TV: ‘Glee’ gets “Naked”

By Meryl Gottlieb| mg986611@ohiou.edu| @buzzlightmeryl
Glee airs Thursdays at 9 p.m. on Fox
Rating: 5/ 5

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I’m just going to be up front about it: I actually enjoyed tonight’s episode, despite my initial misgivings about its title, “Naked,” because what good could come from an episode with that title? But I was wrong – for the most part.

It was confirmed that the Warblers used steroids during Sectionals, so they are out and the New Directions are back in. Regionals, guys, Regionals! (Community reference – I’m not actually excited about them performing again).

tumblr_mhivc8inT01qbz8aro20_r3_250Now the glee club must raise money in order to go, so Tina (Jenna Ushkowitz) comes up with the idea of a “Men of McKinley” calendar – well played, Tina. I want to see a half-naked Darren Criss as well.

I cannot believe I am saying this, but I actually really enjoyed Kitty’s (Becca Tobin) performance tonight. She is finally getting the one-liners that make her the mean girl who is actually funny. For instance, she commented on how women are the consumers of our society: “Twilight was poop on paper, and women made it a billion dollar sell.” Excellence.

“Fondue For Two” was back!! Brittany’s (Heather Morris) syndicated web show returned with special guest appearance by Marley (Melissa Benoist). Also, Lord Tubbington was back! Ryan Murphy, please focus more on Morris’s talents; she is phenomenally funny, use this.

Rachel (Lea Michele) is taking a part in a student film that requires her to do a topless scene. And I honestly don’t care – except for this next scene, but that is it!

Rachel has an inner-battle that turns into her singing – with her old self, knee-high socks and all – to “Torn.” This was amazing! While seeing Rachel sing to Rachel was weird, the idea was executed perfectly. Of course, she performed the song excellently, but what was surprising was that it wasn’t cheesy or overplayed; it served its purpose and did it well.

Yet, after that marvelous scene, she decides to do the topless scene. Ugh.

After getting his terrible SAT scores back, Sam (Chord Overstreet) believes he has no future and that all he has are his looks. This may be the first time I actually like a Sam-oriented storyline.

Because he is so fixated on his body, Sam goes a bit crazy with preparing the glee guys to look good for the calendar shoot. Everyone is on board but Artie (Kevin McHale), who is uncomfortable about his body due to his disability. I’m telling you, this storyline – men having body issues too – is actually quite original for the show, and I thought the writers did an excellent job.

While showing a hilarious montage of the boys prepping for the shoot, the guys and a few Cheerios sing “Centerfold/ Hot in Herre.” Though I initially did not like that idea, I actually warmed up to it as the montage went along; it just made sense and was really funny – they tried to give Jake (Jacob Artist) a spray tan. Come on, that’s good.

Of course, Sue (Jane Lynch) objects to the calendar, but Finn (Cory Monteith) already has protection. Apparently, she took horse estrogen once and posed for Penthouse. OMG. And, of course, she retaliated with that witty banter that only Sue from season one could say.

Kurt (Chris Colfer) is totally against the new Rachel. He does not want her to do the topless scene because it is tacky and she is an aspiring, serious actress. Thank goodness. I was so sick of Kurt not sassing Rachel like he used to and simply agreeing with everything she does, but now it’s back and I could not be happier. I hope the sass is back for good.

With Brittany’s insistence, Marley tries to tell Jake how she feels. So as unsubtle as possible, Marley invites him to duet with her to “A Thousand Years.” The song was performed wonderfully as usual, but this time, the acting was good too. I could actually sense some chemistry between the two as they looked longingly at one another. They then kissed, but Marley was unable to say, “I love you.” Oh, well. Ryder (Blake Jenner) is still around, right?

Jake and Ryder talk about what happened in the auditorium, and Jake confesses that he loves her. Awh, when he says it, it is super cute! Ryder insists that he tell her, so Jake chooses to sing another incredibly unsubtle song, “Let Me Love You.” The acoustic arrangement of this pop song was beautiful, but Jake’s voice just didn’t seem to fit.

Quinn (Dianna Agron) and Santana (Naya Rivera) visit Rachel in New York to stop her from doing the topless scene. I never realized how much I missed Santana’s one-liners until tonight. She is literally the funniest character on the show. Hands down.

On set and ready to do the topless scene, Rachel gets nervous and asks if the crew can also take off their shirts. Why did they all have to be large, ugly men? Ugh. But, for some reason, this doesn’t calm her nerves, and she backs out.

As she leaves, she begins singing “Love Song,” in which Santana and Quinn later join in on. How this pertains to the storyline, I have no idea. Why the half-naked crew comprised the band, I have no idea. One thing I do know, the song was amazing; their voices blended beautifully.

Foreshadowing alert! Santana mentions how she feels like she fits in more in New York. Gee, I wonder what will happen.

Because he is an adorable man, Blaine (Darren Criss) is set on helping Sam realize his potential and urges him to apply for colleges and scholarships. When Sam is still disenchanted, Blaine shows him a video in which the glee club members – past and present – say how wonderful Sam was and how he helped them in some way or did something good. It was so sweet and such a feel-good moment.

While selling the calendars, Jake hands one to Marley that he signed specially for her because, in it, he wrote, “I love you.” And she says she loves him back. So many cute moments tonight.

“This is the New Year” was one of my favorite moments, for it showcased the cast members in the best way possible – by allowing them to show their true silly personalities on camera.

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Ryan Murphy, I have told you that from the beginning! I only stick around because the cast members are so talented and amazing. Do things like that last segment more, and you will have a phenomenal show once more.

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