that Glee has been a perfect TV show, but it was significantly better when Will was likable, so I'm hoping a return to the Glee of old (whatever that means).

Again, Holly's return to McKinley caused a lot of the characters to learn more about themselves, and the two who probably had the most life changing revelations were Brittany and Santana. Apparently, the two former Cheerios were still hooking up despite being in relationships with Artie and Sam. Brittany realized that it's different with Santana because it's only physical with her unlike her bond with Artie, which led to two figuring out what they meant to one another. After some soul searching thanks to Fleetwood Mac, Santana realized that she's so bitchy because she's been too afraid to admit her true feelings for Brittany because of the potential backlash. She finally admitted that she loves Brittany, and the feelings were mutual but Britt also had feelings for Artie and will be staying with him.

Now, I know that I'm in the minority because I've never been a Brittana fan, not because I object to two women being in a romantic relationship with one another, but because the pairing always felt like a fluke. Brittana's never really felt organic to me and was just a by product of a killer one-liner. I loved Brittany's line back in "Sectionals" that revealed that something was going on between the two, but I also felt those few words took a life of their own which meant that the two had to be put together to appease the fans.

Issues with the ship aside, Naya Rivera and Heather Morris were fantastic in their scenes together, and I am glad that these former one-dimensional characters were given the chance to shine in a meaningful way. It was easy for the writers to use Brittany and Santana as comic relief, but I truly believe that giving them some depth will only lead to good things. Let's just hope this plot thread isn't scrapped like so many others that have graced this show (I'm still upset about Mercedes and Quinn).

While at the Lima Bean (genius), Kurt and Blaine were given intel by Sue that New Directions was going to rely on sex appeal to win Regionals. For some reason Blaine started to freak out and recruited some schoolgirls to watch the Warblers perform in order to see if they were sexy enough. During their performance of "Animal", Blaine noticed that Kurt couldn't pull of sexy eyes because he has zero understanding of sex. Blaine confronted Burt, and suggested that he talk to Kurt about the birds and the birds. After some initial awkwardness, Burt and Kurt were able to at least start the conversation.

People will say that this plot line was too preachy, or that Blaine was too much of a mouthpiece, but I'm glad that the show addressed the topic of same-sex physical relationships because so few mainstream forms of entertainment would be willing to tackle the subject. Yes, it was slightly uncomfortable watching Burt and Kurt talk about sex, and Blaine may have been a bit too forthright, but it worked within the context of the show, the characters, and the overall story. My only quibble about the big talk was when Burt suggested that sex between two men is even more physical rather than emotional since two guys are involved. Maybe it's because he's uneducated about the whole thing, but it just sounded too oversimplified. Then again, I myself am uneducated since I'm not gay.

Everyone Else
While Santana was coming to terms with her sexuality, Emma was trying to figure out her feeling about Will, and Holly realized that being emotionally connected to someone else isn't a bad thing, Puck and Lauren were kicking around the idea of making a sex tape in order to launch them into stardom. Also, Finn and Quinn have apparently been in some sort of relationship for the past few weeks.

Honestly, I didn't see the point of shoehorning in these two mini-stories because they really didn't add to the overall episode, and were distracting. I would have much preferred more time be spent on either the Brittany/Santana storyline or the discussion between Kurt and Burt. Those two plotlines were at least relevant and engaging, but I guess Puck and Lauren did add some much needed lightness. I just wish it was better executed.

On the Music Front
"Kiss" was the big performance piece, and it caused some controversy since some fans felt that Prince was too sacred for Glee. Hell, if the Beatles can have their songs sung by New Directions than the Purple One is not immune. I thought the number worked because it was supposed to be over the top and lavish, and the fact that Matthew Morrison and Gwen have some chemistry didn't hurt. "Landslide" was good, but it was just another excuse to let Gwyneth show that she can sing country songs, and she totally stole the moment from Santana. Emma's Osmond-esque version of "Afternoon Delight" was campy enough to be entertaining, and again her misunderstanding of the meaning was even better. "Animal" and "Do You Wanna Touch Me (Oh Yeah)" brought the energy, but were only OK in my opinion.

Other Odds and Ends:
  • Hose Monster! Ha!
  • I know that it's totally unrealistic and wrong, but I love it that Brittany thought storks brought babies.
  • Lea's face after hearing Brittany's news was priceless. She's really great at those smaller comedic moments.
  • Jazzercise!
  • Gwen in leather = Not Gay!
  • Really digging Quinn's new hair-do.
  • I can watch HeMo dance all day long.
  • Yes Will, it was too much.
  • So Will and Holly totally made out in front of the band. Awkward.
  • Speaking of the band, I want a webisode spin-off called All that Jazz that's just about them.
  • Blaine had some balls to show up at Burt's shop. Glad he did.
  • Emma's wink towards Quinn during "Afternoon Delight" made me feel funny.
  • So are Finn and Quinn doing it or just macking?
  • "Celibacy ladies, dig it!
  • "Mad case of the herp."
  • "I'm off to have crraazzy sex because I'm crazy informed about it."
  • "That's a waste of some fine man butt."
  • "Sex. It's just like hugging only wetter."
  • "And everybody's got a random."
  • "Don't throw yourself around like you don't matter. Cause you matter Kurt."
  • "We're cuddle monsters."
  • "My lips are sealed. Just like your legs."
In some ways, I wish "Sexy" wasn't the one that followed "Blame It On The Alcohol" because two episodes that looked at hot button issues like underage drinking and sex back-to-back could have been a big mistake. Luckily, "Sexy" was a better episode than its predecessor, so hopefully the blow back will be limited. I still think this outing suffered from some tonal and pacing issues (too many unneeded outlandish plot points amongst the serious ones), but I still laughed a lot and was entertained by the craziness of it all. At the end of the night, that's all I'm looking for from Glee.


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