Review Summary: Let's not do the time warp again...
Given the characters of Glee love their old musicals, it seemed like it was only a matter of time before they got their grubby hands clasped entirely around one of the classics. Bizarrely, however, they went for The Rocky Horror Picture Show
– the raunchy, controversial and downright fearless rock opera which couldn't be further from the squeaky-clean imagery the show is best known for. Needless to say, the episode itself, The Rocky Horror Glee Show
, was quite possibly the worst episode in the history of the entire show. The music itself, however, took itself to an all new level of bad: The Rocky Horror Glee Show
, its musical numbers presented here in EP form, is an exercise in the evils of political correctness, taking everything that made the original production and subsequent film so edgy and innovative and polishing it through its surface.
“Time Warp,” instead of being the bold and showy number that it is within the musical, is watered down and anticlimactic. In addition to being over-sung by most of the cast, splitting up Riff Raff's vocal role between Kurt (Chris Colfer) and Finn (Cory Monteith) is incredibly insulting to Colfer's abilities as well as the character itself. John Stamos has just enough charisma to throw together a passable “Hot Patootie,” but the rest of the cast seem to have no connection to the rest of the numbers – even Jayma Mays, who auditioned to be a part of the show by singing “Touch-a Touch-a Touch-a Touch Me,” doesn't even sound half as sex-starved and desperate as the character of Janet needs to be. By far the worst offender here, however, is “Sweet Transvestite” - arguably Dr. Frank-N-Furter's defining song, it is here turned into a complete cringe. It is left in the hands of Mercedes, played by Amber Riley, who feels the need to over-sing anything that comes within a fifty-metre radius of her vocal cords. Naturally, she completely spoils the song's half-spoken sass with her incessant Aretha-lite howls; but the greatest insult comes in the form of the chorus:
I'm just a sweet transvestite
From sensational Transylvania
Sorry, what? Glee have made changes to songs in the past, but that was only to censor derogatory words like “bitch” or “nigger.”
When did “transsexual” become a swear word? What's more, if you're going to “censor” the most memorable part of the chorus, then why perform it at all?
The Rocky Horror Glee Show
is a significant misstep for all involved, but one that hopefully show creator Ryan Murphy can recover from as season two unfurls. If anything, it serves as a lesson and a caution – don't mess with the classics, especially if you've got nothing to add to them and you're not even brave enough to perform them as they are.