By Arturo R. García
Long-time readers may recall that I was turned off to Glee pretty quickly. But this week’s Rocky Horror Picture Show-centric episode piqued my interest. And, thankfully, nearly completely rewarded it.
You see, this ep reached into some personal history for me. That’s yours truly on the right a few years ago playing Brad Majors for the now-defunct Justice League of Denton in Kansas(!). Both of the troupes I performed with, the JLD and Crazed Imaginations, were safe spaces for me as both a POC and a geek.
But I only started caring about the episode when word got out that the lead role of Dr. Frank-N-Furter would be played in the show-within-the-show by Mercedes, who was relegated early on in the series to Sassy Black Diva status.Yeah, I know she got to sing Christina Aguilera’s “Beautiful” in an earlier episode, but, as she points out this week, she’d never gotten to play a lead before.
The music from the movie, of course, is just a backdrop for off-stage melodrama: Mr. Schu is putting on the show to stay close to Emma, who’s dating RHPS fan Dr. Carl; Coach Sue fakes supporting the show for the purposes of chasing a local Emmy; and the prospect of performing in their underwear stirs up anxieties for Finn and Sam. (Actually, the male body-image subplot might make for interesting stuff in future episodes, not to mention a welcome contrast to this kind of mess.)