Last night’s episode of Glee, “Naked,” covered that topic from nearly all angles, both on camera and in storyline. Emotional vulnerability came from Jake and Marley’s fears to exchange I love yous. Then there was Rachel’s dilemma over nudity for career advancement, and the New Direction boys’ topless fundraiser, which culminated in Sam believing baring his body was all he had to offer. Ultimately, it was the sweet, tender music performances that impressed me most, which was a nice change from last week in which they were all a blur of blue dresses and suits.
So let’s cover this episode by performances. Rachel started things off by dueting with herself on “Torn,” which was visually delightful and a meaningful use of the song.
Turns out younger Rachel is a jerk! Most of ways Rachel shifted her personality this year felt jarring, but that’s mainly because she screwed herself over with her attitude toward Cassandra and one can overdose on eyeliner and knee-high boots. But younger Rachel went for the jugular, calling older Rachel a porn star and pointing out all her insecurities with no filter. And older Rachel went for the banana in response.
Sorry for the Windows Media controls on this cap, but I am so not making it again.
Brody cracks me up. He reminds me so much of oblivious college students who are so impressed with themselves, they don’t consider that others may not hold them in the same regard. It’s endearing in a trainwreck-watching way. Brody’s particularly impressed with his body, and Kurt’s instantaneous recoil when he realized Brody was sharing more than their apartment was fantastic.
Brody’s self-absorbed, but he supports Rachel and he’s not Finn, so he is A-Okay with me. I disagree with his proclamation that a woman must bare her breasts to win an Oscar, but I understand why Rachel would convince herself of it. She may come off more self-possessed than she used to, but ambition still drives her actions and that’s admirable. The sign of growth between younger Rachel and this one was accepting that she wasn’t willing to do anything to get what she wanted. That’s positive change from the Rachel Berry who sent Sunshine Corazon into Lima Heights to remove her from solo competition. Her boundaries may change in the future, but she recognizes and accepts them. It was a nice resolution for that thread, though having Quinn and Santana show up for part of it was even nicer. “Love Song” was a cheery, smooth trio that was a pleasure to watch even if it really only involved three women spinning around each other.
Aren’t we pretty when we sing at each other real hard!
“A Thousand Years” was only two people and a piano doing the same thing, and it was not as engaging.
But by the end of the episode, I found myself cheering Jake and Marley on for the first time. Jake said all the right things leading into “A Thousand Years” about how Marley shouldn’t push herself too hard like she did before sectionals, and he followed it up with a breathtaking “Let Me Love You,” the lyrics of which were perfect for a boy dating and caring about a girl with major self-esteem issues.
Swooning hard, Puckerman the Younger.
And Kitty’s reaction to it was golden! Watch it again for the glory of her eye rolls and hitting her head against the back wall. Girl does not know how to hide her scorn. She was hilarious during “This is the New Year” as well.
I loved those snippets of her with Joe going crazy in the background. But we’ll get back to that song. First, I want to express my appreciation for an unexpected moment of continuity.
Yes, that is Finn psyching himself up to drink coffee again. It’s hysterical that he’s continuing to do so, even though he hates it! How much sugar did he pour in there?! I know he’s drinking it because it makes him feel adult, and I want that complete failure of reaching adulthood to continue forever. Or maybe he’s just been taking tips from Sue on how to dress up the brew.
Remember that in Season 2? Blaine and Kurt watched flabbergasted as Sue kept on pouring simple syrup until the cup was overflowing and I was cracking up. Sue was pretty hilarious this episode as well, and I like the dynamic she has with Finn. She’s antagonizing him, but there doesn’t seem to be much bite behind her efforts, and I think she likes him more than she ever liked Will. Plus, that description of her Penthouse centerfold as the redefinition of hirsute was flawless. I don’t miss the adult characters when they’re gone, but I certainly do appreciate them when they’re on fire. Emma, as usual was welcome when Blaine brought in Sam to consider colleges as part of his one man Best Friend Booster Club (Side note: Brittany gets negative girlfriend points for telling him to use his body to succeed! That was horrible!). Lord knows Sam needed that pep talk because being proud of your body is healthy, but falling back on it for all your self-worth is not. Even if it results in a “Hot in Herre/Centerfold” mash-up.
I don’t have any idea what they are wearing here. Space suits?
That number is a must-watch merely for the absurdity of it. Spray-on tanner that mysteriously disappeared during the photo shoot, cheerleaders used as hand weights, flexing pecs, flexing pecs, and flexing pecs again…the actors probably enjoyed filming that more than their audience admirers enjoyed watching it! And the calendar itself was awesome.
Pumpkin Jake was pretty hot, but Easter Rabbit Joe was my favorite shot. I don’t have any idea what to think of Farmer Joe:
Oh yeah, musical numbers. I got distracted there for a second. “This is the New Year” came out of nowhere, but it is one of my favorite performances of Season 4, and it’ll rank high on my all-time lists. Accordingly, prepare for an overload of screencaps. I have no idea why the song was in music video form, but I refuse to ponder that for long because it was so much fun. You all know I melt when confronted with the intensity of Blaine’s eyes, so that’s a good way to lead off any performance.
But the pairings throughout the song were fantastic! I already mentioned Kitty and Joe, and Marley and Jake are allowed to be adorably glued at the hip after exchanging I love yous. Second place goes to Brittany and Lord Tubbington!
So, so cute. However, my favorite random match-up of this song was Unique and Ryder.
Her fierceness burst through that screen and Ryder did his best to catch-up. Ending with spinning Artie and his wheelchair around in circles was sweet. You don’t want to know how many times I’ve rewatched that song already. Honestly, it did more to make me support the current group of New Directions than anything has up to this point.
Just look at all those cuties!
So what did “Naked” tell us about the future? New York City is more Santana’s style than Kentucky, Tina’s crush on Blaine continues as that baking analogy reveals that she’s one whisk away from licking his frosting, Blaine’s crush on Sam has been dialed down in place of friendship strengthening or at least Blaine is better at hiding it, Rachel has chosen to keep her boobs under wraps unless a worthier future project comes up, Brody is parading around Bushwick in all his glory, and the New Directions are going back to Regionals courtesy of one Warbler meltdown.
Thanks, Hunter! That scene got bonus funny points from me because what drove Hunter to Hulk out was the meta-accusation of looking too old for high school. After “This is the New Year,” I’m feeling the kinship between this drama-free New Directions team, so I’m glad we’ll see them compete together again. Sure, that many nice people in a bunch can be too vanilla, but ultimately, they still make beautiful music.
My romance novella, Maya’s Vacation, is available for purchase at Astraea Press, Amazon, and Barnes and Nobles. Follow me on Twitter @thegourmez or on Facebook at my author page.