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Posted at 2:55 PM ET, 02/ 7/2011

'Glee' post-Super Bowl episode: We watch so you don't have to

By Lisa de Moraes

"Glee's" post-Super Bowl episode featured the cheerleaders taking on Katy Perry's "California Gurls." (Fox)

This blog post was filed by Emily Yahr:

[This post has been updated with a statement from Christina Aguilera.]

Poor Ryan Murphy. He pulled out all the stops for the post-Super Bowl return of "Glee" from its two-month hiatus, including an opening number in which guys did tricks on bikes while the blue-wigged Cheerios pranced around in cone bikini tops tricked out with sparklers.

And still, all anyone will be talking about Monday morning is Christina Aguilera messing up the lyrics to our national anthem.

("What so proudly we watched at the twilight's last gleaming" instead of "O'er the ramparts we watched, were so gallantly streaming." Really, Christina? Though she issued a statement after the performance, saying, "I can only hope that everyone could feel my love for this country and that the true spirit of its anthem still came through.")

Hey, it's not "Glee's" fault that it got upstaged by a musical event that happened before the big game even started.

But we're here to talk about "Glee" in which Ryan Murphy seemingly created one of those moments in which a character is blah, blah, blah-ing about something going on in the storyline, but really, the dialogue is a "meta" moment about "Glee" itself.

Case in point: Sue Sylvester booming "I'M BORED!" as the cheerleaders perform their high tech performance with lots of fire to Katy Perry's "California Gurls." Even though, as Quinn points out, it's their most elaborate production number ever, Sue's not satisfied, and she takes to her journal to vent. "I'm already a legend," she writes. "How do I make things interesting again?"

"Glee" post-Super Bowl episode had a scary rendition of "Thriller." (Fox)

Glad you brought it up, Sue, because that's exactly what we're thinking about the show itself: Now that it's attracting guest stars such as Gwyneth Paltrow, where does it go from here?

Take this episode, for instance. The same old themes are back: Football players and glee club aren't getting along, Sue's bent on destroying glee club, and Dave Karofsky (Scary Football Player) is terrorizing everyone in the club.

The war between glee club and the football players is worse than ever: Even though the football team is going to the championship game, the non-glee club teammates are not pleased about Finn, Puck, Sam, etc., singing and dancing as well as playing sports.

Will and Coach Bieste, now officially BFFs, decide that if those Filipino prison inmates could join together to perform "Thriller" -- reducing in-prison violence while creating a YouTube moment -- why can't the McKinley High glee club and football team come together in similar fashion, in a half-time mash-up of Michael Jackson's "Thriller" and Yeah Yeah Yeah's "Heads Will Roll?"

Even the spectacle of Puck and Rachel singing a tender version of Lady Antebellum's late-night-booty-call "Need You Now" can't keep a fistfight from erupting over the very idea. But Will and Coach Bieste stand strong: The two factions must peacefully perform the halftime mash-up while dressed like zombies, or else the glee-club-hating football players are off the team.

And gosh darned it if those skeptical football players don't discover that singing and dancing aren't that bad, especially if it can they can dress up like zombies. And just when you think this story is going to have a Happily Ever After ending, along come be-mulleted members of the McKinley High hockey team, making a rare appearance, and douse them with Slushies, causing the football meanies to re-think the whole thing and tear up their dance cards even though, yes, it means they'll miss the football game, there won't be enough guys to fill out the team and McKinley High will have to forfeit the championship.

Football players during the "Glee" post-Super Bowl episode. (Fox)

This calls for some serious brainstorming on the part of Rachel and Mercedes, over coffee with Kurt and Blaine. Remember Kurt? He's the one who transferred schools because of bullying? He doesn't get much to do on Big Post-Super Bowl Episode, except perform "Bills, Bills, Bills" with his new glee club, just for fun.

Rachel and Mercedes decide the girls of the glee club should join the football team, so there will still be enough players that they don't have to forfeit the game. And that means there will be a halftime show in which the glee club can perform.

Hey, it's "Glee." Just go with it.

The girls join the team. They're adorable. Tina even gets to run the ball back in a touchdown attempt and gets knocked for a loop. Having exhausted the storyline potential of that plot point -- you didn't think they were going to have Tina actually injured, did you? -- Puck is sent to give a rousing Andy Hardy-esque speech to the renegade football players about sticking together and they agree to dress up like zombies and perform at the halftime show after all. Yes, even SFP, when he remembers how much fun it is to dress up like a zombie.

The halftime show goes off without a hitch, and the team wins the game when they cleverly decide to keep on their zombie makeup for the second half of the game which frightens the other team.

Oh yeah, we forgot to mention Sue Sylvester had convinced whoever is in charge of that sort of thing to move a cheerleading competition to the same night as the football game, which leaves the glee club without its cheerleader members who, when forced into this either-or situation, went with the whole "cheerleaders are popular" thing over glee club. Sue concocted this showdown after Principal Figgins thwarts her plans to shoot cheerleader Brittany out of a cannon during a performance. That's why it was Puck, rather than quarterback Finn, who gave the Andy Hardy-esque speech to the football players sitting out the game -- because Finn was busy giving an equally inspiring speech to cheerleaders Quinn, Santana and Brittany to leave Sue Sylvester and return to glee club -- just in time for the halftime show!

Which is why CBS evening news anchor Katie Couric -- the "Glee" Post-Super-Bowl Episode's Big Get -- is now interviewing Sue Sylvester about how it feels to be named Loser of the Year, after three of her girls abandoned her and caused her to lose out on the chance for a record-setting number of cheerleading championships.

Couric reminds viewers that in order for Sue to be named Loser of the Year, she had to beat out other losers such as the economy, Mel Gibson, the housing market, Dina Lohan and Brett Favre's cell phone ... oh, and all the money from the cheerleaders' budget is going to glee club.

And, in what winds up being The Line of the much ballyhooed return of "Glee," after its two-month hiatus, Sue Sylvester looks Katie Couric right in the eye and says, "I hate you, Diane Sawyer."

And still, Christina Aguilera's botched Star Spangled Banner will be what everyone's talking about Monday. Sorry, Katie Couric.

Here's Aguilera upstaging "Glee":


"California Gurls" - Katy Perry
"Need You Now" - Lady Antebellum
"Bills, Bills, Bills" - Destiny's Child
"She's Not There" - The Zombies
"Heads Will Roll/Thriller" - Yeah Yeah Yeahs/Michael Jackson

Re-live some of the musical moments:

By Lisa de Moraes  | February 7, 2011; 2:55 PM ET
Categories:  Glee  
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Next: Super Bowl clocks historic 111 million viewers; 'Glee' fumbles 84 million of them



Posted by: tjfrmla | February 7, 2011 9:52 AM | Report abuse

Once again, Lisa misses the nuances . . .

The character of Dave Karofsky is closeted and self-loathing as a result of his inability to deal with that reality. He's "really scary" because he takes his self-loathing out on the members of the Glee Club and in particular, Kurt - the only openly gay student at McKinley. It was Dave's severe harassment and life-threatening "bullying" of Kurt that led Kurt to transfer to another school.

In last night's episode, it turns out Dave is good at all of that glee stuff, and Mr. Schuster praises him as a result. He reacts well to the postive feedback, and actually begins to enjoy being in Glee Club until a member of the hockey team called the football players "gay" for participating in the half-time show. It triggers all of his self-hatred, and he reverted to form.

Karofsky only decided to participate in the half-time show when he saw how well the crowd in the stadium was reacting to the performance - not because he "remembered how fun it was to dress up like a zombie." For Dave, his self-identity is very much wrapped up in peer acceptance and being popular, and he's afraid of losing all of that if he admits he's gay. At the end of the episode, Dave refused to join the glee club permanently because he now has what he was seeking - an identity as a popular (and not gay) football player - as a result of winning the football championship.

Lisa also totally failed to mention the secondary story line - Rachel, Puck, Finn and Quinn seem to be returning to the original positions within their relationships: Rachel chasing Finn; Finn and Puck being best friends; Finn being the natural leader of the football team (a position Sam still wants); Quinn taking notice of Finn as a result; Finn and Quinn beginning to grow closer again, and Quinn kissing Finn at the end of the show. Which leads to the question: what about Quinn's current boyfriend, Sam?

There is definitely going to be fallout from all of this, and judging from the previews, some of it will happen tomorrow night on the Valentine's Day episode - which I think might almost be a "Part II" to last night's episode.

This episode was great because it returned to what Glee does best - focusing on the characters - without special guest stars or artist-centric musical themes to muddy the story lines.

Posted by: pfallsgirl | February 7, 2011 10:04 AM | Report abuse

Terrible, boring episode. They were trying WAY too hard last night. Hope it gets back to normal tomorrow night.

Posted by: suzannepdc | February 7, 2011 10:59 AM | Report abuse

Excellent analysis, PFalls girl! Just one thing: Emily Yahr is the blogger responsible for these dismissively snarky plot summaries--Lisa just posts them.

But that does raise a question: Why in the world is someone who clearly neither appreciates nor understands "Glee" blogging about it?! Don't get me wrong: I appreciate constructive criticism of the show and am definitely not asking for unalloyed praise. But I've lost track of the number of snippy comments and sarcastic questions from Emily that ANYONE who watches the show regularly would know better than to post.

In fact, PFallsgirl sounds like a perfect replacement blogger. How about it, Lisa?!

Posted by: DCSteve1 | February 7, 2011 11:36 AM | Report abuse

The Glee writers totally deserve an Emmy simply for the one line: "I hate you Diane Sawyer". LMAO, ROTF.

Posted by: tptross1 | February 7, 2011 11:40 AM | Report abuse

"I don't want to die. At least not until One Tree Hill is cancelled."

Posted by: mccxxiii | February 7, 2011 11:58 AM | Report abuse

Did someone actually use the word "nuance" to describe the over-the-top cliche-fest that Glee has become? And did someone else actually praise said usage? Talk about not getting it; the blog post is subtitled "We watch so you don't have to", which would seem to indicate that watching this show has become a chore, and might also serve as a clue that the synopsis might be a bit snarky. If you want to read the "We lovingly deconstruct the TV show of your dreams" blog, I'm sure there are hundreds, if not thousands of places on the web just for that purpose; this ain't one of them. And for that, I'm kinda grateful.

Posted by: klaw009x | February 7, 2011 4:57 PM | Report abuse

DCSteve1 - Thanks for the compliment! I appreciate it.

klaw009x - "We Watch So You Don't Have To" was a newspaper column long before it was a blog. It was initially intended to summarize random episodes of shows that have, for whatever reason, generated great public interest (such as Lost) for those who might have missed viewing the actual show. It has also covered the networks' "Up Fronts" presentations of new TV seasons. It is not Glee-specific by any means . . . but I guess that is also an observation too nuanced for you.

Posted by: pfallsgirl | February 7, 2011 7:38 PM | Report abuse

How about Glee kids for next year's Super Bowl? They're suited for arena-style entertainment, and would handle it a lot better than BEPs did this year. (or for that matter, better than many of the oldster rockers hired on the last few years).

As for the show not being all that-- you have to "get" the premise-- Glee is a fantasy, high school with all the imaginary highs and realistic lows-- and no middle at all. Last night's episode was a little bit much weighted on the fantasy end for me, but I laughed, giggled, and hoped like heck that Karofsky would take a step forward-- without a step back. Didn't happen, but the season is not over.

Posted by: raisinmountaineer | February 8, 2011 11:12 AM | Report abuse

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