Blame It on the Alcohol

Blame It on the Alcohol
"Blame It on the Alcohol"
Glee episode
Episode no. Season 2
Episode 14
Directed by Eric Stoltz
Written by Ian Brennan
Featured music "My Headband"
"Don't You Want Me"
"Blame It"
"One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer"
"Tik Tok"
Original air date February 22, 2011 (2011-02-22)
Guest stars
Episode chronology
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List of Glee episodes

"Blame It on the Alcohol" is the fourteenth episode of the second season of the television series Glee, and the 36th overall. The episode was written by Ian Brennan, directed by Eric Stoltz and first aired in the United States on Fox on February 22, 2011. This episode mainly centers around the issues of underage drinking, as the students of McKinley High School are coming drunk to school in increasing numbers. Principal Figgins (Iqbal Theba) plans an assembly to warn the students about the dangers on underage drinking, and asks glee club director Will Schuester (Matthew Morrison) to have his students perform a song that send positive messages about avoiding alcohol. Rachel Berry (Lea Michele) throws a party exclusively for the glee club where almost everyone gets drunk; the partygoers wake up to hangovers, and must perform various songs about alcohol while still under the influence. The assembly ends abruptly when a song that seems to glorify alcohol ends with two of the singers vomiting over the others, which scares the entire high school into avoiding drunkenness.

"Blame It on the Alcohol" was met with a mostly positive reception from critics on its initial airing. Katie Morgan of Billboard praised most of the musical numbers, while Robert Canning of IGN called the episode "comical" and "human". This episode featured cover versions of four songs, including a cover of "Tik Tok" by Kesha and "Blame It" by Jamie Foxx featuring T-Pain. Most of the musical performances and covers received a mixed to generally positive reception from critics. All songs were released as singles and made available for digital download.

Upon its premiere, the episode was watched by over 10.58 million American viewers, and it garnered a 4.4/12 Nielsen rating/share in the 18–49 demographic.[1] The episode's total viewership and ratings were slightly up from the previous episode, "Comeback", which was watched by 10.53 million American viewers, and acquired a 4.2/12 rating/share in the 18–49 demographic upon first airing on television.[2]



Concerned about recent underage drinking incidents at McKinley High, Principal Figgins (Iqbal Theba) holds a cautionary assembly and commissions the glee club to perform a song about the dangers of alcohol. Lead singer Rachel (Lea Michele) needs inspiration to write a song for Regionals, so throws a house party for the club, which is also attended by former member Kurt (Chris Colfer) and his crush Blaine (Darren Criss). Most attendees get drunk, and Rachel and Blaine share a long kiss during a game of Spin the Bottle, then perform "Don't You Want Me" as a karaoke duet. Blaine spends the night in Kurt's bed, fully clothed. Kurt's father Burt (Mike O'Malley) is not pleased about this level of intimacy under his roof and tells Kurt to ask for permission first next time. Kurt grudgingly agrees, but asks Burt to educate himself on gay relationships so Kurt can come to him for advice in the future.

On Monday, the glee club members arrive at school hungover, and perform the song "Blame It". Club director Will Schuester (Matthew Morrison) is impressed with their "realistic acting", but thinks the song is inapproriate for the assembly as it glorifies drinking. Football coach Shannon Beiste (Dot-Marie Jones) prevails on Will to join her in a night out at a cowboy bar to reduce their stress; they perform the song "One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer". Will gets drunk and once home, he drunkenly grades all his students A+, then drunk dials the school's guidance counselor Emma Pillsbury (Jayma Mays) and leaves a message.

Rachel asks Blaine out, and to Kurt's dismay he accepts. They argue, as Blaine suggests he might be bisexual, while Kurt refutes the existence of bisexuality. Kurt visits Rachel after the date, and warns Rachel that Blaine is indeed gay, if temporarily confused. At the assembly, New Directions perform Kesha's "Tik Tok", but the song comes to an abrupt end when Brittany (Heather Morris) and Santana (Naya Rivera) throw up from intoxication. Later, cheerleading coach Sue Sylvester (Jane Lynch) publicly humiliates Will by playing the message he left on her voice mail—not Emma's, as he had meant to do—over the school PA system while classes are in session. Embarrassed, Will realizes that it is hypocritical to tell the students not to drink when he does so himself. Principal Figgins rewards the club members with frozen yogurt coupons, in the belief that they were acting during the assembly. Will later convinces the whole club to sign a pledge to not drink until after their upcoming Nationals competition, and tells them he will also abstain; in case they do drink, he gives them his phone number so they can call him at any time to safely drive them home. Rachel kisses a sober Blaine, which makes him realize he is indeed gay. Instead of being disappointed by this, she is elated, and tells Kurt that she is inspired by having had a relationship with a man who turned out to be gay—she calls it "songwriting gold".


"Tik Tok" by Kesha was one of five songs featured on the episode.

The episode featured cover versions of "Don't You Want Me" by The Human League, "One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer" by Rudy Toombs, as recorded by George Thorogood, "Tik Tok" by Kesha and "Blame It" by Jamie Foxx and T-Pain.[3] "One Bourbon" marked Dot-Marie Jones' singing debut on Glee. There was also an original song: "My Headband", ostensibly written by Rachel.

Critical response

The musical covers and performances for the episode were met with mostly positive reception from critics and fans alike. Katie Morgan of Billboard praised the casts' performance of "Blame It", writing, "We honestly think this version might be better than the original."[4] However, Todd VanderWerff of The A.V. Club gave a negative review on the cover, saying that it was "one of the least enjoyable numbers of the season."[5] Candace Bulter of ScreenCrave praised the New Directions' cover of "Tik Tok", writing, "Ke$ha might be able to out-drink the Glee members, but their cover of her song was phenomenal."[6] She would go on to praise Brittany's choreography and voice, calling it "mad" and "awesome".[6] Sandra Gonzalez of Entertainment Weekly praised all of the musical performances and cover of the episode.[7] In her review, she graded the covers of "Blame It" and "Don't You Want Me" the highest, giving each one an A.[7] For her review of the cover of "Blame It", she wrote, "I'm not a fan of the original song. And at the risk of sounding like a proponent of underage drinking [...] this was one of the better R&B performances we've seen from the Glee gang in a while."[7] In her review for the cover of "Don't You Want Me", Gonzalez wrote, "I'm happy [...] to report that I love '80s music as much as I love a Rachel Berry power ballad. So the mere idea of this song being covered had me more excited than words can properly express [...]. The result met — if not exceeded — my expectations. Blaine needs to join New Directions so we can get more duets between him and Rachel."[7] She wrote a positive review on the cover version of "One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer", writing, "Will Schuester is about as country as Beiste is a dress-wearing kind of gal, and I was totally prepared to hate this song. In fact, I wasn't a fan of the first few minutes. But by the time the chorus hit, it was clear that Dot Marie Jones and Matthew Morrison had fun recording this song. And because country is 70 percent attitude, it grew on me."[7] She went on to give the cover a B. She went on to praise Brittany's choreography and overall performance in "Tik Tok", going on to write, "The huge star of this number was clearly Brittany, who more and more every week proves that she needs to be moved to the forefront of this show's big performances and storylines."[7] Gonzalez gave the cover version of "Tik Tok" a B, and wrote a positive review on the performance. She wrote, "It was pure, fun entertainment up until we got to the part straight out of the mind of Gordie LaChance. So even though the purple vomit was a bit too much for this weak viewer, the performance made me add a Ke$ha song to my iTunes, which I never thought would happen."[7]

Erica Futterman of Rolling Stone gave the cover version of "Tik Tok" a mostly positive review, writing, "Love Brittany as we do, we wish Rachel or Mercedes stepped up to the mic. The performance is less risqué than their Pep Rally "Push It" but winds up causing more controversy when Brittany pukes on Rachel and Santana also vomits up grey slush. It's a fitting end to the song, and the episode."[8] She praised the duet performed by Rachel and Blaine, going on to write, " It's fun, it's flirty, it's great to hear them do something that's not a musical [...] or a recent Top 40 hit [...] and it pits Glee's most well-rounded pop vocalists against each other.[8]

Chart history

Of the four cover versions released as singles—the original song "My Headband" was not released—three debuted on the Billboard Hot 100, and appeared on other musical charts. On the Hot 100, the show's rendition of "Don't You Want Me" debuted at number forty-nine;[9] it was at number fifty on the Billboard Canadian Hot 100.[10] The other two songs on the Hot 100 were "Blame It" at number fifty-five, which also made number sixty-one on the Canadian Hot 100, and "Tik Tok" at number sixty-one, which also made number fifty-six on the Canadian Hot 100.[9][10] "Don't You Want Me" was also featured on the sixth soundtrack album of the series, Glee: The Music, Volume 5. "One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer" did not chart.



"Blame It on the Alcohol" was first broadcast on February 22, 2011 in the United States on Fox. It received over 10.58 million American viewers upon its initial airing, according to the Nielsen ratings.[1] The episode garnered a 4.4/12 Nielsen rating/share in the 18–49 demographic, tied for the highest of the night with NCIS. The episode's total viewership and ratings slightly increased from the previous episode, "Comeback", which was watched by 10.53 million American viewers and received a 4.2/12 rating/share in the 18–49 demographic during its original airing.[2] In Australia, the episode was watched by 1.02 million viewers, making Glee the sixth most-watched show of the night and twentieth of the week.[11] In the UK, the episode was broadcast on April 11, 2011. It attained 2.53 million viewers—2.05 million on E4, and 483,000 on E4+1—and was the most-watched show on cable for the week.[12] Viewership was marginally down from "Comeback", attracting 40,000 fewer viewers.[13]

Critical response

Heather Morris' (Brittany) choreography and overall performance in the cover version of "Tik Tok" was met with critical acclaim.

"Blame It on the Alcohol" was met with general acclaim from critics and fans alike upon its initial airing. Robert Canning of IGN gave the episode a positive review, calling the main storyline "comical" and "human".[14] He went on to give the episode an 8 out of 10.[14] New anchors on WTTG, the Fox-affiliated television station in Washington, D.C., gave the episode positive reception in a video.[15] Candace Bulter of ScreenCrave gave the episode an 8, and went on to give the episode a positive review. She wrote, "This week’s Glee puts on the beer goggles to put alcohol-related issues in perspective. The result is humorous and ironic, but leaves something to be wanted."[6] Todd VanDerWerff of The A.V. Club gave off mostly positive reception towards the episode. In a review, he wrote, "“Alcohol” has bad moments [...] but the underpinnings of the episode aren’t terrible, just overstuffed. On the list of Glee atrocities, having too much to say isn’t such a bad one, and when the lack of self-editing is mixed in with some funny scenes and performances and a return of the best possible interpretation of Will, well, it made for an episode that wasn’t great but was still mostly a good time."[5] He went on to write a mixed review about the storyline, writing, "It got out of the genuinely complicated Blaine/Kurt/Rachel triangle [...] by having Blaine realize he was gay and having Rachel not be mad because the experience was “songwriting gold!” [...] The storyline started out as something that seemed like it might be an interesting, complicated look at teenage sexuality and how it can seem formed but might be more fluid than most teens would give it credit for, then lost its nerve and took the easy way out."[5] However, he went on to praise Lea Michele's role as Rachel, calling her "an underrated comic actress."[5] Scott Pierce of The Salt Lake Tribune praised the script, writing, "It had some lines that were just laugh-out-loud funny. Funny enough so that I had to pause the DVR until I was finished laughing."[16] Luciana Mangas of TV Overmind wrote, "Glee did a brave thing in last night’s episode. It was controversial and polemic and a lot of people were offended by it from what I have read around the internet. However, I have to say it worked. They treated a delicate subject very well and with a very, very funny approach."[17]

Amy Reiter of the Los Angeles Times praised the episode, going on to write, "Leave it to Glee to tackle a potentially joyless, didactic topic like teenage drinking and somehow manage to entertain and surprise and get its important life lessons across. Tuesday night's episode was as funny, startling—and yes, at times cringe-inducing—as a certain curly-haired choir director's slurry drunk dial. Perhaps its message will be heard as widely and resonate as strongly."[18] Aly Semigran of MTV gave the episode a negative review. She went on to write, "The theme of last night's Glee was supposed to be about the dangers of underage teens getting wasted, but instead it turned into a wasted opportunity for Ryan Murphy and Co. to shed some light on a very serious issue."[19] In conclusion of her review, she wrote, "In case you couldn't tell Gleeks, this episode left something of a sour taste in my mouth. While Ryan Murphy always combines humor with serious life lessons, it seems there were none to be found here. Besides some embarrassing moments, nobody in the episode faced any real consequences. The episode simply took the approach of 'We can't stop them from drinking, but we can make them aware', which is a very reasonable way to look at it. That is, if there's some awareness in the first place."[19] Erica Futterman of Rolling Stone praised the episode for its solid storylines. She went on to write, "With this, Glee continues along its newfound trend of solid episodes that pair music loosely based around a theme with just enough plot to keep momentum going. There were great moments that didn't revolve around music, too: Kurt and his dad working to find a middle ground in their relationship and Becky and Sue's homage to Rydell High's Principal McGee and Blanche was on point."[8] Richard Corliss of Time wrote a very positive review for the episode, and stated, "Last night's hour of Glee was of the level a superior series sticks in mid-season between its "important" episodes. If this is coasting, take me along for the ride.[20]


  1. ^ a b Siedman, Robert (February 22, 2011). "Tuesday Final Ratings: 'Glee' Adjusted Up, Ties 'NCIS'; 'The Good Wife' Adjusted Up; 'Raising Hope,' 'Traffic Light' Adjusted Down". Tv by the Numbers. Retrieved June 12, 2011. 
  2. ^ a b Gorman, Bill (February 16, 2011). "Tuesday Final Ratings: 'NCIS,' 'Traffic Light' Adjusted Down". TV by the Numbers. Retrieved June 12, 2011. 
  3. ^ Cheung, Nadine (February 18, 2011). "'Glee' 'Blame It On the Alcohol' Songs -- Season 2, Episode 14". AOL Radio. Retrieved February 22, 2011. 
  4. ^ Morgan, Katie (February 22, 2011). "'Glee' Gets Sick Over Ke$ha, Blames It 'On the Alcohol'". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved February 23, 2011. 
  5. ^ a b c d VanDerWerff, Todd (February 22, 2011). "Blame It On The Alcohol". The A.V. Club. The Onion.,52122/?utm_medium=RSS&utm_campaign=feeds&utm_source=avclub_rss_daily. Retrieved February 23, 2011. 
  6. ^ a b c Bulter, Candace (February 22, 2011). "Glee: Season 2 Episode 14: Blame It On the Alcohol -TV Review". ScreenCrave. Retrieved February 23, 2011. 
  7. ^ a b c d e f g Gonzalez, Sandra (February 22, 2011). "'Glee' recap: The Wasted Talent". Entertainment Weekly. Time, Inc.. Retrieved February 23, 2011. 
  8. ^ a b c Futterman, Erica (February 22, 2011). "'Glee' Recap: Drink, Drank, Drunk". Rolling Stone. Jann Wenner. Retrieved February 23, 2011. 
  9. ^ a b Peak chart positions for season 2 singles in the United States: "Don't You Want Me", "Blame It", and "Tik Tok" "Hot 100: Week of March 12, 2011 (Biggest Jump)". Billboard (Prometheus Global Media). Retrieved July 5, 2011. 
  10. ^ a b "Canadian Hot 100: Week of March 12, 2011 (Biggest Jump)". Billboard (Prometheus Global Media). Retrieved July 5, 2011. 
  11. ^ Dale, David (March 7, 2011). "THE RATINGS RACE: Another shocker for Channel Nine". The Sydney Morning Herald. Fairfax Media. Retrieved March 19, 2011. 
  12. ^ "Weekly Top 10 Programmes: w/e 17 Apr 2011". BARB. Retrieved April 26, 2011. 
  13. ^ "Weekly Top 10 Programmes: w/e 10 Apr 2011". BARB. Retrieved April 21, 2011. 
  14. ^ a b Canning, Robert (February 22, 2011). "Glee: "Blame It On the Alcohol" Review". IGN. News Corporation. Retrieved February 23, 2011. 
  15. ^ Fraser, Sarah (February 22, 2011). "Glee Review: Blame It On The Alcohol". WTTG. Fox Broadcasting Company. Retrieved February 22, 2011. 
  16. ^ Pierce, Scott (February 23, 2011). ""Glee" is still hilarious — for Brittany alone". The Salt Lake Tribune. MediaNews Group. Retrieved February 23, 2011. 
  17. ^ Mangas, Luciana (February 22, 2010). "Glee 2.14 "Blame It On The Alcohol" Review". TV Overview. Retrieved February 23, 2011. 
  18. ^ Reiter, Amy (February 22, 2011). "'Glee' recap: Making alcohol awareness sing!". Los Angeles Times. Tribune Company. Retrieved February 23, 2011. 
  19. ^ a b Semigran, Aly (February 22, 2011). "'Glee' Recap: 'Blame It On The Alcohol'". MTV. Viacom. Retrieved February 23, 2011. 
  20. ^ Corliss, Richard (February 22, 2011). "Glee Watch: 12-Step Pogrom". Time. Time, Inc.. Retrieved February 23, 2011. 

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