“I Thought You’d Never Ask” – Glee Teaches Us The Importance Of Listening

Look at Kurt! And Puck! And Mercedes!

It’s official:

Ryan Murphy is obsessed with bringing high profile guest stars onto his show.  And I can’t say I’m too happy about this as it cuts into Lea Michele’s (aka Rachel Barry) screen-time.  You see, I happen to love Rachel Barry a little more than her boyfriend Finn does and a little less than she loves herself.  And that’s a lot.

But I digress: this week’s superstar of the moment, none other than Gwenyth Palthrow, was so much more charming than I expected, not to mention a vehicle for an important life lesson.

The concept of listening to others was a big theme this week.  When an epidemic hits McKinley, (you have to love Glee for giving the common cold the same kind of treatment that most shows would give AIDS) two faculty members are forced to stay away from the school: Principal Figgins and Mr. Schuester.  Their shoes are filled by Sue Sylvester and newcomer Holly Holiday, respectively.  Sure it seems like the only thing these two women share is blonde hair – one is large and incomparably snarky, the other delicate and chipper – but they both succeed in their new positions, and for essentially the reason: both listen to the people over whom they reign, and do whatever they can to give them what they want. 

So let’s start from the beginning.  Power-hungry Sue makes That One Girl Who Wears Glasses And Pigtails And Loves Vampires (is that too long to be her name?) sneeze on Figgins, therein setting a whole chain of sickness amongst the faculty members of McKinley.  Schue is the second victim, and in a fit of delirium, hallucinates that his students are miniature versions of themselves (How cute is baby Puck??!!?).  Kurt notices the new substitute’s fabulosity, recruits her to coach Glee club, they do a huge song and dance number (and Gwynny rocks Cee Lo!), and everything is dandy.

Being a substitute is never an easy thing, but Holly Holiday (literally) slides effortlessly into the role by giving the students what they want.  Cheap beer?  Not quite, though she does jokingly offer up weed.  No, Miss holiday does something even better: she listens to the students.  And listening to someone, if this episode is any indication, is the best way to win him or her over.

Speaking of winning people over, Kurt and Blaine made me a little nauseous this time around.  I mean, granted, I’ve never really played for Team Kurt and he gets creepily obsessed with every boy ever (ever seen the old Homestar runner skits?  I think of the one where the girl goes “I HAVE A CRUSH ON EVERY BOYYYY!” every time he makes that emotional face he’s perfected.)   Still, his all-consuming Blaine fever is really annoying.  If Holly Holiday is the perfect example of the importance of listening to people, Kurt is a model of what not to do.  He ignores his BFF Mercedes in favor of spending time with and talking about Blaine, and later he basically tells Mercedes that she’s closed off to love or something corny like that because she doesn’t have a boyfriend.  Also, he tries to set her up with some guy who also happens to be black.  Don’t you just hate when people who are in relationships (or in Kurt’s case, infatuation) try to convert other people?  Talk about not paying attention to what people really want.

The second most bat sh*t person on the show (after Kurt, obvs) was back in action this week: Terrible Terri. She came over to nurse Will back to health (and was probably waiting for the moment he got sick so she could do just that).  You know, I never understood why such a great guy would ever marry such a wench, but it really made sense to me after last night.  She remembers things about him: what he watches when he’s sick, that he likes to have his back rubbed with menthol rub – it really is another fantastic example of how important it is to pay attention to what people do and say.  And when she kissed him, telling him she didn’t care if he got her sick, even my stone heart melted just a little bit.

Luckily, Will wasn’t falling into the trap again (even though I probably would have…being lonely sucks sometimes, y’all).  I’m not sure whether they’ll keep Holly around, but I kind of felt a little spark between those two.  They really do compliment each other well, as evidenced in the final performance mash up (Editor’s Note: which was AMAZEBALLS).  Basically, as an adult female character on the show, it’s a rite of passage for her to either kiss him, want to kiss him or fall in love with him.  The only female character on the show that hasn’t fallen for the Schue at some point is….his mother.  And, not gonna lie, I wouldn’t mind if we got a few more weeks of Ms. Holiday smooching Mr. Shue.

Finally, Sue shows a rare moment of selflessness.  Sure, the woman is a tyrant, but she’s an effective leader if there ever was one.  Like, Hitler could have taken cues from one Sue Sylvester.  She does what all great people in positions of power do: she opens her ears and gives the people what they want. And what they want is Mr. Schuester back as Glee club director.  So, even after firing her enemy, she reinstates him.  Oh, and in the middle there was a little debacle about Mercedes being upset that the cafeteria stopped serving tater tots at Principal Sue’s insistence.  Kind of silly, but what would Mercedes have stuck of Sue’s tailpipe otherwise to get Shue back? typical Glee.  (Yet another example of how all people want these days is to be heard – Mercedes leads her peers in a little protest.)

This episode was really tied together by one universal concept: that all people should have voices, and the best way to establish a connection is to give them a chance to express their opinions.  This is true of human nature; it is even truer of our generation.  Holly Holiday made this observation: we have a lot of opinions and – in our age of citizen journalism, social media, and abundant texting, we are “entitled for the world to care about them.”  Not as ditzy as your name suggests, Holiday.

Best quotes of the night:
“You smell homeless, Brett.  Homeless.”

“Why don’t you go home, rest, watch some TV, die, whatever.”

“I live on one-night stands.”

Best performance of the night:
I wasn’t in love (like Britney Spears episode love) with any of them, but I have to go with the finale: “Singin’ In The Rain/Umbrella.”  What a genius combination – makes perfect sense, but totally unexpected.

OK, your turn. Let’s rehash the ep! Then come back every Wednesday at 10:30 am for Glee-caps. (Ha! Get it? Glee + recap = Glee-cap!)

Candy Dish: Be Pretty on a Budget
Candy Dish: Be Pretty on a Budget
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