'Glee' blames it on the alcohol: We watch so you don't have to [updated with video]
WaPo Team TV's Emily Yahr blogs:
This week's, "Glee," titled "Blame It On the Alcohol," featured its high school characters doing body shots, chugging wine coolers and a guy drunkenly throwing dollar bills in the air while his girlfriend ripped off her shirt. And that was only in the first 15 minutes.
But parents who let their kids watch this show, which, as its creator likes to remind us, is all about opening the eyes of children to music, never fear -- the underlying message this week was all about how Alcohol Is Bad.
(Though maybe not children of all ages -- it should be noted Tuesday's show was rated TV-14, which means it may not suitable for kids under 14, noting the use of unsuitable dialogue, language and sexual situations for the youngsters)
You see, McKinley High School is going through a very tough time, because tons of students are showing up to class drunk. Whether it's a coping mechanism for dealing with the sheer ineptitude of their teachers, we'll never know. Principal Figgins enlists Spanish teacher/glee club director Will Schuester to bring together his group and perform a song highlighting teenage drinking and How It Is Bad. It will be, Figgins says, the perfect way to celebrate Alcohol Awareness Week.
In one of those unfortunate coincidences, it's also the week glee club decides that underage drinking is awesome. Self-proclaimed glee club leader Rachel is determined to become a songwriter, like Carole King she says, but lacking much in the way of life experience, the best she can do is a ballad titled, "My Headband." How fortunate her dads are out of town when bad boy Puck suggests the quickest road to "life experience" is throwing a party at her house.
Cue party music and cheesy home-video-looking scenes of the glee kids consuming gallons of booze and partying hearty (see above for specifics), including a game of spin the bottle that ends with Rachel, who's dressed like a pilgrim for the occasion, making out with Blaine, the openly gay, rival glee club member who's currently the object of Kurt's affection. Remember last week when Rachel decided she was going to focus on her career instead of having a boyfriend? Oh right...this is "Glee." Welll, this week Rachel decides Blaine may be her Ideal Boyfriend candidate: he loves "Love Story." Naturally, a Rachel/Blaine duet erupts; the two sing Human League's "Don't You Want Me."
Blaine also is confused, in re the boozy kiss; understandably Kurt is unhappy. And, in true "Glee" fashion, it none of it matters just minutes later when Rachel does a sober lip lock with Blaine which leads Blaine to the conclusion that he's gay after all and it's back to Plan A. Rachel is happy too because, she says, she's now had one of those life experiences that makes for a great tune.
Back to school, where the glee clubbers are all sporting epic hangovers. This, along with Mr. Schue's lecture about alcohol poisoning, a chat about how excessive drinking is not good for anyone, and a word or two about the importance of designated drivers, are the only glimpses we will get of the episode's Alcohol = Bad leitmotif.
Speaking of Mr. Schue, he and his new BFF, football coach Beiste, decide Alcohol Awareness Week is the perfect week in which to celebrate their adulthood and how there's still nothing like throwing back a few to take the edge off of whatever's edgy in one's life. Especially at a honky tonk bar, so they can duet George Thorogood's "One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer" and ride the mechanical bull. Sadly, Mr. Schue follows up this pleasant evening with a "drunk dial" that includes the murmuring into the phone the words, "Hey therrrrrre, sexy lady."
But, to whom is this drunk dial, um, dialed? Excellent question! Mr. Schue believes it's Emma, the germaphobe guidance counselor who's married to John Stamos. He would, however, be wrong, Mr. Schue had dialed evil cheerleading coach Sue Sylvester who, naturally, broadcasts it over the school's PA system.
And what of the glee clubbers? They decide to perform Ke$ha's "Tik Tok" at the school's Alcohol Awareness Week assembly while drunk -- and sadly, Brittany winds up projectile vomiting on Rachel in the middle of the number. On the bright side, it's an interesting shade of blue.
Lucky for glee club, Principal Figgins mistakes it for performance art. But Mr. Schue, who knows real vomit when he sees it, makes everyone in glee club sign pledges that they won't drink again until the Nationals competition. Mr. Schue also takes the pledge.
And even though show ends with all the kids saying they're so over alcohol, we think the show took its real stand on the whole Teen Drinking thing via Coach Beiste who, while bonding with Will after their honky tonk adventure, said:
"The way I see it, we can't just lecture kids...We can't stop them from drinking if that's what they're going to do. The best we can do is make them aware of the dangers and hope they're smart enough to make a good decision on their own," she said.
And then she burst out laughing.
"Don't You Want Me" -- Human League
"Blame it on the Alcohol" -- Jamie Foxx
"One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer" -- George Thorogood
"Tik Tok" -- Ke$ha
See for yourself:
"Don't You Want Me":
"Blame It On the Alcohol"
"One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer"
Lisa de Moraes
| February 23, 2011; 7:30 AM ET
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