Sunday, August 29, 2010

Glee 1.21: "Funk"

“Their school statue is a giant bronze of a great white shark eating a seal pup. It weighs three tons.”

“Funk” wasn’t one of my favorite episodes of “Glee,” although it did have some entertaining moments. Mostly I was just cringing in horror at Will trying to seduce Sue, though. As they say on “Futurama,” “You watched it, you can’t unwatch it.” Some of the musical numbers in this episode were a lot of fun, and some were just plain odd. The episode was more fun overall than I remember it being when I first watched it back in May, but there are still most definitely better episodes of “Glee.” I will say that I really felt bad for Rachel in this one, which doesn’t happen often. So, without further ado, it’s time to get funky (yeah, they said the word “funk” in this episode more times than I can count).

Rachel calls the glee club to the auditorium, claiming it’s an emergency. Vocal Adrenaline is there, and they’re being led by none other than Jesse. Vocal Adrenaline performs a very intense rendition of “Another One Bites the Dust” by Queen, and New Directions are left feeling pretty depressed about their chances at Regionals. When they get back to the choir room and discover that Vocal Adrenaline has hung toilet paper all over everything, morale sinks even lower. Artie informs the group that this is typical Vocal Adrenaline behavior. They call it a “funkification.” The idea is to psych out teams that could potentially be a threat. What brought this on was the fact that Ohio show choir blogs and message boards (a fact that multiple blogs and message boards exist on this topic kind of baffles me) all say that New Directions has a chance to upset this year. That won’t happen if the kids can’t snap out of their funk, though.

It’s not just the kids who are feeling down. Will is feeling the pressure, too. Sue barges into the choir room with two drafting students claiming that she is preparing to turn the choir room into a trophy annex. Sue says that she knows New Directions is going to lose at Regionals and have to give up the choir room, and she needs space to house the massive Nationals trophy she expects her Cheerios will win this upcoming weekend. To make things even worse for Will, his divorce was just finalized. Of course Terri is an absolute terror that Will is well rid of (and he knows that), but it’s still a bit demoralizing to finally give up on something you devoted so much of your life to.

The New Directions kids are determined to get their revenge on Vocal Adrenaline, and Puck realizes that it’s going to fall to him to actually make it happen. Puck and Finn go to the Carmel High School parking lot one night and slash the tires of all the Vocal Adrenaline kids. This would be absolutely horrible if it weren’t for the fact that the cars in question are all Land Rovers that Shelby bought for the kids when they won Sectionals. A reward like that is outrageous, and an argument could be made that they all deserved what was coming to them. Certainly, that’s what the show’s writers are hoping you’ll think. I suppose there’s really no good excuse for destruction of property, though, and Puck and Finn have to pay the price for their actions. To keep Shelby from pressing charges (which would result in their expulsion), they have to pay damages. To do that, the guys are going to have to get a job.

In a rather uncharacteristic attempt to try anything to feel better, Will tries to make a purchase from Sandy. Sandy (thankfully) refuses to sell to Will, but he is able to help in another way. From his years as glee club director, he learned Vocal Adrenaline’s one weakness. They have never performed a funk number. Because all of a sudden, the writers want us to believe that Vocal Adrenaline are soulless automatons instead of the really talented, spirited performers we’ve seen in the past. Regardless of continuity implications, the information gives Will an idea for this week’s glee club assignment. The students are going to have to perform a funk number. Mercedes says she has it covered, but Quinn thinks the can bring her “pregnant teenage reject” pain to the assignment.

Rachel tells Will that she thinks that Vocal Adrenaline is using Jesse to break her heart, and by proxy, bring down New Directions. Rachel considers herself the “heart” of New Directions, you see. This gives Will an idea. Maybe he can destroy Sue using similar tactics. This means we’re in for a whole lot of squick. Unbelievable amounts of squick. It was so bad it was hard to not hide my eyes from the screen. First Will attempts to seduce Sue with a musical performance, under the guise of getting her opinion on whether or not it would be too raunchy for the students to perform. Then he brings her flowers and protein gels. I seriously could not wait for this plotline to be over.

There’s some squickiness going on over at the Sheets N Things too, where Finn and Puck have found employment. Sandy has a hand in this plot, too. Apparently he’s the pickiest customer at the Sheets N Things, and he makes Finn and Puck feel pretty awful about themselves. They feel awful enough to sing a bit of Beck’s “Loser.” Mark Salling actually sounds pretty awesome on that song. Cory Monteith, not so much, but that’s what we’ve come to expect, and I’ve certainly griped about it plenty here. Sandy Ryerson can be plenty squick-worthy on his own, but the real cause of squickiness in the Sheets N Things plotline is Terri Schuester. She’s not dealing well with the divorce finalization, either, and she keeps picturing Finn as Will. Thankfully, she doesn’t cross any sort of line, or it would be as unspeakably squicky (even more so than Will and Sue), but she does offer to help Finn find a funk song to perform for glee club. She’s determined to not let glee club be such a source of anger for her anymore.

The first funky performance of the week is Quinn’s. She gets together with a group of supposedly also pregnant teens to form a group she calls the “Unwed Mothership Connection.” I say supposedly, because with the dance moves those heavily pregnant looking girls were doing, I’m surprised none of them went into labor right then and there. The group performs a decent, although not especially memorable, rendition of “It’s a Man’s Man’s Man’s World.” I enjoyed the second performance much better. “Puck E. Puck., Finnie D., and the Funky Bunch” performed “Good Vibrations” with an assist from Mercedes. It always amuses me when “Glee” does early 90’s hip hop, because I remember it well, and I’m convinced that these kids would have never, ever heard any of those songs.

Meanwhile, Will’s plan to destroy Sue goes a little too well. He agreed to meet Sue at Breadsticks for a date, and he deliberately stands her up. When Sue shows up at Will’s house to demand an apology, Will gives her a piece of his mind. The next day, Will arrives at McKinley High to see the Cheerios in disarray. They’re walking around with more blank than usual looks on their faces. Will seeks out Kurt for an explanation, and Kurt explains that Sue has refused to get out of bed since being rejected by Will. Will starts to feel bad about what he has done, because unlike Sue at this point, he has a soul. He realizes that the Cheerios need Sue and deserve to have their shot at Nationals. Will swallows his pride and makes a trip to Sue’s house (which is decorated with trophies, by the way) to apologize.

The lives of the Glee kids are all changing rapidly. Mercedes, impressed by Quinn’s recognition of what it’s like to be different, invites Quinn to move in with her instead of continuing to live with Puck’s family. I really don’t get this plot, but it wasn’t a big enough part of the episode to really upset me. Rachel, however, is not doing as well. She gets a call from Jesse and happily runs out to the school parking lot, most likely expecting to be running into his arms like a scene from a typical rom com. Instead, she gets egged (literally) by Jesse’s Vocal Adrenaline teammates. To add insult to injury, Jesse smashes the final egg on Rachel’s head himself. The New Directions guys want to take violent revenge, but Will encourages them to find an alternative, even as Sue and the drafting students happily wheel the latest Cheerios Nationals trophy into the choir room (won with the help of a massive Celine Dion solo by Kurt- really the one plus to the whole situation).

The kids do come up with a better way to get their revenge. Will calls Jesse and tells him to bring Vocal Adrenaline to the McKinley High auditorium. The kids then proceed to put on a real “funkification.” They perform “We Want the Funk,” and it’s quite a fun performance, although I wouldn’t rank it among my absolute favorites. The Vocal Adrenaline kids realize that funk isn’t their strong point, and they start to feel depressed too. Something tells me those kids could perform a funk number just fine, but since we’re so close to the end of the season, I’ll do my best to suspend disbelief.

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