Glee, 1x20, "Theatricality"
All right: I've given myself a week to calm down, watch a few parts I skipped the first time, and subdue some (if not all) of my more alienating reactions. Third draft's the charm?
Here goes nothing...
+ Quinn, how always so pretty?? I mean, all of the other girls looked bad - even Rachel, no matter which costume she wore - but Quinn was shining there like a gorgeous pink star. Or center of her own magnificent galaxy, as it were. Even the crazy eyelashes worked for her.
+ I am still 100% pro-adoption endgame, but if she really does name the baby Beth, then I might be okay with her keeping it, because that is the first truly lovely and appealing name I have heard out of the last 4 babies I can remember being born on my shows.
+ No Sue! No Emma! I want to live in this world forever.
+ Tina & Mr. Schue in the principal's office! First he boosts her self-esteem by being confident she's getting praise for perfect attendance, then he defends her shyness and argues for her right to dress as she pleases, and then they are just plain adorable. "I think he thinks vampires are real!" // "I think you're right." This dynamic is why I fell in love with the show, this is why I watch.
+ Tina threatens Figgins in full-on vampire mode. This is my favorite day!
+ As much as I hate Gaga, I have to admit that Will geeking out over her in his office, complete with glasses in full-on Dorky Dad mode, was kind of adorable. And then he even listened to one of his student's concerns right off the bat. This is new.
+ Everything involving Rachel + Shelby. Minus the super-irritating "Mom" stuff (enough! Kyle on CSI: Miami maxed out my quota of parental-figure glomping), and minus the wasted use of their voices in a rare duet, this storyline was beautiful. THEY ARE SO PRETTY. And Rachel so badly wants her in her life. And gold stars and loving Barbra Streisand musicals are hereditary! I don't care how this ended, I am bound and determined to believe that Shelby will get her act together and eventually become the influential mother figure in Rachel's life that I have wanted her to be since November.
(also, I'm kind of worried that her dads named their daughter after a character they only knew 3 months. I mean, it's not like I want to name my hypothetical daughter Qui...never mind, I get it.)
+ Will finding out that Shelby was Rachel's mother. "Are you serious?" Fifteen hundred and twenty-seven things better have gone though his mind just there, and at least five of them should make it to fic.
++++ Will/Shelby conversation, in which he is protective of Rachel and I die one hundred and twenty-seven times in a row because I'm pretty sure that this is all I've ever asked for. After dismissing out of hand the notion that Shelby might be concocting any Sue-Sylvester-style spy plots (yay!), "I'm not worried about that. It's Rachel. She's special. She's got all of the best of you: she's strong-willed, dramatic - wildly talented. . . . But she's not hard like you. She's fragile, over-emotional. And she's clearly convinced herself that you are as committed to this reunion as she is." Awwww.
+ Now I think they should revisit the part where they made out.
+ I'm intrigued that due to vague past "issues" and "surgery," Shelby can't have any more kids. To the Google machine! Cancer, maybe? That seems a likely culprit, but a more interesting spin would be complications from a subsequent abortion (have not done enough research to know for sure, but that would lend extra weight to how she wanted her 'baby' back, wouldn't it?)
+ "EXCUSE ME, were you DROPPED ON YOUR HEADS? . . . Pick on me, that's fine, but don't throw around a girl." Kurt! Unexpectedly AWESOME. I may or may not have watched this twelve dozen times, because there is something magical about the fact that this tiny and relatively helpless little creature has a fearless streak of chivalry running through him. Standing up for Tina won him a stockpile of sorely-needed points.
+ This does not change the fact that these dudes sort of just became my favorites. I gotta learn their names [edit: Azimio and Karofsky?]. I already like them more than Brittany & Santana. Everything I do on this show is wrong, okay, so you can like your politically incorrect Sue and I can love my ignorant brutish neanderthal. They make me laugh like a hyena every time they open their mouths.
"We're not 'gaga' for Gaga."
"Yeah. You dress alllll freaky, and then you rub it in everybody's faces. I don't want to look at it all day! It's weird. It makes my eyes tired."
--You guys, seriously, you're making his EYES TIRED. Show some respect.
"You want to switch it up a little bit, just go from Gap to Banana Republic."
--Sounds reasonable to me.
Kurt: "It's called being theatrical. We're showing off who we are. It's the same thing when you come to school with your football uniforms on. You're expressing yourself, and we have every right to do the same."
--I actually love the observation he makes, but then Azimio comes back with this retort and steals the show:
" Well, you know what? The next time you want to express yourself a little like a circus freak, don't be shocked when my FIST feels like expressing itself against your chin! Knock that crazy fool crepe-paper nonsense off you.
--Someone finally called them on circus freakdom, woo! Anybody who disagrees with me can get up close and personal with my very expressive fist, k? Insert Kurt's awesome retort about not being late for Super Cuts, only to watch his awesomeness once again get buried by hilarity:
"And you know what, Fancy? You don't need an appointment at SuperCuts - they loooooove walk-ins!" And then they walk away, high-fiving and all proud of themselves. I'm not sure why, so I can only assume they actually think this is the wittiest comeback ever, and that level of delusion just causes me to collapse in further peals of laughter.
+ Though it reflects poorly on them that they even recognized the costumes as Lady G (that's what I'm calling her now, trying to class her up a bit), because I sure wouldn't have. I would have assumed they just felt like being freaks and wearing Halloween costumes in whatever month post-October this is.
+ I was really proud of Finn when he screamed at Kurt not to touch him. Before his later meltdown, I thought he was showing an admirable amount of restraint given everything he's put up with. Kurt, I realize this is tough for you, but if Will/Grace only happened in my head, you don't get to have canon slash either.
+ In fact, other than his unfortunate word choice in the end, I loved everything he said in his final rant, too. First he beats up Puck a couple of times, now he's venting every frustrated feeling I've ever had at Kurt for me...Finn is taking an unconventional but surprisingly effective path to winning my favor.
+ After a tearful speech in which a cornered Kurt tells my fave neanderthals that he's proud to be different, so they can just go ahead and hit him: "I believe I will." Azimio is such a polite bully!
+My favorite line ever: "Okay, okay, I get it. I took biology. You know what, Karofsky? We done disturbed a freak hive. The worker freaks is trying to protect the queen freak."
+ The slow clap. Awww, proud teacher moment. It's not like he can hand out any disciplinary action or anything, but at least he's proud that you stand up for each other. And don't worry if those guys corner you individually later and beat you to a pulp, because 11 of your friends will eventually be there to clean you up.
There is one, ONE song in the entire world that is not made better by a female vocalist + piano. That song is "Poker Face." The point of using a piano is to underscore lyrical brilliance. Slowing this song down only serves to emphasize how pointless and ridiculous it really is.
Did you know it was possible for Lea Michele to fail at something? Of course you did, you heard Maybe This Time. But did you know it was possible for Idina Menzel to join her and still fail? Truly, your ability to have a 100% lose rate on the music in an episode is astounding.
I mean, given the theme, I'm relieved I only had to avoid one new song from Gaga like the plague she is (success!), but I didn't like any of the other songs either. "Beth" had the most potential, being as it featured a girl's name, but it turned out to be flat and boring and the best thing about it was Quinn looking really pretty, or possibly Mr. Schue directing the strings.
(actually, I also like the part where Finn sang a section of it, because it reminded me that even though she cheated on him and got knocked up by his best friend, these two did used to be the power couple, which doesn't happen overnight. I would wager they'd been dating at least a year, which in high school terms is approximately an eternity, and furthermore that was probably their first real relationship, so no matter how many unrequited feelings he has been insisting he has about Rachel lately, this has to sting a little bit).
P.S. You've wasted Idina on 2 out of 3 songs now. This is unacceptable.
-WHERE WAS JESSE?? I call no fewer than 28 red flags on this obnoxiousness, starting with the fact that they didn't even bother to explain his absence. Secondly, if they were sneaking into Vocal Adrenaline's practices, shouldn't he have known the best way to get them in there? Considering that he pushed her into this finding-her-mother business, shouldn't he have been the first person she called when she did? Shouldn't she have freaked out, like, a lot more (in a good way) that it was someone he already knew really well? And when it all fell apart, wouldn't she have wanted to head straight for his arms**? I am just saying, BAD FORM and WASTED OPPORTUNITIES, show.
(**Her exact words to Shelby were 'I just don't understand. You're my mom. I feel awful right now, I should want to just fall into your arms and let you rock me and tell me everything is going to be fine...' See, maybe if you called Jesse, he could help with some of those things. I AM IGNORING NEXT WEEK'S PREVIEW, OKAY)
-Also, even though I'm greatly enjoying it, it was probably bad form for her to run around behaving like she's grown up as Little Orphan Annie, or has Kurt's lost-mommy angst, when by all accounts she has grown up for 15 years in a house with two amazing parents who completely doted on and/or spoiled her, even though they apparently abandoned her once she grew out of the cute stage since now they're never home.
-I continue to side with Puck, who is so totally nonplussed by this "Gaga dude" who "dresses weird or something" that Kurt flips out and has a spazz attack of apoplectic proportions that anyone should not worship the ground she walks on. Which was funny, but I hate that Puck is often the only bastion of musical reason in this group (see also, Madonna).
-Finn in a red shower curtain and a superhero pose. Why would you subject my eyes to that?
-The general theme of this episode, with creepy costumes everywhere. I can't even talk specifics anymore, it was all so unbearable.
-The general subtheme of this episode, i.e. anything involving the Hudson/Hummel mess this week. You know how you hated the never-ending fake pregnancy subplot and anything else involving Terri last semester? I hate this the same way.
-If Kurt's house is twice as big, why does it still only have two bedrooms? Did Finn & his mom live in a trailer? Even if your kid is almost grown, why would you spring a new relationship on him and then move him out of the only home he's ever known, into a place where he has to share a room with somebody who has an open crush on him, in the space of like a MONTH?
-Dear Burt: you know how I love it whenever you stand up for your son and get really emotional about it? I don't love it so much when you kick Finn out of the house. I rolled that scene around quite a bit in my head, weighing the suckiness of what just happened against the beauty of parental love and Kurt's background tears, and ultimately came out with "yeah, mostly still annoyed." Not at Finn.
-Will, there was not an entire year of high school where you dressed like Kurt Cobain. Fine, I'm going to assume it was when you were in 9th grade and that that is when Bryan Ryan rightfully chose to start mocking you.
-Anything I didn't specifically mention in the "good" section.
Conclusion: This is episode is currently battling with "The Power of Madonna" for worst of the back 9 (likely going to claim the title), and is doomed to bottom 3 overall. Bad, bad, so very bad, even with the surprising number of good bits scattered throughout it.
Promo Reaction: EW. NOOOO! EW. EW. Also, lol-ing forever at the parallels of Will/Quinn to Terri/Finn. Pretty sure I can't sail both of those at once...and yet I'm a little tempted.
P.S. You know how I try not to think about songs I want to hear on "Glee," because it's hard enough hoping they'll pick palatable things without feeling eternal disappointment about what doesn't get chosen? Well, last night I got to listening to the Rent soundtrack, trying to determine which piece they could reasonably incorporate, and then the internet was like "Hi, idiot, Will should sing 'One Song Glory.'" And now I cannot stop thinking about how much I need this to pass someday.