Well, this episode was bound to be weaker than last week’s Grilled Cheesus, but I don’t think any episode could follow in those footsteps. Still, it was an enjoyable hour of duet songs and different character pairings than we normally see, so for that I am grateful. Absent were Sue, Coach Beiste, Emma and Puck, although I guess when you have such a large ensemble cast you can’t always get everyone into the action. Still, an episode of Glee without the Sue factor just seems a little empty. Maybe she was too busy hosting SNL?
Speaking of Jane Lynch’s SNL hosting gig this past weekend, they did a Glee sketch where Puck’s character had “transferred” so Sue brought in a new student. Funnily enough, in tonight’s episode we learned that Puck was serving a little time in juvy for plowing his car into a building. And sure enough, the Glee club takes this opportunity to recruit new student and football player Sam (aka “Lady Lips”). I am still not fully on board with this character (I guess I find him a bit boring) whereas I really liked the introductions of Coach Beiste and Sunshine. However, I will say that he and Quinn had some nice chemistry—and it is good to see Quinn enter a new storyline that doesn’t involve a pregnancy.
Mr. Schue declares this week’s Glee assignment to be duets, and once again he instills in them a competitive spirit to win a prize for the best duet—a dinner at Breadsticks (loved the Olive Garden spoof). Everyone paired off for strategic reasons to increase their chances of winning (or to manipulate the action): Santana with Mercedes (best pairing in my opinion—I have liked them singing together ever since last season’s “The Boy Is Mine”); Brittany with Artie (you know, because he is a football player now and has access to handicap parking); Tina and Mike (can’t fight that Asian bond, as much as Tina would like to); and Rachel and Finn (who decide they need to throw the competition and let new boy Sam win to encourage him to join Glee). Which meant Rachel and Finn spent most of the episode encouraging Sam to pair with Quinn, leaving Kurt alone.
Kurt, once again, has some very nice moments in this episode, especially with his dad who is recovering and with Rachel, who understands in her own way what loneliness means. Of course Glee has always embraced messages of tolerance and acceptance, but these episodes (which were filmed over the summer) could not have been better timed with the recent string of bullying and suicides of young gay students making the news. Rachel’s final message to Kurt tonight was especially poignant: “I know you’re lonely, but you’re not alone.”
While everyone was preoccupied with having the “winning duet” tonight (or not winning in the case of Rachel and Finn), I think we can all agree that the real scene stealer in the pairings tonight was actually Santana and Brittany making out. While this has certainly been casually mentioned in passing before, this was the first time we really saw any evidence to back up these comments. I guess a part of me always assumed they were exaggerating. Brittany definitely got busy in the bedroom in this episode, when Artie loses his virginity to her. He winds up upset that it was so casual and he dumps her. It was actually quite sweet and sad to see lonely Brittany at the end, nudging her meatball across her plate like Lady and the Tramp. Brittany is painted as so over-the-top naïve and childlike that it can be jarring to see that she has deeper feelings under that Cheerios uniform.
It is kind of ironic that both last week and this week Glee had similar themes to other shows I watch. Last week both Glee and Modern Family questioned faith and God and this week both HIMYM and Glee told a story about why some of its characters really needed a “win.”
Here are some of the winning moments from tonight’s episode, “Duets”:
- Sam gets slushied for the first time (quite the rite of passage for Glee members) and Quinn explains: “The blue slushie is the worst—I looked like a creature from avatar.” This was followed by Sam responding in the Na’vi language.
- Santana rejecting the idea that Kurt can sing a duet by himself: “That’s like vocal masturbation.”
- “I’m mad at you, but you’re still so hot” (Brittany to Santana when Santana is convinced she won the competition).
- “Before our duet, we’re gunna do it” (Brittany about to make a man out of Artie…and actually successfully using a clever play on words!).
How did you think this episode of Glee comPAIRED to others?