To the mattresses!
The phrase means go to war, and is an apt one for this week’s episode of “Glee,” titled “Mattress.” Sue, as always, tries to bring things to a head with Will Schuester and his club, with a few gotcha moments a jabs. Will and his wife finally have a productive confrontation, Quinn faces off with Sue, Ken bristles at Schue and the whole school passive-agressively battles the gleeks.
First, there’s Cheerios coach Sue vs. Glee: she effectively gets the group’s photo out of the yearbook, on the grounds that the photo always gets defaced (True.) and because she wants to further demoralize and erase the crew from school history. Schue pays to get them back in, even if it the photo’s spot is so small that it can only host two students’ mugs in it. Naturally, Rachel is one and, even though she convinced (whined for) Finn to join her, he flakes because he fears the chiding (potatohead!).
As Rachel gets here solo pic taken, she gets tipped of to some acting parts in a mattress commercial. She ropes in the rest of Glee, without Schue’s approval, to star in the TV spot on the basis that it will make them celebrities and they’ll never get made fun of again. They agree, make an A-DOR-AH-BULL showing, and the commercial airs. The store owner sends them some mattresses as a “thanks.”
Which leads us to a mattress of another sort: Terri’s pillow baby bump is finally discovered by Schue and she gets her pregnant bluff called. Awful, awful Terri stumblebums all over an explanation why she lied, he leaves her and spends some quality time sleeping in his office. On one of the mattresses. A week before counselor Emma gets married. Asking for her advice if he should divorce Terri, Emma is sweetly even, saying “You’re a lot to lose.”
After a stirring television editorial appearance encouraging “uglies and fatties” to stay home to give her “retnas a break,” Sue makes another discovery: the mattress commercial. As the students have been “paid” in mattresses, she protests that Glee is no longer has amateur status and cannot compete at sectionals, thus ringing the death knell for the group. Schue takes the bullet by returning the rest of the mattresses and stepping down from the group, since he’s the only one who accepted “payment,” even though he wasn’t even in the thing.
Quinn, too, who has long sought getting back into the Cheerios, calls Sue on shenanigans, since the cheerleaders get free swag all the time. In her blackmail, she tells Sue to give one of the Cheerios’ pages to a full-group shot of Glee. It happens, the crew is still in competition, they all “Smile” for their picture.
And the photo gets defaced anyway.
We appreciated the pocket-square-Ted-Knight reference (don’t worry, we had to look him up too), a line from “When You’re Smiling” – our favorite version comes from Billie Holiday – and the mention that Finn’s forehead could act as a tablet for a haiku. And Terri's observation that, "This marriage works because you don't feel good about yourself." Thanks for saying what we're all thinking.
One of two songs in this episode by this name, this one is performed by Rachel with much skipping and skirt-twirling, which is prominent in the music video to the song’s original performed by British singer Lily Allen. The track topped the U.K. charts in 2006 and made a good showing in the ‘States when the album “Alright, Still” dropped in 2007. Results are not in yet as to, whether or not, it will enhance your yearbook picture grin.
Van Halen, that stalwart of ‘80s rock and ‘90s disenchantment, probably never envisioned their “1984” album hit as a soundtrack to a mattress commercial or fodder for a high school glee club television dramady. But here we are. The kids jump (and nothing gets them down) on mattresses as they sing this groundbreaking track: the original featured keyboards, not Eddie Van Halen’s typical shred, as the leading riff, a rare thing for Van Halen and for pop music of the time. It was the band’s only No. 1 hit ever and even scored them a Grammy nod.
Speaking of Grammy nominations, check out the new ones here.
Charlie Chaplin is normally thought of as a silent kidder from early film history, but he was in fact behind this melancholy classic. It was sung in his 1936 movie “Modern Times,” then actually updated for modern times first by Nat King Cole and then dozens of other pop stars – including Michael Jackson and his brother Jermaine, after the King of Pop died.