Dream Artie inserts a CD into a rack of players on display in the mall atrium, and when "Safety Dance" by Men Without Hats comes flooding out of the speakers, Artie leads a suddenly appearing flash mob composed of several dozen teen-esque mall patrons (plus one old guy) in a ridiculously exuberant routine that quickly overwhelms all of the atrium's available space while a giddy circle of less-agile shoppers bops along to the infectious beat on the sidelines. Some have insisted on the boards that each Glee Club member has a Dream Ballet counterpart, but the only ones who are immediately apparent to me are Dream Tina, Dream Butt Lunch, Dream Gaylord, Dream Brit-Brit, Dream Lady Face, and -- for one hot second -- Dream Brassy Hag. It's mostly an immense amount of fun, but the choppy editing that leaps across multiple angles of the action destroys the dance's momentum, and that problem's only made worse when they shift from the standard film cameras to simulated hand-held cell phone shots like you've no doubt seen incorporated into the hundreds of flash-mob videos now on YouTube. In fact, when they whip out the supposed cell phone shots, the entire number transforms into a mash-up of my two least-favorite music videos of all time, "Praise You" by Fatboy Slim and "You Get What You Give" by the douchetastic New Radicals. Though I probably shouldn't complain too much. Especially because I'm extremely likely to forget all about this dreadfully paced mistake of an episode as soon as I've submitted the recap.
And in the end, after Dream Artie most awesomely surfs atop the crowd towards the song's final note, he drops back into his chair, and the camera cuts away to a wide angle of the atrium, showing Real Artie trapped in a sort of enforced passivity at the center of an unceasing flow of the mall's pedestrian traffic until Single-T Tina returns with their pretzels. "You okay?" she asks, having noted the strange, faraway look on his face. "I'm gonna dance one day, you know," Real Artie replies, still smiling at his little fantasy. Yeah, don't bet on it, kid.
We zip over to Sue Sylvester's office, where there follows a scene between Sue and Bryan Ryan that's so drearily earnest in its arguments for parity in the funding of physical education and arts programs in the public schools that it ends up completely out of whack, tonally speaking, with the rest of the series, and it is such a bizarre aberration that I'll be speeding through the major points. Long story short, Bryan Ryan has come to understand how important arts funding actually is, as exposure to the arts improves math, foreign language, and reasoning abilities, and he now seeks to reduce the Cheerios budget because that one squad is gobbling up, like, 75% of the high school's resources for extracurricular activities. Sue, naturally, is outraged at this latest assault on her award-winning cheerleaders, and counters that the decline in our nation's physical education standards has not only led directly to an unprecedented obesity epidemic, but has also negatively impacted the problem-solving and social skills of an entire generation of American children. And when they're finally done thus lecturing the audience, we return to the Glee I originally signed up for. "You're an impressive woman," Bryan Ryan admits. "I can't tell you how much you turn me on right now -- have you ever heard of the term 'anger sex'?" "The only kind I know, Bryan," Sue replies, matching his simmering level of low-key and slightly dangerous ardor while getting right up in his face. "I should tell you I'm married," he warns. "Not a problem," she shoots back. "I'm still cutting half your budget." "You win some, you lose some." "Should I lock the door?" "No, I got a secret room upstairs. Like Letterman." HA! And yes, if it's ever referred to again, I will be calling it "Sue Sylvester's Secret Annex," because: Ew! Commercials.