'Glee' recap: Don't feel guilty about finding pleasure in this one

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Since this week's "Glee" episode is "Guilty Pleasures," I feel that I should begin by admitting a guilty pleasure of my own: I liked this episode. I mean, I really liked it a lot. So if you were planning to read this with the intent of mocking "Glee" (something that usually would be fair), you may be disappointed.

Sorry. This was just too fun to hate. Way to live your theme, "Glee"!


Ohio story

The guilty pleasures begin with Blaine ( Darren Criss) indulging in his private pleasure, Sam ( Chord Overstreet). It seems that the blond bombshell has been stealing macaroni for the purpose of creating detailed images of Emma Stone, LeAnn Rimes, Ralph Macchio, the guys from "Duck Dynasty" and Kurt.

Naturally.

These incredible works of pasta art inspire the boys to take over the glee club (Will is sick. Finn is roaming the country, defending the honor of scorned ladies.) and assign everyone the task of singing their guilty pleasure songs.

"Please be songs about sweaters." -- Brittany

And then WHAM! happens. Yes, WHAM! must always be capitalized and followed by an exclamation point. That's pretty much the point of WHAM! If any of you youngsters don't understand this, I urge you to go check out early-'80s George Michael and that other guy to see for yourself.

It's beautiful in its own cheesy, '80s way.

Before we can delve any deeper into the bottomless pit of lovable bad songs, "Glee" has to take a moment to redeem Kitty ( Becca Tobin). She has been pretty awful lately, even for the token bad girl. Fortunately, the show decides that redemption must come through a special "Fondue for Two" episode about guilty pleasures.

"We all know that blondes have magic powers, like doing splits or turning Swedish." -- Brittany

It turns out that Kitty's biggest guilty pleasure is the Spice Girls. Immediately, she is everyone's best friend because seriously -- who doesn't like the Spice Girls?

Since it appears that Sam is nothing but a lover of guilty pleasures, we soon find out his dark, horrible secret: Sam loves Barry Manilow.

"I also believe he's under-appreciated, has amazing hair and has done a helluva lot of good for the world through his light-rock talents." -- Sam

We can mock this particular guilty pleasure because, well, it's Barry Manilow. Mockery is always fair game. On the other hand, Sam's love inspires a non-ironic performance of "Copacabana." Which is one of the best bad songs ever sung. Also, if you ever want to kill it at karaoke night, even though you can't carry a tune, sing this song. Trust me on this.

Alas, Sam didn't sing the final verse. Boo!!!

"Her name is Lola / She was a showgirl / But that was 30 years ago when they used to have a show / Now it's a disco / But not for Lola / Still in that dress she used to wear, faded feather in her hair / She sits there so refined / And drinks herself half-blind / She lost her youth and she lost her Tony, now she's lost her mind!"

You're welcome.

Next up, Blaine sings Phil Collins in response to Sam's exhortation to tell the truth. Unless Blaine's guilty pleasure is a grand piano, this is a very roundabout way of admitting a guilty pleasure. I mean, isn't Collins recognized as a song-writing luminary? I mean, are there really people going around making jokes about Phil Collins?

Ah, but Blaine is just covering for the fact that he's totally crushing on Sam. Sam, strangely, has

Speaking of things that no one should ever feel guilty about liking, the next musical act is "Wannabe" by the Spice Girls. Sure, it was cool to hate the group in 1998, but surely we've evolved beyond that and can now embrace the insane awesomeness of the Spice Girls now?

The drummer has not, however, embraced this philosophy.

glee-guilty-pleasures-spice-girls-wannabe-drummer-fox.gifAnd then there's Jake singing Bobby Brown's "My Prerogative." Aside from the fact that this may be one of the better single performances all season on "Glee" (that Jacob Artist can dance!), I have three major issues here:

1) Jake makes an excellent point about separating music from the singer. Chris Brown is a horrible, horrible person. I personally hate him with a fiery passion. But if we were to base our interest in music on the personal attributes of the performer, it would be a rather bleak soundscape out there. Everyone hating Jake for pointing this out is just kind of icky.

2) Bobby Brown is definitely as reprehensible a person as Chris Brown. At least someone did point this out.

3) As someone named Brown, I very much resent the idea that one Brown can be substituted for another.

Oh well. At least we get a "Small Wonder" reference out of all of this.


New York story

The important thing to know about the New Yorkers in "Guilty Pleasures" is that Kurt ( Chris Colfer) has a boyfriend arm named Bruce. Sure there are issues with Brody ( Dean Geyer), and Santana ( Naya Rivera) has some arguments with Rachel ( Lea Michele) as they negotiate their tricky friendship.

But Bruce. Bruce is the main story here.

Of course, Rachel has to find out about Brody -- and about Finn, her knight in slightly tarnished armor. She confronts Brody about his being a gigolo, and they argue a bit. Rachel manages to find a way to take some of the guilt in this on herself. Then they sing Radiohead. As you do.

At least "Creep" gives Rachel enough closure that she can go back to the Apartment of Boyfriend Arms where she can watch "The Facts of Life" reruns and "Mamma Mia" with her roomies.

Meanwhile, back in Ohio, they have better costumes for the ABBA-fest. Not that boyfriend-arms aren't incredible costumes. And everybody gets hula hoops!


So what do you think? Is this episode of "Glee" a guilty pleasure or just guilty?

Photo/Video credit: FOX