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.
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.
This was another gloriously Terri-free episode, making me insanely optimistic that the writers have come to their senses and just quietly dropped the whole fake-pregnancy thing. Please, next time we see Terri, can she be filing for divorce on the grounds that Will is too good for her, and moving to Acapulco? Well, as Glee tells us, a girl can dream.
As can a boy with a very high voice. Kurt’s lifelong ambition to sing some crummily boring song from Wicked was nearly fulfilled, when he and Rachel battled it out with their high F’s. But Kurt blew the top note, and thus threw the audition, claiming it was so his dad wouldn’t have to live with the inevitable taunts. Er, hell-o? Kurt even breathes in a camp fashion. How would singing a showtune humiliate his macho dad any more than he is already, a million times a day? More likely Kurt suddenly realised what a rotten song it was, and decided not to embarrass his pa with such a shoddy musical choice.
The main theme this week was raising money for an Artie-friendly bus. Will insisted the club not only hold a bake-sale, but that the students spend a week in a wheelchair. All this was very well-handled; the many petty indignities faced by wheelchair users, the unthinking way disabled people’s opinions are assumed, rather than sought… I’m making it sound humourless but it wasn’t at all. It was rather moving, particularly Artie’s Dancing with myself. It would be a sour able-bodied meanie who didn’t enjoy the final dance – the entire Glee Club doing wheelies in their chairs, full of esprit de corps.