Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Glee 2.14: "Blame it on the Alcohol"

“Ke$ha’s been a cultural icon for weeks, and I really want to do her music justice.”

I’ll admit I went into my viewing of “Blame it on the Alcohol” not expecting to like it very much. The plotline seemed kind of silly and prone to venture into “very special episode” or after-school special territory. And I also kind of loathe Ke$ha’s “music.” Instead, we got only a minimally preachy chock full of dark humor episode of “Glee,” and I do love “Glee” when it embraces the dark humor. I think that’s what makes “Glee” more grown-up than the media sometimes gives it credit for. When I first started watching “Glee,” there were two things that really drew me in. The first was the fun, energetic musical performances ( the AutoTune hadn’t grated on my last nerve yet), and the second was the dark humor. When these things are both in place, I’m a happy “Glee” viewer. This episode didn’t have me in tears like “Sectionals,” but it was good enough for late middle of the season.

The episode opens with Figgins taking a meeting with Will. This time, for once, it isn’t because one of the glee kids are in trouble. Figgins is in general very concerned about underage drinking. Apparently public drunkenness is a very regular occurrence at McKinley High. That definitely wouldn’t have flown at my public high school, that’s for sure. We would have gotten one of our principal’s patented “I’m very disappointed in you” speeches over the PA system that he usually reserved for major scandals like a food fight in the cafeteria or a mildly offensive (because it referenced living in a trailer…the horror) drag show at the pep rally. Figgins thinks that the music of Ke$ha is responsible for this phenomenon. Only hey calls her “Key-dollar sign-ha,” which I found hilariously adorable. Figgins’ solution is an “Alcohol Awareness Week,” and he wants New Directions to perform at an assembly singing something that will warn the kids about the dangers of alcohol.

Meanwhile, Will decides he wants to put the past behind him and try to be friends with Emma. He comes to the staff lounge bearing housewares as a peace offering because he’s heard she and Carl are looking for a house. Emma is concerned about Will and wants to know if he’s dating anyone. Sue interrupts the conversation, though. She has decided that Will is a future alcoholic, and she’s being really obnoxious about it. She mentions how she’s going to be coaching Aural Intensity, and Emma is very surprised. She wants to know how Sue could have possibly gotten a job coaching a glee club. We see a flashback of Sue getting the job. Not surprisingly, it turns out she kept pushing the Aural Intensity coach down a stairwell over and over until he was too injured to keep his job. The repeated pushing was supposed to be funny, I’m sure, but it was just extremely cruel.

In the choir room, Rachel is diligently working on composing an original song. Puck interrupts because he’s heard that Rachel’s parents are out of town on a cruise. He wants Rachel to use the opportunity to throw a party at her house. Rachel declines, showing some good sense for once. Finn arrives in the choir room next, and Rachel wants him to hear her song. But for some bizarre reason, she has to hug him first. The song is horrendous. The tune is okay, but the lyrics are most definitely not. The song is called “My Headband,” and it pretty much just talks about Rachel’s accessory drawer. Finn prompts Rachel to realize that she doesn’t really have the life experience to write the kind of song she wants to write. She decides to take Puck up on his suggestion to throw the party, and she tells him to buy some wine coolers.

The party, which isn’t huge, just the New Directions kids plus Kurt and Blaine, doesn’t get off to a very good start. Rachel tries to set a two wine cooler limit to keep things at least somewhat under control, but the kids all think that’s lame. They think it’s so lame that some of them start to leave. In a desperate move to save her party, Rachel lets Puck break into her dads’ liquor cabinet. Not surprisingly, the party starts to get a little crazy. Finn and Kurt are the only ones who stay sober. Finn is designated driver, and Kurt doesn’t want to get to sloppy in front of Blaine. A very drunk Rachel starts hanging all over Finn, and Finn takes the opportunity to explain the different “types” of drunks to her, such as the happy drunk and the angry drunk. Rachel is the needy drunk. I would find this amusing if Finn didn’t focus only on female drunkenness stereotypes. Rachel is not happy to be called needy, and she decides it’s time for a game of spin the bottle.

When it’s Rachel’s turn to spin, the bottle lands on Blaine, and everybody in their drunkenness thinks that’s pretty darn funny. Rachel and Blaine kiss, and it turns from silliness to something more real. They kiss more than a bit too long, and poor Kurt is in hysterics. It’s something you have to look for carefully, but there’s a shot where you can see him in the background, and the face Chris Colfer made cracked me up. Rachel says she thinks she’s found her new duet partner, and she and Blaine sing a duet of “Don’t You Want Me” as the rest of the kids (minus Kurt) rock out. Lea Michele and Darren Criss really do sound good together- they should do Rachel/Blaine duets more often. Anyway, the next morning, Burt goes up to Kurt’s room to ask him a question and finds Blaine in Kurt’s bed. Even though Blaine is fully clothed, Burt still freaks out a bit. He claims that he’d have the same reaction to Finn bringing a girl home, but Kurt is still really angry. The argument doesn’t end quickly- in a later scene Kurt chides his father for not being able to provide the answers to him that he could provide to a straight son.

On Monday, all the kids are still hung over when they arrive at school, which sounds just a touch ridiculous to me, even though I’ve never been much of a drinker. Artie thinks the best cure for their hangovers is more alcohol- Bloody Marys, specifically. This leads into Artie singing “Blame it on the Alcohol,” the absolutely horrendous “song” performed by Jamie Foxx that was the inspiration for this episode’s title. Artie singing in the hallway turns into all the kids performing the song in a full-on production number in the auditorium. I think they’re trying to show Will their idea for the assembly. Poor, naive Will tells the kids he’s impressed with their acting ability- some of them looked believably drunk (imagine that!). Will says the song won’t work because it glorifies drinking, but the kids say there aren’t any songs about the dangers of alcohol. Being really obnoxious, they say they can’t find such songs because alcohol isn’t dangerous.

At lunch, Will starts complaining to Coach Beiste about the problems he’s been having with the glee kids. Beiste says Will needs to blow off a little steam and escape from his rather miserable life for a little while. She’s going to take him to her personal favorite place to blow off steam- a honky tonk bar called Rosalita’s Roadhouse. Will, in keeping with the theme (and title) of the episode has quite a lot to drink at Rosalitas. He also does a bit of singing, with Beiste as back-up. They perform “One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer.” “Glee” never plays about enforcing the theme of the week, do they? Beiste takes Will home, and they have a silly drunken conversation about how stupid Alcohol Awareness Week is before she leaves. Will then decides to grade tests while still drunk. That seemed like a dumb move to me. Although the kids will be happy. Apparently Will’s an easy grader when drunk. Then Will makes an even dumber move. He drunk dials Emma.

Rachel’s making some bad inebriated decisions, too. She’s moved on to the wine from her dads’ liquor cabinet, and while a little tipsy, she calls Blaine and asks him out. Blaine happens to be on a coffee run with Kurt when he receives the call, and he accepts the date. To say Kurt is not happy would be an understatement. Blaine says he thinks he might be bi, and Kurt belittles that, saying that’s what gay kids say in high school so they don’t get beat up. Considering all Kurt has gone through just for being himself, Blaine is really upset that Kurt isn’t supporting him in his quest to really figure out who he is. After the big date, Kurt decides to pay a visit to Rachel to “help her clean up” from the party. In addition to cleaning, Kurt warns her that Blaine is really gay, and if she goes through with this, he’ll be the first in a long line of guys she dates who later become secure with the fact that they are gay. Rachel says she had a good time on the date but that there wasn’t really much in the way of sparks. She’s convinced this will change, though, and she bets Kurt that she can ambush kiss Blaine without either of them being under the influence of beer goggles and the chemistry they felt at the party will still be there.

After his honky tonk night, Will shows up for work at McKinley hung over. He sees Emma and decides to apologize to her for the drunk dial. Emma didn’t receive it, which can’t possibly be good. Sue interjects in this conversation and says she’s close to having Will committed for his behavior. This obviously means that she was the accidental recipient of the drunk dial, but of course Will hasn’t realized that yet. It’s time for the Alcohol Awareness assembly, and the New Directions kids are nervous, especially Brittany. Brittany wants to do Ke$ha proud. Rachel gives out an incredibly gross sounding concoction of everything left form her dad’s liquor cabinet to calm their nerves. The performance starts out just fine, but then Brittany doesn’t feel well. Soon enough, all the kids are spewing gross blue-gray vomit.

To make matters worse, after the assembly, Sue plays Will’s drunk dial for the entire school. We don’t yet know Emma’s reaction yet, but she certainly looked shocked and a little upset. The whole mess lands Will in Figgins’ office, but instead of a lecture (and maybe a termination), Figgins congratulates Will. He’s happy that Will was able to stage such an effective anti-alcohol program. The rest of the McKinley students were so grossed out by what they saw on the stage that they aren’t drinking anymore. When will breaks the news to the kids, he tells them he’s not going to drink anymore, and he hopes they do the same, at least until Regionals. He gets everyone to sign a pledge that they will do their best not to drink, and if they do drink and get in trouble, they’ll call him.

Later at the coffee shop, Rachel puts her ambush kissing of Blaine plan into action. The kiss is nowhere near as satisfying for them as their first, drunken kiss, and Blaine realizes he is absolutely 100% gay. Kurt’s happy he has the possibility of dating Blaine back. Blaine’s happy he finally answered his questions about his sexuality definitively. And, surprisingly enough, Rachel is happy too. She thinks kissing a boy who turned out to be gay is excellent “living” material for her songwriting.

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