Recap: 'Glee' - 'Funk'
There are times when I wish Las Vegas had a section devoted to all things pop culture. You could place bets on things like “The ‘Lost’ finale will drive half of audience completely bananas.” Or “The next ‘American Idol’ judge will be Joss Whedon.” Or my personal favorite example: the over/under on how many times an episode of “Glee” will figure out a way to insert the title of its episode into the show’s dialogue. I think Pop Vegas should set that number around 40, because it feels like that’s as many times as a character issued the word “Funk” from their lips in tonight’s Season 1 penultimate episode.
It’s always darkest just before the dawn (or, in this show’s case, Regionals), so it makes sense that most of the show’s characters were deep in their own personal hells just in time to potentially throw a year’s worth of hard work down the drain. Did they pull out of their tailspin in time for the big performance? Does George Clinton own an Atomic Dog? Exactly. Let’s break down this week’s action.
[Full recap of Tuesday's (June 1) "Glee" after the break...]
The Glee club is buzzing, and apparently, it’s not only them: they’ve been reading blogs and message boards praising their chances at Regionals. Really? There are blogs and message boards devoted to this? Apparently so, since Vocal Adreneline’s read the Ohio-based, showchoir-centric version of TMZ and decided to do a little number to put our heroes in their place:Queen’s “Another One Bites the Dust.” Our troops are dismayed, none more than Rachel at seeing Jesse St. James back with his old team.
Things go from bad to B flat when they see that their practice room has been TP’ed. (Boy, those commenters on www.vocal-adrenaline-can-suck-it.com must have really got to them.) After Sue scouts the room in anticipation of taking it over after Regionals, Puck realizes that it’s time to shine, collecting Finn and summarily slashing the tires of the 26 Range Rovers given to the members of Vocal Adrenaline by its Booster Club. Bad mistake: they now have to pay back the group for damages, or be expelled from school.
Sensing his group’s pain (as well as his own, due to the finalization of his divorce), Will decides to employ a tip from former glee club coach Sandy Ryerson. They will counter Vocal Adrenaline in their one weak spot: funk. Quinn warms to the assignment quickly, which surprises Mercedes. But Quinn thinks that Will’s description of the music (“soul meets anger”) fits her more tightly than her blouse currently does.
As a balm on his own depression, Will decides to take a “take no prisoners” approach on Sue, starting with a ridiculously over-the-top rendition of Rufus & Chaka Khan “Tell Me Something Good.” You liked this number as much as you like seeing Matthew Morrison shake his butt in a pair of tight jeans. (I assume a lot of you really, really, really liked this number.)
As a way to pay off their tire debt, Finn and Puck take up jobs under Terri at Sheets-N-Things, even though part of me wishes beyond measure that they could have worked at the Buy More instead. (Yes, I’m already missing that store, still smoldering in the afterglow of the “Chuck” finale.) Puck imagines a scenario with less Kenny G and more of Beck’s “Loser,” with Finn and eventually the entire store joining in his imaginary production number. Less depressing and more “To Die For”-y, Terri starts seeing Will in Finn. Like, literally: Will’s face starts popping up on Finn’s face, and I start looking for my phone in case I need to report a kidnapping.
Meanwhile, Will continues his plan of seduction, bringing Sue both flowers and vitamin supplements to woo his rival. He offers to take her out to dinner that Wednesday (which he helpfully reminds her is known as “Hump Day”), only to stand her up. When she storms his apartment on cue, he explains his rationale: “Cruelty was the only way to get your attention.” She storms out, much to his delight, but since he’s Will, he doesn’t think his plan completely through: with Sue as devastated as Rachel, the Cheerios are out an instructor, out of nationals, out of purpose, and, in some cases, out of scholarships. Ah, Will: when life hands you lemons, you make lemonade, but unfortunately spill the lemonade on the floor and incur the mother of all ant infestations.
During all this drama, it’s still Funk week for the glee club. Quinn picks James Brown’s “It's A Man's Man's Man's World,” which works well thematically but I’m not convinced was actually in Dianna Agron’s range. Still, who cares about range when you’ve got the Unwed Mothership Connection as your backup dancers, am I right people? Much less “So You Think You Can Dance?” and much more “So You Think You Can Lamaze?” (Let’s just ignore the fact that Quinn could have used these girls as a support group throughout the year as much as glee club. Shhh. I can’t hear you over all the second-trimester toetapping!)
Thanks to Terri’s efforts to help locate a funk song on “the iTunes,” Finn, Mercedes, and “Pucky Puck” bust out Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch’s “Good Vibrations.” I actually entered the word “funk” into “the iTunes” to see if this was the first song that came up, and it’s not: it’s Prince’s “F.U.N.K.,” and since this is Prince we’re talking about, I absolutely do NOT want to know what that acronym stands for. While the song cheers the group up temporarily, it’s not enough to get them fully back on their feet. Steve Jobs, you and your “the iTunes” have suffered an epic fail.
Time for some personal connections: Mercedes finds Quinn alone in the library. The show has gone out of its way to try and find screen time for this pair since its return from hiatus, and while their dialogue about stereotypes represents “Glee” at its absolute most didactic and painful, it does end up with Quinn moving out of Puck’s place and into Mercedes’ newly spare room. So, progress.
Second connection time. Over across town, Will makes his way through a veritable labyrinth of trophies to offer his apologies to Sue. She actually offers a decent reason to explain her turnaround towards Will this episode: she’s so damn lonely, any hint of possible affection sways her. (I guess hate sex with Bryan Ryan didn’t quell her longing for affection.) Will reminds her of her deep-seeded affection for her Cheerios, and before long, the bullhorn is back in her hand.
Time for a third connection: between Rachel and a dozen eggs, thrown at her in the parking lot outside of school after Jesse phoned her to come out. As she ran in slo-mo towards him, my anxious heart kept waiting for Desmond Hume to pancake her, sideways style, and wake her up to a time in which she’d already won Regionals. (Sorry, I’m having a hard time letting go of “Lost.” My bad. Won’t happen again.) Jesse crushes the last egg on her face, solidifying his place on Vocal Adrenaline, but not before saying, “I loved you.” Yea, not sure I’m buying that, dude. I realize the two of you shared a “Total Eclipse of the Heart,” but I doubt I’ll be wearing a “Team Jesse” shirt anytime soon. (In case you’re curious, I’m “Team Brittany” all the way. She speaks the truth about dolphins, for realz.)
Will watches Sue win Nationals on his television, a performance that apparently included Kurt performing a 14 and a half minute segment of Celine Dion songs. Entirely in French. (At first, I was upset that we didn’t see any footage of the actual performance, but then I heard “Celine Dion” and was oddly OK with the editorial decision.) Sue’s Cheerios bring over the mammoth trophy to Will’s place, and Sue gives Will two options: the installation of the trophy in the glee practice room, or an open-mouthed kiss. Will chooses the latter, only to have Sue reject it. What’s cooler than being cool? ICE COLD. Welcome back, Sue.
With the trophy installed in their practice room (behind bulletproof glass, no less) and Rachel more distraught than ever, the boys are ready to go “Braveheart” on their opponents. Will talks them out of it, and instead uses Rachel’s phone to call Jesse for a showdown that Friday in the auditorium. Boy, I sure hope someone gets served then. It’s been too long since anyone got served, you know?
Well, it’s no dance-off, but it’s certainly some form of Funky Town, as the glee club performs Parliament “Give Up The Funk”, a song which I like but worry that younger viewers heard and thought, “Hey, they ripped off MC Hammer!” Frankly, I’m even MORE worried that there are young readers who just read that and thought, “Hey, who is MC Hammer?” In any case, it’s a super fun number, one that does the trick and strikes some fear into Jess St. James, his hair, and the rest of Vocal Adrenaline. Next week: Regionals!
Best Number of the Night
Have to give it up for the final one, as too many of the others were simply too truncated to be effective. It was like the “TRL” version of these songs, and it did the performers no favors.
“Trophies are like herpes. You can try to get ride of them, but they just keep coming. You know why? Sue Sylvester has hourly flare-ups of burning, itchy, contagious talent.”
“That’s what they said about a young man in Chicago in 1971 who thought he’d play a harmless prank on the dairy cow of one Mrs. O’Leary. He successfully ignited his flatulence, and a city burned, William. And that young terrorist went on to become the first gay president of the United States, Abraham Lincoln.”
Sue writing in journal. “Dear Journal: Something strange happened yesterday. I felt something below the neck. Dare I admit it? I have feelings for one Will Schuster. Sexy, non-murdering feelings. Oh, it all makes sense now, journal. True love always springs from true hate. I’ll admit in the past I’ve fantasized about waking up with Will’s head on the pillow next to me, except now I picture it attached to the rest of his body.”
Is Vocal Adrenaline a real threat to the glee club, or is Sue still their biggest nemesis? Would you prefer to see them win this year, or spend next season avenging a contested loss? Leave your thoughts below!