‘Glee’ Season 2 Episode 14 Recap, ‘Blame It On the Alcohol’: Gleeks Gone Wild!
The answer, as it turned out, was right there all along: how does one reinvigorate a sophomore hit in the midst of an identity crisis? It’s a simple solution, really: put all the characters in a room together, and get them all really, really drunk.
And not just like high-school-teetotaler-drunk. No, no, no. We’re talking shit-show, trainwrecked, makin’-it-rain, knockin’-it-back-like-the-25-year-olds-they-really-are drunk. Everyone is in on the debauchery this episode, and the hour as a whole is great because of it. Hell, even Schuester delivers a sucker-punch to his liver in the form of a night out with Coach Beast (yes, by the way, I know it’s spelled Bieste; her nickname here is Beast). Granted, Schuester is kind of a terrible teacher and not exactly the pinnacle of morality here, but he’s basically the only thing this show has resembling the voice of reason. So it was very enjoyable to see him step down from the pedestal and cut loose for a little bit.
Ironically enough, it’s the onset of Alcohol Awareness Week that sets the Gleeks into a booze-fueled frenzy. You see, the students of McKinley have responded to Figgins’ (stirring, I’m sure) anti-drinking propaganda by getting themselves liquored up and running rampant through the halls of their high school. Man-jelly is flashed, students are expelled, and Figgins is at the end of his rope. He enlists Schuester and the Gleeks to sing an anti-drinking song during a pep rally, which happens to coincide with…
(wait for it…)
Rachel’s crushing inadequacy! Our girl has been toiling away at the Gleeks’ original composition for Regionals, but so far has only come up with an odious little ditty that seems to be about her vibrator for about thirty bars (the look on Finn’s face when he hears it is priceless) before we finally find out the damn thing’s about her headband. Finn says that Rachel’s writer’s block is driven by the fact that she’s kind of a shut-in and hasn’t had enough life experience to write a truly great song.
Rachel decides to throw a party for club, but her initial offerings (a couple wine coolers apiece) are deemed insufficient, so she allows the Gleeks – plus freeloaders Kurt and Blaine – to plunder her gay dads’ stash of the sauce. One drunken game of spin-the-bottle later and Rachel has a bona-fide crush on Blaine, which he, shockingly, seems to be reciprocating. He calls it experimentation. Kurt calls it cowardice. Kurt also has a great line wherein he reminds Rachel that, as a woman of the stage, she is essentially doomed to fall in love with a legion of sexually confused men who will ultimately turn out to play for the other team. Blaine is just the first in that long, sad procession.
Given that Kurt likes to manipulate people when his crushes are at stake, it seems at first like he’s just trying to discourage a Rachel-Blaine romance so he can get his way. But as it turns out, he’s 100% right: after Rachel lays a sober smooch on Blaine, he has a lightbulb-over-the-head epiphany (“Yep. I’m gay.”), and she in turn is thrilled, since now she has something to write a song about. And Ryan Murphy gets to keep teasing a Kurt-Blaine hookup for the next three seasons until a ratings dip forces him to pull the trigger. Everyone wins!
Well, except Schuester. First, he has to come to terms with the fact that Emma and her fiancé Dr. John (known in these recaps as The Stamos, after the actor who plays him) are moving in together, and then he has to deal with Sue’s shadowy taunts about driving him to alcoholism (remember, it’s Alcohol Awareness Week). He decides to let off some steam by getting plastered with Coach Beast. It all goes great until Schuester drunk-dials someone we’re led to assume is Emma, but when he tries to apologize to her the next day, she doesn’t have a clue what he’s talking about. Uh-oh.
It all comes to a head at the dreaded pep-rally, where the Gleeks (who have been drinking steadily all episode) guzzle down some ungodly, jungle-juice concoction that Rachel made from the party leftovers and end up puking all over each other during what is an impossibly good performance given how drunk they are. Later, Sue reveals herself as the recipient of Will’s booty call and broadcasts it for the whole school to hear. I’ll spare you the details, suffice it to say that a mechanical bull plays part in Drunk Schuester’s sexytime fantasies.
But WAIT: the whole thing is a success, since the Gleeks’ and Schuester’s “act” (as Figgins believes it) has scared the McKinley kids straight. With what lesson, though, might I ask? Drink too much and you will be able to flawlessly sing and dance to Ke$ha songs/potentially booty-call Jane Lynch? I’m confused. In any case, Schuester swears his kids to sobriety until after they win Regionals, at which point he says the booze is on him. Good God.
So basically, all’s well that ends well. The moral of the story, kids? Drink, because it’s funny. I call ‘em like I see ‘em.
Last point before the songs: Best episode ever? Best episode ever.
Human League; “Don’t You Want Me”: Now this is a very, very remarkable thing: Darren Criss (even without his legion of Warblers, the guy doesn’t miss a step). Lea Michele takes a song that’s about as ‘80s as it gets, and with a combination of a dance-hall twist on the beat and their deep, operatic voices (although I’m not sure about Michele’s Cyndi Lauper impression at the beginning of her verse), turn it into a perfectly applicable update for 2011 (translation: good singing and good production over burying it in synths). Seriously, it sounds like a modernized version of an old song and it totally, 1000% works. A
Jamie Foxx/T-Pain: “Blame It”: OK, can someone please tell me how/why Artie ended up with all the rap and R&B songs? I mean, it’s really frigging funny, but Kevin McHale is kind of in the middle of the pack in terms of singing talents here; couldn’t Puck have taken this? Actually, as The Rock might say: it doesn’t matter who sings “Blame It,” since the original song is slathered in an obscene amount of Auto-Tune. But anyway, the cover: McHale is solid on the vocals; the best part about it is the Gleeks’ take on the harmonies in the hook. Nothing bad about it in particular, but very, very skippable. B
George Thorogood: “One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer”: You know, for a show that likes to beat its audience over the head with razzle-dazzle, showtune-style covers, Glee can slum with the best of ‘em when the occasion calls for it. Case in point, this boozy, bad-to-the-bone cover of Thorogood’s ode to getting plastered. Schuester and Beast handle the lyrics in a passable imitation of the Destroyer, but it’s the total lack of irony that ends up making this one so good. B+
Ke$ha; “TiK ToK”: Heather Morris is kind of a dead ringer for Ke$ha, which makes her the obvious choice to handle these lyrics. But the fact that she has a much better voice than Ke$ha does add some impressive depth to the song’s sound. The Gleeks pile on background chants but manage to keep it from being too Kidz Bop-y or theatrical, or even from sounding remotely like the original song. It actually sounds like what it’s supposed to, to be honest: a bunch of really talented kids making a simple song better. A-
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