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Glee, and anti-glee. Not in that order.

Oh, CBS. For years, I have supported you and sung your praises. Years! You have been my favorite network for the better part of this decade, if "favorite" is defined as "the single station with the greatest number of shows I enjoy," and except for the occasional misstep here and there, you've treated me quite well in return.

But now you're yanking "Three Rivers," in yet another move that signals the beginning of the end of our relationship. I really do not like the direction in which you are moving, developmentally, and regret to inform you I will have to consider a separation if you continue to cull the things I love and replace them with inferior spin-offs and other variations. I will take my misguided loyalty back to FOX! I mean it, I'll do it!

Glee, 1x11, "Hairography"
In which I say a lot of things. A lot. Of things. This was not the plan, Self! The plan was bullet points! What happened to bullet points? I should be forced to write it all in one sitting, not in little pieces over a period of days where I have time to keep adding thoughts.

----
Performances
"Bootylicious" is one of those songs where I knew the chorus for a long time (at least the "I don't think you're ready" part), and I knew the title, but I never knew they were the same piece. It was startling. It was also sort of baffling to realize the second line is "for this jelly," because...really? Jelly? I don't understand how you can possibly rock that line with confidence. Jelly. Even Beyonce could not make that sound sexy. Also: I know "wildly inappropriate" is par for the song-selection course, but does this not seem wildly inappropriate for judges that like show tunes?

That being said, the performance was pretty damn awesome, and soundly kicked Vocal Adrenaline's ass both in choreography and song selection. I do not care if I was blinded by the hair. It looked good to me! Not better than New Directions, clearly, but entertaining. I particularly loved the introduction of the three girls at the beginning. It was, basically, the best group dance number since "Last Name." Except for the really uncomfortable last bit where the girls doing handstands shook their crotches at the other girl's faces. I assume it was supposed to be booty-shaking, but they were a little too vertical for that.

(also, I love that this show employs SYTYCD dancers. I could have sworn I saw Lauren again, but maybe I confused her with Katee? I definitely saw Kherington. But I cannot see Comfort no matter how hard I try.)

-I am not even going to acknowledge the mashup. Mashups are pretty much on my last nerve, and vying for slushie facials as the worst goddamn plot device this series has invented.

-"Papa Don't Preach" is a lot like "You're Having My Baby," in terms of being uncomfortable. I mean, it's much less squicky, but the lyrics sort of make me want to punch any female singing it in the head. Possibly because I enjoy preaching and believe in doing it as much as one can, and possibly just because I am immune to the notion of liking the sort of boy your parents disapprove of. And as much as I love Quinn, nothing on God's green earth will make me sit through another round of her and Puck.

-Why am I the ONLY person on the internet for whom the "Imagine" performance left a bad taste in my mouth? And this time it wasn't even because I hate that song! It was because even though they were obviously spinning it as something heartwarming and inclusive and welcoming, I just kept thinking it was INCREDIBLY RUDE of Mercedes to start the whole song takeover. It came across as "well, I can see you're trying hard, but you sound awful, so I'm going to sing to myself in hopes of hearing something bearable. Come on, everybody! Let's help the deaf children sing for real!" I am the last person who sees things through a discrimination filter, and I still thought it seemed insulting.

I have wanted to love "True Colors" ever since I first heard Haley "Legs" Scarnato sing it on American Idol, and it seemed like my kind of song. Unfortunately, I disliked the original version, and for some reason I could never quite fall in love with it like I wanted. Still. It has always and forever been the defining Haley Song in my mind, so the Glee version is...strange. But nice! Love the cool background and all their vibrantly colored T-shirts lined up in a row. It threw me for a loop that Tina sounds like a little girl, but I think it is growing on me by the minute. The background vocals are surprisingly awesome. And Tina looks so cute and proud with her first proper solo!

Other Schools
Eve Grace Hitchens is an awesome director, and I would like to have her character in lieu of Sue Sylvester. I was also deeply entertained by every single girl I saw from Jane Adams, and wish to know more about their lives, particularly the Asian girl on keyboard with hair down to about her knees. Note to self: track down YA novel set in a girl's reform school.

The guy leading the deaf school, on the other hand? None of that was funny or possible to watch in anyway. Major distraction.

Miscellany
-Emma is so pointless. And a horrid dresser. Seriously; Rachel looks off-kilter in a cute way; Emma is the one who desperately needs a makeover. I don't understand why everyone fawns over her outfits.

-Everyone says some variant of "distraction" an awful lot in this episode. It's like in episode 3, where everyone was talking about confidence? You would be amazed at how rapidly a word can drive you nuts.

-"Coach Sylvester didn't tell me to do this." Brittany is my BFF.

-"It's like cool epilepsy." Again. By the way, it takes a certain amount of nerve to swing your hair like that. I have really long hair, and I could never work up enough force to really make it whirl. My inner sense of "this makes you look like an idiot" stops me.

-Uh, Puck & Santana? LEFT! FIELD! Geeze, way to blow my Matt/Santana theories out of the water.

-Relatedly: it's like Puck and Kurt have this weekly competition to see who can make me loathe him more. This week, Kurt is horrible to Rachel, whilst Puck is just horrible in general: sexting, stealing, and telling stories about getting adults to buy him beer. It's a tough call. I think Puck still wins, though. He is poison through and through.

-"Seriously, what era are you from?" I love Santana. But I also love Quinn even more for the fact that she's apparently stuck in the 90's. Conservative times, those 90's.

-Quinn looks so good in white and yellow, it should be illegal.

-"Damn, Will. You make one sexy grease monkey." He does, too. Sometimes, Kendra is very wise.

-I will never tire of Mr. Schue storming after Sue and tearing her a new one. Even when she is right about idiotic distractions, I am still always on his side. I am especially on his side after he realizes, chagrined, that the entire club has stopped rehearsing to stare at them.

-Hah! Artie is delightfully nonplussed: "We're a stool choir now?"

Will/Rachel
Okay, ONE: During Bootylicious, Rachel turns around in her seat to get his reaction (nobody else does).

TWO: Immediately post-performance, she zips to a seat behind him (bleachers, redux, inverse!) and proceeds to preemptively lecture him about not freaking out, patiently explaining how the smoke and mirrors (or hair, as it were) were just a cover for an inferior performance. "Trust me. We have nothing to be afraid of."

THREE: When he ignores her sound advice, as he is wont to do, and brings out the wigs anyway, Rachel grabs him by the arm and drags him off to the side for another urgent conversation. Seriously, how am I supposed to not adore the two of them? Does he seem likely to admit to anyone else that he was, in fact, a tad freaked out? No. This is also maybe the first time where Rachel has been the one with clarity of mind, which is a welcome change, even if it gets her nowhere.

Four: "That didn't work at all, did it?" There! This! This is the Will/Rachel I had in my head all summer long, where she just goes over and talks to him all the time. I can has this theme forever? It is even better than the diva-out.

Five: this, when he finally heeds what she's been telling him all along. Sparkle-sparkle!


"Thanks, Mr. Schuester." And look! She's so pleased that she doesn't make a peep about not getting the solo. Which is maybe a first.]

Kurt
Oh, how I loathe him. I loathe him like fire. The fire at the end of a lit cigarette. With which I occasionally, or regularly, imagine burning him with over and over. I hate his prissy little walk in a suit (which, WHY), the smug, superior smirk on his face while dissing Rachel's wardrobe (he gets a pass on the fugly pantsuit, but that's fair because it was ridiculous; Rachel doesn't even wear pants), how he coolly insults her even before he starts the sabotage ("you need something to distract from your horrible personality"? Bitch, I will CUT YOU), and the fact that he is more well-liked than her will always burn me up inside.

Really, it's the part where he sets her up for total humiliation that makes me want to scratch his eyes out. The way he prances about telling her juuuuust what Finn loves - oh, and also, the fact that Rachel has so little self-esteem that she's naively willing to slut it up to make a boy like her - drives me insane. Poor girl and her sad eyes. "I thought we were friends." NO WONDER she has such self-esteem issues. And yes, it did do my heart a world of good to see her vindictively spit that even if she was Finn's 50th choice, she'd still be miles ahead of Kurt because she's A GIRL. Hah! Drive it home, Rachel! Stab & twist! You've earned the right.

If Chris Colfer were not such a charming human being, I really don't know what I'd do. I literally have to go run off and watch one of his bright-eyed, enthusiastic interviews after every episode in order to calm my blood pressure.

Rachel/Finn
First, Rachel has the worst dads ever. Do they ever monitor what goes on in her room, or are they the super-liberal kind of parents who practically invite boys to sleep over? How did she make it out of the house wearing that bustier? How did she even make it into one class without violating the dress code and being told to go cover up? Come on, Mr. Schue. I count on you to notice when something's going on with your students. Even if they aren't Finn.

Second, OMG LOVE. "You look like a sad clown hooker." I am still not in a place to ship them, but THIS. This is what we were talking about last week, remember? Some boy is going to like you for who you are. And while I'd prefer it be a different boy, that fact that Finn tells her he likes the way she normally dresses, not all skanked up and blasted with a makeup cannon (I may be paraphrasing), reinforces this idea, because it's Finn, and he's generally not smart enough to lie.

Mostly I just feel bad for Rachel, whose capacity for humiliation seems limitless, but which stings just as much no matter how many times it happens. She does look like a sad clown hooker. Or a baby in disguise. Because for all her bold and provocative talk in "Showmance," I can't help seeing her as this completely innocent little dove, struggling to match her goals with others' expectations, no real concept of what her own sexuality means, who would benefit from nothing so much as a strong female influence for guidance. (I am not talking about you, Emma. I'm waiting for Idina Menzel to show up as either the surrogate mom or a random aunt moving to town.)

In sum, I will never tire of teary!Rachel beating herself up and people gently telling her it's okay.

Quinn
Spent most of this episode making me want to drown her in a bathtub, saying all those disgustingly positive things about Puck and trying to sneak around with him despite LIVING AT FINN'S HOUSE, so thank God she screwed her head on straight by the end and returned to her senses. With a heartbreaking bit of Rachel-like naivete, as she realized that "if I don't give it up to you every day," he's going to run around behind her back. Well, I told you Puckerman was a disgusting pig. I've been saying it the whole time. He keeps illustrating my point.

Really loved Terri's plausible lie about "exchanging pregnancy war stories," too. It's always nice when your wife doesn't turn your female students into slave labor.

AND THEN THERE WAS THIS. "Yes?"


Reaction 1: A wishlist item I didn't even know I had until it was happening. I have mentioned this before - "imagine looking at Mr. Schuester as the man who's going to raise your daughter, albeit unknowingly" - but God. I didn't think they were going to interpret that so literally. The hug was just an explosion of joy, in my brain. This is why I want BabyCaper to happen successfully, okay??

Because he would be an amazing dad. A girl does need a good father, and the only way she's going to get that is with him. Quinn could make an equally decent mother, sure, but if we assign a value to each potential parent in this scenario and tally up the results of various pairings, the Schuesters come out with the best marks. Ergo, hand it over! Don't expose the liiiiiiiiies...*wails in fear of episode 12/13*

Reaction 2: Now, see, if I were Will, I'd be like, "Didn't I have this problem last week? I have the oddest feeling I had this problem last week..." Fortunately, instead of any potential awkwardness, he just automatically puts his arms around her while shooting a baffled look at Terri over her shoulder. This is, dare I say it, better/more satisfying than him hugging Rachel would have been? Because I cannot subvert this for my own purposes. I can only get sniffly and sentimental and adore the quasi-paternal aspect of this moment. New favorite scene of the series? POSSIBLY.

Quinn/Finn
"Can we be in love again?" Um, yeah. Heartbreak complete. It's like, I've been shipping them in theory and want them to be together, but until she said this, I didn't even realize that I never thought of them as in love. This is different, and confusing, because I think I just understood for the first time how you can fall out of love with someone yet still love them. Staying together because it's what they know, and not necessarily because it's the right thing! Shut up, Private Practice. I can steal your lines and still ship married!Sam/Naomi.

And I love his adorable confession, even though nothing happened, because he believes in honesty. Everyone else sees this as proof that Quinn is an evil, evil liar who needs to 'fess up herself; I merely see renewed proof of why she'd want go to her grave swearing the baby is his. Hug time now!


Terri & Kendra
A surprising number of people are starting to warm up to Terri (WHATEVER. I don't want your shallow and easily manipulated minds!), or at least acknowledge that the writers are trying to make her more sympathetic, but continue to call Kendra pure evil. Pathetic! Kendra is not nearly smart enough to be "evil." She is just hilariously misguided and, well, maybe a tad manipulative...

But it's not malicious! That's an important characteristic which sets her apart from legitimately evil Sue. She uses her power of suggestion for what she perceives as good: namely, keeping her sister's marriage together & getting her the baby she wants. From a teen who doesn't want it! Win/win, y/y? It's just that she perpetuates wild and crazy schemes, on which no one intercedes because she makes them sound so good. She even makes them sound good to me. I would probably go along with her too.

POINT BEING: Sometimes, it is hard for me to decide which sister I like more, as Terri tugs at my heartstrings, but Kendra is just fantastically, hilariously kooky. I love how much screen time she gets. It must be enough to rival Emma at this point? This is another reason the Schuesters cannot ever divorce. I deeply fear the permanent loss of my favorite blondes.

Who wouldn't love a woman whose top pregnancy advice is to avoid "rum-based drinks" - really emphasizing the rum part, as opposed to the "alcohol in general" part - and stay out of the hot tub? I mean, really. It's like seeing Brittany all grown up.

Will/Terri
"What are you doing?!"
"I'm trying to be intimate with my wife."
[How you resist that, I cannot fathom.]
"No, you're trying to have sex!"


SIGH. I still love the 3/4 of a second I can appreciate him touching her before she feels it and freaks out accordingly. Poor long-suffering Will vs. his wife's wall of pillows. Look at his great big puppy eyes! Look at them!



"It'll all be worth it when she shows up, right?" Hey, that's what I keep clinging to, and I have the l handicap of knowing it'll never happen. Relatedly: oh, geeze, my heart can't take this much pain. Voice, distract me with a pretty kissing picture.



And THIS is exactly why Terri breaks my heart:
I miss him too. I do want to have a family with him. I only ever started lying about all this to give us a chance...

----------------------
The Blue Bomber (2)! God, that is an ugly piece of junk. Which I am fully willing to overlook because he has such fond memories of it that involve Terri, such as taking her to Prom, and Doing It (they capitalized that in the 90's) in the backseat. XD I've been in love with the promo pic of him wearing a tie blindfold for weeks now, and I'm glad it turned out as well as I was hoping.

And, look, I know she bought the car as a distraction and she's probably also the one who nagged him to sell it in the first place, BUT STILL. She was trying to do something nice for him, and she found something with incredible sentimental value. I am easily convinced to squee. For example, every time he kisses her. SQUEE.



You have no idea how much I will miss stuff like this. Morrison can interview all he wants about how Terri is a horrible woman from whom Will should be running away at full-speed, so long as he continues to portray a loving husband when the script calls for it.
-----------------------
And then before you know it, the Blue Bomber 2 is gone, traded for a somehow even fuglier, boxy, wood-paneled minivan*. Okay, Rule #1, Will Schuester is not allowed to go car shopping anymore. Rule #2, DEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEAD. OF SQUEE.

"I love you. And our little girl. And I don't want anything to distract me from you guys."

Let me just redundantly say: OTP.

*Wait. So you sold the ugly car for a "tidy little profit," yet only had enough to make the down payment on the van - you couldn't even buy that piece of crap outright? You are definitely not allowed to go car shopping anymore.
=============
Conclusion: I think it's probably still in the upper half of episodes for me, but I need to remember that the deaf school, Kurt, and Quinn/Puck REALLY hurt my enjoyment of it in ways disproportionate to the amount of review space they got.

I stopped at 3300 words this time! Be proud of me.

Comments

( 7 comments — Leave a comment )
poinsley
Dec. 1st, 2009 02:51 am (UTC)
Imagine bothered me, too. I felt like the whole thing was incredibly rude and a bit patronizing. Just let them sing!

I think I knew about Santana/Puck before, but maybe it was because they were paired up at that celibacy club meeting way back when? Doesn't explain why she didn't seem to care when he hooked up with Rachel, though.
rainbowstevie
Dec. 1st, 2009 03:20 am (UTC)
"Patronizing," yes, that's the word I was looking for. You're honestly the first person I've seen agree with me on this count. Thank you.

Celibacy club! That's not a bad theory. I obviously cannot remember anything from before I started writing stuff down on episode 5...
poinsley
Dec. 1st, 2009 03:26 am (UTC)
I really wished they had let them sing the whole song without joining. Maybe we'll get a whole one for regionals? But yeah, once Mercedes started singing, I felt a mixture of second hand embarrassment and anger.
eleigh
Dec. 1st, 2009 03:33 am (UTC)
I am the last person who sees things through a discrimination filter, and I still thought it seemed insulting.

Actually I felt uncomfortable then too. It was really rude. I think that, for me at least, they managed to pull it off in the end with all of them doing the sign language as well but I think it could've been handled better to begin with.

Kendra cracks me up. Especially with her children.

I'm not ever going to jump on the Will/Terri ship (but neither do I care about Will and Emma) but that does make 2 episodes in a row where Terri did something to amuse me/that made me like her. Progress.

rainbowstevie
Dec. 1st, 2009 04:34 pm (UTC)
A second person for my faction! Wonderful. Was there signing? I don't think I made it that far before I changed the channel and/or skipped forward. That might have helped my perception a little, but not entirely.
eleigh
Dec. 1st, 2009 04:39 pm (UTC)
Yeah, by the end of it all the Glee kids were doing sign language with the deaf glee kids so it ended up working for me to an extent because of that.
aries11
Dec. 1st, 2009 05:08 pm (UTC)
"Three Rivers" is getting yanked already? I've never watched it, but it debuted late, so I'm surprised it's already bombed enough to get pulled.
( 7 comments — Leave a comment )

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