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Glee: The Sue Sylvester Shuffle

┣▇g̅l̲e̲̅e̲̅▇▇═─ ....ahhhhh. This episode was a much needed dose of concentrated, unadulterated Glee which was just what I needed to knock my man flu on the head and shake off the winter blues. This episode saw the return of the football/cheerios/New Directions rivalry that has been part of previous episodes but never the sole focus, and never with such a big budget. Speaking of which – why weren’t all the Cheerios’ boobs shooting sparks dammit?!

Bigger is Better

The spectacular opening scene set the tone for the scale of the episode, and certainly had me wowed. I hope that the writers weren’t being self referential with Sue’s opening diatribe? Could people already be getting bored of Glee? Whatever the subtext, I was tickled by the text. Clearly, what Sue needed to jog her out of her gloom was Mama Cannon. What will happen to the babies now Mama isn’t ‘safe’ enough to be used in a school? Surely safety isn’t that much of an issue if girls are swirling rings of fire around their naked midriffs! Amusingly, Figgins only told Sue that she needed to get a student’s consent in order to fire them out of the suclear weapon, but it was still enough for Sue to go on a Super Bowl sized rampage. A bit OTT.
Thankfully most of the larger than life aspects of the episode worked wonders, with some incredible set pieces compliment by the plot, which I thought was much tighter than most episodes (or maybe I’ve just missed my Glee injection too much). While the theme of teamwork was hardly original, it wasn’t a theme-driven episode so it didn’t matter too much.

Karofsky and his Closet

Whilst I do enjoy seeing characters break out of their shells, and develop more than one dimension, the stubbornness and paranoia of Davey K when it came to anything he perceived as gay felt a little unrealistic at times. Would he not have wanted to do Thriller along with the rest of the team in the first place? Surely his reluctance made it more obvious to the rest of the team that something was going on with him. It was also hard to swallow that the rest of the guys would follow him out of the locker room and quit the football team without even a word? Especially since Puck then had an easy time convincing them to rejoin during halftime (cue the fastest makeup application ever!). I appreciate the commitment to see Karofsky’s storyline through writers, but could he please come out (or be outed) already? The fact that all the good work of Finn to build bridges between the clubs was undone by the end of the episode bugged me, and if Karofsky had shown some signs of growing, I would have appreciated it.


- Sue’s whole journal monologue: can’t lose combo of boobs and fire! racoon hormones! She’s 31?! Sue tattoo! How could so much goodness be crammed into one minute?
- Rachel and Lauren getting fierce as football girls
- Sue’s tracksuit coat with the arm stripes
- That Glee is equal opps with the slushies... but surely now Artie’s had more than anyone!
- The choreography in Thriller – completely unbelieveable that footballers could learn that in a week but I don’t care, it was brilliant.
- Tina having the courage to make a play for the ball. Asian vampires are the most vicious of all the vampires.
- Braaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaains!

Didn’t Love

- Finn running off during the big game meaning McKinley didn’t have enough players to keep playing. You’d think the other team would have noticed.
- Artie’s zombie makeup. Too realistic for me – it looked like his face had melted.
- In fact all of the zombie makeup. It’s horrible!
- How will Mama Cannon feed her baby cannons now? *sob*
- The completely dodgy hockey team hairdos, what a relief for Kurt to not have to be in the presence of those every day.
- The obvious subtext of Kurt bringing warm milk to Finn every night. Eek. Listen to your big gay mentor.
- I wasn’t that moved by Finn and Quinn rekindling their sparkage, but it made for an ok subplot.
- Karofsky generally being an A-hole and also joining in Thriller without makeup. That’s not allowed!

Glee Against the Music

"California Gurls" (Cheerios):
Loved the boobs and fire. It is an unbeatable combo, doncha know. The stunt cycles were a bit much but as a possible introduction to Glee for lots of Super Bowl viewers, probably a canny move. The blue wigs and sparky boob cones were also a nice tribute to Katy P. Grade B+

"Need You Now" - Lady Antebellum (Puck and Rachel):
I personally like the song and their performance was ok but what a terrible way to try and enthuse a bunch of footballers? They should have invited them to the boy’s It’s My Life/Confessions Part 2 mashup way back in Season 1. Grade C.

"She's Not There" - The Zombies (Titans):
I liked the performance more than the music; the song was fairly random (artist name aside) but the choreography with all the staggering and swinging arms was so much fun. Who thought that zombie footballers could be adorable. B+.

"Bills, Bills, Bills" - Destiny's Child (Blaine and the Warblers):
Okay, I admit that it pains me to see a Warblers number that has no relevance to the plot, but it was pretty inspired. A.

"Thriller" / "Heads will Roll" Michael Jackson / Yeah Yeah Yeahs mashup (Gleeks/Titans):
Everything I hoped it would be. Although the editors went a little crazy. A.

Quotes for Gleeks

Puck: "We used to be best friends ... before I got your girlfriend pregnant ... and then made out with your other girlfriend..."

Footballer: “If I have to stay I’m not singing no showtunes – that is the music of my oppressors.”

Sue: "You may just have a point. But to be sure, slap yourself with a chicken cutlet."

Sue: "Dear Journal, I am in crisis. Not even the can't-lose combination of boobs and fire can get me going anymore. Is it the raccoon hormones my new doctor gave me?"

Sue: "Enjoying the eavesdropping afforded me by the Swiss timepiece regularity and utter silence of my 2 p.m. ninja poops."

Brittany: "But I don't want to die yet. At least not until 'One Tree Hill' gets cancelled."
Sue: "Fine. To put your toddler, fist-sized mind at rest, we'll do one, final test run."

Sue: “This level of risk and danger makes me feel alive again.”
Principal Figgins: "But the risk and danger isn't to you!"
Sue: "That's the best part!"

Quinn: "If we go to our cheerleading competition, then we miss the halftime show, and we're out of glee club. I'm torn."
Santana: "Well, I'm not."
Brittany: "I'm Brittany."

Katie: "That's Barbara Walters. In the voting, you beat out (lots of people I’ve never heard of). How do you cope with that?"
Sue: "I've been drinking a lot of bleach."

Kurt: “Blaine and I love football. Well, Blaine loves football – I love scarves”.

Four out of four slaps with a chicken cutlet.

By the way, if you’re a Gleek, I’d appreciate if you’d go and inject the internet with this:
“By its very definition, ┣▇g̅l̲e̲̅e̲̅▇▇═─ is about opening your veins up to joy.”


  1. I loved the girls on the team, and the half-time show was just terrific. I loved this episode. Except for Karovsky. It's more than time they resolved that situation. And I love the Warblers (what an awesome number) but I want Kurt back at McKinley, dammit.

    Terrific review, Harry. The needle at the top of the review threw me for a moment. :)

  2. If they want to tackle teen gay suicides (like Ryan Murphy suggested some time ago) then it's finally time for Karofsky to kill himself in a Very Special Episode. (after all they can't kill of Kurt)

  3. I think I'm in the minority when I say that I really like Quinn and Finn, despite their ridiculously similar names. I'm looking forward to seeing how it goes.

    For a character that is supposed to be a complete villain, I think Max Adler is doing wonders with Karofsky. Especially with tackling such a serious issue. I really want to see some further redemption for Karofsky, that doesn't end tragically.

    Although, who is with me in thinking that he looks a lot like Larry from BtVS?

    Great review, Harry! Hope Glee has knocked over your man flu (:

  4. To Morgan India, I definitely picked up the similarity between Karofsky and Larry in BtVS, both in the physical looks of the actors and in the story lines.

  5. Great review!! I just love this show :)

  6. God how I missed Glee. At least I spent the long hiatus watching previous episodes.

    Katy Perry, again? And why waste the Warblers' gorgeous acappella skills on Destiny's Child.

    I thought the Warbler's didn't place for Regionals. I'm not quite sure how that all works.

    I also thought that Lady Antebellum was a horrible choice, possibly if Rachel had sparklers attached to her chest.

    The Karofsky plot is dragging out a bit, but I'm glad they aren't taking the easy way out, people don't change over night.

    Footballers are spry and quite coordinated, it's not as unbelievable as the Glee kids learning a dance routine an hour before performing.

    Was I the only one confused by the Katie Couric interview. Seemed too outlandish, even for Glee.

    I completely missed the syringe till Billie mentioned it. Kept thinking there was an HTML cac up. Very clever, lovely review.

  7. It's funny, I've had the exact opposite reaction to the hiatus. I've realized that I didn't miss Glee at all. I do enjoy some of the musical numbers and parts of episodes most weeks, but on the whole, I've grown tired of plotting that's all over the place and twists and turns that have no logical basis in character or story progression. More than that, I've gotten a bit tired of Sue. And I used to love Sue!

    So Glee and I are parting company for the time being. I'll likely keep following the reviews, and I may return to it later in the season, but for now, I'm done.

  8. Now see, I like that the Karovsky plotline is ongoing. As a previous commenter noted, someone buried this deep in the closet won't change overnight, no matter how cool the halftime show was. I think it really lends weight to Kurt's arc this season by showing that his closeted enemy/unfortunate first kiss is still bigoted. It might be too much to ask for, but I would love to see this thread last the rest of the season, slowly pulling Karovsky out until he can reach acceptance. That GLEE tackled this topic is tremendous, but since they did, I think they have a responsibility to show that these prejudices can't be fixed immediately. It would be unfair for a young kid in the real world to think bullying would stop, just because he made a small connection with the bully. Karovsky's stubborness is, unfortunately, realistic, and its a sobering but important lesson to continue to teach the high school victims of abuse and violence.

    Hmmmm, I just got very serious. But the episode was great, I loved the line about 'ninja poops', and always enjoy reading the lively commentary on this site! It's a credit to your writers' skills and obvious love of the material they review!

  9. I kinda agree with Jess actually, after the hiatus I saw I wasn't really anticipating Glee like I was my other shows. I think lately the stories have just been a little trifling, with of course the exception of the whole Kurt/Karofsky business. But really, other than the music, it wasn't starting to wear thin on me a bit.

    I do think this episode was pretty great though. It had that classic Glee balance; a good story at the centre, with lots of humour. Music was pretty good, that mashup was pretty epic and they really did make it work. Plus it advanced the Karofsky story quite a bit, which I hope they close in the next couple of episodes. I like Finn and Quinn too, but I don't know if re-introducing them is really the best idea...

    I'll still watch, definitely, and I'm a bit more optimistic cause of this episode...but it's still not quite that same Glee we were watching a year ago.

  10. Morgan: All better now thanks :) And Karofsky is quite Larry Mk 2. I wonder if he'll also become a parallel universe white hat?

    Felipe: Thanks for your awesome comment :) Maybe I am being unfair to wish the Karofsky plot resolved so quickly. I think Ryan Murphy said in an interview that he does see a big payoff to the Karofsky plot coming in May, so that's a fair long while to wait!

    Jess and Nick: :( Sadness. But I realise that Glee's inability to evolve could bore some people. Thankfully not me though!

  11. Btw Felipe, the Warblers and New Directions tied at Sectionals so they are both going on to Regionals :) I wonder how many times they'll do ties on this show?

  12. Jess and Nick I get your points, but it's the simplicity of it all I enjoy the most. Nice to not have to analyze every plot point.

    Ah, the all too convenient tie. Thanks for clearing that up. Let's hope they refrain from using that again. And my pleasure:)

  13. I'd just like to clarify that I don't find Glee boring. I find it incredibly frustrating. I'm not looking for anything deeply complex here (I love me some complexity, but this is Glee not The Wire), just something more consistent. Especially in the characterization department.

    I realize that this isn't a new problem, and I've always had a love-hate relationship with Glee. But, for me, the joy doesn't outweigh the frustration anymore. If it hadn't taken such a long break, I'd probably still be watching it. But having it gone for so long made me realize I didn't miss it! So I'm cutting bait.


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