Gleecap: Not with a bang but a wimpy trophy
When we first heard about the extended Lady Gaga episode of Glee, we were a little annoyed. After we watched the episode we understood: those extra 30 minutes allowed for more complete storytelling, letting the plots luxuriously expand and acquire a bit more flavor. But now we're annoyed again, because as enjoyable as that extended episode was it could have been much better employed for the season finale, which was stuffed tighter than a summer sausage.
I'm having an out-of-Lima experience
Naturally, a show that is ordinarily staged in Lima, Ohio (coughCaliforniacough) is going to look a little off in the streets of New York City. And also naturally, kids going to NYC for the first time are going to be wound up like toddlers on a steady diet of Pixi Stix. But with lines as subtle as a Merry Melody cartoon and a completely butchered-for-the-sake-of-updating "New York, New York," we were already out of our comfort zone in the first five minutes. Also, we were really worried one of those kids was going to fall off the Lincoln Center fountain.
Read on for the "unscripted" on stage snafu!
A shorter Broadway stint than Julie Taymor's. Too soon?
While the kids are writing their competition songs (WAY too late, by the way. No wonder they lost...), Schue is heading out to April Rhodes' theater to sing "Still Got Tonight" to no one but a random usher (we think?) who says he's "got it." Thanks for that, unidentified, un-vetted eavesdropper! But when Schue runs into Vocal Adrenaline's Dustin Goolsby, he realizes it's the kids that light up his life, not the Broadway spotlight. Which is touching, but we think it's mostly an easy out for not having Kristen Chenoweth in this episode, having Schue back home next season and cutting a story short for time purposes.
Sometimes cliche is a good thing
Though we were less than lukewarm about "New York, New York," we did love the homages to Capote and "Wicked" and the Gershwin overtones, with "Rhapsody in Blue" and "Someone to Watch Over Me" let us see the city through the kids' rose-colored glasses. Naturally Finn and Rachel would go to Sardi's and see Patti LuPone, while Kurt and Rachel's trip to Fifth Avenue and a Broadway theater were completely in step with our expectations without being grating.
Though for all the expected-ness of these scenes, it was the unexpected that ruffled our feathers. Glee pulled a bait-and-switch with Kurt and Rachel, and when we were eagerly anticipating a power-house "Defying Gravity" to mark Rachel's stratospheric ambitions, we got a touching illustration of their matured friendship with "For Good." Don't get us wrong, they performed the hell out of that song and we're glad we got a relationship study instead of another nod to Rachel's big New York dreams, but it's a bit of a letdown when you start preemptively singing to the television only to find out you've chosen the wrong tune. What, you guys don't do that, too?
"Bella Notte" was adorable, but we missed the meatball-nudge scene -- until we remembered Brittany already knocked that one out of the park.
Divas have to stick together, if only for those VH1 concerts
Sunshine is nervously heaving in the bathroom at nationals and making ridiculous threats of getting herself deported back to the Philippines to escape Vocal Adrenaline. Rachel consoles her, and we almost start lamenting her gullibility until Rachel reminds us that yes, she does owe Sunshine a solid. And really, giving a thumbs up from the audience isn't exactly giving a kidney. Charice and Vocal Adrenaline's performance was impressive yet still slightly boring, but we think that speaks to "As Long As You’re There" more than singing ability. It's really tough to top that pint-sized siren.
Unless you make out on stage like Finn and Rachel, that is. Unfortunately, that's all we can remember from the merely passable "Pretending," which means that Jesse was right when he called Finn out for his lip-lock timing and lack of professionalism. "Light Up the World" was far more enjoyable and justified Schue's resistance toward picking one star to lead New Directions -- all of the kids shone in this number, despite the unvaried vocals.
Sometimes we make our own happy endings
Finn's ill-timed kiss ended up losing the kids a place in the top ten, and the next thing we know Kurt is recapping the disaster to Blaine back in Ohio. But Kurt isn't bummed, and we agree. He got to go to New York with his best friends and sing in front of hundreds (thousands?) of people, and he learns that Blaine is in love with him. And looking back on our own experience, no number of accolades were as pivotal as your first love uttering those three little words. Still, the quick shift back to the Midwest felt unsatisfying and rough-cut, another negative result of the over-crowded plot.
We got some lovely exposition with Santana and Brittany, including Santana screaming at Rachel in Spanish and Brittany importing more words of wisdom and kindness, further tipping the scale in favor of "savant" over "idiot." Meanwhile, Sam and Mercedes are carrying out a secret relationship and Rachel and Finn are back together. Until they graduate, that is.
What did you guys think? Were you happy with the season-ender or did you also feel it was a little too crammed? Will the kids make it back to NYC next year? Should Schue have given Broadway a real shot? Are you also going to try to sneak onto the "Wicked" stage the next time you're in New York? To the comments!
Notes n' Quotes
Puck: I wanna throw stuff off the Brooklyn Bridge.
Rachel: He did seem crazy, he charged my credit card by swiping it through his butt crack.
Mercedes: Did you know that New York City was built on top of Old York City?
Tina: I'm pretty sure that's not true.
Mercedes: Well, I'm just pretty.
Kurt: I feel like Eloise.
Kurt: I'm spending the summer writing "Pip, Pip, Hooray." It's a musical about Pippa Middleton.
Sam: I don't know who that is.
Dustin Goolsby: I hate my kids. I would literally whip them if I could.
Dustin Goolsby: My kids are at least attractive, yours look like they haven't been baked properly.
Brittany: This is going to look so hot on Lord Tovington. I'm going to go find an extra large.
Finn: It was the Superman of kisses. It came with its own cape.
Santana: Do you think this voodoo doll looks enough like Rachel Berry to actually work?
- We can't tell if we're disappointed or relieved that Quinn was pacified in her evil plans (which we didn't even really uncover...). And we know that it was Santana and Brittany's support that really helped, but we're sick of the new-haircuts-help-you-life-transition thing.
- Did Goolsby check out Schue when they met at the hotel?? Did anyone else SEE that??
- Why didn't Jesse come to New York in the first place? Isn't he an assistant coach or something? It's not like he has anything better to do back in Ohio. And if the trip was really just a romantic gesture toward Rachel, can't we give the guy some props for that? Flights have gotten REALLY expensive lately.
- We can't get over how outdated and strange the lyrics to "New York, New York" sounded in that format. We actually confused it for the show's mediocre songwriting at first.
- Can Mark Salling really play the accordion? Because that would be awesome.