Glee’s characters are constantly struggling with that topic, like any hormone-raging teenager in high school. Tuesday’s episode, titled “Sexy,” focused on educating the students of McKinley High School on sex. Gwyneth Paltrow reprises her role as substitute teacher Holly Holiday, except this time she’s the sex-ed teacher. John Stamos also returns as Emma Pillsbury’s (Jayma Mays) husband Carl Howell, who cannot get past more than cuddling after four months of marriage.
For an episode on sex, the show let down viewers who were expecting steamy scenes. Glee gave audiences a hint of what could come later by starting off its first performance with Holly singing Gary Glitter’s “Do you want to touch me?” — but that was about all the sexiness the audience would get.
The actress’ performances at the Country Music Awards, Grammy Awards and Academy Awards served as the nation’s introduction into Paltrow’s singing career and her guest role on Glee was the perfect opportunity for her to display her singing talent.
The show followed up with a performance of Neon Trees’ “Animal” by the Warblers. They want to put on a sexy performance, so they invite the ladies of their sister school for their input. Blaine (Darren Criss) asks the girls, “Are we scream worthy? Do we make your knees turn to jelly?”
Though the Warblers put on yet another good rendition, the song was far from being the kind of sexy the group wanted. Their use of a foam machine did not reach its potential, disappointing those who hoped to get a glance of a wet Criss, whose soaked body was featured in Out magazine.
The episode touches on some of the major relationships in the show. The friendship between Santana (Naya Rivera) and Brittany (Heather Morris), which occasionally gets a little too friendly, also came into question by Santana. Fleetwood Mac’s “Landslide” helps her discover what her feelings for Brittany mean, but still nothing advances between the two of them. Brittany and Santana sing with Holly as she plays the guitar, revealing another one of Paltrow’s talents.
But nothing sexy occurs in this episode, so where does the episode’s title come from? One possibility is the return of attractive actors Paltrow and Stamos. Glee claimed sexuality as one of its recurring themes early on, and it has been frank about it since then.
After many complaints adult audiences, especially parents, on Glee being slightly too straightforward with its younger viewers, Tuesday’s episode might indicate that creator Ryan Murphy wants to tone the sexiness down.
Yet, some people including members of the Parents Television Council, do not agree. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the council’s director of public policy, Dan Isett, thought scenes in Tuesday’s episode were “pretty appalling.”
He claims that the show strays away from sticking to real life and that “Real-world teachers don’t lap dance with their students.”
ABC Family’s hit show Pretty Little Liars even features a student having a secret relationship with her high school English teacher.
That’s not what is happening in Glee. The student-teacher relationships are something real students do not always get to have in high school. Glee’s instructors, especially Will and Emma, serve as mentors who push their students to strive to be the best. Talking about sex on Glee doesn’t get rid of that.