The theme of “Glee” last night was “Distraction,” which is an apt term for the kind of episode it was in the larger arc of the show, and in this busy holiday week. Unlike weeks previous, not too terribly much happened, although the cast was taught a valuable lesson in “Hairography” – the title of the episode.
“Hairography” is described as an act of smoke and mirrors, the constant tossing of one’s hair to distract from the fact one’s not that talented. The Glee club was subjected to its first instance of this when a rival singing club from an all-girl urban (read: largely black, and headed by special guest Eve!) high school comes to borrow McKinley’s practice space. The move got the crew thinking about outrageous choreography and provided the tv-watching audience a veritable cornucopia of ideas on how to cut up a t-shirt.
So McKinley adopts wigs and a ridiculous medley as they “scrimmage” against another high school, a school for the deaf, which provided a few early laughs from the hearing impaired. Unimpressed by the hairography, the students from the deaf school put Glee in its place with a sign-language performance.
Due to a lack of Sue last episode, the Cheerios coach comes back in full-force, with Schuester confronting the Suester when he suspects she’s slipping other area schools Glee’s playlist for sectionals.
Meanwhile, in Dateland, Quinn commissions Kurt to distract Finn for some dubious reason – something about nurturing feelings for Puck – and Kurt does a makeover on Rachel. In this exchange, the latter reveals to her gay cohort that she has a crush on Finn, causing Kurt to switch from fashion intern to sabotage mode. He whips Rachel up into a hussy, with a costume change that includes Olivia Newton-John’s getup from the final scene in “Grease,” complete with teased hair and arching her back on various piece of furniture. Finn “really likes” Rachel, but is non-plussed and leaves her house after she had invited him over.
Kurt, in turn, ultimately reveals his crush on Finn to Rachel; the two commiserate, lamenting that Rachel will always play second fiddle to Quinn and Kurt plays a different instrument altogether.
Quinn invites Puck to help her take care of a triplet of ginger-haired demons, sons of Will’s wife’s equally evil sister Kendra, a task that the pair actually tackles, with gusto, impressing Terri and Kendra. Quinn starts falling for Puck again, up until its revealed that the mohawked womanizer was “sexting” with another girl all the while. (Thus, providing another reason to keep that sexting phenom good and fresh in the headlines. Thanks, too, Carrie Prejean.) She flies back into the arms of Finn and overall has one of the most vulnerable, un-Quinn-like episodes. She doesn’t even give her typical death-to-you-smirk!
Quinn also wavers on giving up her baby daughter to Terri, who is still definitely unpregnant. Terri, to distract from this fact, issues another distraction, buying him a muscle car of sentimental value to fix up. There’s a good Bruce Springsteen reference, though no delivery of a song from the Boss (perhaps the line “Just wrap your legs round these velvet rims/And strap your hands across my engines” from “Born to Run” would be a fine theme for the sex-deprived teacher).
Props to Kurt who says Rachel dresses like "Grandmother and a toddler at the same time" and to Puck who admits to standing outside of the 7-11 "looking depressed until somebody buys me beer." Cheerio dimwit Britney gives the hair-tossing 101 -- on projecting "cool epilepsy" -- which might be said of another famous Britney. "Give it up to me," a line by Puck to Quinn, could be a reference to either the new Shakira song or the Sean Paul track. We know which one he more resembles.
The all-girls school simulates a little sex (Adam Lambert, are you watching?) during this Destiny's Child cover, recorded for 2001's "Survivor." Fun fact: Kelly Rowland led this song, not Beyonce. The song "Edge of Seventeen" by Stevie Nicks is sampled in this track, enhancing the underage theme that dominated last week's ep.
"Papa Don't Preach"
Hey! Madonna! About time. This sultry number was actually used to sooth the savage beasts (Kendra's children) by Quinn and Puck, and, lyrically, was an appropriate one for the pregnant teen: it contains the perspective of young girl, with-child, debating whether she's keeping her child.
Madge actually devoted the song to the pop back in the '80s, which was all part of her long series of miffing the Vatican on various sex-related issues.
"Crazy in Love"
Hey! More Beyonce! This medley also boasted bits and pieces of "Hair" (the musical, silly), which naturally had to be incorporated in this ep, considering the "Hairography" theme. This provides little more than a vehicle for Mercedes and Artie to sing together, and for awful, awful wigs to abound; the deaf school was right to mock them.
"Crazy in Love" was a huge hit in 2003, when Jay-Z and B performed together prior to getting married. Artie, for the record, does not make a very good Jay-Z.
Gonna be honest here: I wasn't looking forward to this Glee remake of the 1971 John Lennon classic, as the original doesn't leave much to be enhanced upon. The anti-war message of its first incarnation given a spotlight, as the school for the deaf presented it as a speaking- and sign-language-only performance. Mercedes, naturally, jumps in and it becomes a general theme for unity.
After McKinley abandons their hairographic ways, they stay seated for this Cyndi Lauper driver, in stools and dressed in multi-colored shirts. They resemble the Burger King Kids Club. Tina takes lead and caps off the show with a milquetoast performance -- in that it was too perfect. Lauper's voice in the original was a bit wild in the song, the title track for her 1986 album. It was one of the few tracks Lauper didn't write herself -- it was originally penned by Billy Steinberg, about his mother.