In 'Blame It on the Alcohol,' the glee club goes wild and learns some lessons

By Sandra Gonzalez
February 23, 2011 at 09:40 AM EST
Mike Yarish/Fox
S2 E14
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If you’re anything like me, when you heard there was going to be an episode dedicated to underage drinking, you probably didn’t have high expectations. In fact, my reaction was probably: “Lord, strangle me now with the ghost of ‘Home.'” The surprise? I felt like the characters on Glee thought it was corny to be lecturing everyone on underage drinking; thus, it canceled out the corniness of them lecturing everyone on underage drinking. Make sense? That’s okay; that’s why we love Glee. So let’s take a look at this episode that tackled the wet devil and gave us four fun songs by completely plastered performers.

There was an epidemic at McKinley. No, not head lice. (Though, I’m not surprised that’s immediately where Schuester’s mind went; there’s no way that curly event atop his head hasn’t acted as a breeding ground at least once.) Drinking on school grounds and public drunkenness was becoming an issue. And being a school administrator, Principal Figgins thought an Alcohol Awareness Week and an assembly would solve their problems. (Personally, those always drove me to alcohol.) Nonetheless, the episode needed a theme, this was it, and Schuester had to find a song for the kids to sing that would be in keeping with said message of a dry lifestyle.

In the cafeteria, Emma was asking all the questions we were after last week, like, Why/how is Sue coaching the glee club at the rival school? (I love Emma. She’s the crazy voice of reason.) As Sue told it, she scored her gig after the “chipper homosexual who coaches Aural Intensity had a terrify fall down the stairs,” and, she was a natural replacement because she’s a champion. Done and done. (I still don’t accept this but whatever.)

Meanwhile, Rachel lamented the difficult task of writing an original song after Finn failed to positively respond to her song about her headband. (“Wrapped right around my melon/You’re a product like Magellan.” Woah. Just…woah.) After some prompting, she decided to take advantage of the fact that her dads were away on the Rosie O’Donnell cruise and hold a house party to help her learn how to live — because apparently being given away as an infant to two gay dads by a mother who wanted to go pursue her own dreams of stardom isn’t dramatic or “life experience” enough. Ugh; teenagers.

At the party, things were as awkward as one would expect with Rachel Berry hosting, especially when she was dressed like the party was taking place in a one-room schoolhouse with special guest Michael Landon. Poor girl. As her drink tickets and rules threatened to clear the party out faster than a flatulent guest, Puck encouraged her to break open her dads’ booze cabinet to keep the party going…well, get it started. And, boy, did it start…

NEXT: Glee kids (shockingly) know how to party

As a former choir geek (…of 8 years), I can attest that they, in fact, do not know how to party. These glee kids, however, really, really do. Quarters, body shots, shirtless Brittany running around in circles; yup, it was a success.

Finn wasn’t having as much fun as everyone else, however, but that always comes with dreaded (but important) double D. He took the advantage of being the most lucid person in the room (for once) by pointing out the various forms of drunkenness to needy drunk Rachel. (My favorite was weepy, hysterical Santana — because those are the best drunks to laugh at.)

Rachel took offense to Finn’s claim and rebelled by starting a game of spin the bottle. Obviously forgetting that some members had recently battled mono, the game went forward, climaxing with the much-anticipated kiss between Rachel and Blaine (a.k.a. Blaine Warbler; Gigglesnort). Gleeks, did you see sparks fly? Rachel and Blaine certainly did — much to the horror of Kurt who shrieked for it to stop when the kiss passed the ten-second mark. (By the way, I loved that Josie Cotton’s “Johnny, Are You Queer?” was playing in the background of this entire scene. A+ for detail.)

Post-party, everyone had their share of troubles. Kurt had let inebriated Blaine sleepover (only for his dad to walk in and totally misunderstand the situation), and the rest of the glee members were still suffering from hangovers the Monday after the party. There were so many sunglasses being worn indoors, it was like the Grammy Awards. Luckily, Artie came with a thermos of Bloody Marys (“Hair of the dog that done bit your ass.”) and a jaunty R&B tune.

After their performance, we had a bit of a Full House moment when Mr. Schue got the impression his kids had misconceptions about drinking. (What ever gave you that idea, Schue? Was it all the tipsy children on stage?) I love Puck for breaking the after school special vibe of the scene with his NASCAR comment. I ultimately did not let this moment bother me much because the rest of the teaching moments (like the convo between Schue and Beiste later) were done with a little more humor and wink-nudge self-awareness. So I can forgive the preachy vibe of this one.

Elsewhere, my favorite Glee friendship — Beiste and Schue — continued to blossom after Beiste concluded over a hearty lunch (the roll of paper towels she pulled out had me howling) that Schuester needed to get out for a good time at Rosalita’s Roadhouse. As divey as that place was, it had so much character. I hope we get to see it more — if only because it’s a reason to see Schue wear a cowboy hat, chew hay, and ride a mechanical bull. (Mmmm…)

NEXT: Grading the (inebriated!) performances!

Meanwhile, looking more like a 12-year-old than she ever has, Rachel called up Blaine and asked him on a date. It wasn’t a big surprise considering their passionate drunken kiss, but it was a big shock to Kurt, who was angry that Blaine was (as he saw it) going back into the closet by going on a date with a girl. Blaine said he was simply exploring his options. “Isn’t this the time when you’re supposed to figure everything out?” he asked Kurt.

I was completely on Blaine’s side here. It wasn’t fair for Kurt to be passing judgment and, for the first time in a while, Kurt was sort of unlikable. This isn’t a bad thing. He’d been going through a bit of an untouchable, all-hail Kurt phase, and I was completely pleased to see him act a little polarizing. He’s a character; he’s allowed to be flawed. It doesn’t make me love him less.

Admittedly, he was more flawed in this episode than he has been, especially in that scene with his dad when he kept taking offense to his dad’s miscommunicated guidelines for sleepovers. Burt had not been comfortable with Blaine sleeping over because, in his mind, it was like Finn having a girl sleepover at the house. I sort of wish Kurt wasn’t so hard on his dad all the time, but I enjoy the very realistic tension that exists between them as father and gay son. It’s this sometimes-awkward love that makes them such a joy to watch, though.

In the end, Rachel and Blaine’s date went well. (How else would a date that involved seeing “Love Story” in costume go?) But when they had their first sober kiss, it became clear there was no spark. Not that they were all that disappointed: Rachel had her song inspiration and Blaine had the assurance that he was, indeed, gay.

Also, following a terrible drunk dial mix-up, Sue received a bootycall voicemail intended for Emma and played it for the entire school. Luckily, Schue’s mortification was eased slightly by the fact that the Glee club pulled off a performance that successfully curbed drinking at the school (probably for a very long time), and that each kid signed a contract promising not to drink until Nationals, which I think a lot of people would also agree to if it meant they got Schue’s number.

THE PERFORMANCES

“Don’t You Want Me”

I’m happy (or is that sad?) to report that I love ’80s music as much as I love a Rachel Berry power ballad. So the mere idea of this song being covered had me more excited than words can properly express (but dorky dance moves work perfectly). The result met — if not exceeded — my expectations. Blaine needs to join New Directions so we can get more duets between him and Rachel. Now. Also, how cute was it to see Mr. Warbler in his civies? A

“Blame it (On the Alcohol)”

I’m not a fan of the original song. And at the risk of sounding like a proponent of underage drinking (I’m not, by the way. I’m actually a giant prude.), this was one of the better R&B performances we’ve seen from the Glee gang in a while. In this case, I thank the alcohol. A

“One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer”

Will Schuester is about as country as Beiste is a dress-wearing kind of gal, and I was totally prepared to hate this song. In fact, I wasn’t a fan of the first few minutes. But by the time the chorus hit, it was clear that Dot Marie Jones and Matthew Morrison had fun recording this song. And because country is 70 percent attitude, it grew on me. By the time Beiste broke out on her mini solo, the song had secured a B.

“TiK-ToK”

The huge star of this number was clearly Brittany, who more and more every week proves that she needs to be moved to the forefront of this show’s big performances and storylines. It was pure, fun entertainment up until we got to the part straight out of the mind of Gordie LaChance. So even though the purple vomit was a bit too much for this weak viewer, the performance made me add a Ke$ha song to my iTunes, which I never thought would happen. B+

NEXT: The best lines of the week

Those are my grades, Gleeks. Now share yours, and while you’re at it, grade the episode as a whole. Also, tell me: Do you think the cast/characters did a good job, considering the difficult theme of the episode? Did the choir/glee kids at your school party as hard as these? How great were Beiste and Schue? (That little kiss was adorable and the paper-grading scene gave me a whole new perspective on my academic non-achievements.) Who did you side with on the Blaine/Kurt situation? And can you believe we have to wait TWO WEEKS until the next episode. Boohiss.

QUOTEABLES

“You’re coaching a glee club that can only beat choirs of old people. You’re re-hashing the details of your failed marriage with the very lemur who rejected the bestial horror of your craven sexual advances. And when my Glee club crushes yours at Regionals, you will have lost all meaning in life and turn to drinking.” — Sue

“Who told you that hairstyle was cool? Geronimo?” — Lauren

“That guppy mouth belongs to me.” — Santana

“Your face tastes awesome.” — Rachel

“I need to close my locker, and it’s going to sound like a gun shot.” — Tina

“I’ve been dry heaving all weekend. When my mom asked what the sound was, I told her I was practicing bird calls.” — Santana

“I told my mom I had the flu, and she made me a traditional tea made out of panda hair.” — Mike

“I’d say ‘bye,’ but I wouldn’t want to make you angry.” — Blaine

“I don’t even know who you are.” — Schuester grading papers

“What’s with the Cory Hart imitation?” — Sue

“It’s like nursing a POW back to health so he’s at his strongest when you torture him to death.” — Sue

“That is so racist.” — Brittany

Gleek out on Twitter: @EWSandraG

Episode Recaps

Jane Lynch, Lea Michele, and high school anxiety star in Fox’s campy musical.
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