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'Glee' Recap: Madonna Invades William McKinley High

Tuesday's (April 20) all-Madonna episode of 'Glee' imparted an important lesson: Even the almighty Material Girl can be upstaged by the power of Sue Sylvester.
From her shot-for-shot remake of Madonna's 'Vogue' music video to her extra-acerbic insults of Will Schuester's hair, the Cheerios coach was just on.
At most high schools, Madonna songs blaring at high volume over the loudspeaker would prove to be a bit distracting. Then again, most schools aren't William McKinley High, where Sue blackmailed Principal Figgins into playing her idol's music full blast to inspire the students to be more independent and powerful. (This also, conveniently, allowed as many Madonna songs as possible to be squeezed into the 44-minute episode.)
Sue had her Cheerios harness Madge's power by encouraging them to troll the middle school for younger boyfriends and abandon their last names. She also choreographed a routine to 'Ray of Light' involving stilts (not creepy - in fact, amazing) and hurled her greatest one-liner yet: 'Sloppy freak-show babies. Somewhere in the English countryside in a stately manor home, Madonna is weeping.'
Following Sue's lead, Will made New Directions brainstorm Madonna numbers in an attempt to empower the female glee clubbers and discourage the guys' misogynistic tendencies. This brilliant idea struck him when he overheard Rachel asking the female gleeks for hypothetical romantic advice after her new boyfriend tried to get her to do it after a Wiggles concert. (Remember, Rachel and Vocal Adrenaline's Jesse St. James are secretly dating.) Unfortunately, guidance counselor Emma was no help. As we learned last week, she's a virgin, too, but she did have some pretty hilarious sex-education brochures.
After Rachel's girl-power-y 'Express Yourself,' her duet with Finn on the 'Borderline/ Open Your Heart' mash-up, and a clandestine meeting with Jesse in the Steven Sondheim biography section of the library, where he apologized for pressuring her, she decided she would have sex with Jesse after all. But Rachel wasn't the only character contemplating losing her virginity: Emma took to heart Sue's quip that she wasn't powerful enough to have Madonna piped into her office and told Will it was on. Foreplay would start at 7:30 sharp.
And Santana decided Finn was the younger, inferior man she needed in order to emulate Madonna.
The resulting (and inevitable) 'Like a Virgin' extravaganza followed the three couples on their sexual adventures and was perhaps the best 'Glee' number yet, as far as integrating the song and choreography into the plot and allowing multiple characters to sing solos. All six shared vocal duties - even Santana! And she sounded great.
Still, it turns out that not all the couples went through with the deed. Although she told Finn the next day that she did it, Rachel didn't actually leave the bathroom, even as Jesse implored her to 'Just come out so we can talk. Or sing about it.' Jesse's solution: transferring to McKinley to prove how much he respected Rachel. Finn, on the other hand, lied and said he didn't do it when he actually did. Emma chickened out and ran home barefoot. She and Will decided Monday that they'd readdress their sexual chemistry after his divorce was official and she got help for her OCD.
Kurt and Mercedes made the Sue Sylvester 'Vogue' video as a multimedia presentation for their New Directions Madonna song (it's almost indescribably amazing), and they were rewarded for their hard work in the form of positions as the Cheerios' new lead singers, roles they debuted with a cover of the Madonna/ Justin Timberlake duet '4 Minutes.' Closing out the episode was a take on 'What It Feels Like for a Girl' from the boys and a show-stopping 'Like a Prayer,' complete with gospel choir, from the whole gang.


Let madonnalicious know what you thought about the episode by hitting the 'Comments' button below.


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the point of this Episode was not to decide whether or not Glee is a good show. the point is that Madonna's cultural significance is at the point now that people are talking about it in a real way and applying it to the lives of kids today. this is a great thing,in an age when her ground-breaking persona has served as inspiration for, but ultimately been perversed, diluted and misconstrued, by modern day female pop-stars.
so quit hating on the show, the show is irrelevant. the message it put forth, that Our Sovreign, The Big Mo, is a pioneering example of the power a woman (or any person, marginalized by patriarchal, white society for that matter) can have over her mind, her body and her life.
Hats off to the creators, writers and cast of Glee for a great homage to, not only M's music but to the great cultural change she made for girls (and gays) all over the world.


I am not a fan of Glee at all,but watched the episode out of curiosity to see how they do the songs...the only song i enjoyed was Four Minutes as I liked the way they switched the vocals and it worked really well...still not a fan though and hope the rumours of another Madonna episode aren't true.


I thought it was entertaining, and simply amazing... BEST Glee episode EVER.


I had never watched an episode of Glee until the Madonna themed night. I may be biased because they showcased her body of work but ultimately the show lured me in, captivated me and entertained me...and hey, I wouldnt mind watching further episodes now.

Lets not get to critical about this episode, take it for what it is and enjoy what they had to offer us long devoted Madonna fans.

Madonnas music is timeless. Her music has the ability to reach a huge demographic and it resonates with real life moments in our lives. This show was a great homage to her Art!

John K

While it was a notable homage to Madonna, nothing can even touch the hem of icon herself.

I certainly appreciated the glimpes back of her various looks through the decades. However it was personally difficult to realize that kids today look at much of her groundbreaking music and videos as nostalgia (ouch!)

She's definitely come full circle. Those of us who were instant fans when Madonna first hit the scene and followed her year after year are now seeing her re-introduced to youth again. It's exciting!

As far as the songs chosen, well my fav Madonna song will always be "Express Yourself" I have ADORED it since the day Like a Prayer was released (I bought the cassette the day it was released! Does anyone recall it was scented with pachouli oil?)

Hearing the Glee version of Express Yourself was better than seeing it... But I am jaded... I'll never forget the first time I saw the original video for the song, or watching the MTV Awards live perf of it, or the live feed on MTV the night "Blonde Ambition" opened in Houston.

The sight of Madonna raising up on that elevator in a double breasted pin-stripe suit, with pink Gaultier coned corset and flowing ponytail was the moment she completely had me in her grip. She was fearless and a genius, far ahead of her time.

I am glad a new generation can see that significance, but I doubt they understand just how much she captivated this country.


I love Madonna, but this was just cheese-y use of the iconic music. I don't like that nothing is sung live and the speaking parts sound different than the singing parts on Glee. Jane Lynch is hilarious and her Vogue video was high camp, but the rest of the episode can be discarded. Sorry, it just wasn't good.

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