Glee s2e7 review: “The Substitute”
|REVIEWS - TV|
It's the Gwyneth Paltrow Dance Show, with special guests, the Glee cast...
This was some tired tediousness.
I imagine the following:
Network Guy - Hey, Ryan, Gwyneth Paltrow said she would love to be on the show.
Ryan Murphy - (gushing) I love Gwyneth Paltrow! I’ll have Ian write a special episode, only tangentially related to the rest of the season, focusing primarily on her one-off character - it’ll be awesome and in no way transparent that it was not a matter of an episode needing an guest star, but a guest star needing an episode!
Network Guy - TV gold, Ryan!
Cue me several months later, muttering profanities under my breath and trying to not fall asleep. Getting on with it, though: Sue gets Figgins and Will sick so a bunch of things can happen that will be undone by the end of the episode. They happen. Almost nothing changes. I can’t bring myself to detail what went wrong tonight, so I’m just gonna ramble for a bit, okay?
- Will is now a plot device. He has ceased to be a character and now exists solely to fulfill the narrative whims of any particular writer. This week, he allows Terri (who appears out of nowhere) to take care of him while he’s sick one day, then has sex with her the next day before unambiguously kicking her out the following night. Is he a confused and lonely guy flailing, trying desperately to grasp any attention he can, or a prick who steals dentist’s girlfriends and tries to pork anything that moves? Is he a beloved, inspirational educator or a joke to his students? This lack of focus is turning Will into one of the things about the season that you can pinpoint doesn’t work.
- This episode had even less to do with any sort of ongoing story than last week’s. The only continuity provided this time involved the unfortunately emerging love triangle of Blaine, Kurt and his bully-with-a-crush, Dave. I don’t like where this is going; in an episode that strained really hard to be a “typical” hour of Glee (with the voiceovers, cutaways, Sue’s journal and absurdities), they had Dave call Kurt a homo before winking at him, then later threatening to kill him if he told anyone else about their kiss. They played it super-duper serious in an episode that had, up until and then immediately after, featured hallucinations and pratfalls.
- Gwyneth Paltrow sang four fucking songs! On a whole, I didn’t have a problem with her presence; she really seemed to be having a good time, only occasionally coming across as uninvolved or uninterested, like she usually does. She must have been trying real hard. One thing she wasn’t trying real hard at was singing and dancing. While her voice isn’t atrocious, she can’t dance worth a shit. It just occurred to me that she’s got a movie coming out soon, where she sings - is that why she’s here, soaking up screen time? You know who else has a movie coming out soon (next week) and can sing and dance circles around Mrs. Coldplay? Kristen Bell...
- Mercedes finally gets a wisp of a plot when Sue outlaws tater tots in the cafeteria because there are too many overweight students. So that’s it, huh? The fat girl gets a subplot about deep-fried food. If I’m reading it right, it’s supposed to be about her substituting food for intimacy, but nothing really gets done with it. She did get a good laugh out of me when she was third-wheeling on Kurt and Blaine’s non-date and spaced out on their exclusionary conversation, imaging them saying, “Gay, gay-gay-gay-gay. Gay!” and Kurt coughing up a little pink purse.
- Nobody else has anything to do this week other than make the occasional joke. No one else’s plots move forward, Gwyneth and Will sing all the songs with special guest Rachel, of course (providing opportunity for Matthew Morrison and Lea Michele to put on their big Broadway faces) and none of this will have any bearing on any future episode or, in fact, ever be mentioned again.
“Conjunction Junction” from Schoolhouse Rock C
“Fuck You!” - Cee Lo Green C (extra points for Brittany doing The Robot)
“Make Em Laugh” from Singin' in the Rain B (extra points for Mike’s featured dancing)
“Nowadays / Hot Honey Rag” from Chicago C+
“Singin' in the Rain / Umbrella” - Rihanna C+
Holly - speaks more Spanish in one scene than Will does in one-and-a-third seasons.
Bullshit - One of the major points this week is that Will never lets the club do what they want to do and forces his musical tastes upon them, which is bullshit! How many times has a member said, “Mr. Schue, I would like to sing this because blah blah blah,” and then it turns into a fully produced number?
Emma - Missing in action for the second week in a row.
Fanservice - Male 1 / Female 0
Straight Gay Blaine - likes Cosmo AND college football, cause he’s Straight Gay Blaine, remember?
Will - I thought we were friends.
Sue - That got boring.
Lil Brittany - One day, I’m gonna get a piercing in the oeuvre.
Sue - Nutrition is abysmal at this school. (holds up broccoli) Know what this is?
Mercedes - Toilet brush.
Sue - It’s broccoli. When I showed this to Brittany earlier, she began to whimper, thinking I had cut down a small tree where a family of gummy bears lived.
Puck - Mr. Schue’s the only teacher at this school who’s ever touched me... aside from Mr. Ryerson.
Sue - (to Will) Shut your gash, Nancy.
Will - When I was sick, only one thing made me feel better.
Artie - Gin and juuuuice...