As expected for an outing that returns Holly Holliday (Gwynth Paltrow) to the halls of McKinley High, and as a sex ed substitute, no less, last night’s episode of Glee was fantastic. The songs were great, the story moved along, relationships developed, and the series finally gave voice to the lesbian feelings of a certain two glee clubbers. Other than some highly inappropriate things going on that would never be allowed at a real high school, I have no complaints. And there is more to talk about than most weeks, a good sign in my opinion.
Paltrow’s first appearance last fall was a resounding triumph, so of course Glee wanted her back. Last night, Holly discovers, while teaching health class, that the students at McKinley are very ill-informed about physical pleasure and its consequences, especially members of New Directions. This is best evidenced by airhead Brittany (Heather Morris) believing she is pregnant because a stork is building a nest outside of her window (there are storks in suburban Ohio?), and Finn (Cory Monteith) and Mercedes (Amber Riley) worrying they can get HIV from salad after Holly shows them how to put a condom on a cucumber. Those aren’t exactly realistic happenings, but I sure laughed heartily when Brittany shared why she thought she was with child after panicking her boyfriend, Artie (Kevin McHale).
To solve the lack of sexual education, Holly asks Will (Matthew Morrison) if she can sing to his kids. He agrees, prompting her to cross oh-so-many lines, gyrating to a sexy number, and tossing in a startling fact at the end. I don’t see how that exactly qualifies as teaching. Holly’s method seems to be to shock to get the kids’ attention, and then sneak in some actual information, almost as an afterthought. But I doubt many will be complaining about Paltrow writhing around in a tight, black, leather outfit belting out “Do You Wanna Touch Me (Oh Yeah)”.
Holly is likely to return again, as she enters into a relationship with Will before the closing credits. The chemistry between the two is palpable, especially in their duet of “Kiss”, though Holly’s hesitation for dating the Teach is also warranted. She tends to go for less serious pairings, while his dating experience is limited to his high school girlfriend and a guidance counselor who won’t even touch her husband, which we’ll get to in a minute. I guess Holly just has to fall for the Schuester charm in the end, though. I don’t believe it will last very long, the least of the reasons being Paltrow’s continued availability (or lack thereof), but it’s nice that Will will get a chance to be with someone so cool before he is roped back into the inevitable drama to come.
By drama, I mean Emma Pillsbury (Jayma Mays), of course. Like most fans, I was rooting for Will and Emma in season one, despite Will being already married. His wife was terrible, after all. But this week, it is revealed that Emma’s marriage to Carl (John Stamos), an event that occured very rapidly, is now also in shambles. Carl pulls Emma in for counseling with Holly, and Holly is easily able to diagnose why Emma has only provided cuddling to her husband four months into their matrimony: Emma is still confused about her feelings for Will. This spurs Holly to date Will, and also causes Carl to move out.
Emma did get to shine in a number of comedic sequences. Her celibacy club is hilarious, and a great illustration of the blind leading the blind. She also provides great argument that can be held up when parent groups push for abstinence-only education, by negative example. Her methods clearly do not work. I very much like Emma, Quinn (Dianna Agron), Rachel (Lea Michele), Puck (Mark Salling), and Carl’s naive rendition of “Afternoon Delight”. Goofy, and unintentionally funny, Emma thinks the term refers to dessert. Oh, poor, sweet Emma.
I can’t help but feeling at this point that Will has dodged a bullet. Perhaps Emma will be more open to more mature activities if she is with him, rather than avoiding him in the arms of a dentist, but I’m not so sure. Uber-virginal Emma has shown an interest only in romance, not sex. I can easily imagine Will being trapped in Carl’s situation, had Emma not wanted to try dating others before Will. Maybe Will could open Emma up to new experiences, but it certainly wouldn’t be easy. He is probably better off without her. Though I’m sure the show will have Emma and Will locking lips soon enough, likely before season’s end.
The one obstacle that could stop Will and Emma, because I see Holly and Carl as diversions, rather than real blocks, is Terri (Jessalyn Gilsig). Will’s now ex-wife has been almost completely absent this season, though her name continues to grace the opening credits. I am confused by this, unless there are some big plans for Terri coming up. Why keep her around as a full-time character unless you’re going to use her? Two options occur to me: there is a major arc for Terri that has been planned, but not yet revealed or embarked upon, or the writers were going to use her, and just didn’t because they liked different choices they made better. I hope it’s the former. Either put her to work or set her free! Gilsig deserves better.
I have been a strong advocate for a serious Santana (Naya Rivera) / Brittany relationship for quite awhile. Though both have slept with plenty of guys, they seem very happy and at ease with each other. It was many months ago when the series revealed they share many a lady kiss in the privacy of a bedroom. I was deeply disappointed when Brittany chose to pursue a relationship with Artie, and Santana got with Sam (Chord Overstreet), because I assumed the writers, while being plenty generous to the gays, were not going to do the same with the lesbians. I am glad to be proven wrong, though just because the girls have ‘different plumbing’ does not mean they are not cheating on their guys when they get together, no matter what Santana says.
Last night, Brittany drags Santana in to talk to Holly, pushing her BFF to share her feelings. Santana is only shown to be interested in the physical pleasure up til now. Holly asks if the two are lesbians, and they hedge, admitting to confusion. In true Glee fashion, the girls decide to sum up their emotions in song, and the three sing a soulful, though not fresh, rendition of “Landslide”. The music prompts a crying Santana to confess her true feelings for Brittany, and while Brittany says she returns them, she doesn’t want to hurt Artie, so she won’t break up with him.
Many of my gay friends have argued that bi-sexuality isn’t real, it’s just a term used by confused people, or those not ready to come out of the closet. I do not believe that to be true, and so I will take Brittany’s claim to love Artie at face value, assuming she is a bi-sexual, and can love both a guy and a girl at the same time. Still, it is incredibly frustrating that once those feelings, long talked about by fans, but never actually explored until now, came out, the girls didn’t get together. I know it is a TV show’s job to place obstacle after obstacle in a couple’s way, but enough already! I think Brittany cares about Artie, but she seems so much more right with Santana.
Puck and Lauren Zizes (the ohmygodican’tgetoverhowawesomesheis! Ashley Fink) consider putting out a sex tape to boost Zizes’s fame (she wants to be the next Kardashian), until Holly points out that that would qualify as child pornography. Later, Puck joins the celebiacy club, and even later than that, Lauren joins him. They are weird, talking sex one moment, and abstinence the next. But Lauren is smart, forcing Puck to like her before he makes love to her. Their growing connection is an absolute joy, and there were plenty of sparks flying between them. Their double high-five and Lauren’s query about playing footsie shows things are moving in the right direction. Plus, that kiss! So exciting!
Oh, and to no one’s surprise, Quinn and Finn are engaging in hot and heavy make out sessions, though they are still sneaking around. They are fooling no one.
Sue’s (Jane Lynch) brief contribution to this week’s episode came in a meeting between her and two members of the Dalton Warblers, Kurt (Chris Colfer) and Blaine (Darren Criss). I guess Sue doesn’t understand that not everyone not currently in the New Directions is trying to bring them down, as she actually tries to enlist the boys’ help in scheming against McKinley’s glee club. Sue is obviously oblivious, as Kurt shoots her down before she even gets started. But it was still a fun little Sue scene, and I miss her interaction with Kurt since his transfer, so I won’t begrudge them it.
Far more interesting was Kurt’s own virginal self, almost on the level of Emma’s, except he is still young enough to be forgiven for it. I never noticed, until Blaine points it out to Kurt this week, but Kurt has no concept of sexiness. Sure, he is into romance of the Broadway-musical variety, but he doesn’t know how to show lust. His faces in “Animal” are beyond bizarre. No wonder Blaine is shooting him confused looks the entire time.
I am sad that Blaine is not able to get through to Kurt, though he certainly tries. Their friendship is bound to develop into more, as Kurt wants it to, but this is a hurdle that Kurt must overcome first. Blaine is going to want some physical stuff, and Kurt shows just how immature he truly is when he won’t even allow Blaine to talk to him. Blaine, by contrast, is not only mature enough to bring the subject up, but also to have a man-to-man chat with Kurt’s father, Burt (Mike O’Malley), ensuring Kurt will get his information from somewhere.
Burt and Kurt continue to be the best father-son pairing currently on television. Burt talking to Kurt about gay sex is awkward, but as a father should, he pushes through. Burt is supportive, but not overbearing. He is realistic in his son’s sexual outlook; the ’30th birthday present’ joke is just a joke to break the tension. Burt is the father every boy, gay or straight, wants and should have. He somehow manages to successfully stradle the divide between friend and parent, mentor and confidant. While I was close to getting Kurt-fatigue this fall, as were most fans after so many Kurt-heavy episodes, I have now recovered and am ready for some more. And notice I said ‘close to’. I never actually reached that point.
And so ends another week of Glee. Next week the kids go to Regionals! Don’t miss Glee Tuesday nights at 8 p.m. ET on FOX.