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Glee this week was “Guilty Pleasures,” an episode all about the embarrassing music that everybody secretly loves. The theme also extended to explore some more deep-seated personal shame for some of our favorite characters, including Jake, Kurt and, unrelatedly, Blaine. You can read our full recap below.

This episode opens on Blaine attempting to slip his good buddy Sam some cash-dollas, coyly telling Sam not to make a big deal, but that he wants to help him and his family. Sam is totally confused by the gesture, and it turns out that, the day before, Blaine spied Sam stealing bags of food from the school cafeteria, and Blaine – assuming this is to do with Sam’s family’s poverty – doesn’t want his friend getting into trouble, so he tries to give Sam fifty bucks to buy groceries. Realisation dawns on Sam’s face as he explains that Blaine got things wrong – that yes, Sam has been pilfering dried pasta, but that it isn’t for food, it’s for his macaroni art.

He makes Blaine swear to keep the lame hobby a secret, and shows him some of the incredibly realistic portraits that he’s created – Emma Stone, Ralph Macchio, even one of Kurt. Blaine thanks Sam for telling him the truth, and Sam asks Blaine to ‘fess up himself, about his own guilty pleasure: “Everybody’s got that one thing that they like, that they’re so ashamed of, that they refuse to admit it to anybody.” Blaine’s transfixed by Sam’s mouth as he talks, and it’s pretty obvious what Blaine likes and is ashamed of, but he weakly stutters out that he loves the band Wham!. They’re interrupted by Tina, who tells them that Schuester is out sick, and therefore not in the episode. Tina! For once you are the bringer of joy!

Upon hearing this from Tina, Sam sarcastically enquires, just out of curiosity, will Tina be going over to Schue’s house, straddle him while he’s passed out and rub ointment on his chest? Tina glares at him as Blaine tries – and fails – not to laugh. Man, I love that apparently everyone knows about the Vapo-Rape and calls it out as the creepy-ass shit it was, because, ew. Still. Ew. Tina tells the boys not to bother coming to glee club, as it will be cancelled, but Blaine looks at Sam and muses, “Not necessarily.”

Blaine and Sam call a glee club rehearsal. When everyone asks why they’re still meeting even though they are Schueless, Blaine – who comes from the Warblers, who don’t have a faculty advisor whatsoever – tries to instill some drive into the club, saying they can’t afford to miss a week of Regionals preparation. Sam announces the week’s assignment – guilty pleasures – and the rest of New Directions look at the enthusiastic duo blankly. Blaine chides them, saying everyone has some musical guilty pleasures, and when Ryder asks if Blaine really expects them to sing one of those songs for Regionals, Blaine says no, he doesn’t, but that he and Sam had a great conversation about their guilty pleasures which made them feel safe and liberated, and if the whole club experienced this together, they could become a more cohesive team. 

Sam nods along and asks if there’s anything anyone would like to share, but the club continues to stare doubtfully. “Guys, this is a great team-building exercise,” he insists, and actually, it kind of is – way better than most of the stuff Schuester dreams up when he’s off staring in the mirror oiling his hair – and I really hope that showing the students as competent leaders is Glee‘s way of hinting that we can get rid of Will, properly, really soon.

Jake, raising his eyebrows, challenges Blaine and Sam to put their money where their mouths are, but this week’s leaders are one step ahead – they strip off their hoodies to reveal Wham! “CHOOSE LIFE” shirts and begin to perform “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go.” Some of the other club members join in, and for a minute I get really excited because I think this is going to be a choir room group number, which they NEVER do these days – choir room is only for solos or team performances, they never do whole group numbers running around the choir room any more. Remember “Gold Digger”? “My Life Would Suck Without You”? “Forget You”? Choir room group numbers are my absolute faves and this starts out as one for a few seconds, but unfortunately it quickly shifts to a semi-fantasy auditorium performance, including sequences glowing under a black light with the whole club jitterbugging in fluoro t-shirts and shorts.

The next day or something, Brittany confronts Kitty about her mean behaviour, bluntly telling her that no one likes her and no one will work with her. Kitty says that she’s been trying to change, and Brittany offers to help her, inviting her to come on Fondue for Two and bare her soul. “So, Kitty. Everyone at school hates you, because you’re a two-faced lying slut who no one can trust,” Brittany states on-camera. Kitty nods, saying this is true, but that people keep telling her secrets anyway, which – yeah, why do they do that? I’m looking at you, Marley.

Brittany invites Kitty to play a little getting-to-know-you game in order for people to relate to Kitty more. They exchange some bizarre guilty pleasures – “Lord Tubbington’s guilty pleasure is Scientology” – and bond over their love of the terrible sequels in the Bring It On series. They reach a stalemate where Kitty will not admit her biggest guilty pleasure, and, too embarrassed, she whispers it in Britt’s ear, and looks traumatised.

Kurt, in an acting class at NYADA, inner monologues about how even his acting is an act, because in the exercise, which is meant to relate to secret memories and fears, he’s covering up his true day-to-day shame, over things like Richard Simmons work-out videos; but he reveals that his biggest guilty pleasure is his “boyfriend arm,” a pillow with a fake arm that hugs you in your sleep. “I ordered it one night while on Ambien,” he admits, as Glee steals from Chris Colfer’s life story once again, and goes on to say that if anyone ever found out – Adam, Blaine, even Rachel and Santana – it would destroy him.

Yeah, right now I don’t think Blaine’s too concerned about you right now, Kurt, as Sam comes to him in the locker room to admit that he’s been holding out on a deeper secret, something that he’s kept buried for as long as he can remember. He’s practically having an existential crisis. “Do you… have feelings for me?” Blaine asks, going into supportive mode while badly suppressing wild hope, as he wonders if Sam is coming out. Sam looks astounded but quickly realises that it had kind of sounded like that, and assures Blaine that no, that’s not it, it’s way worse.

His deep-seated sense of shame, the inner turmoil that he’s been hiding? “I like Barry Manilow,” he whispers to Blaine, who doesn’t quite catch it, and when Sam repeats it it’s a loud snap, which causes everyone around them to freeze and stare. Blaine apparently understands just how dire the situation is, telling Sam no, he can’t say that, he must shush immediately, but Sam poetically insists that Barry knows his soul, that he loves the stories in the songs and he just can’t help himself. Blaine tries to stay supportive and tells Sam that he should ‘come out’ about it to everyone, and that he won’t feel free until he does.

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  • Sofia Malik

    I think you’ve got the Mels mixed up :)

    • NatalieFisher

      God, I do, I must have been distracted. Fixed.

  • Vanj203

    Another brilliant, insightful recap, Natalie! Although you’re right that Brody’s real crime was his lying to Rachel, there are the health risks that he put himself and Rachel in by doing that kind of work. If I was Rachel, I’d get myself to the health clinic again pronto to be checked out for STDs. I’m totally with you on “Mamma Mia,” and Blam was so beautiful (sigh…) that I want it to go on forever, but you’re right about Klaine coming back again I’m sure (ugh). Darren on piano was so nice, and Sam doing “Copacabana” was fabulous. I’m a Fanilow forever!

    • NatalieFisher

      Good point about the health risks – pity Glee didn’t choose to focus on that.

    • Marie

      I seriously hope that girl gets STD tested. Now, I think the higher class prostitution circles (like it seems Brody was in) would probably wear condoms, but you never know.

  • http://twitter.com/CassiopeiaDrake Cassie Drake

    I don’t think we’ve ever seen Rachel wear jeans other than group performances. It was weird but nice to see her wearing normal clothes. Have you ever noticed that the girls never just wear jeans? Or even pants?? What is up with that?! When I was in HS, all we ever wore was jeans lol except for one or two girls. Or if we happened be in a flirty skirty mood lol my point is: jeans were more the norm lol

    • Linda

      Yet all the background girl students except the Cheerios always wear jeans as far as I can tell. Weird.

    • Kim

      She has actually worn jeans several time this season like while riding bike in the loft or before they went out to Callback etc. . She rarely wear tight skirts. She wear shorts and boots, Santana is the one who wears short skirts but no one care cause it is more fun to nitpick Rachel I guess, but lately Rachel has been wearing pants more often.

  • Janna

    Once again, great recap Natalie. I love how you write to us like we are speaking in person. Absolutely agree with your opinion that Glee should do more live performances when it seems natural for the plot. “Against All Odds” was great and probably one of my favorite Blaine performances all season.

    • NatalieFisher

      hahah! thank you for that comment re: talking in person. I guess I’d never thought about that, but it’s true!

    • Allison L.

      thats how I always read them!

  • Ariana

    I think the most shocking part of this episode is that I think I’m actually starting to like Kitty now. Sitting next to Sam, you could tell that halfway through the song she realized Blaine was def singing it about him. And when she shut down Tina, I was like, “yesthankyougodpleasebesilent.”

    • NatalieFisher

      ME TOO!

    • Marie

      I’m still terribly confused by her. She does seem more natural when she is being nice, but I’m just not sure why she’s nice sometimes and horrible at others. And in Feud when she said she was everyone’s friend, I don’t really understand how or why.

  • luna97831

    Love your recaps!!! Best part of the episode; Blaine’s hair in “Wake Me Up Before You Go”…

    • Stephanie

      I think it should stay that way.

      • NatalieFisher

        I love it, but I do like my Blaine/Darren disconnect. I would love to see Blaine go all out when he gets to college though, like feel all free and become this scruffy hipster and just stop caring what people think/making himself “safe” and “clean.” I think that would fit his story quite well.

    • NatalieFisher

      Yes, it was sweet. A bit weird in the Mamma Mia number though.

      • luna97831

        definitely… had no idea what they were going for with that one.

  • Mand1591

    I’d just like to bring up how perfect it is that there are only five girls in the glee club (I consider Unique as a girl) so that they could all be one of the spice girls…OH WAIT JUST KIDDING SUGARS DISAPPEARED AGAIN.

    And now they’re trying to push together Kitty and Artie even though I thought that Artie and Sugar were a thing, especially after the Sadie Hawkin’s episode. But I mean apparently Sugar’s disappeared so I guess maybe they’re not together then…

  • N_HarryPotter7

    Great recap, once again! These have been so helpful because I’ve had absolutely no time to watch the episodes for a while, so thanks for keeping me updated!

  • Marie

    Natalie, thank you for your thoughts on the Rachel/Brody thing. I actually did end up feeling worse for him in the end of it all. Even though lying to her was wrong, she was. . .horrible. And, you know, I sort of think her sleeping with Finn was actually worse, in a way, since she actually actively wanted to sleep with Finn, and there’s some emotional infidelity as well as physical.

    Also, I’d like to add this whole concept of Glee doing guilty pleasures didn’t really work for me, since the show Glee itself is a guilty pleasure, and 80% of the songs that these people sing are guilty pleasures. See: Justin Bieber, Carly Rae Jepson, Britney Spears, NSYNC/Backstreet Boys last week, etc. I don’t understand why these songs are supposedly more embarrassing (except Barry Manilow, possibly).

    • please

      She wasn’t horrible. She has been lied to once again by a boyfriend. Tell me you would take that news great. She was upset and she ended up taking most of the blame for the relationship.

      • Marie

        I understand the reaction, but her enjoying her ex beating up her current ex is horrible to me.

    • http://twitter.com/AntaraC Antara Chowdhury

      Guilty pleasures are things you feel guilty for enjoying, so maybe they don’t feel guilty for singing Britney Spears or Backstreet Boys, but for whatever reason they feel guilty for liking Spice Girls and Barry Manilow. But yeah, the concept of guilty pleasures didn’t really work for me either, but because I just don’t have any. I don’t feel guilty for being a fan of any of the music I listen to. I love listening to Justin Bieber, and I don’t feel any guilt or shame whatsoever. I think people should be able to enjoy what they want without worrying about what others think of them.

      • Marie

        I feel no shame either. :-p

        But also, I feel most “shame” for high schoolers would be the stuff that’s on the radio, right now, all the time.

  • Lily

    “Colin Craven, the non-threatening boy in The Secret Garden, was so possessive of his cousin Mary Lennox that he wouldn’t let her talk to any other guys and ended up marrying her.” um this never happened, have you ever read the secret garden?

    • kellygreen17

      Maybe that happened in one of the TV adaptations?? It definitely didn’t happen like
      that in the original book or the 93′ film version (one of my favorite movies as
      a kid).

      • NatalieFisher

        Sure, even if he does, the commentary I was making was more that the character is not non-threatening.

        • kellygreen17

          Fair enough :).

    • NatalieFisher

      Of course I have. It is heavily, heavily implied in the book, and the book contains rage-fits of Colin’s possessiveness. It also happens later a ‘sequel’ movie, which was apparently was licensed by Frances Hodgson Burnett’s estate – and this was before The Secret Garden entered the public domain, so it had to be licensed. But you know what? Even just the rage-fits of Colin in the original book and 1993 movie, which I assume is the one Rachel knows, are enough to make him the last thing from “non-threatening.”

  • http://twitter.com/TrueKlainer21 Klaine Is On Fire ♥

    I enjoed the many phases of Blaine’s hair :)

  • Ture

    Way too much Blaine and Blam. I am getting really tired of all the useless songs on the Mck side. Mama Mia had nothing to do with Mck it should have been the NYers for once.

  • http://twitter.com/acjub CK

    Finally getting to see Darrens hair! <3 I think he is my guilty pleasure.

  • http://twitter.com/sweetnsourgrl Brooklyn Spikes

    Here is the “Glee” Episode 18 Promo @ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AjTTz0Nfdrg

  • Cassie

    Remember when Sue had a kid with a famous dad? yeah, me neither.

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