by Melissa Albert
The glee kids strip down in this week's episode, both figuratively and literally (but mostly literally). After the Warblers test positive for performance enhancing drugs, the New Directions are ready to re-compete for sectionals victory. The only way to raise bus money? Creating a Sexy Men of McKinley calendar!
But first, in the most surreal "Glee" sequence since Dentist Uncle Jesse gave the kids laughing gas, Marley appears on Brittany’s after-school talk show, "Fondue for Two." Among other, more interesting revelations (Marley is a pet psychic! Brittany’s cat has an online gambling addiction!), Marley admits that she's in love with Jake.
Planning to tell him, she lures him to the empty auditorium, where they sing Christina Perri’s "A Thousand Years." Then she turns to him and says, "I love...this song." Marley love LAMP. Marley love STAGE. Nope, she just can’t spit it out.
But back to the literal nakedness. Rachel’s cast in a pretentious student film that requires she go topless. She's so torn about this decision that she splits in two: sexy College Rachel vs. knee sock-wearing High School Rachel. To drive home the metaphor, the two Rachels duet on Natalie Imbruglia’s "Torn."
Empowered by Natalie, Rachel decides to give her chest warmers their film debut. Brody’s into it, eating breakfast in the buff to show his support. But Kurt’s against both the on-film nudity and taking his cereal with a side of peep show. He accuses Rachel of being a “slutty Barbie,” which doesn’t faze new Rachel but would’ve made the old one weep for three episodes. I guess there’s some benefit to being Barbie.
Meanwhile, Sam’s getting a little too into preparing for the sexy calendar, especially after learning that he got the lowest SAT score in the school. (Brittany got the highest, by using the dots on her Scantron to draw a clown and a penis. We knew those SAT creators were pervs!)
Deciding that his body is all he’s got, Sam throws himself into the meathead life, teaching a locker room centerfold course for the other dudes. In case you would like to complete Sam’s correspondence course in masculine hotness, the curriculum is as follows:
1. Bro yoga (broga)
3. Junk powdering
4. Singing a "Centerfold"/"Hot in Here" mash-up while being oiled by cheerleaders
Congratulations, you’ve just completed your Hotness training! Expect an achievement certificate in six to eight weeks.
But even the noble Hot Guy calendar has its enemies: Sue, who considers it pornography, is swiftly silenced by Finn, who tricks her into admitting on tape that she once posed for an extremely momentous Penthouse centerfold. But Artie’s objection is harder to argue with: He doesn’t want to show off his body, and he thinks posing nude will put all the focus on his wheelchair. Finn lets him off the hook, but in the end, Sam talks him into posing...clothed. It’s preferable to Joe’s April bunny costume.
Jake’s still smarting over Marley’s inability to say the L word, so he dedicates Ne-Yo’s "Let Me Love You" to her during glee, making her cry and activating everyone else’s gag reflex. Aw, Jarley is official.
Nude film star Rachel comes home to find Santana and Quinn waiting: they dropped their lives and bought last-minute tickets to New York, just to talk Rachel out of stripping for a crappy film project. As the survivor of a sex tape scandal, Santana’s got some authority on the matter, and when the time comes for Rachel to drop her robe on camera, she can’t do it. The girls then prance around victoriously, singing "Love Song," and it all feels a lot like a tampon commercial. “I think I could get used to it here in New York,” Santana says ominously. I smell a FOURTH ROOMMATE coming for Rach and the gang!
The calendar shoot goes well, but Sam’s still acting like a freaked out muscle geek, until Miss Pillsbury steps in to recommend scholarships and schools that don’t require good SATs. Because Sam is obviously the greatest, the glee club creates a video essay about his extreme awesomeness, noting such accomplishments as his Connery impersonation being the first in the nation.
Then, a full month late, the kids sing Ian Axel’s "This is the New Year." Because it’s never too late to completely reinvent yourself on "Glee."
Song of the episode: We might be hard on Rachel, but we didn’t realize how ready we were to hear “Torn” again before she sang it to us.
What did you think of last night's episode? Would you buy a Men of McKinley High calendar? Is Santana headed for the Big Apple? Will Marley and Jake last? Tell us all your thoughts in the comments and on Twitter!