Gwyneth Paltrow can sing -- on 'Glee'!: We watch so you don't have to
WaPo TeamTV's Emily Yahr filed this dispatch:
This week on "Glee" we learn Gwyneth Paltrow has a movie coming out in January.
Sure, Will Schuester and his ex-wife have a disastrous fling and Mercedes feels left out now that Kurt hangs out with new BFF Blaine all the time. But after a commercial break ad reminding us that guest-star Paltrow's new flick "Country Strong" (in which she plays a rehabbed country singer gunning for a comeback) arrives in theaters soon, we realize Paltrow's impending singing career was the real take-away on this episode. They don't go in for subtlety much on "Glee."
In another episode of the series about a high school glee club where the lives of the high school students take a back seat to the adults with a product to plug, Paltrow plays substitute teacher Holly Holiday. Holly wants so badly to be cool that she incorporates Lindsay Lohan's stints in rehab into her Spanish lessons, lets the kids do whatever they want, gives them test answers in advance of the test and throws around words like "Tweet." She hopes to overthrow Will Schuester, who's out sick with the flu, and land one of those coveted arts-based teaching jobs.
And, in the midst of this diabolicalness -- she sings! Proving to the skeptical glee students that she knows today's hottest hits, Holly kicks things off with "Forget You," the bouncy song by Cee Lo that cheerfully tells an ex-lover exactly what he thinks of them. Holly switches around a few pronouns, belts out the tune, and proceeds to show the world what it looks like when an Oscar-winning actress who has played Jane Austin's Emma, and Shakespeare's girlfriend, tries to do the robot dance move.
Later, she gains the trust of the class by pointing out that Will never lets them perform any songs from the current decade (unless it's done by Journey). She even wins over prickly Rachel Berry by joining her in a duet of "Nowadays/Hot Honey Rag" from Chicago, and shakes around the stage in a skimpy red fringed dress -- like Bristol Palin on "Dancing with the Stars."
Of course, Will finds out and confronts Holly in the glee club room -- and infects everyone with his flu germs. That's after he and Mike Chang do a very weak imitation of Donald O'Connor performing "Make 'Em Laugh" from "Singin' in the Rain" -- it's a flu-inducted hallucination.
Because storyline is not this show's strong suit, Paltrow's Holly drives Will from his own class, but seconds later she's looking helpless in a hideous brown beret as Sue Sylvester -- who has somehow promoted herself to principal in the absence of Figgins, also out sick -- reprimands Mercedes for putting TaterTtots in Sue's car. Mercedes, you see, is angry that Sue has cut unhealthy food from the cafeteria menu.
Still with me?
Earlier in the episode, Sue and Holly had done some serious bonding over red wine and an episode of "Hoarders," and of course Sue saw Holly as a way to thwart Will. But now Sue dumps Holly because Holly has no idea how to discipline students. Really?
So Holly winds up at Will's place to tell him that "when things get too serious, I retreat." This pleases Will. But wait! Here comes Will's ex-wife, Terri, wandering in to say "Hi" after their previous night's VapoRub induced romp in the hay! Bad timing! Terri notes -- correctly -- that Holly Holiday sounds like the name of a stripper or drag queen, freaks out, starts to leave and says she'll be back -- but Will tells her to get lost for good. And that's the last we'll ever see of her. Until another sweeps month.
And because every episode of "Glee" needs a fairy-tale ending, whether it makes sense or not, Will invites Holly to join the class in a mash-up of the classic "Singin' in the Rain" and Rihanna's "Umbrella," blending the styles of both teachers. It would be a beautiful moment, except that Paltrow proceeds to hit us over the head with the fact that she can sing ... which, coincidentally, is the theme of her new movie.
"Forget You" by Cee Lo
"Make 'Em Laugh" from "Singin' in the Rain"
"Nowadays/Hot Honey Rag" from "Chicago"
"Umbrella" by Rihanna (feat. Jay-Z)/"Singin' in the Rain" from the musical
Here's Gwyneth Paltrow proving how cool she is with Cee Lo's "Forget You":
Holly Holiday and Rachel Berry take on a tune from "Chicago":
And for comparison's sake, the classic "Singin' in the Rain" performances...
Mr. Schuester and Mike Chang trying to "Make 'Em Laugh":
...vs. Donald O'Connor's performance in "Singin' in the Rain":
Will Schuester, Holly Holiday and the glee club mashes up "Umbrella" and "Singin' in the Rain":
....vs. Gene Kelly in the actual musical:
Lisa de Moraes
| November 16, 2010; 11:06 PM ET
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