The Moth Chase

Elevating the Art of Procrastanalysis – Academics wasting time on pop culture

Just Madge-ical!

with 3 comments

Amazing episode!  Finally, Glee has truly found itself again, taking me back to the glory of the “Single Ladies” episode!  We had real emotion and even some complexity of character development (Shu realizing what a dick he was last week, sinking even lower into dick-dom and then crawling his way back out, Jesse’s seeming true love for Rachel, Emma working through real issues and Sue – oh my goodness, Sue – continuing the layers of broken little girl trapped in giant crazy lady body!) and, most importantly, phenomenal musical numbers!  But what I really loved last night was the further admission of the show that it is supposed to be ludicrous, not realistic – Sue’s admission that Madonna makes her feel powerful “even in voiceover” draws attention to the show’s form; Finn’s pregnancy appears and disappears depending on the musical number; and where, oh where, did they get that full choir to help them with Like a Prayer at the end (which, argh, my dvr cut off because Idol had gone over but, thank God, I managed to get on Hulu this morning!).  In the first half of the season, they would try to explain inconsistencies, make the fact that kids were singing in the hallway make sense, but now they’ve embraced not only the form of the musical, but also an almost absurdist style that actually makes the show much better!

And I don’t think it’s just because I love Madonna…although when Sue said she was 6 when True Blue came out and my husband responded, oh now we can figure out how old she is, I did burst out laughing and say, “I was 8 when True Blue came out; that makes Sue 2 years younger than me – it’s a joke” long before Kurt and Mercedes did the math.  I grew up with Madonna.  At 11 years old I wore black lace gloves to my family’s “moving to Canada” immigration party.  We have family photos of me in an adorable little-girl dress and this amazingly trashy Madonna hand-wear.  In high school, I did my 11th grade drama class mime to “Live to Tell,” packing my imaginary suitcase slowly as I mime-walked my runaway.  Don’t even get me started on the Blond Ambition tour’s impact on my teenage hormonal states!  I’m just saying, for Glee’s comeback to definitively happen on a Madonna episode will keep me loyal to this show long after it’s tanked out again.

But to the story – two key plot developments happen around “Like a Virgin” and “Vogue”.  In the first storyline, Rachel, Emma and Finn face losing their virginity.  The ladies can’t go through with it (although Rachel pretends she did), and the gentleman does (and pretends he doesn’t).  It was heartbreaking to watch each, especially Finn.  But in the end, it’s Shu’s redemption of himself by making a statement not only for mental health, but also for work insurance coverage of mental health (sometimes I just love the politics of this show).  It’s an interesting path to go down, taking Emma’s quirks seriously in terms of health issues, and I like it.  It’s another example of how the show plays with a blend of comedy and seriousness – and I’m curious to see what Emma will be like once she does find some healing?

Speaking of Emma, the pamphlets in her office were amazing: “Loose,” “Radon is the silent killer,” “Help I’m in love with my stepdad” and my favourite, “Yuck, my privates”.

In the Vogue storyline, we learn why Kurt and Mercedes made the video we all saw last week, adding even more humour to Kurt’s reaction to Sue’s, “Will Shuster, I hate you” and a more touching element to Sue’s flicking away of the hand fixing her hair.  I also liked seeing my favourite of the kids see Shu for who he is last night.  And I loved their pro-active way of getting the solos we’ve all wanted them to have!  Kurt’s line, “Mercedes is black, I’m gay – we make culture” was perfect, but even more so, it was wonderful to hear Mercedes launch the complaint we’ve all voiced over the whole season: it’s maddening that the best voice in the choir only gets pulled in at the end of each number to wail on the high notes.  Pair their talent with what turned out to be amazing cheerleading routines (I for one would love to see more of that crazy stilt action!), and we’re entering new Glee territory here that I think is going to be a lot of fun!

Other highlights – I loved all the Madonna costumes in the hallway during the mash up number…she really has been an amazing trend setter throughout her career.  Brittney, as always, had me in stitches, especially with her deadpan comment, “When I pulled my hamstring I went to a misogynist”.  Sue’s parents were famous Nazi hunters?  Whuck?!  Where do they come up with that stuff!?  Jesse’s promise to be “fastidiously groomed” made me realize times, they have a changed for boys since I was in high school.  Oh, and his request to Rachel to come out of the bathroom so “we can talk, or at least sing about it” was another moment of the show’s self awareness that I thought was fantastic.

And finally – did anyone else notice as Jesse took off Rachel’s little negligee cape (that was amazing!) that there was a visually bleeped out section on her shoulder?  I think our sweet little Rachel has a tattoo in real life…perhaps our good girl is actually a bad girl at heart!

Let me know what you thought, friends!  Did this episode rock for you as much as it did for me?  What were your favourite moments?

xoxo
Natalie

Written by themothchase

April 21, 2010 at 10:15 am

Posted in Glee

Tagged with ,

3 Responses

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  1. Can we talk meta-narrative briefly? Madonna is a cultural icon, particularly of the postmodern- re-invention-all-identity-is-constructed (ala Judith Butler) sort, but I’m not at all sure that she is a clear-cut symbol of female empowerment. One could argue that her self-commodification fuels the objectification of other women. I see this tension in the episode. One minute Tina (described as “over the edge”) is telling Artie her “feminism will cut you in half like a righteous blade of equality”, and the next minute post apology, she is ready to “get up on this”? Is it really so easy to “make it right” and for the boys to “show them [girls] we get how it feels”? The smartest line of the night (other than the witty barbs) was Finn saying that Puck likes to be a guy because “it’s easy to be a dude” – – an arrow in the direction of systemic privilege.

    Granted, one musical show can’t solve misogyny single-handedly (or single-songedly), but I also wish it wouldn’t make the answer seem easier than it probably is.

    Ok, enough heavy theory, I’m going to hulu to watch the choir back-up for “like a prayer” and wonder if the current pope would also have banned the original video.

    liz

    April 21, 2010 at 7:44 pm

  2. I loved the episode, but then I can’t imagine what they could have done to make me NOT like a Madonna-themed show. The juxtapositions of the three virgins sequence made me a nervous at first because I’m thinking, wait, two of these couples are high school kids! I didn’t like that the treatment of the adult couple and the kids were indistinguishable, and I think they missed an opportunity here to make some kind of illuminating or editorial comment on the differences. And, being easily led, I didn’t see the only-a-fantasy snap coming. I did like how Rachel didn’t and said she did and Finn did and said he didn’t. Felt sad to see the poignant shot of Finn’s face as he said he “felt nothing because it meant nothing.”

    Valerie

    April 21, 2010 at 10:37 pm

  3. The Like a Virgin number was a great song, with everybody singing (though you could barely hear Emma over Rachel).

    I also think the show embracing the self-referential humor is great. Its done enough where it works. If they keep it and don’t make it too serious than it will work.

    Similar to Scrubs, which was a realistic show with the craziness all imagined in JD’s head. Once the show started letting the craziness be whats actually happening (last couple seasons) the humor went downhill.

    One last thing, this episode reminded me of the SNL skit where Zack Efron was a guest and they parodied High School Musical (“in college when I’m upset and try to sing, people don’t just break out in synchronized dance…they stare and think I’m weird”)…check it out since it was hilarious.

    Dozenz

    April 22, 2010 at 10:30 am


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