It was “Sexy” time on Glee tonight, thanks mainly to the inspiring teaching ways of Holly Holiday! Gwyneth Paltrow made her return as everyone’s favorite substitute teacher, along with the very sexy John Stamos as Emma’s new husband Dr. Carl. In addition to some very memorable song performances—from the emotional “Landslide” to the hysterical “Afternoon Delight”—we also got equal parts poignant and funny in terms of character development.
The Celibacy Club from season one is back in action, although with far fewer members: Rachel, who is focusing on her songwriting potential, and Quinn, who wants to focus on herself. Emma is the natural faculty sponsor of this club, as she promotes abstinence only education (and as we later learn, she promotes abstinence only in her marriage too!). Her view on abstinence only education immediately conflicts with those of “tell them everything” Holly Holiday. While teaching jazzercise to the teachers (ha!) Holly explains to Will that they need to slip in (pun not intended) little lessons on sexual education to help the Glee kids learn the truth about sex and to dispel ridiculous myths (Storks bringing babies? Cucumbers giving AIDS?). Because this is Glee, they quickly determine that singing songs about emotions and sexual experiences is the best way to teach—cue Gwyneth, Santana and Brittany leading Joan Jett’s “Do you wanna touch me there.”
Meanwhile, several of our characters deal with their own sexuality on a personal level. First there is Kurt, who doesn’t know how to bring the sexy to The Warblers’ musical numbers because he doesn’t have sexual experiences to draw from. And, as Blaine knows, being a gay teen makes sexual identity even more confusing. Blaine even goes so far as to seek out Kurt’s dad, Burt, and encourage him to have ‘the talk’ with his son. I liked that Blaine acknowledged what a good relationship Kurt is lucky to have with his father—a father who may not always understand, but who is always there for his son. Burt and Kurt end up having an amusingly awkward sex talk, but also one that is realistic and meaningful.
On the couples front, Lauren and Puck consider making a sex tape so she can have the fame level of a Kardashian one day (ah, such dreams kids have today!). Quinn and Finn are apparently secretly seeing each other once again and plan to make a run for prom king and queen. But, the real stars of the young couple drama are Santana and Brittany, as they often are. However, this time their complicated relationship is more than witty lines and sexual innuendo…it is a serious discussion of sexuality and love. This episode really belongs to these two girls and their complex relationship. Brittany—who gets confused about breakfast (sometimes it’s sweet, sometimes it’s salty) is the wise one in her confusion over her feelings for Santana. Brittany wants to have a mature conversation with Santana about their actual feelings and even suggests they speak with Holly. Santana—in a great episode for Naya Rivera—is angry-confused and wants to avoid any talk of feelings because it scares her. After an excellent and moving rendition of the Dixie Chick’s “Landslide,” Santana realizes that she is bisexual and wants a true loving relationship with Brittany. Her fear of exposing herself like this explains why she is always so bitchy and angry. In an intense scene, Santana finally expresses her feelings to Brittany, but Brittany carefully rejects her best friend because she is in love with Artie. I am very curious to see how our favorite Cheerios duo plays out in coming episodes. Can they go back to being just BFFs?
Lastly, there is serious trouble in paradise for guidance counselor Emma and her new hottie husband Carl. Apparently Emma is not just the faculty advisor for the Celibacy Club, but a genuine member! She has yet to sleep with her own husband, and both Holly and Carl think it is because she is still in love with Will. I am not sold on this plot development—we saw so much progress in Emma when she started dating Carl, from her OCD diminishing to a greater ability to take risks. Therefore, I don’t buy it that she has still not slept with Carl. But, I guess the show had to come up with something to drive a wedge in her relationship with Carl and to give Emma-Will fans something to root for. This storyline did give us the funniest performance of the night (and perhaps ever) when Emma and the Celibacy Club performed “Afternoon Delight.” Emma had no idea the song is actually about having a nooner—she thought it was about actual dessert! The hilarious outfits that looked like they belonged on a Mormon singing group and the enthusiastic expressions of the singers (especially Puck!) were priceless. I thought it was going to be tough to match the absurd hilarity of “Afternoon Delight’ in Anchorman, but this pretty much takes the cake (pun intended).
Sex ed was, of course, blunt and hilarious in the Glee universe:
- Chastity Charm Necklaces—you give away your heart but keep the key! (ha! Sadly I bet this idea would sell).
- The regular sex ed teacher “has a mad case of herp”
- Santana suggests “popping in some Sweet Valley High and getting our cuddle on” to Brittany. Wow—do kids today really know Sweet Valley High???
- The looks on everyone’s faces (especially Rachel) when Brittany explains that the stork is bringing her a baby.
- “Although I think you are naïve and possibly frigid…but I admire your choice” (Holly regarding Rachel’s choice to be celibate).
- “And everybody’s got a random” (Holly regarding sex partners)
- “I think on your 30th birthday it is a great gift to yourself” (Burt regarding a good age for Kurt to have sex)
- “Girlfriend, what is up with that? He’s hot! You’re 30!” (Holly to virgin Emma)
- “My lips are sealed, just like your legs” (Holly promising Emma she will not tell Will)
- “And Brittany, I just can’t go to an Indigo Girls concert, I just can’t” (Santana on the real reason she can’t express her true sexuality)
- “Next to dropping my afternoon deuce, it’s my favorite part of the day” (Puck, regarding wooing Lauren)
There were plenty of other great moments and songs—like the chemistry between Will and Holly during their “Kiss” tango and The Warblers’ performance of “Animal.” What did you think of sex ed? Did it go too far, or not far enough? It certainly kept with Glee’s tradition of taking on controversial issues—think the Grilled Cheesus episode—and advocating many different perspectives and arguments.