This week on Glee, Kurt discovers he can't will himself straight, Rachel gets schooled by a paralyzed kid, and we learn "The Boy Is Mine" stands the test of time.
This was one of those episodes where every new problem was solved by the end of the hour, but the script and songs were so good it didn't really matter.
The show starts with Rachel bugging the rehearsal room and discovering that she's the only one singing. It's unclear how Mr. Schue failed to notice that the entire glee club was just mouthing along to their routines, but when Rachel tips him off he gives them all solos for homework. They're supposed to sing about what they're going through in their lives right now, which is pretty much what they do every week. The assignment yields some awesome songs, so whatever.
Rachel sings first, but discovers during he solo that she's lost her voice (so thankfully we only have to listen to a few lines of Miley Cyrus' "The Climb.") Finn accompanies her to the doctor because her gay dads haven't been cast yet. Also, the doctor's office is the perfect place to break into a rousing rendition of "Jessie's Girl"! Much like Quinn singing "Papa Don't Preach," this seemed inevitable since a character named Jesse appeared on the show. Fun fact: When Finn is lusting after Rachel's silhouette as she changes behind a curtain, you can see she's wearing uber-sexy suspenders.
Next up is Puck's number. After shaving his mohawk his popularity plummets and he tries to come up with a way to regain his social standing. He sets his sights on dating the newly-popular Mercedes saying, "Get ready, black girl from glee club whose name I can't remember right now — the Puckster's about to make you his!"
At first she rejects him, but he wins her over with his performance of "The Lady Is A Tramp" by Sammy Davis Jr. ("He was a black Jew you know — and my inspiration.") Being the school's biggest bully and getting Quinn pregnant may make him seem like unsuitable boyfriend material, but Mark Salling's performance is so delightful no woman could resist.
Quinn gives Mercedes and Puck her blessing since, "I'm stuck living with him right now, but at least if you guys are dating I won't have to spend so much time listening to his insane theories on how Super Mario Bros. changed civilization." (So that's where Quinn's been living.)
However, Puck's ex-girlfriend Santana is jealous, prompting her and Mercedes to duke it out by singing Brandy & Monica's "The Boy Is Mine." The duet is fantastic and proves they should let Naya Rivera sing more. Just try not to dwell on the fact that this song came out 12 years ago and actual 16-year-old have probably never seen the video — you'll feel super old.
Meanwhile, Kurt is jealous that his dad is bonding with Finn over guy stuff. He shares his troubles with Sue, who tells him:
How old are you, sixteen? Have you ever kissed a boy? Have you ever kissed a girl? Well then how can you possibly know what you like? That's the problem with your generation: you're obsessed with labels. So you like show tunes! It doesn't mean you're gay. It just means you're awful.
Kurt decides to try to act straight by dressing in flannel and singing John Mellencamp's "Pink Houses," because, "It's really brave for a Midwestern like himself to write a song about such bold interior design." After his performance, Brittany offers to let him "tap this" because he's the only guy in school she hasn't made out with. Kurt goes with it, but is more interested in finding out what boys' lips taste like. (Says Brittany, "Usually dip. Sometimes it tastes like burgers. Or my armpits.")
The plan backfires when Burt continues to spend time with Finn and Kurt reverts back to his real personality, exploring his daddy issues in a show-stopping rendition of "Rose's Turn" from Gypsy. His dad sees the performance, leading to another heartwarming Hummel family hug.
In the last act, Finn decides the best way to help Rachel get over her fear of having her tonsils out and possibly losing her voice is to introduce her to his friend Sean, who was paralyzed during a football game.
It's cool that the show cast Zack Weinstein, who is paralyzed in real life, as Sean and gave him enough lines to flesh out his character a bit. But will we ever see him again, or was his only function on the show to teach Rachel a very special lesson about tonsillectomy? It seemed a little gimmicky, particularly since her laryngitis cleared up in time for her to belt out U2's "One" at the end of the show.
Next week: Neal Patrick Harris appears as Mr. Schue's former high school rival, and Rachel gets a tape from the mother she's never met. Of course, Rachel's most worried that mom may be a better singer than she is.