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Glee: Special Education

“You’re a constellation of stars. I would just hate to think that you might be ignoring some of them because they don’t burn quite as obviously bright.”

This week the revelation that Santana and Finn boinked causes some unnecessary drama, a magic comb holds the key to New Directions winning at Sectionals, Kurt struggles to fit in at his new school and new glee club where he isn’t the star, and everybody sings.

I spent much of Special Education wanting to shout “grow up!” at the TV. Maybe this episode was better received by Glee’s younger viewers who might have more invested in the characters and therefore find their relationship angst more engaging, but I was rather put off by it. Some parts were done in the right way, like Brittany and Artie’s ridiculous yet adorable spat. Those scenes were never meant to be truly believable (at least I hope no one in American high schools puts their faith in magic combs), so they made the most of Brittany’s childlike innocence and Artie’s likeable, puppy-dog earnestness.

Finn and Rachel’s storyline on the other hand, bored me a bit. Any episode focusing on Rachel has to walk a fine line between irritation and intrigue. Some parts of her needy, demanding personality feel quite believable as that of a star-in-the-making, but sometimes, she’s just needlessly stupid and annoying. This episode was mostly the latter. Their break up at the end of the episode is almost certainly temporary and I am not that interested in seeing the healing process. Maybe Glee will surprise me and keep them apart....nah. I did enjoy seeing Rachel and Kurt bond, although I did wonder why there wasn’t any Kurt/Mercedes interaction. Aren’t they supposed to be besties?

The Will and Emma stuff was also fairly uninspired. Will hasn’t done anything to show he deserves Emma in a long time, and Emma keeps on being a tease (seriously, don’t kiss him on the cheek!), so I’m left wondering what the writers want me to feel. Do I want a happy ending? Isn’t that what just happened to Emma and the finest dentist alive?

Bits and Pieces:

-- I really enjoyed every New Directions member getting a chance to shine this week.

-- Isn’t dancing in high heels really tough? I’ve never tried it but I imagine it would be! Brittany’s acrobatics and were just incredible, and that was before one considers her footwear.

-- Snazzy coat, Emma! Didn’t make up for the lack of crazy Kurt outfits though.

-- I am not sure whether a tie is remotely realistic, but I don’t care as it means we’re sure to get more Blaine and the Warblers.

-- The little warbler was cute, as were Kurt’s cats and coal mines jokes. Lighten up, Blaine and the Warblers!

-- What’s the betting that in a couple of episodes Finn and Rachel make up, sing about it, and I can’t help but enjoy the ear candy.

-- President of the AV Club and Girls Wrestling Team member Lauren Zizes was fairly amusing but the idea of her making out with Puck makes me shudder. I might be a bad person, but I really want to make a joke about her literally rocking his world. Anyway kudos Glee for not forgetting that New Directions only just has the minimum number of members necessary to qualify.

-- Dalton Academy appears to have a hallway that you can only walk/run hand-in-hand down in slow motion.


Glee Against the Music:

“Don’t Cry For Me Argentina” – Julie Covington/Evita:
Perfect song for our two divas, and I’m glad we didn’t get My Heart Will Go On. It was also well chosen in by the Glee writers in that it was rather overly dramatic for Kurt to audition with. I liked Blaine’s subtle ‘don’t raise the hands’ tuition mid-song. Especially amusing since Kurt still did a strange little flourish at the end. Still, it wasn’t as good as ‘Defying Gravity’ from Season One. Grade B.

“The Living Years” – Mike + The Mechanics:
Hmmm! Well, it was amusing watching Puck being so into it. Other than that, it all felt a bit perfunctory. Grade C.

“Hey, Soul Sister” – Train: Can’t really argue with choosing a song that was number one in sixteen countries can you? Whilst it might be a bit too mainstream and recent a song for some people, I thought it fit Blaine and the Warblers perfectly. They blew me away again. More warbly acapella please! I liked the campy little bounces from side-to-side and Blaine’s animated and overexcited performance style. Then again, the guy could make toast and I’d still be riveted. Grade A.

“(I’ve Had) The Time of My Life” – Bill Medley & Jennifer Warnes/Dirty Dancing:
Ken and Barbie were very cute in this. Diana Aggron has a very syrupy voice and that fit the sweetness of the song well, same goes for Chord’s silky smooth baritone. Just like in last season’s finale, we had a duet starting at the bad of the auditorium (last time it was ‘Faithfully’) followed by the curtain rising mid-song to reveal the rest of the group. It works well but come on Mr Shue! Still, they looked and sounded great and I’d much rather listen to this than the Black Eyed Peas recent sampled version. I’d give this a B.

“Valerie” – The Zutons (although Mark Ronson and Amy Winehouse’s version is more popular and waaay better and this is the version Glee covered):
Santana’s solo was such a great surprise! I’m glad I didn’t hunt down the songs online before watching this episode. Even though she was way overdue for a solo, and her voice really suited the song, Mike ‘Other Asian’ Chang and Brittany S. Pierce’s insanely good dance moves stole the limelight. Well done Mr Shue for realising they were the reagents needed for a talent explosion. Grade A.

“Dog Days Are Over” – Florence and the Machine:
Tina and Mercedes rounded out the full bout of solos, but they were hardly the dregs of the group. They sounded great, although it was strange to see Tina all dressed up and Mercedes in such a casual outfit. I always think of Tina as the most underused member of New Directions, but she really pulled her weight in this! I wasn’t sold on the choreography though, I thought the racing back and forth was a bit reminiscent of caged animals. B.

Quotes for Gleeks:

Quinn: “You used to be just sort of unlikeable, but now I pretty much feel like punching you every time you open your mouth!”

Tina: “We have a problem.”
Artie: “Is the problem your outfit? You look like a cheerleader zombie corpse.”

Puck: “All I can say is that I didn't steal that soda machine, and if I did, I didn't do it alone.”

Artie: “Adultery means cheating.”
Brittany: “I thought it meant being stupid. Like being a dolt.”

Puck: “Buddha, Allah, Satan help me...”

Rachel: “My dads went to couples counseling because one of them put up wallpaper in the den without asking the other and they said it was the only thing that kept them from killing each other.”

Rachel: “You said you'd never break up with me.”
Finn: “I never thought you'd make me feel like this.” Beware the words never and forever, young couples!

Quote of the week goes to...
Brittany: “If we lose, we should throw possums.”

Sorry Glee writers, you need to stick with the tight plotting and relevant themes such as in last week’s ‘Furt’. Also, Glee isn’t Glee without Sue Sylvester. Two magic combs that aren’t really magic because Brittany’s magic and she’s dancing for Artie.


  1. I didn't like this episode as much as other people seemed to. I absolutely love Finchel on this show, they're adorable to me. When they broke up, I cried. I would love to see more episodes where Rachel/Finn sing. They're the best on the show and they have such a stage presence that not everyone else has. I agreed with Rachel, she deserves those solos because she's so amazing. I did like Sam/Quinn singing, however Santana can try as hard as she wants but she'll never beat Don't Rain On My Parade. Also, I love love loved the Rachel/Kurt moment. Like she said, they're much more alike than they are different. I look forward to see what happens in future episodes though.

  2. Brittany and Artie makes me Barfie!

    She belongs with Santana. Why is this being ignored?

    Artie takes advantage of Brittany's intelligence to further his selfishness. She goes along with it because she doesn't know any better. Do people forget how big of a narcissistic douche bag Artie is the majority of the time?

    Santana was never mean to Brittany in any of their build up in the first season. They were always together, and you could tell that they had real feelings for each other. But then in Duets, Santana freaked out and pushed Brittany away. She of course immediately regretted it. Now she's just too sad and lonely that she's started lashing out at everyone, especially Rachel. I feel so bad for her through all of this.

    Thank God we had Valerie to make up for some of this!

  3. I definitely agree with you Harry about wanting to yell at the characters the entire show. I love Finn and Rachel but they were both acting immature this episode, especially when Rachel got angry at Finn fir breaking up with her when he said he never would...it was just a really naive vie of things. Also, I'm a younger viewer and I thought they were being q bit dramatic, but I guess glee is a pretty theatrical show.

    I'm a little bit upset about Emma but my view is that i am ok with anything they do to keep John Stamos on the show :)

    Kurt and Rachel bonding was definitely one of my favorite points. And Kurt and Blaine are great, especially with the warblers. A cappella is super fitting for this show and there isn't enough of it. Also, Brittany and Artie are becoming my new favorite couple they are just hysterical. This episode could have been better, but I'm sure they will be able to get back up to the usual standard again soon.

  4. I'm pretty much split even here, didn't like this episode very much but there were moments. A few.

    Rachel and Kurt? Great to watch. Ever since she started being nicer a few episodes back I've enjoyed their teaming up, and they are two of the strongest in New Directions after all.

    But Rachel, after her few good episodes of character development (really, she was beginning to be quite nice), totally flushed it down the drain this time with her tantrum at not getting a solo - when will she learn? But plus points for Will finally not tolerating her bullshit anymore.

    Rachel and Finn. Where to start...as you've so rightly said, immature. Especially Rachel, again. But plus points for Puck not going through with Rachel. See what I mean about being split halfway?

    So many other things. Puck getting trashed, but not being bitter about it and 'getting his world rocked' by Lauren instead...

    Artie and Brittany - plus points. But minus to Tina being such a bitch. She needlessly troubled Artie, and I still haven't forgiven her behaviour earlier in the season.

    The Warblers confuse me. What's so wrong with Kurt's audition? Given their 'rock-star' status I'm surprised they're such sticklers for conformity.

  5. I think it was def a mixed episode. Loved the Artie Brittney scenes and I have a love of Rachel the diva. Although I think calling them immature is a little off because lets face it there 16/17 years old and suppose to be immature. Rachel is suppose to be jealous and shes suppose to be diva so acting this way is no shock. So i dont knock them for acting this way.

  6. All the romantic angst was predictable, and the music choices didn't do much for me this week. But I loved the scene in the green room ("best green room ever"), and I'm enjoying the supporting characters getting more screen time. Especially Puck, who is probably my favorite character now.

    That canary -- stuck in a cage, moulting, no longer singing -- Most Obvious Symbolism for Kurt at his new school, where they don't seem to appreciate him. Kurt just looked uncomfortable singing with the Warblers at Sectionals, wonderful perfect Blaine or no wonderful perfect Blaine.

  7. I'm with Anonymous two comments above on this one. Rachel wouldn't be Rachel if she wasn't at least partially insufferable, and the way she and Finn handled their relationship was consistent with their age. Besides, wasn't a full season of Friends back in the day dedicated to exactly the same...

    I just realised why I kept expecting Finn to turn around and shout, "Rachel, we were on a BREAK!"

  8. Hehe you crack me up Dimitri :) I take your and Anonymous's points that teenagers are not only likely, but allowed to have angst-ridden romances full of mistakes (and hopefully, learning curves!), I guess that's what I meant when I said this episode would appeal to younger viewers who find immaturity less tiresome.

    Patrick, that's a really interesting take on Santana and Brittany. I think their relationship is ignored for the same reasons their bisexuality is ignored. The Glee writers seem to want to highlight the sexiness of two female cheerleaders together in a casual relationship, but skate over the fact that they are portraying an alternative sexuality that is not often focused on unapologetically, and it needs to be done with sensitivity. Ok I'll get off my LGBT soapbox now. Maybe they'll prove me wrong; I hope so!

    Thanks for spotting the MOS Billie :)

  9. And, don't forget our Rachel was named after the character on 'Friends.'


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