By Jennifer Lund
There’s an old joke about the word ‘naked’ and its various pronunciations – ‘naked’ means you’re not wearing any clothes, whereas ‘nekkid’ means you’re not wearing any clothes and you’re up to something. Last night’s episode of Glee proved that there’s another definition, and it has nothing to do what you’re wearing.
Before anyone started stripping down, there was last week’s cheating subplot to wrap up. The episode began with a hilarious cold open of Lima’s local newscaster announcing that the Dalton Academy Warblers had been publicly disqualified from show choir competition for using performance-enhancing substances, and the New Directions reinstated to compete at Regionals. This opened the door for our plucky band of musical misfits to contemplate lost rehearsal time and how to pay for a bus to Indianapolis (“The Paris of Indiana!”).
Finn suggested a bake sale, which Artie reminded him only worked because Puck spiked the cupcakes with pot. A couple of the boys mention body parts (Joe offers to sell his dreads, and Sam says he can sell more semen) and then Tina points out they can sell their bodies more figuratively. Thus is born the “Men of McKinley” calendar. Sam, who spent some time last season stripping to help support his family, takes it upon himself to whip his teammates into centerfold shape. The resulting musical montage is hysterical, and leads to one of the subtlest laugh-out-loud moments of the night—biracial Jake’s priceless reaction to Kitty and her spray-tan gun.
Meanwhile, Marley is the guest on Brittany’s public access television show “Fondue for Two.” Britt and her feline sidekick Lord Tubbington cajole Marley into admitting that she loves Jake, and advise that she should really bare her soul to him. Ryder and Jake are having the same conversation about Marley in the boys’ locker room. This leads to a lovely duet in the auditorium, but no admission yet to each other.
Rachel and Kurt grapple with nakedness in New York too—Rachel has been cast in a student film that will require her to be topless, and Kurt is trying to deal with Brody walking around the loft naked in an effort to be supportive. Rachel’s self-doubt about being even partially naked on film leads to the best individual musical number of the night. She sings a gorgeous duet with her high-school self in an effort to sort her feelings.
Just as the calendar preparations are really taking off, Sue calls it pornographic and vows to shut it down, Artie tells Finn he doesn’t feel comfortable appearing in it, and Sam begins to feel that it’s all he has to offer the world (he scored a dismal 340 on his SAT). Finn calls Sue out as a hypocrite for having posed in Penthouse in her youth, then sets Artie the task of finding a copy of the magazine to prove it. He proves a master of the long con, as he slyly manipulates her into admitting (on tape!) that she did indeed pose nude for the magazine.
Things finally come to a head with Sam, and Blaine comes to his friend’s rescue with information about colleges that don’t care about SAT scores. He also enlists the assistance of the rest of the glee club to make sure Sam understands that he’s so much more than a pretty face and a six-pack.
Rachel gets an intervention too, from Quinn and Santana (at Kurt’s request), and ultimately decides she’s not ready to be naked on film yet. The “Men of McKinley” decide not to be naked either, but the calendar still sells like hotcakes. Jake, however, exposes his heart to Marley, signing her copy of the calendar with a big silver “I love you.” She admits that she loves him back, and we close with a group number. It’s clear that a naked heart will trump an uncovered body every time.