FOX’s Glee presents “Saturday Night Glee-ver.” Will (Matthew Morrison) and Sue (Jane Lynch) use disco and an old John Travolta movie to inspire a trio of seniors who have not even started to think about what they will do post-high school. All three are tasked with picking a song and delivering a speech about their future. All three choose some form of career in the creative arts, and are supported by supportive dating partners. And disco lives!
It seems pretty pointless this week to break down each musical number and talk about it on its own. That’s because they each receive an excellent grade. “Saturday Night Glee-ver” borrows heavily from the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack, and in doing so, delivers the most solid episode, musically, in memory. Every single song is performed with show-stopping vocals and killer dance moves. From the “You Should Be Dancing” opening, through the group “Night Fever,” to Mercedes’s (Amber Riley) slaying of “Disco Inferno,” Santana’s (Naya Rivera) “I Can’t Have You,” Rachel’s (Lea Michele) “How Deep Is Your Love,” Finn’s “More Than a Woman,” and ending with a dramatic “Stayin’ Alive,” everything worked perfectly. It could not have been better.
“Saturday Night Glee-ver” even found a good place to sneak a peek of a young Will performing “That’s the Way (I Like It),” a sequence filmed for, and cut from, the very first episode of Glee.
The other song not mentioned above, “Boogie Shoes,” may have been even more memorable than the others. It brings the character of Unique to the Glee universe. Conceived on The Glee Project by runner up Alex Newell, Unique finally makes it to screen. It’s hard to deny that Unique deserves some attention, and she’s such a far out character, that even Kurt (Chris Colfer) gets a little judgy at first. But once Unique takes the stage, all doubts are gone. Alex Newell, and his female alter-ego, deserve to be famous.
Sue gets to join in on a couple of the musical numbers in “Saturday Night Glee-ver.” This oft-antagonistic cheerleading coach almost always gets story in the tribute episodes, and this one is no exception. However, with Sue becoming an ally of the New Directions, as committed to helping them win as she once is with destroying them, the dynamic is different. She is enjoying herself more, and is around the kids because she wants to be. It’s heart warming to see her really get into the spirit, and glimpse the hints of a growing friendship with Will. Sue, as a character, has finally arrived.
Not that Sue hadn’t arrived before. But this new, more well-rounded, version of her is better than the original, two-dimensional villain.
Each of the relationships touched upon in “Saturday Night Glee-ver” are also sweet. Rachel and Finn (Cory Monteith) find a way to work things out that is mutually beneficial, though it will be incredibly unrealistic if Finn is actually accepted to, as he calls it, “Inside The Actor’s Studio.” Sam (Chord Overstreet) helps Mercedes start to get known in a way many young people are taking advantage of these days, YouTube, and it earns him a well-deserved smooch. Brittany (Heather Morris) releases an incredibly hot and funny sex tape of her and Santana interspersed with Lord Tubbington doing household chores. Obviously, only the cat bits are shown, due to network television decency standards, but they sure crack up!
What’s more, the teenage romances on Glee finally feel authentic. For much of the series, there is a lingering suspicion that these kids are too young to be this committed to their partners. But as graduation nears, they all show growth and deeper consideration for the ones they love. It’s a nice change, and will make for authentic endings.
The problems with “Saturday Night Glee-ver” stem more from the overall themes, rather then specific plot points. Will advocates following your dreams, no matter where they take you. Santana wants to be famous (though, thankfully, not at any cost), Mercedes wants to be a legend, and Finn wants to be an actor. It just isn’t believable that any of this will happen. A single high school rarely produces more than one star, and Rachel has that position nailed, if anyone does. It’s possible that Mercedes may also get some love from the public some day, but Finn is just not anywhere near the talent level that would make him break out.
These sorts of dreams should be pursued alongside a career, or as hobbies. No one is saying don’t perform if you like, but don’t bank you financial future on such a fantasy, either. Otherwise, these kids will be starving on the street soon enough. At least Santana will have a college degree, and that could translate into something, maybe.
Not to mention, it is way too late in their senior year to be applying for college. Shouldn’t Will have taken an interest months ago? Way to drop the ball as a teacher!
One question remains, though: Where is Rory (Damian McGinty) in “Saturday Night Glee-ver?” It’s true that he is not contracted to be in every episode, but without a story point to explain his absence, it seems odd that he isn’t even in any of the group numbers or choir room scenes.
Overall, “Saturday Night Glee-ver” is an excellent episode, if you suspend belief. Glee continues to build towards the graduation of much of its original cast Tuesdays at 8 p.m. ET on FOX.