Pep rally. Didn't they just have one of those last week? Sue is sitting with Tracy Pendergrass, the reporter from Splits magazine. But Tracy's actually a dapper black man, not a woman. Sue, with her insistence on clear demarcations of the boundary between genders, was confused by his name. He notes the high turnout for the pep rally, and she tells him, "On assembly days, I arrange for the rest of the school to be fumigated, leaving the gymnasium as the only place with breathable air." She advises that he start writing down some of her witticisms for his article. He tells her that he's actually a hard-hitting investigative reporter doing a freelance job for the magazine, and he intends to approach his article about her with the same intensity nearly won him a Pulitzer for his piece on high school athletes going pro. Sue is actually a bit rattled. The lights go down and the Cheerios take the floor. All those boy Cheerios we saw last week? They're all gone, except for Kurt. Sue tries to talk up her own genius to Tracy, telling him to prepare himself for the "smoking intro," which she then amends won't happen for a few seconds, to let the tension build. And then build some more, as Mercedes has not made her appearance. And then Mercedes walks out, in her tracksuit pants. She takes the microphone, but instead of singing whatever she was supposed to sing, she starts to talk about how being a Cheerio is supposed to be about winning, but she thinks it should be about something else. She gets people to raise their hands to admit that they feel fat, or ugly, or pimply, or stupid, or just feel like a big old loser. And Mercedes has felt all of those things at one time or another. I swear that Carmen gave this speech on an episode of Popular, but I'll be damned if I'm going to read every recap to find it. (Of course, Carmen addressed most of her speeches to junk food, not assemblies. Maybe I'd remember it if I tried to think about it from the viewpoint of a cupcake.) Anyway, all of this is prelude to Mercedes singing Christina Aguilera's "Beautiful." Before long, the floor of the gym if full of people singing, while the audience in the crowd stands and sways. All except for Sue, who looks terrified. As Mercedes finishes, Tracy tells Sue that they'll finish the interview in her office tomorrow. And Kurt approaches Mercedes and says, "Thank you. I was wrong." Commercials
Sue enters her office to find Tracy already seated in front of her desk. She nervously offers to explain, and he pretty much commands her to have a seat. Sue is freaked out at the idea that someone is giving her orders in her own office, but she does what he asks. Tracy: "Sue, when I met you, I instantly disliked you. You're bossy, insulting, and the fact that twice you called me Rerun makes me think you're a little racist." Oh Sue. This guy is clearly Raj, not Rerun. Tracy planned to write an article exposing Sue. But the fact that she had cheerleaders of every size (although it's actually cheerleaders of only two sizes -- Mercedes and everybody else), talking and singing about being beautiful despite their differences, told him that he was wrong and Sue is clearly a progressive, open-minded cheerleading coach who should inspire the nation. He calls her a "visionary." I think those are psychotic hallucinations, not visions. Sue tells him that she tries to get the girls to recognize that it's what's inside that counts. Before she can talk too much and reveal her own inherent ugliness (internal ugliness, that is), he ends the interview and thanks her for her time. So he attended one pep rally and spoke with Sue for about one minute? Those aren't exactly the kind of reporting skills that will earn you a Pulitzer, Raj.