Archive for the ‘Glee’ Category

Sectionals

December 10, 2009

For the mid-season finale, this week’s episode of Glee was a little predictable. If the team hadn’t won sectionals this would have been the shortest season ever, so there wasn’t a lot of tension there, although it was fun to see how they got there, and nice to hear all new numbers.

It’s nice to see that blonde lady from True Blood who wanted to bone jason stackhouse continues to be perky and ambiguously misguided. Pop up other places on my tv pretty lady! Her comments about the deaf choir rang unfortunately true, and I don’t think it had to be that way at all, opportunity squandered. I cringed. I also cringed when the choir director for the correctional school was all, “We black people will just never be as good as you white kids even when we cheat and you don’t practice!” Uncomfortable.

On the very good side, the faked pregnancy plots are resolved, hurrah! At the start of the episode I was confused because I honestly didn’t remember Puck telling anyone he was the father, but you know, booze is right there in the title of this blog. Mercedes and Tina’s cell phone conversation made me smile as it was basically a remake of the scene from Clueless in which Cher and Dionne are talking on their (ENORMOUS) cell phones and meet in the hallway. Tina I’m agnostic on, but I love Mercedes at least as much as I love Cher Horowitz, so it’s ok.

Bland Redhead and Will got together andzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz the less said about that the better. I. Don’t. Care.

I’ll definitely miss Glee until it comes back, but fortunately all the music is up on youtube, so I can get a fix of the show’s continuing strength– the excellent vocal performances.

While They Were In There I Told Them to Go Ahead and Yank Out Those Tear Ducts

December 3, 2009

Apparently Doostyn and I are sorcerers, because we got practically everything we wanted from Glee this week! Yay I can just love you as you as you are you tricksy show!!!

Rachel was great as usual. I laughed at her line about her gay dads having a close relationship with the ACLU. I love practically every mention of her gay dads though, so I have a bias. Lea Michele is a really good actress too, she really inhabits everything about the role. When Will said they’d be voting for who was in the pictures you could see the tendons in her neck tense. The outfit she wore for the photos looked like an insane ice-dancing outfit for a Wizard of Oz number, which I would kind of enjoy seeing, I’m not going to lie.

I just identify with her so much, as a former self righteous yet clueless and annoying theatre nerd myself. Rachel just thinks that if she’s just truly authentically herself people will be charmed, which sometimes works, like with the mattress commercial but sometimes really doesn’t, like her pitch to Britney. “I don’t want to be in that picture with you, it will get defaced… I’ll be the one doing it.” But as usual her number with Finn was my favorite of the episode, partly because I love Lily Allen more than is seemly and the video for that song is a work of schadenfreude genius. She scratches all his records, throws his clothes in the toilet, and feeds him laxatives… who *doesn’t* want to do that to a cheating ex??

Sue Sylvester was amazing as usual. Her How Sue Cs It rant made me laugh a lot: “All I want is just one day a year where I’m not visually assaulted by uglies and fatties. Seriously Ohio, these retinas need a day off! So here’s the dream: Friday after Christmas, which I have off, if you’re hideous [shrug] stay at home. Spend the entire day watching home videos of a time when you weren’t too repulsive for me to ever want to look at.”

I feel like whenever Sue says something outrageous there are people who get offended, and that’s actually one of the big reasons I hated the “Sue has a heart” storyline the other work. First off, disabled family members are not automatic get of being an asshole free card. Plenty of people are jerks generally but have it in them to make an exception for certain people. But in order for the things Sue says to be funny, she has to be cartoonishly villainous, that’s what makes it satire. There really are people who think and say things like this about fat people or ugly people (see street harassment, the comments of any gossip blog, or the times your friend has pointed out a woman in public and said she shouldn’t be wearing that), and by making Sue say them, the writers of Glee are saying: “Only a real asshole thinks like this.”

Most importantly though, Glee heeded our prayers and dealt with the fake pregnancy, thank god. No more pregnancy shenanigans! Unfortunately, they did this in a way that made Will seem super rapey. Unlike Sue, we are supposed to think Will is a good guy, one of the moral centers of the show, this despite his many actions of extreme weenie assholery. It was pretty disturbing to see the show basically excuse domestic violence because hey, Mr. Shue is a hero and Terri really is the worst therefore it’s not that bad that he yelled at her to left up her shirt, pinned her to the wall ,and ripped part of her clothes off. This while the camera stayed tight on their hard-breathing faces and close lips. I don’t care what Terri did, violence and threats are not ok. Making said violent act look like sexy time is not ok. (Sure there are plenty of people who like a little consensual violence in their sex, but it’s neither here nor there, this wasn’t consensual and I’m not watching the Anne Rice Pony Play channel.) And to have Will storm out while Terri begged for him to come back just made me feel ill.

Again, the crucial point here is that Will is supposed to be a good guy. We’re supposed to watch this scene and be on his side.

Finally, Will steps down as Glee director, but this ain’t my first rodeo, I know he’ll be back, much as I may wish it otherwise. In his parting address to the kids he said: “The best teachers don’t give you the answers, they just point the way and let you make your own choices, your own mistakes. That way you get all the glory. And you deserve it. If you can’t win without me there, then I haven’t done my job.”

That is what the best teachers do Will, and I think we can extrapolate some things from the fact that this is basically the opposite of your behavior. Unless you have some other way to explain your creepy solo-stealing under the guise of “showing you how it’s done” or the time tried to make the club sing “Le Freak” when they told you they wanted to sing “Push It.”

Or the time earlier this same episode when you ignored the kids desire to not be humiliated in the yearbook.

Will is like Allison on Melrose Place or Kelly Taylor: you can tell the writers think he’s really great and want you to think he’s an amazing guy, a real Mary Sue, but they’ve given him all these *really* unpleasant personality traits, seemingly without knowing how annoying or abhorrent they are.

It makes me think that no matter how much I love the show– and I do!– I would probably really not enjoy hanging out with the people who write it. Unless I start finding extreme narcissism, inappropriate boundaries, and creepy sexual behavior toward minors to suddenly be appealing personality traits.

The Dumbing Down of Disability on Glee

November 27, 2009

“Hairography” was pretty typical of Glee for me– lots of awesomeness, like Quinn singing “Papa don’t preach,” no matter how inappropriate for baby-sitting that would actually be, and Kurt’s manipulative makeover and then some really heavy-handed embarrassing stuff.

I think this show has a real problem with the way it deals with disability. I didn’t write about it at the time because there are other people who wrote everything I wanted to say, and better. I realize that many people thought the episode “Wheels” was a step up for the show, but on the whole disability activists and writers disagree– and I see their point. Glee seems to view disability as inherently about clumsiness and tragedy and incompetence. When you live with a disability you become competent at your life. That’s why the wheelchair experiment is offensive: in real life it would just make Rachel think “Poor Artie! Always dropping food all over himself… his arms sure must hurt!”

Likewise this episode had the “hilarious” Glee coach from the school for the Deaf who HAHA doesn’t even know how Deaf he is. So what’s the message here? Deaf people are stupid? The fact the the only “real” singing had to come from the McKinley kids was patronizing. Why did the show treat sign language as if it’s equivalent to choreography when really it’s equivalent to talking? ASL *can* be used in choreography, but there’s more traditional dance involved as well.

It reminded me of the pathetic wheelchair choreography in “Wheels” which was basically “sweat ‘n push ‘n JAZZ HANDS!” Competitive wheelchair dancing is a real thing and it’s a lot more interesting than what Glee showed us.

Really, if you can’t do it right, PLEASE don’t do it.

It can’t be *that* hard to find people with real disabilities to act as advisers to the show, even Private Practice, a show I think is MUCH worse found a real wheelchair user to play their disabled character. Some professional and personal advice would help to avoid some ridiculous, embarrassing errors.

I really like Glee and I want it to succeed. I love that there’s a musical show on tv, I have an enormous crush on Puck and I love Kurt and Rachel’s rivalry. Last week doostyn made a list of things Glee has to lose in order to become the excellent show we both want it to be. To that I have to add: No more very special episodes about disability.

And then he’ll be crying into my shoulder pads…

November 24, 2009

Glee is infuriating.  I want to like it so much , and it tries really hard, it reeeeaally does.  Maybe it, like its theatrical assemblage of characters, can come on too strong and therefore be rendered unattractive.  Maybe it’s like how I feel about meeting my high school self, which I’m pretty sure would be sorta cringe-y.   Oh but I bet high school me would love Glee without abandon.

It does have occasional flashes of brilliance (Kurt’s “Single Ladies” punt routine coupled with touching storyline about his dad, Rachel singing anything, also Kurt doing pretty much anything) and I feel like the necessary ingredients for an amazing show exist, but it’s just not quite coming into its own, and this early stage is a critical period for a tv show.  The foundations are being laid, and it can get really bad from here.  Which is why: no more fake pregnancy storyline please (although the actual teen one with the ever more likable Quinn and dopefuck boyfriend Finn, who sang to a sonogram this episode while I shat myself, is bearable), and also no more Mr. Schuster until he becomes less of a total jackoff weenie dickbrain — same goes for his lame scrawny porcelain doll love interest counselor and their will they or won’t they blahfest.

On last week’s, which I’m just now watching, it at least leaned more toward brilliant for the first time in what seems like a long time.  Last week I mostly remember the plot that resulted in wheelchair dancing to the “roooolling, roooolling, rooooolling on the river…” part of “Proud Mary” and teens learning a valuable lesson about diversity and struggle and sticking together and me throwing up in my mouth a little bit, but then this week Rachel, who as previously stated, is amazing, gets a crush on Mr. Schuster (gross, right, but remember who your stupid high school self had crushes on…some of them were totes gross, be honest) and sings the song of the very name of her diseeeease from the late 90s called “Crush” (my stupid high school self liked this song…turns out I’m still moved to the native rhythms of pop music that my people have been crafting and celebrating proudly for generations, current self also likes it) hilariously to a freaked out Mr. Schuster in his car, and before than there was sonogram singing (“I’ll Stand by You” by The Pretenders…heeeeeeee), and before that Kurt was discussing his plan to seduce Finn and was all “…and then he’ll be crying into my shoulder pads” which is funny because it’s true, Finn tends to get weepy and Kurt wears things that must contain shoulder pads, oh and then Finn sings “You’re Having My Baby” (interwebs tell me Paul Anka wrote and sang, in duet with someone I don’t know, this cheezy 70s jewel) to Quinn at a veeeery stupid, inopportune time (dinner with Quinn’s ‘rents, who love Glenn Beck, might not take the news so well dumbass).  Also the series had a rare moment of dramatic umph when Quinn delivered a kind of devastating speech to her parents about her pregnancy, and the actress who plays her, Dianna Argon, actually had me believing this was a real person and what she said was meaningful and sad, which is just something Glee usually doesn’t get entirely right when it tries.

Sue Sylvester (Jane Lynch, so we already know worlds ahead of the others in comic consistency) wasn’t part of this, and this bodes even better for this episode’s standing, because I still liked it.  The show needs to figure out how to integrate her character better, because she is starting to get stale and not grow with the others and becoming a little one-note, and I don’t want to see that happen to Sue, because she’s great and so is Jane Lynch and they, character and actress, deserve better.

Ugh the show did get pretty cheeseball bad at the end when they sang “Lean on Me” to Quinn and Finn — but Quinn and Puck made sex eyes at each other and I love this love triangle so much more than any other featured on the show, and Kurt made phone fingers and batted his eyes at Finn, so it wasn’t all a travesty.  I just know you can do it again in upcoming episodes Glee!  I outgrew my awkwardness (nod in agreement) and you can too!  I believe in you!  Now put on some pimple cream and let it bake under those floodlights!

It’s that Darn Thong Song

October 23, 2009

I feel like this week’s Glee got the show back on track after a couple of boring episodes. I’m really not interested in the pregnancy storylines (particularly Will’s wife’s, Quinn’s is bearable), so even though it was no Kristin Chenoweth episode, I was pleased.

As time goes by I dislike Will more and more, which isn’t really a problem for me, I like plenty of shows with unsympathetic leads (Sean MacNamara and Christian Troy spring to mind for obvious reasons.) Will is basically a nightmare of a teacher who makes everything about him and his dreams of glory. Is there any reason he has to sing “The Thong Song” when teaching Emma how to dance? Not really, no, he’s not going to be there, singing, at Ken and Emma’s Hawaiian wedding. (That said, this show does provide the mental image of a mash-up of “I Could Have Danced All Night” and “The Thong Song” which is why I LOVE this show. Though I hate that it deprived us of seeing the Mash-Up.)

Similarly, when Will Busts a Move, as whenever Will raps, it’s embarrassing. It’s also unnerving to see a teacher grabbing and flirting with students, even as part of the choreography. At one point Will grabs Kurt and, perhaps as a stand-in for the audience, Kurt mouths “Oh my God” with a look of horror. (And what was with Will grabbing Artie’s wheelchair and spinning him around? RUDE.)

I was really into the Puck/Rachel relationship, and I wish they’d spun it out for a few more episodes. My dear co-blogger and I disagree on this point, but I find Puck to be ridiculously, smoking hot. I melt whenever I see him and flash back my own nerdy high school days and the hot good-but-bad-but-secretly-good boys who were exactly my type, and, as Puck notes, Rachel is a hot Jew and the good Lord wants him to get in her pants. I loved Puck’s cover of “Sweet Caroline*,” and, well, I don’t know how many different ways I can say that he makes me melt.

The line of the night for me was: “It reminded me of when our family ordered Chinese food and sat down together for our traditional Simchat Torah screening of Schindler’s List.” Funny and topical, since ST was just two weeks ago. It’s not a coincidence, I think, that the funniest line was from the narration. The same thing happened last week with Sue’s assessment of the fight. Narrators just make things really funny.

Over on Murphy’s other show, Nip/Tuck, they had a narrator for the first episode of the season, which was absolutely hilarious and much better than anything we’d seen all last season. (The gang makes an infomercial! Matt is a store-robbing mime!!) Unfortunately, stern British lady voice over seems to have been a one time thing, since this week’s episode was incredibly lackluster, save for Liz’s delicious ripping Kimber a new one, which was a long time coming and well deserved.

*Though this is on my list of songs that are secretly about pedophilia, along with “Brown Eyed Girl” and “My Sharona,” among many others. Once you start noticing these themes you can’t turn it off.

There’s Nothing Ironic About Show Choir

September 29, 2009

I’ve been uncharacteristically sparing in adding new shows to my packed tv schedule, but the best addition so far has been Glee, which is pretty much designed to appeal to my sensibilities as a music theatre enthusiast. The musical numbers are fantastic and many are hilariously ill-suited to high school, like Amy Winehouse’s “Rehab” or Kanye’s “Gold-Digger,” but the classics like West Side Story also make an appearance. The biggest thing that brings me out of the show (for others it’s the football inaccuracies or having musical numbers at all, which, btw, I think is ridiculous. If you’ve already suspended your disbelief that people talk to each other while simultaneously facing the audience and men are wearing makeup it seems inane to draw the line at bursting into song) is the characters’ insistence that Rachel and Finn are the only really talented members of the Glee Club when clearly ALL of them are excellent singers. It’s basically the musical version of tv ugly or tv fat: crack on one note at the end of a song and suddenly you’re not a talented singer. Though, on reflection, that’s certainly better than listening to 42 minutes people singing off key.

The show is not without its faults, though. I think it’s pretty evenly divided between an interesting story about kids and a stupid story about adults (Kurt’s dad from the most recent episode excepted, but that was about a kid anyway).

The kids all seem to have some depth and a lack of Mary Sue-ism that I like. Rachel is the kid most music theatre fans would most easily identify with– very talented, an outsider, plans for the future. But she’s also really selfish and rude and hurtful to everyone lower on the social totem pole than she is, and she got their old Glee teacher fired on somewhat trumped up charges of inappropriate touching, which seemed easy to believe as he was gay.

Similarly Kurt could be a gay, closeted stereotype, but it seems like the only person he wasn’t out to is his dad. Last week he easily came out to a friend, and he doesn’t seem to be desperately trying to not be gay. The old Glee teacher, on the other hand, is a ridiculous stereotype. He might as well be wandering around the set randomly generating gay phrases about Fosse hands and window treatments.

Quinn was likeable and sympathetic in this last episode, she had her own plans for future involving getting out of the town which pregnancy ruined. Her choice to pin it on Finn seemed to be about what’s best for her baby, not just what’s best for her.

The adults on the other hand… not so great. It’s patently obvious that Will and Emma need to get together, and it’s only the craaaazy manipulative wife who’s keeping them apart. Which is completely boring and unnuanced, and I’m not exactly stoked about another will they or won’t they.

My only real concern going forward (I LOVE this show, btw) is that there’s a real element of “women are the WORST.” Must we really have both male leads be manipulated by their partners with pregnancies that are, in some way faked? Is that all women do when you’re in a relationship: lie to you and try to take your money? Are we really supposed to have no sympathy for Will’s wife, a woman whose husband obviously has one foot out the door? Are we supposed to think Quinn is a bitch for cheating on Finn, but that Finn is just with the wrong woman when he cheats on Quinn with Rachel?

I hope for better from this show, which has proven itself to be clever and sweet, and misogyny is anything but clever.

Tv is back! Tv is back!

September 16, 2009

Summer is no longer the seasonal death of tv like back in my callow youth; some of my favorite shows (Mad Men, True Blood) are summer shows. But there’s still an undeniable excitement about the fall schedule returning. I’m open to suggestions for what new shows I should pick up. So far I’m seized upon Glee and I give it the highest recommendation for those who enjoy music theatre. Like Jennifer Coolidge, Jane Lynch has the magical touch for elevating the written material, not that the Glee scripts need as much help as SLAT’s.

Now, perhaps I’m just afflicted by jet-lag from that trans-atlantic flight I was on an hour ago, but Dan Scott, on the One Tree Hill premiere seems to have traded in his arson and fratricide toolboxes in favor of life as a televangelist. It’s OTH, so it will find a way to alchemize gold into boring, but like Charlie Brown and the football, I can’t help but get excited.


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