'Glee' musical recap: A 'Wicked' sing-off, 'Proud Mary' gets the team rolling
"Glee" returned to FOX last night (Nov. 12) after a two-week hiatus, and with it a new crop of songs.
Fans of the show who bought the soundtrack last week may be wondering where "Dancing with Myself" came from. They finally got their answer from this ep "Wheels," which focused in on wheelchair-bound Artie -- and a sweet sing-off between Kurt and Rachel.
Wheelchair fights, wheelchair dances and wheelchair kissing abounds, as well as continued drama between Quinn, Finn and the real-baby-daddy Puck. We learned a little about Sue and why her cold dead heart softened for Becky, a Cheerio auditioner with Down Syndrome, and about Tina faking her stutter. Kurt has a moment with his dad when an anonymous jerk phones the garage to blurt "Your son is a f*g."
We particularly like Artie's awkward assertion that while his legs may not function, his other lower extremity is in workng form. Also, the interstitial music during the bake sale scene, as Puck's depravity rakes in the dough? Curtis Mayfield's "Pusherman."
Who's got a cupcake?
"Dancing With Myself"
Artie sings the track as a way to express what it's like to live with his handicap, when his collegues in Glee don't want the bother of raising funds for a special wheelchair-ready bus to drive them to sectionals.
While the track was originally sung in 1981 by Billy Idol and Generation X, Artie's version hearkens the Nouvelle Vague cover version. That group gives the same treatment to other, erm, classic songs like "Love Will Tear Us Apart" by Joy Division, "Just Can't Get Enought" by Depeche Mode and "Too Drunk to F*ck" by the Dead Kennedys.
There's an "American Idol"/Billy Idol joke in there somewhere.
(Watch starting at 29:45 in the full episode below.)
When it becomes clear that Kurt and Rachel are both superfans of the musical "Wicked," Mr. Shue sets up a "diva-off" for who gets to sing the show-stopper "Defying Gravity." Kurt -- whose father is still dealing with the ramifications of his son being out of the closet in high school -- badly wants to sing the female-fronted song, an activity that might bring further chiding. He purposely loses out the audition on that high F note.
The power ballad was originally written for the end of the first act in "Wicked," when green-skinned witch Elphaba has been declared "wicked" by the Wizard of Oz (and his press secretary) and she declares war on the manipulative Wiz and to push the boundaries of her own powers. It's a good parallel to the story as Rachel and Kurt stare each other down on "you won't bring me down," and Kurt downs himself. Maybe rheir rivalry will follow them in episodes to come.
(Watch starting at 40:55 in the full episode below.)
"Rollin' on a river." Get it? They're rolling in wheelchairs?
This track gets a soft and loud treatment by the Glee club at the end, giving Mercedes her "chocolate" moment after having complained earlier that the song choices were too "vanilla." It comes immediately after Kurt and his dad have a heart to heart about the botched audition, noting he's "proud of who I am." Also: best utilization of the wheelchair since the club performed "Push It."
The tune was originally penned by John Fogerty, for Creedence Clearwater Revival's 1969 album "Bayou Country" but it's Ike and Tina Turners version being performed here. It was that cover, too, that earned the duo a Grammy in 1972 for Best R&B Vocal Performance by a Group.