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Oh My Gaga! – A Recap of Glee’s “Theatricality”

  

OK.  I have a bit of a confession to make  . . . Here it goes . . . I’m not exactly a huge fan of Lady Gaga.  Don’t get me wrong.  It’s not that I don’t think she’s sublimely talented.  I DO!  Much like her predecessor, Madonna, Lady Gaga is a masterful self-marketer.  The girl is constantly reinventing herself.  She, therefore, can keep her music relevant, in a fast-paced, quick-change, ADHD world.  She even made Hello Kitty, cool again!

It’s just that . . . how do I put this kindly . . . that girl scares the STUFFING OUT OF ME!  I think it started when she made that bizarro Paparazzi video.  You know, the one where she dressed up like a depraved, totally effed up, version of Minnie Mouse  . . .

. . . and KILLED an eyepatch-wearing Alexander Skarsgard!

I DON’T UNDERSTAND!  I thought vampires were supposed to be IMMUNE to poison!

In fact, up until last night ;), the ONLY version of Poker Face residing on my iPod was Chris Daughtry’s acoustic cover of the song (which, if you’ve never heard it before, is AWESOME, in my humble opinion.)

This was all, of course, BEFORE I watched last night’s episode of Glee, which, I’ll admit, left me a bit “gaga” for Gaga.  Let’s recap, shall we?

Tina Dresses “Goth” / Has Parents Who Hate Kristen Stewart .  . .

When the episode begins, Principal Figgins is berating Tina, for what he describes as her “goth vampire” style of dressing.  Now, I’m going to have to disagree with him here.  I wouldn’t classify Tina’s look as goth or vampire!  It’s actually more ’80’s punk, than anything else . . .

Discrepancy aside, the opening scene was pure WIN for me, because it (1) gave the often-underused Jenna Ushkowitz an opportunity to show off her comedic chops; (2) exposed Principal Figgin’s deep-seated fear of vampires (This will undoubtedly come in handy later.) . . .

 . . . and (3) included some light Kristen Stewart bashing (“My parents think Kristen Stewart is a bitch,” says Tina)

 .  . . which, as far as I’m concerned, NEVER gets old!  (Just keep on toking, Bella Swan!)

Anyway, Mr. Schuester . . .

 . . . inspired by his outrage over Principal Figgins refusal to let Tina dress the way she wants (Speaking of which, don’t YOU wish that you had a cute teacher to personally accompany YOU, and hold YOUR hand, everytime YOU got in trouble?), decides to give the Gleeks a Gaga-inspired assignment.  In order to complete the assignment, the crew would be required to (1) dress-up really weird; and (2) sing a song by This Week’s Musical Sponsor either Lady Gaga or Kiss.

Rachel Confronts Her Bio Mom / Wears a Dress Made of Suicidal Beanie Babies . . .

While spying on their chief rivals, Vocal Adrenaline . . .

 (which reminds me, WHERE WAS JESSE THIS WEEK?  And, no, you can’t say, “on vacation,” like you did to explain his absence two weeks ago, Glee!  Because NO ONE gets that much off time in high school!  Not even local celebrities who recently transferred into the school, solely to bring about a mother / daughter reunion.  You know what?  I smell a little neglect here!  I’m calling CHILD SERVICES!”)

See? He’s wandering the streets of New York City ALONE! And probably panhandling!  And quite possibly getting involved in prostitution!  Have his parents no shame?

 . . . but I digress . . .

So, while Rachel, Quinn and Mercedes are spying on Vocal Adrenaline’s sectional rehearsals, they catch it’s coach randomly belting out her own rendition of Barbara Streisand’s Funny Girl to show off illustrate to her students the importance of theatricality.  Upon hearing the song, Rachel instantly recognizes Shelby’s voice as that of her mother (who she recently heard singing on a tape Jesse gave her).  Rachel then immediately confronts Shelby, informing her, right in front of her class, that she is in fact, her daughter.

That would certainly explain the uncanny resemblance . . .

And I have to say, for someone who went through the trouble of having one of her prize students SWITCH SCHOOLS to make sure Rachel learned her true identity, Shelby didn’t seem all that happy to have been found.  In fact, on first meeting, Shelby was downright COLD to Rachel, refusing to sit in the same row as her in the auditorium, while the two engaged in their first “heart-to-heart.”

What a TOTAL WITCH!

Rachel is so distraught over the awkward encounter, that she comes to school wearing a dress made of STAPLED BEANIE BABIES. (Stuffed animal abuse, anyone?) .  The outfit is so hideous, that not even the beanie babies want to be a part of it.  They’s rather jump to their DEATHS, instead. 

 “Annnnnd  . . . we have a jumper!”  Kurt quips, as a frog beanie baby successfully escapes Rachel’s dress, only to, mere moments later, meet an untimely death on the choir room floor!

R.I.P. “Legs!”  We hardly knew, ye!

After the rest of the group is done bashing on Poor Rachel, the Girls (and Kurt) peform their portion of Mr. Schuester’s assignment, a fun and flashy cover of Lady Gaga’s “Bad Romance.”   And while I couldn’t find a clip of the crew performing the song on the show, I was able to find a decent recording of the Glee cast performing the number LIVE on Tour in Los Angeles.  (Just take what you see, and imagine it with MORE cast close-ups, and a bit less “shaky cam.”)

(Thanks so much for sharing this with us, YuckFoutube!)

I think my favorite part of the whole song is when Kurt (Chris Colfer) belts out, “Because I’m a freak, BABY!”  (Classic!)

You might have noticed, that in the video, Lea Michelle, who plays Rachel, is wearing an outfit that is decidedly NOT the Suicidal Beanie Baby Dress I screencapped for you, above.  That is because, in the scene following her performance, Mommy Not-So-Dearest, Shelby, actually does something NICE for a change, by hooking Rachel up with a Gaga-inspired outfit that doesn’t include on it a bevy of warning labels, about babies accidentally swallowing foreign objects . . .

You know, if it didn’t have that weapon-esque jagged edge sticking out the side of it, I might ACTUALLY wear something like this . . .

After receiving some REALLY BAD advice from Mr. Schuester, Witchy Shelby decides to, more or less, “break-up” with her long lost daughter.  Her rationale for doing so seemed really warped to me . . . something about Rachel being TOO OLD to start a relationship with.  (Ummm, yeah, because 16 is positively ANCIENT!) 

Happy Sweet 16, Rachel!  Did you remember to put on your Depends?

However, I’m thinking that Shelby’s asshat actions were little more than a plot device, aimed toward ensuring that Mother and Daughter have an emotional and permanent reunion, come Season Finale time.  Therefore, I will refrain from calling Shelby too many evil names, just yet . . .

As a parting, “I’m sorry for being the Worst Mother Ever,” gift, Shelby offers Rachel a cup . . . with a star on it . . . for in case she gets “thisty.”

I know, I know . . . It didn’t look like this . . . I’m trying to make a not-so-subtle point here, OK?

You see, if Shelby DOESN’T reunite with Rachel in the Season Finale, I’m willing to bet that the next time “Thirsty Rachel” uses her “star cup,” is on her twenty-first birthday, when she totes it along with her, in her purse, on her bar crawl.  And with each of the 21 shots she pours into it, she will raise her glass, and SING, in an increasingly inebriated manner “F-U Mommy!”

My personal anger at Shelby aside, I must admit that the Mother-Daughter duet to Lady Gaga’s “Poker Face” was the second most poignant moment in the entire episode.  (I’ll get to the MOST poignant, in just a bit.)  Aside from Idina Menzel and Lea Michelle having the most beautiful voices ON THE PLANET, I just loved how many layers this song had.  And how deft the two accomplished actresses were at subtly revealing them. 

On the surface, “Poker Face” is a light and fun song that uses the game of poker, as a thinly veiled metaphor for sexuality.  Shelby and Rachel have fun with this bawdy side to the song, smiling and winking at one another, during the particularly risque parts.  (Example: “I’m bluffin’ with my muffin . . .”)

On a deeper level, “Poker Face” is a song about hiding one’s true emotions, in order to protect onesself, a tactic we all use every once in a while, both in poker, and in life.  When Rachel sings the line, “She don’t wanna love nobody,” you can see the sadness in her face, as she recognizes her mother’s inability to provide her with the affection she needs.

Later when the women are singing, “I’m marvelous,” to one another,  we all know that isn’t really true, and that they are just saving face.  It’s heartbreaking to watch, yet beautiful at the same time.

Finn Experiments with Makeup / Calls Kurt the F- Word / Gets His Ass Handed to Him By Kurt’s Dad / Wears a Red Shower Curtain

Speaking of Misguided Mommies, Finn’s TOTALLY put him on the spot, by dragging him, eyes closed, to La Casa de Burt and Kurt, and informing him that he would be moving in there, RIGHT IN FRONT of Kurt and his dad!  To make matters even more awkward, Finn and Kurt were going to be sharing a room together . . . at age 16.  (A house with two-and-a-half-baths and NO GUEST ROOM!  What’s up with that, Burt?)

Then again, it does work for SOME people, I guess . . .

Back at school, Finn and the Glee boys get all decked out in full Kiss regalia and sing “Shout it Out Loud.”  A song I had NEVER heard before. 

Up until last night, I was familiar with precisely ONE Kiss song:  “Rock and Roll All Night.”  Now, I know two more (I’ll get to the second one in a bit).  Thanks for the education, Glee!

Finn and Kurt continue to bicker throughout most of the episode, regarding the respective merits of conformity versus individuality.  However, the poopy really hits the fan when Finn describes Kurt’s room decorations as “faggy,” and Kurt’s dad, Burt, overhears him.  Remember when I said, the scene between Shelby and Rachel was the SECOND most poignant scene in this episode?  Well, this was the first . . .

Kurt stands in the corner, arms wrapped protectively across his chest, barely holding back his tears, as he watches his “Man’s Man” father stand up for him, for the first time.  Burt tells Finn that by using those words, he is implying that homosexuality is something shameful and wrong.  Kurt flinches, as Burt explains that, when he was Finn’s age, he too used the term in a similarly derogatory manner.  Burt then expresses his disappointment in Finn, and unceremoniously kicks him out of the house, explaining, “I can’t have your poison here.”

After a cowed Finn stalks off, Burt turns to Kurt and tells him “[Your room] looks great.”

In a moment that got me all teary, Burt then places his hand on Kurt’s shoulder.  Kurt grabs it for a second, in silent thanks, then lets it go, as his father exits the room.  As far as I’m concerned, both Mike O’Malley, who plays Burt, and Chris Colfer, deserve Emmys for this scene.

To prove his loyalty to Kurt, and show that he’s learned his lesson about tolerating individuality, Finn protects Kurt from a couple of guys I will hereinafter refer to as “The Mean Boys” . . . (One of whom talks and gesticulates like a Poor Man’s Jerry Seinfeld . . .)

“What’s the deal with the name Lady Gaga?  I just don’t get it.  Is she a lady or a baby?”

Did I mention Finn stood up to the Mean Boys, while dressed like this?

Remember earlier, when I said that the “Minnie Mouse” costume was the most disturbing Lady Gaga costume EVER?  I stand corrected . . .

Puck Acts Like a Chauvinist / Feels Guilty About It / Sings a Sweet Song / Still Kind of Acts Like a Chauvinist / But Looks Really Hot Doing It

Awww, Puck!  Sweet ignornant Puck!  Don’t you know that naming your child after a brand of hard liquor pretty much guarantees that she will become an alcoholic later in life?

I mean, you might as well abandon her for 16-years, and then pop back into her life, only to give her a “Star Cup,” before leaving again . . .

Oooh, she looks really mad!  She might even send the Flying Monkeys after me!

Rather than be “thrilled” by Puck’s choice of baby name, as he suspected she would be, Quinn tells her Baby Daddy, in no uncertain terms, that she is giving up his kid to a family that WON’T name him after something that bears a warning label, specifically geared toward pregnant people.

Puck tries to make it up to her, by explaining that he had a bad home life.  Apparently, his father was too busy being “cool” to spend time with him.  Then, because this is Glee, after all.  He breaks into song.  The song he chooses is yet another Kiss song.  This one was called “Beth.”  And, like I said, I’d never heard another Kiss song, aside from “Rock and Roll all Night,” prior to the airing of this episode.  Except . . . something about this song, sounded SO FAMILIAR to me.  And I couldn’t figure out why.  Then, I remembered . . .

Remember that scene in the movie Role Models (which, if you haven’t seen it, you should skip this next paragraph, because I’m TOTALLY about to spoil the ending)?

It’s the scene after Paul Rudd, Sean William Scott, and those two kids win the LARPing competition (during which they all dressed up like Kiss, by the way . . . IT ALL MAKES SENSE NOW!)  Anyway, at the Larping After Party (Because you know how wild and crazy those LARPers can get!), Paul Rudd’s character, Danny Donahue, stands on a car, and sings a song to his girlfriend . . . who just so happens to be named BETH.  Yeah, this is the SAME SONG! 

 Glee just taught me all sorts of things I didn’t know, this week!

After the song, Puck approaches a teary-eyed Quinn, and offers to be present when their baby is born (Awww!).  He also DEMANDS that it be named Beth!

Now, don’t get me wrong.  Beth is a FABULOUS name for a baby girl.  But what the heck made Puck think that,  just because he sang ONE sweet song, that Quinn should be REQUIRED to name the baby after it?  Doesn’t SHE have a say in all this?  More importantly, don’t the ADOPTIVE PARENTS, who are going to  . . . you know . . . RAISE THE BABY, have a say?  WTF, Puck?

If you weren’t so sexy, I’d be REALLY mad at you right now!

Oh, and I almost forgot, the Principal ultimately allowed Tina to continue to dress like .  . . whatever it is she normally dresses like  . . . but only after she threatened to suck his blood, vampire style . . .

That’s all she wrote, folks!  In the words of Mr. Schuester, “Next stop, Sectionals!”

 

 

 

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