Glee – “The Power of Madonna” Review

Mark O. Estes April 21, 2010 9

Wow.

I am scared to even write this review, because A) I am still processing the greatness that was just bestowed upon me, which was better than dinner, and B) I feel that whatever word combinations I form for this review, they will not do any justice to one of the greatest hours of TV that I have EVER witnessed. So to sum it up, I am partially speechless and immediately want to watch the episode again. But I have a duty to you guys, and I shall deliver. So let’s begin.

First of all, Sue Sylvester. I bow to you. Her obsession with Madonna showed no boundaries whatsoever to the point that the school was forced to listen to the Material Girl’s hits through the school intercom. Well, except for Emma, who Sue dubbed unworthy of “the power of Madonna” due to Emma’s virginal inhibited nature, which is clearly what Madonna is not about. How did Sue manage to get Madonna’s songbook to be airtime before the morning announcements at school? Good ole fashioned blackmail, baby. I’m still trying to figure out how Principal Figgins could let Sue hang that photo over his head. She was in her coach’s uniform, for Christ’s Sake!!! But who cares? If it furthers the plot, the tomfoolery, and Sue’s one-liners, then I would let it ride to eternity. Sue is determined to make Madonna proud by having the Cheerios perform Madonna’s hits, but when she catches wind that Will has sort of copped her dream by having the glee club do something similiar, there is hell to pay.

Sue’s obsession with Madonna correlated with three topics this week; which were women empowerment, virginity, and being yourself, and who else but Madonna could be the perfect figure for such a theme. I know there are a list of people someone will probably name, but for Glee, let’s stick with Madonna shall we? We had the girls of the Glee club, who felt that the guys were not treating them right, a sentiment Quinn felt starts in high school and lives on to adulthood, with women making less than men do in the same job field. So Will Schuester, in his quest to understand the kids and himself, decided to have the glee club pick a Madonna song to that will empower the girls, and clue the guys in on respecting them. While Will worked on empowering the kids, he dealt with Emma’s issues of being a virgin. He didn’t pressure her, but after enduring that verbal beatdown from Sue, Emma eventually told Will that she is ready. Also, the co-captains of the glee club dealt with virginity, as well, with Rachel being tempted by the increasing presence of Jesse St. James (Jonathan Groff) and Finn being lead on by Santana, who needed a dumb, younger male to feel empowered as a woman. Blame Sue and Brittany for Santana’s reasoning, but at least she wasn’t dating a seven year old. *Eyes Brittany*. But despite all of the built up tension leading up to this monumental moment, only one “couple” did it, which can send ripples into the club later in the season. Who was that couple you ask? Finn and Santana were the deed doers, but when Rachel asks if Finn went through with it, he lied, because he didn’t feel anything with Santana, and possibly, because he didn’t want to hurt Rachel.

Meanwhile, Kurt and Mercedes came up with an idea to do a Madonna themed video project and after witnessing the hilarious battle of the hair putdowns between Sue and Will, the two Gleeks find their star in Sue, who later revealed that she tried to imitate Madonna’s platinum blond locks when she was young, burning most of her hair off in the process, hence her “jealousy” of Scheuster’s locks. Then she told a bold faced lie insinuating that she is 29 years old all under one breath. Sue, you are the epitome of cool.

The shocker at the end of the episode is a doozy as Jesse St. James transfers to McKiney High AND joins the glee club!!!!!!! Of course, the glee members were pissed, but Will accepted the dude with open arms! Is he upholding his “include all” mentality or is he blind with the possible success that having Jesse can bring to the club? Either way, Jesse is clearly spying for Vocal Adrenaline and hopefully Schuester sees it and soon…

The Songs

“Express Yourself” – The girls performed this while the guys watched in somewhat boredom, but I thoroughly enjoyed it. The vocals were divided between Rachel, Mercedes, and Quinn, and they all sounded great.

“Like A Virgin” – The perfect song to go with story lines of Finn, Emma, and Rachel, who are all about to lose their virginity to Santana, Will, and Jesse, respectively. The perfectly executed dance numbers probably got some staunch conservatives in a tizzy, but who cares? Plus, they really need to give Santana a solo. Stat.

“Vogue” – Epical, sheer genius. Do I really have to say more? If you thought you saw a Golden Globe or Emmy connecting with Jane Lynch’s head, then that was me. Sorry but she deserves one!!!!

“What It Feels Like For A Girl” – A little impromptu number from the guys!!! That was a shocker, but as soon as they finished, Puck voiced his discomfort with it. It didn’t tarnish the fact that they song a nice little riff of it though.

“Borderline/Open Your Heart Mash-Up” – This was sung by Rachel and Finn, and while it paled a bit to the other performances, I still think the mash-up did justice to their source material.

“4 minutes” – Mercedes and Kurt tore this song up and it was great to see them get their time in the spotlight for once and the respect they got from it. Well, the latter might have something to do with the fact that they are now CHEERIOS!!!!! You know Schuester was not happy about this, but what did he expect? Rachel, Finn and Quinn get most of the lead songs, so, it is sound reason why “culture” makers Kurt and Mercedes decided to dance with the devil (in this case, Sue) to achieve their own spot in the limelight.

“Like A Prayer” – The episode ended with the song that touches my heart whenever I hear it sung. Despite it being leaked on the net earlier this week, the Glee cast’s version of “Like A Prayer” sounded even better watching it being performed on TV. Everyone sounded exquisitely beautiful, especially when the choir is brought into the background. My ears, peripheral, and vocals felt as if they were flying along the voices of the cast. Beside the phenomenal “Vogue” send up, this was my second best performance tonight.

Special mention goes to Sue Sylvester having the Cheerios dance to Madonna’s ‘Ray of Light’ on stilts, mind you, and then telling them that it was “sloppy” afterwards. Mad respect, Sue. Mad respect.

Favorite Moments of the Night

- ‘Justify My Love’ playing during the Sue/Principal Figgins scenes. Two words: FREAKING. HILARIOUS!

- The Will vs. Sue Hair Smackdown that ended with this line from Will to Sue: “By the way, how’s the Florence Henderson thing working out for ya?” The stunned look on Sue’s face is classically epic and her freak out afterwards, a bonafide gut buster.

- ‘Vogue’. Really, do I NEED to say more?!?!?!

- Sue in a cone bra. Nuff said.

Did the episode do Madonna and her music justice? Yessiree!!!! Should there be a sequel episode? Well if you can answer if a bear craps in the woods, then you have your answer. But the question now ti be asked is if the Lady Gaga themed episode will be even crazier in scope, or any other artist for that matter. Can you imagine a Michael Jackson themed episode of Glee?!?!?! It should be in the cards… Hear that, Mr. Murphy?

So to close out the night, I will like to say that I will forever be in Ryan Murphy and crews debt for making my Tuesday feel like heaven and Madonna for creating music that transcends race, gender, sexual orientation, creed, etc.

What about you? How did you feel about the episode? Sound off!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=826265277 Anna Molly

    Simply Amazing!This is by far the best episode of the show. And I agree, Santana should have her own solos, the girl is sexy, knows how to shake it and sings, Cannot wait for Lady Gaga :DI feel in diva heaven.

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  • irish1139

    All I could think to myself during that hour was that Jane Lynch deserves an emmy (or more money, or an oscar, or all the acclaim she can handle). I am still in a daze at her performance. I am almost tongue-tied when I think of her playing Madonna and pulling it off so magnificently. The show was the best I have seen on TV in years. All the kids were great.

  • dcbentley

    Okay, I’ll don a virtual flak jacket and beg to differ. To begin with, I am a HUGE fan of the show. I watch every episode several times to make sure I’ve had a chance at every tiny morsel. I not only think that the Madonna episode was not among the best episode, In fact I will put it near the bottom of the list. Admittedly I am not a Madonna fan much the same as I’m not a Michael Jackson fan or a Lynyrd Skynyrd fan. I like some of the songs they put out, but nowhere near all of them. But that is neither here nor there. The Glee kids do lots of songs by people I’m not a huge fan of or even familiar with, that doesn’t stop me from enjoying them. Even though Kurt and Mercedes, and to a lesser degree Santana got to shine for a few fleeting moments, the show was still primarily Rachael, Rachael, Rachael, and Finn. I love Rachael’s voice, I really do, but the entire cast is supposed to be made up of very high caliber talent. I’d love to see much more Kurt, Mercedes, Artie, Tina etc. Notice that I didn’t mention Finn, that was deliberate. Finn’s voice, and to almost the same degree Will’s are thin, almost mousy. Finn to me sounds like a one-finger piano tune. Sure it hits the notes, but is completely lacking in depth, body and resonance. This sort of voice is great in a boy-band, part of a multiple voice harmony, but by itself is just puny. The show in my mind lacks a standout male lead voice, except perhaps Artie’s, though It usually gets buried or truncated so I can’t be sure. Think Richard Gere vs. John C. Reilly in the movie ‘Chicago’ Gere, thin and wispy, Reilly, full and resonant. Where is that voice? Now they bring on the new guy and guess what, just another Jonas Brother.As for this episode, I was not thrilled. I love the fact that Brittany is being brought more to the front, and that we are exploring some of the other characters more, but this episode was too much about Madonna, and not enough variety. One of the performances Borderline/Open Your Heart Mash-Up" Was a fast-forwarded at my house as soon as I realized it wasn’t going to do anything more than languish in mediocrity and timidity. The finale, though better failed to lift me up, it lacked punch. As for the story plot, I really don’t care. I like the humor, the dialogue, the characters, and usually look forward to replaying the music but not so much with this episode.

  • pixiewings

    Thanks, Mark, great recap!I loved this episode, watched it twice at the ass-crack of dawn before work, gave me some energy that I was needing! :)Even though I am not a huge Madonna fan I LOVED this episode…but I have to say, I was kind of surprised at the…er, choreography of the "like a virgin" bit (just in that the writer's did that, because really there is a lot more contorversial stuff on TV *coughgossipgirlcough*. I am so upset that Finn when thru with it, with skankette Santana of all people. They did make a sweet point about it not meaning anything though.SO many one liners that had me in hysterics, and the side view of Sue with the cone bra in Figgin's office? I was rofl!Still hate Jesse. He is hot though ;)Have you noticed that Quinn is looking *less* pregnant as the weeks go by?

  • pixiewings

    I meant to ask after the mash-up episode…does Emma do her own vocals, I wonder? I doubt it for the wedding dress song, but it *might* have sounded like her in the Like a Virgin" bit.

  • MarkOEstes

    I think it was her. I know it might be hard to believe, but I think everyone in the cast is a triple threat when it comes to acting, singing, and dancing.

  • pixiewings

    Well, maybe not so much the dancing when it comes to Finn and Puck ;)