Glee recap: 'Puppet Master'
A Glee episode on Thanksgiving?! You betcha! But I hope you weren’t expecting a sit-down feast full of food-inspired dance numbers and Rachel singing in an apron, because this episode wasn’t exactly feeling the holiday spirit. It was, however, themed in a way that simultaneously felt very different and very similar to stuffing a turkey — handling puppets! (Think about it.) Overall, I think the episode was trying just a little too hard, and what maybe could have been cute (put probably not) forced me to watch most of the hour through squinted eyes, and not because I was tired from eating turkey. Now, let’s talk about these puppets so that I can stop thinking about them before I go to bed and have some very strange nightmares. That being said, Jake is formally invited to my dreams.
First up, we found the Glee Club in the middle of a train wreck of a rehearsal just before Blaine walked in and decided to start running things North Korea-style. He thought it would be a good idea for the group to strip something down for their next competition, a.k.a. less guitar, more piano. How a piano is more stripped down than a guitar, I’m not sure, but Blaine was pretty confident in that statement, so I went with it. The rest of the club wasn’t as giddy on the idea, or rather, how Blaine presented it. As Kurt informed him, being too controlling can come off as being some form of a “puppet master.” Hold that thought.
In New York, Pamela Lansbury had its first gig at a Broadway hot spot. Upon announcing the exciting news to the group, Kurt immediately fantasized the band’s quick rise to glory, which meant — you guessed it! — the first song of the evening.
“Into the Groove”: Kurt, Rachel, Santana, and Elliott singing Madonna in retro outfits? Yes, please. Kurt’s fantasy involved a crowded club, amazing clothes, and just enough dance moves to make me happy. Both Kurt and Elliott sounded great on the song. With these four vocalists joining forces, there’s very little I wouldn’t listen to them sing. However, I could’ve used more of Rachel and Santana. Pushing those two to the back will never sit well with me, no matter whose fantasy I’m in. B+
NEXT: Is Sue too masculine?
Back in the less glamorous halls of the high school, Sue was preparing for an evaluation from the school board. However, she was a little more interested in the superintendent himself.
Ted Beneke Bob Harris had caught her eye, and after giving a speech about how her caning policies had brought the number of absences and tardies down to zero, Sue wasn’t too worried about the evaluation. She was more worried about her flirtation with Bob, which quickly went south when he asked her to get a beer and informed her that he had been for a “guy” to hang out with. For the first time ever, the track suit was brought into question. Our next daydream was less of a fantasy and more of a flashback. Sue told Becky about her struggle to be feminine. We traveled back to 1986, when Sue was introduced as the new cheerleading coach. Walking the halls with long hair and a pencil skirt simply did not fit her, and after one high school student informed her of that fact, she immediately began her love affair with the track suit (and the megaphone). Suddenly, Sue was “one scary dude.” And that’s exactly how we like her.
From a flashback to a gas-induced daydream, Blaine — whose attitude made me want to smack him (not too hard) — sat in the back corner of the choir room and pouted, during which he fell asleep and woke up in Glee‘s slightly creepier version of Sesame Street, where the entire club was made up of puppets. *Shout out to the amazing Artie puppet, wheelchair and all.* Confused by what was in front of him, Blaine did the only thing he knew how to do in those sorts of situations: Sing!
“You’re My Best Friend”: I love Blaine’s voice as much as the next person, but this was just too much. The cheesy puppets and the bubbly feel-good song? If I could have fast-forwarded, I probably would have. I love Queen and a fun, happy-go-lucky performance, but I already wasn’t feeling Blaine’s narcissism, and I just couldn’t handle this. D+
After a bad dance practice with the Cheerios, Jake was the next to sit in the hot seat. I would call it the gas seat, but that just doesn’t work. Jake took a seat in the back of the choir room, where he experienced a very different sort of gas-induced slumber. Cue the first dance number!
“Nasty Boys”: Between a shirtless Jake, the dance moves, and the throwback to Janet Jackson’s legendary video, I was in. If it were up to me, this is what Jake would be doing every week. A-
Meanwhile, in class, Blaine created a Kurt puppet. Don’t even get me started on how weird it felt — and also, Blaine is incredibly talented at making puppets. But none of that mattered, because Sue took away Blaine’s new companion only minutes after he was made. She was on a tirade, still looking for some way to appear more feminine. Oh hey! Is that Mr. Schue doing pirouettes in the choir room? Doesn’t he look awfully feminine while still being awfully masculine? Yes he does! Sue headed over to the expert for some immediate advice. What ensued was yet another gas-induced dream sequence:
“Dancing Cheek to Cheek”: Personally, I think both Schue and Sue are underused on the show in terms of singing, especially together. The number wasn’t anything crazy exciting, but it was an elegant homage to Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers in Top Hat, which I appreciated. Plus their vocals were pleasant, which is always a good thing on a musical television show. B+
You know what this episode was missing? High school drama! Throwing things back to season 1 and the original Puckerman, Bree caught up with Jake in the hallway and informed him that she was pregnant. She wanted him to meet her after school so that they could go to the doctor together. The only problem was that Jake had to go to the world’s longest detention. (Did he just say eight hours?!) Luckily, Blaine was also there and agreed to cover for him — Blaine got caught sneaking into Sue’s office (in a superhero mask) to try and find his Kurt puppet. Jake stepped out just long enough to find out that it had been a false alarm. But after Bree gave him a way-too-mature-for-high-school speech about the jerk he’d become and the future he was headed toward, baby Puckerman tried to get Marley back with a little charm, a speech about wanting to be better, and two puppy eyes brimming with tears. It didn’t work.
NEXT: We still don’t know what the fox says …
Sue, still on a quest for femininity, turned to Unique for help. The result was flat-ironed hair, lipstick, a skirt, and a pink blazer. Sue rocked the evaluation, even after Figgins tried to rig it by pointing out a dangerous gas leak in the choir room. Apparently Sue’s dance number with Will wasn’t her first “gas-induced fantasy dance sequence,” and she had found and fixed the leak the night before. Just like that, she was made the school’s permanent principal. Unfortunately, all the pink blazer got her was an apology from the superintendent. When she asked him out on a date, he wasn’t interested. The lesson: Femininity is overrated.
Back in the Big Apple, the band wasn’t feeling too great. Only one person had shown up for their first gig. The good news? Said person gave a bootleg of their performance to someone at the Williamsburg Music Hall — Brooklyn hot spot! — and suddenly, the band was back in business. To celebrate, they had cronuts and a package full of “Blaine-made” puppets. One for everyone! And I mean everyone. After learning that he would get a lead vocal on a song at Nationals, Blaine and the rest of the club grabbed some puppets and finished things off with one final performance.
“What Does the Fox Say?”: When I first realized what they were doing, I rolled my eyes. This seemed a little late to the party, and this wasn’t a song I was dying to hear another rendition of. However, once Rachel hit that big note, I couldn’t hate it as much as I had originally wanted. Rachel’s vocals are my weakness, and I’m not ashamed. C
What did you all think of the episode? Did the puppets make you cringe, or did you love the lighter side of Glee? And how happy are you that Glee isn’t doing the teen pregnancy thing again?! Sound off in the comments (and then go eat some leftovers)!
Jane Lynch, Lea Michele, and high school anxiety star in Fox’s campy musical.