Glee, after surrendering its time slot to American Idol last week, returned with a lesson for all of us. The mission: sex ed. Gwyneth Paltrow's off-the-wall Holly Holliday returned as the health and wellness sub to guide the New Directions through the tricky waters. Even though regionals are but an episode away, sex ed is deemed more important after Brittany assumes the stork building a nest outside of her room means she's pregnant ("I don't need to go to a doctor. I just need to look outside my window!"). Holly persuades Mr. Schuester to educate the glee club as they are educated best: through song.
"Do You Wanna Touch Me (Oh Yeah)"
"It's just like hugging, only wetter," is how Holly describes sex. "Rule number one: every intimate encounter that you're going to have in your life is going to start with a touch." Cue the Joan Jett cover of Gary Glitter's naughty anthem. Holly can't quite muster Jett's vocal power, but she struts around in a leather ensemble and gets everyone — even holdouts Rachel and Quinn — to release their inhibitions and join her raucous rehearsal-room number.
After Sue tips off Blaine and Kurt ("sweet porcelain") to New Directions' sexy turn, Blaine decides the Warblers need to amp up their own sex appeal and enlist the ladies from their sister school, Crawford Country Day, for an opinion. The Warblers are the loosest they've been all season on the Neon Trees' song, and the schoolgirls eat it up. But Kurt and Blaine, two of the series' most reliable lead singers, are auto-tuned into oblivion, making the foam-filled number one of the Warblers' least successful.
There is a bright side: Kurt's embarrassing secondhand moves lead him to open up to Blaine, explaining his concerns over having "as much sex appeal as a baby penguin." In turn, Blaine consults Kurt's dad, who then conducts another completely perfect father/son conversation with Kurt, this time about sex: "When you're ready, I want you to use it as a way to connect to another person. Don't throw yourself around like you don't matter. Because you matter, Kurt."
Sexual tension between Schue and Holly peaks when he asks her to help on his tango version of "Kiss," like it did for him and Emma during "Touch-A Touch-A Touch Me." He expertly hits the falsetto notes; she's not half-bad herself, but we don't really feel the chemistry until they finish the number with a, yes, kiss (in front of the band students). Initially Holly doesn't buy into it: "You married your high school sweetheart and dated a virgin ... I'm damaged goods, which makes me good in bed, but I tend to break nice guys like you into Wasa crackers." But by the end of the episode, she's assigned to sub at another school and decides to give a relationship with Schue a go.
Brittany and Santana are having trouble articulating their relationship to one another, so Holly helps them through the Dixie Chicks' tender version of Stevie Nicks' "Landslide." Holly and Santana's voices blend sweetly, and Santana is reduced to tears. She later has an epiphany, telling Brittany: "I'm a bitch because I'm angry, because I have all of these feelings, feelings for you, that I'm afraid of dealing with, because I'm afraid of dealing with the consequences." When Brittany reveals she loves Santana, too — but won't break up with Artie — it's the most vulnerable Santana has ever been.
Emma's celibacy club has grown to quite the motley crew: Rachel and Quinn are again focusing on themselves, while Puck's plan to help Lauren launch a Kardashian-inspired career with a sex tape is thwarted by Holly ("My sex tape with J.D. Salinger was a disaster!"). They perform what Emma innocently deems the perfect celibacy anthem for the New Directions. John Stamos' return as Karl on vocals and drums is almost overshadowed by the awkwardness of it all, though the harmonies are in fine form. It's one of those Glee numbers that exists more as a plot point than a performance number.
In a counseling session led by Holly, Emma confesses to Karl that she may still have feelings for Will. Karl leaves her, and Holly promises, "I'll keep my lips sealed. Just like your legs!" Emma figures out her feelings, Rachel takes over the celibacy club — which now includes Lauren, Brittany, Artie and Santana — and Quinn and Finn offically-unofficially get back together.
Bottom Line: Glee continues its climb, delicately and successfully marrying actual sex lessons with camp and humor — precicely how our new favorite cast member, Holly Holliday, said it would work.
Next Week: It's regionals time — and time for the debut of Glee's original music.