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Glee: Funk

Sue: "You know, for me trophies are like herpes. You can try to get rid of them but they just keep coming. Sue Sylvester has hourly flair ups of burning, itching, highly contagious talent."

Ugh. I am so annoyed with Fox.

As many of you surmised (and a little online digging subsequently confirmed), "Funk" was supposed to air before "Theatricality". Apparently, Fox changed the order so that The Lady Gaga Episode would air during May sweeps. Nevermind that it confused the heck out of people, degraded the quality of the episode and wasn't even really a Lady Gaga episode at all.

I don't know if my opinion of "Theatricality" can fully recover - and I still think that there were a lot of plot holes - but it certainly makes a lot more sense in light of "Funk". Or, at the very least, I wouldn't have spent the entire episode asking, "WTF?"

To add insult to the injury, "Funk" was a great episode. It was upbeat, immature, and ludicrous - just the way I like my Glee. The songs actually made sense in the context of the episode - another sore point on "Theatricality". And, gasp! There was dancing! Good dancing! No Reach to Nowhere dancing! Why can't we do this at least every other episode?

Yes, I realize the irony of me saying that this episode was "upbeat", given that it was all about everyone - the kids, Mr. Shue, even Sue - falling into a state of depression. But, oh how beautifully absurd was their funk. Kurt wore the same outfit twice in a week. Will tried to buy pot from Sandy Ryerson. And Sue wouldn't drink her protein shake - for three days! Let the funkification begin!

The Fun...

-- LOVED Puck and Finn's rendition of "Loser" at Sheets and Things, or whatever that place is called. Plus 5 for the vacant, hopeless looks on their faces; plus another 3 for Terri catching Puck playing air guitar with a broom.

-- I can't decide if it was disturbing or awesome, but Quinn's performance with the pregnant teenagers - complete with Lamaze choreography were classic, absurdist Glee. Plus 10.

-- Another +5 for Quinn finally having a great number that showed off her talents. She hasn't really been featured since last fall, and she sang "It's a Man's World" with raw emotion, and gusto.

-- And another +2 on top of that for "[t]hinking that 'trust me' was a sensible birth control option."

-- I think this is the first time we've seen Finn and Puck do a duet. I can totally see how they were partners in crime, even if Puck doesn't understand why Finn is still mad at him. Plus 2.

-- *Drool* Puck is hot. Puck was very hot in "Good Vibrations". Puck's hotness deserves a +1.

-- I don't care if they are soulless automatons - Vocal Adrenaline performances are always the highlight of the episode for me. +5.

-- Plus 5 for the Mercedes/Quinn moment - it really was a good night for Quinn. Plus 1 for mentioning that Quinn's been living with Puck - I'm glad they didn't totally forget about that.

-- Two words: SANDY RYERSON. Need I say more? +10.

-- Puck: "You're not going to fondle us, are you, Mr. Ryerson?" Plus 5.

-- Plus 10 for a scorching hot number by Will that left even Sue squirming ("Tell Me Something Good"). Every time Will sings, I fall in love with him a little bit more. So I'm not really sure why they keep making him rap, because that makes me fall right back out.

-- Hooray for the return of Terri! Plus 2. Hooray for showing that she does truly love will - plus 1. Hooray for her realizing that she has "this compulsive need to crush other people's dreams" - plus 5.

-- Shelby bought all her Glee Clubbers Range Rovers? "We have a very active booster club." Plus 3.

-- Plus 50 for the very last number, "Give Up The Funk". It's right up there with "Don't Stop Believin" and "Jump" as my very favorite New Directions number. Besides the fact that they were actually dancing (and good at it), this was one of the few numbers where I felt like they were really having FUN! Plus, they did a good job of injecting heart, soul, emotion, and unity into it - making Jesse and Random New Direction Girl's concern actually real.

The Funky...

-- Yes, it made more sense than "Theatricality", but I am still completely confused by the Jesse-Rachel relationship. I was actually starting to wonder if this wasn't the only set of episodes that they switched (although after I drew a timeline it made more sense): First Rachel has a musical threesome in "Bad Reputation"; then Jesse disappears; then he comes back and plants the tape; then he goes back to New Directions? Did they actually break up? Did he only come back b/c he hadn't finished his mission? Why would he tell Shelby that he "kind of likes her" in "Dream On" if she had already triple cast him against Finn and Puck? Did he actually have feelings for her, or was he just acting? Minus 20.

-- This episode was supposed to be Jessalyn Gilsig's musical debut, but all she did was mouth "Loser" in the background. Minus 5 for bad promotion.

-- What the heck was that necklace that Puck was wearing during "Good Vibrations"? Minus 2.

-- Have Puck and Finn put aside their differences? If yes, minus 3 for not making it clear.

-- Ugh, Will - you slut. Seriously. Minus 5.

-- A general Glee trend that is annoying the heck out of me: characters do something bad/feel bad, they get set straight and realize the error of their ways by the end of the episode, only to do the same thing again. Examples: the multiple times Will gets caught up in winning/revenge, and realizes that its not him; the multiple times Kurt thinks his dad doesn't love him for who he is, Dad reassures him, then it happens all over again. Yes, in real life, people see saw back with insecurity, but most of the time, it isn't tidily wrapped up in 42 minutes. The character learning/growing would really resonate a lot more if they acted out for a few episodes, then really realized it. The tidiness of this screams "Afterschool Special" to me - minus 20.

-- Those eggs thrown at Rachel looked half cooked - gross, minus 2.

-- Did we really need the word "funk" to be repeated so many times? Ryan, will you never learn subtlety? Minus 10.

Overall, "Funk" definitely came out on top, thanks to relevant numbers that not only highlighted/expressed the characters emotions, but showcased talents far too underused. Plus - Sandy Ryerson. Come on. 3 out of 4 pregnant teenagers.


Sandy: "Where's my muzak? How am I supposed to shop without my Kenny G?"

Kurt: "I'm so depressed I wore the same outfit twice this week."

Sue: "And though I completely loathe you, you'd make a great trophy husband. And as you can see by my decor, I love me some trophies."

Sue: "You know what this has to look like [the choir room] – Elvis’ gold record room at Graceland. Except I’ll be wanting far fewer morbidly obese white women waddling around and crying."

Puck: "Everyone knows this is going to come down to me – revenge, fear, the merciless inflection of pain: these are my kingdoms."

Will: "No one got hurt. It was a harmless prank!"
Sue: "That’s what they said about a young man in Chicago in 1871 who thought he’d play a harmless prank on a dairy cow of one Mrs. O’Leary. He successfully ignited its flatulence and the city burned, William! That young terrorist went on to become the first gay president of the United States, Abraham Lincoln."

Sue: "Well, the week before nationals every year I have a placenta mask right before a rigorous session of microdermabrasion."

Terri: "I thought Jews were supposed to be smart."

Sue: "I’m all about finding a freakish depressed kid and showing them what winning’s all about."


  1. Wow. I couldn't disagree more strongly, Serena. I thought this episode was absolutely terrible. Bad plot stuff and mostly terrible musical numbers equals a big fat zero for me.

    The Will/Sue stuff was gag-inducing, and I found the Quinn number disturbing and ridiculous all at the same time. Even more upsetting was how she compared her situation to Mercedes being black and plus-sized. Seriously? I guess that makes sense for the mind of a privileged teenaged girl, but it was still pretty offensive.

    Basically, I thought the whole episode was a gigantic mess, and not in a good way this week. Plus they capped it with about the least funky funk number you could imagine. At least when performed by the Glee kids. Seriously. I can't imagine why Vocal Adrenaline would be the least bit intimidated by it. I was appalled. I think my mouth dropped open a little in disbelief when I read that you thought it was right up there with Don't Stop Believin'. Whoa. We are back to our polar opposites mode! :)

    About the only thing I liked about this episode was the 'Loser' number. That one was pretty darn funny. Other than that, this episode left *me* in a funk. And usually I can count on Glee to brighten my day even when it is a total mess. Ack. I'm hoping for MUCH better next week.

  2. Wow, Jess -- it's amazing how people can see episodes so differently. You and I often have the same reaction, but not this time. I loved "Funk." I thought the Will/Sue stuff was terrific, Quinn's number was weird and sort of fascinating, and the funk musical numbers were great.

  3. They so messed up with Jesse that it's not funny anymore. I can forgive some continuity lapses or the constant resets at the end of the episode, but come on. Keep the characterization straight. Wasn't he just at friendly terms with Rachel last time we saw him and admiting to Shelby that it's more then a assignment.

    I also wonder why VA didn't start laughing at the end. "You are going to beat us with that song???"

  4. I think Glee is a particularly polarizing show in terms of what works and what doesn't. I'm amazed at the range of opinions that I see on a week-to-week basis. I think, like Lost, this show invites people to watch and enjoy it for a variety of different reasons. When you add in diversity in musical tastes, you really get a huge range of reactions to every episode. Serena and I often represent different ends of the spectrum, and I'm always interested to see where the regular commenters fall. Billie, you tend to agree more with Serena than me on this show, so I'm never surprised to see we are out of sync for a given episode. :)

  5. Also, to expand on Jess's point, I think part of the reason there is such a wide range is that my tastes are a bit different than the target audience for this site. Although I love Buffy, Lost, etc., I tend to prefer lighter, more pop-culture type stuff, as opposed to sci-fi.

    A comment was made on my Lost series finale post that they didn't understand why thinking and fun are mutually exclusive. I think Jess hit it on the head when she said that we watch shows for very different reasons. I definitely appreciate intelligent shows, but I usually watch TV to relax and decompress my brain - I don't really want to use it any more than I have to after work :-)

    Finally, remember that I look for different things with Glee (just like you guys appreciated different things about Lost) based on best practices of musical theater. A lot of what I watch for is how much a song expresses a characters' emotions, how it transitions or furthers the storyline, whether or not it makes sense in the context of the story, and whether or not there is a good balance between dialogue and song. I'm not saying that Jess (or anyone else) doesn't, but that may mean that I give a song higher marks even if it is enjoyable, or vice versa.

    That being said, I LOVE hearing what other people think of the episodes, esp since opinions vary so widely.

  6. Wow Serena, what an awesome review :-) I think you hit the nail on the head with everything, except that Give Up The Funk wasn't That good! I thought Bad Romance last week was better. This time it was a case of mediocre song done Really waell!

    I'm so glad you made a big thing of the Jesse plotline, it really has been crazy all over the place, so off, but hey, I guess it's over now (small mercy) so we've got some nice eggy enmity stirred up for next week :-)

    Puck was Phhhitt in Good Vibrations but was also very hot in Give Up The Funk - surely he deserves more than a +1?

  7. Hi Serena,

    I enjoyed this, too, although I just haven't enjoyed Glee as much as I did last fall. (This might be me: I mourning Lost, and I keep wanting all my other shows to have black smoke monsters and mysterious numbers. Glee just has musical, non-mysterious numbers.)

    Anyway, I, too, had read that the episodes were re-ordered, which is the only way to explain the Jesse thing. But was there ever an episode where Rachel and Jesse actually broke up? Did I miss it? Or did it happen off-screen, and we just saw the fall-out? The "previously on" said something about them breaking up, but did they really mean "not actually previously on, but implicitly happening before this episode"?

  8. I kinda agree with the review. I mostly liked "Funk" despite most the music not being my cup of tea. Quinn's performance? Was kinda bizarre and I think funk isn't really her. "Loser" was kinda funny. "Give Up The Funk" was very...I mean it's not the same as Don't Stop Believing in that it's not the goosebump-y sort of song, but I can see how it's really good. It's a sorta upbeat song, and the Glee kids actually DANCE this time rather than their usual lame walk-around and Reach to Nowhere Serena has so rightly pointed out. So kudos to them.

    New Directions finally managed to pull of a performance that had attitude to match Vocal Adrenaline, and I can actually see them competing on a more level playing field now. But not sure if they can win. I always thought New Directions' real forte was inspirational crowd-pleaser kinda songs (Don't Stop Believing, Somebody To Love, True Colours) that Vocal Adrenaline can't do - soulless as they are.

    Will/Sue was kinda creepy. And I completely agree about the back-and-forth with the doing something wrong and then regretting it. Will's done it too many times.

    I think they messed up with Jesse though. Last time he was fine with Rachel and suddenly he's complaining about not being heard? May be true but he's not mentioned it before. And we all know he's just gone back because Rachel found Shelby, but it's not believable at all, specially considering he said he kinda likes her. what does Rachel think? Doesn't she wonder if her mom is in on this?

    It's also sad because Rachel and Jesse had way more chemistry than Rachel and Finn.

    Can't wait for the finale :)

  9. Random Vocal Adrenaline girl, not Random New Directions girl.


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