In ‘Theatricality’, the ‘Glee’ kids learn to let their freak flags fly. This lesson comes courtesy of Mr. Schuester’s assignment for the week that they cover the songs of Lady Gaga. What a perfect fit. Once again, the show tackles the big issues of adolescence in a manner that could be preachy or heavy handed, but somehow manages to keep the overall tone light and entertaining.
The episode starts with Principal Figgins reprimanding Tina for dressing too much like a goth, a look he associates with vampires. He seems to have an irrational hang-up about vampires that will come back around later. When Will learns that Vocal Adrenaline has been practicing a Lady Gaga number, he assigns the same for his class, so as to teach them a thing or two about showmanship and expressing themselves. Kurt, of course, jumps into this assignment whole-hog, and drags Tina along with him. If the principal doesn’t like her goth look, he’ll give her a total Gaga makeover, complete with bubble dress. This leads to trouble with a pair of jock bullies, who are sick of the Glee weirdos expressing themselves too much already. Something tells me that they doth protest too much, and are suppressing some feelings of their own that they don’t want to admit to.
That’s just one of two makeovers that Kurt is working on this week. In the second, his father has asked Finn and his mother to move in. Kurt and Finn will be sharing a room, and so Kurt has begun the process of redecorating as ostentatiously as possible. Finn’s latent homophobic anxieties, dredged up by peer pressure from his jock jerkoff friends, come to the fore. He lashes out at Kurt and says some really hurtful things, which are overheard by Kurt’s dad, who comes charging in pissed and kicks Finn out. This is especially hard for the dad, who’d been bonding with Finn in recent weeks. When it comes down to it, his love for Kurt overrides everything else.
In class, the girls (and Kurt) are thrilled by the Gaga assignment. They perform a great, fully-costumed routine to “Bad Romance.” The boys, on the other hand, aren’t so crazy about it. They opt for the macho equivalent: KISS, of course. This results in a performance of “Shout It Loud” in full KISS regalia. Later, Puck also serenades Quinn and baby to “Beth.”
Meanwhile, Rachel finally recognizes that Shelby, the Vocal Adrenaline coach (Idina Menzel), is her birth mother when she hears Shelby belt out a sterling rendition of Streisand’s “Funny Girl.” (Menzel is an accomplished Broadway performer and has a phenomenal voice.) Rachel tries to connect, and winds up scaring Shelby away with her mommy issues. Although Shelby secretly engineered the reunion, she finds that she wasn’t really prepared to be a mother after all. They eventually have an amicable parting, but only after Rachel insists that they sing one duet together. In keeping with the Lady Gaga theme, they make it “Poker Face,” which they transform into a surprisingly emotional ballad. Still, it’s a weird song for a mother and daughter to sing to each other.
By episode’s end, Finn has come fully around, and defends Kurt from the bullies. “We’re all freaks together,” he announces. All is right with the world.
There’s no Sue at all this episode. And it’s been a while since we last saw Emma, hasn’t it? Brittany, who was strangely silent last episode, slips in a few good lines, though. There are only two more episodes left this season.