Glee – The Power Of Madonna (S01E15) – Episode review

Sue Sylvester continues her cruel and unusual blackmail of Principal Figgins by insisting that he plays Madonna’s greatest hits over the school tannoy system all day. And thus begins the much awaited [[Glee (TV Series)|Glee]] episode, The Power Of Madonna.

Now, I’m always sceptical about these ‘tribute’ type shows. Tackling Madonna exclusively on a show like Glee smacks of a back-room deal to get Madonna’s back catalogue in the faces of a new generation and make the lady some more dough. The question is, does featuring an exclusive Madonna-themed show detract from Glee’s narrative?

It should. Hell, I lost count of the songs that were performed (somewhere in the region of eight songs in this episode, right?), so there shouldn’t have been room for any plot at all. Still, The Power Of Madonna was crammed with brilliant dialogue and some small but interesting developments.

Jesse’s ambition to screw Rachel Berry in every conceivable way continues as he tries to sleep with her and transfers to McKinley High to spy on New Directions. Sue Sylvester continues to be a menace to the entire school when she blackmails Figgins into playing Madonna non-stop throughout the school day. And she proves she has an endless supply of hair-product insults stored up for Schuester.

I thought it was very deft that Finn, Rachel and Emma Pillsbury’s separate liaisons led to them all considering losing their virginity. I didn’t even notice the lead-up to Like A Virgin until the opening notes of the song sounded. Finn definitely had the pick of the bunch with morally vacant Santana, but was left feeling unfulfilled. Since Rachel and Finn still have feelings for each other, they lie to each other about their relationships: Rachel pretends to have slept with Jesse while Finn claims he chickened out with Santana.

Likewise, the thread about the boys in glee club mistreating the girls was also a build-up to What It Feels Like For A Girl. It felt shoehorned in though. As did Sue Sylvester’s fairly faithful reproduction of the Vogue video.

Yes, the sheer number of songs interrupts the fact that there’s a story to be told here. Not even a music channel could cram in as many Madonna songs in the space of an hour. And here’s a minor gripe – the New Directions band seem to be ready to play any song on demand, without forewarning, without rehearsal. And Finn can sing and play drums at the same time. Except he frequently walks away from the drums in mid song and the beat continues.

Now, clearly that’s a message that Glee is like a musical – anyone can and probably will burst into song at any given moment and a flawless chorus will spring up to support them. Entire dance routines materialise out of thin air. Harmonies are perfect. I have to say, Lea Michele and Corey Monteith’s duet on Open Your Heart/Borderline was fantastic – a great mash-up and huge improvement on the originals. In my humble opinion.

Altogether, The Power Of Madonna was a great episode. Glee won’t be able to get away with too many of those, but as a one-off it kind of worked. But I hope not to be seeing any Mariah or Whitney or Christina-based episodes for a while. A long while. And I’ll be watching the iTunes chart just to see how lucrative this little venture was for Ms Ciccone.

Pick of the quotes:

  • Sue: ‘Santana, what does your bracelet say?’ Santana: ‘WWMD.’ Sue: ‘”What would Madonna do? Well, the answer to that question is usually “Date a younger man.” So, let’s see some arm candy girls. Sorry, freshmen, you’re gonna have to start trolling middle schools.’
  • Rachel: ‘How do I stop a guy from getting mad at me for saying no?’ Santana: ‘Just do what I do, never say no.’ Brittany: ‘Totally. I mean, what’s the worst that can happen. Sorry Quinn…’
  • Sue to the Cheerios: ‘Sloppy freakshow babies. Somewhere in the English countryside in a stately manor home, Madonna is weeping. Hit the showers.’
  • Santana to Finn: ‘Look Finn, it’s high time you lost the big V. Everything about you screams virgin. You’re about as sexy as a Cabbage Patch kid. It’s exhausting to look at you.’
  • Sue to Schuester: ‘Madonna belongs to me, and I will not be copied. It’s in my contract. You can have your Barbaras, and your Chers and your Christinas and…wow, I just lost my train of thought. You have so much margarine in your hair.’
  • Kurt: ‘Mercedes is black, I’m gay. We make culture.’

By the way…

Anyone else think Chris Colfer (who plays Kurt Hummel) looks like a young, gay Ewan McGregor? Take a second look at that Vogue video…

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    1. Gerard McGarry

      LOL, you filthy beast! You know what, when they were fooling around in bed, I could’ve sworn that it was Dan Humphries from Gossip Girl, or John Mayer. Just for a second. Loved the bit where one of the Glee club asked Schue if Jesse was his son, because of the similarity in their hairstyles.

      1. BeckEye

        Ewww! Jonathan Groff = sex on a stick. John Mayer = douche in a bag.

        But yeah, that “is he your son” line was great. Brittany is starting to get all the best lines, like the “sharks are just gay dolphins” one.

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