‘Glee’ Recap (Season 2, Episode 19): Rumour Has It
Hey, you know what’s really cool and hip and totally relevant in 2011?
Not Fleetwood Mac. But, despite the fact that most kids these days probably think that band is a brand of microwavable pasta, and would most likely know Stevie Nicks as the lady who kinda-sorta supplied the backing track for “Bootylicious,” Ryan Murphy somehow decided that the first all-album episode of Glee should and would be devoted to the Mac’s seminal 1977 album, Rumours.
Which, not that I’m complaining about the selection, because the album is great and applicable to the episode, but it’s very clearly from another generation and highlights a problem with the song selection that’s plagued the entirety of Season 2. Which is to say, they haven’t been exciting enough as far as Glee’s core audience goes (do tween girls even know who Lykke Li and Florence + the Machine are?). The fact that Schuester produces the record itself on an LP and not, you know, a CD or an iPod, probably should have been a red flag that the Glee people might want to kick this one-episode, one-album gimmick off with something a bit more current, but as always, Ryan Murphy wipes a monkey’s ass with what you think.
In any case, the episode is decent if not absurdly preachy as all episodes of Glee are fast-becoming, and is built around the time-honored notion that All Rumo(u)rs Are Bad. As if to illustrate this point, the episode kicks off with Sue Sylvester seizing control of the school newspaper and turning it into an acidic rumor mill of yellow journalism, with the ultimate intention being to – you guess it – oust Schuester from McKinley and destroy the Gleeks by turning them all against each other.
Rumor Number 1 is that Santana plays for the other team, which Brittany kinda-sorta confirms during her YouTube talk show, “Fondue For Two” (which, incidentally, has an absurdly catchy theme song). Granted, she only meant that Santana switched teams from the Cheerios to the Gleeks, but you know how it goes. In any case, the mere notion that Brittany is cheating on him leads Artie to call her stupid and dump her in the middle of the hallway. Brittany urges Santana to come out with her on the next episode of Fondue For Two, but Santana bails at the last minute and Brittany is forced to interview her cat, Lord Tubbington. Sister, the monarchy is last week’s news, or haven’t you heard?
Rumor Number 2 is that Quinn and Kurt are both cheating on their respective SO’s…with Sam, as evidenced by the fact that Finn, Rachel (and, unbeknownst to them, Jewfro) see Kurt and Sam leaving a motel room together and then, later, Sam and Quinn doing likewise. Finn immediately bristles at the fact that Sam is getting back at him for stealing Quinn.
Wait, Finn and Sam still talk to each other after that whole mess? Add the Finn-Sam fallout to the list of storylines that got dropped in the name of Justin Bieber and the human cannon, I suppose. Even Finn and Puck had their resolution last year; this season has really just been heavy on the preaching and lazy with the storytelling, don’t ya think?
In any case, Quinn says Finn has to trust her, Rachel gets involved, Quinn forbids Finn to sing with Rachel again if they’re going to stay together, yada yada yada, until finally, it comes out that Sam’s family is broke and he’s actually been living in that motel room with his entire family for some time now. Oh. This is awkward. I mean, the show needlessly schmaltzes it up by adding an impossibly adorable brother and sister for Sam, and tosses in the Gleeks’ infinite charity by having them buy back the guitar Sam pawned off to help keep his brood afloat. But still. Awkward.
Rumor Number 3, and this one is actually kind of true, is that Schuester is leaving McKinley to help the returning April Rhodes (Kristen Chenoweth is back, baby) bring her life story to Broadway. The two of them begin work on a musical that actually sounds pretty funny, and before long Schuester is beset on all sides by people who want him to leave McKinley: Sue, for obvious reasons, April, for also obvious reasons, and Emma, who genuinely thinks this is Schuester’s chance to display his gift for the world on the Great White Way. Schuester ultimately decides (with no small conflict, it seems) that he can’t ditch the Gleeks on the eve of their big triumph, but I have a feeling we’re headed for Friday Night Lights territory in Season 3 where Schuester leaves the Gleeks for the first part of the season.
Yeah, Season 3. This year was kind of a waste; I’m pretty much just looking forward to how the show bounces back at this point.
Oh, almost forgot: Sue is in a heightened state of paranoia for some reason, so she’s taken to dressing as Ann Coulter and Ziggy Stardust-era David Bowie for some reason. Not sure why, but it is really, really funny to see Jane Lynch in these outfits with a straight face.
“Dreams”: Chenoweth, we know Stevie Nicks. Frankly, you’re better than Stevie Nicks, so we’re not sure why you’re trying so hard to imitate Stevie Nicks. Schuester is also a better singer than Lindsey Buckingham, and we’re not sure why he’s trying so hard to imitate him. The song is as lovely as ever, but there is nothing here to challenge the audience or the performers. A pleasant-sounding but ultimately inauspicious beginning. B
“Never Going Back Again”: Artie sings this after he and Brit-Brit have their fight. It starts out exactly the same as the Mac’s version, but ultimately explodes into a fresh take in the end when the producers throw in a wall of acoustic guitars instead of just the one. Not the most adventurous take, but it’s great all the same. Plus, it’s just refreshing to see Artie do a song that isn’t by a rapper for once in his friggin’ life. A-
“Songbird”: Santana sings this for Brittany in the choir room. Again, nothing special in the arrangement here; a disappointing development that plagues all the covers tonight. But Santana is a much better singer than Stevie Nicks, and so on the most fundamental level – the singing – it works. With that said, I do wish this storyline consisted of something other than Santana singing her feelings to Brittany in a darkened room while Brit-Brit refuses to reciprocate. We need to take this somewhere, fast. B+
“I Don’t Want to Know”: Quinn and Finn sing this in an amusingly confrontational manner, shooting vicious stares at each other during their performance in the rehearsal room. The song has a bit more oomph than the original in it, mainly because Finn takes the lead and he sings with the subtlety of an artillery barrage. Happily, Quinn provides a strong foundation in the back; much like their characters, these two somehow work together. A-
“Go Your Own Way”: Now this is more like it. Rachel’s cover of this breakup song has some real girl power to it, like something Kelly Clarkson or Pink might put out on an album. The arrangement is strong and heavy on stadium-rock oomph, and despite the fact that Lea Michele doesn’t have to belt this one to the rafters to make it work, this is one of those rare times her balls-to-the-walls delivery works with the arrangement instead of distracting from it. A
“Don’t Stop”: Where Bill Clinton at? I mean, what else is there to say about this song? It is what it is, and it’s the perfect amount of cheese for this goofy-ass show. B+
READ: More Faster Glee recaps:
-2×18: “Born This Way”: Corny This Way
-2×17: “A Night of Neglect”: Nobody Likes You, Either.
-2×16: “Original Song”: Everyone Loses
-2×15: “Sexy”: Sexy Time, Very Nice
-2×14: “Blame It On the Alcohol”: They Be Actin’ Like They Drunk
-2×13: “Comeback”: Biebermania
-2×12: “Silly Love Songs”: A Friggin’ Ohio Lovefest
-2×11: “The Sue Syvester Shuffle”: The Championship Game
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