Tuesday’s (April 20) all-Madonna episode of “Glee” imparted an important lesson: Even the almighty Material Girl can be upstaged by the power of Sue Sylvester. From her shot-for-shot remake of Madonna’s “Vogue” music video to her extra-acerbic insults of Will Schuester’s hair, the Cheerios coach was just on.
At most high schools, Madonna songs blaring at high volume over the loudspeaker would prove to be a bit distracting. Then again, most schools aren’t William McKinley High, where Sue blackmailed Principal Figgins into playing her idol’s music full blast to inspire the students to be more independent and powerful. (This also, conveniently, allowed as many Madonna songs as possible to be squeezed into the 44-minute episode.)
Sue had her Cheerios harness Madge’s power by encouraging them to troll the middle school for younger boyfriends and abandon their last names. She also choreographed a routine to “Ray of Light” involving stilts (not creepy — in fact, amazing) and hurled her greatest one-liner yet: “Sloppy freak-show babies. Somewhere in the English countryside in a stately manor home, Madonna is weeping.”
Following Sue’s lead, Will made New Directions brainstorm Madonna numbers in an attempt to empower the female glee clubbers and discourage the guys’ misogynistic tendencies. This brilliant idea struck him when he overheard Rachel asking the female gleeks for hypothetical romantic advice after her new boyfriend tried to get her to do it after a Wiggles concert. (Remember, Rachel and Vocal Adrenaline’s Jesse St. James are secretly dating.) Unfortunately, guidance counselor Emma was no help. As we learned last week, she’s a virgin, too, but she did have some pretty hilarious sex-education brochures.
After Rachel’s girl-power-y “Express Yourself,” her duet with Finn on the “Borderline/ Open Your Heart” mash-up, and a clandestine meeting with Jesse in the Stephen Sondheim biography section of the library, where he apologized for pressuring her, she decided she would have sex with Jesse after all. But Rachel wasn’t the only character contemplating losing her virginity: Emma took to heart Sue’s quip that she wasn’t powerful enough to have Madonna piped into her office and told Will it was on. Foreplay would start at 7:30 sharp. And Santana decided Finn was the younger, inferior man she needed in order to emulate Madonna.
The resulting (and inevitable) “Like a Virgin” extravaganza followed the three couples on their sexual adventures and was perhaps the best “Glee” number yet, as far as integrating the song and choreography into the plot and allowing multiple characters to sing solos. All six shared vocal duties — even Santana! And she sounded great.
Still, it turns out that not all the couples went through with the deed. Although she told Finn the next day that she did it, Rachel didn’t actually leave the bathroom, even as Jesse implored her to “Just come out so we can talk. Or sing about it.” Jesse’s solution: transferring to McKinley to prove how much he respected Rachel. Finn, on the other hand, lied and said he didn’t do it when he actually did. Emma chickened out and ran home barefoot. She and Will decided Monday that they’d readdress their sexual chemistry after his divorce was official and she got help for her OCD.
Kurt and Mercedes made the Sue Sylvester “Vogue” video as a multimedia presentation for their New Directions Madonna song (it’s almost indescribably amazing), and they were rewarded for their hard work in the form of positions as the Cheerios’ new lead singers, roles they debuted with a cover of the Madonna/ Justin Timberlake duet “4 Minutes.” Closing out the episode was a take on “What It Feels Like for a Girl” from the boys and a show-stopping “Like a Prayer,” complete with gospel choir, from the whole gang.
Did the all-Madonna episode live up to its hype? Sound off in the comments!