Glee, 1x12, "Mattress"
Remember how once upon a November I promised to be less verbose about 1x12? I'm breaking that promise. Oh, and before you read this, you might want to reread the not-insubstantial original reaction post I had about it, which will give us both a platform to start from.
December 2nd, 2009...
I like how this hour is split almost perfectly in half between "giddy happy joy" and "crushing depression." I love a good bipolar episode.
[Note: I have dragged my heels on this so much that I think we are actually closer to new episodes than to the date this originally aired. As such, I have gained a considerable amount of perspective and spoilers that will necessarily alter my perspective from what it was back in December. I'll try not to mention the spoilers, though.]
[Update: in retrospect, maybe this disclaimer will be more relevant to the next episode, I seem to have stayed in the moment pretty well]
I didn't completely hate anything! That's a first.
"Smile" 1. Dear Lily Allen, please to re-record this in a way where you replace 'f---ing' with Glee's sensible suggestion of "kissing," because I totally love this bouncy melody, and I like it better in your British stylin' without Corey Monteith's useless voice trying to duet, but even the censored version is too unbearable for my ears. WHY ARE YOU SUCH A TRASHY PERSON. No love, Me.
(edit: however, I think once I get the soundtrack on CD, this is a track I could easily listen to in sequence, if not on its own. And it was a cute scene)
"Jump." Still can't figure out if I've ever listened to the original, or if I only know it from commercials/promos, or if it just sounds like something I should know. Regardless, it was great in context (though could have used less Mercedes screaming) and will probably grow on me. More details later.
"Smile" 2. As previously mentioned, not a fan of the original; Glee version is better but still too utterly devastating in context to bear. Have to watch last scene on mute and still can't get through it.
The Yearbook Fiasco: Gonna try not to dwell, because thankfully the entire internet has recognized how stupid this is (who bothers trashing library yearbooks? Who would be humiliated by trashed library yearbooks? You'll be looking at the pictures in your own, non-vandalized yearbook, right?), and even for the purposes of entertainment, I can't wrap my head around the stupidity. I just have 3 additional questions:
1) Did your yearbooks have advertising? Because my grandmother's yearbook from the 1930's did, but the only ads in ours are baby photos & personal congratulatory messages bought by parents for a nominal fee.
2) Did anyone else think about the end of Harry Potter, where nothing about the rivalries change, no matter what you accomplish? Because I thought that was a tad depressing.
3) WHY would the teachers - and not even just the teachers! The guidance counselor! - each have an entire page dedicated to a giant photo of them? There's your problem re: lack of space right there. The yearbook group clearly needs a new adviser who will help them put things together in a much less stupid fashion.
On second thought, the above is 90% of what I managed to write in December, so since I'm basically starting over...let's do the rest of the categories in semi-chronological order.
Will/Terri, Part 1
After that brilliant display of love & Feelings in 1x11, I just groaned throughout her whole bitchy refusal to let him buy yearbook space for the glee club, and how dare he even suggest thinking about such a thing. Yep, it was all headdesking and, "TERRI. ARGH. ONE STEP FORWARD, TWO STEPS BACK."
Will/Rachel, and Captain Rachel
Don't they look like the best team ever, threatening Figgins? I even got a shoulder squeeze out of it, even if that was mostly to silence her rambling long enough to tell her said rambling is unnecessary. Am also a fan of all the little moments shortly after her unanimous election as team captain, in which she comes to him brimming over with ideas. It lets my brain wander in a world where, as sole team captain, she has to spend a lot of time with the supervising teacher, coming up with ideas and plans like a junior assistant. WITHIN NORMAL STUDENT/TEACHER BOUNDARIES
In other news, watching her chase people down is hilarious, whether they are brushing her off with lies about Kwanzaa or truths about picture defacement, or simply being backed into a stammering corner like poor Artie The Definite Follower.
General Plot-Related Thoughts
-"And stop with the pointless vendetta!" Oh, my God, thank you. I realize she won't stop, but I can honestly say that Sue's incessant stream of snide needling grates on my nerves as much as it does Will's, until I almost find myself yelling at her to shut up already. There's only so much good will you can buy yourself by snubbing Edith.
-There is something in this scene with Rachel & Finn, that made me write 'Hm, where have I seen this before?', in a way where I was then going to link you to something it reminded me of in another fandom, but for the life of me, I cannot figure out where my brain would have been in early December. What shows was I watching then? Bones, Grey's maybe, Private Practice, I don't...
Rachel: I can't do this alone.
Me: OH! [Numb3rs]
"Charlie. I can't do this alone."
-I love that Rachel can cry on demand. And that she occasionally gets close to tears for real, and has to give herself pep talks (I think that scene just made it 50% easier to write 1st-person POV Rachel stories), and sing a little to herself in her head. I also love that she will do anything for her future career unless it involves nudity or exploiting animals. THIS IS WHY SHE'S MY FAVORITE.
Although I'm curious about her objecting to nudity, given her otherwise liberal views on sexuality, and wonder what this revelation means for the plausibility of Fame (warning, serious M rating for masturbation, but on the other hand, I recced it), which I still think sounds perfectly in character.
HEARTS. Puck and his Heavy...Serious...Acting Mode! Rachel in her bright, vivacious, I-was-born-to-be-an-overly-peppy-commerc
It seemed familiar, though, this joy, and I concluded that the reason it brings tears to my eyes is that it reminds me of another heartfelt small-town commercial, albeit one that went straight to DVD.
...which I can't find an embeddable version of, so here is a mere link to Dunder-Mifflin: limitless paper in a paperless world.
But back to Glee, the thing about this commercial is that even though it's wonderful, it's hard to watch because there's an air of tragedy hanging over it as well: it's the last time this series will be innocent and beautiful and happy before irreparable tragedy and heartbreak rip it apart. So the fact that it's so exuberantly happy and innocent only makes the heartbreak worse.
Literally seconds later, the dangerously humming vocals of Doom & Trepidation break over the Schuester household, and I curl up in a ball and moan.
Will/Terri, Part DEVASTATING
Allow me to present you with this handy-dandy chart illustrating my immediate reaction:
And then, as I tortured myself through endless repeat viewings of this scene, I had one last hmmm, why does this seem familiar? moment and came up with an alternate voice-over version
Now, whether you choose to interpret this as Bart describing my reaction (as originally intended, if you substituted the gender pronoun), or as Will visualizing a tiny Simpsons screen playing out over his shoulder, I will leave up to you.
Will/Terri Part 2, Seriously Now
Feminist blogs kind of ruined this next scene for me, and I may never forgive them for permanently skewing my perception and making me feel guilty for liking it. You know what? Too bad.
Therefore, I maintain my position that Violently Angry Will is the hottest thing I have ever seen. Deadly quiet confrontation. Hurling the Pregnancy Pad of Deceit and scattering seasonings. "Pick. Up. Your shirt." When he snatched up her wrist and backed her against the wall, that squeaking noise was me keeling over in a frenzied state of pleasure overload. You can just feel the anger vibrating off of him. It's the culmination of months and years of constant little stressors and aggravations now on top of this mind-boggling lie, and even the greatest pacifist can be pushed to a breaking point**.
(**That, I think, is really what I like, because I recognize it. Unless you are superhuman, or at least a better human than me, at this level of fury you want to lash out. Society and morality might condition you better, but you will struggle to keep it contained. That struggle is all over the place here, vented under considerable restraint, and as previously mentioned: marvelous. Also, don't take anything I say here too seriously, I'm using the 'it's 3 AM and I wrote this part last' excuse.)
Then there was that wonderful, fleeting moment where I feared for her life - murder did not seem out of the realm of possibility! I mean, not really afraid, because you know him and you know he's not capable of it, but...it's like when you make a terrifying, evil face at yourself in the mirror. You know it's just your reflection, but hell if your blood doesn't run cold and the hairs on your arm tingle for a second as if there might really be some creature waiting to pull you through.
(okay, I better not be the only one who has done this, because I don't have any other analogies for you except maybe the feeling that you might very well die when a roller coaster plummets down a steep drop, safety bars and buckles or no)
Point being, I did not know it was possible to look at Will and feel fear. It so is. And it's spectacular. I also really like that tiny gasp from both of them, a 5-second lull that's almost musical before he physically rips the pad off her, I jump in my seat (along with "OH!" But in a very pleased tone), and we're off to a new round.
And now, my OTP destroys itself before my disbelieving eyes:
As if it were not enough of a dagger to my heart to listen to her once again blame their problems on the glee club...
"I should be allowed to feel good about myself!"
"Who are we kidding, Will? This marriage works because you don't feel good about yourself!"
(This is me, banging my head against the desk so hard I almost can't appreciate his simultaneous looks of hurt, disbelief, and general appall)
"This marriage works because I love you," which is what I've been saying, and Emma
"No. You love the girl you met you were 15. I'm not that girl."
Oh, man, I hate that excuse for divorce so much, whether it's "you've changed" or "you haven't changed." I hate it way more when it's the latter, though, because as we all know I am an advocate for never changing, ever, and and high school is the golden time in your life, so there. On an unrelated note: OW, STABBING HATPINS OF PAIN, because she just hit an uncomfortable nail of pure truth on the head, and I don't want to admit it.
And while at various times I wince and think that there is a line between 'wrenching emotion' and 'overwrought melodrama' that Morrison keeps liberally tap-dancing upon, he never quite crosses it enough for me to take objection, and at its best points, the hurt and anger blow me away. Possibly I just really like the way that one tear falls when he finally turns away from her and throws his hands up, half-laughing and half-whispering, "This is insane."
I'm glad she did at least explain the hysterical pregnancy part, though you could have knocked me over with a feather when she threw Quinn to the wolves** after barely a moment's hesitation. I get why - if your cards are on the table, better get them all out - but still, that's hit #2 in Operation: Dissolve Will's World Around Him, and the show has more up its sleeve.
(**by the way, I'm jumping the gun to the finale here, but I like how there will be NO FOLLOW-UP TO THAT WHATSOEVER. And by like, I mean hate, and will not rest until some clever fic writer forces Mr. Schue & Quinn to sit down and have A Talk. She owes him that much. Or does he owe her?)
Oh, God, it still isn't over, is it. We have to make time for the bitter laugh and "I loved you, Terri. I really loved you," where my heart shatters at last. Meanwhile she leaps to her feet full of apologies and pleas to remember that episode that exploded my brain with joy. "Do you remember that appointment, remember what we said? That at that moment, no matter what happened, we loved each other. We could get that feeling back. You could love me back, Will!" Her eyes are wild and desperate. His are cold and empty, and I am no longer conscious due to the emotional beating I just went through. Knowing it was always going to happen doesn't make it any better!
We can now circle back to my title lyrics, from Ingrid Michaelson's "Maybe," which I hummed under my breath for the rest of the week.
Well maybe, in the future, you're gonna come back...you're gonna come back to me
Return to Plot. Remember That?
Of course Will sleeps on the mattress and gets the team (or at least himself) disqualified from sectionals. Of course he promptly spills the beans about his marriage in Sue's office, because she definitely needed more fodder with which to torment him. UGH, UGH, UGH. At least I get some vehement shouting out of it to relieve my vicarious stress.
And of course we get a schmaltzy 'believe in yourselves and stand on your own' speech, which, what was that - you wanted to make sure it got said, in case this show crashed and burned and 13 episodes was all you ever got? Because it's still way too early to pull out the 'teachers don't give you the answers' crap.
On another note, the scene of Quinn smacking Coach Sylvester down like the hand of God is still one of my favorite moments in the series to date. It almost makes up for two or three comments about Will's hair. I just shivered with pleasure and gazed with speechless adoration at the screen for the duration. Perfect delivery, perfect venom, perfect reactions from Sue when she's finally bested. (though not without looking pleased by how magnificently devious Quinn can be - something the girl definitely did not learn at Glee)
I'm going to skip right past her deranged pro-Ken rant, and their tacit agreement that Rachel is annoying (FALSEHOOD!), and head down to the part where she says not one, but two useful things.
1) Prematurely mentioning divorce, to which Will is all 'Whoa, who said anything about divorce?' and hope sprang back into my heart again like a miraculous perennial. There's something really kind of poignant and heartbreakhing when he asks, "Is that what you would do?", and you know that if she said yes, it would be the first time he considered it a real and viable option. That she's the one person whose advice he trusts implicitly is just...still not enough to make me ship them, but would maybe grant them a temporary approved-friendship pass. My heart softened a little at "You would never be that cruel."
2) Rationalizing and even somewhat sympathizing with Terri's behavior, which is all I ever wanted anyone to realize; who knew the sensibility would come from one of my most hated characters? "Her methods were wrong, but...I understand her intentions. You're a lot to lose, Will." Thank you! Also: shut up, fandom. I love him best, no matter what you think.
I don't have one, I just thought it'd sounded better. Oh, and for the record, I do plan to talk about the finale as well. There's still a chance I could fulfill my promise to be less wordy...haha, don't count on it.