Glee Review/Recap Season 4 Episode 15 ‘Girls (And Boys) On Film’: Factloose

GLEE You're All the World to Me

It’s ironic that Glee posed its Girls (And Boys) On Film episode as “event TV” by virtue of hosting its 500th song performance. First, the song Shout wasn’t necessarily the 500th anything, given Glee’s glaring inconsistencies in designating what constitutes a song, or a performance. (See my blog post on Glee’s first 300 songs list being a hot mess.)

Second, the plethora of songs (10, counting two pairs in mash-ups) serving a thin movie-music theme rarely had anything to do with the actual story and characters, but felt stitched on — thus, inconsequential.

That’s not counting the night’s best numbers: Come What May from Moulin Rouge in a lovingly rendered Kurt daydream; In Your Eyes from Say Anything to set up Will’s oddly joyful declaration of love beneath the window of a woman who just ditched him at the altar; and You’re All the World To Me, scoring Glee’s bold, beautiful  and lavishly realized reworking of Fred Astaire’s gravity-defying dance on a rotating set with stationary camera for 1951’s Royal Wedding, here with Will and Emma in a dream duet. (Nice episode for Matt Morrison and Jayma Mays, btw.)

But the glee clubbers’ two mashups and one finale were snoozers overly relying on ’80s sounds, from Old Time Rock and Roll/Danger Zone via Risky Business and Top Gun to Diamonds Are A Girl’s Best Friend/Material Girl from Gentlemen Prefer Blondes and a Madonna music video patterned after said film.

Worse, Footloose’s boisterous but cornball title tune made it two songs from Kenny Loggins (after Danger Zone), while film history bursts with better music. It made me wish Glee had searched farther, as with Tina’s suggestion of Carly Simon’s Oscar-winning Let the River Run from Working Girl. (Brilliant!) Hey, it wouldn’t have been any more off-topic for plot than most of these numbers.

Yet forget the music and let’s look at that plot.

To wit, what’s that sitting over there? I mean, on the 80th anniversary of King Kong’s premiere, what’s that 800-pound ape sitting in the middle of the room?

It’s called the Rachel pregnancy ploy, and tonight Glee slapped me and millions in the face by dragging out the wrenching uncertainty over her supposed pregnancy for another week — after leaving us with it three weeks ago as a cliffhanger. Come on! Lay your cards on the table where they belong and quit yanking your audience’s chain.

My own belief is that she’s not pregnant but is simply upset about what she’s become — a girl who sleeps with two guys in short order and could get pregnant, yet wouldn’t even know who the daddy is. That’s worth a cry — and that’s why I think Rachel’s crying, NOT that she’s an expectant mama. And if she’s put on some weight, it’s because she’s eating more to bury her sorrows.

I also don’t think Brody is a drug dealer, despite new roomie Santana’s adamant theorizing. (Is she back in fine feisty form or what?) I think Brody’s a gigolo. But I suppose we’ll have to wait another week — at least — for that answer, too. (Well, Glee is a large ensemble with a lot of tales to tell.)

I am glad of some plot points, though.

I’m glad Finn explained his kiss of Emma better to Will than he did to Rachel — that Emma was quite seriously freaking out and it was only by kissing her (would you rather he slapped her?) that she’d calm down — which she did. Not that this explanation did any good, as we see from next week’s previews for Feud, in which Finn and Will butt heads.

I’m also glad things moved along regarding the Marley-Jake-Ryder triangle, with it now becoming a twosome, sans Jake. It was inevitable but needed to happen. The lads’ duet for Unchained Melody was nice though — despite feeding this episode’s over-reliance on often perplexing dream, daydream or fantasy scenes.

That brings me to a complaint about these “movie” songs. Unchained Melody was a 1965 hit for the Righteous Brothers and wasn’t “from” 1990 film Ghost. Shout was a 1959 hit for the Isley Brothers before used in 1978’s National Lampoon’s Animal House. Old Time Rock and Roll was a 1978 hit for Bob Seger before being borrowed for 1983’s Risky Business. And In Your Eyes was a 1986 hit for Peter Gabriel before appearing in 1989’s Say Anything.

So you see? Again, Glee plays loose with definitions, from its questionable roster of 500 song performances to its celebration of movie songs which weren’t really from movies.

But hey, Glee creators: Reassure us that your series’ pivotal character won’t be sidetracked from her endgame dreams of being a Broadway star, and all is forgiven.

Of course, you didn’t do that, did you? Instead, you gave us two songs by Kenny Loggins.

Guess we’ll have to wait till next week for that 800-pound gorilla in the room to be properly acknowledged. Until then, at least we can contemplate great movie songs — true movie songs — which somehow just weren’t great enough for this episode.

Moon River. The Way We Were. Evergreen. Fame. For All We Know. Up Where We Belong. My Heart Will Go On.

Hey, like the characters on Glee, I can dream, can’t I?

— Bruce Westbrook

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