Later, there are some more dire words about this episode's Plot Device in the music room, and then it's time for Rachel's video, which she excitedly introduces like this: "Though I understand that a motion picture should stand on its own, I do realize that some of you are not well-versed in the complex vocabulary of the filmic arts. I expect that this video will go over the heads of some of our less-cultured teammates, so let me just say I hope you enjoy my bad reputation!" Yeah, we're about to realize that Rachel's not terribly well-versed in the complex vocabulary of the filmic arts herself, but I'm probably getting ahead of myself. Rachel commands the lights to dim, then takes her seat next to Jesse St. James for the premiere of "Run Joey Run." And oh, my holy God, it's three full minutes of unadulterated, seemingly endless cheese, and it is hilarious. The song remains horrendous despite the excellent vocals by everyone involved, and that was a given, but the visuals are so awful -- so intentionally, hysterically awful -- that you just sort of sit there open-mouthed as it plays out, not able to laugh at any one thing because too many absolutely ridiculous things are flying by at the same time. It opens with Santana Lopez and Brittany as a pair of slyly knowing angels floating through dry-ice clouds in the school's main hall, and after that image bounces backwards to shatter into 81 identical copies of itself, it leaps forward again so the angels might part to reveal Rachel, over-the-top desperate, as the song's ill-fated Julie, dashing through those same dry-ice clouds as the fluorescents flicker ominously overhead. And it goes downhill from there. With split screens featuring one person singing the song while another blatantly mouths along to the lyrics. With disembodied lips kaleidoscopically bursting outwards before collapsing back in on each other as they relate certain important plot points. With star-shaped wipes opening up to reveal Rachel. With Sandy Ryerson cameoing as Julie's Dad. With ketchup for bloodstains. With Puck in a white beater, for Christ's sake! Oh, wait -- my bad. That last is the one stunningly gorgeous visual that makes up for all of the crap ones.
Yes, it's all very amusing -- and I mean that most sincerely -- but a straight-up recitation of the video's many gruesome details would ignore what's actually happening during this scene. You see, Rachel sneakily triple-cast Joey using Puck, Jesse, and Finn, with Puck carrying the first fourth of the video, Jesse the second, Finn the third, and all three trading off during the final, delightfully melodramatic Run-Joey-Runs that lead into the song's finale. And each of the guys is just finding out now that she's been dicking them all over. Ooops. So when it ends and the lights come back up, Finn's first reaction, naturally, is "This is garbage!" "He's right!" Puck agrees, though it quickly becomes clear Puck's more concerned about the video's quality -- or, more correctly, lack thereof -- than he is with the tangled interpersonal relationships Rachel's just fucked up. "First of all," Puck gripes, "I need to trust my instincts more, because I had a feeling when we were shooting that, that it was not gonna be good!" "Why didn't you tell me that they were in this too?" Jesse St. James peeves from his seat, leaping into the delicious pile-on currently in progress. "I thought you and I were going out!" he protests. "Being triple cast with two other guys to play opposite your boyfriend? It's mortifying!" And yeah, Jesse St. James isn't exactly acting like he's all that mortified at the moment, but his eyebrows are starting to make me think some very naughty thoughts, so who cares? "I-I-It was an artistic statement!" Rachel bleats, attempting to explain herself. "No, it wasn't!" Finn blares. "It was you trying to look like you had a bunch of guys fighting over you so you could stop looking like some kind of outcast and be seen as some hot, slutty girl-singer!" And... point to Frankenteen. First one in a while, I believe. After a few more choice words, Finn flounces out, followed shortly by Jesse St. James. And Jesse? If you really want to look mortified, study your supposed girlfriend at this moment, because she's got that shit down. Commercials.