Last night's episode of "Glee" was all about life lessons, and everybody learned one.
Some learned the adolescent female 'rite of passage' heartbreak of falling for a gay dude (Clay Aiken fans, am I right?), while others learned they should keep their boozy moms away from Josh Groban. But mostly, our gang learned that a little confidence can help you get your swagger back.
But don't worry. The show was still more snappy than sappy, with the usual great music and hilarious writing.
First, after a seed of discontent was planted by new members (three Cheerios), the glee club told Will his dance moves were not good enough to get them to regionals. So they cut him loose to pursue famed choreographer Dakota Stanley.
The wounded Will retreats to the teacher's lounge, where he meets up with visiting former glee club coach Sandy (allowed back at the school but not within 50 feet of children). Sandy's there to help welcome back a now-thumbless shop coach, and to take credit for the school having a shop program in the first place: "I told [Principal] Finnerty, you're going to have a school full of nancies unless you get some hot wood in those teenagers' hands."
The only upside to their sad little party is that the teachers discover they have harmony, so Will forms an all-male hip hop a cappella group called The Acafellas. Sandy is excluded because it's "creepy" with him in it.
The Acafellas are a hit, performing at open-mic nights and earning Will a little extra sack time ("once a week!") with his wife. Actually, he believes she's turned on by his newfound confidence, but she's really just trying to get pregnant for real.
Will ends up bringing Finn and Puck into the group. Finn needs to learn confidence (which is achieved when he finally learns how to swing his hips in time with the music) and Puck just wants to meet cougars who will sleep with him even though he has a bad credit score. Who knew Puck could sing...
Meanwhile, Cheerio coach Sue Sylvester has planted Cheerios inside the glee club to destroy them from the inside out. They report their first success (the dismissal of Will) back to Sylvester, who instructs them on destroying the glee members one by one by reminding them of the strategy she learned when she was in Special Forces, on the team that extracted Noriega from Panama: "We took out the shepherd, then we went after the sheep."
Sylvester, hellbent on destroying the glee club and restoring the full Cheerios budget, announces: "I need a fog machine."
The cheerleaders get to work on their glee-mates. They tell the lonely heart Mercedes that she should make a play for flamboyantly gay Kurt. She does. The two become fast friends, which she misinterprets as romance. Rachel and Tina try to warn her that she's barking up the wrong (gay) tree, but she thinks they're just jealous. Wedge inserted.
Later, at a benefit car wash to raise money for the glee club, Mercedes confronts Kurt about the status of their "relationship." He tells her she has it all wrong, that he loves someone else. He's looking at Finn, but Mercedes thinks he's looking at Rachel. Kurt pretends that yes, it's Rachel he likes. (Wait, Kurt really thinks people don't know he's gay!?? Okay, remember he's in high school and suspend disbelief.)
Mercedes feels wronged and she breaks out his car window so that she can sing "Bust Your Windows." Later in the show, Kurt confides to Mercedes that he's gay, but says he doesn't have the confidence to come out, not even to the glee kids.
Meanwhile, Rachel and Quinn have succeeded in getting Dakota Stanley to choreograph their dances, in spite of his $8,000 fee (with a $10,000 bonus if they place, and they will place). His first orders of business are distributing diet plans (the Mercedes diet consists of "coffee"), telling Rachel she needs a nose job, and cutting Artie:
"Artie, you're cut. You're not trying hard enough." "At what?" Artie asks. "At walking. We can't be wheeling you around during every number, it throws off the whole dynamic. And it's depressing."
Finn quits the club and starts to walk out when Rachel stops him. She tells Dakota that Barbra Streisand didn't get a nose job. Then Artie adds that Curtis Mayfield had more hits after he was in a wheelchair, and Finn intones Jim Abbott, the one-armed (really one-handed) pitcher for the NY Yankees who threw a no-hitter against the Cleveland Indians.
"So, misfits and cripples and spazheads can make it, too. What's your point?" Dakota counters. They fire him and ask Will to come back.
But Will has his eye on the big time, after learning from Sandy that his accidental MySpace friend Josh Groban will be in town and attending the PTA meeting at which Acafellas will be performing. And it just so happens that Groban is looking for a new opening act. Sandy promises a meeting with Groban if he's allowed into the group. He's in.
The Acafellas perform a rousing rendition of "Sex You Up" and sure enough, Josh Groban shows up backstage, looking "cute as a buttermilk biscuit." Groban announces he's in town to induct Run DMC into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and .... to issue Sandy a restraining order. Then, just so it's not a wasted trip, Groban works on seducing Will's drunk mom with his killer third-person come-on lines: "Throngs of screaming teenagers don't do it for Josh Groban. No, Josh Groban loves a blowsy alcoholic."
But that's okay. Everyone learned great lessons about being true to yourself and having lots of confidence and blah blah blah. Oh, and Victor Garber guest starred as Will's dad, who ended up enrolling in law school after realizing he wasn't too old to pursue his dream.
Not everyone came out of this happy, though. When the cheerleaders reported back to Sylvester that they had failed to take apart the glee club, the Cheerio coach was not amused.
"This is what we call a total disaster, ladies. I'm gonna ask you to smell your armpits. That's the smell of failure, and it's stinking up my office. I'm revoking your tanning privileges for the rest of the semester."
That's when the previously devious head cheerleader Quinn brings Sylvester down a notch: "You've taught me a valuable life lesson. When you really believe in yourself, you don't have to bring other people down."
Could Sue's Cheerios be turning sour?