'Glee' Pits Lady Gaga Against Barbra Streisand

Jeanne Sager
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Lea Michele GleeWhat could possibly be better than a new Glee episode? How about a 90-minute Glee complete with a Lady Gaga hit that seems to have been written with the New Directions in mind? PLUUUUUS double helpings of Barbra Streisand

Yes, the glitter and unicorns promised in the Born This Way episode of Glee arrived, and with all that fun stuff, Ryan Murphy and Co. STILL managed to pack in an after-school special's worth of love yourself platitudes befitting the song title and show alike. We forgive them the preachiness, because it came with a Barbra-vention. Behold:

Mr. Schue thinks the team is ready for nationals, but with the exception of Mike Chang, he's got a group full of singers with two left feet. But nobody can be as bad as Finn, whose flailing during practice sends Rachel straight to the doctor with a broken nose. And the good doc sets the tone of the night with an offer to get in there and fix her deviated septum while the schnoz is already inflamed.

After all, a nose job is "like a rite of passage for Jewish girls." So you know where this is going. An entire episode of teenage angst about not looking magazine perfect. But c'mon, that's what we come to Fox for on Tuesday nights, isn't it? To see a bunch of kids who are anything but perfect? And feel better about ourselves?

As Schue said himself, the Glee Club may be the perfect microcosm of high school. It's the one club represented by "just about every race, religion, sexual orientation and clique." But McKinley is also the high school of all our nightmares because, as Zizes Mrecedes puts it: "The thing that makes you different is the thing that people use to crush your spirit."

Santana has cleared up any questions about her sexuality, she's a lesbian, and she's in LOVE with Brittany (who, by the way, remains simply "bi-curious" and with her boyfriend, Artie). She serves up the best quote of the night with, "The only straight I am is straight up bitch." Naturally that means she's still scheming, and using her gaydar to do it. She wants to bring Kurt back to McKinley (under the misguided notion that it will win her adoration and the prom queen title), which she's doing by "dating" closet gay Karofsky so he'll be nice to Kurt. It's a tangled web, but work with me people, it brought Kurt Hummel back to Lima! And gave us our first bit of Barbra for the night -- "As If We Never Said Goodbye," sung by Chris Colfer. 

That would be enough to rate a show, but we still have Rachel and that nose job.The doctor sweetened the deal with claims that a little rhinoplasty could make her breathing better onstage, and she just got all the ammunition she needed to pass this off as "good for the team." And then she pulls in Quinn Fabray, who will basically be nice to anyone at this point if it gets her a vote for prom queen, to model the "perfect" nose in the doctor's office. Love for Babs aside, the ladies' mash-up of TLC's "Unpretty" and "I Feel Pretty" from West Side Story gets the vote for "needs to be added to my iPod tout suite."

Clue that something big is going to go on at Chez Fabray? When Rachel asks her what it's like to look so good, the former head Cheerio answers with a ready "I have a warped sense of the world." Say what? She gave up her baby, she got her figure back, what could be wrong with Queen Quinn?

Leave that to Lauren Zizes, whose pops went to college with G. Gordon Liddy and who isn't afraid to break into the school's offices to pull up dirt on the one woman who stands between her and a tiara on prom night. Turns out Zizes used to be a bit of a pageant girl, before she started gaining weight, and the world where beauty really is only skin deep turned on her. She wants to be queen.

And she might as well have found the goose that pops out golden eggs, because it turns out "the size two teenage dream" that is Quinn Fabray was once Lucy Q. Fabray, pizza-faced chubster with big nose and self esteem in the toilet. Sounding like something ripped from recent headlines, it turns out the Fabray fam allowed their daughter to get a nose job, start using Proactiv (product placement alert!) change her name, AND change schools to escape the taunting of being called Lucy Caboosey every day. Yeah, and you just tuned in for the music? Sucker!

Of course, you didn't do badly with the fun of Duck Sauce's "Barbra Streisand," in a Glee-style intervention that reminded Rachel she doesn't need to get a nose job to be the next Babs. She can be fab all by herself. And speaking of herself, don't you know these kids were BORN this way? Yes, we got Gaga, with Kurt back in his rightful place doing the honors.

Yes, it was a serious episode, full of deep dark things (Emma faced up to her OCD! Mr. Schue admitted he's got a butt chin!), but we always have Barbra . . . oh, and Gaga.

Which songs were your favorite? Did Gaga get the edge with the episode title or was Barbra shining for you?

 

Image via Fox

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