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Gaga for 'Glee'

Gaga for 'Glee'

As much as I absolutely adore Lady Gaga in every way, I have to admit I was nervous for Glee's most recent themed venture. Ever since the Madonna episode, Glee seemed to drop every semblance of recurring plot in pursuit of flashy gimmicks and iTunes profits that detracted from its once sweet, natural charm. But this week Lea Michelle and Idina Menzel tackle mother / daughter issues, Kurt and Finn clash over homophobia and the "F" word and welcome back Quinn!

As much as I absolutely adore Lady Gaga in every way, I have to admit I was nervous for Glee's most recent themed venture. Ever since the Madonna episode, Glee seemed to drop every semblance of recurring plot in pursuit of flashy gimmicks and iTunes profits that detracted from its once sweet, natural charm. I found myself becoming the crotchety kid at the lunch table whining about how Glee had become a heartless money-monger dooming its viewers to a life of blind consumerism. If not for Brittany and her wonderful existence, I may have stopped watching all together. Luckily, I stayed on just long enough to catch one of the best episodes in a while. Thank you, Brittany.

Let this week of Gaga magic be known as the week Glee found its plot again. On an even more fulfilling note, It also found Dianna Agron again, so all you steadfast members of Team Quinn can breathe a sigh of relief. Plot wise, the beginning started off a little shaky, with gothic Tina getting in trouble for her "vampiric" style (points off for the Kristen Stewart diss. For shame, Glee!).

After discovering Vocal Adrenaline (remember them?) is doing a Lady Gaga number, Mr. Schuester decides this week's assignment will be Gaga.

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It's apparently supposed to help the group get a strong number to compete with at Regionals and help Tina find a new look, but these excuses are so weak it's obvious that the only reason Gaga's involved is simply because she is Gaga. Silly Glee, like you needed a reason. 

While this episode could have made the same mistake it did with Madonna and dedicate itself entirely to the Lady, it took a different turn. Gaga became the fun, moral-y side plot that brought the fun -- and Dianna Agron looking absolutely gorgeous in her Gaga getup -- while a couple of much bigger, game-changing situations stirred up the glee club drama that had been absent for a while.

First up, Finn's mom and Kurt's dad move in together, and Finn handles it just about as poorly as possible.

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His discomfort with Kurt's crush on him finally comes center stage, resulting in Finn exploding homophobic slurs all over his and Kurt's newly decorated 'Morocco-esque' bedroom.

Kurt's father swoops in and proudly defends Kurt, kicking Finn out of the house and demonstrating once again just how much Kurt's father loves and cares for his son. It's one of the most beautiful moments Glee's had in weeks, and one of the most touching fights for equality that prime time TV has to offer. But don't worry Finn fans; in the end Finn, with a little help from our girl Gaga, learns a big lesson, although he still has a long way to go.

The second focus is on Rachel -- a particularly lovely Lea Michele -- and her biological mother, Shelby Corcoran- better known as Idina Menzel, who has played Elphaba in Wicked and the amazingly sexy and bisexual Maureen in Rent. The electricity these two generate by simply sharing the screen is so mesmerizing that the fact that it enhances Rachel's character emotionally seems like an added bonus.

Until this moment, Rachel has always been the slightly obnoxious but usually lovable stage whore whose drama is created from boy troubles or losing the solo. Now, she finally faces a deeply personal problem: what do you do when your reunion with your birth mother isn't what you want it to be at all?

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Rachel, the girl who usually talks every five seconds, doesn't even need to say a word to convey all the sadness and longing she feels while watching her compatible new friend and parent turn away from her.

Rachel is finally more than a caricature - she is now relatable and heartbreaking.  Rachel and Shelby's duet of "Poker Face" may not actually move the plot forward, but it's a beautiful way to wrap up a plot I desperately hope isn't over yet. For this episode alone, Lea deserves an Emmy nomination, and this from the girl who thought she was over Glee entirely.

Even though Mr. Schu himself says he has no idea why he gave the Gaga assignment (KISS is a major focus as well, although, frankly, who cares?), who better to emphasize the themes of originality, equality, and plain old wackiness like the most unique pop star alive today?

Lady Gaga is treated like a superhero, and while the no-holds-barred "Bad Romance" number is to die for, the most Gaga-esque aspect of this episode is not the spectacle, but the message of love, peace, and equality that it projects.

While Glee's massive, die-hard fan base has gotten on my nerves at times, it feels so nice to know that millions of people are watching and listening. So while I am glad that Glee has finally found its heart once again, I am more pleased to know that it is using its vastly expanding influence for good. Lady Gaga should be very proud. 

Oh, and Glee? One last thing. More Brittany next time. Much more Brittany.

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