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Television Recap

'Glee': The men of New Directions bare all in new episode 'Naked'

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Season 4, episode 12

Oh my, is it getting hot in here? This week's Glee will require some serious brow mopping, as the men of New Directions flaunt their buff bods for your pleasure thanks to a perv-tacular plot device.

But is there any real meat to the episode besides all that flesh being flashed by its stars? Sort of, is the answer. There's no denying that most of the semi-nudity is gratuitous, and initially Glee tries to offset this by overloading the episode with ideas.

Glee S04E12: 'Naked'

© Fox



'Naked' opens with a pokey-tongued news report featuring Rod Remington (that guy Sue Sylvester dated in season one) explaining that the Warblers have been disqualified for steroid abuse, giving the New Directions a reprieve, after which the whole thing descends into chaos with his co-anchor flying into a meta-rampage about how this bit of exposition would never be classed as news. Also, there's a doctor squirrel.

Then in New York, Rachel is recruited for a pretentious student film called Come Back to Me Grandmother: A Journey Into Alzheimer's, but is unsure about whether to commit to the project when she discovers it will require her to go topless. She shows that she is torn by singing... 'Torn' with an innocent, virginal, blouse buttoned to the neck representation of her former self in what is an effective, but still kinda strange method of conveying the internal conflict over her image.

Glee S04E12: 'Naked'

© Fox



Having the news report and a Fondue for Two cutaway plus the split personality gimmick flung at you all within the first five minutes or so means 'Naked' gets off to a muddled start. To make matters worse, it feels like plot points are scattered about without thought - so many people get handed stuff that won't matter in the long run of the season that in the beginning we found ourselves losing the will to keep up.

But then things start to get more interesting once the guys start stripping, and yes we assure you that is just coincidental. The reason behind their flesh-flashing is that the New Directions need to raise money for a bus to regionals, and it's Tina who takes charge for a second consecutive episode and suggests the idea of a naked calendar. On a side note, even though technically this suggestion is a little bit creepy since the characters are all still in school, we're glad to see Tina making a long overdue rise to prominence.

Glee S04E12: 'Naked'

© Fox



Sam, who's just been told that his latest test results would be subpar for a monkey, starts overcompensating for his lack of brains by strutting down the hallway flaunting his "hardcore rocking bod" and whipping the other men into shape to the tune of Nelly's misspelled baby-making classic 'Hot in Herre'.

When Blaine pulls him up on his showboating, Sam explains that it's all because he's worried people won't like him unless he's "special". A concerned Blaine helps remind him of all the good things he's done with a tear-jerking video tribute from the members of the glee club featuring Mercedes and, amazingly, a brief reprise of 'Trouty Mouth'.

You see, it's when 'Naked' quits being superficial and peers a little deeper that it starts to perk up. Elsewhere in the episode, Jake struggles with opening himself to Marley and telling her he loves her, while Artie confides in Finn - who's on a fun but, again, ultimately pointless mission to find Sue Sylvester's nude Penthouse cover - that he isn't comfortable posing for the calendar.

Glee S04E12: 'Naked'

© Fox



Back in New York, Rachel's riddled with similar insecurities over the topless scene, causing a rift between her and Kurt as he accuses her of forgetting the type of girl she really is. Brody, however, is more encouraging about his girlfriend baring all, arguing: "If you want to win an Oscar, you have to show your boobs," and getting naked in the apartment in a show of support, although it could just be that he wants to compete with all the hotties at McKinley.

So concerned is Kurt that Quinn and Santana arrive in New York to stage an intervention for Rachel, begging her not to go topless. Their brief cameo works wonders, as Rachel realizes on set that she's not ready to expose herself for the camera and leaves the project to perform a happy, remember-to-love-yourself arrangement of 'Love Song' with the ladies.

Glee S04E12: 'Naked'

© Fox



It may be bit of filler episode with deliberate pandering, but at least by having some of the show's strongest characters - particularly the men - exhibit body image issues and "get naked emotionally", this week's Glee has done some good.

Artie's concerns about his "broken" physique, for example, are handled a lot better than Marley's bulimia storyline, which even in this very episode continues to be a punchline. At the end of it all, 'Naked' is an odd thing - an episode that's not particularly accomplished but still has plenty of heart and moments that'll get yours racing.

What do you think of this week's Glee? Leave your comments below!
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