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Glee Recap: Thank You for Being My Friend

GLEE: Rachel (Lea Michele, R) talks to Quinn (Dianna Agron, L) in the "Hold on to Sixteen" episode of GLEE airing Tuesday, Dec. 6 (8:00-9:00 PM Et/PT) on FOX. ©2011 Fox Broadcasting Co. Cr: Adam Rose/FOX

Okay, so, to be clear, they’ve basically written Mr. Schue out of the show, right? He pops up once in a while to do a cool-dad finger-dance or a creepy nod of approval, just to make sure you know the kids aren’t going to go all Lord of the Flies on each other (ALTHOUGH THAT WOULD BE A GREAT EPISODE), but I haven’t heard that dude say more than six lines all season. Not that I’m complaining, since he is an oily monster.

Anyway, this episode opens with Quinn wandering around school in a sort of Blossom/Brenda Walsh bucket-hat combo, spreading rumors about Shelby and Puck’s creepy sexual intercourse affair. Rachel takes this opportunity to redeem her character (very slightly!) by pointing out that if Quinn gets Shelby fired, then Beth will definitely become a baby-hobo forced to ride the rails and eat garbage (which is difficult with baby teeth!). Quinn makes thoughtful-face, but you know inside she doesn’t give a shit because she is a terrible person.

Over at New Directions rehearsal, everyone is freaked out because it’s sectionals time, but Rachel got suspended so they don’t have enough people to qualify or something. “We need Sam Evans,” says somebody so unmemorable that it can only have been Finn. (Translation, BTW: “Chord Overstreet needs a job.”) Also, if I can digress for one second, why must they call it “sectionals”? I spent twelve years in choir/glee club, and where I come from, “sectionals” meant that all the altos had to go into the hallway and sullenly practice their parts with Kevin the accompanist (the sopranos always got the real director) — but in the Glee universe it means that the whole choir just does a competition with everyone in their “section” of Ohio? Which is basically the same shit they do every week? Am I the only actual choir person who finds this irritating? Also, in accordance with my theory that McKinley High is the only building in all of Ohio, they are hosting sectionals this year. Because the corn maze was booked.

In the next scene, Kurt is wearing a denim shirt. Nothing interesting happens except for possibly the best line of the episode, when Kurt tells Sebastian, “You smell like Craigslist.” Drops mike.

Finn and Rachel travel to Kentucky to retrieve Sam Evans, only to discover that he is working as a stripper at a club called “Stallions,” a business that apparently has no qualms about hiring high school students to display their genitals to middle-aged women. Sam explains that the Dairy Queen didn’t pay enough money to help his family stop being homeless, so he decided to look into professional ab-wiggling. (Plus he already owned like, three tearaway firefighter costumes.) HIGH-FIVE, GLEE JUST SOLVED HOMELESSNESS. Finn and Rachel talk to Sam’s parents and convince them to let him come back to Ohio so they can win some stupid choir contest, and Sam’s parents are like, “Yeah, okay.” Now Sam is homeless again, I guess.

Okay. Sam arrives at New Directions rehearsal and sings the first song of the episode, which is an abomination born of Satan’s dark menagerie apparently known as Toby Keith’s “Red Solo Cup.” It includes the line, “Thank you for being my friend, Red Solo Cup!” Then they set up a pyramid of red Solo cups and roll Artie at it like a human bowling ball, which he LOVES. This is literally the worst musical number that has ever happened on Glee. I haven’t checked Wikipedia, but I think it might be the worst anything that has ever happened anywhere — a level of badness so magnificent that I rewound and watched it three times. So I suppose you win this round, Glee.

Quinn pitches to Sam that they fall in love, steal that hobo-baby, and raise it together as a family of itinerant homeless strippers. Sam declines. For any of my fellow armchair-diagnosers out there, have you noticed that Quinn has 100 percent of the symptoms of Borderline Personality Disorder? ONE HUNDRED PERCENT. Can we have an episode where Quinn goes to the brainz doctor? Because I worry.

Oh, cool, this Mike Chang story line is still happening. Tina gets all mad because Mike Chang says he’s applying “pre-med” to Stanford instead of majoring in the old soft-shoe at the Razzle Dazzle Institute for Disappointing Asian Sons. (Okay, we all know Glee has no idea how high school works, but why is it also so confused about college? You don’t apply for a major when you apply for undergrad — you don’t even have to decide for like, two years. Just tell your dad you’re majoring in biochemistry or whatever and then double-major in dance like a normal person. Duh.)

Sam decides that the thing New Directions needs to win sectionals — “I came back here to win!” — is a whole bunch of gross pelvic thrusting. Then, for some reason, Blaine goes completely insane and starts screaming about how Sam is a prostitute and Blaine is “NOT FOR SALE.” Then they have like, a one-second fist fight and Blaine runs away.

Finn tracks down Blaine in McKinley’s boxing gym (!?) and delivers an oddly moving inspirational speech: “I just want to be able to look across that stage at you and know that we did everything we could, no regrets.” Blaine is moved and stops punching things. I am annoyed, because the part when he was punching things was hot.

Sam, Mercedes, hallway, no chemistry, who cares.

Tina visits Mr. Chang in his office to plead for Mike Chang’s future. “He’s throwing everything he loves away, just to please you,” she cries, “And if you don’t make it right, he’s going to spend the rest of his life doing what he hates, DYING INSIDE.” Yes. How terrible — the thought of having to live one’s life as a doctor. “You children,” Mr. Chang replies, “you think you know everything.” You know, I think I gotta go with Mr. Chang on this one! If a bunch of high school students kept bothering me at work, whining about how they just wanted to dance, I would totally be like “OH MY GOD, GO AWAAAAAAAAY. YOU KNOW NOTHING.” But Tina is not dissuaded: “You know, [since you’re nothing but an Asian stereotype,] you’re always talking about honor, Mr. Chang. Help your son honor his gift.” Mr. Chang makes thoughtful-face.

Now it’s time for sectionals, which is apparently a tribute to the Carter administration (what I’m saying is that all the songs are HELLA OLD). First up it’s the Unitards, starring that Gerber-baby girl from that other episode. She sings “Buenos Aires” from Evita, which is nice, because that girl is like 75 percent less Auto-Tuned than everyone else on the show. Clap clap clap (I mean it!).

Then the Trouble Tones do a semi-fierce mash-up of “I Will Survive” and Destiny’s Child’s “Survivor” (again, timely).

Then the New Directions spend twenty minutes singing a MEDLEY of Jackson-family songs — the Jackson 5’s “ABC,” Janet Jackson’s “Control,” and MJ’s “Man in the Mirror” — because apparently they get to do three songs even though everyone else only did one (a mash-up is not a medley!). Then they lose sectionals, everyone cries and rends their clothing in despair, and Ryan Murphy comes onstage to announce that Glee is now over forever. Good-bye!

No, just kidding. Instead, a literal clown comes onstage and announces that the New Directions have WON Sectionals! Everyone stands up and cheers — EVEN MR. CHANG. Rachel stops being suspended, Mike Chang stops being a future doctor, Quinn stops being evil (big ups to whoever wrote her that Risperdal prescription), and the New Directions and the Trouble Tones decide to reunite into one big happy glee club. And it is … sweet! Really! I’m glad they’re all back together again. It’s a relief. But next week, seriously, MORE COACH BEISTE.

Photo: Adam Rose/FOX