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'Glee' Recap: Passing the Bleccchdel Test Since 2009


Our beloved High School Musical-on-acid returns from hiatus finally (and switches to Tuesdays) to remind us all why we can’t have nice things like female friendships on this show. Aw, ain’t that sweet? In an episode all about not-so-friendly competition, we learn that when guys are involved, maturity, forgiveness, and compromises are possible, but that ladies can only catfight as Pezberry goes the way of so many female Gleeships before it. (Brittana? Faberry? Tina and Mercedes, who didn’t even get their own portmanteau? We hardly knew ye.) Oh show.

All About Gleeve What now? Santana’s having a self-pity party at the diner when she compares her unfabulous life to Rachel’s success as the upcoming lead of Broadway’s Funny Girl. In a gesture to cheer her up, Rachel invites her to be a model in the New York Magazine cover shoot she’s doing. But it only kicks her resentment up about 10 notches, despite the fact that she gets to look totally glam while Rachel is stuck wearing a bad bob wig and a sequined, see-through, ’60s-style, flared leg pantsuit that really skirts the line between foul and so-bad-it’s-fab.

So when she hears that understudies are being auditioned for Fanny Brice, she crashes the party (apparently there are no stage managers on duty to keep the walk-ins out), belts out a very pop-ified version of Barbra’s (and Rachel’s) signature song “Don’t Rain on My Parade” and blows away Edward Cullen’s Dad. (Who knows from glittery but pale imitations. Ka-ching!) Rachel is rightfully furious and the girls get downright nasty, trading horrid insults, shrieking that they were never friends, and ending with Rachel actually slapping Santana. This one’s not getting tied up in a bow in forty minutes, so the episode ends with Rachel sniffling as she moves out and symbolically tearing up a pic of Pezberry into little bits of sadness confetti.

Song-and-dance numbers: The girls duet on Sara Bareilles’ “Brave” (which has no real context in this episode — I think Ryan Murphy saw the Best Buy commercial too many times over the break) and later on a glare-filled “Every Breath You Take (I’ll Be Watching You)” by The Police.

Yeah, but how offensive is it? It’s pretty contrived honestly, but still, this thunder-stealing move is seriously low, no matter how depressed Santana is. It’s even worse than that time she put the moves on Finn. Hoes before Bros Broadway starring roles, Lopez. Geesh.

StarKurt in 3…2…
What now?
Blaine better watch his back too, because “Starchild” be ready to step into his spotlight, if you know what I mean. When Kurt starts worrying that his Pamela Lansbury bandmate is trying to take center stage, he decides to catch that fly — er, no pun intended — with cucumber sandwiches rather than vinegar. He starts spending major time with SC (aka Elliott aka Adam Lambert), all guitar shopping and flea-marketing and baking cinnamon rolls together. Elliott gets his number pretty quick though and lays it on the line like a mature adult: he’s not trying to steal anyone’s thunder, but he’s awesome, Kurt’s awesome, EVERYTHING IS AWESOME! And they should be friends rather than Frenemies and continue awesoming it up in Pamela Lansbury together. To seal their friendly bond, he sneaks a kiss to Kurt’s cheek while they’re taking a selfie.

Song-and-dance numbers:
The boys alleviate the episode’s angst and do a fun duet on The Darkness’s “I Believe in a Thing Called Love” at the guitar store.

Yeah, but how offensive is it?
Nah. It’s fine. They’re cute. Resistance is futile. 

Putting the “Dick” in Valedictorian
What now?
Back with our redheaded stepchildren of McKinley, the show tries to remind us that Artie and Tina are supposed to be good friends and even have some kind of Tuesday lunch tradition that we’ve never seen before. Sure, why not. Their camaraderie is short-lived when Principal Sylvester announces that they must battle over who gets to give the valedictory speech at graduation, and then Schue doubles down by making them compete for one of two coveted solos for Nationals (the other one of course goes to Blaine, who was voted the New Rachel all the way back in the fall, remember?). Way to play some favorites Schue.

They take the competition to heart and even get super nasty with each other, with Artie accusing Tina of turning into a desperate, grasping alien and she saying Kitty doesn’t really love him and that he’s just using her for a last-ditch chance at popularity. Ouch kids, ouch. That escalated quickly! But hey — SURPRISE! Just when you think all is lost, it’s revealed that they made up off screen! They give shockingly sweet speeches about their friendship and totally pull an O. Henry, each asking that the other be awarded the No. 1 spot. The judging panel — which includes a sobbing Figgins AND a teary-eyed Bieste — declare it a tie and Sue says she’s giving the spot to Blaine, who has the third-highest class rank. Of course. Because Blaine gets everything. Including a brief reality check when Becky shows him that smoochie Kurt posted.

Song-and-dance numbers:
When they're info-dumping about those mysterious Tuesday lunch traditions we’ve never before seen them partake in, they sing an ode to their friendship with “Whenever I Call You Friend” by Kenny Loggins and Stevie Nicks (huh, that’s quite the pairing.) Then when they battle it out for the choir solo, they sass it up with En Vogue’s “Never Gonna Get It.” The choir solo thing doesn’t exactly get resolved, but Blaine announces that in lieu of a graduation speech they’re going to sing a musical number together! So they all get to split vocals on Kelly Clarkson’s “Breakaway.” (What were we just saying about pale imitations?)

Yeah, but how offensive is it?
Again, the conflict is super contrived and then basically handwaved. I thought it was going to get rant-worthy when Tina accidentally pushed Artie’s chair over and he fell out, and everyone reacted like she’d taken last year’s Nationals trophy and stabbed him in the gut repeatedly with it, but thankfully, he just forgave her apology, like any mature person would. (Presuming he has a male chromosome on this show.) Sigh. Also, the awesome, color-blocked dress that Tina wears in the choir room sing-off? Not offensive. But Blaine’s ego/humblebragging? Always offensive. 

Next week, Rachel’s homeless! Do you think we’ll get to see her singing for pennies in the subway as rats claw at her ankles? Will Santana push her down the stairs at work? What form of social media should Kurt use to humiliate Blaine next? Share your thoughts in the comments!
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