Gaga, ooh la la! ‘Theatricality’ takes things to the next level and leaves a big impression. The over-the-top performance numbers and absurd costumes reinforced the intensity of the relationship drama in an episode where one character was so profoundly impacted that her therapist was moving in to her guest room.
“Ms Corcoran, I’m Rachel Berry. I’m your daughter”
After hearing her mother’s voice last week, Rachel now meets her face-to-face. Or face-to-back-of-seat-several-rows-apart, as it were. Prompted by the knowledge that Vocal Adrenaline was preparing a Lady Gaga number for Regionals, a thoroughly unhinged Rachel sneaks into a rehearsal and is impressed by Shelby Corcoran’s hyper-intense coaching style. (Shelby: Theatricality isn’t about crazy outfits. It isn’t enough to douse yourselves with gasoline. You have to light yourself on fire to make it work. Rachel: God she’s good.) Shelby offers to show the group of red lace-covered mummies how it’s done with a song from Funny Girl. That’s so Rachel!
As soon as Shelby starts to sing the title song, Rachel realizes that she’s hearing her mother’s voice. (If she had any doubt, it was probably resolved when she looked at her and realized they look exactly alike.) The connection to Rachel’s big Sectionals show stopper is a great touch and of course, Idina Menzel nails the vocals, but the most powerful thing about this performance was Rachel’s reaction. There were about 20 different emotions on her face during the song, and Idina’s expression when Rachel introduced herself afterwards was equally priceless.
Unfortunately, the mother-daughter reunion is not meant to last. After a nice assist on a Lady Gaga costume, Shelby acknowledges that she and Rachel have different ideas of what their relationship will be like going forward. I loved this storyline, and thought both actresses were terrific. The pairing is perfect and the undeniable similarities between the Broadway starlets give the relationship an authenticity that really works. You can imagine Idina being someone who Lea Michele had in fact dreamed of singing with for a long time.
As they did last week with the amazing “I Dreamed a Dream” performance, the duo joins forces to show off their vocal chops. Their combined talent is so incredible that they can sing almost anything and make it sound like the greatest thing ever. Could anyone else have made this stripped-down version of “Poker Face” work as well as it did? The ‘Yay! They’re singing together again!’ factor definitely goes a long way when you’ve got lyrics like “bluffin with my muffin” in a mother-daughter goodbye song. (As for that goodbye thing… No Idina! Don’t go! Shelby’s got to hang around until Regionals and then next season ‘Glee’ can go the ‘Lost’ route and create a weird sideways world where Rachel and her mom are super close and Idina Menzel and Lea Michele sing show tunes together all the time. Come on ‘Glee,’ pleeeease!!!)
Team Tina trades Goth for Gaga
In other storylines, Principal Figgins believes that vampires are real and blames Twilight for bringing them to his high school. (But he was okay with ‘Buffy’ mastermind Joss Whedon directing last week’s episode?) Despite the fact that Tina’s not allowed to watch Twilight (“My mom says she thinks Kristen Stewart seems like a bitch”) and isn’t summoning any kind of bloodsuckers, she’s told to give up her Goth look. Enter Lady Gaga. Yeah, it’s a bit of a non-sequiter but it gets everyone in homemade versions of Lady Gaga’s wildest and wackiest looks. Tina’s take on the famous bubble dress is great, but if I’m picking the costume that made me laugh the most, I’d have to go with Rachel’s unfortunate, stuffed animal covered frock. (Not to digress too much but how hilariously tragic is it when Rachel shows up to see “mom” in that outfit. Talk about a guilt trip!) Also, I’ve gotta give an honorable mention to Brittany’s lobster head costume and her deadpan to a fragile Rachel: “You look terrible. I look great.”
All the Gaga homages come together for a “Bad Romance” that features all of the Glee Girls and Kurt. The theatricality is dialed up and it’s big and bright and very Lady Gaga. Everyone is featured in their silly outfits which have been so much fun up to this point, and are even more entertaining to watch in an awesome dance number. So good!
KISS and Make-Up
Not to be outdone, but to avoid doing Lady Gaga, Finn negotiates a side project for the guys who aren’t going gaga over the Lady of the episode. Kiss is the theatrical equivalent and the guys don’t miss any campy detail in their performance of “Shout it Out Loud.” There’s pyro. Everyone is in full makeup. Hair is crazy. Tongues are wagging. Overall, I think Kurt and Tina summed it up best when they said that it was both good and disturbing.
Puck gets the band back together to apologize to Quinn for recommending she name her baby Jack (or Jackie) Daniels. His more appropriate suggestion is “Beth.” Soon Puck will be able to release his own C.D. of Glee Club Serenades. Quinn, the master at crying on cue doesn’t even let insane hot pink Gaga eyelashes get in the way. After the song, Puck tells her that even though she’s giving the baby up for adoption, he’d like to be there to meet her and Quinn agrees to let him in. (I wonder if Rachel’s mama drama will make Quinn second-guess the adoption decision. Just a thought…)
“What did you just call him?"
Speaking of parenting, the Hudson-Hummel family integration project hit some major roadblocks this week, as Kurt and Finn struggled to come to terms with their new living situation. In an attempt to celebrate their cohabitation, Kurt served sparkling cider and a platter of crudités. Finn had no idea what that was (as evidenced later when he says, “We live in Ohio. Not New York or San Francisco or some other city where people eat vegetables that aren't fried."), but their different opinions of how vegetables should be prepared is just the tip of the iceberg. When Kurt drops the sharing a room bomb on him, Finn’s discomfort quickly escalates to the point where he lashes out at Kurt and yells homophobic slurs. Burt Hummel overhears this and pretty much rips Finn a new one before threatening to throw him out of the house. Finn seems to get the message that hateful speech, uttered under any circumstances, perpetuates a prejudicial way of thinking and endorses the actions of football goons who ruin Gaga-inspired costumes. To prove that he’s one of the good guys and his allegiance is to Team Kurt, Finn gets into a red rubber dress and let his inner Gaga go wild.
The bold gesture seems to work and we get the feeling that the Hudson-Hummel clan will be okay. Tina (aka Daughter of the All-Powerful Asian Vampire King) also figures out a way to continue to express herself, and eventually the lesson of the week becomes clear. Goth, Gay, or Gaga, the Gleeks gotta stick together!
Don’t change a thing!