Glee Recap: Put a Ring on It
By Jon Roth
Disclaimer: I missed the Grease homage that apparently opened this episode - the cute pizza delivery boy arrived at the exact wrong moment...
Any Gleek worth his salt knew Dame Helen Mirren would do voice-over work for this episode. We didn't know she'd be the interior monologue of Becky, Sue Sylvester's pint-sized assistant. As she moves through the halls of the high school, Becky dismisses all the usual Glee studs with icy British reserve before settling on Arty as the object of her affection. Not only is he dreamy, he's "handicapable," too.
In the teacher’s lounge, we learn Coach Beiste and Cooter Menkins eloped, and Emma wonders whether Mr Schuester will ever pop the question, or if he will just replace healthy relationships with his Glee students until the series is cancelled. She rises from her seat, oversized neck bow buoyant with optimism, and sings "Wedding Bell Blues." This involves plenty of scenes where she pines after Mr Schue as he cluelessly dusts off his Regionals trophy. There is a stunning cameo appearance by Lady Beatrice's fascinator hat, worn by Sue Sylvester, and that was enough to redeem that performance.
Mr. Schue does decide to propose, but he can't just ask Emma. Because then what would Glee club sing about for the entire episode? Instead, he makes it the club's assignment to choose a proposal song that will "knock her well-washed socks off." Phew - now that we have a theme, no one has to worry about a directionless “Red Solo Cup” repeat.
Speaking of Trouty Mouth, Sam is so desperate to regain Mercedes' affection that he joins the synchronized swim team. After his first practice, he has a run-in with his swim coach, the stellar NeNe Leakes. She takes a page from Santana's book and begins berating him: "You are one strange-looking kid, and one of your nipples is higher than the other. That must have been tough for you growing up," she says. She admits she's suffered similar adversity: "When I grew up, they said black people couldn't swim..." but then overcame it, winning a gold medal for individual synchronized swimming. "I bet you didn't even know that existed." We didn't, NeNe, we didn't. But we'll never forget it, thanks to you.
In the auditorium, Arty and Mike Chang suggest Schuester avoid the girlie stuff for the proposal and lead with his hips. "You have rock star hips, Mr. Schue," Arty says (in what world is this a normal thing to say to your teacher?). "It's true, Mick Jagger hips!" Mike adds. With a lead in like that, what song COULD they perform but "I Can Hear The Bells." No, they sang "Moves Like Jagger," mashed up with "Jumpin Jack Flash" in a performance enhanced by those sparkly tie/scarves, but diminished by a lack of shirtless Adam Levine. Afterwards, Becky asks Arty to a date at Breadsticks, and he agrees.
Cut to the weirdest scene of the episode, where Schuester and Finn go ring shopping. Mr. Schuester asks Finn to be his best man, because he has no adult male friends whatsoever, and because Finn has "taught him more about being a man than anyone else ever has." Even worse, Schuester is counting on Finn to "make sure he doesn't do anything stupid at his bachelor party." Which is pretty important, considering he'll likely be spending his bachelor party with a bunch of teenage boys.
This leads to a bro hug and Finn's admission that he's going to join the army. Cue Mr. Schue’s widening eyes and open mouth.
Back at McKinley, Tina, Rachel, Mercedes and Santana grill Schuester about his feelings for his compulsively clean lover. For their proposal song, they settle on "The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face," which really is just an effortlessly gorgeous song. Each girl has a private moment while singing and has a romantic daydream about their beau (or Brittany), and Mercedes thinks about... Sam. When the girls discuss this in the ladies room, Rachel tells Mercedes to "take it slow and follow your heart," before stepping back into the Babysitter's Club special she came from.
Mr Schue asks Emma's parents for permission to wed her, and they yet again take the Worst Parents Ever award, cautioning him against marrying their "freaky-deaky" daughter. OCD is a serious problem, but is having a spotlessly clean house for the rest of your life really SUCH a burden?
Soon after, Mr. Schuester and Finn's mother and stepdad stage an armyvention, asking him to think seriously about his military aspirations. Finn spouts some platitudes about being a man and doing his father proud (understandable, but starry-eyed) before his mother drops the bomb: turns out Finn's dad wasn't killed at war. Rather, he suffered some sort of PTSD, picked up a drug habit and overdosed. Finn is of course pissed at his mom for springing this info on him, and storms off.