'Glee' Recap: Twerking Comes to McKinley - Rolling Stone
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‘Glee’ Recap: You Better Twerk

The Miley Cyrus-led dance craze takes over McKinley High

“The End of Twerk.” If only the title of this week’s Glee episode were true.

The booty poppin’ dance craze has actually been around for 20 years, but Miley Cyrus made it mainstream when she gyrated around Robin Thicke at this year’s MTV Video Music Awards, giving the green light to white people everywhere to make asses of themselves. Now all you hear about is twerk, twerk, twerk.

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So Glee jumped on the bandwagon and centered a show around the dance. (Sadly, Adam Lambert’s Starchild was nowhere to be found in this episode.)

A Twerk Fail Turns Into a ‘Twerktorial’
After Blaine embarrassingly gets caught twerking in the rehearsal room (white-boy no-no Number One), Mr. Schue sees it as a “revelation” – and a revolution. Some booty-shaking might be just what the glee club needs to win Nationals.

But when Marley admits she doesn’t know how to twerk, Mr. Schue is a little too excited to exclaim, “Have no fear, your twerktorial is here!” And with that, the motley crew of McKinley High kids are poppin’, squattin’ and grinding.

It doesn’t take long for principal Sue Sylvester to declare war on the “genital-flapping” that has brought “American culture to a new low” by banning it at school. While we say, sing it, sister, the glee clubbers and Mr. Schue are up in arms about her taking away their “God-given right.”

‘Blurred Lines’
“Twerking is about blurring the lines between past and present, men and women, tradition and envelope-pushing,” Mr. Schue claims in a rant that’s not weird at all for a 37-year-old man. “If Sue wants to draw a line in the sand, we’re gonna blur it and blow this debate wide open!”

Of course this is the perfect cue for Mr. Schue and the New Directions crew to sing and dance their way down the hall to Thicke’s “Blurred Lines.”

“You do realize that ‘Blurred Lines’ is a song about date rape, don’t you?” Sue says while reprimanding him for the musical outburst – and at least sorta addressing the real-life concerns of performing a song that has been called “kinda rapey” on a show set in a high school and aimed toward a younger demographic. But Mr. Schue just laughs at the notion, bringing up First Amendment rights and freedom of expression. (Another strange reaction from his character this season in regards to “coercive sexual advances,” like when he suspended Marley for standing up for herself in the last episode.)

He takes his case to the school board, who just so happens to conveniently hold its meeting in the auditorium so that the glee club can perform. 

‘The Great McKinley Bathroom-Gender Riot’
But it’s the plight of transgender teen Unique that forces a truce.

Unique struggles with which bathroom to use – boys or girls? – because neither gender wants her in their powder room. After an emotional rendition of Beyoncé‘s “If I Were a Boy,” Unique asks Sue for help. And she gets it – in the form of a bright purple Porta-Potty covered in question marks plopped in the middle of the rehearsal room.

But this is unacceptable, so Mr. Schue escorts Unique to the private faculty bathroom. “No one needs to know how you identify yourself, they just need to know you washed your hands after,” he says.

This makes Sue realize how “degrading” it must be for Unique, so she’s willing to make some changes – under the condition that all twerking stops. But Mr. Schue refuses. “That’s your red line?” she says in disbelief.

After trashing Sue’s office, Schue has a change of heart because “some things are more important than others.” Well, duh. So Unique gets a key to the private bathroom and twerking is officially laid to rest at McKinley. If only people in the real world could be so lucky.

‘Pull Down Your Pants’
Still, there are residual problems emanating from the twerk-fest. Namely, Bree rubbing all up on Jake after their fling.

When Marley doesn’t catch on, Bree takes matters into her own hands and flat-out admits to the hook-up: “We twerked all night long.”

Marley storms over to Jake and demands he pull down his pants so she can see if he really has a mole on his hip, like Bree says. Pants do not fall, yet Jake still admits his guilt by apologizing for the indiscretion. Busted.

In another questionable song choice, Marley sings Cyrus’ “Wrecking Ball,” with the lyrics: “I never meant to start a war / I just wanted you to let me in / And instead of using force / I guess I should’ve let you win.” Is she saying she should have given in to having sex when she didn’t want to?

Nah, no rape culture here at all.

‘It Gets Better’
Over in New York, we finally get the heartfelt Finn moment we’ve been waiting for.

Admitting she’s having a hard time dealing with his death, Rachel looks for a way to “feel alive” again, so she and Kurt get drunk and get tattoos. Only Rachel doesn’t actually go through with her “Streisand” ink, which is news to Kurt the next morning when he shows off his drunken statement: “It’s Get Better.” Yes, you read right.

Instead of making a “personal and political” statement evoking the online movement to combat bullying (particularly of gay youth), he’s now sporting an unintelligible sentence on his shoulder blade. He immediately gets it fixed – getting a life lesson from the rando tattoo artist on seizing the moment and a free tongue piercing in the process. Now he’ll forever have “It’s Got Bette Midler” to show off.

When Rachel sees it, she admits she didn’t go through with her tattoo because “I just don’t think there’s anything I would love enough that I would want to get on my body for the next 50 years.”

After Kurt leaves the room, she looks in the mirror – revealing a tiny tattoo on her rib cage that simply says “Finn.” 

Previous episode: Katy Perry or Lady Gaga?


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