Gleecap: Bad Reputation
When Shannon casually mentioned her desire for one of us to cover Glee I initially shrugged it off, as a show featuring a bunch of whiney 20-somethings masquerading as teenagers and singing ‘80s pop that’s been done to death several gazillion times before isn’t quite geared to my demographic (the embittered-late-20s-unrepentant-anglophile-who-regard-Evelyn-Waugh-as-cutting-edge-pop-culture crowd). However, after several quiet mulls, I came to the conclusion Why the Hell not? So here goes.
A clip of cheerleading coach Sue performing “Physical” finds its way to the Internet, spurring Sue to take a list rating the sexually deviant students of Glee Club to Principal Figgins. Figgins cracks down on Glee teacher (Gleeacher?) Schuester to find the list’s author…or else Glee Club hangs up its dancing shows. In the meantime, upset by his students’ disparaging Olivia Newton John’s 1981 hit, Schuester tasks the class with “rehabilitating” similar songs of ill repute. Naturally, this segues in to a performance of “Ice Ice Baby.”
Reeling from the embarrassment, Sue finds herself the victim of slow-motion taunts from the other teachers and in particular the new astronomy teacher Brenda, who, despite a history of drug abuse, alcoholism, and a flurry of other deviant behaviors, still has the gall to look down her nose at Sue. To allay her grief, Sue decides to make Schuester’s life worse by informing guidance counselor and (I presume) current Schuester paramour Emma of the Gleeacher’s affairs. Emma confronts Schuester in the teacher’s lounge loudly vocalizing his indiscretions, and soon after the rest of the faculty is united in offering the poor fellow dating advice, calling him “slut,” or propositioning him…maybe all three.
The Glee kids (Gleeks? Gleedents?) who didn’t make the list try to prove themselves bad by performing a rendition of “Can’t Touch This” in the library, but it backfires, and the kindly old librarian asks them to perform for her church group—ha ha!
Things take a turn when Olivia Newton John herself sees Sue’s video and decides to remake the “Physical” music video…accompanied by the devious cheerleading coach who takes special delight in telling her students that she’s now a top recording artist. Slam.
Rachel enlists Puck to help with her video (based on David Geddes 1975 “Run Joey Run” and sporting surprisingly high production values), along with…uh…Fin and Jesse, who, angered over three guys playing the role of Rachel’s boyfriend, breaks up with her.
Schuester realizes that Quinn was behind the list, and after the perfunctory heart to heart over how painful it is to have a bad reputation, things get patched up and Schuester goes to bat for Quinn by telling Figgins that since the lists have stopped, there’s no more problem.
Rachel and…uh…Jesse—that’s his name, right?—whine a bit; Rachel confesses an obsession with trying to be popular while Jesse confesses that even though he carries a bad reputation as a heartbreaker…wait for it….wait for it…Rachel broke his heart first…and the episode ends with a shameless rendition of “Total Eclipse of the Heart.” Jesus Christ.
This is my first episode, so I’m not too versed in the characters’ histories, names, filmographies, and whatnot, but this isn’t how I remember high school. I know the show’s not trying to accurately portray those melodramatic years, and, to its credit, it doesn’t dwell too long on who’s going out with whom and why and all that stuff, but I would be much more interested in a show where the performers hadn’t already released several platinum records—kids who were just starting out, had cracky voices, were slightly awkward—and who didn’t sing and dance like there’s several dozen Disney bluebirds tweeting along with them. Likewise, even the ugly kids aren’t ugly—the boys wear pretty makeup and look to be graduates of the Henry Darger finishing school.
Still, they can sing and dance very well, but for all their talents, Jane Lynch is clearly the show-stealer, and I’ll forgo further comments until I’ve seen a few more installments…but I’m looking forward to see what she’ll be up to next week.
And was anyone else surprised that the song “Bad Reputation” didn’t make an appearance?