To further prove he could let loose, Will decided to join the New Directions gang for their cover of “Toxic” at the homecoming assembly. Dressed like they were performing in a Bob Fosse stage production of A Clockwork Orange, the kids pulled off a highly sexualized and really fun performance, although Emma saw Will in a different light: “You look like a cast member of Kids Incorporated.” I don't think we should expect New Directions to get invited to any more assembly performances in the near future -- not after "Toxic" ended in a ended in a sexual riot (thanks to Sue pulling the fire alarm), and of course, last season's controversial “Push It” -- but I liked this cover, especially getting to see Matthew Morrison sing and dance with the rest of the cast.
The other major relationship storyline was Finn (Cory Monteith) and Rachel (Lea Michele) dealing with their new relationship, and each one wanting to control the other. Eh. Not so exciting, though I did like Finn referencing Rachel’s “reindeer sweaters” and Santana saying that Rachel’s schoolgirl outfit looked like she was about to appease a fetish for a Japanese businessman.
There was so little Jane Lynch/Sue Sylvester in this episode! But she still had a few wonderful moments of vitriolic lunacy (To Will: “Seriously, you wear more vests than the cast of Blossom.”) Mentions of Blossom AND Kids Incorporated in one episode!? Hell yeah. As for Stamos, he seemed to be channeling ER-era Clooney in his scrubs -- or was he channeling ER-era Stamos? -- but either way, he felt a little underused tonight. I suspect he'll have more to do in the coming weeks.
And then there were the brief appearances from Ms. Spears herself, which I must say were handled well and with a nice level of restraint. I especially liked the school hallway scene where she endorsed ranch dressing on pizza while talking to Tina and Brittany. Now that felt authentic.
Here are some other burning questions from the episode…
- Was Mike Chang wearing a vinyl shirt in the final scene?
- Where was Lisa Rinna—I mean—Sam (Chord Overstreet)?
- Is it me or does Rachel look like she went on a shopping spree for polka dot dresses at Anthropologie?
“I’m a Slave 4 U”
The first big Britney number was a hodgepodge of iconic Spears looks through the years, including the “Slave” snake ensemble and the "Toxic" bejeweled bodysuit. As I said, Morris is not the strongest singer, but her recreation of Spears' dance moves, especially when she broke it down with some elementary school-aged dancers, was pretty terrific. B
“Me Against the Music”
Watching Santana and Brittany continue their Sapphic flirtation was enjoyable, as was the full-force choreography. Bonus points for the Britney cameo at the end. B+
"Baby One More Time"
An amusingly faithful recreation of the original, iconic music video, and it actually made me giggle. This was a performance that I would watch more than just one time. A-
Kevin McHale has been getting some major solos so far this season, and I approve. He has such a great, soulful voice. This was probably my favorite performance of the night. A
My runner-up for best musical number. Seeing the gang tackle a more stripped-down version of Spears' uptempo hit was a sure thing, but having Matthew Morrison join in only made it better. Also, bowler hats always make everything cooler. A-
“The Only Exception”
After being slightly bored by the Finn/Rachel storyline, I gotta say that this song gave the episode a nice, emotional capper. B+
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