Glee: 3.08 “Hold on to Sixteen”

Season 3 Episode 8
Airdate: December 6, 2011

Porpoise of Life name: “Sectionals III: The Return of the Twink”
Issue of the Week: Being Young, I guess. That’s what the writers were going for, bless their hearts.

Quinn has recently returned from a Boardwalk Empire cosplay convention

Quinn has recently returned from a Boardwalk Empire cosplay convention

Rachel is at her locker even though she is suspended from school. She explains to Quinn that she is still allowed to come to get her school work. I don’t know if that is how suspensions work, but Rachel is only at school so Quinn can tell her that Shelby (Rach’s ma) is sleeping with Puck and Quinn will use this information to get her fired. In Quinn’s plan, once Shelby loses her job, Child Protective Services will take away the baby Shelby adopted from Quinn and return custody to Quinn. Someone needs to tell Quinn she doesn’t have a job, either.

Sectionals is on home turf. WMHS will be hosting, probably because the school is fielding two glee clubs. They are New Directions, which is led by Will and all male except for Quinn and Tina and Kurt (Rachel can’t compete due to her suspension). And the Troubletones, led by Shelby, all female and formed when Britt, Mercedes and Santana left ND.

The New Directions are worried that the Troubletones have more talent. Finn, being the self–appointed leader, comes up with a plan: get Sam back. Sam was the blonde Twink from season 2 who started out as Finn’s football rival but fell on hard times when the producers decided to do an episode addressing the foreclosure crisis. Sam was a recurring character, and the actor left the show over the summer hiatus due to not being promoted to a full-time member, while the in-show explanation was that his family moved to Kentucky.

Finn explains that he and Rachel can go down to Kentucky to get Sam, as it is only four hours away. I hate to think this explanation was needed because not enough Glee viewers know that Kentucky borders Ohio.

Meanwhile, Blaine is stressing because Finn has been giving him the evil eye. I don’t know what kind of race Blaine is, but it must be a superstitious one. Blaine and Kurt are at the coffee shop when that one guy who tried to steal Blaine is back to steal Blaine.  The boy tells Kurt he will succeed in taking Blaine, while Kurt says the boy has “CW hair” and smells “like Craigslist.” Yeah, with those references, Glee is really going to hold up 40 years from now. Them and Family Guy. Truly, we are watching the next I Love Lucy.

Finn and Rachel arrive Kentucky and the place Sam works, which they first think is a theater (in Kentucky! ha!) but is quickly revealed—much to Rachel’s joy—to be a strip club. She sees Sam shaking all his manliness and asks Finn for a dollar. That’s Rachel’s Jewish genes coming through, which tell her to never spend her own money unless she absolutely has to.

The two talk to Sam after his show. He says he is happy being a stripper as he made more than $60 in 15 minutes. However, he cannot admit this to his parents, who still think he works at Diary Queen. His family is still poor and Sam helps to support them. His folks think DQ gives him a lot of tips. Finn, being Finn, gives Sam a lecture about him having so much potential which is being wasted as a stripper. Glee‘s creator, Ryan Murphy, gives that same lecture to young male strippers a lot. It’s totally the reason he goes to strip clubs six nights a week.

Sam tells his parents he wants to go back to Ohio as he misses being a teenager.  Is he not in school? I can’t imagine Kentucky makes sure kids are.

Sam returns to McKinley and rewards the club with a country song about the plastic cups teenagers drink beer out of. Everyone gets into it except Kurt, who looks so adorably confused, and Rory, who doesn’t understand why no one’s cup has any beer. It’s one of those differences between American and Irish schools. Santana enters the glee room and welcomes Sam back with insults and a hug. Sam didn’t get the memo that Santana is a Sapphic sister, so I thought it would have been funny if he spent the episode trying to hit on her. It’s not like the show can disrespect gay women any worse  than last week.

Instead, Quinn hits on him. They dated at some point last season, but I am not going to bother to look up which episode. She wants to form an Aryan union and tells Sam he’ll be the perfect father when she gets custody of her baby. Yikes!! Sam dismisses the crazy bitch, telling her she has a “rich white girl problem”. I think wanting to get back the baby you had when you were 15 is more like a “white trash girl problem”. Sam is poorer than I thought.

Puck is worried that New Directions will lose to the Troubletones because they lack ladies. Then Rory says something. I don’t know what, maybe he agrees but I cannot understand a single thing this Irish says. Good thing they only give him something to say once every four episodes.  He sounds like this:

Sur giwrls shelbedd’r tin ham enwan der dancdin enbuncin arund yoo candhelmp bud like wankin’ to dem

–Rory Flanagan

Does being in the background for the most part count as his seven episode Glee Project “prize”? Ryan Murphy promised to write a seven episode arch about the winner’s character, but I assume Murphy thinks this is the arch. It’s been clear for years that Ryan Murphy doesn’t understand writing.

Sam wants the boys to fire back at the girls’ sexiness with some sexy moves he learned as a stripper. Blaine calls him a man-whore in that coy, catty way a gay boy will insult someone so it takes that person a moment to process whether it was a slight or compliment.

The two almost get into a fight. Blaine runs off all frustrated. Goddamn it Kurt, go down on your man once and awhile. He needs to release tension.

It's like when Gandalf talks to Frodo

It's like when Gandalf talks to Frodo

Finn finds Blaine punching a boxing bag and admits he felt threatened by Blaine and apologizes for having been rude. How was it this easy for Finn to apologize to Blaine but  not Santana…or Rachel…or Quinn? Hmm…

WMHS has a Kanye West club. Probably founded by Kanye West.

WMHS has a Kanye West club. Probably founded by Kanye West.

In the hallway, Sam tries to hold Mercedes’ hand, but she tells him that she is in a relationship with Warren Sapp. Sam is hurt but promises to fight to win her back.  If Sam and Mercedes had been seen together, more than just that one moment where they held hands in the last episode of season 2, this scene might have carried some weight.

OK, so Mike has put aside his dancing dream to enroll in a pre-med program as his father wishes. Tina is aghast and goes directly to Mike’s dad to plead for his son’s dancing future. Tina even says, “You’re always talking about honor, Mr. Chang,” (HA!HA!HA!). Oh, now I understand what this is about. Mr. Change is worried that his son may fail as a dancer, thereby dishonoring his entire family. And the only way to amend that great shame will be for the entire Chang family to commit seppuku.

Anyway, Mike’s dad shows up in the audience at Sectionals and then gives his son permission to pursue dancing. And this important storyline, that took up maybe eight whole minutes of this season, is finally resolved.

Yes, it’s Sectionals time! The first group to perform is the Unitards, led by—

AAAAHHHH!!!!!!

There’s some backstage drama I care too little about to write up.  The Troubetones present a mash-up of “Survivor” and “I Will Survive”.

New Directions goes Jackson with “ABC” followed by a Janet Jackson song that isn’t “Straight Up” followed by a Michal Jackson song that isn’t “Bad”. Third place for sure.

New Directions win.

The Troubeltone ladies feel the defeat even though we knew both groups were going to merge for the next competition anyway. They wanted to show Will that he was wrong to always favor Rachel and Blaine. Life has shown Will he was wrong on so many things, but maybe not this. Quinn approaches the girls in the bathroom. “Don’t you dare try and give us a pep talk,” says Santana. She is not in the mood for another one. Finn was just in here lecturing them and it was 40 minutes before he would leave. Girls couldn’t use the bathroom.

But Quinn just wants to present an offer: the New Directions members will let the the Troubletones crew sing lead on at least one song at the next Glee Clubs Battle Royale. Sweet.

Most of the conflicts that have been half-assedly brewing all season sort of resolve themselves in the final scenes. The split in the glee club is mended. Finn, Blaine, and Sam are hetero butt buddies. Mike can dance his heart out. Quinn no longer wants to get Shelby in trouble, and is kind of nice to Rachel. Quinn even plans to apply to Yale, which will put her, Rachel and Kurt in the same area next year. I smell a spin-off! And Santana and Brittany hold hands, which is the most this show is ever going to give you lesbians viewers. Lap it up.

The episodes ends with the reunited glee club singing the song in this video. This season, Glee has been pretty generous with the amount of performances they make available on Youtube. So I am going to embed them and keep on doing so until every video is pulled after Fox sends themselves a cease-and-desist letter.

Grade: B-

Average episode. It wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t good either. It’s one of those episodes with so many songs that there wasn’t room for much of a story, even though the writers wanted to give us a lot of stories.

Best Song:

“I Will Surive” – Gloria Gaynor + “Survivor” – Destiny’s Child. Performed by the Troubletones

Kurt’s Best Outfit: