Look! A bonus podcast! Janine, Lindsey and I tackle what we want to see, and what we hope we don't see, next season on Glee. Will we watch if they bring in a new cast of singers? Can a show like this sustain itself over the long run? And will Glee be more British "Skins" or "Saved By The Bell: The New Class?"
The kids hit the Big Apple on Glee, which entails original songs, a few appearances on Broadway stages, a "shocking" kiss, and a marked lack of heckling. Every time we've been to New York, there's been heckling.
We're torn on the episode. There were some sweet parts -- Rachel and Fin's date, Kurt and Rachel's duet and Shue's realization, among others -- and parts we weren't so thrilled with. Exhibit A: Original songs. We get why the show is doing it (and it involved buckets of cash), but we can't help but feel that it lessens our enjoyment of the show. What's the point if you can't sing along?
Lindsey, Janine and I dissect what we liked, what we didn't, and what we think of when everyone else is thinking about, say, the thrill of being on a major stage (I was thinking "Look out for Teamsters!") Take a listen, then tell us whether you agree or disagree with our assessment of the finale.
"Nothing makes me want to click my heels more than suspenders, a neckerchief, and some colorful balloons!"
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.
Oh, Glee, why must you make us weep openly? It's not fair to deploy WIlly Wonka when we're emotionally invested -- that's bound to bring on the waterworks!
Seriously, Jeanie's funeral was wonderfully touching, but we're a bit bummed that the show had to knock her off to make Sue human again. Maybe if she hadn't descended so far into caricature (Really, Sue? Libya?), they wouldn't have had to take such drastic measure. Lindsey, Janine and I also discuss song choices (Lindsey and I loved Kurt's song, while Janine was unimpressed), Jesse's attractiveness, Schue's potential fate (why pack up everything if you only think you'll be gone for a few months at most?) and Mercedes' and Rachel's awesome pipes. Plus, what's Quinn planning, and will any of us survive her wrath?
It's almost time for nationals and we're left feeling a little confused about the promos FOX has been airing for Glee lately. It seems all the spoiler scenes were for...next week? Was this week not important in the eyes of the marketing team? Because some pretty damn important things went down.
Anything you can do I can do better
Nationals are approaching, and new glee consultant Jesse wants to put the Vocal Adrenaline stamp on New Directions. This means picking one star and letting everyone else sway in the background a la "Bohemian Rhapsody." And since we have more than one diva on the team, auditions are in order and egos are out and swinging. Plus, we get to see Schue play Paula Abdul to Jesse's Simon Cowell.
We would just be appreciative of the continuance of refreshingly organic ways to introduce musical numbers, but even that relief gets drowned out by the tryout performances. Granted, none of the song choices were surprising, but then, smart performers play to their strengths. As we've said before, we love Amy Winehouse on Santana, Kurt's flair for classic numbers with snarky overtones justifies his "Gypsy" obsession, and, Oh Mylanta, do we love that Otis Redding tune. Mercedes' incredible performance will never trump this scene, but it comes pretty damn close.
And Rachel...well, all we can say is, Kurt said it best. That girl can sing. But in the end, Schue predictably sticks with his gut and chooses an ensemble performance with original music.
Read on for an unexpected death and equally unexpected Willy Wonka props.
It's Friday, Friday prom time on Glee, and the show gives us a memorable night both musically and dramatically. Who knew "Friday" could be so fun? Or that Lindsey and Janine could almost come to blows over an Adele cover? (Seriously, I was thinking I'd need to call in reinforcements to separate them...)
The Gleeks step in for Air Supply and provide some gorgeously sung, if occasionally thematically inappropriate, numbers for their peers to dance to. We loved Brittany's non-date plan, although we sympathize with Tina when she was attempting to pull her off Mike Chang. We also appreciate the non-cheesy version of "Isn't She Lovely", and we LOVED Kurt's outfit. We're less thrilled about what happened to him, and we have a bit of a debate on whether Karofsky knew it was coming. Still, for all the drama -- and the inexpertly spiked punch -- the ep was a hell of a lot more fun than our proms! What about yours?
This is exactly as awesome as it looks. Oh, Gleeks, never change.
Rather than overly-focusing on prom gimmicks, the folks at Glee thankfully got down to some good old-fashioned character development this week. Sure, prom was a central theme, and many of the characters' problems seemed to be tangled up in the adolescent rite of passage, but the event was used to illustrate already underlying problems, rather than create them for the purposes of the episode. So kudos, writers, for getting back on track. It almost makes us forgive you for what you did to that Adele song.
Everyone wants to believe in the prom fairy
Despite her I'm-all-that-and-two-bags-of-chips demeanor, Mercedes is still upset that no one asked her to prom. But Rachel has a solution: She, Sam and Mercedes will all go together in some weird ménage à prom. Personally, we're wondering where Kurt is in all this. He and Mercedes used to be best friends, and now she's left to twist in the wind. We're not suggesting he take her, we just miss the two of them swaying together in the back row of the rehearsal room and sharing secret handshakes.
In any case, Rachel's plan ultimately works out when Sam tells Mercedes that she looks beautiful and asks her to dance, which she claimed was all she wanted from the evening. You can see she assumes Rachel put Sam up to that line, but having a really cute and caring friend as your prom date is still pretty great. This also drives home how A+ of a human being Sam really is. That and his bolo tie.
Meanwhile, Artie is trying to simultaneously win Brittany back and get her as a prom date. Ordinarily, we hate "Isn't She Lovely," but the backup home ec. utensil instrumentals made this charming, adorable, and resourceful. We would have melted, but Brittany's upholding her resolve and self-respect all while letting Artie down gently was a thing of awe.
Read on for the cruelty of high school kids and more tiara mongering.
"Don't mind us. We're just purging the crushing loneliness of our souls through song. And a guitar conga line."
This week's Glee proved that it doesn't have to take an overly-emoted Broadway/Barbra Streisand hit to get your feelings across. Sometimes, some classic folk rock will do it perfectly. Also, it's okay to opt for minimalism when it comes to choreography and hand gestures.
Secrets, secrets, they're no fun
Did anyone else make ridiculous home videos in high school? Because "Fondue for Two" totally brought us back. Though an open flame on a bedspread is probably a bad idea.
In any case, Brittany has been spilling the beans about Santana, and McKinley's new Sue Sylvester-backed gossip rag, The Muckraker, is all over it. Though Brittany is just trying to help her uncertain friend, it raises Artie's suspicions and results in Brittany receiving the most taboo insult she could hear. We get that that might be the deal-breaker for Britt, but that was a really abrupt breakup, no? We construed it as a fight, but the next thing we know Brittany and Artie are over. There wasn't even any closure on that sucker.
Gleesuper-sized its episode this week, and actually, we didn't mind. We were loving Kurt's return, although we were less than thrilled about the grand piano that just happened to be in the courtyard. (Actually, Lindsey was smitten enough with Darren Criss that she didn't care about that little suspension of disbelief moment.) But oh, his song! Also, shout-out to PFLAG! Let's hope Karofsky gets with the program (and doesn't have to put on the red satin jacket and beret again...)
For the rest of the episode? We had questions. We're confused about Santana's plan to become prom queen, and split on Zizes' reaction to Quinn's disdain. Were you surprised the Quinn got outed as a former ugly duckling? What's it going to take for Santana to out herself? Was "Butt Chin" really the only thing Mr. Schue could think of for his t-shirt? (We have suggestions...) Will Emma take to therapy? How does a flash mob improve self-esteem? Where oh where was Sue? Will we ever be free from the tyranny of Gaga? And where can we get "Likes boys" and "I'm with Stupid (down arrow)" t-shirts?
We just hope they're as accepting of Brittany's crazypants hat as they are of Rachel's nose.
Image can be a tricky thing, especially when it comes to self-image. The way you view yourself is rarely ever the way others view you, and the disconnect can make for some interesting storytelling. Or the premise of an entire show, in this case.
After an unfortunate smack to the face during rehearsal, Rachel is confronted with the possibility of getting a nose job, which lands the glee club in an image-centered debate big enough to overwhelm the typical hour-long slot.
The healing power of T-shirts
With the gleeks in a dual spiral of self-doubt and self-empowerment, and Emma still held fast in the clutches of her OCD, Schue turns to Lady Gaga. The club will work on a rendition of "Born This Way" and make T-shirts stating what they are the most ashamed of. Emma leads the pack with her example, but comes up short when her T proclaims merely that she is a ginger. So Schue finally tells it like it is: That Emma uses her profession of helping others' issues to avoid tackling her own. Somehow Emma finally hears reason in this and goes to seek medical help. She gets a new bottle of prescription meds and a new hangup emblazoned on her T-shirt.
Read on for the painful realities of being Lebanese.
We're not sure the folks on Glee understand quite what "neglected" means. How else do you explain people performing songs by Aretha and Adele? Those ladies are many things, but neglected is not among them.
We were hoping that the neglected members of the cast (cough, Tina, cough) would get a chance to show off, but apparently we needed to spend the time on Gwyneth (who really shouldn't attempt Adele) and Mercedes (who should sing Aretha all the time.) Plus, the had the thoroughly ineffective Legion of Doom, a strange diva-demands subplot, and either Gwyneth or Ryan Murphy pitching out a plea for people to stop being mean to them on the internet. Dudes, you're famous and fabulously wealthy. The "hatahs" come with the territory. Suck it up.
Nothing says "doom" like a pink cape. That's why we own three.
Is it possible for something to be boring and over-the-top at the same time? If you watched last night's Glee you would have found that yes, it is.
Going nowhere much too fast
So we've come to expect a certain amount plot points constructed simply to house and shuffle-off the constantly rotating cast of guest celebrities on Glee. It was completely worth having censors come talk to Sue in the Rocky Horror episode simply to get Meatloaf and Barry Bostwick on screen. But the plot hoops the gleeks are jumping through for Holly Holiday are more than a circus poodle can handle.
On a show that clearly wants the viewer to be very emotionally invested in the characters, introducing Gwyneth Paltrow as a love interest is just insulting our intelligence. Ryan Murphy continually wants his pal on the show, so the writers have Schue fall for her and vice versa. But since she's an Academy Award-winning actress, celebrated chef and author, blogger/guru of sorts and a mother living in London with her rock star husband, she has a limited schedule, so they make her character emotionally unavailable and afraid of commitment. How convenient. Matthew Morrison didn't even seem that sorry to see her go, it was that much of a forgone conclusion.
Granted, along with "Landslide," this was the only other singing performance from Paltrow that we were truly impressed with. "Turning Tables" was a perfect choice for her vocal range, and it's hard to leave a good impression on a song originally sung by the immaculate Adele.
Unfortunately, all this was overshadowed by Ryan Murphy allowing Paltrow to use his show as a soap box. Because really, when she started preaching about online criticism and insensitivity, was anyone thinking about poor Tina anymore? No. We were thinking about GOOP. Also, stop talking like a gansta. That insults our intelligence, too.
Read on for more neglectful behavior and another cameo.
"We definitely should have gone with the red jackets and navy piping..."
We've become so numb to Schue's constant chirping about getting ready for regionals, that we were utterly shocked when the event actually arrived. It just seemed like this hazy event at some undetermined point in the future, like the apocalypse or when the Cubs win the World Series.
Just kidding, that second one is totally never going to happen.
So that left us with about five seconds to get properly revved up for regionals and excited about song choices, when we remembered that the gleeks were writing their own music, and heaven forgive us, we just stopped caring. We can't sing along with songs we don't know, Ryan Murphy!
It's always the time for a weird Warblers segue
We started with yet another awkward Warblers-getting-ready-for-regionals-introduction-through-song, and frankly, we don't care how good they sound anymore. In an episode already jam-packed with music, so much so that plot development was almost annoyingly slim, we really don't need another useless Blaine show. But we guess that was kind of Kurt's point, wasn't it?
We had some problems with this episode of Glee. Lindsey hated that Rachel seems to have forgotten that she railed against the chastity club in the first season. Janine despises Gwyneth's character. And me? I'm despairing that this ep made me use the phrase "kids today" without irony or sarcasm. You're making me old, show!
But that just meant there was plenty to talk about. We gab about sex ed, appropriate vs. inappropriate musical choices, what's wrong with Emma, why the chastity club storyline really didn't work for us, why John Stamos (briefly) lost his allure, and who was the only adult worth listening to on the entire show. Plus discover why Blaine's test audience may not have been as impartial as he hoped (and thanks, Lindsey, for THAT mental image.)
"You do you mean, 'Mainstreet Singers' is taken??"
Hola, clase! You guys up for celebrating some abstinence on Glee? Neither are we.
Hey Ryan Murphy, you know Easter is right around the corner...
...so why not have Brittany wait around for the Easter Bunny, too? Because frankly, there's no idiot belief you wouldn't have that girl invested in. Not that we didn't love the gossip montage following Brit's confession, and yes, it was a catalyst for the whole episode, but you've got some creative writers. They could have come up with something.
In any case, Schue is appalled by his students' lack of sexual understanding, so he enlists the recently re-hired Holly Holiday (it's sex ed this time, with some Spanish thrown in for good measure) to help educate the gleeks.
Read on for sexual identity crises and afternoon delight.
Glee strays perilously close to Afterschool Special territory with this episode about the perils of teen (and adult) drinking, but they manage to skate by without straying too far into the Very Special Episode wasteland. It helps that their demonstration of the perils of demon booze involved synchronized puking to Ke-dollar-sign-ha, and that even the adults got a glimpse of what can go wrong when you have access to both liquor and a phone. It also helps that they didn't pretend that most self-respecting teens would swear off all booze after a single bad experience. Plus, the ep managed to be pretty damn funny -- you had to love the categorization of Drunk Chicks.(For the record, Lindsey and I are pretty much Happy Drunks, and Janine? Well, we have some theories...)
That's not to say we didn't have quibbles -- like when has a teen ever imbibed Bloody Marys, or why would Broadway Baby Rachel think that a paean to the headband would be song-worthy? And good god, what was that dress Rachel was wearing? Also, even those of us who normally adore Kurt got a little annoyed with his attitude toward Burt questioning his sleepover protocol. But come on -- any episode that featured Figgins saying "Ke-dollar-sign-ha" and "Tik and also Tok" -- not to mention Beiste being utterly awesome in every way -- had to make us happy.
You know a show might not have the best message about alcohol consumption when all it does is make you want to get drunk (and hang out with Beiste, because that woman is party and a half). But we can say we're extremely pleased the folks at Glee didn't feed us any teetotaling after-school-special crap about how alcohol is the devil. Heck, they didn't even advise against getting drunk. Think Ryan Murphy knew yesterday was National Margarita Day? We'd like to think so.
Let's drink to surprisingly realistic high school experiences
We hadn't noticed it until this episode, but it's been a year and a half and we've never seen the Gleeks attend a normal high school party. Granted, few of them would be invited to any, but as yesterday's episode demonstrated those songbirds can throw down pretty well on their own.
Stage and bedazzled microphones aside, the party was pretty typical (read: awesome). Even Finn's pigeon-holing of the different drunk girls seemed spot-on. Of course Brittany would be stripper-drunk, Quinn would be ragey-drunk and Rachel would be a sloppy hang-dog mess. It definitely didn't help that she was wearing that Carole King dress. We loved her duet with Blaine, who was the funniest drunk of all with his spazzy dancing, but we sincerely doubt even these supernaturally talented kids could harmonize that well to "Don't You Want Me Baby" while plastered and jumping around like a Run-D.M.C. concert. There's talent, and then there's the magic of sound editing.
However, the Broadway geek making out a gay guy totally happened at our high school, with similarly fizzled-out results.
Read on for a mechanical bull and Ke-dollar sign-Ha.
Lindsey and I were bracing ourselves for this Glee podcast, because Janine has been claiming Sam had Bieber hair since we first met him, and we've been denying it. Janine, you were right. He totally has Bieber hair. We're not convinced he's got Bieber lips, though.
Actually, those Bieber interludes were surprisingly enjoyable, as was Lauren Zizes totally rocking The Waitresses' "I Know What Boys Like." And the diva-off? Fabulous. The rest of the episode? Yeah, we had some issues. Why is Sue giving us emotional whiplash? Were adorable, cancer-stricken moppets really necessary? Will we get more GeekSam if he's with Santana? And why does red plaid and trapper hats symbolize anthems? Are lumberjacks really that anthemic?
Gleecap: It's amazing what a mop top and purple hoodie can do
"I'm going to adopt you and teach you how to kill a man with a single blow."
This week on Glee, we learned that the power of Justin Bieber is a mysterious thing, and that despite its aggravatingly simple lyrics, yes Tina, "Baby" is kind of a good song. It only took Sam's gigantic mouth to bring out its richer qualities. Plus, Sue gets the most improbable part-time gig ever.
Back away from the asbestos-laden rafter
Suicide is never funny, unless it's spelled Sue-icide. And then it's only kind of funny because of the lame way she tried to do it -- Vitamin A gummies. Unfortunately, this becomes Schue's problem when Emma guilts him into letting Sue sit in on Glee practice to raise her spirits. Excellent acting aside, we knew Sue didn't agree for the music-addled endorphin boost.
Read on for screaming Bieber converts and Brittany's undeniably amazing style sense.
Glee hit us with two episodes last week, so we're hitting you with a supersized podcast. Be warned -- we may get a little off topic a couple a few several times. But hey, at least you'll find out what Lindsey would do with zombie minions, and you'll learn why I know about chicken cutlets (the bust booster, not the food item.) Plus, we discuss what makes a Warblers' number work (hint: it helps if it has a point), who has chemistry, why Beiste is our new best friend, and why Santana is both evil and made of awesome. What more need you ask?