It was a muy (pronounced moo-ey) bueno time on Glee this week — at least whenever Ricky Martin appeared on screen as unspeakably sexy night-school Spanish teacher Dave Martinez. The rest of the hour, alas, was a case of livin la vida broke-down, as Will Schuester reached new levels of annoying; Sue Sylvester got saddled with a story arc that was supposed to be touching, but mostly played as patently ridiculous; and Madonna, Elvis, and the ballads of Gloria Estefan were somehow passed off as building blocks of an authentic Latino experience.
If you were too busy reading Emma’s “Taint Misbehavin'” pamphlet — I can’t even bring myself to say another word about that particular plot development — here’s how the central story arcs played out:
* Mr. Schuester, suddenly dumb as the cardboard box that Finn winningly turned into a robot head, was stumped when his rendition of “La Cucaracha” — complete with giant sombrero — failed to inspire his Spanish class. Principal Figgins informed him that a student complaint threatened to derail his chances at an open tenure slot — ¡apparently, he hadn’t even mastered the basics of the language! — and so he enrolled in Mr. Martinez’s night class. (Naturally, this led to the former tooth model swinging by the New Directions rehearsal room for a lesson in performances “filled with Spanish passion,” and a subsequent PG-13 performance with a high-school senior.) The frustrated Schue mocked Emma’s reliance on pamphlets to counsel her students, dressed as an “authentic Spanish matador” (not Kurt) for a Spanish teacher-off, and drew fire from Santana for his cultural cluelessness. “Why don’t you dress up as the Taco Bell dog and bark the theme to Dora the Explorer?” she hissed. “You don’t even know enough to be embarrassed.” (Slow clap: San-tan-uh! San-tan-uh!) Schue wound up snatching an open history-teacher position, bequeathed his Spanish class to Dave (because, yeah, that’s apparently Schue’s decison), and made up with Emma. Oh, and BTW, Miss Pillsbury earned the tenure spot. (The shoes on her feet? She bought ‘em.)
* Sue, suddenly maternal, decided that despite her advanced age, she wanted to conceived a biological baby (instead of exploring adoption or fostering). Her eggs were frozen back in the day at her local Kroger, but alas, the guys down at the sperm bank looked like the cast of Ice Road Truckers, she lamented, before hitting up Schue and the New Directions boys for their “nog.” (Amazingly, this didn’t result in her automatic termination!) We did, however, get a particularly abhorrent assessment of Sue’s reproductive abilities courtesy of Roz Washington — capped off by references to Sue birthing a “full-grown adult” with a briefcase and a cellphone, and discovering sand coming out of her breasts instead of milk. (R.I.P., Feminism.) Sue later told Emma she spent most of her life “vibrating with a palpable sense of wild, irrational rage,” but decided to recommit herself to the Cheerios (and destroying her enemies) after finding out Becky had reported her to Figgins for a lack of focus on the job.
* In other news, Sam and Mercedes took a one-week break from conversation (at Emma’s advice) to come to terms with their feelings, but Shane interrupted what I’m guessing was going to be silence broken by the sound of their smooching. Kurt gave Finn an inspiring speech that his getting engaged to Rachel was absurd, and that a “hot, straight football player who can sing, and sort of dance” shouldn’t be so quick to give up on his dreams. And also Rory was there.
Anyhow, with the plot recapped, let’s get to the week’s best quotes:
“I won’t stop till it’s trending.” –Sam to Mercedes, after she notes he’s Tweeted that she smells good
“I’m sure you have something moo-ey amazing planned.” –Santana, mocking Mr. Schue’s Spanish skills and his planned attempt to out-perform Mr. Martinez on the McKinley High stage
“Have a seat, Ladybird Hollow-pelvis, and be careful: Those chairs are hard. I know how fragile your bones are.” –Sue responding to Emma saying her request for Will’s sperm donation was “so inappropriate”
Sue’s zinger about Will wiping his “wooly behind” with the American songbook.
And now, let’s get on to the grades for this week’s musical numbers:
“La Cucaracha,” Mr. Schue and the New Directions Guys
I know this was intentionally awful, with the sombreros and the Mexican ponchos and whatnot, but it was also just awful-awful, y’know? Grade: F
“Sexy and I Know It,” Mr. Martinez and New Directions
Everything I need to say about this can be summed up with Kurt’s response to Santana requesting a Mr. Martinez performance: “Oh dear God, please yes.” Bonus points for Mike and Brittany’s chairography, Kurt’s leg throw, Finn’s stripper moves, and Sugar’s generally awesome ridiculousness. #TeamSugar Grade: A
“Don’t Wanna Lose You,” Mercedes
Even as a fan of “Hell to the No,” I have to say Mercedes’ musical moments in Season 3 have been really strong. This bilingual ballad was no exception, and I loved how she boldly got all up in Trouty Mouth’s gills/grill at the finish. Grade: B+
“Bamboleo”/”Hero,” Sam and the New Directions Guys
Generally speaking, I have issues with bolo ties and “Hero,” but even putting that aside, there was something a little generic and underbaked about this musical moment. Grade: B-
“La Isla Bonita,” Santana and Mr. Martinez
I loved that Mr. Schue verbalized my burning question — because I, too, was confused about Mr. Martinez’s participation in Santana’s number — but the harmonies were sweet, and the dancing was sexy without crossing the line into disturbing April-October territory. Grade: A-
“A Little Less Conversation,” Mr. Schue
As I said last week about “Ben”: No. Grade: D
Now it’s your turn. Hit the comments with your thoughts about “The Spanish Teacher.” And for all the Glee news, views, and interviews your heart desires, follow TVLine on Twitter @TVLineNews.