Glee recap: Give Gwyneth the Emmy!

As a singing substitute teacher, the Oscar-winning guest star proves a genius addition to McKinley High's roster
Ep. 07 | Aired Nov 16, 2010

PURPLE, RAIN Substitute teacher Holly Holliday (Gwyneth Paltrow) performs a number with umbrella in hand.

Adam Rose/Fox

I am in love with Gwyneth Paltrow (somewhere my parents are shrieking with most likely an equal amount of shock and delight). She. Was. Ridic. Like soooo good. If Darren Criss is my new faux boyfriend, Gwyneth Paltrow is my new faux girlfriend. Yes, EW readers, I’m a faux bisexual bigamist when it comes to Glee.

Seriously, how good was Paltrow? Give the gal an Emmy now. I honestly would hold this TV guest stint up against some of her best performances ever. There was just something so easy and fun and loose about her portrayal of substitute teacher Holly Holliday. Someone needs to greenlight Gwynnie in a romantic comedy…and I’m not talking about Shallow Hal 2. All this AND Matthew Morrison had a shirtless scene! It’s like the producers projected my id on Fox. Who knew Rupert Murdoch and I would have such similar tastes?!? One of the best Glee episodes of this season…and maybe ever.

So monkey flu swept through McKinley High and took out both Figgins and Will (Looooved when Sue set up that girl to sneeze directly ON Figgins. Pure Sue.). So old Mr. Schuester was put out of commission but not before he hallucinated that the entire New Directions group was a bunch of adorable toddlers.

Enter Paltrow’s Holly Holliday, who had been substituting for Will’s Spanish class. (This scene showed off Paltrow’s Spanish-speaking skills, which came as no shock to fans of her PBS travel show with Mario Batali.) Holly’s big thing was that she wanted to make it fun for the kids to be at school and she wanted them to relate to her. So how better to spice up Spanish class than to have the kids discuss La Lohan’s rehab stints in a foreign language? Then, after Holly performed “Conjunction Junction” (my FAVE Schoolhouse Rock of all time!!) while subbing for his English class, genius Kurt decided to see if she would take over New Directions duties in Will’s absence. And thus Glee history was made…

Immediately, Paltrow had great chemistry with the rest of the cast as evidenced by the “Forget You” performance which I have now seen approximately 500 times. (More on the performances -- complete with letter grades -- at the end of this recap.) But who would ever have guessed we’d get a chance to see Gwyneth talk about smoking weed and going to Taco Bell (“Let’s go get some tacos!”)? That is the brilliance of this episode and her character. Another awesome moment? Holly totally taking down Rachel (“Rachel you suck!”). Despite that bluntness, she actually befriended the glee club diva in the end. In fact, EVERYONE loved Holly—even Sue. Well, at first she liked her. The pair bonded over their love of Hoarders (another stroke of genius).

With glee club under control, Will kept himself mostly at home and under the care of uber-beast Terri. Ugh. Me no likey. Terri has pretty much been MIA this season and I gotta say her return was not exactly thrilling for me. She’s just such an unlikable character.

NEXT: Let's get a storyline for Mercedes that doesn't revolve around her weight, shall we?

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