"Turn around bright eyes!"

So ends my favorite Glee episode of the season so far. Man, how talented is Lea Michelle? They can pretty much throw her anything safe in the knowledge she'll knock it out of the park. Apparently she's been singing pro for a long, long time. It was only a matter of time before someone on Glee belted out "Total Eclipse of the Heart" and I'm glad it was her. But that's one piece of the many praises I'm throwing out this week.


Yes, this episode succeeded and the praise clearly falls on me and all the grumbling I've been doing. I'm pretty sure the writers took my criticism to heart, produced "Bad Reputation" within a week and tailored it solely to please me by including:

1. More of my #1 doe-eyed tv crush, Jayma Mays
2. More Artie
3. Less songs and sillier songs
4. More much-needed story
5. One consistent tone

Ok, I don't actually think that but I do have a lot more gushing to do after the jump. What are you waiting for, ladyface?

So I guess we can clear Will Schuester of all serial killer charges. Emma is alive and so is that coach from Vocal Adrenaline, Terrie, and Kirsten Chenowith. That trail of tail finally caught up to everyone's favorite choir leader this week when Sue Sylvester clued Emma into what we already knew: Mr. Schuester's been a little liberal with who he takes as a bed-buddy. And Emma stood up for herself and decided to wash that man out of her hair (obessively, 10 times).

Meanwhile, someone has published a Glee Club hot-or-not list - or "glist," if you will (I'd rather not) - and everyone's worked into tizzy. Kurt, Artie, Mercedes and co. decide to rectify being left off the list in a surefire plan to prove their badassery once and for all: perform "U Can't Touch This" in the school library. I wasn't so sure this would fail in the Glee universe - or gluniverse, if you will - a universe where singing Christina Aguilara's "Beautiful" at a pep-rally incites a school-wide rejection of body issues. But it did fail. Hysterically. I guess we all learned an important lesson today, guys: invoking MC Hammer will cause your storyline to be ignored for the rest of the night. 'Til the next "very special episode," guys!

Rachel, with a sorry -5 on the Glee Club list-of-who-is-hot-and-who-is-less-so, tries to bump up her own score through a sexy video I initially figured would skankify her wholesome image through leather clothing and bird imagery. I'm delighted that she chose David Geddes' mortal hit "Run, Joey, Run" instead. I don't know how the fuck that video was supposed to up her sexy cred or even what all the dudes were getting upset about (so all three of them got shot. So what? Didn't they run into each other on set?). Alls I know is that was funny and really fitting for that character. I would have also accepted "Me & Bobby McGee" or Stories' "Brother Louie."

Ironically, Glee's breakout character, Sue Sylvester, had the dud-iest week. I love that we see more of her sister because, let's face it, their relationship is really sweet (if a little out of character for someone who exploits the weaknesses of everyone else). But why would she be embarrassed by that "Physical" video? Didn't Mercedes and Kurt help produce a very similar video two weeks ago to raise her self-confidence or something? Are we, the audience, still supposed to be laughing at Sue dancing and singing? It's pretty clear now that Jane Lynch can cut a rug like a motherfucker. I can't be alone in thinking the Olivia Newton-John "Physical" re-do was completely redundant and unnecessary. You can't just stick Sue Sylvester into a pop culture reference and make it funny, Glee producers. Please put a little more thought into how you use this gem of a character and save that trick for Seth Macfarlane.

BUT, like I said in my list, thank God for the consistent tone this week. For once we weren't veering from one mood to the other. This was one of the first episodes where Glee seemed truly comfortable in its own campy skin and it sustained the fun, letting the melodrama move things ahead rather than derail them. That this episode was built around songs with a bad reputation was a stroke of genius. I was pretty excited to see what songs this show could possibly think of as guilty pleasures. Though the choices weren't that inspired (basically goofy songs that got overexposed) I refuse to argue with Will Schuester performing "Ice Ice Baby." I'm damn sure nobody "paroled" that song tonight, but it was fun to see Schu bringing that "Single Ladies / SexyBack" flavor again. Wasn't it?

Stray notes and quotes:
Hey look, Molly Shannon as Brenda Castle: astronomy teacher, badminton coach and pill addict! Is she gonna be a regular now?
Hey look, Ken Tanaka! Also still alive.
I'm glad Olivia Newton-John got a chance to sit in a limo and list her career achievements but I couldn't stop thinking about what the surgeons did with her old face when they took it off.
Sue Sylvester became an unwitting YouTube star this week, as did John Goodman on Treme. That's one degree of separation, folks.
Sue once made a list of the high school's "10 ugliest gingers."
People flush Artie's glasses down the toilet.
"Gettin' your glee on" is apparently now a sex euphemism. Let' kill that in the cradle.
"I'm gonna stop you. You had me at sex tape."
"I can't remember how to leave."
"Do I get to kill you?" "Actually my dad shoots me with a shotgun."
"Don't start with me, Castle. I'll kick you square in the taco."
"Turn around bright eyeeeees"