‘Glee’ recap: Ricky Martin teaches us Spanish


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Tuesday night’s ‘Glee,’ ‘The Spanish Teacher,’ in which much was said about guest star Ricky Martin’s glinty teeth, wasn’t the heavy-duty, plot-advancing sort of episode or the serious-depth-adding sort of episode or the major-league, tear-inducing or enthusiastically get-up-off-the-couch-and-dance sorts of episodes. But it was a type of ‘Glee’ episode I actually particularly like: the kind that makes you belly-laugh and chortle and snicker despite your better judgment and marvel at the ‘Glee’ writing team’s wit and way with a snappy line.

From that perspective, can I just note what a great addition to the cast of characters Coach Roz is -- and how spot-on NeNe Leakes is in the role? Her takedown of Sue after the cheerleading coach tells her she plans to soon be out on maternity leave was so darn hilarious. The way it blithely stepped right over the line of good taste and then shrugged and proudly dusted itself off reminded me of the way Sue Sylvester used to be in ‘Glee’s’ early days, when the writers didn’t yet feel compelled to add nuance and heart and a back story to her character. Alas, most of Roz’s choicest lines probably can’t be printed in a family newspaper. (Is the phrase ‘donkey booties’ over the line?) I think it’s probably safe to share a chuckle, though, about her suggestion that Sue’s going to ‘give birth to a grandchild’ and the way she brags that, after winning her Olympic medal in Beijing, she ‘had noodles with the president and a threesome with Michael Phelps.’


OK, so key plot points? Here goes:

McKinley High gets a new Spanish teacher with ‘Larry Bird white’ teeth: Mr. Schu may be a great glee-club coach, but he’s apparently an abominable Spanish teacher, perhaps because he doesn’t actually speak Spanish. After someone (Santana, as it turns out) complains about his subpar skills -- and with Figgins holding tenure like a carrot over his giant-sombrero-sporting head -- Schu enrolls in a night school Spanish class, where his Spanish pales in comparison to a woman who wants to communicate to her maid that she’s not supposed to use the bathroom on the job and his teaching pales next to the swivel-hipped former top tooth model (like a hand model, only with teeth) played by Martin. Martin’s character has hung up his floss to help people learn the language his parents, illegal immigrants who raised him in Ohio, taught him. Mr. Schu, meanwhile, has to look up even cognates and thinks Spanish is about singing ‘La Cucaracha’ in celebration of Taco Tuesday or doing an Elvis Presley number dressed as a matador. Eventually, Schu cries uncle (metaphorically, and in Spanish) and gives his job to the more qualified Martin, taking a vacant history-teaching job at McKinley instead. That means Martin will be a recurring character on ‘Glee’? Ole! (Go ahead -- go crazy with your ‘Livin’ la Vida Loca’ puns.)

Sue wants to have a baby: Sue has decided it’s time to have a little Suzy or a little Sylvester in her life, explaining that she had her eggs frozen (at the Kroger!) back in the ‘70s. Such foresight, that Sue. But then she goes about trying to make that baby happen in a most distasteful manner -- first asking the ‘Glee’ club guys to donate sperm to a sperm bank after finding the existing candidates underwhelming and then asking Mr. Schu to gaze upon some cheerleading magazines and make a donation in a cup. (Ick. Did we really need to picture that?) Emma shows up to confront Sue with one of her pamphlets: ‘Please Don’t Hog My Fiance’s Nog.’ Apparently it’s not only Will’s thick hair, but also his big heart that Sue’s hoping to pass on to the next generation. Ultimately, though she finds another donor. Who, though?

Sam and Mercedes are still at a standstill: Sam and Mercedes, unsure how to cope with their future (and last week’s kiss) in light of their past romantic involvement and Mercedes’ current relationship, show up in Emma’s office. After giving them some pamphlets she’s just gotten back from the printer -- ‘So You’re a Two-Timin’ Ho’ and ‘So You’re Dating a Two-Timin’ Ho’ -- she advises them to stop communicating for a day. (Right there in her office, Sam tweets about how good Mercedes smells, and says he ‘won’t stop until it’s trending.’) And just when it seems their break will prompt them to reconnect, Mercedes’ football-playing beau swoops in to sweep her away again. Sigh.

Kurt restores Finn’s confidence: After Rachel lets the cat out of the bag to Kurt and Mercedes about her engagement to Finn, Kurt reads Finn the riot act about how he’s giving up on himself and his future and resigning himself to a life where he’s ‘the guy who holds [Rachel’s] purse on the red carpet.’ ‘You’re a star, Finn, just as bright as Rachel,’ Kurt tells his half-bro, adding that Finn’s time isn’t up, ‘it’s just beginning.’ Happily, it looks like Kurt may have gotten through.

Emma’s pamphlets get her noticed: Emma’s on a roll with her pamphlets. She’s been so prolific, she says, she’s feeling like Stephen King. But Will is dismissive, calling the pamphlets -- with titles like ‘Performance Anxiety -- It’s not just for teenage boys’ and ‘No Insurance, No problem. How to give yourself stitches’ -- ‘silly.’ Emma explains that they’re intentionally silly: ‘Sometimes you have to be a little provocative.’ But it’s not until Coach Beiste circulates a life-saving pamphlet on jock-strap hygiene entitled ‘Taint Misbehavin’ ’ and helps it get picked up for a wider distribution that Will realizes the ‘genius’ (as Beiste calls it) of Emma’s pamphlet production. Figgins apparently realizes it, too, and gives Emma the open tenured teaching position at McKinley.

What did you think of the episode? Did you have a favorite line? Did Ricky Martin’s character make you reach for the floss? RELATED:

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-- Amy Reiter