Tonight, the Glee kids celebrate the music from that quintessential 70’s film, Saturday Night Fever. Expect lots of polyester, disco moves and sparkly glitter balls! Sue convinces Will the music will inspire the kids to figure out a clear direction for their post-Glee lives.
With graduation looming in the distance, Will and Sue hatch a plan to help the most unfocused members of New Directions figure out their futures. There is Finn, who has spent his senior year confused and lost. He’s vacillating between heading to LA with Puck to start a pool business or following Rachel to New York to conquer Broadway. In any case, neither dream is his. Santana wants to be famous, but how or why? She has no clue. And Mercedes wants to shine as a singing star, but doesn’t even know where to begin.
This plan, like most Glee plans, involves something crazy. In this case, Will and Sue believe a white suit and some disco dancing will solve the kids’ problems. The two invite New Directions to compete in a disco dance off. The kids hate disco, but the sweet prize of a custom made white suit modeled after the one worn by John Travolta in Saturday Night Fever (Not really—it’s Becky sewing away in Sue’s office) entice the swag loving Glee kids to enter the contest.
The only thing is—the results are rigged. Santana, Mercedes and Finn become the final 3 contestants (Finn is quite shocked to find himself winning a dance off). Through the process, the trio discover their dreams, with the help of their significant others.
Sounds wacky? It is! But the music-filled episode, with its retro costumes and feel-good dance numbers definitely has its charms. As with all things Glee, suspend belief, and you will be rewarded.
There is also a subplot involving a Vocal Adrenaline member played by Alex Newell of The Glee Project. Wade looks to Kurt and Mercedes for inspiration as he contemplates performing at the VA regionals competition in drag. As it turns out, Wade’s female persona “Unique” is more than an alter-ego, it’s who Wade really feels like inside. I’m pretty certain Wade/Unique is the first transgendered teen on network television. Kudos to Glee for handling the story line matter-of-factly, like here’s the deal? It’s no big deal. And can I say HOORAY for the return of Kurtcedes? It was just like old times on Glee last night.
There was very little Quinn Fabray In this episode. Search, and you’ll find her, but Dianna Agron was mostly missing in action. Maybe she was out most of the week for physical therapy. She’s got to be walking by nationals, you know.
Like the Michael Jackson tribute, I’m going to recap song by song this week.
You Should Be Dancing – Blaine, Mike and Brittany start the show off with this energetic number. Darren Criss is featured in several performances, but only utters one line: “We knew this year’s theme for nationals was “vintage” so we thought we needed something old but something with a lot of energy so we thought—disco.” Thanks for the exposition Blaine! Now shut up and dance! The trio seems to be the only members of Glee down with the disco as the rest of the group shouts “DISCO SUCKS” after Will reminisces about his own nationals win back in the day. Remember season 1 when the kids dry humped to Salt n Peppa at the school assembly instead of disco dancing to Le Chic? Good times.
Night Fever – Sue lends Will her very own plexi-glass lighted disco dance floor for Glee to dance upon. It’s modeled on the real thing used in Saturday Night Fever. In reality, the floor is the real deal used in the movie. The kids groan when Will reveals the class assignment is a tribute to “Saturday Night Fever”. Who cares if the album sold a bajillion copies? Their parents listened to it back in the stone ages. Puck brings the point home by wearing a “Disco Sucks” T shirt. Again, Blaine is the only one excited at the prospect of twirling his main squeeze around the dance floor. Tony Menero, the paint store worker from Brooklyn played by John Travolta follows his dreams and succeeds, explains Will. It’s YOUR story. Ultimately, it’s the promise of PRIZES, which entice the kids to follow Will and Sue out on to the dance floor to bust some Night Fever. Glee project winner, Samuel Larsen–who hasn’t had much to do since he was introduced in the Valentines episode–has a little solo. Teen Jesus has swag! Sue and Will dancing isn’t quite as fun as when they swing danced back in season 1, but still pretty hilarious. After the dance off, the winners are announced—Santana, Mercedes and Finn. What a coincidence! The three New Directions with NO direction.
Disco Inferno – Will admits to the 3 finalists that the true aim of the contest was to help them untangle their confused futures. Mercedes does NOT appreciate being played! Besides, she’s got a dream–she’s just not sure how to get there. But make no mistake—Mercedes is awesome, AWESOME as she burns down McKinley–metaphorically, of course–with the help of Brittany and Santana. Sam records Mercedes super-fabulous performance and uploads it to You Tube. The positive comments on the video, and Sam’s encouraging words, convinces Mercedes to take the plunge—to move out to Los Angeles to pursue her dreams of becoming the next Beyonce or Whitney Houston. They also share a kiss. Will this twosome finally be getting together? Amber Riley’s performance here is terrific. It gets my vote for best of the bunch.
If I Can’t Have You – This performance from Naya Rivera is lovely. She channels Yvonne Elliman beautifully, all the way down to her long silk headscarf. Santana explains that it’s not really a love song to gal pal Brittany but an ode to fame, which will always be her mistress. Will, who suggests law school (he has the crazy theory that the song is about Santana’s desire for marriage equality) is very disappointed. Not disappointed? Brittany, who decides to help out her lover. She uploads a sex tape edited with shots of Lord Tubbington doing household chores. Talk about viral video. I kept waiting for the punch line—but no—Brittany actually uploaded a sex tape. I’m assuming that Santana and Brittany are both 18 at this point, or somebody would be in a heap of trouble. Santana is beside herself when she finds out. When Brittany makes crazy suggestions—like storing poops in the trunk of her car to get on Hoarders—Santana begins to see that fame for the sake of fame isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Later, in Sue’s office, Santana reveals that she really wants to go to college. Well, it just-so-happens that Santana has been offered a full cheerleading scholarship to The University of Louisville. It was Brittany’s idea! She has a couple of those once in awhile. Santana says it may not be 100 percent the answer for her (No, I suspect moving to New York with Kurt, Rachel and Finn will be the key) but she’s grateful to have a girlfriend who believes in her.
How Deep Is Your Love – Lea Michele performs a sweet, poppy version of this song, an apology of sorts to Finn after they fought over boyfriend’s maybe-plans to move to California with Puck. Finn has already told Puck he’s not going to go, while encouraging his friend to strike out on his own. YOU CAN DO IT MAN. But I could barely concentrate on the performance however, because I was so enraged by Rachel’s decision to follow Finn wherever HIS dreams take HIM. Really Rachel? If Finn decided to stay in Lima and run Burt’s tire shop, you’d give up your dreams of New York City and Broadway stardom? Ugh. Rachel knows how special Finn is, even if he doesn’t. They head over to Emma’s office for a little joint counseling with Will. After the meeting, Finn takes the sheafs of college brochures he received and promptly chucks them in the closest wastebasket. Still as lost as ever. Will ushers Finn into a classroom to confront him with the information he tossed. Finn admits that he’s afraid Rachel and everyone else will find out he’s a total loser. Basically, Finn doesn’t want to leave the comfort of high school where he’s a winner (even if he endures a slushie to the face, or two) Of course…Will’s got an assignment for that! He pops a tape of Saturday Night Fever into the beta max or whatever, and orders Finn to watch John Travolta turn dreams into reality! “It’s not the broken dreams that break us,” says Will, “It’s the ones we didn’t dare to dream.”
Boogie Shoes – This week marks the debut of The Glee Project, runner-up, Alex Newell as Wade, the transgendered student from Vocal Adrenaline. Admittedly, I was not impressed with Alex’s drag act on The Glee Project, but here—vamping it up on stage to the tune of “Boogie Shoes” he’s just TERRIFIC. The performance is a total show stopper. Wade drops by McKinley to seek the advice of those trailblazers, Kurt and Mercedes whom he looks up to. Wade has created an alter-ego, Unique, who he’d like to spring on an unsuspecting audience at Vocal Adrenaline’s regional competition. Only problem is that VA’s director—the one and only Jesse St. James—is kind of a monster. Should he don a dress for his performance? The fantasy sequence of Wade approaching Kurt and Mercedes as Unique was a little confusing, because the character was presented as a superfly guy. But maybe that was the character from Kurt and Mercedes perspective? Although Kurt is gay, he obviously doesn’t know what it means to be trans, because he assumes that Unique is a boy. Later, after the duo show up at the competition to talk Wade out of his drag act (Sue, armed with super-wide platform shoes—hatched a plan for Kurt and Mercedes to encourage Wade to perform in drag resulting in a VA loss). But Wade is determined–he will take the stage as Unique. Kurt stresses that he’s worn flamboyant outfits on stage before, but he has never dressed as a girl. “That’s because you identify as a man,” explains Wade. Kurt gets it now. As Jesse fumes off stage, Unique takes the stage and brings the house down. You see, even Middle America loves them an awesome drag act. This is the truth. Here’s hoping Unique gets to strut her stuff at Nationals. And producers? More Kurtcedes please. Thanksmkay.
More Than a Woman – It’s a shipper paradise, ya’ll as the main glee couples, Finchel, Klaine, Brittany and Tike romantically twirl through this vintage ditty. I’m not going to lie. I rewound that performance more than a few times–so fun to see the couples dancing together. After, Finn sits Rachel down to have a talk. While watching Saturday Night Fever, Finn had an epiphany. He wants to be an actor. Well, that kinda came out of the blue, didn’t it? Finn never had the courage to say it out loud until John Travolta taught him how to follow his dream. Finn has decided that he wants to join Rachel and Kurt in New York and study at the school taught by the cool guy with the swear words. That would be James Lipton’s acting school (Heh, Cory and the Glee cast were recently interviewed by Lipton). And no, this is NOT Rachel’s dream…it’s his. Whew. Now Rachel isn’t going to have to content herself with Lima dinner theater married to an aimless Finn. As if. C’mon, how contradictory was the whole “I’ll ditch me dreams for you” deal to everything that Rachel has stood for? “I love you, Finn, but I’m only 18 and I have my life ahead of me,” would have been more like it. But it didn’t matter, because the Finchel angst has been finally wrapped up in a neat little bow, for now. Can we move on? Finn doesn’t care if he won the contest or not. He’s found the answer, and it’s to become a great man for Rachel, and to see himself as she sees him. Finn is finally dreaming big.
Staying Alive – After everybody decides their futures—Finn to study acting in New York, Santana to head off to college, and Mercedes to purse her diva dreams in Los Angeles—it’s time to find out who won the suit. And as usually happens in Glee, everyone wins, as Santana, Mercedes and Finn enter the room in their polyester suits. The three recreate the scene from Saturday Night Fever as they strut their way to the dance floor, where everyone–including Will and Sue–is wearing white and grooving to the disco beat.
Listen to Full Songs from Saturday Night Glee-ver
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- You Should Be Dancing – Blaine, Brittany, Mike
- Night Fever – Will, Sue, Joe, Blaine and New Directions
- Disco Inferno – Mercedes, Santana and Brittany
- If I Can’t Have You – Santana and New Directions
- How Deep Is Your Love – Rachel
- Boogie Shoes – Wade and Vocal Adrenaline
- More Than a Woman – Finn and New Directions
- Stayin’ Alive – Finn, Mercedes, Santana and New Directions
Boogie Shoes! Featuring Alex Newell
Sue convinces Will to assign Disco to the kids (SWAG)
You Should Be Dancing – Blaine, Mike, Brittany
Disco Inferno – Mercedes, Santana, Brittany
Behind The Glee – Saturday Night Glee-ver
Promo – Dance With Somebody – Episode 17