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Glee: Choke

This week, the students and teachers of McKinley High learn about domestic violence, where the rain in Spain falls, and that even a consummate performer can screw up for the sake of jerking some tears from the viewers.

Be Still My Heart, Bieste Beating

At least they didn’t do a domestic violence plot completely out of nowhere. Oh wait they did. At least they didn’t bring Bieste back only to underuse her in a rushed storyline, that didn’t have anything to do with the rest of the episode. Ahh damn, they did that too. It’s a shame because taken as isolated moments, the montages of Bieste’s situation during the two songs are powerful. Dot Marie-Jones has the ability to project strength and fragility that will affect the stoniest of hearts. Unfortunately, that’s the bulk of the screen time devoted to her gone in those two songs, leaving rest of the abysmal plot to draw sketchy moralisations and clanging lectures about how Serious domestic violence is and how it mustn’t be tolerated. Fair play, but if you’re serious about it being serious, don’t spend a mere 1/3 of an episode on it. With the proper build up and some real weight behind it, this could have been great. Instead it was contrived to wrench emotional responses out of us.

The Fool In School Works Mainly Cleaning Pools

Puck’s tale of academic woe would’ve been more affecting if it hadn’t been sandwiched in with battered Bieste. It would’ve been nice to have spent more than five seconds examining the relationship with his father, but it was subjected to the trademark Glee shorthand. Now Noah has no money, little chance of graduation and even less street-cred. Good job that chin dimple is sticking around.

Choke On These Tears

Another plot entirely unrelated to the previous two, other than that it ended on a downer. I liked that it was Kurt, whose future was less certain of the two, who got into NYADA. Rachel, who probably sings record quality material in the shower, fluffed up her audition. Lea Michele really sold it here, and I couldn’t help but feel for Rachel, even though we all know she’ll still go to New York become a star. It’s this near-certainty, coupled with the impossibility of Rachel turning in a less than stellar audition that makes me sour towards this plot. Yes, I was surprised, and yes I felt bad for Rachel, but I resent feeling bad when the wrong choking plot was so...contrived. There’s that word again.


- Black Sue! Teehee. Roz’s ‘Salsa Caliente’ was good too.

- Not that I am that thrilled, but I thought I should note that Rory and Sugar have popped up again. I dread to think what state their love-nest was left in.

- Rachel’s monologues about her ambition are still funny.

- Puck’s wet Danube joke. I also loved how refreshingly normal (by Glee’s standards) the Geography teacher was.

- I could never put Blaine talking about his appearance in the Didn’t Love list, but that hair gel stuff was pretty random!

Didn’t Love

- See Above!

Glee Against The Music

The Music of the Night from The Phantom of the Opera performed by Kurt:
If this was supposed to be Kurt’s ‘Don’t Rain On My Parade’ then he clearly wasn’t trying during this rehearsal! Was it supposed to be funny-bad? I couldn’t tell. The Phantom is supposed to exude a dangerous, sexual energy that transcends the silly mask and cape. Kurt just used it to swoosh around with. Tina’s strange space-age outfit didn’t help either. Grade D

Alice Cooper - School’s Out performed by Puck:
I couldn’t really get onboard with this, mainly because Puck’s rocking felt rather put-on, after all, just last week he was giving presents and telling his friends how much he loved them. His anger rather came out of nowhere. The heavy eye make-up on the Cheerios looked awful too. I can see what they were trying to do here, it just didn’t work. Grade C-

Cell Block Tango from Chicago performed by Mercedes, Santana, Sugar, Brittany and Tina:
Sue and Roz already reviewed this pretty accurately. But Santana in knee-high boots bumps it up to Grade C-

Not the Boy Next Door from The Boy From Oz performed by Kurt with Mercedes, Tina and Brittany:
You shoulda stuck with the Phantom, love. Well no, it wasn’t that bad but it was hardly as wonderful as As If We Never Said Goodbye from "Born This Way", or even Rose’s Turn. If this was supposed to be the Kurt performance that showed him at the top of his game, it wasn't, even if the ending note was impressive. Grade C

Don't Rain On My Parade from Funny Girl performed By Rachel:
It’s not really fair to grade this, so instead here’s a lovely link to the episode review of when Rachel actually performed this properly. And here’s another link, to Lea Michele’s aggressive performance of it at the 2012 Tony Awards.

The Rain in Spain from My Fair Lady performed by New Directions Boys:
Pretty zany, but who hasn’t felt a little loopy when staying up cramming at 3am. I did keep thinking, “Okay, great, but teach him something else now!” Grade B (hey Noah, at least you passed this one!)

Florence + The Machine - Shake It Out performed by Tina, Santana and Mercedes:
Ahh Florence, I adore you. Vocally, this was wonderful performance, I really liked the stripped down arrangement (and it’s a miracle that Tina actually got to sing, for the second time in one episode!) It fit well in the episode, but I feel like I should mark it down for being the ultimate tearjerk. Grade A/F

Kelly Clarkson - Cry performed by Rachel:
Oh, are we supposed to be crying? Sorry that wasn’t clear to me, thanks for spelling it out Glee. Grade D+

Quotes for Gleeks

Puck: “I might not graduate, but it’s okay because gowns are for ladies and tassels are for strippers.”

Roz: “Shannon, write these names down as placeholders: Hat Rack, Asian Horror Movie, Little Oprah, Rojo Caliente, Salsa Caliente.”

Sue: “Black Sue, it’s no secret I despise you. I spent the weekend sending your photo to ivory poachers who could make an absolute fortune selling your enormous white teeth on the black market.”

Roz: “There’s a cheerleading coach at their school who’s old as dirt and still trying to have a baby who they know is gonna come out looking weird with rabies and wings and it’s gonna fly right out of your hat box and straight back into hell.”

Sue: “John Goodman, Black Sue and Original Recipe Sue are gonna take care of it.”

Sue: “I admit I can be a bit abrasive and yes, I have fantasized about slapping each and every one of you across the face with a sturdy, wet fish.”

Rachel: “I vowed not to speak with you unless William and Kate got pregnant, Liza passed, or unless one of us was in grave danger.”

Sue: “You’re gonna stay with me tonight. If you don’t have a change of clothes, I have a tent you can wear.”

Puck: “It’s hard growing up without a dad because you don’t have any dude role models except NFL players and video game characters.”

Puck: “You guys showed me what it’s like to be a man. Not just last night, but for four years. Even you, Blaine.” What a bitch!

I would hate to give Glee an F, so instead it's one out of four awesome Whoopi Goldberg cameos. Ooh, can we get four of those?


  1. From what was said at the Glee panel yesterday, they're not completely dropping the Bieste storyline with Cooter? Not sure if that's spoiler material.

    Although I like Damian McGinty, Rory is probably one of the most useless characters on the show? I hope they don't pick up the option of having Damian being a series regular next season.

    And can I say that Chris Colfer gives Hugh Jackman a run for his money in those gold pants?

  2. Let's see. I liked the Rain in Spain with the boys, and Blaine's informative lecture on hair gel. And that was about it. You're absolutely right, Harry, that the Bieste plot could have worked if they'd given it some buildup.

  3. For me, Lea Michele managed to save the "Rachel chokes" storyline -- there's a moment when she's listening to the praise Kurt is getting for taking a risk and she looks uncertain, maybe like she's questioning the fact that she isn't. And her lack of nervousness before her audition reminded my of my own experience with taking exams and giving talks; I used to get massively nervous beforehand but the nerves all got channeled into doing well once I could start. The few times I wasn't nervous before I would get nervous during and screw up. A few close friends reported similar reactions. So I can understand what happened with Rachel, even though I know perfectly well the storyline is contrived to add drama.

  4. (Meanwhile, the judge would probably have been far less impressed with Kurt's audition if she'd known how much of it was just Kurt being Kurt -- people are extra-impressed by Hugh Jackman playing Peter Allan convincingly because Hugh Jackman also plays Wolverine convincingly.)

  5. Well that was uncanny: last week I make a comment about Will being a wife-beater and then we have an episode about a wife-beater. This really was Glee at its worst - pulling major issues out of nowhere and then doing it badly. Bieste disappears for months only to be given this. The only consolation was that Dot Marie-Jones far out-performed an awful script.

    The Kurt/Rachel/Puck stuff was actually pretty good but it should have been the sole focus of the episode, giving them time to develop Puck's stuff and maybe give his dad more than a cameo. Kurt's 'The Boy Next Door' was good - Chris' acting was better than his singing - but it wasn't close to being his best.

    The real shame about this episode is, to my mind at least, Shake It Out is the best performance they've ever done. Their refusal to give Jenna Ushkowitz more to do is incomprehensible: she has a beautiful voice and, along with Naya, leads the 'best after Lea/Rachel' pack

  6. My suspicion with this episode is that the writers had planned this story before Whitney Houston died. Then they felt the (justified) need to devote a whole episode to her memory. After they did that, then they decided to combine 2 shows into one. The Kurt/Rachel/Puck storyline would have worked fine all by itself but the Bieste plot was too heavy to be intercut with anything else and the combination was horrible.

    I really hated that they made a Brittany joke ("Did he break his hand?") in the middle of Bieste's revelation. I also hated that they cut from Bieste to a scene of Blaine punching a bag. The whole episode just ended up coming off as distasteful.

    Of course, a lot of people have been complaining about this. But I also hate that there might be something going on with Sue's baby and they continue to have Roz making jokes about the freak she is going to give birth to.

    Hopefully next week's prom episode will return to the Glee I love...


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