Glee Recap: Panic! At the Disco Assignment

glee mercedes santanaIf you can get past the idea that a bunch of modern high school kids could get motivated by the prospect of winning a white polyester suit, then this week’s Glee was actually a sweet (if slightly absurd) hour of disco-infused television. Okay, okay, you also had to choke down the dangerous idea that every teenager’s (show-biz) fantasy is worth pursuing — “It’s not the broken dreams that break us, it’s the ones we didn’t dare to dream,” cooed Mr. Schue — without a legitimate backup plan. But nevertheless, “Saturday Night Glee-ver” delivered plenty of frothy musical moments and some genuine plot development that moved us further down the road to a Season 3 finale and a definitive life plan for our soon-to-be-graduating seniors.

Of course, if you were too busy watching online videos of Lord Tubbington performing everyday household chores — oh how I chuckled at his bathroom-floor scrubbing — let me break down the episode’s key plot points:

* Schue and Sue rigged a Booty Camp dance-off competition to reward Mercedes, Finn, and Santana, three promising students without a solid post-McKinely plan. Whichever one delivered the most successful cover of a Saturday Night Fever song — complete with a speech about their hopes for the future — would win a hand-crafted replica of John Travolta’s trademark polyester duds. Turns out Mercedes wants to be her generation’s Mariah (but doesn’t have parental support); Santana wants fame (but needed to realize that it’s not worth it at just any cost); and Finn wants to apply to Inside the Actor’s Studio (awww, Finn…so sweet, so obtuse, and so good for a throwaway punch line). Ultimately, it was our troubled teens’ respective romantic partners who helped them focus their goals: Sam posted Mercedes’ “Disco Inferno” performance on YouTube and got her the approval of almost 500 strangers. Finn applied to college in New York City (after Rachel — gasp! — considered post-high school options more than 50 miles from Broadway). And Brittany and Sue helped Santana score a full cheerleading scholarship to the University of Louisville. If these kids all follow through (doubtful), Season 4 of Glee will — quite literally — be all over the map.

* Meanwhile, Mercedes and Kurt mentored a transgender student from Vocal Adrenaline (played by The Glee Project‘s Alex Newell) who wanted to perform as a(n especially fierce) woman at Regionals. While our McKinley duo first advised Wade to tamp down his personal everywoman (named “Unique”), Coach Sylvester convinced them to help usher in her stage debut, the better to sabotage the rival show choir’s chances at Nationals. Despite having a last-minute change of heart and trying to stop Unique’s rendition of “Boogie Shoes,” the show did go on — and got a wildly positive response. And I have to say, as annoying as I found Newell on Glee Project, his big vocal number was a serious show-stopper.

* In other news, Brittany released a sex tape she made with Santana to help her girlfriend win fame — which only made Santana more aware that not all notoriety is positive. Finn and Rachel came to a mutually supportive reconcilliation — and now plan to head to NYC to pursue their two-headed hydra of acting/singing dreams. And Mercedes and Sam got their smooch on!

Anyhow, now that we’ve covered all the pertinent plot details, let’s review the best quotes from the episode:

“You’ve been out of ideas since Madonna Week.” –Sue weighing in on Schue’s management of New Directions

Sue calling Finn a “teen Solomon Grundy

“Two dudes in one bed is, like, confirmed gay.” –Puck to Finn

“You just need to start storing your poops in the trunk.” –Brittany, explaining to Santana how she can get herself and her messy car on Hoarders

And now, let’s get on to the grades for this week’s musical numbers:

“You Should Be Dancing,” Blaine
The episode’s opening dance sequence felt, well, a little out of sequence, seeing how Blaine’s classroom disco-ball fantasy occurred well before Sue and Schue foisted the Saturday Night Fever theme on the kids. Still, the Blaine-Mike-Brittany choreography was terrific, especially Brittany’s sidestep shuffle when they got to the McKinley auditorium.
Grade: B

“Night Fever,” Mr. Schue and New Directions
Some people just shouldn’t do falsetto. And Matthew Morrison is one of ’em. [Shudder.] Fun dance sequence, though, seeing all the glee-club kids working their individual dance styles. I liked Trouty Mouth using his trademark “stripper ripping open shirt” move the best.
Grade: D+

“Disco Inferno,” Mercedes
Loved the growly power Amber Riley brought to this disco gem, and girlfriend was looking pretty fierce in that red dress, too.
Grade: A-

“If I Can’t Have You,” Santana
A solid if not especially memorable vocal from Naya Rivera. Dug the pink jumpsuit, though.
Grade: B

“How Deep Is Your Love,” Rachel
Awww, pretty!
Grade: B+

“Boogie Shoes,” Unique & Vocal Adrenaline
Um, why was Jesse St. James trying desperately to stop the show when it was clear that a show-stopper was occurrin’? One of the most fun, frothy treats Glee has delivered this year. Unique is going to make Vocal Adrenaline a real threat at Nationals, no?
Grade: A

“More Than a Woman,” Finn & New Directions
What I said about Mr. Schue and falsetto? Um, it also applies to Finn Hudson. I did enjoy Kurt’s backup support, though. And speaking of which, an entire night of Bee Gees, and not a single solo for Chris Colfer? How come we never hear that kid sing anymore?
Grade: C-

“Stayin’ Alive,” Finn, Mercedes, and Santana
Everybody in white polyester, gettin’ down with the get-down! Grade: B+

And now it’s your turn, hit the comments with your thoughts on “Saturday Night Glee-ver.” And for all my TV recaps, follow me on Twitter @MichaelSlezakTV!

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