“Christmas was coming. One morning in mid-December, Hogwarts woke to find itself covered in several feet of snow. The lake froze solid and the Weasley twins were punished for bewitching several snowballs so that they followed Quirrell around, bouncing off the back of his turban.” - SS/PS, CH. 12
Oh, Glee. I tried to like your “Original Songs,” I really did. Unfortunately, even the winners are mostly losers this week…
1. His Royal Highness, Blaine, King of the Warblers, formerly the Dowager Countess of Dalton; Monarchy in general. How refreshingly un-Rachel-Berry-like of Blaine the Beatific to condescend to suggest that the group might benefit from a larger variety of soloists. And how creepily pro-monarchic of them to immediately reject that idea. It would appear that all of the good peasants of Warbler Manor are perfectly content with their place in the fiefdom. Which…I mean, hooray for them that they like singing background so much, but wow, Gay Hogwarts, way to play up the “private schools are utopia where everyone likes each other” card. The Warblers are now less an a cappella group and more a Grand Duchy.
2. Autotune. Congratulations, Autotune, on apparently achieving conscious thought and discovering your ability to write songs! You could hardly even tell that “Loser Like Me” and “Rachel Sings Another F*cking Ballad” were composed by a machine. Really! In the immortal words of Ken Jennings, “I, for one, welcome our new computer overlords.”
3. Kurt’s Gradual Transformation Into Karl Lagerfeld. It’s only a matter of time until he starts saying things like “Pop music is for the fat masses. Musical theater becomes eternity. EFFERVESCE, DARLINGS.” Because let’s face it:
4. Self-Distributing Props. Need your audience to spontaneously wave around a prop to make your song less dull, but don’t have time to hand them out beforehand? Weasley’s Wizard Wheezes to the rescue! Our electric candles and giant foam hands are designed to materialize when needed, duplicate themselves, self-distribute around the theater, and then instantly disapparate the second you need everyone’s hands free to applaud! Now available at our retail outlet across the street from Hogwarts Fancy School for Boys.
5. Teenage Gay Dreams. Yeah, okay, I’ll admit it, the inevitable Kurt/Blaine makeout sesh was actually rather well-done. Even though they just sorta dropped it in there because the season’s wrapping up, it was sweet……and like, FINALLY!
6. The Governor’s Drunk Wife: for finding the only un-bedazzled microphone in all of Ohio. As we enter week 4 of the Great Ohio Bedazzled Electronics Epidemic, she is truly a hero for our times.
7. Big-Ass Hearts. “Hell to the No” gave it a run for its money, but this song was freaking hilarious. Basically, all of the non-Regionals original songs won this week because they saw the terribleness of tween sensations Rebecca Black (“Friday”) and Jenna Rose (“My Jeans”) and raised them a healthy dose of self-awareness.
Honorable mentions: Kurt singing “Blackbird,” “My Headband”s #1 spot on Brittany’s iTunes Most Played list, Off-Brand Whoopi Goldberg in Sister Act.
1. Rachel Berry God I Hate Her So Much. To explain why I find her so infuriating, allow me to compare her to two much more awesome fictional teenagerers. 1) Rachel is, at her worst, what Hermione Granger would be like if she had no redeeming qualities whatsoever. Both are extremely talented, socially awkward, and longing for acceptance, but while one genuinely cares about fairness, friendship, and helping people, the other could not act completely without self-interest to save her life. 2) Rachel’s MVP Award Acceptance speech was like Kady’s prom queen speech at the end of Mean Girls (“you know, it’s not really required to make a speech…”), except if instead of sharing the crown and telling everyone else how great they are, she laughed triumphantly and said “suck it bitches, I DESERVE THIS!!” However, Mean Girls was not a terrible movie, so that didn’t happen.
2. Original Songs. I’m sorry about this, but it would appear that I am indeed the one cynical bitch who categorically hated them. Whatever the first one was, I can’t remember the real title because I zoned out for about 2/3 of it. Rachel sings a ballad blah blah her life is so hard. The second one was probably an okay song, but absolutely nothing about it sounded like something that would win a competition. Here’s the thing, Glee: next time I want to see teenagers perform shinily-packaged original songs, I will turn on the Disney Channel. Until then, I would like the glee club/show choir to sing songs befitting either a glee club or a show choir.
3. The Souls of Songwriters Everywhere. Man, it’s too bad all of you struggling songwriters don’t have Mr. Schu around to hand you a rhyming dictionary—who knew that’s all it took to get a #1 single on iTunes? (You should also know that Mr. Schu’s method of songwriting includes writing the title first and then worrying about all that music stuff. Useful.)
4. The Entire Concept of Regionals. Among Regionals’ biggest problems are: lacking a consistent definition of “Show Choir” (seriously, how is an a cappella group even in the same competition as a karaoke club that decides to put only 3 of their members plus AN ENTIRE STRING SECTION onstage for one song?), any semblance of consistent standards in judging (shouldn’t the judges even pretend to know something about music besides “I listen to it”?), having completely different schools in each region each year, and—-you know what? The only consistent thing about Regionals is that they have no consistency. Also, they are awful.
5. Quinn AND Rachel. Girls, girls, girls. All of this angst over that affable but dim-witted slack-jawed yokel? So not worth it. Unfortunately, you will not realize this until you go away to college and all of your hallmates are out meeting new, interesting people while you’re staying in every night talking on the phone with your terminally boring boyfriend from home.
6. Mike Chang. You have a boy who can dance like THAT and all you give him to do is push a slushee machine? A SPARKLY CONFETTI-FILLED slushee machine?? This is a criminal waste of resources. Criminal, I tell you.
7. Entering through the aisles of the auditorium. Sooo last year. Obviously the new things to do is just stand onstage and look around nervously.
8. Sue Sylvester. Come on, Sue. That’s officially an unacceptable number of weeks on the Losers list for you. Any shred of subtlety this character once had has now vanished—surely you can do better than punching someone in front of a packed auditorium and “literally throwing sticks.”
9. Kathy Griffin, Twitterer. On the subject of lost subtlety—“I am not a witch”? REALLY, writers?!? That’s all you can come up with? Go sit in the corner.
(Dis)Honorable Mentions: Encouraging emo-ness by telling high schoolers to write depressing songs instead of songs about things that make them happy, lack of Figgins, absolutely everything else.
Final tally: 11 songs (zero of them showtunes so don’t even ask), 3 sets of matching outfits, 0 (yes, zero!) creepy things said by Mr. Schu, 3ft diameter of Sam’s mouth, 4.5 plots (any number fewer than 5 is a success), 2 quasi-interesting plot shifts, 1 gay makeout, 0 Stamos sightings. All in all a low-scoring week—you decide whether that’s a good thing or not.
————- Next week….who even knows? Are they going to Nationals? Are Will and Goop officially an item? Will someone bring back Kristen Chenoweth? We are in desperate need of her perkiness and knowledge of showtunes.
Starting this fall, TeenNick will dust off old faves like Rugrats, Kenan & Kel, Pete & Pete, The Amanda Show, All That and Clarissa Explains It All and air them in a new midnight-to-2 a.m. programming block dubbed (appropriately enough) “The ’90s Are All That.”
*cue Tumblr explosion*
Step 1: Figure out if I have TeenNick, and if so, what channel it is.
Welcome to Gleecaps! In which I bitch about and (very) occasionally praise a show that used to be a lot better than it is, but hasn’t quite gotten terrible enough to stop watching! Well, terrible, yes, but boring, NEVER. I quite enjoyed last week’s winners/losers format, so here we go:
1. Naya Rivera. Santana may have got her heart broken this week (a line I honestly never thought I would have to type), but that just means bitch was able to seriously get her thespian on. We knew she could rock that bitchy deadpan (“it’s better when it doesn’t involve eye contact,” “I’m not interested in any labels…unless it’s on something I shoplift”), but this episode really gave her a chance to shine in one of the best-handled potentially-awkward dramatic scenes the series has ever had. Props to the writers, too, for keeping on the right side of affecting vs. maudlin for once.
2. Quinn Finn Rachel bleh? Any week where this is barely a tertiary story line is a good week in my book.
3. Gwyneth Paltrow. Sigh. As loath as I am to admit it, I still find Holly Holliday totally endearing. All signs would normally point to TERRIBLE: unlikeable stuck-up actress, too-cutesy character name, gimmicky plots and songs, look-how-hip-I-am slang words…and yet she makes it all work. HOW?? WHY?! The world may never know. In the meantime, rock on, Holly.
4. Cucumbers.Maybe they can’t give you AIDS, but I heard they got 90 high school girls in Tennessee pregnant in 3 months. Note to Lifetime Movie Network: GET ON THIS. You can call it “Pregnancy Pact II: Mother May I Sleep With Salad?: The Larry the Cucumber Story.” You’re welcome; I’ll be expecting my royalty check in the mail any day now.
5. Sweet Valley High. Not only is this the soundtrack to Santana and Brittany’s sweet lady kisses, but it’s also apparently the inspiration for their hawt fashionz as well. Such 90s-fabulous trends as floral leggings, denim vests, and fringed leather jackets were alive and well at McKinley this week.
6. Sex Education.So maybe the Glee kids’ sexual ignorance seemed a little over the top, especially if you’re the product of a relatively open/liberal/not-abstinence-only-sex-ed high school like mine, but I’m sure there are MANY high schoolers out there who are just as in the dark about safe sex as poor Finn “My Girlfriend Got Pregnant From A Hot Tub” Hudson. If this show swayed the opinions of even one parent, role model, or lawmaker, I say kudos to Glee. (And let’s hope it’s helped to gain support for the people fighting to keep “free clinics,” like the one Kurt’s pamphlets came from, open.)
7. Brittany S. Pierce. Santana loves her. Artie loves her. Storks love her. People who wish Ke$ha was funny and a better dancer love her. It’s official: EVERYONE LOVES HER.
8. “Coffee” with Sue Sylvester. What was in that cup after she was done with it? How much actual coffee content even existed in the first place?
9. The Power of ImAgiNaTiOn! “Picture us in the auditorium, big backdrop, lighting, costumes…” And because Will says it, IT IS SO! Magic! Candles! Professional dancers! I love that they (almost) acknowledged how ridiculous that shit is.
10. SKYROCKETS IN FLIGHT. *Pyoooo* Afternoon Delight! *Wooooop!* Ron Burgundy and Co. would have bowed down before those slammin’ 70s flower power skirts and, obviously, those tight white pants on Stamos. WAY TO GO TEAM.
11. “Don’t throw yourself around like you don’t matter.Because you matter, Kurt.” On a serious note…nuff said.
Honorable mentions: Eggs for dinner, Holly Holliday’s J.D. Salinger sex tape?!???
1. The Difference Between “Sex” and “Sexy.” Just because you are sexy does not mean you are also having sex! And vice versa! So just STOP trying to make this into a lesson theme, Lard-hair Schuster!
2. Emma. Girl. Your are MARRIED to STAMOS, and you won’t sleep with him. In the immortal words of Holly Holliday, “he’s hot. YOU’RE THIRTY.” Not even an adorable sweater clip can save you from this one. (Although I’m totally trying that pineapple/marshmallow recipe.) PS, if you’re really as “terrified of the hosemonster” as you say you are, maybe consider joining Santana at that hypothetical Indigo Girls concert.
3. Lesbian Stereotypes. All girls college, softball equipment, Ani Difranco, Indigo Girls, blah blah blah WE GET IT. I guess there weren’t enough bisexual stereotypes to use as lazy shortcuts for emotional writing, so they had to fall back on the old lesbian playbook instead.
4. Will Schuster. Honestly, he would have to be entirely replaced by STAMOS for me to ever put him on the “Winners” list. The jazzercising and his genuine joy to see Holly were cute, but I just cannot ever support hair as egregiously sleazy as his was in the Prince tango bit. Not to mention that falsetto. DO NOT WANT.
5. The Regionals Setlist. Every week, Will announces that it’s time to rehearse the setlist for regionals. And every week…this does not happen. It will never happen, at least not until 5 minutes before taking the stage in the season finale. Accept that what you’re really trying to do is force a silly theme on each episode and STOP TRYING TO MAKE IT HAPPEN.
6. Songs Written While Current High School Students Were Alive. As a (depressing) point of reference, that would be songs written after 1993. Only the Warblers, with whatever current top 40 radio rock song that was, met that cutoff this week. 3 out of the 4 remaining songs were from the mid-1970s, which, as an even more depressing point of reference, was when the PARENTS of current high school students were in high school themselves. [That’d be 1973’s “Do You Wanna Touch Me” and 1975’s “Landslide” and “Afternoon Delight”.] I don’t even wanna talk about the last song, 1986’s “Kiss,” because it was just weird, and like I’m so sure Will just chose it because he performed it with his HS glee club back in the day. GET WITH IT, GLEE.
7. Foam Cannons. A long rod emitting white stuff? Intentional or accidental innuendo? Either way, I’m sure those girls didn’t appreciate going all the way out to the Warblers’ abandoned warehouse (?!??? creepy) only to have their hair ruined by massive amounts of foam. Who knows what kind of STDs were swimming around in there? Oh, and girls? Here’s a tip: if Darren follows through on his intent of “making your knees turn to jelly,” the countercurse is just “unjellify”.
8. Dancing. Whither choreography? Surely Mike Chang could have come up with some more impressive variations on this week’s pathetic “ripping your jacket open” theme.
9. Realizing What A Song Is About Before You’re Actively Performing It. Okay. I get that no one ever rehearses on this show, but seriously, how did NO ONE realize that “Afternoon Delight” was an unfortunate choice for the celibacy club until they were actually on stage?? I’m looking at you, Stamos.
10. Spinning the camera around and around a group of people constantly throughout the entire scene oh my god I’m so dizzy whyyy is this happening. Also, Holly, you’re sitting on the floor because “we’re in Japan”? Don’t confuse poor Brittany.
11. Un-Glitter-ified Microphones. I’m not sure a single microphone in Lima has gone un-bedazzled. Lord help us if the Lima Bedazzler spreads across the nation.
12. GOOP. Gwynnie missed an unfortunate chance for product placement by name-dropping Jessica Seinfeld’s book instead of her own magical, practical, and life-changing blog, GOOP. If you don’t know what GOOP is, please go educate yourself and come back when you’ve learned how to get your kids to eat healthy (try forming seitan into dinosaur shapes!), what to get a casual acquaintance for Christmas (perhaps a $1,200 leather satchel?), and the best-kept-secret little hotel to stay in while in Paris (hint: rhymes with Schmitz-Schmarlton).*
(Dis)Honorable mentions: Kurt’s horrible indigestion sexy faces, pretending a high school sex-ed teacher is the same thing as a marriage counselor, the eye-offending mustard color of Sue Sylvester’s latest tracksuit.
* I swear I am not making this up. Those are all real suggestions made by Lady Paltrow.
Final Tally: Plots: maybe 5?, Pop:musical theater ratio: 5:0 (why do I even bother with this category anymore?), cringe-inducing moments: TOO MANY TO COUNT, Stamos sightings: 2, actual touching scenes: 2. Not terrible, I guess.
————- Next week: Original songs? Tacky matching performance dresses? Well, one of those things makes me think of a real show choir. On a more important note, are they going to banish Stamos forever? God I hope not.
At the end of last week’s Gleecap, I was thisclose to popping a hernia and/or giving up Glee for good. However, luckily (or unluckily, in the case of future blood-boilingly asinine episodes) this week’s episode restored my passionate love for this godawful show. What was the solution? Having err’body in the (glee) club gettin tipsy, of couse. And because I’m allergic to using the same format twice, this week I present to you…
GLEE: WINNERS AND LOSERS
Alcohol: the number one reason why this episode worked for me was because being drunk makes 90% of the f’ing ridiculous things that usually happen on this show totally believable. Seriously. This show actually makes MORE sense with alcohol: people acting like irrational dumbasses? Eh, they’re drunk. Insanely high production values and expensive sets? All in their heads. Plot points abandoned halfway through? Well, drunk people forget things a lot. Rachel earnestly singing a song about a fucking headband? Oh, wait, she was sober for that…well, I’ll just pretend she wasn’t.
Figgins returned from Character Banishment (seriously, where was he?) and was in RARE form this week, y’all. I suspect Figgy was imbibing more than a little of the “giggle juice” himself—witness his hot dance moves during “Keydollarsignha’s Tik and also Tok.” What a freaking champion. Fro-yo for everyone!
Realism. Not gonna lie, my first thought upon hearing that it was “Alcohol Awareness Week” was “great, it’s an Afterschool Special a la Bully Week. YAWN.” But you know what? They kind of nailed it. While they did spend a bit too much time glorifying teen drinking and perhaps not enough time reiterating that it is often dangerous and always illegal, they hit the right tone with things like Bieste’s little monologue about responsible drinking and subsequent bust-out laughter at her own seriousness. Not too irresponsible, but also not too serious and sappy. IT’S A MIRACLE.
RACHEL BERRY. OH. MY. GOD. I’m still having a hard time believing how adorable and loveable and hilarious they made their most loathsome character. Drunk Rachel is a person that I would actually want to hang out with: she gives adorable compliments (“That vest is very cute…you are all kinds of awesome”), appreciates Mike Chang (“Have I ever told you how great you are?”), clumsily rolls around on her bed while drinking “Lady Sparkles” wine, and generally does things that TASTE LIKE PINK. (On a side note, I’m pretty sure I yelled that at some point during freshman year of college.) How much more awesome is she when she’s not worried about being awesome?
Montages. Especially those involving tequila. Beauty.
Finn. I still think he’s a sack of boring, which is why his absolutely SPOT ON party commentary, re: Types of Female Drunks, surprised me so much. It was reminiscent of the never-to-be-bested Mean Girls cafeteria cliques scene, and darlings? Any time anything reminds me of Mean Girls, it’s absolutely a good thing.
Kurt who almost ended up on the loser side for inexplicably showing up at the party dressed as a Nazi…and for having to suffer through his gay crush experimenting with girls….and for accusing his dad of homosexuality when he was really just being a concerned parent…but pulls it out in the end for having some of the best, most realistic conversations in the show’s history. His dramatic and thoughtful confrontation with Blaine about homo/bisexuality was great, but obviously what cinched it for me was him telling Rachel that “Blaine is the first of a long line of conflicted men [she] will date, that will later turn out to be only the most flaming of homosexuals.” Lord help me but I love this little truth-teller.
Rosalita’s Roadhouse. Guys. I want to go to there. Preferably with Bieste, but you know. Speaking of…
BIESTE. No, Will, the reason that you drank the same amount and you’re drunker than she is isn’t because she has a hollow leg, it’s because she’s twice your size and also YOU’RE A TEENAGE GIRL.
Bedazzled Microphones. I’m guessing that Rosalita’s hired the same decorator as Rachel’s dads, and said decorator had like a shitton of sparkly studded microphones that he got on sale and needed to get rid of. I guess they come cheaper in bulk?
Heather mothafuckin Morris, who is better at being Ke$ha than Ke$ha is. For reals.
Autotune, which can apparently now be made to happen live at performances in high school gymnasiums. It’s taking over!
Emma. Hey, Emma, hope this toaster doesn’t bring up embarrassing memories of a certain drunk dial every time you use it. But whatever, she’s still married to John Stamos so that lands her in the winners column every time.
Artie. Few things in Lima, Ohio are cooler than a kid in Raybans and a wheelchair who has the hottest girlfriend in the world and (adorably) runs into walls while hungover.
Honorable mentions: Puck’s glasses; Carole King.
The Law."Legality" definitely got a bad rap this episode, with the word "illegal" only being used in reference to underage drinking ONCE. And seriously, day drinking? During high school? Is that a thing now?
Sue Sylvester. No more excuses. She was just terrible this episode. Pushing Will into a 12-step program was only marginally amusing, pushing that guy down the stairs (twice) even less so, and basically it’s becoming clearer every week that there’s no reason for her to be involved in the glee world without the excuse of the Cheerios. And actually, wait, why is she still at McKinley if cheerleading season is over? Why does the cheerleading coach even have a permanent office? What reason can she possibly have for—GLAARJDSLKF ow my brain hurts. No answers; start drinking instead.
Will Schuester. It was a close call placing him on the losers list—compared to what’s gone down in the last few episodes, he had a pretty good time of it this week. But in the end, his absolutely adorable paper grading (“Smiley faaace!…A-plus, that’s how I roll…I don’t even know who you arrre.”) wasn’t enough to make up for his drunk dial. STOP BEING A TEENAGE GIRL. And while he was kind of charmingly sleazy instead of sleazy sleazy like usual…it’s still sleazy.
GREEN NIGHTGOWN. WHAT WAS THIS I CAN’T EVEN. Lady of the Canyon meets American Girl Doll? Tragic nightgown of Aquaman’s Victorian mistress? Blehgajksdf? Let’s never speak of this again.
Rachel’s Dads. For the love of Liza, why can’t we just meet them already?? I am picturing at least one of them as Nathan Lane in Bird Cage but also I’m not really picturing them at all because right now it’s like Rachel has no parents. (Additionally, they lose this week because Mike Chang drank all of their classy 1800 tequila. Let’s see Puck’s “connections” replace that on a high school allowance).
Finn’s browser history. Don’t even wanna know.
Hangovers. Yo, how were ALL of them STILL hung over on Monday if the party was on a Friday? This must be some bad shit in the Berry liquor cabinet. Like maybe Bacardi H1N1 flavor.
Breadstix. Man, how lame is that place now that we know Rosalita’s Roadhouse exists?
Burt Hummel. Poor guy. Sat all the way through Brokeback and could only discern that “something went down in the tent.”
Continuity. How is it nighttime in Rachel’s bedroom when she calls Blaine, but daytime in the coffee shop when he picks up? Answer: INCEPTION.
Joni Mitchell, who, contrary to Rachel’s belief, probably would not have thrown a party for underage drinkers in order to find songwriting inspiration. I’m guessing she would have stayed home painting and thinking of sad things, but that’s not really Glee’s style.
(Dis)Honorable mentions:Rachel’s Blackout Juice, my coworker who takes everything that happens on Glee very seriously and without irony.
Final tallies: approx. 4 plots, 3:0 pop:showtunes ratio (ouch), 1 act of unnecessary violence, 2.5 realistic conversations, 1 extremely convincing approximation of high school life, fewer than 100 completely unbelievable things…all in all I’d say this episode comes out on the “win” side. FINALLY.
Rejoice in this episode, Gleeks….because we have to wait two whole weeks for a new episode, in which Gwynnie reappears. Who cares—FREE STAMOS!