Glee: 115 “The Power of Madonna”

Season 1 Episode 15
Airdate: April 20th, 2010

Porpoise of Life name: “Madonna Episode”
Issue of the Week: Virginity

Glee is the chaser I take after being forced to chug down another damn episode of Degrassi: The Next Generation. What is Glee, you ask? It is a musical comedy show on Fox which centers around a misfit glee club named “New Directions” in a high school in Ohio. Mr. Will Schuester (Schue) is the director of glee. Sue Sylvester, the coach of the school’s cheer team, Cheerios, is his arch enemy for some reason. Sue is played by Jane Lynch, best known as the boss on The 40 Year Old Virgin and power lawyer on The L Word.

Now I am going to review Glee‘s special Madonna themed episode. It aired after American Idol, but I watched it on Hulu cause AI runs long now, and I don’t want to turn into Fox at 9pm to still see Ryan Seacrest on screen pretending he’s not gay. You know how Seacrest and Simon Cowell are always snipping at each other on the show? That’s Seacrest trying to cover up his desire to rip off his clothes, jump on Cowell’s lap, and lick each one of Simon’s many chest hairs.

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We begin in the office of Sue Sylvester. She writes in her journal about how Madonna inspired her to be a strong woman (note to non-Glee viewers: Sue is very much a monster). She then goes to the principal to demand he play Madonna’s Greatest Hits album over the loudspeakers all day at a very high volume. The principal balks at such a suggestion. But Sue blackmails him because, in the previous episode, they slept together and Sue has photos she can show to his wife.

I like the idea of Sue having sex in her full track suit.

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We go to the glee club. Quinn (the pregnant ex-head cheerleader) is drawing a weird picture. It appears to be how she sees Rachel (the bubbly optimist) as an ugly loser. Actually, the actress who plays Rachel is a very beautiful young woman. They don’t let ugly people on TV (American TV at least). Or maybe Quinn sees Rachel as a big Jew, which is true.

The glee girls discuss how their boyfriends are not respecting them. Will overhears this and wants to help because he really wants the girls he directs to have fulfilling sex lives. Rachel goes to Ms. Emma Pillsbury (the guidance counselor) for relationship advice concerning a boy who was pressuring her to have sex after they went to a Wiggles concert, but Emma is actually a virgin–which we just learned in the previous episode–so she can’t offer and help. You think Emma would have had to deal with student’s sex questions before, so it’s odd that this is just now a problem. Well, she probably never had anyone come to her actually needing advice before. As far as I know, a guidance counselor is just there to make sure you take all the classes you need to graduate and keep a bunch of college brochures in her office.

Will stops by Emma’s office. He knows that she is a virgin and offers to help. He’s knows an opportunity when he sees one.

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Over at cheerleading practice, Sue makes the cheerleaders perform an elaborate routine to “Ray of Light” involving stilts. Cheerios is a championship cheer team, which means they spend all their time rehearsing complex dance routines to perform at competitions rather than cheer at football games. Sue is making her girls get into Madonna music (and the boys too, though the boys only appear during stunts like this and disappear for the rest of the show) because she wants them to feel empowered by her music.

Of course, Sue is not impressed by the show we just saw, and tells her Cheerios that “Somewhere in the English countryside in a stately manorhome, Madonna is weeping.” and “You think this is hard? I’m passing a gall stone as we speak. That’s hard!” Both statements are true. Neither are related to the cheerleaders, though.

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Will sees that routine and is inspired to go back to glee club and assign the kids a Madonna song. He hopes this will inspire confidence in the girls while teaching the boys to respect them. Kurt (the boy in the hoodie in the far back) is gay so he is giddy about the project. But the straight boys (all three of them) are less than enthused. Puck (the football player in the short mohawk) feels uncomfortable with this assignment. He joined glee club, but doesn’t want to do something too gay. However, Puck does compliment Madonna, calling her a “hall of fame MILF.” Of all the praise Madonna gets in this episode, I am sure she is the most proud to have heard that.

The girls suddenly burst into a performance of “Express Yourself.” If you are confused and don’t understand where the costumes and stage came from, or how the girls all know the same lyrics and choreography, just remember that Glee is a musical, so it’s normal to just go into song and dance. Sometimes the characters will even perform songs which exist entirely in their minds because they think in pop songs or whatever. That used to confuse me when I would watch the earlier episodes, but then I learned to only half pay attention when I watch Glee. Like most teen shows, plot and continuity aren’t that important. I have spent most of my teenage years and as well as all of my sad adulthood getting to know high school melodramas. But Glee is just so delightful because it knows it’s a campy show, so they totally embraces it and are able to have fun with the standard tropes of high school drama shows. This is unlike other high school dramas I am familiar with that fall short, time and time again.

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In the halls, Britney and Santana (the cheerleaders who are also in glee club) talk about boy issues. Sue told ordered them to date a younger man like Madonna. “Guess who I’m dating,” says Britney, “Wes Brody. He’s super cute. He plays soccer with my sister. He’s seven.” She recommends that Santana should take a boy’s virginity (I’m not going to comment). And it just so happens that Finn is a virgin and also a main character. Like most teen TV shows, the main characters all hook up with each other. This allows for good inter-group drama as well as keeps the budget for guests low.

“Burning Up” plays over the speakers. From here on out, if the kids aren’t singing Madonna, one of her songs will be on in the background. Britney is also dressing up like Madonna. I think that’s for her boyfriend, who wants her to look like Hannah Montana.

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Sue pops into Emma’s office. Emma asks why Madonna’s music is playing everywhere in the school but her office. Sue cut Emma’s intercomm because Emma does not deserve Madonna music because she is not a strong woman. That kind of goes against Sue’s idea to have the females absorb Madonna’s music and, therefore, her confidence. But Emma is Will’s friend so Sue hates her. Emma decides she will be empowered just like Madonna, by having sex with any man who offers to. And Will offers!

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Rachel and Finn perform “Borderline” and “Open Your Heart” and dance throughout the school. They skip into the library and knock over a bunch of books cause they’re feeling intense. I worked in the library in high school and this pissed me off. God damn people in musicals have no respect for people who have to keep things tidy and organized. Libraries don’t need this crap. Books have to be catalogued in a certain way so people can find them in the place they’re supposed to be found in. Library books can’t just be treated like any old object that’s supposed to be an extension of some sing-song douche bag’s emotions. Fuck you, Rachel and Finn. Go suck a big bucket of dicks. At least it’s a high school library and not like a college library where you try to put books back on the shelf in some far off corner of the building but there is a couple having sex behind the shelf, so you quietly watch them from behind the books for so long that you miss your lunch break.

By the way, the hall is full of girls dressed as Madonna. One girl was in the S&M getup from “Human Nature” but I don’t want to show that because this is a family website.

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Sue doesn’t like the glee club taking her Madonna idea. For someone who adores Madonna and is responsible for it playing all over the school, Sue sure is protective over who gets to enjoy it. Will says he will continue to use Madonna’s music and then says Sue has Florence Henderson hair. I looked up who Florence Henderson is on Wikipedia. She has nice hair. But Sue gets mad and throws some kids into lockers and knocks over their books.

Meanwhile, Finn agrees to lose his virginity to Santana because this is TV which means he is the one of only three virgins in his entire high school.

Kurt and Mercedes (the black girl) go to Sue’s office to see if they can help her with her anger issues. Sue talks about how Madonna helped her deal with her troubled childhood. On her 6th birthday True Blue was released, so Sue and her sister used ammonia and napalm to dye Sue’s hair like Madonna’s, forever ruining her hair and making her feel extra hurt by Will’s joke. Mercedes is confused and points out this would make Sue 30, which doesn’t make sense. Sue responds that she’s really 29. I’m glad that Mercedes pointed out that was a lie. Since I’m not sure when Madonna’s career began, I would have missed the joke and assumed her first album came out in the 60s.

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Kurt and Mercedes put together a remake of the video for “Vogue” with Sue as Madonna in order to make her feel empowered. There’s no public school in the US this well funded.

That clip was released online as a promotional thingy a few days before this episode aired. It was between this and Coach Tanaka doing “Human Nature.” I think the producers made the right choice.

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Rachel has been seeing Jesse (a singer from a rival glee club, Vocal Adrenaline) in secret to not upset her glee buddies, who mostly don’t like her anyway. Jesse wants to have sex and Rachel says yes because that is the thing to do at school this week. And who ever heard of being a 16 year old virgin anyway? I assume the producers and writers of Glee all lost their virginity really young…like 13 or 12…to their uncles. That’s why the show is so weird.

Rachel gets ready for Jesse to come over by doing her hair with a sparkly straightener and wearing some…well…I guess you could call that lingerie. I assume that’s a dress one of her Cabbage Patch dolls wears and she looked on the internet for hours to find one in an adult size.

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Rachel and Jesse, Emma and Will, and Santana and Finn all get ready to have sex at the same time (in different buildings). They all sing “Like a Virgin” cause you just knew they would. We only see them sing during foreplay. Fox chickened out yet again.

Plus, only Finn actually lost his virginity. Emma and Rachel pull out (figuratively–they’re girls) and decide against having sex. Finn feels letdown since it didn’t feel specia to himl, but at least he finished on time (Finn is a premature ejaculator). Rachel ran out of Will’s house and the two of them agree to wait until Will’s divorce is finalized.

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Sue presents to the principal a list of kids she wants shipped off to New York with $35 in their pockets (she calls this Operation Madonna). The list is all glee kids. She also wants Kurt and Mercedes to join the cheerleading squad. Sue loves and hates people at the same time.

Jesse transfers to this school and wants to join the glee club. The glee kids are worried he is a spy for Vocal Adreenline, but Jesse claimes he transferred so he could be with Rachel out in the open. Kurt and Mercedes don’t like how this will mean they get even fewer chances to sing, so they join Cheerios and perform “4 Minutes” which Wikipedia says is a Madonna song. Kurt and Mercedes have joined Cheerios, but still want to be in glee. How they will have enough time for both, who the hell knows?

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Will and the boys all sing “What It Feels Like for a Girl” together and they agree to respect the girls for now on. OK, problem solved. I guess that fixed that. Artie (the wheelchair kid) apologizes to Tina (the Asian) for being a poor boyfriend. Earlier in the episode, he demanded she dress in more skin tight clothing. It’s cute that he’s in a wheelchair and thought he could be picky about his women.

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Jesse is now in the glee club and with Rachel. Finn tells Rachel that Madonna made him realize he made a mistake by not being good to her. Now Jesse is her man and he challenges Finn to a sing off for her hand. Rachel lets out a whimper like she is worried, but I think that was actually her having an orgasm due to the thought of two men fighting over her. Finn backs down and glee club ends the show to “Like a Prayer” accompanied by a church choir. I bet the choir is there because they owe Will a favor. Perhaps a young Will faced down the KKK who wanted to burn down their church. I like to think these characters had exciting lives prior to this show.

Grade: A

People assume I like Madonna because they usually mistake me for a gay boy, just because I spend my free time photographing my cat, look like a Jewish Clay Aiken, and the only Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue I ever bought was the 2007 one that had a big spread of a naked Burt Reynolds. I like Madonna well enough, but I’m not a gay boy level of fan. Lesbians consider Kathleen Hanna their Madonna as do I.

But I liked the episode very much. The injokes were fun as well as the outjokes. I kind of zoned in and out during all the feminist talk. But that has a lot to do with how I was brought up. Like my uncle used to say, “So what if women only make 70 cents for every dollar men do? That’s generous when they only do only half the work and spend the other half of the day gossiping and changing their tampons.” Then he would turn around, pull down his pants and jerk off by the window so people outside would see. Don’t see much of my uncle anymore.

Best Musical Number:

“Express Yourself” – Madonna. Performed by Rachel, Britney, Mercedes, Quin, Santana and Tina

Kurt’s Best Outfit:Glee episode 115 Brochures in Emma’s Office:Glee episode 115