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Glee: Rap Attack

This week we get a glimpse of Glee without the lying, grating insanity that is Terri. Not surprisingly, it’s so much better when she takes the night off! While this episode didn’t showcase top-notch vocals — there was too much Schue-rapping and too little Rachel-ballading — we did see the return of Emma, Sue in a zoot suit, and lots of Puck, who is, in a word, awesome. In an realistically high-school move, Puck decides to pursue Rachel, and they both have ulterior motives: Puck’s working out some guilt from his Jewish mother (“You’re no better than them!” she says to him — referring to the Nazis), and Rachel, of course, is trying to make Finn jealous. We also return to the epic Schue-Emma flirtation, though, as always, the storyline remains sadly static. We do get to see Emma in a wedding dress from hell, though, so that’s amusing.

Young MC, “Bust a Move”
Pizzazz: 9
Relevance: 5
Absurdity: 7
Yes, we know every single word to this song (not that we knew what the word “libido” meant when we were belting it in junior high), but we’re not going to let that cloud our judgment. Schue gives us our lesson of the week (“Sometimes things are so different that they seem they don’t go together, but the big difference between them is what makes them so great”) and proceeds to break out this 1989 rap hit, saying it’s his “personal favorite song,” which we find dubious. He’s not a bad rapper for a thirtysomething white guy, but we’re still confused as to why they can’t get someone on this show that can actually rhyme. Still, the performance is spirited, to say the least, with some impressive break dancing from Schue, and Finn on actual drums (actor Cory Monteith plays them in real life). Side note: When Schue delivers the line “A chick walks by and you wish you could sex her, but you’re standing on the wall like you were Poindexter,” he dances up to pregnant Quinn and pinches her cheeks, which we found creepily inappropriate.

Sisqó, “Thong Song”
Pizzazz: 7
Relevance: 9
Absurdity: 9
Another rap song for Schue: As Puck’s mom would say, “Oy vey.” Schue’s giving Emma dance lessons for her secret wedding to Ken, and this is the song Ken chooses for the first dance (“I want something I can shake my moneymaker to!”). In a horror-movie-like scenario, Emma wears her cousin’s ugly wedding dress so she can learn to dance with a train, and Schue serenades her with Sisqó’s 1999 hit. The song works well on a sweaty frat-house dance floor, but not so much alone in a room with a lady in a wedding dress. Again, Schue’s rapping is serviceable, if a little weird, and the dancing veers into sexy until the couple falls on top of each other. Why do they keep doing that? Clearly they're living la vida loca.

Christina Aguilera, “What a Girl Wants”
Pizzazz: 2
Relevance: 4
Absurdity: 8
In her only performance of the night, Rachel sings a few lines from this X-tina classic — into a hairbrush, looking in the mirror — before she and Puck proceed to awkwardly make out. We could have stood for a longer version, though we do enjoy Puck’s come-on: “We’re a couple of good-looking Jews. It’s natural.”


Neil Diamond, “Sweet Caroline”

Pizzazz: 6
Relevance: 6
Absurdity: 4
To win Rachel’s heart, Puck performs this “tribute to a musical Jewish icon,” with a guitar and the inevitable pop-up jazz band. Puck’s vocals are pleasantly gravelly, a welcome change from Finn’s, and his crooning wins us over (and Quinn as well, who gazes longingly at him throughout). Though this song inevitably conjures images of jocks at uptown bars, the kids’ enthusiastic chorus somewhat erases memories of beer spilling down our back at Dorrian’s (we were young, don’t ask).

Frederick Loewe and Alan Jay Lerner, “I Could Have Danced All Night”
[Editor's note: This song breakdown was added as an update. We apologize for the confusion!]
Pizzazz: 6
Relevance: 8
Absurdity: 9
It’s Emma’s debut! And she’s not bad, though her vocals are a little thin. This fantasy princess dance just gives us more of the same Emma/Schue sexual tension, which we’re growing a little bored with. The song, however, is completely appropriate, and her dress is pretty! Still, we could have used fewer Schue close-ups — his swirling face was making us a bit nauseous.

In November — there are two repeats coming up, ugh — Sue returns after her sad rejection by Rod (“I can’t be caged in, Sue!”), and finally, finally the baby-daddy plots are revealed.

Photo: Carin Baer/Fox