SparkNotes Gleecap: Season 2, Episode 5 (The Rocky Horror Glee Show)
I lurve the Rocky Horror Picture Show; I love the classic, goosebumps-inducing lips sequence, I love the drive-in vibe, and I love the weirdo cast and the amazing music. I wasn't expecting unparalleled greatness from an homage episode, but I wasn't expecting to be so disappointed. Why was it built so convincingly around the idea of failing to put on a performance of Rocky Horror? And the onscreen debate about RH’s inappropriateness reminded me too much of the “is Glee too sexy?” debate that’s been going around lately. I just want to watch Brittany tap dance around a motorcycle! Is that too much to ask?
In this monstrous let-down of an episode, Will gets the terribly awesome idea to have the kids perform Rocky Horror while talking to Emma in the teachers lounge. She describes the RH screening she went to with Dentist Carl, where she got messy and LOVED IT. Will, unable to handle someone else succeeding with Emma where he failed, puts on his trying-too-hard pants and his bad-educator gun belt, and tells Emma that he just happens to looove Rocky Horror too, so much that that the Glee kids will be performing it as the school musical!
In a moment of uncharacteristic clarity, Rachel casts herself as boring Janet and Finn as straitlaced Brad. Mike takes on Frank N. Furter (YESSSSS), and Sam, as resident blond dude, gets Rocky. He says he has “no problem showing off his body,” which is good considering the gold Speedo he will soon be introducing it to.
In the auditorium, Rachel walks Finn through the more underwear-heavy parts of his performance. And out of nowhere, Finn reveals how insecure he is about his looks. This is just the beginning of this episode’s “manorexia: funny, or is it?” subplot, which, eh, it’s really not. The fact that Sam “hates himself for a few days” if he eats a hot dog makes me sad, and also makes me wonder if Sam will just let me have that other hot dog, if he’s not going to eat it anyway.
Also in this episode was the first season-two appearance of Sue’s Corner. Today’s topic: Halloween. Specifically, the reintroduction of actual terror into Halloween festivities. As Sue leaves the news studio, she passes two ANONYMOUS MEN in suits, who later visit her at McKinley to fill her in on Schue’s Rocky Horror plans. The Men in Black (aka news station execs) want her to use Sue’s Corner to advance their agenda of political fear, while simultaneously scapegoating Schuester’s inappropriate Rocky Horror production. Strike terror into the masses AND stomp on Schue’s dreams? Sue’s in.
Rachel and Finn perform a passable Damn It, Janet! in the practice room, then Santana bullies Finn about his upcoming public shirtlessness. Sam is still super pumped to show off his “abulous” abs, and I’m just happy to see that dating Quinn isn’t making his jokes any less cheesy.
In phase two of Operation: Win Back the Crazy Loris, Will asks Emma to be his costume designer. She agrees, just before Mike Chang drops out of the Frank N. Furter role on account of parental disapproval. You know who would be perfect to take over this role in a high-school musical? Any student in the school. Any student in any school. Pretty much anyone but a fully grown adult, which is why it’s so weird when Emma’s 40-something dentist boyfriend decides to audition. He sings a very rousing Hot Patootie, making Will itchy with jealousy. Popular opinion casts Carl as Eddie, and Mercedes (!) as Frank N. Furter. (Thumbs down on her super melodic Sweet Transvestite.)
“That handsome dentist thinks he’s so great!” says Mr. Schue, who clearly has brain fever caused by overapplication of Dep (zing!). It causes him to fire Sam from the Rocky role and CAST HIMSELF. He asks Emma to stand in as Janet so he can rehearse the sexiest number in the movie, appropriately titled Touch-a Touch-a Touch-a Touch Me. It gets extremely hot in there, and Schue takes off some of his clothes. Imagining him enacting this roomwide horizontal-dance practice with RACHEL playing Janet caused me to barf in my mouth and make a spontaneous citizen’s arrest. But it's also the most Rocky-appropriate performance in the episode, so go figure.
Rachel and Finn rehearse There’s a Light in the McKinley auditorium, where it’s instantly apparent that Rachel can’t do Janet: cutesy Rach playing cutesy Janet equals Cute Overload, and not the fantastic kind. Suddenly, Dentist Carl strides onstage in full Eddie leather, yelling at Schue for macking on Emma. It’s getting a little tiresome having to give Will a pass every time he acts like a jerk just cause he’s way sorry about it at the end of each episode, but this time he’s sorry for real (he swears!). He cancels Rocky, then reveals to Emma that he did it all for her. “I endangered my reputation as an educator, my Glee funding, and your healthy relationship with your boyfriend, just for you.” She doesn’t thank him very enthusiastically.
I think the problem I’m having with Glee right now is how small and trapped-in-a-bubble it’s starting to feel. Where’s the storyline? Why is every episode a one-off? Enough with the gimmicks—give us some competition! Give us VOCAL ADRENALINE.
And, as Becky says in the best line of the night:
“Give me some chocolate, or I will cut you.”
Are you guys getting a little tired of Glee's gimmicks too? Tell us in the comments!
Related post: Read all our Glee posts here!