Remember when “Glee” staged “West Side Story” last season and delivered one of its more well-constructed and moving episodes?
Well, that didn’t happen last night when the kids from Lima, Ohio, once again put on a Broadway show, that show being “Grease.”
Look, I wanted to like this episode. I really did. I mean, I’m an official ”Grease” advocate who serves on the board of the Alliance to Support the Admiration of Rydell High. (President of said board: Patty Simcox.)
But so many things in last night’s episode just didn’t work. The musical numbers were way too duplicative of the numbers from the 1978 movie — a problem that also tripped up “Glee” during last season’s Michael Jackson tribute — and made me just want to fire up my DVD so I could see John Travolta sing “Greased Lightning” as God intended.
But even more troubling was the complete lack of logic in the various plot threads. At least eight things in last night’s episode made no sense at all. I’ll list them in order from least preposterous to brain-explodingly nonsensical.
Changing the lyrics to “Greased Lightning”
Admittedly, the “Glee” people had no choice. The lyrics to this song are a tad racy, a fact that, even though I memorized it at the age of 5, I never fully grasped until I was 19. But still: “You know that ain’t no crap/We’ll be getting lots of that/in Greased Lightning”??
Mike — who is still hanging out in Lima when he is supposed to be in Chicago — at one point during the production told Tina that she was doing a fantastic job as Jan. Which was weird since we had seen her do next to nothing as Jan. Tina really is a non-entity on this show. But now she’s almost back together with Mike, so obviously she is fulfilling her life’s purpose.
Kurt and Rachel came all the way back to Lima to support Finn and Blaine by seeing “Grease,” but did not tell Finn and Blaine ahead of time. and then barely talked to them
Look, that’s a long train ride. Would they really journey that far without a) reaching out first and b) attempting to have more than a couple of terribly awkward conversations with them? There was absolutely no reason to have Lea Michele and Chris Colfer deal with all that travel time, other than to have them present for the “You’re the One That I Want” pseudo-flashback to the pilot. I just hope they didn’t take the Acela. (What? The Acela route from Manhattan to Lima is extremely popular.)
Kate Hudson’s seduction of Brody
I understand that Hudson’s Cassandra July resents Rachel enough to give her a hard time in dance class and attempt to psych her out regarding upcoming auditions, and even to continue referring to her as David Schwimmer. But did she really need to seduce Brody while Rachel was away? And why was Brody — who just learned that Rachel and Finn broke up — seemingly so willing to jump into bed with her when he surely must have known that Rachel would be crushed if she found out. It. Made. No. Sense.
Kitty has Frenchy’s bedroom?
This may seem like a nitpicky thing, but it bothered the Pink Lady who hides beneath my mild-mannered facade enormously. I get that they could stage “Greased Lightning” at the Hummel garage, even though it miraculously seemed much more spacious just in time for that musical number. But how is it possible that Kitty would have a bedroom decorated exactly like Frenchy’s bedroom from the 1978 movie? Why would she have a photo of Troy Donahue on her wall? It! Makes! No! Sense!
Were there any dress rehearsals for “Grease”? Any at all?
I realize that “Glee” tends to gloss over all the work involved in staging a musical. But when Ryder’s socks got knocked off by the sight of Marley in her “You’re the One That I Want” costume, this was too much to bare. Surely they did at least one run-through in full costume, allowing Danny to see his Sandy in black leather. This is theater, people, not a wedding.
Santana was cast as Rizzo, even though she is no longer a high school student.
That shouldn’t be allowed, right? I mean, I understood why Unique’s casting wound up not happening, and actually thought that was a realistic, albeit sad, depiction of how that situation would be handled in a small Ohio town. But high school graduates can’t just come back and star in plays. Doesn’t Santana have college classes to attend? Rizzo is not a small role. She would need to be there for tons of rehearsals. Yes, including the dress rehearsals that APPARENTLY NEVER HAPPENED.
Marley thinks she is fat solely because of one poodle skirt.
This plot line, honestly, might be the dumbest thing that’s ever happened on “Glee.” And, yes, I remember that Will’s ex-wife once spent much of a season faking a pregnancy.
So because Marley’s mom is Lunch Lady Doris — who is on the overweight side — she is worried she’ll become heavy someday. To play on this fear, Kirty kept sewing Marley’s Sandy skirt to be smaller and smaller in the waist, making Marley think she was rapidly gaining tonnage.
Okay, first of all: Does Marley not have access to a scale? Because the best way to ascertain whether one is gaining weight is to weigh oneself, then compare it to one’s previous weight. At the very least, one should probably do that before deciding that binging and purging is the only alternative.
Second of all: She fits into the Olivia Newton-John hot pants ensemble, and she looks pretty incredible in it. If you’re gaining weight and you’re starring as Sandy in “Grease,” it seems to me your primary concern would be: How am I going to deal with the hot pants? But Marley can totally deal with the hot pants. So why does she think she’s porking out?
Look, kid, I know we’re all supposed to be on your side because you’re poor and sweet and cute and wear jaunty hats and your mom is Lunch Lady Doris. But if you continue to be this gullible, all of my sympathy for you is going to melt away into a puddle of Gleek goop.
P.S. I did like the Darren Criss performance of “Beauty School Drop-Out” and I have nothing bad to say about it.