Glee: 1.09 “Wheels”

Season 1 Episode 9
Airdate: November 11, 2009

Porpoise of Life Name: The Worst Episode of the 1st Season
Issue of the Week: Be patronizing to people with disabilities

The cheerleaders are jumping rope while Quinn, who was kicked off for being with child, watches longingly from the bleachers. Finn tries to talk about it with her. “I know how much it hurts to be off the team,” he says. No you don’t. Finn has never been kicked off anything. I must have forgotten after the concentration camp experience that was watching “I Kissed a Girl” but Finn has been a patronizing douche since season 1.

Quinn presents him with a $685 medical bill for a sonogram and says he needs to get a job to help pay for their baby. Don’t pregnant woman get free health care? This is 2009. The Tea Party won’t take over Ohio until a year from now.

Also, due to the high expense, glee club will not be provided with a handicap accessible schoolbus. This means Artie will need to find another ride to Sectionals.

We move to the glee room, where Artie is tying his shoe. How did it become untied when it’s never used?  Artie should be wearing slippers or clogs. Or nothing. Artie owning shoes is about as useful as me owning condoms. It’s spending good money on a part of the body that won’t get any use.

Will tells the glee kids that they will hold a bake sale to raise the money for the bus. The other kids don’t want to do this because they are too busy and Artie can just get a ride from his dad. “I can’t believe how insensitive you’re all being,” Will chides them. “Aren’t you a team?” This from the man who has used this glee club to score with an old high school flame and totally ditched glee club when he thought he could start his own singing group. Well, I notice he said “Aren’t you a team?” not “Aren’t we a team?”

Artie is a sad. He sings “Dancing With Myself” while eying Tina. So is this a performance about the glee kids not wanting to fundraise for the bus or his crush on Tina?

We go back to the glee club, where Kurt wants to sing “Defying Gravity” the song with a high F that Will assigned to Rachel. Will ignores everything he just said about Artie, and tells Kurt no.

To teach the kids to be sensitive to Artie’s sad existence, Will orders them to spend three hours per day for a week in a wheelchair. Then, they will do a song in wheelchairs. Now I’m glad that Will has basically been non-involved in glee club up until now. Because when he tries to lead the kids, he is incredibly dumb at it.

Quinn is in the home-ec room making cupcakes for the bake sale. Puck gives her some money “for our kid.” Puck is the real father because Finn is a virgin who doesn’t understand how babies are made. Puck flirts with her and they have a playful fight with baking ingredients until Finn finds them.

Kurt talks to his father, Burt, played the only man who can solve a Rubik’s Cube in four moves, MIKE O’MALLEY, about how he wants to sing that song, but is not allowed to because it is traditionally sung by a girl. Burt sees how much this is making his son sad, so he meets with Principal Figgins and Will and yells about how they are discriminating against Kurt. “I was just going to agree with you,” says Will. “Please don’t hit me.” Will is terrified to be in the presence of a real man. Kurt will have the chance to audition for the song.

Burt, played by the man who inspired Led Zeppelin to write “Immigrant Song”, MIKE O’MALLEY, is pleased but questions if the audition will be decided fairly. “How do I know this isn’t some show to stop me from taking a flame thrower to this place?” he asks. That is not an idle threat. He has a flame thrower tucked under his seat.

To satisfy Burt, Will will have each glee kid vote on who gave the best performance. Rachel is worried that this will turn into a popularity contest, as she is very unlikable.

“We all know I’m more popular than Rachel” Kurt says. Well, I don’t know about that.

“And I dress better than her.” True.

Kurt makes the kids pledge to vote fairly. Two years ago, Kurt’s father, played by the man who encouraged a young Mitch Hedberg to pursue comedy, MIKE O’MALLEY, knighted him after helping out with a really good Thanksgiving dinner, so this is a legally binding pledge.

Finn, Puck, Quinn and Santana are manning the bake sale. But no one is buying cupcakes. The glee kids know it is because everyone thinks the glee kids are losers. Which has to be it. These are teenagers. They eat all the time. The bake sale should have sold out within 6 minutes. Quinn is pissed that Finn isn’t working harder to make money. “You’ll never be able to take over my father’s cupcake shop!” she screams, which makes Finn get up and leave.

Sue has to hold open tryouts for Quinn’s replacement. Will is there to make sure the decision is fair. Like all cheer team tryout montages since Bring It On, the pickings are slim. The crab walk kid was sweet, though.

Becky, a girl with Downs Syndrome, is the last person to tryout. Will tells Sue to be nice. Despite Becky being unable to do anything cheerleaderly, Sue immediately lets her on the team. Will wants to know what Sue up to. “I don’t like this Sue,” says Will as Sue walks away. Sue does not pay Will the respect of explaining herself.

Puck and Finn wheel down the hallway. Finn can’t get a job, so Puck tells him to sell his stuff to help Quinn. I like that Puck wants Finn sacrifice to raise Puck’s child. The two end up fighting on the ground.

Tina asks Artie how he wound up in a wheelchair. Artie explains that he was in car accident when he was 8. Now he knows why 8-year-olds shouldn’t drive cars.

While Kurt is in the glee room rehearsing the song, Burt, played by the last emperor of China, MIKE O’MALLEY, is working in his autoshop. Kurt manages to hit the high note. He did it you guys, he found the brown noise!

Burt gets a phone call. An anonymous voice tells him, “Your son’s a fag.” Then hangs up. That was incredibly ballsy calling Burt, played by man who built the Sears Tower by himself, MIKE O’MALLEY, and saying that. That caller is clearly suicidal. He needs help, not our scorn.

Things have turned around at the bake sale. They are selling faster than cupcakes in a high school!  Puck claims he is using his grandma’s old recipe, but he really made cupcakes with marijuana.

Sue is training Becky on the jump rope. “Faster, harder!” Sue yells. Will knows Sue is up to something. Maybe she has money riding on the Special Olympics.

Diva off time! Kurt and Rachel sing “Defying Gravity”. They both do evenly well, but at the end, Kurt doesn’t hit the brown noise while Rachel does.

Puck gives Quinn a wad of cash to help with baby. But then Finn presents Quinn with his paycheck. Finn got a job thanks to Rachel bringing him into a business in a wheelchair and threatening to sue unless Finn is given employment. Quinn wheels away on Finn’s lap, leaving Puck forlorn.

Puck hands Will $1200 in cash. They can now afford the wheelchair accessible bus. Artie turns it down, saying that he can ride with his father afterall and the money could help more people if it were used to install a handicap ramp in the auditorium. I would have assumed the school was upgraded to be handicap accessible in the mid-90s, at the latest. It’s kind of nationwide law. Principal Figgins then tells Will that Sue wrote a check to cover the cost of three new ramps. The glee club can have their special needs bus after all!

Sue enters a group home. It turns out Sue has a sister with Downs. That is why she is down with Downs.

Artie and Tina wheel around the halls after school. They hit it off. Until Tina admits that her stuttering is fake. Remember how Tina had a stutter in the early episodes? No? Well, she did, she just didn’t have many lines. The producers have now decided to abandon that idea because it turns out Tina was faking it all along because she was shy and it used it as a way to not be expected to speak to people. But glee club has given her the courage to step out of her shell. Artie is appalled and leaves her. Artie has higher standards than a boy like him should be allowed to have. Come on Artie, Tina is alright looking, in a dumpling shaped Asian girl sort of way. She’d survive way longer in a zombie apocalypse than you.

Kurt tell his father, played by the man Marilyn Monroe killed herself when she couldn’t have, MIKE O’MALLEY, that the song was given to Rachel “I blew the note,” admits Kurt. “I wanted to lose.” Kurt does not want him being gay to result in more stress for his papa. Killing anonymous people over a phone line using only his mind takes a lot out of Burt.

The episode ends with the glee kids singing “Proud Mary” in wheelchairs. Cause it has rollin’ in the lyrics!

Grade: F

This episode was beyond dumb. This was the first really bad episode of the series, and dear Lord was it. It was a level of awfulness that we won’t see again until The Glee Project.

Best Song: “Defying Gravity” That Broadway Musical Kurt and Rachel Masturbate To. Performed by Kurt & Rachel