Put a muzzle on Sue. Put a muzzle on Kurt. Edit Emma out of existence. Mute & skip any performances I disagree with. Let the other songs wash over me in context without ever looking up the original music so I cannot claim to have fallen in love with any sort of unsavory singer. MAN, it worked for me. I think I only watched about 20-25 minutes of each episode to begin with, gradually increasing it to as much as 35, and as a result my feelings are 97% positive!
This choppy editing means I'll be screwed as far as tracking canon, but since there are a zillion things crammed into every ep, I like to think of it more like a Norton Anthology, where you can just read bits and pieces of literature in any order, and have little symbolic flag tabs marking all your favorite spots.
It's a pity they screwed up their second episode bad enough to drive me away - the glimpses I caught of "Push It" were each more horrifying than the last, and I didn't even make it that far on live airing - because if I'd started with episode 1x03, there would have been no stopping anything. Josh Groban, taking an unholy amount of glee in playing the creepiest version of himself possible? (Josh Groban loves a blousy alcoholic!) Victor Garber as Will's (totally awesome and endearing) dad? Fact, Victor Garber is so great he should be everybody's dad.
AND: When they went to that other school, with the group doing "Mercy"? I caught a five-second flash of the dark-haired girl in the center and immediately went "Hold the phone, is that Lauren??" *cue slo-mo* "OH MY GOD, IT'S LAUREN GOTTLIEB!" Light of my season 3 So You Think You Can Dance life!
Me, 2 minutes later: "No, don't chase them off the stage already! Come back, Lauren! Have lines!"
It was almost more exciting than finding out about Josh, and you don't want to know how much profanity there was the next day when I found out he'd really been a guest star. Furthermore, I'm thinking, she's probably in more than just the one dance sequence and I need to go back and look at more of the large group numbers.
HERE ARE SOME JUMBLED THOUGHTS from 1x02-1x04:
* I roll over in defeat and confess that the "Golddigger" rehearsal has been stuck in my head for hours. Damn you, Will, and your adorable bouncy/spinny dance moves. I could watch this scene forever, brimming over with smiles all the way. Everyone is having so much fun that I'm actually tempted to stop being uptight and wish I was there, goin' ahead and gettin' down. (OK, n/m, saying that felt gross)
* Artie is the best. The best. He has been the best from day 1, but so far he's the one guy who really seems like someone I'd have had classes with. Not a stereotype, not an over-the-top personality, just intelligent and well-spoken and also, really the only one I trust to communicate with Mr. Schue and be taken seriously, as opposed to A Dramatic Teenager.
* I really must find out the name of the long-suffering pianist who gets no lines but has awesome facial expressions and eyerolling down to a science.
* Mercedes = epic win
* Are the cheerleaders not allowed to wear normal clothes to school? Is that one of Crazy Sue's crazy rules or something?
* I hate to admit it, but "Who is Josh Groban? KILL YOURSELF!" is probably the most classic line this show will ever have. And it is one that will make me laugh every single time I hear or say it. BECAUSE IT'S HILARIOUS. Also true. Just like that other truth about how he is, by definition, an angel sent from heaven to bring platinum records unto us all.
* I still love Quinn & Terri so very much, poor misguided babies! I love them. I love their desperate attempts to cling to their men no matter what and fully support them on both counts. Terri's sister, too. And the other Cheerios, or at least the two henchgirls we've seen. I just want to gather them all up and squish them in a hug.
* Best ever rendition of "I Say A Little Prayer"
* Will & Terri still make my heart do flippy things. My girly bits agree. It's quite rare that they agree on stuff, so clearly this relationship's a keeper.
* "Chick batty." Heh. Can Will & Finn just hang out together and be awesome forever?
* I should not love Dakota. He is an evil little woodland creature. AND YET I DO. *giggles madly* I really must tell more people to shut their face gash.
* Given that "Single Ladies" is the most @*&$^@$ pointless music video I've ever seen in my life, I can't believe that watching the football team dance to it on the field cracks me up so much. Especially since I, personally, would advocate losing over looking like an idiot.
* I'm going to flip-flop between "Will" and "Mr. Shue" (hurray for nickname surnames!) depending on context. Is that cool? I feel like it helps sort out my shipping priorities, in my head, because I am desperately trying not to feel like a creepy perve for being amenable to the idea of him and Rachel. I mean, if Wincest can take over a fandom and people aren't ashamed to promote PWPs, then I should be allowed to have this harmless fancy, and I do have it, but I feel like I need to really really stress how much I am not looking for romantic subtext in the show itself.
My enjoyment for anything between them comes from the same place (mostly) as my Gates-and-Sarah love on ER, the aforementioned Gibbs-and-Abby, and all those friendships I enjoy while stubbornly rejecting actual slash. I'm enchanted first and foremost by the teacher/mentor aspect, how you draw the line between authority figure and being the approachable figure these kids can relate to. And on the other side of the coin, how having someone to look up to and respect changes your attitude and approach to things.
As final proof of this fact, I get just as much squee out of him smiling at Mercedes owning "Golddigger," encouraging Tina's solo or connecting with Finn as I do out of him trying to talk Rachel back into sanity. IT IS ALL EQUALLY WONDERFUL. That should settle the raging internal debate, shouldn't it, Self?
Now that my bulky disclaimer's in place, the good stuff:
* Oh my God, I didn't even dare to hope Mr. Shue & Rachel's scenes would be that good. I feel like I need to sing Song for Ten, all I wish today was just like every other day / 'cause today has been the best day / better than I ever dreamed. I could leave it at that, or I could get super detailed for my own personal enjoyment.
"Do you understand what you did today? You lied to me. And you ruined our chances; no parent in their right mind is gonna let their kid join Glee now."
+ "Look. I know how much you care about Glee club. And I understand why you did what you did - but I don't like the way you did it."
Yeah, if I'd made it to this scene, I would have forgotten "Push It." You know me and my reaction to dark, deadly quiet anger!
* Wait, that's the solo he took away from her? DON'T STOP BELIEVIN'? Now I understand the uproar. You can and should redistribute any of the others, but there is nowhere to go but down if you change so much as a note on that one. And she's not wrong when she turns her hurt puppy dog eyes on him and calls it a punishment - unlike two episodes from now - but "Contrary to your beliefs, it's not all about you" is the kind of thing I've been waiting to hear. Of course she's good, that's never a question, but she has to learn how to let others be good, too.
* "The truth is, if you weren't so hard on me, I never would have had the guts to start Acafellas."
What is that! How does one outspoken student spur you into something like that? Let me just go back and watch that first rehearsal again, between his crestfallen look as realization sinks in and her overly-prepared speech deflating into something apologetic and forced in reaction...
* AW, ending rehearsal. Long-suffering teacher. "Yes, Rachel?" Hee! I love their mini stare-off before she smiles. See, she's a more-frequently-than-occasionally maddening little creature, but she can be charming all the same.
* "I think you're trying to punish me."
"I think you're being irrational."
"I think you're being unfair!" (Right, you just lost his good humor. Honestly. It always amazed me, in high school, how kids could fail to notice when they'd crossed the line. I frequently jotted such observations down in my journal.)
"I think you're being unfair to Tina, who might have been happy about getting her first solo."
+ *flouncing out of the room* and Artie very sensibly noting, "The more times she storms out of rehearsal, the less impact it has." HEE.
Illustration #3 of what I love about their dynamic. She's such a drama queen that this time it doesn't even phase him, and rightly so. I mean, you feel bad for her very real tears & hurt, but also, she's mildly off her rocker at the moment and should really just be ignored.
+ "is that why you stole my best singer?" Ah! And he actually goes and seeks her out to talk her back. (You know that whatever Rachel says, she loves this fact. It makes her feel all special and important and she'd have been crushed if he hadn't)
+ *supremely calm and a little bit snippy* "An opportunity arose for me to showcase my talent and I took it. How is that any different from when you quit glee to form your boy band?"
"Because I didn't do it out of spite."
Sorry, let me just die for a minute over his voice right there. Okay, continue.
"I am offended by that accusation. I have always been a team player. Admit it, Mr. Shue, you don't like me very much." (WHERE DID THAT COME FROM? Talk about passive-aggressive fishing for compliments right here. Which works.)
"That's not true. I am your biggest -and sometimes your only - fan."
Right. I'll be dying again. I love how his qualifier there is simultaneously supportive and incredibly stinging.
"I'm not quitting glee. I'm just looking for a reason to stay."
"Oh, like me taking the solo away from Tina?" (hah!)
Bossy, abrasive, conceited Rachel. How still so enchanting? And then, naturally, she goes off on her self-pitying laundry list of things that include being unpopular and not having a boyfriend, and he just SIGHS, which is a thing he does rather a lot in conversations with her. I like it, the sighing. It stands in for a lot of dialogue that she wouldn't hear anyway.
* However, I am not at all adverse to more scenes with him coaching Tina through things. "Have you noticed that the more confident you are, the less you stutter?" *happy skip*
* Thought I might actually die when Finn walked in twitchy and too upset for words and then broke down crying on his shoulder. What! Am I seeing this?? Because I did this a fair bit in my educational career, but it's quite the turnaround to see a guy do it and have a male teacher automatically reach out. BEST SCENE EVER.
* I am loving Finn's blind faith in Mr. Shue, by the way. Boy's even dumber than previously suspected and I really don't get what Rachel sees in him, but his dopey naivete and the way he looks up to, defends, and otherwise totally adores the guy is sweetly endearing.
By the time they finished that meal I thought my heart might burst with pride - see, this is why I am in love with the whole idea of teaching. Not that I think teen pregnancy is a subject that comes up all that often, but that teachers have to wear so many hats beyond what their job description says, and the good ones are remembered for far more than what they say at the front of the room.
* EVERY TIME RACHEL SINGS, IT IS MAGIC. True story, one of the main reasons I caved and downloaded episodes is because YouTube gave me a horribly tinny-sounding clip of her singing Celine Dion, and my God, I needed to hear that beauty in high quality. This is a match made in heaven. It's about the most inspiring thing I've heard since the pilot.
And her passionate rendition of Take a Bow >>>> Rihanna's, despite the supreme irony of the line "for making me believe that you could be faithful to me," since...you know, kissing her = cheating on his actual girlfriend. Then again, it does further highlight the problem she has with her ego and inability to see when she's in the wrong...
(And tragically, I'm gonna have to buy it, 'cause right now Rihanna's version is on my MP3 player right above Rachel's "Taking Chances," and the former mocks me with its inferiority.)
* Random: I think I am starting to ship Artie/Tina a little bit. Don't tell me things. I'm just...fond, of that smile he gives her at the end.
* Now I'm torn between wanting to see the next ep ASAP, and wanting to stockpile again because one won't be enough, and anyway, I'm still so brimming over with happy feelings about these three episodes alone that I've been looping through them at intermittent periods all day and they keep getting better with every viewing.
I cannot in good faith say this a brilliant show, because parts of it are so very bad, and yet MY parts? Oh, they are like an army of precious cuddly teddy bears. That sing.
P.S. I totally caved and found myself a few pages of a spoiler thread. I am currently making the HORRIFIED EYES at one of them, which prompts me to break my "if you can't say anything positive, ignore it" rule, and state for the record that Puck is a troll and everyone should stop being fannish about him immediately.