This had to be the weirdest, most awkward hour of Glee since it started 2 years ago. “A Night of Neglect” was all over the place, and so boring I was tempted to fast forward through it. Thankfully there were a few moments that really stood out and that I enjoyed but mostly I’d like to forget I ever watched it. At first I thought perhaps I was just not in the mood, but I consulted with my fellow Gleeks at work the next morning and the feeling was unanimous. It really was terrible.
The pressing issue this week was how the Glee Club would raise the money for their trip to Nationals in New York City. Mr. Schuester (Matthew Morrison) thinks they should sell Saltwater Taffy but Holly (Gwyneth Paltrow) thinks that is lameballs and suggests a benefit concert instead, one specifically featuring neglected artists. This is the obvious choice because selling taffy classroom to classroom does not allow the kids to sing much and this show is about singing right?
Thanks to a from-left-field sub plot about a trivia club called The Brainiacs that Mike (Harry Shum Jr), Artie (Kevin McHale), Tina (Jenna Ushkowitz) and Brittany (Heather Morris) are members of the group has to raise even more money to cover their trip as well. The Brainiacs won their local competition thanks to Brittany’s extensive knowledge of cat diseases and are headed to Detroit for nationals but they don’t have the $250 it will take for them to get bus fair and hotel rooms. I’d like to know which bus and which hotels they plan to use where 4 people can travel for $250, but bad math was apparently a theme this week.
Sue (Jane Lynch) uses this as her chance to launch her latest campaign to destroy the Glee club. She assembles her team of henchmen and unleashes them on the benefit to heckle and boo the fragile performers to the point where they run crying off stage and cancel the whole event. Sue’s League of Doom, Teri (The Honey Badger), Sandy (The Pink Dagger) and Vocal Adrenaline’s Dustin (Sgt. Handsome) provided most of what few amusing moments the hour contained. Sandy’s Pink Dagger schtick really had me giggling though.
“You’ve been poked…poked by the dagger”
I was poked all right…by the rusty dagger of boredom.
As the benefit concert takes shape some really bizarre things start to happen. Sunshine Corazon, that short Asian girl from like 100 episodes ago whom Rachel (Lea Michele) felt threatened by enough to send to a crack house shows up and offers to perform because she has 600 Twitter followers or something. She belts out “All By Myself” and does a fine job, which secures her spot as the closing number and bumping Mercedes back to the middle of the show. That’s okay though because Mercedes (Amber Riley) has been replaced by a clone who is but a shadow of the Mercedes we’ve grown to love. Instead of launching into an impromptu reprise of her empowerment tune “Hell To The No!” and wagging her finger in someones face she sits down and meekly accepts her fate. Lauren (Ashley Fink) finds this appalling and talks Mercedes into pretending she is Whitney Houston and start making ridiculous demands like buckets of green M&Ms and a puppy to dry her hands on before she will agree to take the middle slot of the show. This gets old immediately and I desperately wanted Mr. Schuester to yank her from the lineup for being a complete moron. I’ve always thought Mercedes was underutilized on the show but this was just stupid. All of these shenanigans did lead to a rather poignant moment in the parking lot where Mercedes and Rachel talk about stardom and Mercedes has her Oprah “Aha!” moment.
Sue’s grand plan fell flat of course. After heckling poor Tina to the point of tears the hecklers are disabled with taffy and a lack of passion about the task at hand. The only one invested seemed to be The Pink Dagger, but he was quickly disarmed with a well-sung Aretha Franklin tune. Her secret weapon is apparently going to be The Honey Badger, Teri. God only knows what mischief she’ll be getting into. I suspect it will involve sabotaging Will and Emma’s romancing.
Speaking of the Will/Emma/Carl/Holly foursome of fear and loathing…I can buy that Emma never gave Carl her special flower because she was still in love with Will but did they have to make Will and Holly’s “romance” so meaningless? They supposedly had five “dates”, one that involved a mid-day tryst in the janitors closet, but these all happened off camera so the viewers had nothing at all invested in their relationship. Gwyneth’s breakup scene was great…very well acted…but I just didn’t care. Her stint as large-handed royal Wallace Simpson early in the episode was awesome though, and she does get some of the more amazing one-liners.
“I am awesome and unavailable at the same time.”
She also had a great bit about insults and bullying and relayed a story about sending Debbie Gibson so much hate mail that it caused her to develop alopecia. I giggled muchly about that cuz I loves me some Debbie Deb. Electric Youth represent.
As for the music, there really isn’t a whole lot to say. Tina sang “I Follow Rivers” by Lykke Li which seemed to be good enough but I’ve never heard the song before so I can’t really say if she butchered it or not. From what I did hear I don’t think it was my cup of tea. Mike Chang showed off his considerable skill dancing to Jack Johnson’s “Bubbly Toes” which was great until the mop lady got involved. Holly decided to break up with Will via song instead of just…you know…breaking up with him…and delivered a decent version of Adele’s “Turning Tables” complete with a full orchestra that I’m guessing was working for free taffy. Given that this is Glee I suppose breaking up via orchestra isn’t unheard of, so I’ll let that slide. Finally, Mercedes did “Ain’t No Way” by Aretha Franklin and brought the house (of 8 people) to their feet. The fact that she has talent has never been a secret.
The best thing I can say about this train wreck is that the secondary characters got a chance to shine a bit. I love to hear Lea Michelle sing but it was nice to have a week without her. And Finn/Quinn were relatively quiet as well. Santana (Naya Rivera) had a great moment defending Blaine (Darren Criss) and Kurt (Chris Colfer) from bully Dave Karofsky (Max Adler). I have no doubt Blaine could have kicked Dave’s ass but it was cool to see her step in with razor blades hidden in her hair. I love Santana more and more each week. Sadly, this is the first episode of Glee ever where I have no intention of downloading the songs featured. No show can be perfect all the time, but this was just horrific…and I think I can safely lay all the blame at the feet of the writers. The actors did a fine job working with what they had.
Glee returns next week with their big super-sized 90 minute “Born This Way” episode that looks like it might be a bit more satisfying. I certainly hope so, because 90 minutes of what we witnessed this week would be classified a hate crime.