"Glee" Recap - Season 2, Episode 5: The Rocky Horror Glee Show
The fifth episode (10/26) of Glee's second season tackles the cult classic, "Rocky Horror Picture Show," with mixed results. On the one hand, the film-within-a-play-within-a-TV show opening was kind of brilliant, and Santana's lips (er, voice) did justice to "Science Fiction Double Feature" and then some. On the other hand, Will stepped over the douche line into major creep territory, and Sue wasn't evil so much as unsettlingly reasonable, which was disappointing. At least Mercedes got her Tim Curry on - and man, did she bring it.
This episode was once again driven by Will's determination to bust up Emma and Dr. Carl, like any of us care. In fact, unless the show runners want to pit Will against the hot dentist in a version of "The Girl is Mine," maybe let's drop that entire issue? But anyway, Will discovers that, thanks to Dr. Carl's adventurous influence, Emma has a thing for "Rocky Horror," so he gets the Glee kids to put on a production of the show as a way to manipulate time with his ex-flame.
But let's get to the important stuff: who played whom in the remake? Rachel instantly scooped up the obvious Janet and Brad roles for herself and Finn; Tina, Brittany, Santana and Quinn double up on Magenta and Columbia; defying stereotype, Kurt eschews the transfabulous Dr. Frank-N-Furter role, taking Riff-Raff instead; and embracing all that is beautiful about stereotypes, we get Sam in a tight, gold bikini as Rocky Horror, the dimwitted, surfer hunk "creature." Oh yeah, and Artie plays the guy in the wheelchair -- that was almost too much of a stereotype to notice.
But then the adults get involved and the casting goes weird. Since Puck's still in juvie, there's no one to take on the Tim Curry role, so Dr. Carl straps on the leather and rips it up as Meat Loaf's Eddie-the-'50s-biker-crooner. Yeah, we know, confusing. But Dr. Carl refuses to to go full trannie, so despite the fact that Sue wrote Eddie out of the script, he's bringing it back.
Oh right, Sue. Cue some cameos by Meat Loaf and Barry Bostwick (the original Brad, although you'd have had to be looking for it because wow, he got old), and Sue gets a visit from these two Machiavellian TV news show producers (we think?) who want her to pretend to be on-board with the school play as a ruse to gather intel for an on-air expose.
Unfortunately, Sue's reasoning behind objecting to the play is so ... well, reasonable. Apart from the occasional barb and an admittedly brilliant rant about the importance of fear at Halloween, Sue doesn't really live up to our expectations in the "memorable quotes" department.
So who plays Frank-N-Furter? Well, in a misguided burst of vocal confidence, Mike volunteers, but his parents quash that once they get wind of the script, so Mercedes steps in and rips the lid off "Sweet Transvestite," which was perhaps the best part of the entire show.
But back to the weird casting. Will basically steals Sam's role so he can play Rocky, the buffed out frankenhunk, and maybe upstage Dr. Carl. Never mind the fact that this would entail him getting freaky onstage with his students, but what part of "Glee club is for the kids" doesn't he seem to get? Predictably, he uses this as ruse to mack on Emma when he asks her to help him rehearse "Toucha" with him.
There's also a side plot about male body dysmorphia. Finn taps into some wracking insecurity about his body once he gets wind of the fact that he'll be in his tightie whities for most of the production. He tackles this by flashing the school in his Brad costume and almost gets himself suspended. (So Finn, the problem there was with your old, saggy boxers, not the bod.) Then, after losing the Rocky part, Sam goes from feeling "ab-ulous" to standing in front of the mirror plucking at non-existent flab like a scene from a Lifetime Movie of the Week on eating disorders, way to go Will. It's a nice twist on the usual female body image issues, but it was also kind of a downer.
Speaking of downers, if you're wondering about what Emma addressed in the episode's first five minutes -- whether "Rocky Horror" is too "risque" for high school kids -- the writers had the teachers themselves write all those bits out. So, sadly, no orgy action. Le drag.
Also, what was up with those strangely uptight and inconsistent rewrites on the lyrics? They changed things like "heavy petting" to "heavy sweating," "transsexual" to "sin-sational" and "seat wetting" to "bad fretting," but kept "transvestite" and added a line about Sam's "nuttage." Not getting that at all.
Apart from Mercedes' glorious turn as Dr. Frank-N-Furter, tonight's most fun came from the wacky news anchors -- Rod Remington and Andrea Carmichael -- and a throwaway line about "the zoo's first Unitarian chimp wedding in six years." Oh, and the close-up of the glowing, bat-infested pumpkin that Sue carved into a giant self-portrait was classic.
But to wrap up, Dr. Carl publicly busts Will for "using [the arts] to pick up other guys' chicks" and Will gets a sneak peak at Sue's (disturbingly reasonable) criticism of the school play. That and a little tete-a-tete with Principal Figgins helps Will get in touch with his "murky" motives, so he cancels the play, apologizes to Emma and gives his students a mind-numbingly earnest speech that we'd tell you about, but thankfully the medication kicked in and we've actually forgotten the entire thing.
And that's what you missed!
"Science Fiction Double Feature" (Santana) Lip-smacking good.
"There's A Light (Over at the Frankenstein Place)" (Rachel and Finn w/ Gleeks on backup) It was pretty faithful to the original vibe, but we're just getting really tired of Rachel's face.
"Damn it, Janet" (Rachel/Finn/assorted Gleeks) Again, the annoyance formerly known as Rachel almost ruined this extremely faithful rendition, but Finn, Mercedes, Kurt and Quinn's antics as (respectively) Brad, Columbia, Riff-Raff and Magenta saved the day.
"Hot Patootie -- Bless My Soul" (Dr. Carl) Pretty good, actually. Sure, he's no Meat Loaf, but who is?
"Sweet Transvestite" (Mercedes) We've decided to forgive her for that cheesy "Don't dream it -- believe it" comment, and just focus on the positive. If this number is any indication, Mercedes has ditched the American Idol pseudo-R&B crap and tapped into her very own inner soul diva.
"Touch a Touch a Touch a Touch Me" (Emma) To be fair, Emma's an amazing Janet and Will does have a pretty "healthy" upper body, but the only part of this number that didn't make us want to hurl was Brittany and Santana as the two little gremlins peeking in the classroom window.
"Time Warp" (Gleeks) Kurt was fabulous as Riff-Raff. Apart from that, are we the only ones wondering how the allegedly budget conscious McKinley High can always afford to put on last-minute shows just for themselves with production values that make Broadway look like community theater in Dubuque?
Brittany, on her planned Halloween costume: "I'm going as a peanut allergy."
Mercedes, after Rachel tells her and the other girls that sharing roles will help preserve their voices: "I'd like to preserve you. In a jar. In my basement."
Finn: "I have no idea what's going on in this script, and it's not in a cool, "Inception" kind of way."
Sam, on his abs of steel: "You could cut glass with these babies."
And on his rigid diet and exercise regime: "Ain't no carpool lane to sexy."
And about his gold bikini: "Is there any way I could wear some gold board shorts instead? These are really short and I'm afraid I'm going to show off some nuttage."
Becky, Sue's adorable, blond henchman, after Will runs out of Halloween candy: "Get me some chocolate or I will cut you."
And, as promised, Sue's aforementioned brilliant Halloween rant: "You know, Halloween is fast approaching -- the day when parents encourage little boys to dress like little girls, and little girls to dress like whores, and go door-to-door browbeating hardworking Americans into giving them free food. Well, you know what, Western Ohio? We've lost the true meaning of Halloween -- fear. Halloween is that magical day of the year when a child is told their grandmother's a demon who's been feeding them rat casseroles with a crunchy garnish of their own scabs. Children must know fear. Without it, they won't know how to behave. They'll try frenching grizzly bears and consider living in Florida. So, moms? Skip trick-or-treating this year, and instead sit your little toddler down and explain that Daddy's a hungry zombie, and before he went out to sharpen his pitch fork, he whispered to Mommy that you look delicious."