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'Glee' Season 2, Episode 15 Recap

by Joel Keller, posted Mar 9th 2011 12:30AM
Gwenyth Paltrow and Matthew Morrison in 'Glee' - 'Sexy'
['Glee' - 'Sexy']

If show business were fair, Gwyneth Paltrow would be a regular cast member of 'Glee' instead of one of those pesky A-list movie stars.

She really does fit very well within the fabric of the series, and her second appearance tonight as Holly Holliday enforced what was so enjoyable about Paltrow's first guest spot: She went for broke with her singing and dancing, and was more than capable of keeping up with the rapid and quirky goings-on. In fact, Holly would be my favorite character on the show if she was on more often.

Tonight's episode had a bit of a split personality. The first half felt like what 'Glee' has become: music piled on top of goofiness piled on top of more music. But the second half felt like what 'Glee' used to be: a story about a bunch of outcast kids -- and their almost-as-outcast teacher -- struggling to figure things out at McKinley High.

A lot of times, when a big-name star returns to a series to reprise her well-regarded role, the second time around isn't as good as the first. But from the minute Holly barged in on Emma's celibacy discussion with Will and got into a heated discussion with Emma about the need for sex ed in high school, it was pretty apparent that Gwenyth would do a great job again.

Of course, the premise that Holly needed to teach the already-promiscuous members of the glee club about sex was a a big whopper to buy. Sure, you can believe that Brittany thinks that a stork nest outside her window means that a baby is on the way... but it's Brittany. Does Mercedes really think that cucumbers give people AIDS? It almost feels like the person at McKinley who needs Holly's help the most is Emma.


By the way, can I tell you how much of a hoot it was to see the brief interactions between Paltrow and John Stamos as Carl begs Holly to help him with his new, uptight, celibate wife? That's an acting combo you could never imagine you'd see in a million years, but it seemed to work great, as the horrified look on Carl's face as Emma and the rest of the "celibacy club" sang "Afternoon Delight" told you all you needed to know about life with Emma Pillsbury.

"It's about eating dessert in the afternoon!" Emma says after Holly tells her it's about "coming home for a nooner." Heck, even the gleesters knew what the song was about. Who said they needed sex education?

Paltrow's rendition of Joan Jett's 'Do You Wanna Touch Me? (Oh Yeah!)' didn't quite come up to the inspired level of her cover of Cee Lo's 'Forget You,' but at least it had more oomph than many of the cast's recent covers. Granted, not as much oomph as Jett herself may have given it, but you have to realize we're still on 'Glee' here.

The better performance was later, and more in Gwenyth's wheelhouse, when she "got her Stevie Nicks on" to help Santana communicate her feelings to Brittany via the Fleetwood Mac classic 'Landslide.' In fact, there was a lot in that performance to like; for one, it happened to be one of the more touching performances I've seen in the history of the series. There was something at stake there -- Santana finally coming to terms with how she really feels -- and it showed on the faces of both Naya Rivera and Heather Morris. In fact, my wife made a really good observation about Rivera: the hard edge she usually has to her facial expressions melted away from that scene forward.

But the second half of the episode was full of really satisfying emotional pay-offs, set up by the strands of plot that fit between the musical numbers of the first half. We had Finn and Quinn getting together, Puck telling Lauren that he really wants to do right by her (though a sex tape rocking the school would have been interesting to see), Emma realizing that some lingering feelings for Will were getting in the way of her marriage to Carl, and Holly telling Will that she might want to try a relationship, after all.

I'll get to that last bit in a second. I purposely left out "the talk" Burt had with Kurt because it was so surprisingly mature. But, then again, so is Kurt. He's the only one who didn't have cartoonish notions of what sex is; he watches porn and gets depressed. Where's the romance? Good for Blaine, who heard all of that -- and saw Kurt's painful version of 'sexy' -- for getting Burt involved. But also good for Burt to be very realistic about the nature of a relationship between two guys -- guys of every stripe are all basically pigs, after all -- and to tell Kurt to make sure he's aware of his and his partner's emotions. That Burt keeps surprising us, doesn't he?

Speaking of kudos, it was great to see Santana tell Brit -- and herself -- the truth for once. It was one of the more emotionally-resonant non-Kurt scenes the show has ever had. And even though Santana isn't Kurt, and guys think hot lesbians are cool, her fear of being mocked behind her back is real. But why won't Brit Brit break up with Artie? "It's not right; I can't break up with him," she tells Santana. Is it because he's in a wheelchair? Or does she really love him? Another question: What is the meaning of this line by Santana: "Whoever thought that being fluid meant that you could be so stuck?"

As for Holly wanting to give a relationship with Will a try, well, at least it gives the writers every excuse in the world to bring Paltrow back. At this rate, she'll be on more than Jessalyn Gilsig, who is still considered a cast member. This Emma thing is going to be a problem, though, and Holly's clue to Will is going to bite the both of them in the butt soon. But, any excuse to bring Gwenyth back is a good one for me.

More fun stuff:

-- Will and Holly's tango to 'Kiss' was... interesting. It shows the chemistry Paltrow and Matthew Morrison have together.

-- Why bother having Jane Lynch around if you're only going to have Sue in one scene, where she pumps Blaine and Kurt for information? All it really did was set up the plot where Kurt wonders about sex.

-- Not sure how the Warblers did it, but they made the Neon Trees song 'Animal' more passionless than it already was.

-- Holly: "Remember. When you sleep with someone, you're with everyone they've been with. And everyone's got a random." That line can stand on its own, without comment.

'Glee' airs Tuesdays at 8PM ET on FOX.

Read AOL Music's recap of 'Sexy.'


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17 Comments

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angela

"Another question: What is the meaning of this line by Santana: "Whoever thought that being fluid meant that you could be so stuck?""
I took that to mean that Brittany has gotten with all the guys at McKinley and probably some girls, and that should mean that she would have no qualms about Santana's request.

March 18 2011 at 11:48 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
amhollitz

I also liked this episode for many of the reasons mentioned above. But I felt some scenes kinda' backpeddled on character development.

For example, I never pegged Kurt as being sexually naieve or afraid of having "the sex-talk" with his dad. In the episode just prior to this, when Burt lectures Kurt on respecting the "house rules" when having boys spend the night, Kurt accepted his dad's ruling, but made the excellent point that he wished Burt would get educated on the subject of gay relationships, they could both speak openly if Kurt had any questions.

My wishlist for this show grows with every episode:

When are we going to meet Rachel's dad's? Why can't they serve as an example of gays in a committed relationship with strong family values? They make a perfect counter balance to the "all men, especially gay men, are in it for the sex".

Sue is supposed to be a manipulative genius, hell-bent on hurting Will Schuester even at the expense of hurting the Glee kids. So when she disposed of Aural Intensity's director by pushing him down the stairs, why would Sue's first thought be focused on taking over AI? Wouldn't it have been more devlish for Sue to clear the way for Holly to take over as AI's coach? Holly made mention in her first appearence that as a substitute teacher vying for a permanent/long-term position, she had to jump at any opportunity that came her way. This would have been a perfect set-up for Sue to hurt Will and the Glee kids, especially since everyone loves Holly.

March 11 2011 at 12:06 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Sean

I never thought this to be a family show, but whatever floats your family's boat...that would cause a lot of awkward moments I would think. Though my entire family watches it, we're all older than teens.

March 10 2011 at 9:00 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Debbie Bitz

Ummm... huh

March 09 2011 at 7:40 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Bug

Maybe the people who enjoyed watching this episode of a family show were not watching it with their father.

March 09 2011 at 2:37 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Sean

I enjoy Paltrow's appearances like crazy. We need a slightly insane character to balance out the drama. Whenever she comes in, it's to challenge the glee club norm. What she brings is rationality, despite her seemingly insane ramblings. Gotta love her teaching methods. Nothing beats her Mary Todd Lincoln! And I love her rendition of "Landslide." It sounded better than the Dixie Chicks. I would love to hear Santana sing more too. She has the best voice for the songs they sing. Lea Michele has the best voice but for the songs, it's too dramatic and theatrical. She needs to stick to show tunes. The rest of the songs on this episode were kind of duds, but still good. The Warblers' "Animal" was not very good, compared to the rest of their songs. I always can't wait for their renditions.

Like the others said, fluidity is the absence of a defined sexuality--the ability to move freely from gender to gender. Sex and love are interchangeable, which puts Brit's questionable love for Artie and Santana in the right. She feels the same about both of them. The lust, love, and best friend bonds are are interchangeable for those two with her. Clearly she and Santana's relationship was always fluid, just never really admitting the feelings towards each other. I loved that. It dealt with something that is never, EVER dealt with in the media. And it IS something that's real. Sexual fluidity is something that comes up in some Shakespeare analyses. I'm happy that a TV show finally brought this concept into the mainstream public. Unfortunately not everyone will understand it. It's a difficult concept to grasp for many people who've only know 100% straight or 100% gay their whole lives, let alone the highly ignored bisexuality, which often both gays and straights declare as mythical and only gateway to the other side.

And, Christina, I agree. This has been the best episode in a long time. It was very solid. Every time Burt is on, it's going to be a fantastic scene.

I loved everything about this episode. And I love that this means Holly will return more often, hopefully.

March 09 2011 at 10:37 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
Welcome Jennifer

The "Landslide" song heard last night was not the Fleetwood Mac version, but The Dixie Chicks' cover of Landslide.

March 09 2011 at 9:06 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to Welcome Jennifer's comment
Joel

What's the indicator that it was a cover of a cover? The fact that three women were harmonizing? Anyway, I figured since Holly said she was "getting her Stevie Nicks on" that she was also referring to the original.

March 09 2011 at 11:37 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Christina Draper

Jennifer, i disagree. Why would Paltrow's character say she was getting her stevie nicks on, if they were doing the cover of the cover?

and I am with Joe, does it really matter? Landslide IS Fleetwood Mac...period...glad to see that the producers got that, and gave Paltrow that line, as Opposed to..."Getting my Dixie Chicks on"

March 09 2011 at 2:58 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Christina Draper

I thought this episode was the best in a long time. I am not a huge Paltrow fan, but I love her on this show. She brings a sexy fun to the show, and surprisingly she and Morrison have a lot of chemistry. I enjoy the idea that have some sort of future.

"Landslide" is one of my favorite Fleetwood Mac songs, and they three ladies did it justice, they really did. I was actually moved to tears for some reason...

But the one thing I absolutely loved was Burt's talk with Kurt. Having a gay son, which I do, brings about a different set of things to talk about when it comes to sex. My husband and I did our research, and sat our son down...and how refreshing too see that done on TV. It was well done,and mature. Burt is the rockingest dad on TV...

Santana and Brti's scene by the lockers was wonderful as well. That was also handled with maturity and thoughtfulness, and I have to say Brit surprised me with her maturity, honesty and simple kindness.

Wonderful episode, hope we have more like it..

March 09 2011 at 6:50 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
Kerokerokeroppi06

What Naya meant that by that comment was in finally accepting her feelings for Brittany, it also made her realize that her sexuality was not confined to boys only; that she was open to the possibility to girls because she was in love with Brittany. She is doesn't want to be labeled as gay or bisexual and that her sexuality is fluid, able to move freely through the spectrum of homosexuality to heterosexuality and all the grey areas in between.

March 09 2011 at 3:38 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
OnlyTheLostBoys

" Does Mercedes really think that cucumbers give people AIDS? "

Well... she did think Broccoli was a toilet brush, so...

March 09 2011 at 3:24 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to OnlyTheLostBoys's comment
Mandy

I like that they went back to the fact that Finn thought he got Quinn pregnant because of the hot tub.

March 09 2011 at 2:32 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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