Glee season 1 episode 17 review

Sue Sylvester steals the show once more, as she gets Physical in the latest episode of Glee...

17. Bad Reputation

After last week’s emotion-packed episode, this week we take bit of a step back and lets Glee do what it does best: in this case over-the-top farce with some added Olivia Newton-John.

After discovering and stealing a video of Sue performing the Olivia Newton-John hit Physical, it’s promptly put onto YouTube. Horrified that the video has leaked and to make herself feel better, Sue gives a list she found to Principle Figgins, a list which ranks the members of the Glee Club based on their sexual promiscuity.

Horrified by this, Figgins informs Will that, unless he finds who created the list, he will be forced to disband the club and suspend all the members. Miffed by this turn of events, Will assigns the club the task of finding songs with bad reputations and then rehabilitate them for the modern day.

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Upset about not being included at all on the list, Kurt, Mercedes, Artie and Tina, along with Brittany, who is upset about not being in the top three, all decide to perform U Can’t Touch This in the school library to cement their bad reputations. The problem? They’re then asked by the school librarian to perform at her church that Sunday.

For her assignment, Rachel makes a music video with Puck, Finn and Jesse playing the role of her boyfriend. When Jesse finds out about this, he breaks up with Rachel who is left heartbroken.

As the video of Sue becomes a larger Internet phenomenon, the other teachers at the school begin to make fun of her. Turning to the only person whom she can really talk to, she visits her sister Jean in her care home.

It isn’t long until Jean reminds her of when they were children they used to volunteer at the local animal shelter as there was always somebody worse off than them. With that in mind, Sue promptly goes back to school and informs Emma that Will has been unfaithful to her, which leads Emma to shame him in front of the rest of the teachers.

After apologising to Emma, Will discovers Quinn is the author of the list and lies to Principle Figgins, and convinces him and, as no further lists have come out, the matter should be dropped.

Feeling guilty about his part in Sue’s ridicule, Kurt confesses he was the one who stole the video, only to be thanked by Sue, who has been contacted by Olivia Newton-John and wants Sue to make a new Physical video with her. As a result, Sue becomes a top 700 recording artist and donates her fee to her sister’s care home. It’s an everyday story, and one that we can all relate to.

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Still, even though it wasn’t the best episode of Glee this season, Bad Reputation managed to still squeeze a lot into its running time. It also kept the plot ticking along nicely, and began lining up its ducks for the season finale.

Firstly, the whole Rachel, Finn, Jesse triangle gets a bit larger to now include Puck (quick side note: Puckleberry is the term Gleeks came up with to describe the union and, personally, I think it is great they used it in the show).

The audience knows Jesse is up to no good, and you can’t help but wonder if this is exactly what he wanted to happen so if/when they get back together he can dictate the course of their relationship, leaving Rachel and, in fact, the entire Glee Club open to his evil ways.

Also, it was really nice to see Kurt giving a more comical turn than we saw last week, with him being the ringleader of firstly, the theft of Sue’s tape, and then arranging for the performance in the school library.

I also have to give credit to Heather Morris, who plays the ditzy Brittany. Throughout the season so far she has delivered the most comical and wonderful lines that really make you laugh out loud, yet she manages to keep a straight deadpan face. Keep an ear out for anything she says the rest of the season. Pure comedy gold.

Speaking of that, I have to say Sue Sylvester is my new TV hero. Yes, she is calculating, mean and has issues with Will’s hair, but she has to be one of the best characters ever created for the small screen in recent times and that was more than evident in this week’s episode, which she stole completely from everybody else.

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Not only was the Physical video brilliant (and how stunning is Olivia Newton-John?), but you really got a feel for who Sue Sylvester really is and I am so happy the writers have given her a softer side via her relationship with her sister. If she was just your run of the mill villain, then you would end up just hating her rather than her being somebody you love to hate.

Ultimately, while this week failed to deliver to the heights Glee can reach, it was a more than adequate episode to jolly the greater plotlines along.

Read our review of episode 16 here.