Glee – Episode 3-13 Review – “Funny Valentine”

Maybe it’s just because I was in a good mood about Valentine’s Day, but last night’s episode of Glee was one of the first in a looooong time that I actually enjoyed. I liked almost everything about it, and that’s truly surprising. (Don’t worry, I’m not forgetting that I’ve hated most of this season. I am not in an emotionally abusive relationship with Glee. I’m not. I will just keep telling myself that.)

Fresh Blood – Meet the Berrys

First of all, we met some new characters tonight. First and foremost, Rachel’s dads. They were played by  Brian Stokes Mitchell and Jeff Goldblum, and I found them absolutely delightful. They met Rachel and Finn in the auditorium at school after mysteriously finding out about the secret engagement, and threw them a curveball when they wholeheartedly supported the ridiculous decision.

I figured that Rachel’s gay dads, who had primed her for stardom since birth, had more up their sleeves – there was no way they’d let their baby just run off and marry Frankenteen without a second thought. And after inviting Burt, Finn and Carole for a family dinner (I’m assuming Kurt boycotted), they told the two lovebirds to spend the night together for some “teenage lovemaking”. Um, what? Even with ulterior motives, that was weird. But I can overlook it, because I did think the true motive was kind of funny – make Rachel and Finn spend the night together and they’ll fight enough to rethink that marriage. After all, if they can’t get along in the comfort of Rachel’s bedroom how will they manage in a tiny New York apartment?

At first, the obvious disagreements bubbled up. Rachel has a lengthy nighttime routine, and she wouldn’t let Finn use her bathroom for, you know, what it’s meant for. Rachel implied that Finn wouldn’t be doing much in New York, and that brought the bigger issue to light – that Finn isn’t going to New York just to hand Rachel a diet Coke when she needs one. (But Finn, come on – if not that, then what will you be doing?)

Alas, the lovebirds not only worked it out before heading off to Sugar’s Valentine’s Day party, but they decided to set a wedding date for late May.

Rachel’s dads weren’t the only ones to find out about Rachel and Finn’s plans to marry this week – they also announced the news to the rest of the glee club. Kurt is definitely not on board, and he was the one who spilled the beans to the parents. Puck wanted to know when the baby was due. Tina was supportive, since she’s not ready to get married but know what it’s like to be in love. Quinn, as we already knew, thinks it’s a terrible decision. And most of the kids were surprised, but wanted to be nice about it. I don’t love this Rachel and Finn getting married storyline, but I thought the reactions within New Directions were, at the very least, tolerable. After all, it’s not all that uncommon for teenagers in a small town to marry young.

Fresh Blood – Meet Joe Hart

The other new character we met in this episode was Joe Hart, played by The Glee Project winner Samuel Larsen. Now, I have had much higher hopes for Sam on this show than I did for Damien McGuinty, and after only a few minutes I think Sam’s character of Joe was more fleshed out than Irish Kid Rory will ever be. On The Glee Project, I thought Sam was talented and engaging, so I really hope he manages to make more of this opportunity than Damien was able to. (This probably isn’t Damien’s fault, they just didn’t write him much material. Or, he’s a lousy actor and they cut all his scenes. Who knows?)

Joe is a character based loosely on Sam’s real-life persona. He’s a Jesus lovin’ Christian with dreadlocks, tattoos, and a very mellow vibe. He also has amazing cheekbones. Joe is in the “God Squad” with Mercedes, Quinn and Sam, and he transferred to McKinley after deciding that he no longer wants to be home-schooled by his weird mom.

Ryan Murphy has said he wants to portray this character as a Christian, but not the stereotype of a Christian that some might expect, so I really hope he’s successful in doing that. So far, I like what I see.

When Figgins told Santana that a student had complained about her and Brittany kissing, she was livid. And rightfully so! Rachel and Finn are making out in the halls all the time, so it was obvious it was a same-sex issue. Figgins mentioned “religious reasons”, so Santana immediately looked at the God Squad. They were raising money for charity by singing Valentine’s to people, so she ordered one for Brittany to see if they’d fulfill her request.

I appreciate that Glee tried to tackle a sensitive issue. I was a fan of the “Grilled Cheesus” episode, and I think they also did a good job here. Mercedes talked about how she has gay friends, but didn’t want to make other people do something they’re uncomfortable with. Joe’s naivete about the situation could have come across as silly or moronic (and yeah, in a way it did) but since the show had already established that the character came from a sheltered background, I was OK with that.

Sugar Shack, Baby, Sugar Shack

All of this was going on as the rest of the glee kids were getting ready for a big Valentine’s Day party Sugar was hosting at Breadstix. It was couples only, and Sugar had both Artie and Rory competing for her affections. And as always, every single scene that Rory was in annoyed me. His character has not worked out, and it’s time to ship him back off to Ireland, along with all the cliches they forced upon him.

Kurt also had more than one person vying for his affections, although it took him a while to realize his “secret admirer” was no Blaine. No, it was Karofsky – a plot point that made me groan a little, but I think was worth it in the end. Karofsky hasn’t come out yet, but is making progress in feeling comfortable with himself thanks to that chat he had with Kurt at the gay bar a while back. He confessed his love for Kurt, and Kurt tried to let him down as gently as possible. But someone from Karofsky’s new school overheard the conversation, which will absolutely cause problems for him…but not for a while, because we tend to see Karofsky about once every five episodes.

Of course, there was even more romantic turmoil going on. Being a part of the God Squad and thinking about her beliefs inspired Mercedes to think about her recent behavior, and she decided the right thing to do was tell Shane that she’d kissed Sam. Shane was upset (he cried!) and their relationship was over, but Mercedes felt too guilty to start up a relationship with Sam. I thought this was actually a nice conclusion (for now – maybe her feelings will change with time) for this love triangle. Even though I wanted to see Mercedes and Sam together, this decision felt true to her character.

Sugar’s Valentine’s Day party was a lot of fun – these are some of my favorite scenes in Glee, when the kids are all just singing and having a blast.

So, like I said, I really enjoyed this episode. It feels like the first time in a while that an episode has been written with the character’s in mind. It felt like the plot developments were wacky enough without being ridiculous (or worse, creepy and inappropriate) and the characters acted in ways that felt natural for them. Brittany’s playlist for Santana, Santana’s righteous rage about double standards, Kurt too blinded (ha – funny unintentional pun!) by his love for Blaine to realize that the gifts were coming from someone else, Rachel and Finn’s foolish relationship. These are all things that felt like classic Glee to me, and it was refreshing to sit down and watch and episode for once without feeling hot rage boil up inside of me as stupid things happen. I even liked the music!

Songs:

“Chapel of Love”: I think it’s funny that the dad who is obviously Rachel’s biological father is the one who can’t sing. But of course, Rachel got her talent from Shelby. This little song was a fun way for us to be introduced to Rachel’s dads.
“L-O-V-E”: I know I’ve never been a big Tina fan, but it was nice to see McKinley High’s most stable couple sing a little somethin’ in honor of Valentine’s Day.
“Let Me Love You”: I’ve never been a huge fan of Artie as some kind of R&B/Pop singer, so this wasn’t my favorite performance from the night.
“Stereo Hearts”: I don’t know what’s worse – Sam’s rapping, or the fact that Sam’s rapping is not even close to the worst rapping we’ve ever seen on this show. Whatever – I thought the song was fun, and I like Joe’s voice a lot.
“Home”: Yawn! I like Michael Buble, but Rory does NOT have the charisma to pull this off.
“I Will Always Love You”: This was eerie since the episode was long completed before the tragic news of Whitney’s death, but Mercedes did an excellent job on the song.
“You’re The Top”: Of course the Berry family turns dinner into dinner theater.
“Cherish” mash-up: I loved this! Probably because I love both the Madonna song (and Quinn sounded great) and the version by The Association – although I’m more familiar with the version by David Cassidy/The Partridge Family.
“Love Shack”: I wasn’t lying when I said scenes like these are often my favorites. Blaine making a triumphant return with this song and a heart-shaped eye patch? Getting a reluctant Kurt to join in? This is the kind of performance that doesn’t have to be perfect, it just has to be fun, and it was.

Favorite Quotes & Moments:

  • We aren’t all just door-to-door Bible salesmen like my dad.” – Joe, talking about Christians
  • I fully support your right to be unhappy with Finn for the rest of your lives.” – Santana
  • “An ice-water bath, à la Joan Crawford in Mommie Dearest. The height of glamor.” – Rachel
  • “Honesty, respect, dance. Those are the foundations of the Berry family.” – Rachel’s dad Hiram
  • “I like Carol after three Chardonnays!” – Rachel’s dad LeRoy
  • Finn dancing during “Love Shack”? That was super weird in the most hilarious, delightful way possible.
  • “No vocal runs. That’s how Jennifer Hudson got kicked off American Idol.” – Rachel’s dad (Also eerie, since it was Jennifer who sang “I Will Always Love You” at the Grammys.)

So, what did you guys think? Was it a good episode, or was I blinded by a happy Valentine’s day? Or was it just good by season three standards? (This, I think, is very likely.) Next week is Regionals, which Glee often does well, so it’s possible Gleecould head into hiatus on a high note.

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