'Glee' Valentine's Day Episode Recap
by Joel Keller, posted Feb 8th 2011 9:30PM
['Glee' - 'Silly Love Songs']
If you've been reading my 'Glee' recaps this year and feel I'm a stick in the mud for wanting the show to get back to plot and characterization, then tonight's episode should tell you why I've felt this way.
'Silly Love Songs' strikes an interesting contrast to Sunday night's post-Super Bowl episode in that tonight was more about the kids and where they are in their stories than about big production numbers and Sue's cartoon evilness. It was also the funniest episode of the season, in no small part because we got some insight into the lives of two New Directions members we rarely get to hang out with for any length of time: Santana and Lauren.
And, while I'm an unabashed Jane Lynch fan, the fact that two of my favorite episodes of the season (the other being 'Special Education') didn't have her in them gets me a little worried.
Let's start by talking about Lauren Zizes. Ashley Fink -- read the fun interview fellow Squadder Jean Bentley did with her -- does a great job in playing Ashley not as a high school sad sack, but as a girl who feels as confident and desirable as anyone else at McKinley High.
"I'm not desperate, so if you really want this, you best come correct, because I spell woman ZIZES. And I need to be wooed," she tells Puck. She knows that after their "seven minutes of heaven" that he gave her when he asked her to join the glee club that a) he doesn't have game, and b) she can teach him a thing or two. She loves being in this position and loves making Puckerman beg for it.
Not even getting sung to works, especially if that song is Queen's 'Fatbottom Girls.' Just because Lauren is big doesn't mean she likes hearing songs about how big girls drive a guy wild. This is a pairing that has a lot more comic potential than Brittany and Artie does; Artie acts more like a parent to the child-like Brittany, and is still awestruck by the fact that he's dating someone who was until recently a Cheerio. Any "class" distinctions in the Lauren-Puck match up are all in Puck's mind. Lauren is so confident in herself that she doesn't care if Puck is on the football team, which makes Puck's pursuit of her all the more interesting to watch.
Then we have Santana, who everyone calls out at the beginning of the episode as the class bitch. "I just try to be really, really honest with people when I think they suck," she sobs to Brittany after being called out by the gleesters. But Santana also knows who she is, and the fact that she not only was able to figure out that Quinn and Finn were attracted to one another again and then figure out a great way to call them out on it shows that in a lot of ways, she's more interesting in her nefariousness than Sue is.
"I've had mono so many times it turned into stereo," she tells the school nurse. That's a pretty genius move ... she picks up mono from a random sick student (and gives him a thrill in the process) and kisses Finn at his Valentine's Day kissing booth. If both Finn and Quinn are sick (and Sam isn't) ... voila! You've got to give Santana credit for owning her bitchiness.
Now, as far as Quinn and Finn are concerned ... I'm not sure if I want them thrown together again. Yes, it feels like Glee Classic, because the series started with the two of them together. But both of them have changed -- Quinn more so than Finn -- and having them dating again seems like they're going back to the days when Quinn was the icy lead Cheerio and Finn was the nice but dumb star quarterback. Isn't it enough that Finn is full of false bravado from winning that zombie-fied championship?
It doesn't help that he's helping Quinn cheat on Sam. At least the writers had the good sense to have the two of them acknowledge the irony of the situation -- Finn broke up with Quinn and Rachel because they both had "relations" with Puck -- but they plow forward with this, anyway.
Maybe Santana did them a favor with her germs, because it put the brakes on the flirtation. "Nothing can happen between us until I figure out what's going on between me and Sam and you figure out what's going on between you and Rachel," she tells Finn nauseously. And putting the brakes on things isn't such a bad idea. It gives Finn a chance to be single at the height of his high school powers. And it gives Quinn a chance to see if things are real with Sam.
More fun stuff:
-- Glad to see Kurt integrated into the action a little more this week, though it's odd to suddenly see him (and by extension, Mercedes) be slumber party buddies with Rachel, of all people now that he's away from McKinley.
-- You knew that Blaine had a thing for someone other than Kurt. It's an age-old TV trope: The cute couple never gets together because the series regular's object of desire is oblivious. If Kurt really liked him, he should have warned Blaine that getting the Warblers to sing Robin Thicke's 'When I Get You Alone' to a guy who's folding pants at the Gap might be construed as a little creepy.
-- By the way, that Gap performance had to have been product placement, don't you think? It was filmed in an actual store, with Gap signs everywhere.
-- Give Kurt credit for telling Blaine exactly how he felt, and give Blaine credit for saying that he's so bad at romance that "I don't want to screw this (their friendship) up." So right now, Kurt and Blaine are taking things as slow as Lauren and Puck.
-- How long will Rachel stay with the notion that she'll be at her best creatively as long as she's single? She still loves Finn so ... next week?
-- Hopefully Quinn, Santana and Brittany will be out of the Cheerios for awhile; they look much better out of that infernal uniform, hair pulled back in a ponytail.
-- Two Mike Chang! moments: His dance during his 'P.Y.T.' duet with Artie (now that's how you use the Michael Jackson catalog!), and Tina's sobs as she sings 'My Funny Valentine' to him. Hopefully, they were happy sobs, not "Oh my God, I'm stuck with Mike Chang and Artie's with Brittany!" sobs.
So, as you can see, 'Glee' has real charm and laugh-out-loud humor when Brennan, Murphy and Falchuk take the time to live with their characters rather than just write dialogue to bridge the gap between production numbers. Are we ever going to see the show do episodes like this every week? Probably not. I just wish that they do them more often than one out of every four or five. And I hope that Sue comes back down to earth so that I can enjoy episodes with her in them again.
'Glee' airs Tuesdays at 8PM ET on FOX.
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Watch the full episode here: