This one might as well be called “Ladies’ Night” — all that’s missing is Mr. Schue in a chippendale outfit! But it’s about more than tasty boy-band moves: Will has just told his parents (Victor Garber and Debra Monk — hel-lo, theater geeks!) that Terri’s pregnant, and it’s time for him to man up to fatherhood, which obviously means taking a hiatus from glee club to form his own group, Acafellas. Left to its own devices, the club nearly splinters, and evil cheerleading coach Sue’s plot to destroy it quietly simmers. But nothing stands in the way of song and dance — so we judge accordingly!
Montell Jordan, “This Is How We Do It”
Will, football coach Ken, janitor Howard, and druggie, thumbless shop teacher Henri (John Lloyd Young from Jersey Boys — we’re so happy he still has a career!) make a nifty barbershop quartet, though their moves need some work. It’s believable that Mr. Schue would shimmy in the spotlight while the other dudes just try to keep up. One disappointment: no raps about Schue as “a lowercase G.” Anyway, a little Montell apparently goes a long way with Terri. “We started doing it once a week!” Will marvels. “It was like she wanted to make a twin!”
Bell Biv Devoe, “Poison”
It’s Acafellas’ first gig, at the local sports bar, and Mr. Schue is wearing a fedora, which of course ups the pizazz quotient. Dance moves have improved to Full Monty level, and Ken mysteriously knows how to rap now (rap skills appear by spontaneous generation on this show, apparently). It’s perhaps a bit literal when the camera pans to both Terri and Emma’s smiling faces as Will croons, “That girl is poison,” and we’re a bit disappointed that, during his all-too-brief solo, JLY is still using his Frankie Valli voice. “Is it too soon to call Will Schuester the new Michael Buble?” the paper asks the next day. Well, yes — he hasn’t started singing boring standards yet!
Sure, the choreography is spotless, the vocals perfect, but Vocal Adrenaline’s performance under the tutelage of gestapo elf Dakota Stanley somehow lacks the soul of the glee club’s less polished numbers. The song choice is again a bit literal — we learn these kids are outright enslaved. But Rachel’s deciding vote to hire — and then later fire — Dakota (after an amusing rant in which he calls Mercedes “Effie”) give us a glimpse at the mini-diva’s possibly more selfless side, and obviously gains her some points in the Finn department.
Jazmine Sullivan, “Bust the Windows”
Poor Mercedes, learning the hard way that the boy who’s always nice to you in high school is probably the one you should (and will) never date (especially when his response to “Have you ever kissed anyone?” is “Yes. If by somebody you mean the tender crook of my elbow”). Though he’ll later come out to her in a genuinely touching moment, Kurt’s keeping up the ruse for the time being, telling Mercedes he’s into Rachel — which results in her, yes, busting the window of his car. We didn’t really need the writers to spell it out for us (Kurt: “You busted my window!” Mercedes: “Well, you busted my heart!”), but the number is full-on fabulous otherwise: Mercedes tears it up vocally, the cheerleaders make very well-coordinated video girls, and the smoke, spotlights, and random expensive-SUV placement all make sense in the R&B video that is Mercedes’s teenage mind.
Color Me Badd, “I Wanna Sex You Up”
As is the case in so many boy bands, Will is left alone at the epitome of Acafellas’ success, so Finn, Puck (this is apparently Mohawk Guy’s name … and we love that Juanes’s “La Camisa Negra” is his de facto theme song), and Sandy join up for a PTA meeting attended by Josh Groban (yeah … moving on). Puck has a pretty decent voice, as it turns out, and the guys are fairly irresistible singing Color Me Badd, but the song itself has no particular relevance beyond pumping Mr. Schue’s confidence level while, behind the scenes, Jane Lynch (who, momentarily, seemed quite taken with the dancing Puck) continues to be spectacularly evil to her minions, Quinn and Santana. “This is what we call total disaster, ladies. I’m going to ask you to smell your armpits,” she deadpans. And while Quinn attempts to squeeze in some lesson about being good to your friends, we’re sure she won’t reform anytime soon — not while Jane is oh-so-slowly ellipticycling away.