For the most part, this season so far has been a disappointing blend of schmaltzy dullness and crazy-bananas nonsense. Episode three, to its credit, has abandoned dullness TO THE MAX. This episode is not boring. It also makes less sense than Gary Busey’s dream journal. It makes less sense than Ikea’s assembly instructions for their build-it-yourself space station (FLËRG). It makes less sense than when people make a radio out of a potato (how do they DO that!?!?). This episode is bonkers and I kind of loved it for that. Bonkers is better than boring.
After last week’s Quinn-heavy emotions jamboree, which might as well have been titled “Remember how much you liked season one???” the writers apparently decided to loosen things up a bit by giving every single character a million weird things to do. There is a ton going on in this episode. Let’s break it down.
Mercedes shows up late to practice, because apparently (according to Santana) she was too busy eating one million sandwiches to look at her watch, which doesn’t fit on her enormous sandwich-swollen wrist anyway, so whatever. Then everyone stands around telling her she’s fat for a while. Then Mr. Schue, artificially enraged for the purposes of this episode, tells Mercedes she has an attitude problem and that “It’s not about eating [one million sandwiches], it’s about attitude.” Specifically, her attitude. Which is a problem. Oh no!
Next, Mercedes’s boyfriend (who’s like a gigantic Muppet Baby version of Shaq) is all, “You should stop being friends with your friends and focus all your energy on being mean to people for no reason. Then, and only then, will you get the lead in the musical and we can make out.” And Mercedes is like, “Great point, Big Baby Shaq! Let’s make out!” And they do. With a sandwich. Just kidding.
Cue the first song of the night, Jennifer Hudson’s “Spotlight,” sung fiercely and excellently by Mercedes as her audition for the musical. This number sets the tone for this episode’s aggressively manufactured (but completely warranted!) Mercedes versus Rachel rivalry. First, Mercedes walks creepily in a circle while Rachel and Mr. S have a conversation. Then, Rachel watches Mercedes sing and makes a face like the world’s saddest duck, clearly thinking, Oh, it’s so UNFAIR that Mercedes tried hard at her audition! God, sometimes Rachel is so entitled it makes me want to throw my TV in the garbage and then throw the garbage into the ocean and then throw the ocean into outer space and then throw outer space at Rachel.
Someone tells Mr. Schue that Mercedes did well in her audition, so naturally he immediately yoinks all the credit: “Well, I have been pushing her pretty hard at booty camp.” Except the directors are in a pickle, because Rachel also did well in her audition! So who is going to get the part of Maria!? It’s “the ultimate Maria-off!” proclaims someone with zero understanding of the word “ultimate.” (Also, it’s Rachel. Of course Rachel is going to get the part. They can pretend all day like they’re going to cast Mercedes but obviously they’re not going to cast Mercedes. EVER. Sigh.)
Mercedes yells at Mr. Schue for favoring Rachel and then kind of quits glee club, but not before shoehorning in a horrible ensemble number from Dreamgirls (“It’s All Over”), which does not pertain to her situation in any way. It is very awkward.
Mercedes and Rachel are both called back for a second audition, in which they sing “Out Here on My Own,” from Fame. Then Rachel makes that duck face again, and whispers, “She was better than me.” Yes, Rachel. She was better than you. Because she is better at singing than you. The directors announce that they have decided to double-cast the part of Maria, and Mercedes and Rachel will share it. Mercedes declines, because of dignity and her newly manufactured being mean to people. Rachel makes a bunch more faces and continues to act like a complete dick in the way Rachel does, which is to pretend she's not acting like a complete dick. Mercedes joins Shelby’s fake other glee club. The end.
Ha-ha, more stuff about fat people eating too much! Hey, did you guys know that large humans sometimes consume food? If you didn’t, don’t worry — it’s time for Will Schuester Makes a Snide Comment About Coach Beiste’s Lunch™! From last week’s episode, you might remember that Coach Beiste eats a whole chicken “at every meal.” In this episode, Coach Beiste is eating a bathtub of fettuccine because she’s “carbo-loading.” I’m sure next week she’ll be eating a chocolate fountain only instead of chocolate it’s lard and instead of a fountain it’s a cement truck. This concludes this week’s edition of Will Schuester Makes a Snide Comment About Coach Beiste’s Lunch™. Also, for the record, Coach Beiste is not fat. She is a cement truck. I love her.
Kurt is all perturbed because Brittany is achieving mild success in her rival presidential run, because everyone in this show feels entitled to automatically win everything they have ever wanted. (Like Kurt really gives a care about being class president. Please.) Kurt shares a tender moment with Blaine, and Blaine says that he supports him auditioning for the role of Tony, to which Blaine replies, “You always zig when I think you’re about to zag, and I love that about you.” Fun fact: “Zig” and “zag” are code for “do what I want.”
Brittany makes a big speech about how she wants to be school president because the world is run by boys. Then she sings Beyoncé’s “Run the World (Girls)” while dressed as a fly-fishing stripper. It is awesome.
Oops! Mike Chang forgot that he has Asian stereotypes instead of parents and accidentally got an A-minus in chemistry. “An A-minus is an Asian F,” says Overbearing Asian Father, “Now please excuse me — I have to go do martial arts and invent paper.” Overbearing Asian father tells Mike Chang that he must quit dancing because it’s stupid and distracting. In response, Mike Chang does a hilarious rage dance and auditions for the musical anyway (“Cool,” from West Side Story). When confronted by Overbearing Asian Mother, he says, “The only way I know how to feel special is when I [SPIN MOVE].” Overbearing Asian Mother, overcome with emotion from the spin move, reveals that she used to have dreams of dancing, too, but she gave them up. She agrees to speak to Overbearing Asian Father. Then Mike gets the part in the musical, and they all go build a high-speed railway together out of rice. Awwwww.
WILL AND EMMA
Oh my God. This. So, Will is all butt-hurt because he’s never met Emma’s parents. (“If you’re serious about you and me, why haven’t I met your parents?” “They’re dead.” “You spoke to them on the phone last night.” “I spoke to their ghosts last night. I have ghost parents.”) Even though she clearly doesn’t want him to meet them, he ignores her feelings and invites them to dinner without telling her, because he is a controlling jerk. Emma flips out and starts OCDing all over the place. It turns out that she is ashamed of her parents because they are “ginger supremacists,” which means they only want redheads to mate with other redheads. This, as we all know, is not a thing that exists. Then they make fun of Emma for having OCD. Will tells Emma’s parents that they’re racist and makes a very self-satisfied announcement that if HE had a child he wouldn’t care what color its hair was or even if it had OCD.
After dinner, Will finds Emma in prayer, weeping, at the side of the bed. He kneels and prays with her. Then the worst thing in the world happens, entitled Coldplay’s “Fix You” sung by Will Schuester, Noble Non-Racist. I don’t know what happened after this part, because I am dead now. Thank you, Glee writers, for closing one of your most racially insensitive episodes ever with an anti-racist message that completely trivializes racism. Impressive. Seriously.