My only experience with the Rocky Horror Picture Show until this evening was a rather harrowing trip to see the live show aged sixteen. I only went because my friends fancied the guy playing Dr. Frank N Furter at the time. Because clearly aged sixteen your teen fantasy is an upper-class pansexual transvestite in a corset. Anyway, Tim Curry had described it as a “rite of passage” for young people, and so I went along.
It… wasn’t great. The cast were fantastic, but I spent a lot of time feeling like literally the only person there who didn’t know EVERY SINGLE FUCKING WORD, as well as one of the few people not wearing a corset and sitting there like the stupid kid that forgets it’s non-uniform day. The cherry on the great big awkward cake was the guy sitting next to me, who I’m pretty sure was only wearing a mac, and was there on his own, and told me (without prompting) that he had been to every show on the tour so far. He kept heckling in the way you think your Dad might if he was off his tits on glue. We didn’t exchange addresses.
The end of the show came with mac-man braying like an abused donkey, and I vowed that if I ever saw another red feather boa I would eat my own eyes. I’ve been pretty good at suppressing that memory for the past six years, but then Glee did a Rocky Horror episode. I actually shuddered when I realised what I was about to view.
And sure enough, I spent the first half an hour or so sharpening a pointy stick with which to scoop the eyeball from its socket. I’ve noticed the definition of the word plot being stretched further and further as this second series has progressed, until it resembled an over-elasticated, dribbly mess like a Drumstick lolly after it’s been in your mouth for thirty seconds. This episode was the worst of them all, with bizarre little song-renditions jumping out of nowhere just so they could all gimp around the room with dark lipstick on being ‘edgy’, a good example of which being Karl’s idea to audition for the show. Karl. Even though he has nothing to do with Glee club. Even though he has nothing to do with the school. Even though he’s a bloody dentist.
Then came Mr. Schue’s turn, or so I thought. He decides to take on the role of Rocky in order to spend more time with Emma, begging her to rehearse a song he ‘needs to have perfected by the next day’. Only, that song turns out to be Touch-a, Touch-a, Touch-a, Touch Me – a song sung entirely by her, in which he only contributes a grand total of about four words (all spoken) and lots of looking like he’s about to jizz, and she ends up backwards-humping the classroom desk while she imagines all the children leering over her in character. I have to admit that despite this it was one of my favourite performances of the show, however – even if introduced under the most bizarre excuses. Such, I am learning, is the nature of the second series of Glee.
Sue didn’t even get to rant properly in this episode, choosing instead to go all reasonable about kids being used to make unwanted political statements and being exposed to inappropriate performance material in the name of pushing boundaries. Yeah, I know right? WTF. Yawn. Bring back her massive fictional outpourings about the 1968 Democratic National Convention where mayor Richard J. Daly punches his own wife in the face and spends an hour screaming ‘sex party!’ into the microphones of all three major networks.
If all this, plus some actually quite hard-hitting statements about boys obsessing over their looks as much as girls – which are sadly sugared over so much I think they gave me diabetes – were all this episode was about then I’d probably have punched my own non-existent wife in the face. But then they had to go and do Time Warp. And it was amazing. And Mercedes’ version of Sweet Transvestite did vocal orgasms as always. And now, despite feather boa nightmares, dentists singing out of place, and haunting images of the inappropriate heckling by the lonely mac-man, I actually want to watch the whole Rocky Horror Picture Show again. Damn that show.