Here's what you missed on Glee: So Mercedes isn't digging dance booty camp and had a totally big fight with Mr. Schue. Emma, Bieste and Artie cast both her and Rachel as Maria in West Side Story, but she quits the play and New Directions and goes to Ms. Corcoran and says she wants to join her new glee club. Mike got an A- and his dad's totally mad, but he gets a part in West Side Story and his mom is totally behind him. Brittany and Rachel both decide to run for student body president. Will brings Emma's parents home for dinner, but it turns out she's embarrassed that they're really racists. And that's what you missed on Glee!
This week’s episode of Glee is a bit of a misnomer. “Asian F” was sold as an introduction into the private life of one Mike Chang, AKA “other Asian” who is an amazing dancer, but just can’t sing . Turns out he’s a superstar, because he also plays on the football team and has a straight “A” average. The “F” in the title refers to an A-minus, which is an exaggeration. I’m Asian, and I didn’t get hell for getting an A-minus on a test score or even a report card, and I turned out fine. Besides, any over-achieving Asian who grew up in North America knows that an “Asian F” is actually a B+. Anything below that is considered grounds for excommunication. But anyway, thanks Glee for trying, but you really should have consulted with me before you went with that detail.
Mike’s story is interesting but not terribly compelling, from a narrative point of view. This is really an hour dedicated to Mercedes’s thwarted ambition. We know it’s going to be a major catfight just by looking at the opening monologue, when they’re in dance booty camp and Tina’s outfit predicts the coming firestorm:
A word on Tina’s sartorial evolution: this is what happens to teenage Asians who try to be non-conformist. There’s a tipping point at which their outfits cease to be cool and instead enter the dreaded Hello Kitty category. It’s usually the unfortunate mixing of loud mismatched prints that gives it away. Looking at Tina’s outfit, one but cannot think that this might be chic on Madonna in 1981 when she was trying to copy Bananarama’s safety-pin couture, but here, it only reminds me of this. But thanks Tina for literally saying we’re going to have a catfight ahead.
But there is calm before the storm. Let’s look at the only mention of Quinn in this episode:
Quinn herself went through a period of rebellion. Her flirtation with the pink hair and safety pins reminded me of Samantha Fox trying to be Madonna trying to be Bananarama, but in 1987. (What is it with me and 80s pop icons this week?). Anyway, she looks fresh-faced and glorious, like a toothpaste commercial from the same era. There is nothing like a dance class to shake up the blues. (Or were her piercings too tight and her chunky boots too heavy to dance in before and metaphorically weighed her down? I’ll never know). It will – or should – be followed up with Rula Lenska’s Alberto V05 ads. Anyone else remember those? No? Then YouTube it. Okay, who’s next?
Here comes Mercedes in workout gear. Clearly she’s not taking this seriously because it’s not the deconstructed sweater that Tina wears or the sweat-friendly outfit Quinn is sporting. Mercedes is sporting what I like to call “faux-gym wear”: outfits that look like they are made for the gym, but because they are bedazzled or not breathable, they get worn everywhere except during actual exercise, because sweat would destroy the detailing. So it’s no surprise that the rehearsal is a total disaster for her and she fights with Mr. Schue.
Meanwhile, in the Schue household, Will asks Emma about her parents. They are headed for marriage, so why not meet the in-laws, right? Emma is evasive about her parents at this point and Schue intends to find out why. While he does this, let’s celebrate her outfit:
THIS is how you do prints without making it a total nightmare: match a bold piece (the skirt) with a contrasting colour on the colour wheel, but only in a solid block. The detail works, too: pay attention to the belt on the skirt. It’s an easy day-to-night transition for her. While this veers dangerously close to Betty Draper’s wardrobe, on Emma it carries itself off much easier because it’s a breezier look on her than it would have been on Betty. Given that Emma is indeed loosening up, it’s good that her outfit appear less constricted as well. Still, I long for the day that she shows up to school dressed as Stevie Nicks, but one can dream.
Also, are those actual glasses, or just a necklace that mimics real spectacles? If that's a necklace, I MUST get one.
Back to Mike Chang. There’s a meeting in the principal’s office where his father laments his son’s “failure” with the A-minus. Or something. Anyway, Figgins mentions Tina’s polluting influence and we catch a glimpse of her in full vampire regalia from before:
Come ON, people. Any self-respecting Goth would have laughed this out of the room. This is not threatening, it’s a Halloween costume. Goths are supposed to have a dangerously sexy edge, not dollar-store brooches. What you have here is a Harajuku girl wannabe stuck in central Ohio, which Tina has been for far too long. I just hope they make her stop Trying So Hard. Top this off with a thoughtful tiara and you’d have my Auntie Ling’s attempt at a Halloween costume. She lives in Macau. That should tell you everything about what’s wrong with this outfit.
By the way, it’s so great to know that Mike Chang has Asian stereotypes for parents. Yay for progress! How come when an idea might sound good as a parody on The Simpsons, it doesn’t work out in Glee? Solution? Revitalize Glee by turning it into a cartoon instead !!!! … but let’s make that the subject of another blog.
So Mercedes and Rachel are in the running to play Maria in McKinley’s version of West Side Story. But I thought we already had auditions last week? How long are they going to drag these out? In any event, Mercedes’s new linebacker boyfriend tells her not to fraternize with the enemy and this brings out a very competitive streak in Mercedes. She not only rocks Jennifer Hudson’s “Spotlight”, she also rocks a new glam image.
While it may look a little much like a cocktail party dress, and in high school one simply doesn’t wear those (unless you’re on Gossip Girl, circa 2008), she looks stunning and classy. The dress cuts her in the right way and her hair brings about a softer image. Clearly, she wants to be a diva. The only problem later on, however, is the attitude that comes with the label. Think of Courtney Love when she got clean and went to the Oscars in 1997.
Tina, meanwhile, has gone onto the other side of the Harajuku fashion phenomenon and was clearly in a hurry to get to the audition that day.
She appears to have worn her Sailor Moon costume but forgot the accessories or the braids.
And we’re back to the McKinley senior class president election campaign. You remember how Brittany S. Pears quit as Kurt’s campaign manager and declared her intention to run for office? Well, it’s clear that Brittany has found a lot of conviction to run for the position, and announced her candidacy in perhaps the biggest set piece of the episode, with Beyonce’s “Run the World (Girls)”.
First off, kudos to Heather Morris on rocking out this number. Who knew she was a belter? Her vocal range might not reach up to Mercedes / Rachel levels, but there’s no denying that Glee has been keeping her as the show’s best-kept secret for far too long. And the outfit, combining a deconstructed varsity jersey, PVC skirt, thigh-high stockings and f***-me boots just screams “high school lesbian superhero”. You will notice Santana has returned to New Directions and is undoubtedly Brit’s biggest supporter. It makes you wonder if she has ambitions to become First Lady to Brit’s President.
The straps connecting the stockings to the skirt like a leftover from a Siouxsie & the Banshees costume party? Genius. See, Tina? Even though she wasn't going Goth, even a supposed airhead like Brittany knows which details to rock. Even Sue, who makes a minimal appearance in this episode, agrees and was dancing happily along. And it’s so refreshing to see Emma boogie to something:
Love is good. Sex is good. And it certainly brings people out of their gloom / insanity / psychosis. Emma’s cohabitation with Will has done her wonders, as I have never seen her smile so much, so broadly, so freely (only in relation to her usual uptightness) and appreciate things around her. While this outfit still says schoolmarm and bookworm, it’s cut just right to give her a sexy librarian look. All she needs are Tina Fey-style glasses, or that necklace she had earlier in the episode. (By the way, does her overall aesthetic remind anyone else of Lea Thompson in Caroline in the City? No? Okay, it’s just me, then).
Back to work we go! Emma and Coach are in the midst of discussing who would be better as Maria: Mercedes or Rachel? When she’s serious, she rocks out polka dots.
Without seeing the rest of the outfit, since she never stands to full height in it, one can only imagine that the jacket is cut bolero-style and is the missing piece from Tina’s earlier Sailor Moon-light ensemble. They should really make a date to accessorize. And I like that her hair isn’t piled up like it was before and is longer and freer now. It’s a not-so-subtle sign that she’s letting her hair down in every way.
The meeting for the auditions turns serious. Here are Mercedes and Rachel getting the news that there will be a call-back and an official sing-off for the role:
Why does Mercedes wear outfits that contradict her moods, mindsets and personality? In this episode, there’s no love, there’s only an attitude problem and frustration. While I appreciate that she doesn’t get the lion’s share of solos, she really should be more of a trooper. She’s in a glee club, not the Hollywood round of American Idol. Her pendant here clearly indicates that she’s a tiger, a lioness, something fierce! And Rachel’s dresses are now officially becoming more form-fitting and uptight than Emma’s, with that dizzying pattern threatening to strangle her. Rachel: look into jeans, slacks, anything that covers your legs. You’ll get much more wear out of them than if you were to continue wearing dresses all the time. You’re not interning at Vogue, and even Anna Wintour would sniff that you're Trying Too Hard.
In the interim, there’s a lot of durm und strang on Mike’s part on whether to stay in glee club or try out for a part in West Side Story. In the midst of practice, Tina stumbles upon him and expresses her love for him, wearing what appears to be the missing top for the awesome Sailor Moon costume I have been discussing.
Yes, the outfit is age-appropriate because of the capped sleeves. But can I just say that we don’t need to have so many people on the show wearing them. Also, this Sailor Moon costume thing is becoming an obsession with me, fast. Clearly, Halloween is on my mind.