Saturday, April 24, 2010

Glee 1.15: "The Power of Madonna"

“Secondly, enough with the hair jokes. Oh, by the way, how’s the Florence Henderson look working out for you?”


I think “The Power of Madonna” had an excellent message, but fell slightly short of really conveying it effectively. The depiction of women has always been a bit of an issue with “Glee.” There was not one, but two hysterical females involved in pregnancy-related lying shenanigans in the first half of the season, for instance. And that’s even before I get to the fact that the other two main adult female characters other than the one involved in the pregnancy shenanigans are, respectively, an OCD germophobe and conniving, manipulative witch of the worst degree. This episode, even though it seemed to be trying to rectify that a bit, didn’t really get the job done. On a more positive note, even though I’ve never been a Madonna fan (I’m a child of the 80’s and early 90’s though, so I certainly grew up with her music), there was really a lot to enjoy about the musical performances this week.

Sue’s dream throughout her career has been to have a squad of Cheerios talented enough to properly pay homage to her idol, Madonna. First, she uses her overall blackmail deal with Principal Figgins to get Madonna music piped through the entire school at unsafe volume. Well…almost the entire school. More on that later. Sue also thinks her Cheerios need to act more like Madonna. According to Sue, when Madonna has trouble, she takes it in stride and ends up with a younger man. Sue is therefore requiring that all her female Cheerios start dating younger men ASAP. Will walks past the gymnasium to see the Cheerios rehearsing a routine to “Ray of Light.” It’s a serious production number, complete with Cheerios on stilts. Will thinks it’s great, and I don’t think Sue quite knows how to take a compliment from Will.

Later in the choir room, the girls of New Directions are having a chat about how they’ve recently been wronged by boys. Rachel is upset because Jesse left her house grumpy after she told him she wasn’t ready for sex. Although, she didn’t flat-out admit that the boy she was talking about was Jesse- their relationship is still supposed to be secret, after all. Tina chimes in about how Artie has recently been criticizing her. Mercedes says Rachel should talk to Emma about the problem, and Rachel has indeed tried to talk to Emma. Given her own issues, though, it was all Emma could do not to bolt from her own office. Will happens to be in the choir room during this discussion, and I can’t help but think that the part about Emma must have been just the teensiest bit awkward. Will’s appalled that the girls have been treated so rudely, and he wants to do something about it.

Will marches on over to Emma’s office to vent about the problem. He tells Emma that together they will be a “girl saving team,” and this makes Emma smile. Emma doesn’t really have any part to play in Will’s plan to ensure gender equality in New Directions, though. Which kind of misses the point of what’s supposed to be a girl power episode. Anyway, Will’s idea (inspired by Sue and her Cheerios) is to make this week’s Glee Club assignment to come up with a Madonna number. The girls are all thrilled, but the guys are kind of uncomfortable with the idea.

Overall, something I really liked about the musical numbers in this episode is that more characters than usual get their chance with lead vocals. The girls perform “Express Yourself,” and Rachel, Mercedes, and Quinn each get their chance to shine for a few measures. I really liked the costuming for that number as well. The boys, however, were not impressed. Except, of course, for Kurt. He could recognize the art. Speaking of Kurt and art, Kurt and Mercedes, after they see Sue look upset when Will makes fun of her hair, offer to let Sue in on their newest project. A shot-by-shot recreation of “Vogue.” It’s pretty fantastic.

Meanwhile, Santana’s got a problem, and Brittany, for once, actually has a reasonable solution. Santana doesn’t have a younger boyfriend yet (per Sue’s instructions), and Brittany’s points out that Finn’s birthday is three days before Santana’s. Sanatana asks Finn out again, this time promising sex and no Brittany. Finn’s a bit reluctant, because he still has feelings for Rachel, even if they aren’t together. He changes his mind, however, after he gets into an argument with Rachel and she admits to him that she’s still seeing Jesse. He agrees to keep it secret as a friend, but he’s not happy about it.

Other characters are making similar plans to Finn’s that it feels like they will soon regret. Rachel tells Jesse she’s ready to have sex. Emma, egged on by Sue disconnecting the intercom to Emma’s office and saying that Emma didn’t deserve to listen to Madonna because Emma has no sex appeal, makes a rash decision, too. She propositions Will, saying that she’s taking control of her body. Will readily agrees to Emma’s command that foreplay commences at 7:30. I’ll admit, even though it was clear that Emma wasn’t making the best decision, that scene was pretty darn hilarious thanks to the specificity of Emma’s proposition.

There’s a montage of the three couples to “Like a Virgin,” which turns out to be Rachel, Emma, and Finn fantasizing as they’re deciding whether or not they actually want to go through with what they’ve planned. We find out what each of them decided in short order. It turns out that Finn was actually the only one of the three that went through with it. Rachel and Finn have a short conversation before Glee Club practice where Rachel insinuates that she and Jesse had sex, and Finn said he couldn’t go through with his planned date with Santana. They were both lying, which I thought was an interesting and kind of gutsy choice on the part of the show’s writers.

Emma’s acting all awkward with Will the next day, and he tells her not to worry about it. After thinking about it some more, he realizes that he didn’t go far enough. He tells Emma they need to institute a no dating rule until his divorce is finalized, and he filed the paperwork today, so that’s a start. He also tells Emma that in the meantime, she should see the therapist provided by their school district health plan. And he freaking gives her the therapist’s business card. Seriously. And Emma just smiles, mouths “Thank you,” and leaves. I couldn’t believe it. She was grateful for the horribly condescending way Will just treated her. Especially for an episode that was supposed to be about female empowerment, I was not pleased.

Finally, there’s some not-really-romance related New Directions drama that should make the rest of the season pretty interesting. First of all, Jesse has moved in with his uncle and is now districted to McKinley High. Against a lot of protests, Will lets him join New Directions. Jesse claims he made the move for Rachel, but I’m fairly certain there’s something shady going on. And Rachel is only slightly happy about this development- she’d really rather still be with Finn. Finn, however, is trying to be a gentleman, probably out of guilt from sleeping with Santana, and he tells Rachel and Jesse that he’s cool with all of it. In other news, Kurt and Mercedes have joined the Cheerios. That can’t end well.

No comments:

Post a Comment