An A-Minus Is An Asian F

Glee put the spotlight on the character of Mike Chang and his family pressures of being the perfect stereotypical Asian and Mercedes battles Rachel for the lead role in West Side Story. Mike’s storyline is a new twist, but I feel like I’ve seen a diva-off between those ladies before…

What I Loved.

  • Mercedes’ confidence and power-woman moves…in the first half of the episode. She receives an uplifting ego-boost from new boyfriend, Shane (actor LaMarcus Tinker, who played the character of Tinker in Friday Night Lights, if any of you watched that amazing show). So, with her man’s support, Mercedes dons an amazing, figure-flattering LBD and belts out Jennifer Hudson’s “Spotlight.” Go, girl.

    Tina does the vamp thing to get out of gym class. Screenshot: Kelli Fitzpatrick
  • Tina’s still playing up the vamp thing. In an earlier season, Tina was persecuted by Principal Figgins for her gothic attire. Figgins was convinced she was a vampire under all that black clothing and funky accessories, and banned her from wearing such outfits. Tina used his irrational fear of vampires to her advantage: she donned a pair of fangs, a drapey cape and cornered him in school one day, warning him that if he kept her from expressing herself through clothes, she’d of course have to suck his blood. Totally freaked out, Figgins dropped the “ban” on her gothic outfits. Fast forward to this week’s episode, in which Tina continues to play vampire to get what she wants from Figgins: “Excuse me all year from gym or I’ll drink you spicy curry blood.”
  • The fresh focus on Mike Chang was a welcomed change. Mike was able to show all aspects of his personality, not just the super-awesome-crazy-good-dancer side. The episode opened with Mike’s dad meeting with Figgins to discuss Mike’s slipping grades: he got an A-minus on a test, which translates to an “Asian F.” His dad pressures him to quit the glee club and focus on schoolwork. Mike starts to crumble under the pressure of football, glee club, “booty camp” and West Side Story auditions, but is saved by his lady love, Tina. She tells him she sees what she fell in love with when she watches him dancing–aww! Another happy chill-enducing scene: Mike has a heart-to-heart with his mom. She confesses that she, too, wanted to be a dancer when she was young, but her strict parents didn’t allow such nonsense. She doesn’t want be the same dream-crushing parent for Mike. Mike smiles and tells her, “I’ve been told I’m a pretty good teacher,” and begins to teach her to dance, helping her achieve her old goals. Love the mama love!

    Mike does it all: dances, sings and defies his uptight Asian parents. Photo: fox.com
  • Emma’s redhead-racist parents: Now we see where the crazy comes from! Schue sneakily invites Emma’s folks to dinner and finds out why she put off their meeting for so long. “My parents are ginger supremacists,” she admits. Her redheaded mom and pop prefer the presence of other redheads over anyone else. If redheads continue to breed with non-redheads, “we gingers would cease to exist as a species,” Emma’s dad says. We also learn that Emma picked up her nasty case of OCD from her parents. I love the occasional oddball characters mixed into the pot o’ Glee.

What I Didn’t Love.

  • The been there, done that diva-off between Rachel and Mercedes was cringe-worthy in its song selection and outfit choices. The girls sang “Out Here On My Own,” a slow tune with no “diva” to it at all. The ladies’ dresses were just as bad: Rachel wore a boxy black shift that made her look like a ten-year-old at a funeral; Mercedes donned a puffy black piece with black tights and a black vest, adding 20 pounds to her figure. Double-thumbs down!
  • Emma, Coach Bieste and Artie decide to double-cast the role of Maria in West Side Story, giving Rachel and Mercedes equal chance to shine in the role. Here’s where I get sick of Mercedes’ act this episode: the sassy lady rips Schue a new one, tells the New Directions she’s “outgrown” them and turns down the offer of being Maria for half the playtime. Then she tells Shelby she wants to join her glee club. Will someone please smack a little diva out of her?

    Emma's redhead supremacist parents come over for dinner. Screenshot: Kelli Fitzpatrick
  • Emma’s OCD kicks into high gear after her parents’ disastrous visit: she counts the number of times she rubs her hands with lotion and pray obsessively. Creepy, oblivious Schue plays the innocent puppy act, saying he wishes there was something he could do for her. Um…take her to some therapy? See a doctor? Take her to a psychiatrist? A psychologist? Thanks for all the help, Schue. Now go back to gelling your hair.

Top Character Quotes.

  • “To Emma: Always marry up!” Vera Bradley’s note to Emma
  • “I kicked a fire hydrant when I found out ‘Aces of Cakes’ was cancelled.” – Coach Bieste
  • “Kurt looks like Jimmy Fallon’s butch daughter.” – Santana
Next Episode. Is…in…November. Why, after three measly and unsatisfying episodes, is Glee already going on a monthlong hiatus? The world may never know.
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