Glee: "Substitute": Me For [Her]

Categories: Film and TV

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Being a substitute teacher probably sucks. I have no firsthand knowledge of this, but I do know the unadulterated hell we unleashed upon those unfortunate enough to take the place of our usual instructors (all except for "Ms. K," who was a six foot tall -- most of it leg -- brunette who didn't take any shit from anybody...she was one cool drink of water),

Where was I? Oh right, the other big problem for subs (aside from the erratic schedule, nonexistent pay, and ungodly abuse they're forced to endure) is that they have no time to form lasting bonds with the students they temporarily supervise. A teacher wants to make an impact on his/her charges, not just spend a day figuring out ways to avoid making meaningful contact.

Unless you're Holly Holliday (Gwyneth Paltrow), in which case forget I said anything.

I know, right? Gwyneth Paltrow. Who could have seen that coming? No one, that's who. Unless you're the sort of person who thinks it was more than a bit coincidental that Coldplay conveniently freed up access to their musical catalog in time for a guest appearance by Mrs. Chris Martin on the eve of her new movie coming out. But that's crazy talk.

So there's a virus rampaging through McKinley High, though the only people who appear to be affected are Mr. Schue and Principal Figgins. The latter is replaced with predictable quickness by Sue, while the Rachel steps in to take charge of the glee club, prompting Kurt to beg the Spanish sub, Ms. Holliday, to lend her talents instead, which she does rather promptly.

I'm something of a contrarian by nature, so when every other person on my Facebook feed posts the same link, I tend to ignore it. For this reason, I never saw Cee Lo Green's original rendition of "Fuck/Forget You" (sounds like a new anti-personnel weapon system: the fuck and forget) until I was, uh, "researching" this piece. It's not bad; an amusingly obscene take on classic Motown. Paltrow's version is...passable, but otherwise on par with the show's usual offerings: technically competent but largely soulless. This wasn't exactly unexpected. I mean, fine: she can act, and carries a tune well. But a few decent reviews of Duets and suddenly she's William Shatner? I think not.

Sony Pictures has some serious marketing money behind her upcoming Country Strong, which also explains her otherwise puzzling appearance on the CMAs last week.

Paltrow's extended publicity tour meant only two story arcs advanced in any meaningful way this week. Will and Terri's will-they-or-won't-they reconciliation is no more after she nurses him back to health and takes advantage of his weakened state by having her way with him...actually, it was a mutual thing. The doing of the deed reinforces two facts: the freshly medicated Terri is going to go Fatal Attraction at some point, and Will is an idiot. The old adage about "crazy in the head, crazy in bed" may very well be true, but your pregnancy-faking ex who just detailed her schedule of antidepressants should best be handled with plutonium tongs.

Oh, and Sue is now apparently principal for life, having used her shadowy school board connections to supplant Figgins. Her initial plan to dump Will comes to naught when she realizes Holly is pretty much the worst teacher ever, once you get past the gams and medical marijuana jokes. She still has time to duet with Rachel on "Nowadays / Hot Honey Rag" from Chicago and dress like Mary Todd Lincoln, which was actually kind of funny.

Musically, we were kind of all over the place, with "Conjunction Junction," "Forget You," "Make 'em Laugh" from Singin' in the Rain, and a mash-up (how I'm growing to loathe that term) of that musical's title song with Rihanna's "Umbrella." Naturally, the one song that might have made any sense -- "Substitute" by the Who -- is nowhere to be found.

Kurt's relationship with Blaine is progressing, at the expense of his friendship with Mercedes, which suffers further strain when...I'm sorry, but every time that kid is on I can't help but think of Duckie's outburst in Pretty In Pink:

Finally, Karofsky threatens to kill Kurt if he spills the beans about their kiss. That was unpleasant. Maybe he and Terri are planning to team up, Klebold and Harris style, for the mid-season cliffhanger.


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