Glee: The Lady Gaga Episode

On last night's Gaga-inspired episode of Glee, Tina fought for her right to dress like a freak, Finn learned gay slurs aren't cool, and Rachel discovered that "when it's love, if it's not rough it isn't fun."

Instead of doing an hour-long tribute to Gaga, like the Madonna episode, "Theatricality" used themes from Gaga's music to serve the plot, making one of the series' best episodes so far.

The shows starts with Principal Figgins telling Tina to stop dressing "goth" because he doesn't want her promoting Twilight-related vampirism. (Tina protests, "My mom won't even let me watch Twilight! She says it seems like Kristen Stewart's a bitch.") Tina wears a little skull bow in this scene, but it's actually the first time I've noticed her wearing something goth. Then again, this description came from Figgins, and I don't expect a man who thinks vampires are real to understand the subtle differences in Hot Topic attire.

During rehearsal, Rachel tells Mr. Schue that Vocal Adrenaline is planning a Lady Gaga number and he assigns them Gaga songs. Note: Other clubs stealing ideas from New Directions = not cool. New Directions copying other clubs = totally fine.

Rachel, Quinn, and Mercedes spy on a Vocal Adrenaline rehearsal, and Rachel realizes Shelby is her mom when she performs "Funny Girl," ostensibly to demonstrate the concept of "theatricality" to her students. Idina Menzel's performance is great, but is it really the best example of theatricality? Rachel approaches the stage (presumably in front of all the Vocal Adrenaline kids) and tells her she's her daughter.

Back at McKinley High, Finn walks in on Mr. Schue, who is deeply engaged in Lady Gaga's Wikipedia page, and tells him the guys don't have any interest in donning lobster glasses or Alexander McQueen heels. The girls (plus Kurt, of course) come to class dressed in homemade Gaga outfits, which all look awesome except for Rachel's Beanie Baby-covered outfit.

Glee: The Lady Gaga Episode


The kids are magically transported onto a stage, where they perform "Bad Romance." Afterward, Rachel asks Shelby to fix her costume because, "My dads can't sew. I really need a mom right now." And she does, because all moms are awesome seamstresses!

Then the boys debut their act — KISS's "Shout It Out Loud." Their costumes are fun, but it's an odd song choice. Kurt sums up the number nicely: "I liked the boys' performance, even though the lyrics left something to be desired."

Glee: The Lady Gaga Episode

Earlier in the episode, Kurt's dad asked Finn and his mom to move in, so now the boys are sharing a room. Back at home, Kurt asks Finn to make the football players stop bullying him, then tries to help him remove his KISS makeup with a moist towelette, but Finn freaks out and tells Kurt not to touch him.

Kurt tries to make him more comfortable by redesigning their room using "Marlena Dietrich and Gary Cooper in Morocco as my inspiration," which lead to this epic scene:

Looks like I was too quick to judge Glee earlier. Finn asking Kurt to be less flamboyant seems to be a direct response to critics who complain that the character is "too gay." Finn's freakout is somewhat understandable — moving in with a classmate who's obviously in love with you is never comfortable — but hearing him use the word "fag" was a jolt.

The writers could've had the two idiotic football players say the word and used Burt's exact same speech, but it wouldn't have had half the impact. Surely the kids watching at home have been told that using the "f-word" isn't OK, but hopefully hearing the show's protagonist get called out for use the word against another lovable character (even if he was only referring to the blanket) made the message sink in.

Back at school, Will meets with Shelby because he's worried that Rachel is more investing in their relationship than she is. Shelby confesses that she wanted to find Rachel because she can't have any more children, but now she's realized that she wants a baby, not a teenage daughter. Will tells her, "If you love her, you have to tell her what you just told me." Really, Will? Yes, she needs to tell Rachel that she isn't interested in more mother-daughter bonding, but Shelby should probably leave out the part about not being interested in Rachel now that she's an adult, not an adorable baby.

I know Idina Menzel is only a guest star so they had to tie up this plot line, but it seems strange that Shelby went through all the trouble of having Jesse seduce Rachel, only to decide that she isn't interested in having a relationship with her. Shelby meets with Rachel and tells her, "let's just be grateful for one another. From afar." Rachel is oddly satisfied with this, and accepts Shelby's hug and star-adorned mug. In return she asks Shelby, "Will you sing with me? Just one time. It's sort of a fantasy of mine and it would really mean a lot to me." Do you think when Rachel fantasized about this moment she imagined they'd be singing "Poker Face"? The acoustic version of the song is well done, and I guess the line "She's got to love nobody," has something to do with their relationship. Still, I couldn't get over how creepy it would be to hear my mom tell me about her "muffin" in song.

In other bad parenting moves, Puck tells Quinn he wants to name their baby girl "Jackie Daniels," then tells her he's changed his mind by singing the KISS song "Beth" with the other guys in glee club. The touching moment was undercut by Quinn wiggling her five-inch feather eyelashes in every reaction shot. This D-plot is only given two scenes and is a moot point anyway, since Quinn's giving the baby up for adoption.

Finally, Tina makes Figgins let her dress how she wants by pretending to be a vampire ("And Asian vampires are the most vicious of all the vampires"). She says her father is a King Vampire and he'll bite Figgins' face off if he doesn't leave her alone.

Finn smooths over the Kurt situation by coming to his defense (in a red Gaga costume made from a shower curtain) when the football players bully him about being gay. The other costumed New Directions kids are there to back him up, and afterward they laugh about how weird they look. Finn remarks, "We're all freaks together. And we shouldn't have to hide it." We end with Will doing a creepy slow-clap because the kids have learned this week's lesson, though admittedly, Will had no idea where the Gaga assignment was going.

Next week: The kids are depressed, Will's wife Terri returns, and he serenades Sue with an inappropriately sexy song.

Earlier: Why Glee Still Needs To Work On Diversity