It's over, okay?
The arms I’m bidding farewell to are the many arms that embraced people in this episode: Santana’s round Britney, Kurt’s round Rachel, Rachel’s round Sunshine, everyones’ round Mr Shue. It was the exact opposite of Seinfeld’s ‘no hugging, no learning’ mantra. There was nothing but hugging and learning, in fact. And so, sad as it is to say ta-ta to a show one has followed from the start, I won’t be looking for a consoling hug from anyone. Unless Puck’s available. We’ve grown apart, Glee and I. It would be undignified for me to follow it slavishly into the next season by purchasing a Sky package or, more realistically, downloading it from some dodgy site. No, it’s time to let it go. If for no other reason that my credulity that these seasoned hoofers are school-kids is already stretched to screaming point.
This last episode was a microcosm of everything that makes Glee so great and so terrible. And alas, as with most episodes, the latter outweighed to former.
There were some terrific moments. The show being set in New York, it was inevitable that the score would be Gershwin and lifted straight from Manhattan, but hey, it worked. And how nice to hear the gorgeous opening bars of Rhapsody in Blue without having to listen to Woody whinging about his seventeen year-old girlfriend.
I know we don’t watch Glee for its gritty realism. I accept that in real life, high schools aren’t crammed with elderly-looking kids who all have Broadway-standard singing voices. A certain suspension of disbelief is vital in Glee-land, we understand that. But the writers mess with this too much, provoking even uncritical fans into yelling at the telly, ‘AAARGH! That’s just SO unrealistic.’
This week I give you:
- An all-boys school in which gay students are not only warmly welcomed, but are leaders of the pack.
- An epidemic of students – female as well as male – imagining the football coach to stave off premature arrival, and calling out her name, yet!
- Coach Beiste claiming to be forty.
- Puck returning from juvenile detention centre with an orange tan and a certain plumpness around the cheeks. Did he have some work done while in there?
- The least plausible make-out scene ever in the history of television (between Tina and Mike).
So wrong it's right.
I checked the credits to see if two writers shared this week’s episode, as the main storylines were of such differing quality. But no – step up, lone writer Mr Brad Falchuk, clearly a fellow wrestling with the effects of strong medication. He holds responsibility for the Grilled Cheesus debacle, but also wrote the wonderful Preggers episode in Season 1, in which the football team did All The Single Ladies. In this current episode how could the same person who gave us the superb storyline between Kurt and Dave-the-Bully also give us the face-palmingly awful Coach Beiste plot? I’m afraid I have no answers, only questions.
I’m not sure quite what I made of the Rocky Horror Glee Show. On the plus side, it was good to hear some of those funny songs again. When I was in my teens I went through a Rocky Horror phase, playing the film over and over on video. I had a serious crush on Tim Curry (still do, come to think of it), and I loved it when Meatloaf roared in on his motorbike. If you’ve not seen the film, I suspect the phrase ‘Meatloaf roared in on his motorbike’ might seem slightly odd. Anyway, it was great to see the Meat himself pop up in Glee, though what a waste that he just had a dull speaking part. I’d pay proper pounds for him do a song with Sue. Two Out Of Three Ain’t Bad perhaps? Bat out of Hell’s too obvious.
What a lovely couple.
Also good were Kurt’s Riffraff, Quinn’s Magenta (doesn’t she look lovely as a brunette?) and Finn as Brad: at last, the role he was born to play. And I completely loved Emma doing Touch-a Touch-a Touch-a Touch me. It was so sexy. The chemistry between her and Will zinged off the rafters; and Brittany and Santana watching through the window (in homage to Magenta and Columbia in the film) was a joy.
After the behind-a-cushion cringe-fest of last week’s ‘Grilled Cheesus’ (which traumatised me too much to review), this week’s Glee was a cracking return to form. There was even a lesbian kiss, always a joy. As in all the best episodes, the plot was wafer-thin. They had to perform duets to win a meal at the excellent-sounding Breadstix restaurant (where, Santana explained, ‘they are legally obliged to keep bringing you breadsticks’). I think a Breadstix would do well in Brighton. Anyway, as there was no story I will just bring you some highs and lows.
The songs – At last, some decent tunes: a marvellous Mercedes/Santana River Deep – Mountain High, which is so obviously a Glee-type song you wonder what took them so long. Gotta love Santana’s jazz hands. And I thought Tina and Mike’s duet, in which he spoke his words like Rex Harrison, worked really well. But these all paled into insignificance next to…
…Kurt and Rachel together – at last! The moment fans of high-end camp have been waiting for. All gimmicks shoved aside, Kurt and Rachel perched on high stools and ripped into the Streisand/Garland mash-up with great verve. Channelling his inner Judy – actually never very far from the surface – Kurt looked more relaxed than ever before. And this was easily Rachel’s least annoying Barbra impersonation. Marvellous! Mr Qwerty, who is just gay enough, leaped from his seat applauding.
That kiss – Wearing their cheerleaders’ outfits, Brittany and Santana twined together on the bed. ‘Ahh,’ sighed Brittany happily, ‘Sweet lady kisses.’
Glee’s back. And it’s exactly the same! Which is to say, it’s still very enjoyable but never quite as good as it could be.
Emma, we miss you.
Actually it isn’t exactly the same. Big-eyed Emma wasn’t there and to my surprise I missed her. She does often bring some kooky kind of centre to proceedings, and when she isn’t doing that, she’s totally rocking a pretty blouse-and-cardi combo. I don’t think she died (oh, my memory), so I hope she comes back soon.
Tina’s now going out with Other Asian instead of Artie, and Santana’s apparently had a boob job, though while everyone seemed to notice them instantly, I thought she ought to have demanded a refund. Not that I have the exact before and after measurements.
And someone called Matt has left the school, but I couldn’t tell you who he was if my life depended on it.
So Glee ends its first season by tying up many of its loose plot lines in nice satiny bows, and whipping the rug out from under my big assumption. Most of the usual tropes were in place for this highly emotional ending: Sue doing her bit to ensure Glee is wiped from the face of McKinley High and Will shouting impotently at Figgins about the injustice (Sue is one of the celebrity judges at Regionals: “I realize my cultural ascendance only serves to illuminate your own banality. But, face it, I’m legend. It’s happened.”); Sue criticising Will’s hair (“Your hair looks like a briar patch. I keep expecting racist, animated Disney characters to pop up and start singing songs about living on the bayou.”); and the Glee club’s journey from desperation to exhilaration.
Along the way we learn that Emma is dating a dentist who asked her out after showing her his sterilisation equipment (and being very impressed by her oral hygiene…), that Journey’s Don’t Stop Believing can reduce Mr Schue to tears and that the best place for Finn and Rachel to have a face to face conversation is on the stairs (Finn at least three steps down from our favourite diva).
Will rallies the troops with the promise of a Journey medley and the slightly dodgy cry of “Who cares what happens when we get there, when the getting there has been so much fun?” Continue reading
If you read that this was the funk episode and were anticipating upbeat, toe-tap-tastic grooviness, I’m guessing you came away a little disappointed. This is not to say it wasn’t an excellent slice of Glee – but if funk is lemon sherbet (please feel free to post your suggestions for what funk tastes like), this was 70 per cent cocoa solids dark chocolate with occasional nuggets of butterscotch.
We’re one week away from Regionals – so naturally, Vocal Adrenaline and Sue Sylvester are both doing their best to destroy New Directions. Jesse has (quelle surprise) returned to the VA fold and leads the enemy choir in a typically smooth rendition of Another Bites the Dust. The glee club return to their practice room to discover it has been TP’d by VA as well and that Sue is looking to knock down a wall as soon as New Directions lose at Regionals – and turn the room into her trophy annex (“I want it to look like Elvis’ gold record room at Graceland, except I’ll be wanting far fewer morbidly obese white women waddling around and crying.”). For once Will shows some balls and trashes one of her old trophies. Not that it bothers Sue, for whom trophies are like herpes – they just keep coming back… (“Sue Sylvester has hourly flair ups of burning itchy highly contagious talent.”)
It’s not just the kids who are in a funk as VA pile on the pressure – Will and Terri finally sign their divorce papers. Much as I dislike Terri, there was a heartfelt atmosphere of sorrow and regret that even left me feeling a little sorry for her.
In Glee no emotion is a wasted one, so, naturally Will gets the kids thinking about regrets (Quinn: “Thinking ‘Trust me’ was a sensible birth control option…”) and tasks them with revenge for Vocal Adrenaline’s pre-competition bitchiness. While he suggests various, frankly lame, options, we slip inside Puck’s head where he is realising that responsibility for revenge will inevitably fall to him and Finn. Thus they slash all the tyres on all 26 Range Rovers belonging to the members of Vocal Adrenaline (a gift from Shelby for winning at Sectionals…) leaving Will defending the indefensible to Principal Figgins. Ultimately Shelby promises not to press charges, but Puck and Finn end up working for Terri at Sheets ‘n’ Things to pay for the damage. The only upside to this is Puck and Finn’s in-store rendition of Beck’s excellent Loser.