Brittany: "It's like cool epilepsy."
Oy. "Hairography" was definitely, well, hairy. While there were some good moments and cute one-liners in the episode, overall, I didn't love it. I almost think this one should have been titled "Wheels", because it felt like everyone was spinning their wheels in the mud but getting nowhere.
The entire time I was watching, I felt this nagging sense of deja vu. I finally realized why everything felt familiar - this episode was Acafellas, Part 2. Getting bashed over the head again with the writers' subtlety and grace this week brought back the pain of that episode - which I mercifully had no memory thanks to the original head trauma.
I Don't Think You're Ready For This Jelly...
So kids, in case you didn't catch it, tonight was about distraction. Distracting your husband from the truth with a really ugly old car (Terri). Distracting the judges from your lack of confidence with really ugly wigs (Will). Distracting Finn so that he wouldn't notice her playing house with his best friend with Rachel in a really ugly catsuit (Quinn). Distracting the viewers so they wouldn't notice that Sectionals is never coming and the writers are running out of ideas with a really gimmicky episode about distraction.
Oy. When I get a chance, I'm going to go back and count how many times that word was uttered in "Hairography" - they didn't even bother with handy synonyms this time around.
Besides the fact that the Theme of the Week/Afterschool Special message to "be yourself" was overly preachy, I also didn't dig this episode because nothing moved. We were teased that the truth might come out with Terri, that Quinn might keep the baby and choose Puck, that Finn was actually interested in Rachel - but in the end, everything stayed exactly where it has been for months. Yes, months. I'm all for a natural progression and not rushing through a storyline, but I'm losing my patience. WHEN is Terri going to be found out? WHEN will the Rachel-Finn-Quinn-Puck rectangle dynamics change? WHEN is Sectionals going to happen? And WHEN is Sue going to reveal her endgame?
Not all of the episode was bad. Kurt had some fantabulous one liners, and it was nice to see just how much Terri genuinely loves Will. (Although, again, retread of "Acafellas".) I actually really liked the scenes where Quinn and Puck were babysitting ("What's that smell?" "Soap.") and I really liked that Puck is still the horny, MILF-loving teenage punk he's always been. If he had miraculously grown up and fallen for Quinn, it would have been sweet, but a fairy tale.
Unfortunately, we already know all this about these characters. The depth, complexities, insecurities have been revealed and shown. Not only did the plot not further, none of the characters grew. Sue was back to her old scheming ways, Will back to his old lack of confidence and desperate need to do anything to win. If this episode had come earlier in the season, it might have been fine. But it's no longer enough for me, not after I've seen what this cast and these writers can do.
The only true bright spot I found in "Hairography" was the continued exchanges between Rachel and Kurt. When she told Kurt that she would still win Finn's affection because she was a girl, the way his face fell made me think that he's finally taking it to heart. (Although, call me pessimistic, but given the way that they've treated Puck's character, I wouldn't be surprised if Kurt was back to his old antics again next week.) I also really loved the moment at the end when Rachel and Kurt look at each other across the hall, and give each other a small wave.
But there were two redeeming parts for "Hairography" - the performances of the Jane Adams Academy, and the school for the deaf (didn't catch the name). I have really, really, really missed seeing other Glee Clubs perform. OK, I'll be honest. I just really, really, really want to see Vocal Adrenaline again, because they are dynamite. But finally seeing the competition was good too.
The "Bootylicious" routine reminded me a lot of "Push It" from "Acafellas" - totally, inappropriately sexed up, with lyrics that I never needed to see in Close Caption. (I too am 1/2 deaf, although not from scarlet fever or as ridiculous as the director.) Since I love hip hop, and New Directions admittedly has no dance skills, it was great to see some actual dancing, hair and all. This is in direct contrast with the "Hair/Crazy In Love" number by our McKinley kids - which seemed to take Brittany's directive to "pretend like you've been tasered" a little too literally.
Even if the "Imagine" piece was blatantly emotionally manipulative, I still enjoyed it. It doesn't hurt that it's such a wonderful song. I'm glad that they didn't make the deaf kids amazing vocalists - that would have been too cliche. Having them sign and sing "Imagine" off tune instead was fantastic. The combination of McKinley and deaf kids singing was beautiful, but the whole time, I was wondering why the deaf kids weren't offended that Mercedes just got up and crashed their number.
- + 5 for the Jane Adams Bootylicious routine, hair, booty shaking and all. I didn't realize just how whitewashed McKinley is until I saw it (and yes, I know Mercedes tries to point that out almost every week).
- Another +1 because they kept the "I don't think you're ready for this jelly". They censored Mr. Shue with "Gold Digger", I expected it to always happen.
- +5 for the "Imagine" piece. Artie is a fantastic singer.
- -10 for the "Hair" idea altogether. Mr. Shue - if you are trying to distract the judges from your supposed faults (dancing), why put the guys in ugly wigs? It's one thing to have the girls toss their hair, but the boys looked ridiculous. But +3 because Puck's Slash wig was just too awesome, so only -7 in the end.
- +1 for "True Colors". I liked the visuals, but Tina wasn't really strong enough for this number, and it was Shameless Emotional Manipulation #2 of the evening.
- +1 for attempting a mashup with Beyonce and "Hair", -1 because it didn't really work, and not just because of the wigs. Mashups do seem to be their specialty, and in general, I like them.
- Oh, and what's with the Beyonce fascination? I'm pretty sure this is the fourth Beyonce song they've performed, and two in one night?? No points, just saying.
- +1 for a cute and timely accoustic rendition of "Papa Don't Preach", but -1 because it was way too cheerful and would have been more powerful if it reflected how Quinn actually felt. Even.
- Overall tally: 5. Not a strong night musically, I'm afraid. I didn't rush out to download anything off iTunes this week.
Before we wrap up, I need to give a shout out to our comedic MVP this episode: Kendra. She had one zinger after another tonight - which was very welcome, especially with Sue being uncharacteristically sober.
Bits & Pieces
-- Kendra: "Mom smoked and drank a bottle of Reuniti every night when she was pregnant with us, and we're TOTALLY normal!!!" That explains a lot.
-- Kurt: "Rachel somehow managers to dress like a grandmother and a toddler at the same time." Too true! He nailed it!
-- BTW, that periwinkle pant suit totally made me laugh out loud.
-- Quinn: "What are you doing Friday night?"
Puck: "The usual - stand outside 7-Eleven looking depressed until someone offers to buy me beer."
-- Will: "Brittany, take it away."
Brittany: "Take what away?"
-- Kurt: "Most of the time I find it hard to be in the same room with you. Especially this one, which looks like where Strawberry Shortcake and Holly Hobbie come to hook up."
-- Terri: "You don't drink diet soda, do you? Because it causes male pattern baldness."
Quinn: "The baby's a girl."
-- Kurt: "Looks like someone is running for drama queen."
-- Ms. Hitchens: "You're a good kid, why did you try to rob a bank?"
Aphasia: "Because, Ms. Hitchens, that's where they keep the money."
-- The soap line was great, but isn't it kind of illegal to be bathing minors you don't know? Maybe I just watched too much Law & Order: SVU over the holiday weekend.
Overall, meh. 2.5 wigs out of 4.