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Welcome Football Fans! – A Recap of Glee’s “The Sue Sylvester Shuffle”

Question:  What do Football, Fights, Zombies, Cannon Balls, and Flaming Boobs, have in common? 

If you answered that all of these things were included Glee‘s Post-Superbowl Extravaganza episode, to help the show appeal to male sports fans, you are ABSOLUTELY right! 

Interestingly enough, the change in target audience, did not at all seem to hamper the show’s quality.  In fact, dare I say, making Glee more “Boy Friendly,” may have actually improved it. 

I mean, sure, the episode was certainly not perfect.  It lacked cohesion, and certain scenes seemed to appear completely out of nowhere (I’m looking at YOU, “Bills, Bills, Bills”).  Yet, overall, it was a fun-filled hour, one who’s main theme — about football players risking their popularity to perform in Glee club — seemed to be a gentle, but deliberate, nod to the football fans who were watching.  And the message was clear:  “It’s OK, if you’re enjoying this.”

So, what are we waiting for, let’s get recapping!

Your Boobs are on FIRE (and Your Cannon has Fibromyalgia!)

We open on the Cheerios performing an obnoxiously over-produced, Half-Time show-esque, dance number to Katy Perry’s “California Gurls.”  During the number, the girls wore blue hair, as a homage to Katy herself.  They also wore pointed cones on their chests, as a homage to early 90’s Madonna (?).  From the girls’ Boob Cones, shot fiery sparklers (because boys like HOT boobs). 

 Behind the girls, were a few guys doing bike flips off a ramp.  Of course, no one was paying attention to them — no GUYS, anyway — because of the girls and their Flaming Boobs . . .

If Flaming Boobs aren’t exactly your thing, and you weren’t a fan of the opening number, you weren’t alone.  Because Sue Sylvester didn’t like it either, “I’m bored,” she whines into he megaphone, after the song wraps. 

(As if knowing that Sue is talking about them, upon hearing these words, the Flaming Boobs fizzle out, unceremoniously.)

Isn’t Becky a member of the Cheerios?  If so, why wasn’t she in this number?  Does anyone else find this vaguely offensive?

After that, Sue makes a not particularly funny joke that runs on WAY too long.  It involves (1) the benefits of stuffing one’s bra with chicken cutlets;  and (2) having cheerleaders intermittently hit one another in the face with them . . .

Chickens were NOT amused.

Quinn wisely notes that there was nothing necessarily wrong with the dance number.  Rather, Sue herself has simply become completely impossible to please.  And no matter how extravagant the Cheerios numbers become, she will continuously want to top herself.

Sue doesn’t entirely disagree with this statement  But that doesn’t mean she isn’t going to try and “improve” the Cheerios’ performance, in any way she can  And so, while watching a cartoon featuring someone getting shot out of a cannonball, our “favorite” Cheerleading Coach comes up with an idea . . .

She will shoot one of her Cheerios out of a cannon, during the Cheerleading Championships!  Specifically, THIS Cheerio . . .

“I don’t want to die yet . .  . at least not until One Tree Hill gets canceled next year,” Brittany whines, upon learning that she is the “lucky” human cannonball.

Hmmm . . . Brooke Davis didn’t like something I wrote above . . . Maybe it was those two words I crossed out . . .

Fortunately for Brittany, she gets a brief reprieve from certain death.  This is because Sue is willing to use a Brittany-looking doll for the “trial run.”

To Brittany’s horror, her Poor Unfortunate Doll Doppelganger gets blown to itty bitty bits of Blonde.  Seeing this undoubtedly makes Brittany wish she had chosen a show with a brighter future to measure her lifespan by . . . Two and a Half Men  American Idol one of the 500 different versions of Law and Order, perhaps?

When Sue learns that she will need Brittany’s consent in order to make her explode, the “kindly mentor” secures it by giving Brittany a “We miss you,” card, purportedly written by the cannon, in crayon, no less.  Later, Sue tells a still uncertain Brittany a sob story about how the cannon has two growing baby cannons at home, and one on the way.   (Mama Cannon has fibromyalgia, so she can’t work.) 

 Eventually, Brittany agrees to literally sign her life away on Sue’s Consent Form.  Of course, she signs using an “X” because she doesn’t know how to spell her name, apparently.  (Sometimes they go a bit too far with the whole “Brittany is dumb” thing.  Don’t you think?)

Jocks versus Gleeks, Take 252

It’s a tale as old as high school:  popular versus unpopular, jocks versus geeks, football players versus gleeks.  But at McKinley High, it’s way worse.  For one thing, half the Glee club is also on either the football team, or on the cheerleading squad.  This makes the school’s social hierarchy . . . confusing . . . to say the least.

“So we are Gleeks . . . and we are Footballers.  Does this mean we have to Slushee ourselves?”

Additionally, Slushees ruin clothing, which is a HUGE problem for the Cheerios and Football players, none of whom seem to own any other clothing aside from their probably VERY smelly uniforms . . . 

Up until this point, however, the McKinley High Football team has been able to limit their Gleeks versus Jocks rivalry to off the field.  However, when a fight erupts between Finn and Karofsky that spreads through the entire football team, causing them to LOSE their game, Coach Beiste knows that serious measures must be taken. 

And so, she turns to her new Kissing Buddy, Will Schuester, for help.

Will’s grand “Plan” involves Beiste requiring the entire football team to be part of Glee club for an entire week.  The non-Gleeky footballers, not surprisingly, balk at the idea.   Azimio for one, refuses to sing showtunes, because they were written by his “oppressors.”  

Realizing that a bit of persuasion will be needed to get the football players on board, Will invites Rachel and Puck to perform Lady Antebellum’s “Need You Now” for the now doubly large Glee Crew.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I love me some Puckleberry duets, and seeing Puck strum that guitar, while crooning softly to ANY song, is enough to make my toes curl.  But, honestly, considering the purpose of this duet was to convince a bunch of football players that Glee Club was cool, a slow romantic country ditty seems a particularly odd musical choice.  I mean, why didn’t they pick a song the football players would understand, like . . . say, “We are the Champions,” or “Eye of the Tiger,” or “We Will Rock You,”  or “Mama Said Knock You Out?”

Given the poor choice in song, I wasn’t too surprised when Azimio snarkily remarked that “The girl in the mohawk has a nice voice,” thereby prompting the entire Glee club and football team to erupt into a knock down dragout fight. 

“Oh, NO you didn’t just make fun of my AWESOME Mohawk?”

One GOOD thing that comes out if this brawl, is the reunion of former besties Puck and Finn, who decide to put aside their differences (and by “differences” I mean their tendency to swap Rachel and Quinn with one another, every other week like trading cards) and unite to promote unity amongst the football team and Glee club.  The bromantic buddies cement their partnership with a solid fist bump, of course.  (How very manly of them!)

Sue Sylvester is SCARY, and so are zombies . . .

It’s a good thing Finn and Puck decided to unite.  Because it looks like they are going to need all the help they can get!  When Principal Figgins balks at Sue’s decision to shoot Brittany out of cannon, she suddenly turns into The Hulk, and inexplicably starts throwing furniture around Mr. Figgins office, and later the gym locker room . . .

Will and the rest of the faculty begin to wonder whether Sue has finally gone off the deep end, for good.  But Sue stops throwing things around long enough to calmly explain to them, that she has moved the date of the cheerleading championships to the same day as the football championships.  This means, not only that the football team has no cheerleaders to perform its halftime show . . .

Shocking, I know . . .

 . . . but that Quinn, Santana and Brittany are once again forced to choose between Glee club and the Cheerios.  (Of course, if they attend the football game, according to Sue, they will be off the squad.)

Will comes up with the idea that the FOOTBALL players, who are honorary Glee club members this week, anyway, will perform their own halftime show, along with the rest of the Glee Club.  Coincidentally, this will NOT be the first time, the McKinley High Football players dance during a game.  Remember the whole “Put A Ring On It,” fiasco during Season 1?

Most of the football team would probably prefer that you forgot this.

What songs will the Gleeks / Footballers be performing THIS TIME you ask?  A Mashup between Michael Jackson’s Thriller and Yeah, Yeah, Yeah’s “Heads Will Roll,” of course.

Did I mention that the crew will be going to do the entire performance dressed like Football-Playing Zombies?  (Oh yes, because in addition to being able to dance an entire music number, during the ONLY break they will have during a two-hour game, these footballers, are also, apparently, experts at the application of zombie makeup!)

Interestingly enough, this is how I look sometimes when I first wake up in the morning . . .

As for the Cheerios, sadly, Sue Sylvester bullies them into quitting the Glee Club, so that they can attend the cheerleading competition.

This causes Finn to want to lecture the girls about their Bad Life Choices, like the disappointed DAD he is.  It also prompts Quinn’s not-for-long!  beau Sam to rush to the girls’ defense.  In an attempt to stay relevent to this show Macauley Culkin also challenges Finn for the position of “unofficial” Glee Club leader.  Nice try, freshman! 

Honestly, the whole fight is contrived and ridiculously stupid.  But Quinn of course, who realizes the two men are REALLY fighting over her, finds the whole thing to be incredibly HOT . . .

“Now, if you guys would kindly take off your shirts and pants right now, I’d be SOO much happier!”

Pissing contests for Quinn’s affection aside, the footballers and the Gleeks begin to rehearse their half-time number.  And I’ll be darned if they don’t do a pretty great job at it.  Interestingly enough, it’s Gay Homophobic Bully Karofsky who shows the MOST musical talent of the footballers!  So much talent, in fact, that Will suggests that HE join Glee club, for real!

Karofsky is AWE-SOME!”

To most fans surprise, Karofsky doesn’t actually seem to HATE the idea.  He even suggests that the Glee crew start off with a warm-up number, to ensure that the halftime show itself is absolutely perfect.  For the warm-up, the Glee kids choose the song “She’s Not There,” which was appropriately originally sung by a band called The Zombies.

Things take a bad turn, however, when, after performing this number, the FOOTBALL players get slusheed by . . . get this . . . the HOCKEY PLAYERS, who “cleverly” argue that the football team has just been “turned gay,” because they performed a musical number dressed as the undead.  (Honestly, I don’t think I’ve ever heard the word “gay” uttered this many times in a single hour, since I watched that movie on Logo last week.)   Of couse, the “gay” accusation totally freaks out the footballers, particularly the ACTUALLY gay, Karofsky . . .

This unfortunate incident prompts the football players to REFUSE to perform at the Halftime show, even though doing so will mean that they can’t participate in the Championship Game.  (LOSERS!)  Suddenly, the football team is at risk of forfeiting the game, due to not having enough players to compete.  Coach Beiste tries to recruit new players from the rest of the school.  However, no one seems interested in crossing the Homophobe Picket Line.

And We Are Singing About “Bills” Now, Because . . .

And it is when we are our darkest hour at McKinley High, that the producers decide to inexplicably cut to Dalton Academy.   There, in the EXACT SAME LOUNGE where we shoot ALL of our Dalton Academy Scenes, as always, Blaine is singing solo, and the rest of silent Warblers, Kurt included, are dancing around him like the faceless, personality-less minions / disciples they are  . . . 

(Oh, Kurt!  I know you want in this guy’s pants.  But you can’t honestly say that his Diva Theatrics don’t piss you off, just the slightest bit?  Especially after he waxed poetic about how everybody was part of a TEAM at this school.  The Kurt I know would NEVER accept this kind of treatment!  No matter how sexy it’s source!)

So, anyway, in typical Warblers fashion, the group dances uncomfortably around Blaine, as he croons Destiny’s Child’s “Bills, Bills, Bills.”  Not only does the song sound REALLY awkward coming from a bunch of dudes, it also seems completely out of context in this football / zombie-themed episode.  On a positive note, Darren Criss’/ Blaine’s singing is pretty solid, making what would be a pretty annoying song, actually fairly palatable.

But don’t take my word for it.  See for yourself: 

 After their “song practice” Blaine and his loyal puppy dog, Kurt, head out to lunch with new gal pals, Mercedes and Rachel, who, in light of recent events, are MAJORLY depressed about the state of their Glee club, and football team . . .

I was more than a bit worried about Kurt applying for Stepford Hubby status, when he asserted that “We [i.e. Blaine and I] love football.”  However, when he qualified that “Blaine loves football.  I love scarfs”  I felt a bit better.

As it turns out, though, Blaine actually DOES like football! 

“Who knew?”

In fact, Blaine’s vast knowledge of pigskin (no pun intended) actually ends up coming in quite handy, when he informs Rachel of precisely how many football players are needed in order not to forfeit a game.  This gives Rachel an idea.  THE GLEE GIRLS CAN PLAY FOOTBALL!  (Or, rather, they can lie down on the field, while the guys play, so they don’t get disqualified.  How’s THAT for femisist rights!) 

Let’s Hear it for the GIRLS!

Though reluctant at first, the remaining footballers ultimately agree to Rachel’s suggestion . . .

Though the girls initially planned on just LAYING on the field the whole time, a couple of them, actually ended up HELPING the team!  For example, Lauren Zizes, with her WRESTLING background, had sheer force and intimidation on her side, making her a WAY more frightening football player than most of the guys she played alongside . . .

Now THAT is seriously scary!

But it was Tina Cohen Chang who REALLY shocked her teammates, by running nearly half the field, before being very roughly sacked by a member of the opposing team.  Though her beau, Mike, was obviously extremely concerned for her well-being, as she lay on the field unconscious . . .

“Sh*&t!”

 . . . he needn’t have worried.   Because, within just a few moments, Tina was up and mumbling, “Did we win yet?”

Tina was ultimately carried off the field, a True Hero!  (Now that’s some SERIOUS girl power!  I knew you wouldn’t let me down, Glee!)

Tina’s and Lauren’s surprisingly extraordinary footballer skills aside, the team was still losing miserably, just moments before halftime.   And so, temporarily putting Sam in charge of the team, Finn and Puck decide to salvage the rest of the game, by convincing the rest of the football players, as well as cheerleaders Quinn, Santana, and Brittany, to participate in the halftime show.  Finn worked on the cheerleaders, managing to grab them, just moments before they went on the bus toward the competition. 

Speaking quickly, he told the girls mostly stuff they already knew.  Namely, (1) Sue Sylvester doesn’t really care about them, and is typically mean to them;  (2) that she doesn’t care if Brittany DIES; and (3) that the girls are strong enough to withstand the miniscule popularity decrease they might suffer from not being cheerleaders anymore; (4) it’s hightime they wore something other than those stupid uniforms, for a change.  The girls agree because that’s what the plot requires hem to do, and jointly tell Sue that they are quitting the Cheerios. 

 “You are all my stars!  If you leave, I will have no performance,” Sue notes, admitting for the first time just how important these girls are to her success.

“Sucks for you,” snaps back Quinn, as the trio follows Finn back toward the football field.

Predictability aside, it was great scene.  And, I’m not going to lie.  Watching it, made me do something like THIS . . .

Karofsky For the WIN!  (well . . . almost)

As for Puck, he had NEARLY as much luck with the football players, ultimately getting all of them, except for Karofsky, to suit up and participate in the halftime show, which TOTALLY rocked, by the way . . .

The performance was SO rousing in fact, that Karofsky eventually sucked up his pride, and joined in mid-song.  He didn’t have any zombie makeup on of course, but it was still pretty awesome.

You can LISTEN to the song here:

After Beiste gives the rest of the football team the OK to compete, they go on to WIN THE GAME . . .

 .  . . but only because the team’s SCARY zombie makeup, and creepy repetitive chanting of “BRRAAAAAIIIINS,” freaks the crap out of the opposing team.  Nothing like playing FAIR, right?

Of course, my favorite part of all of it, had to be when one of the kids on the other team started screaming, “He bit me!  That zombie kid bit me!”  (Now THAT was hilarious!)

Lest you think Karofsky’s about to run out and join the Glee team, after that one rousing performance . . . think again!

“Why would I want to change?  I’m on top now,” asserts Karofsky, when Finn gives him his formal Gleek invitation (provided he head over to Dalton and personally apologize to Kurt, first, of course). 

Note: A  lot of fans were annoyed by this.  But I personally thought it was the right move, on the part of the writers.  For Karofsky to morph from Evil Homophobic Bully to Proud Glee Club star, in a single episode, would be completely unrealistic, in my opinion.  Not to mention, I doubt the rest of the Glee Club would accept him into their circle so easily, after what he did to Kurt — nor SHOULD THEY! 

The mere thought of it makes me weepy . . .

That being said, I do think the Karofsky character is on the path toward redemption.  And I’m very eager to see where his arc goes.  Right now, Karofsky is probably one of the most complex characters on this show.

Finn may not have had that much luck with Karofsky, but he did WAY better with Quinn, who, despite dating Macauley Culkin’s twin Sam for the past few episodes, spent the entire hour eye f*&king Finn.  She then concluded the episod,  by planting a fat wet one on his lips, right in the center of the school hallway . . .

Whatever Finn’s feelings for the recently dumped Rachel might be, you could tell that our resident Alpha Male was TRULY effected by Quinn’s kiss.  Note how the Smitten Boy kept his eyes closed for a full three seconds after she tongued him, as if not wanting his Wet Dream to end!  Now, whatever your couple loyalties are on this show, you have to admit, it was kind of adorable . . .

And given that this coming Tuesday is the show’s Valentine’s Day episode, we can be sure that this won’t be the last we will hear about that game-changing kiss.

Awww, don’t feel left out, Puck!  I’ll totally make out with YOU!

And that was Glee’s Super Bowl Spectacular.  Did you watch?  If so, what did you think?  Did you find the placement of “Bills, Bills, Bills” as awkward an unnecessary as I did?  Are you a fan of this sort-of new and improved Karofsky?  Are you on Team Fuinn?  Feel free to sound off in the comment section, below!

[www.juliekushner.com]

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