Category Archives: Glee

Glee: Farewell to arms

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.

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Glee 206: A kiss is just a kiss

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.

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Glee 205: It’s the pelvic thrust that really drives you insane

Dammit, Rachel!

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.

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Glee 204: Sweet lady kisses

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.’

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Glee 23: Rachel knows from a crackhouse?

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.

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Glee (22): Time to mothball the tracksuit of power

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


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Glee (21): Play that funky music white boy…

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.

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Glee (20): Lobster hats and monochrome make-up

Testing… testing… yes this week Glee is testing relationships. (More than Rachel’s usual obnoxiousness obviously). Oh and providing an excuse to dress Brittany in Lady Gaga’s silver lobster hat. Bravo!

So, Kurt and Finn’s relationship is tested to the point of destruction by Finn’s mum moving them both into Burt’s house – and crucially, making the boys share a room.

Finn’s protest is countered by a promise from Kurt to redecorate: “This palette is totally unflattering to your skin tone…”

The spurious plot device of the week (Figgins’ fear of Twilight fever and vampires) leads to him banning Tina (“My mom won’t even let me watch Twilight. She says she thinks Kristen Stewart seems like a bitch”) from wearing her usual Goth outfits. This in turn leads to Tina complaining that she looks like an Asian Branch Davidian and when it is revealed that Vocal Adrenaline are planning to do Lady Gaga for Regionals, Will sets Gaga as the week’s project.

This leads Rachel to sneak into VA’s rehearsals where she hears Shelby sing Funny Girl and immediately realises she’s found her mother. Having blurted this out, we cut to a poignant scene where they sit on different rows and two seats apart (so fiercely theatrical – as Rachel observes) and attempt to forge a relationship. I loved Rachel explaining “When I was little and I was sad, my dads would bring me a glass of water. It got to a point where I didn’t know if I was sad or thirsty.” Bless her.

Puck is also testing his relationship with Quinn – by wanting to name their baby Jack Daniels. (Quinn:It’s a girl. Puck: Okay, fine. Jackie Daniels.) At least, this is quickly cleared up by a bit of a ballad from Puck and the boys – and Quinn agrees that they can call the baby Beth and that Puck can be at the birth. Ahhh.

Things go very badly wrong for Kurt and Finn – when Finn reacts badly to Kurt offering him a moist towelette to clean off his Kiss make-up (suffice to say the boys don’t embrace the Gaga project and get to do their own thing) Kurt makes a ‘peace offering’. For him this is redecorating the shared bedroom a la Lawrence Llewellyn Bowen. You can’t help but sympathise with Finn’s “Are you freaking insane?” even if his dismissal of the throws and rugs as ‘faggy’ is unacceptable. God bless Burt for stepping in and making it crystal clear why Finn is wrong and why he can’t stay in the house – even if it costs Burt the love of Finn’s mum. Sob! I love Burt. The scenes with him and Kurt are always so powerful – a killer combination of writing and great acting.

It’s not going much better for Rachel and Shelby. Bad, bad Shelby, having manipulated this whole situation, she quickly decides it’s a bad idea. She wanted her baby back – but Rachel’s grown-up and doesn’t need a ‘mom’ apparently (to which I say wtf? – but perhaps that’s just me). Having accepted that things aren’t going to work out, we get the inevitable duet (Rachel and Shelby are on the empty stage, talking across the grand piano.Rachel: “Brad!” Shelby looks puzzled. Rachel explains: “He’s always just around.” Genius.) and a beautiful stripped-down version of Pokerface. Double-genius.

Other highlights:

  • The jock bullies complaining that Kurt and Tina’s weirdness makes their eyes tired.
  • The jocks telling Kurt that doing football and Glee “does not make you versatile, it makes you bisexual.”
  • The same bullies coming face to face with Finn dressed a la Gaga in a full length red rubber dress (made from a shower curtain) and red glittery eye make-up and stepping in to stop them beating up Kurt (again).
  • Tina’s vampire revenge on Figgins!
  • Rachel’s first homemade Gaga outfit – a lot of cuddly toys stapled on to a dress (“My dads can’t sew”).
  • The excellent performance of Bad Romance. (You can’t have too much Bad Romance. See Popjustice.)
  • Finn: “We live in Ohio, not New York… or some other city where people eat vegetables that aren’t fried.”

Full marks guys – now let’s win at Regionals!

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Glee (19): Sweet dreams are made of this

I don’t know whose idea it was to give Mr Schue a rival to battle with instead of nemesis Sue, Terri-ble the ex-wife or sweet but mad as a bag of cats Emma – but they’re a genius.

Neil Patrick Harris brings a whole new dynamic to Glee (admittedly this is a series that does a new dynamic almost every week – but this is a new new dynamic).  Harris is Bryan Ryan – Will Schuester’s rival from his show choir days – a man (and school board member) whose heart was broken by failing to make it in showbiz and who is now set on closing the glee club and dashing the students’ aspirations to stardom. “Show biz dreams are the most unrealistic of them all,” he tells them after asking them to write their dreams on a sheet of paper – and tossing Artie’s dream – Dancer – into the trash can.

In doing so he sets up the second story strand  – Tina trying to make Artie’s dream come true. It’s mostly sweet (sometimes bittersweet) but includes a stunning daydream sequence in which Artie starts dancing (brilliantly) in the mall and creates a flash mob with choreography a Jackson could be proud of. It also leads to Emma actually doing some proper counselling – and you thought she was just there to do her bushbaby impersonation…

We also get confirmation of our suspicions about Shelby (Vocal Adrenalin coach) and Jesse (god, but Jonathan Groff is gorgeous – especially when rain-soaked). Jesse was ordered to befriend Rachel in order to deliver a tape of her mother singing I Dreamed A Dream and get Rachel searching properly for her birth mother (Shelby is banned from contacting her daughter until she’s 18). I fear another large dose of saccharine before New Directions win Regionals… It will probably be worth it just for Jesse telling Rachel that a baby scan picture shows her in fifth position though. Continue reading


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Glee (18): I’m a sex shark – if I stop moving, I die

Can you have too much glee? I don’t honestly know, but Glee seems to be a little short of glee right now and suffering from diabetes-threatening levels of sugar instead

Three story strands were woven through the episode: Rachel losing her voice through laryngitis, Kurt trying to win his dad back from Finn and Puck trying to get his popularity back after losing his mohawk (it was shaved off after his mother found a mole on his head while washing his hair).

Puck got all the best lines. Talking to Santana about losing his hair –  “They maimed me over a freaking mole. I feel like that guy who lost all his hair, then lost all his power.” Santana: “Samson?” Puck : Agassi.”; working out that dating Mercedes could make him cool again: “Get ready black girl from Glee club whose name I can’t remember right now. The Puckster is about to make you his.”; When his initial bid to persuade Mercedes to date him is failing: “I’m a sex shark. If I stop moving, I die.”

And having turned a bit Robbie Williams (confession reader, it might not be cool, but I do love the Robster), with a hat and a Sammy Davis Jr song, he wins Mercedes over. (Frankly, I like him a lot better without the dumb haircut – I’m hoping the writers find a reason to stop the damn thing growing back.) This puts Mercedes on a collision course with a possessive Santana and cues a passionate sing-off of The Boy is Mine and near-fisticuffs in the rehearsal room. Thankfully Mercedes dumps Puck  – because she is too good for him – leaving the writers room to set him up with someone else next week.

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