The 'Glee'-ful Gwyneth Paltrow: A review

Undeterred by the sad box office flop of Country Strong, a mildly underrated film featuring a tensile performance by its star, Gwyneth Paltrow seems determined to secure a footing as some sort of pop star. Thus her brassy,  wobbly performance with Cee Lo Green on the Grammys, and thus Tuesday night’s return visit to TV’s most efficient music-hitmaker, Glee. Reprising her role of substitute teacher Holly Holliday in the episode titled “Sexy,” Paltrow had no fewer than three musical moments: a power-pop version of Joan Jett’s “Do You Wanna Touch Me,” a tango-choreographed cover of Prince’s “Kiss,” and a banjo-and-steel-guitar country rendition of Fleetwood Mac’s “Landslide.”

In each case, Paltrow put the songs across with a thin, delicate trill that only emphasized the songs’ very different strengths, combined with a wicked way with any sarcastic line given her by writer Brad Falchuk. Invoking Jessica Seinfeld’s cookbook, making like Jane Fonda as a Jazzercise instructor, and bemoaning her “disaster” of a “sex tape with J.D. Salinger,” Paltrow was as exuberantly dirty as 8 p.m. network allows. In the context of Glee, her Holly also exerted a logical allure for Will — a lusty vanilla-ice blonde is right up the alley of a man whose ex-wife was an emasculating whippet and who attracts a frigid widget like Emma. Not that Glee cares a bit about logic, of course.

(Paltrow wasn’t the only amusing guest star this evening: Seeing John Stamos do his lost-Beach-Boy accompaniment to the Starland Vocal Band’s masterpiece of unlistenable crap “Afternoon Delight” was, well, delightful.)

I can see how anyone who’s watching Glee to see who wins Regionals might be disappointed with this week’s episode, and there’ll be an excellent Glee recap for you. For the rest of us, “Sexy” was fun.

Agree? Disagree?

Twitter: @kentucker

Comments (208 total) Add your comment
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  • k

    Although I do like Gwyneth as Holly Holiday this episode was all about NAYA RIVERA!

    • elena

      Mega-ditto. She was phenom. She went from one-dimensional hilariously mean girl character to three-dimensional girl struggling with her sexuality almost too quickly, but I’m impressed. She has a gorgeous voice, too.

      • Ami

        Naya was so awesome. It was amazing. The episode reminded me of why I fell in love with the show in the first place.

      • ron

        Yea…if only she could cry convincingly.

      • Country Strong “mildly underrated film”…

        …starring a highly overrated actress.

      • hanzwa1

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      • Anya

        I agree. Naya did an amazing job and I love Santana’s character development.

      • Kiki

        Amen. Rivera put Paltrow’s one-dimensional characterization to shame.

    • cg

      Gwyneth has absolutely NO sex appeal. A bag of bones with no smoulder. Naya was excellent but looks like she just had saome lip plumping.

      • Foxer

        I agree, when she started vamping it up it was not good. The girl might be pretty, but sexy, she aint!

      • Kiki

        None. The woman is positively asexual. It does not help that her voice sounds like she’s talking through clenched teeth.

      • Tiffany

        The woman just has not rhythm. That tango was an eyesore. I watch enough Dancing with the Stars to know that happens when your partner is not coordinated. Yes, I watch the show, how dare you JUDGE me.

      • frank

        Someone needs to stop ms. paltrow. If her parents weren’t famous…she’d be doing dinner theater in Idaho.

    • Ma’at


    • Stash

      Definitely. That episode arc is one of my favorite things glee’s ever done. I will say, though, that I kind of wish Gwyneth had sung less/not at all on Landslide. It was a great moment, but I felt like all the close-ups on her took away from it.

  • Shiny

    Afternoon Delight was a charmer, and since Fox used it to great effect on Arrested Development it double dips the tune in cool.

    Loved Santana’s arc; turns out the past two seasons set up Santana’s heartbreak perfectly. It did feel last season that you had to hold your breath with Glee because at any moment they could hit a sour note, but this season we’ve been able to just sit back and enjoy fantastic ep after fantastic ep.

    On another note it seems all the other EW articles are about trainwrecks; heroin addict rock stars, tweaking fallen tv stars, thieving desperate former child stars; EW is becoming a downer to read. Thank goodness for a little Glee.

    • @ Ken

      Ken you anal cancar, the show was on at 8 PM!!!!!!!!!!!

      • @@Ken

        The dude made a type, can you be any grosser or classless?

      • @@Ken

        and apparently, so did I. That should have been “typO”

  • Jane

    There was way too much Gwyneth in this episode, and not nearly enough John Stamos. #gleefail

    • Nick

      this is neither twitter nor a phone #Janefail

      • Greg

        Here’s a cookie #douchebag

      • #gleesucks

        that fits.

    • brandy

      Why did you just use a hashtag in a blog post comment?

      • Sara

        Well, old people like me use tags, but html marking is like, sooo uncool now. So, I’m guessing the hashtag will just show up in a Google search. Personally, I’d be more concerned that the word “fail” has lost almost all of its meaning.

  • K

    I thought GP sounded okay on Landslide, better than Schue’s falsetto on Kiss, and utterly weak and awful on “Do You Wanna Touch Me.” I did love John Stamos, but I thought the episode was basically just okay overall. Not good, but not the worst episode of Glee ever. You’ve just been Zised!

    • cg

      Do You Wanna Touch was megabad. You need a hard rocker voice. Any episode without a Rachel or Kurt ballad is a weak episode. Also, who is the target audience for this show again? Trying too hard to be racy for teens and way too “let me act dirty” for grown-ups”.

      • Rock Golf

        The worst part about Glee performing “Do You Want To Touch Me” is that the royalties go to Gary Glitter, a convicted pedophile. This guys used to fly to Thailand to have sex with boys under 12.
        Actually, if you read the lyrics to the song, it sounds like he’s seducing a minor.

      • ursulamajor

        @Rock Golf
        You’ve fallen into the false premise that all pedophiles are homosexual. Glitter was convicted of molesting little girls.

  • Sharon

    Kurt’s expressions during the song, Animal, was Hilarious!!!! That boy is adorable…and completely lacking sex appeal. =)

    • Chris

      His voice also lacks sex appeal. The girls may love him but the gay guys find him to be androgynous which is a huge turnoff.

      • matt

        I find Kurt to be sexy in the way he smiles. Well, maybe not sexy but pretty adorable! Well okay, I guess that was your point, hehe.

      • psyche

        he is about as sexy as a baby penguin :)

  • Shh

    I enjoyed the episode, I very much enjoyed Gwyneth guest spot. Holly is fun to watch, I hope she’s at least consider for an Emmy nom for guest star.

    • Miss Talk

      I think she will snag an Emmy nod but I really want Mike O’Malley to win this year. His acting is brilliant!
      The episode was great, the songs were not epic but still they were related to the theme. I was shocked that Prince let them cover his song though.
      I’m just throwing it out there but I really really want Ryan Murphy to cast Lisa “Phoebe Buffay” Kudrow as Brittany’s mom. It would be awesome!

      • LA

        OMG Miss Talk — BRILLIANT idea for Brittany’s mom. You got my vote!

      • matt

        Oh wow, Lisa Kudrow would be PERFECT for her mom!

      • Anya

        Seriously sign Lisa Kudrow up for that role now!

      • abadstroller

        Lisa Kudrow as Brittany’s mom. Perfect. Now how should Lisa play Ms. Pierce (And her name? Mildred? Please let it be punny!)? A: Ditsy? Too easy. B: Bitchy? Too mean would make a girl like Brit bitter. C: Reserved and too pre-occupied with herself to notice how lost her daughter is? D: All of the Above? All I know, Kudrow would create a multi-layered Mama Pierce.
        She wouldn’t even have to sing (strumming “Smelly Cat” on guitar would be cool and meta).

      • Kendra

        Yes!! LOVE this!!

      • Raul

        Cortney No you will not do all of the drills as part of your wmuarp. You choose 3 drills and you do the 1/2 mile. Choose the # of repeats you do taking into consideration the distance of the race or event you are training for and your ability to maintain proper mechanics for the time or distance of the repeat. If you are not training for a race or event stay with a lower # of repeats.

    • abadstroller

      I think that Gwyneth knows that Holly is at heart a dork and a nerd and that Holly is trying to cover up what a loser she believes she really is. That’s why Holly (more so that Gwyneth) is such a hot mess. Just like the kids who don’t feel comfortable with themselves and just want to fit in, well, that’s Holly. And every other adult character on Glee. Sad to say, but Real Life can play out like high school to the nth degree–if you don’t know who you are. (And how many of us, do?

      • Kiki

        I think you’ve given more thought to Holly’s backstory and motivations than Paltrow or Murphy.

      • abadstroller

        Kiki, dear, you’ve figured me out. (Shh, don’t tell anyone, but I’m pretty much of a nerd myself). Liz Lemon IS my people. (quiet self-pitying sobbing)

  • LOL

    Glee is crap. Open a book.

    • So

      Or maybe just waste your time posting comments in reviews of shows you don’t like. Smart

      • Sunshine

        @So … very good comeback. And very good point.

    • olo

      I think it’s fair to assume that you haven’t opened a book since elementary school.

    • buffyjunkie

      I read. And I like Glee.

    • Henry

      Comments like this makes me really believe that America doesn’t like anything that is uplifting and fun on television. Hate the negativity -it is better to not say anything if you have to spew indifference.

      • ??

        Wow Henry. Generalize much? First THIS show was not uplifting. Second how do you SPEW indifference? 3rd if America didn’t like the show it would not be on. Grow a pair!

      • Kuldeep

        I did some calculations to firuge it out and it is really highly dependent on how fast you row (and your weight and a bunch of other factors), but if you assume that you can do 500 m in 120 seconds (~200 watts) and you are a typical size for a male, then about 15 16 45# SHDPs at high intensity are about equivalent to 9 calories (roughly equivalent to 155 m of rowing).But it’s a really approximate measurement Cheers,Shawn

    • nolol

      I opened a book. Now what do I do?

    • Jack

      I could open a book, but I don’t have time. I’m too busy posting negative things on the Internet to pull down other people!

    • Ma’at

      Said the idiot posting on an Entertainment site message board.

      And many of us have the ability to do both. A talent you lack?

    • abadstroller

      Uh, shouldn’t you be in a library? (Stay away from the computers) The books are the things made of paper over there with WORDS on them….

  • Shh

    Also, Glee is totally waisting Stamos! He needs a couple more solos, maybe Carl and Holly can hook up when the season is over and their guest spots are done.

  • lc

    no ken, we don’t agree. if you read the comments under Darren Franich’s EW article you’ll see why. gwyneth is the queen of self promoting. we are tired of seeing her everywhere over the past few months. she is constantly name dropping about beyonce, faith , ex brad, etc. trying desperately to stay relevant. why do celebs like her and kim k feel like they need to dabble in everything (books, makeup, perfume, jewelry, websites, now music), don’t they make enough money already? and she is the opposite of country, she’s from upper new york and thinks she’s better and smarter than everyone else. she constantly tries to make fun of herself and says she’s so nervous to sing live, just so people like her. people aren’t dumb, and they won’t buy her as a singer much less a country singer. she is a loser poser. she tries to capitalize on knowing jay z and beyonce. she doesn’t even like black people. beyonce is super nice and is being taken advantage of by gwyneth. gp is over the hill and just over. her body is not hot, it’s sickly looking, she has no butt or chest, and the botox in her face looks horrible. she’s not sexy, guys don’t want to get with a skeleton. she can’t dance, just check out her bizarre dance moves in “shake that thing”. that’s funny that matt morris said it was wierd kissing her, that’s why chris martin is NEVER seen with her in public. oh, and her prior to plastic surgery photos from her youth look horrible. just take a look at her brother and you’d see what she’d look like without the plastic surgery, and with her real hair. don’t feel like matt’s being a jerk, gwyneth said it was “wierd” dating brad pitt. brad’s probably thankful everyday he didn’t marry her. ben didn’t want to marry her either, so she kept looking desperately. chris got suckered into marrying her because she got pregnant “accidentally”. so she allows him to date kate b and other ladies, she just wants to be married to a rock star. she claimed she loved her dad so much, but she dragged him to italy for
    her 30th bday, while he was deathly sick, and he ended up dying there.
    she is just so absorbed in herself. she should be thankful she made it this far. she only won an oscar because she took off her top, like anne hathaway joked this year at the oscars, it used to be you get naked, you get an oscar. as far as acting goes, she doesn’t move her face at all, all she knows is to give these sad eye looks all the time. please go back to london, which she claims is better than the us anyway. there are millions of better musicians out there looking for a contract, they deserve a chance. why does she get one?

    • truthsquad

      Wow …that was…very……detailed…

    • pitt

      @Ic–Wow, that is a rather long and disturbing tirade. Not sure why you are so poisoned against a celebrity that you likely have never met nor will ever personally know, but it seems rather unhealthy.

    • K

      Whoa….that was weird.

    • ssquared

      this is actually the funniest thing to ever be posted on EW

      • Maureen

        Agreed! :D

    • Tarc

      Blah blah blah… jealous… blah… hate… blah blah. So what?

    • Diego Sierra

      Ic has issues… 0_o

    • Sophie

      I am worried about you. I also think Gwyneth should get a restraining order placed on you.

    • Running Mom

      The best part was how you went on for half a page spewing your vitriol against a person you’ve never known but are trying desperately to convince with your many, MANY words how much you do. I think the word we’re looking for here is…disturbing…

    • wow oh wow

      I have never posted comments to any sort of news site, or comments-taking site anywhere I don’t think, but I have to now to agree with these reply-posters: Wow. This is crazypants. Crazy. Pants. I love the internet, except when, or especially when, it makes me long for pre-Graham Bell days.

    • LOL

      Ic just took the heat off me.

    • MsSuniDaze

      You don’t have to be shy around us. Tell us how you really feel. Good grief!

    • Juliane

      I don’t like Gwyneth Paltrow much either, but sheesh dude… calm down and take a breath.

    • tickles

      Blah, Blah. Vampire emergency. Blah, Blah, Blah.

    • HoneyB

      It’s hardly appropriate to lump GP in the same category as Kim Kardasian. While I may not always like GP, she has been excellent as an actress at times (Shakespeare in Love, Sliding Doors, Emma) and has talent. Kim is just a walking STD.

    • sparkles

      You go girl er..dude anyway that was right on the money.

    • Ma’at

      In short, I really like your post. =)

    • Anya

      So, just to make sure we’re clear here… you don’t like Gwyneth Paltrow right??

    • abadstroller

      Astonishing amount of detail (and time spent typing it). Gwynnie, re:poster child Ic: Two words. RESTRAINING ORDER.

    • Really?

      YEAH IC!!!!! If I was inclined to spend way to much time on a post it would be just like yours. I cannot stand GOOP — come on people, go to her website and see why! I also love the term “poser loser” because in my head poser rhymes with loser….. (like pooser loser) which is my new name for Goopy.

    • Jessi

      WOW! Crazies are alive and well! Really you wasted all that energy to go off on a “celebrity”? Lets be honest who are you really mad at?

      • Really?

        Well Jessi, I am not mad at all actually, not crazy either. Just trying to rid the world of Goopy worship…. come on, come to the good side and don’t get any goop on you! She is such an obvious ‘mean girl’ who doesn’t understand when her minions defect lol

    • Okey Dokey

      Winona – is that you?

    • Sarai13

      I thought it was just me who noticed GPs thin flat hair and even flatter a$$ as she awkwardly danced around the floor. Painful to watch her “Rocker Chick” performance.

  • scytherius

    I most assuredly do not think Paltrow is sexy, nor do I like her, but I do think she did a very good job in this episode in this role.

  • Satan

    LOVED Gwyneth. She shook up everybody, and I find her delightful.

  • Kevin

    The songs didn’t quite do it for me this week (Holly should’ve only had two songs tops) but I really enjoyed the plot this episode, a rarity for Glee. Not only was most of the episode hilarious, but Santana and Brittany’s storyline was very profound and emotional as well.

  • Jen

    Wasn’t a fan. Really annoyed by the Blaine story line, of him going to Kurt’s dad. Really awkward and unrealistic. Of course all of Glee is generally unrealistic, what with the breaking out into song every five minutes, but I digress. Just a weird episode overall.

    • Tarc

      Glee is quite deliberately surreal. Please look it up.

      • abadstroller

        Television is not real life? Someone get the word out! Some people think TV is REAL! (Same folks don’t know what “surreal” means. Dictionary. Library? Check in the book section, Ic and ilk….) Nice job, Tarc!

    • matt

      I think the writers were like “how do we incorporate a parental talk about sex in this sex-themed episode?” and they were like “well we don’t know what the hell to do with kurt and blaine anymore so we’ll use them.”

    • Anya

      I thought the sex talk between Burt and Kurt was really really nice. But I agree, the Blaine part leading up to it where Blaine was talking to Burt was so awkward it actually annoyed me.

      • Kiki

        Agreed. That talk in combination with the fact that the actor is so clearly not a teenager made it seem like two adults talking about a child, which will make it SUPER creepy should Blaine and Kurt ever become romantically and sexually involved.

  • Becca

    I couldn’t tell if they were knocking abstinence or abstinence education – because believe me there is a difference.

    I’m a little torn about this episode, Holly Holliday isn’t likable (at least not in this episode) and I felt like characters got insulted (Quinn, Rachel, Emma and the Celibacy club, etc). However, there were moments of redemption like the sex talk b/w Kurt and his dad. I hope next week is better.

    I don’t take Glee too seriously but there is a part that is sincere and I couldn’t get past what they were doing here.

    Like saying you can’t be sexy until you have had sex (Kurt and the sexy faces…the most ridiculous thing!) I mean we are born sexual beings and why else do kids date and become attracted to each other? It’s obviously already there instinctually…what was with calling Rachel and Quinn frigid? It was just terrible.

    • Sam

      I agree! I thought this episode was great EXCEPT for the weird bashing of celibacy and depicting anyone who chooses to stay celibate as an idiot (or a liar, a la Quinn). It’s a valid choice, just like any other choice. Just because abstinence-only education dosn’t always make sense doesn’t mean teenagers who choose to remain celibate (misguided reasons or not) should be mocked about it.

      I also didn’t like Kurt’s talk with his dad. At first I thought it was a joke, but then I realized we were supposed to be taking that whole “women get attached when they have sex, men are promiscuous” thing seriously.

      • Tarc

        Well, scientifically that is accurate. Do you have a point?

      • Wha’ever

        Scientifically that’s accurate ? WTF ? Where are the studies ? Men can get attached when they have sex, just like women.

      • McFudge

        There are misguided reasons for teenagers to remain celebate? By extension, there are good reasons for them to have sex? They’re TEENAGERS. There’s never a good reason. Waiting until you’ve achieved a certain degree of emotional maturity is not some sort of psychological disorder. I think sometimes we confuse these characters, who are supposed to be 15/16/17 year old high schoolers, with the actors in their 20’s who play them because the actors definitely don’t look like high schoolers.

    • Mimi

      Well put. The writers managed to make Ms. Holiday very unlikeable in this episode and probably managed to insult a good portion of their audience due to their not quite so subtle celibacy bashing. It is no wonder their ratings are tanking.

  • Molly

    Poor Carl…Emma is terrible to him. ENOUGH WITH THE WEMMA IT IS NAUSEATING

    • Monty

      I’m more nauseated by people insisting on combining a couples individual names to form a couple nickname.

      • Tarc


      • Mike

        What, you don’t like Brittana!?!

      • matt

        I learned what “lady kisses” means from the Encyclopedia of Brittana …… no?

      • Fridge

        Can we campaign to make this stop? I’m so tired of every couple on a TV show, movie, or some celebrity couple that has their names mashed together. I blame Bennifer 1.0 for this–just make it stop!

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