This week’s episode of Glee had an apt title, since the show could be classed as one of my guilty pleasures, particularly when it’s bad.
Luckily for me, this week’s episode was very, very good. Why did I love it so? Because, and I’ve said this before, I love when Glee focuses on friendships, and that’s exactly what it did in Guilty Pleasures.
Yes, the episode may have been about revealing that you like the Spice Girls or Barry Manilow or have a boyfriend pillow, but what it was really about was how you can be vulnerable and truthful in true friendships.
At McKinley, with Mr Schue ill (nice one Glee for getting Sam to tease Tina about the whole Vaporub incident), Blaine and Sam decided to make this week’s theme guilty pleasures. Cue Wham’s Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go (the band was Blaine’s guilty pleasure) complete with tiny shorts, day-glo colours and a whole lot of fun and bouncing around.
In the men’s changing room at McKinley Sam pulled Blaine to one side to tell him about a long-held secret that was life-changing. Blaine, holding out hope like people with crushes do, asked Sam if he was attracted to him. Negative. Instead, Sam’s guilty pleasure was Barry Manilow, and Blaine encouraged him to “come out”. And come out he did, with a ruffled jacket and a rendition of Copacabana that had New Directions on their feet and playing all the parts. And Sam was made more comfortable in his love for Manilow when the other glee clubbers revealed they too were Fanilows.
Sam decided to return the favour, telling Blaine he knew he hadn’t been truthful about Wham being his guilty pleasure. And so Blaine sat at a piano in the auditorium singing Against All Odds (Take a Look at Me Now), a song on the surface about Kurt, but really about Blaine’s crush on Sam – something some of the glee club seemed to clock on to (Artie, Tina, Kitty). This is one of those times when Glee picks a song that isn’t really lyrically appropriate, since the lyrics and meaning of Against All Odds are a little heavy for a crush, but I enjoyed the rest of the episode so much that I’ll forgive this blip.
Sam confronted Blaine, revealing he’d known about Blaine’s crush for ages, and then became one of my favourite people in the world by saying it didn’t matter, it changed nothing between them, it didn’t freak him out, and that he was flattered. This is a friendship for the ages people, and I loved that Glee continues to show that a straight guy and a gay guy can be friends. It all ended perfectly, with a great joke, and I think Glee should be applauded for showing a crush in a positive light, and not the freaky Tina/Blaine light.
Fondue for Two was back, with Brittany calling in Kitty after telling the latter she was a complete bitch. Kitty revealed her guilty pleasure was the Spice Girls (well, Brittany revealed it for her), which led to Tina, Kitty, Brittany, Marley and Unique performing Wannabe, which is a song about friendship. Hate it all you like, but its message is a good one. And the performance saw Artie start to develop a crush on Kitty. I might like where that’s going.
Finally at McKinley, Jake decided his guilty pleasure performance was going to be a song by Chris Brown. This drew horror from the ladies of New Directions, who objected immediately, telling Jake that Brown is a mysogynistic, woman beating son of a gun. I agree. Glee can be heavy handed in its messaging, and it might have been in this case, but it gave Jake a few decent arguments with which to fight back – namely that liking someone’s music doesn’t mean you like them, and that the glee club has sung plenty of songs before that are from artists who can’t exactly be called role models. Still, I was on the side of the girls here, and while it’s not for Glee to be preaching about Chris Brown and his behaviour, I’m behind them on this. This little album review here sums up perfectly my feelings about Chris Brown. (And then we got to see Jake dance, and he’s good and I liked that.)
Meanwhile in New York Santana had moved back in with Kurt and Rachel, who was single after Brody broke up with her and moved out. Only Rachel was blissfully unaware that Brody was a gigolo, something Kurt had told Santana to keep quiet about, at least until Rachel had her audition for Funny Girl. Santana, though, couldn’t keep her mouth shut when Rachel started talking about how she and Brody would get back together, and spilled the beans.
Thus Rachel confronted Brody at NYADA, and it all got a bit messy, and Rachel confessed she sort of used Brody to try and get over Finn, and then they sang Creep by Radiohead. It’s a great song, but it just didn’t fit in this episode of Glee, or maybe in Glee at all. Still, Rachel is now free of Brody and went back to the loft, where she, Kurt and Santana danced around to Mamma Mia while the New Directions guys did the same thing (only they were dressed in white and gold and had platforms and everything) and it was all fun and great and I loved it.
Kurt has a boyfriend arm. This was both funny and heartwrenching. Kurt’s voiceover told us that his life would be over if anyone found out, but when Santana and Rachel did, Kurt’s explanation that it felt good and made him feel less lonely was enough to win them over, and there was a surprising, but welcome, lack of mocking.
Oh, and Sam’s macaroni art was great too.