Rocky Horror Comes to Glee
Sue Sylvester: Trick and Treat
Sue Sylvester, the cantankerous Cheerios coach, took to the airwaves to rail against Halloween. Or, at least, the part of Halloween that involves giving out free candy. Scaring children? Well, that she’s fine with. Naturally. Her segment attracted the attention of two station managers, played by Rocky Horror movie vets Barry Bostwick and Meat Loaf, who wanted her to go undercover to sabotage the glee club’s performance. Pretty sure that didn’t take a lot of arm-twisting….
Finn Geeks Out, Freaks Out
In an interesting turn of events, Glee opted to focus on the body-image issues of teenage boys, rather than going down the well-trod path of insecure teenage girls. Finn was a little nervous about stripping down to his underwear to play Brad. By the end of the episode, even newbie Sam—who at first seemed fine with donning a gold lamé bikini—was expressing doubts about his body. Granted, both actors have washboard abs, undercutting a little of the credibility, but it was nice to see Glee showing that body issues affect everyone.
Stamos Sings… Finally!
After not making use of John Stamos' considerable singing talents in his first Glee outing, the show finally allowed him to rock out to "What Ever Happened to Saturday Night?" which was sung by Meat Loaf in the original movie. Now the only complaint is that Stamos didn't don the Frank-N-Furter garb. And if there's any doubt as to whether he can pull off drag, here's some compelling evidence: Stamos as the gender-bending Emcee in the Broadway revival of Cabaret.
Mercedes Straps On a Corset
After spending much of the episode wondering which guy would step into Frank-N-Furter’s iconic fishnets, the role ended up going to... Mercedes? Yes, really. While casting a girl in the role undercut some of the subversion of having a man in drag, upending gender expectations is Rocky's raison d'être. And besides, there is precedent—in the Off-Broadway production of Hedwig and the Angry Inch, Ally Sheedy eventually stepped into the transsexual title role created by John Cameron Mitchell, giving the show a whole new dimension. Still, Mercedes herself said she took the role not out of a burning desire to tweak gender expectations, but because taking it was the only way she'd ever get a lead. To that we say: Hey, it’s time for Mercedes’ turn! May we suggest Gypsy, Hello, Dolly!, Annie Get Your Gun, or any of the other shows touched by her sister-in-iron-pipes, Ethel Merman?
“Touch Me” Doesn’t Get Too Dirty
It’s unclear whether the lyrics to "Touch-a, Touch-a, Touch-a, Touch Me" got cleaned up for TV or because the character singing them is a bit prudish, but either way the revisions were weak. "Heavy sweating"? “Bad fretting”? One is kind of gross and the other is just baffling. Still, it was nice to see Emma (Jayme Mays) get a chance to sing—especially since “Touch-a” was Jayma’s audition song for the show—and come out of her shell a bit. Meanwhile, Brittany and Santana as the mean-girl Greek chorus members was pitch perfect.
It’s Just a Jump to the Left…
Once he realized a high-school production of something as saucy as Rocky Horror would get him run out of town by a pitchfork-wielding mob, Mr. Schuester wisely decided to cancel the production—but not before letting the kids do a performance for their own benefit. The musical arrangement in "Time Warp" is especially Gleeful, and all the practice the New Directions kids have singing together allowed all the harmonies of the classic song to be teased out in a way not afforded by the movie or other stage versions. Plus, Tina and Brittany got to make use of their tap-dance skills!
Shannon Donnelly is a video editor at The Daily Beast. Previously, she interned at Gawker and Overlook Press, edited the 2007 edition of Inside New York, and graduated from Columbia University. You can read more of her writing here.