High Notes: “Naked” (4×12)

Editors’ Note: ‘High Notes’ are a collection of meta quotes and links that caught our attention in the first few days after a new episode aired. Our selection of them is of course entirely subjective and limited to what we actually read and doesn’t imply that other pieces weren’t equally noteworthy. Please feel free to recommend such things to us after the following episodes (before the next High Notes post goes up), especially longer pieces that haven’t been posted on Tumblr (but no guarantees that we’ll use them).

The-Multicorn: “Torn” gave me more Rachel feelings than I’ve had in a long time . . .

Multicorn analyzes the way the lyrics in “Torn” are divvied up between Old Rachel and New Rachel, and explores their dialogue, which, she suggests, isn’t just about the film role Rachel’s contemplating, but about her role at NYADA in general:

tumblr_mhlyolbIuc1rq65e6o3_250And then they make me cry when they sing ‘Illusion never changed/ into something real/ I’m wide awake and I can see the perfect sky is torn’ together.  Because, because.  The ‘illusion’ is the other half of Rachel’s self-definition, back in Lima, the one that says I will be the best singer Ever, I will get out of this town and live in New York and Grow Up past any of you.  And – of course that’s an illusion, because you don’t know what it’s like from the outside, you can’t, you’re defining yourself by aspiration to a future that you may or may not be able to attain but you definitely can’t see What It’s Like.  She wanted to be a performer, a professional, and now when she’s gotten her first real gig it’s something she’s not prepared to do.  Illusion doesn’t change into something real; the real world, when you reach it, will always be different.  She doesn’t know how to deal with that – and maybe she’ll learn!  But in this first moment of realization (‘I’m wide awake and I can see’), all she can do is cry. (source)

Calenthe_b: *Glee* 4.12: “Naked”

Callie draws parallels between Rachel’s and Sam’s story lines:

Sam, well, Sam is in a more complex situation than Rachel due to his history, but there are some similarities. He has things in his life that he’s ashamed of too: not appearance or behaviour, but the low grades that are the result of his dyslexia (Ryder ventriloquised how this has affected Sam’s perception of his intelligence/worth in ‘Dynamic Duets’), and arguably his past job as a stripper – a job he took to leverage a perceived asset (his looks) so he could support his family. As shown from ‘Hold On To Sixteen’ onwards, Sam deals with the second by publicly owning it and even flaunting it so it can’t be used against him (9), but he deals with the first by…never mentioning it at all after ‘Auditions’ way back in Season 2. The most he does is acknowledge it obliquely while supporting Brittany, in ‘Britney 2.0’ – until he’s shamed for it by Figgins in front of his girlfriend, who is turning out to be an achiever in all kinds of unexpected ways, and who kind of follows Figgins’s lead.

At which point Sam, like Rachel has been doing all season, starts overcompensating like hell to hide it, using his looks, his notoriety and his (10) sex appeal to – and ends up showing his own arse in a way he wasn’t intending, not only by behaving like a pushy, aggressive jerk and pressuring all the other boys of New Directions to follow his lead (11), but also by dropping clues to his own insecurities all over the shop (12). And when it gets to the point of finally ‘performing’ in an echo of his old job, like Rachel, he finds that he too just can’t. (source)

Letters from Titan: Building Masculinity

RM examines Glee’s oft-explored “construction of masculinity theme,” using details from both “Naked” and “Sadie Hawkins.” Regarding “Naked,” RM describes

the boys not just trying to sell themselves as heart throbs, but working hard both physically and through illusion (from costumes to spray tans) to create that image. It is a narrative that culminates in Sam struggle not to see his body as more important than his total self, something that is resolved by Blaine who has perhaps greater insight instinctively if not intellectually into the absurdity of the masculinity game but his placement along the gender continuums at WMHS.All of these details suggest masculinity as a product of fear and a responsiveness to wishing to avoid the consequences of being a girl which are clearly unpleasant even if mostly unfamiliar to the not often empathetic men of McKinley. (source)

TeileDesGanzen: Glee and the planets

Noting that Brittany sports a necklace with Saturn icons in “Naked,” and how we saw a good number of planet references in “Sadie Hawkins” as well, TeileDesGanzen continues that exploration:

tumblr_mhlldq6Fe41rnp7nxo1_250In astrology, Saturn is associated with limitation, restrictions, and boundaries, with practicality and reality, with crystallizing/solidifying and structures. Saturn is about ambition, career, authority and hierarchy, and conforming to social structures. It also concerns a person’s sense of duty, discipline and responsibility, and their physical and emotional endurance during hardships. Saturn is also considered to represent the part of a person concerned with long-term planning.

Again, this is a great fit for an episode that was all over people defining and setting their boundaries (Artie, Rachel, Sam). The calendar project was one of practically solving a problem at hand within a given system. The whole workout regime, body makeover, and weight-checking the boys went through for the calendar was a perfect example of rigid discipline. Some people also got a reality check about an aspect of themselves and dealt with matters related to their future careers (Rachel, Sam, Brittany). Some stories were about conforming to other people’s standards and about getting through a difficult situation (Rachel, Sam, Artie). Other people dealt with long-term consequences of their actions (Hunter, Santana, Sue) or at least considered them (Rachel). Since Brittany’s outing of Marley as bulimic that happened in the direct presence of Saturn didn’t have any follow-up within this episode, I believe we can expect it to have consequences in the future (just like her outing of Santana as a lesbian on the same show had, or her posting their sex tape on the internet). (source)

SoThinky: Glee: Sexy Teen Imbeciles

SoThinky examines the imagery of the boys’ story line in “Naked,” and the way it’s utilized in the musical number at the heart of the McKinley calendar story:

Screen Shot 2013-02-01 at 7.39.55 PMThe workout scene and mashup of “Centerfold” and “It’s Really Hot in Herre” is a sexy routine, set against a sexy song set, one of which is a real oldie—a song about a guy who crushed on a girl in high school and discovers her years later, posing in a magazine. Finally able to see what she looks like naked, he buys a copy. During the workout there’s a disturbing contrast, at least to me, between serious exercise (even in foil sauna suits!) and more suggestive moves (Cheerios straddling the boys, or vice versa). And scattered throughout are tools and instrumentation: scales, calipers, tanning airbrushes, razors. (source)

These are familiar objects. But it feels awkward to know that while I’m shown these bodies being shaped for sale, I’m rather happily enjoying the spectacle. That’s very much the point of this exercise, I think. At least it’s one of the points.

Judearaya: Morning Meta on Naked

Judearaya provides insight into “Love Song” being featured in the episode:

But it was *perfect* for me considering the background story *behind* that song, which is basically a big Fuck You from Sarah Bareillis (wiki says it better than I can  ”Sara Bareilles was inspired to write “Love Song” after initially failing to produce what Epic deemed commercially successful hits; one such critic suggested that she needed to write “a marketable love song.” Bareilles has since affirmed that that critic’s statement imbued her with the drive and anger necessary to write “Love Song,” proving that she could indeed write a hit, and that she had no double standards.” (source)

This week’s High Notes were selected and compiled by SoThinky.

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