Glee: The Spanish Teacher

This week on Glee, students complain about Will and Sue’s teaching skills, Emma prints lots of pamphlets, and Ricky Martin is discovered to be teaching night classes at McKinley.

Te Dijo Te Amo

Considering Will has been teaching Spanish at McKinley since the start of the series, we’ve seen remarkably little of him actually doing his job! I imagine the main reason for the latinization of Glee was Ricky Martin agreeing to appear. As plots to hang around a guest star go, Spanish week isn’t particularly inspired, but they did a good job of weaving Mr Martin into a plausible story that had Will acting fairly believably for once. Will screwed up twice, once with the lack of authenticity and background knowledge on his Spanish, and once by treating Emma like the silly housewife when it was she who was actually on track to get tenure. I really like the fact that he gracefully admitted his flaws and tried to make amends for them. This episode made me see Will an Emma as a believable adult couple a lot more than previous episodes have done. That’s probably more to do with how dodgy the proposal episode was – it didn’t have much heart despite being all about big romantic gestures. This week’s last scene was classic Glee mushiness, but this time, they earned it, and it paid off.

Satisfáceme Bebe

This plot worked least well for me, as Sue is mostly used to inject wackiness and humour into the show, and there’s something very unfunny about her desire to have a baby. Yes, I laughed at the sperm jokes and Coach Roz Washington’s amazing slap-down speech, as well as being slightly tickled by the idea that Sue would secretly want Will’s personality traits in her child. But that begs the question, why is she having a baby if she wants the baby to be like Will not her? Does she not think that her anger, vindictiveness and other assorted villainous traits will rub off on her child?

Es Para Siempre ¿Entiendes?

The Finchel engagement plot turned in some surprisingly good scenes this week – I enjoyed seeing Rachel, Mercedes and Kurt watching Twilight and talking about boys together, although I don’t see why Blaine couldn’t have watched the film with them. Kurt’s pep-talk to Finn contained much better advice than Quinn’s “it’s doomed, break up with him” speech to Rachel last week. I particularly liked the fact that Kurt was willing to downplay his own talent in order to make Finn feel like he had something uniquely special.

Loved

- Emma’s pamphlet titles. Pure genius – especially the ‘two-timing ho’ ones! This was a really good episode for Emma. Wait, the best one was Please Don’t Hog My Fiance’s Nog!

- I like that Ricky Martin added a certain duende to the episode, without overpowering it. Unlike a certain other Spanish-teaching guest star I could name! I wish she’d come back.

- This is a really good season for Santana, she’s growing a lot, and getting a lot of solos, in fact she’s barely got any reason to moan about Rachel taking centre stage any more.

- Will’s awful Spanish was the gift that kept on giving. Maybe not in Santana’s eyes.

- Brittany confusing bilingual and (presumably) bisexual. Actually, maybe she means she speaks cat.

- Ricky Martin now works at McKinley High! Do you think he’ll return? I hope so. He pretty.

- Yay, Sugar didn’t get run over in-between episodes!

Didn’t Love

- Kurt, it’s not cool to pretend you have a menstrual cycle.

- Not that I’m that concerned (okay, what am I saying, of course I obsess over tiny little details like this when they pertain to Glee), but Sue’s age has been made even more of a mystery in this episode. Jane Lynch is 51, Sue has listed her age as 27 on her online dating profile and in the Power of Madonna she said she was about to turn 30. Hmm, mysterious!

- Will was a right bitch to Emma about her pamphlets.

- Roz Washington was a lot less annoying this time round, but I still can’t take her seriously as a character. Surely the foil for Sue shouldn’t be even wackier than Sue herself?

- I thought Sam and Mercedes would get back together this week. Ugh, why does Glee have to actually take time over such a boring plot. Normally I’d appreciate them not rushing through stories, but not with a couple I have zero investment in.

- Sue: “I have a little bit of a mean streak. I’m cunning. I’m vindictive. I spend a large portion of every day vibrating with a palpable sense of wild, irrational rage. And I don’t ever want my kid to feel that.” Maybe don’t have a child then Sue? Grrr.

- There were so many great Spanish songs they could have done. Why don’t you comment and tell me the ones you wish had been included?

Glee Against the Music

La Cucaracha by Kumbia Kings performed by Artie, Finn, Puck and Will:
Umm, I don’t have to comment on this if I don’t want to!

Sexy and I Know It by LMFAO performed by David and New Directions:
I enjoyed this a lot, but couldn’t help thinking it was more than slightly inappropriate for a teacher to be singing such a sexual song to a bunch of teens! This also lost something compared to the wonderful tongue-in-cheek original video, where LMFAO jiggle their jewels in tiny gold pants and pose while lifting weights, clearly taking a sly pot-shot at guys who are hyper-aware of their own pecs appeal. Contrasted with a sexy tooth-model singing about being sexy and knowing how sexy he is... seems like the joke’s on Glee and Ricky. Also, I’m a bit down this wasn’t a mash-up with I Know You Want Me by Pitbull. Grade B

Don't Wanna Lose You by Gloria Estefan performed by Mercedes:
This didn’t move me much, and since the Gloria already performed it in both English and Spanish, it doesn’t get any marks for originality either. Grade C-

Bamboleo/Hero by Gipsy Kings/Enrique Iglesias performed by Sam with New Directions Boys:
Great outfits, especially the boots! This was also a lot more catchy than the preceding song and did a good job with the mash-up, although since Hero has a Spanish version, it’s a little strange it wasn’t used at all. Check out the full version by the way, the mashing-up is really spot on. One mark down for the Samcedes interaction! Grade B-

La Isla Bonita by Madonna performed by David and Santana:
Once again, David is a bit inappropriate with Santana here, not that she minds. Perhaps it’s because A) she’s spoken for and B) he looks like a gay porn star. Add the pink strobes and some classic Madonna and this scene could be set in a gay club – I loved it! Grade B+

A Little Less Conversation by Elvis Presley performed by Will:
I was in stitches, this was so funny. I was already smirking at Will’s outfit and dodgy Spanish-accent, but it was the little bull-paws that just killed me! A comic gem. Grade B+

Quotes for Gleeks

Sue: “Twice a day you boys stain your mother’s drapes or befoul a gym sock that has to jump from the hamper straight into therapy.”

Sue: “I had my eggs frozen in the late ‘70s.”
Will: “They didn’t even have that technology in the late ‘70s.”
Sue: “I know. I did it myself.”

Mercedes: “Sam just tweeted that I smell good.”
Sam: “I won’t stop until it’s trending.”

Sue: “The English language lacks the requisite words to express just how much I dislike you.”

Roz: “I won this bronze damn Olympic medal in Beijing, China. I had noodles with the President and a threesome with Michael Phelps.”

Roz: “All the hormones in Thailand can’t change the fact that you are done as a woman. What you need to do is start praying that you give birth to a child that likes to eat sand, cuz that’s all that’s coming out those old, wrinkly boobs.”

Mercedes: “How is a girl with no ass supposed to choose between the juiced-up wolf and the depressed vampire?”

Sue: “I doubt your avian frame could withstand the rigors of childbirth.”

Sue: “Stop with the lies, sweater meat, or you will be hawking nude glossies of yourself behind the dumpster of Hooters by the weekend.”

Will: “’Conversacion,’ of course. ‘Conversation’ in Spanish is ‘conversacion.’”

Santana: “You went from La Cucaracha to a bullfighting mariachi. Why don’t you just dress up as the Taco Bell chihuahua and bark the theme song to Dora the Explorer? You don’t even know enough to be embarrassed about these stereotypes you’re perpetuating.”

Quote of the Week - Roz: “With whose vagina?! Sue, you can’t have no baby! You are old as the hills. You don’t give birth to no child. You gonna give birth to a grandchild. You gonna get in them stirrups and you gonna push and push and a full-grown adult gonna pop out with a briefcase and a job talking on a cell phone.”

This was a major improvement on last week. Three out of four maracas.

8 comments:

CrazyCris said...

The English language lacks the requisite words to express how much I disliked this episode... so I'll move on to Spanish: ¡vaya mierda!

VERY disappointing, I'm 100% behind Santana's criticism of Schuester. I couldn't believe the Spanish teacher could barely string a phrase together in Spanish!!!

As for the songs... well the cucaracha gets a pass because it's supposed to be spectacularly awful to make a point about Will. But the others? Seriously, there are MUCH better choices out there! Gloria Estefan has whole albums out in Spanish (with better songs than that one). Ditto Enrique Iglesias and Ricky Martin and Shakira if they wanted to go with Latin names that the American public would recognise. Then there are some great Chayanne numbers, and hey! if they wanted "duende", Miguel Bosé actually has a song that's called that! More groups that sing catchy songs in Spanish: Mano Negra, Los Rodriguez, Bisbal, Mecano... the list is a mile long!

The Gipsy Kings' Bamboleo is A LOT of fun to dance to and the lyrics are about living your life the way you want and didn't really meld well with Hero imo, plus they cut both songs down to something really short, felt more like a preview of the song.
Isla Bonita: inappropriate dancing? Weeeeeell.... perhaps for an American audience, that's how most Latin dances are danced, up close and personal! Plus with Santanna being a lesbian and my knowing that Ricky Martin is gay, inappropriate didn't even cross my mind.
A Little Less Conversation just pissed me off, Santana totally spoke for me! I've been upset since forever about stereotypes (for many countries) and this struck a nerve.

Loved that they made Prof Martinez Chilean! Nice change from the usual Mexican/Cuban/Puerto Rican stereotypes!

CrazyCris said...

hmmm... well I guess the English language doesn't lack the requisite words... sorry 'bout that! :p

PS: I did enjoy Ricky Martin's new Spanish teacher and I hope we get to see more of him! But next time with some real latin tunes! ;o)

PPS: LOVED that Emma's the one who got tenure! Shiny! :o)

Billie Doux said...

I'm with CrazyCris. I absolutely hated the La Cucuracha stereotype stuff, but then I realized that that was the point and the episode immediately got better. Although as you said, Harry, they could have chosen much better Spanish language songs.

It's true that they've never done anything with Will's primary job as a Spanish teacher, and I liked that Ricky Martin got the job, Emma got tenure, and Will apologized and did the right thing. In truth, pamphlets that wacky would indeed fly off the shelves.

I am completely turned off by the idea of Sue having a baby. I think she should adopt a special needs child with Downs, like her sister and Becky. Maybe that's where they're heading.

This had to be a tough episode to review. Great job, Harry. But then, you always do a great job, Harry. :)

Iago said...

AfterElton and AfterEllen have started a new Glee-based drinking game: take a drink every time a member of staff does something inappropriate/unprofessional, finish the drink if that act is also a crime. This gave me a beats of a hangover this episode.

Take Will out (please, please take Will out) and this wasn't a bad episode: the music was enjoyable and the story engaging.

The problem is Will: I'm struggling to watch Glee whilst a character so unpleasant is in a leading role. I've said before that in the real world Will would be barred from working in schools as he's a danger to children. Now it turns out he's a fraud too - a Spanish teacher who can't speak Spanish and doesn't understand the culture. He was incredibly stupid to provoke a confrontation with Santana in public and, even worse, to lose it. Santana was spot on in her criticisms of him.

Now it seems they're adding bullying the mentally unwell to his repetoire with the way he treated Emma. The guy just has no redeeming qualities any more. Sue, for all her monstrosity, believes in giving people a fair chance. Emma, who was royally messed up by abusive parents, is a genuinely warm and caring person. Bieste is just awesome. What nice things can you say about Will?

Other stuff: Santana was awesome (again - it's becoming my Glee mantra), Kurt was lovely and mature, Tina was missed.

Celtic Marc said...

Wow

I can't really add anything here since I agree with both the review AND the comments....

You cannot watch Glee for stories, nor character development. You can only watch it for the music. And this is what exactly the show will be remembered.

And yes Iago, Santana is simply spectacular !

shawnlunn2002 said...

Liked the episode quite a bit, good use of Ricky Martin and Santana's smackdown of Will was warranted as well. Not the best but certainly interesting though.

Dr. Alice said...

Celtic Marc: "You cannot watch Glee for stories, nor character development. You can only watch it for the music."

Exactly. I've felt this way about the show for a long time, but I think this episode was the worst I've seen in a long while. As someone who works in education, I just could not believe the story that Will doesn't speak Spanish. There is NO WAY that he would be in that job for as long as he was when he can't understand the most basic of phrases. This just ruined the whole episode for me. If I had a dollar for every "Oh Come ON!" I said in the episode, I'd be a rich woman.

Patryk said...

Will is turing into Chang more and more with every passing episode. Is every non-Latino spanish teacher on tv a fraud?

I was watching an old episode of Chuck with Lou Diamond Phillips and I was witing for La Bamba to be on the soundtrack. It wasn't. Then I saw this ep of Glee and no La Bamba here either. ;)

No Ricky Martin song? Seriously? Wasted opportunities.