Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Glee 1.11: "Hairography"

“I admit, I like a challenge as much as the next guy, but Rachel somehow manages to dress like a toddler and a grandmother at the same time.”


I generally love Glee, but “Hairography” was probably the most frustrating episode of television I have watched since the Lost season 5 finale (Jack’s going to blow up the Island because he messed up with Kate…and Juliet’s going to go along with it because Sawyer’s still in love with Kate? Please.). It was “I want to throw something at the television” frustrating. The theme (which was rather blatantly obvious) of the week was “distraction,” and I think this episode was meant to distract us from the fact that the writers are just stalling for time until they can wrap up these plot arcs in the fall finale next Wednesday.

Will once again suspects Sue of sabotage, and this time, he’d be right. Sue reminds him that she wants to see the set list, and that combined with other little incidents like Brittany taping a rehearsal on her cell phone (Brittany will never not be funny, by the way), clue Will in. Emma suggests Will face this problem head-on and talk to the glee club directors at the schools against which they’ll be competing. The schools are Jane Adams, a reform school for girls recently released from prison, and Haverbrook, a school for the Deaf.

The first school Will visits is Jane Adams, and Ms. Hitchens (Eve), the glee club director, is no nonsense. There was some mildly amusing, although most definitely playing to sterotypes, humor in this scene. I’ll admit that when Aphasia, one of the Jane Adams students, swiped Will’s wallet and Will didn’t realize it until Ms. Hitchins called her out, I did chuckle. Ms. Hitchins gives Will a wake-up call about the state of the performing facilities at Jane Adams as compared to McKinley High (the Jane Adams girls have to practice in the rec yard), and Will responds by inviting their glee club to a scrimmage at McKinley.

The Jane Adams girls perform “Bootylicious” for the scrimmage, and Will is intimidated. Rachel tries to reassure him by saying that their performance is all “hairography,” moving your hair in a way that will distract the audience from sub-par dancing and vocals. Will, as usual, however, ignores her and decides their new number for Sectionals should involve a song from the musical “Hair” and long-haired wigs for the guys. It does always amuse me that the music on Glee often reflects what somebody my age would have listened to in high school instead of what a current high school student would listen to. The Destiny’s Child heyday was definitely during my own high school years.

Quinn and Finn are also trying to distract each other so they can spend time with Puck and Rachel respectively. Quinn told Terri and Kendra that she wants to keep her baby, so Kendra wants Quinn to babysit for Kendra’s kids. She figures since the kids are such hellions, they will make Quinn not want one of her own. Her exact phrase is that she wants to “distract her with the reality of her situation.” I know distraction is the theme of the week, but this is just overkill. The babysitting plan is more of a wake-up call than a distraction.

Quinn invites Puck along to take him for a test-drive as daddy material. To keep Finn distracted on babysitting night, Quinn enlists the help of Kurt, but more on that later. While babysitting, Puck at first seems distracted, spending all his time texting, but then he and Quinn get the idea to sing to the kids to make them behave. I actually really like their rendition of “Papa Don’t Preach,” even if it is kind of inappropriate for little kids.

Quinn has enlisted Kurt’s help to give Rachel a makeover, because she knows that Rachel has the potential to distract Finn. Kurt is giving Rachel decent, practical advice until Rachel reveals that Finn is the boy she wants to impress. Still not over his own crush on Finn, Kurt starts telling Rachel all the wrong things. Kurt suggests that Rachel be more like Sandy at the end of Grease. The first time Rachel tries out her new look on Finn, he’s a bit flabbergasted, so Rachel thinks she’s on the right track. The second time (which takes place at Rachel’s house, conveniently at the same time Quinn is babysitting) doesn’t go so well. Finn says he actually prefers Rachel’s usual look, and he was just telling Kurt the other day how he likes girls that look more natural.

Rachel confronts Kurt, and she realizes that Kurt did what he did because of his feelings for Finn. They both end up telling each other that they don’t stand a chance. This is thrown into even sharper relief at the end of the episode, when Rachel and Kurt give each other a sad wave as they both see Finn and Quinn stride down the hallway arm in arm.

There is distraction afoot in the Schuster home, as well. Terri wants to distract Will from the baby, since there may be no baby after all. She buys him a car, the exact same model he drove in high school. At first, the distraction works, and Will is going all over town looking for parts and advice. After a conversation with Kendra’s husband, however, Will realizes he needs to grow up and trades the car in for a minivan. Terri ends up being off the hook, since Quinn once again changed her mind about the baby.

Quinn changes her mind because, unlike Will, Puck hasn’t grown up. All that texting he was doing at the beginning of their babysitting date was actually “sexting” with Santana. Quinn is, understandably, I suppose, disappointed, and she goes running back to Finn, asking if they can be in love again. I never really thought they were in love in the first place, but whatever. While Quinn made the right move pushing Puck away for his behavior, I’m still disappointed that the writers felt they needed to go to that place. Especially since it continues to perpetuate the baby daddy fraud and hurts several other characters. It’s time to move on to a new story, and I’m hoping that in next week’s episode, we’ll see that happen.

The glee club director at Haverbrook comes to visit Will because the Jane Adams scrimmage left him feeling left out. Will offers to host Haverbrook for a scrimmage as well. This episode did both a wonderful and horrendous job portraying the Deaf. The Haverbrook director is deaf in one ear and completely obnoxious about it, not hearing is phone when it rings and constantly yelling at people to speak in his good ear. It was borderline offensive. I’ve encountered plenty of Deaf people through the disability rights work I did in law school, and none of them went out of their way to make communication more difficult than it already was. The actual Haverbrook glee club somewhat made up for it, though. They performed “Imagine” with no frills, and it moved New Directions so much they joined right in. Will realized his kids can perform without the theatricality, and the new Sectionals number is “True Colors” performed with the kids just sitting on stools.

Sue really is trying to sabotage the New Directions, and when the other glee club directors hear Sue’s plan (the other clubs should sing the same songs as New Directions, but first, so New Directions will be accused of stealing songs), they are offended. Sue tells them to not get distracted from winning, however, and it seems like they’re going to go with the plan. Sad, really.

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