Glee: Faking The "Funk"
"What does regret mean?"
"Well son, the funny thing about regret is that it's better to regret something you have done than to regret something you haven't done. And by the way, if you see your mom this weekend, will you be sure and tell her SATAN! SATAN! SATAN!" - Butthole Surfers, "Sweat Loaf"
Glee threw me off a little bit this week. After hearing all the lip service Will and company were giving to the concept of "regret," I felt sure that was the theme. After all, we had Will finally finalizing his divorce from Terri and subsequently lamenting all the time wasted with her. Meanwhile Jesse (surprise!) returned to Vocal Adrenaline, leaving Rachel regretting her stunning (and obvious) naïveté. As it turns out, however, a pre-emptory performance of "Another One Bites the Dust" by VA sends the members of New Directions into such a funk that Will demands they come up with numbers inspired by that grooviest of genres.
Admittedly, I experienced my own sense of regret later on in the episode. After loudly complaining about the inability of anyone on the show to do justice to the late, great Freddie Mercury, I was rewarded by an unironic rendition of Marky Mark's "Good Vibrations," a song which should be attached to any Oscar screener of a Mark Wahlberg movie, lest an Academy member unwittingly nominate the guy for an award.
And never mind the hilarity of the white, uptight, and outta sight Will lecturing his students on funk's underpinnings of "soul and anger." Mercedes calls him on it, but that doesn't stop the (finally) visibly pregnant Quinn leading the club off with James Brown's "It's A Man's Man's Man's World," accompanied by a retinue of similarly embarazada ladies. I admit it, "Unwed Mothership Connection" got a laugh. Well played, Ryan Murphy.
Puck and Finn retaliate against Vocal Adrenaline for their opening number (and for TP-ing the choir room) by slashing the tires of their Range Rovers...all 26 of them. As punishment, they have to work alongside Terri at Sheets n' Things, where the latter develops an unhealthy interest in young Finn. And as punishment for alt rock singer Beck, he has to listen to an abbreviated Puck-led cover of "Loser," a song he's tried to distance himself from almost since its release.
The night's other major subplot came courtesy of Will and a reemergent Sue. The former, pushed over the edge by Sue's plans to annex the choir room for her trophy wing, turns the tables on his nemesis by faking romantic interest. His quasi-seductive rendition of Stevie Wonder's "Tell Me Something Good" has the desired effect of inspiring apparently long-dormant feelings in Sue, who dons her best string of pearls to go with her track suit only to be humiliated when Will stands her up. Her brief bout of depression (okay, funk) lasts until Will apologizes, whereupon she easily leads the Cheerios to a 6th consecutive national title.
Yes, funk is our theme, because New Directions was in one, and because VA had never been able to pull off a funk number. We've already seen James Brown and Marky Mark (laughed off as a result of the gleeks being so bummed as to get the genre wrong) by the time Rachel is pelted by eggs in a Vocal Adrenaline ambush. Jesse even provides the coup de grace after being goaded like Joker in Full Metal Jacket to deliver the last blows in Private Pyle's soap party.
Okay, really...eggs? Were the show's creators ever actually bullied in high school?
So who better for a final "funk you" than George Clinton and P-Funk? The club responds to VA's "you got served" opening number with "Give Up the Funk (Tear the Roof Off the Sucker)," which reverses funk fortunes and gives New Directions a boost heading into Regionals. And they'll need it, because Sue is one of the judges.
Next week is the season finale. Expect the following questions to be answered: Will Emma and Mr. Schue finally do the deed? Will Finn and Rachel get back together? Will Quinn ever have that damn baby? And will Brittany and Santana finally get that spin-off? Stay tuned, True Be-Glee-Vers.