Glee, 1x22, "Journey"
I'm almost reluctant to transform my crazed shorthand into coherency, though. I've read its madcap capslock sentence fragments so many times they're like a part of me now. Are you sure you don't want to read a bunch of lines like "TINA CRIES FACEBOOK. WILL'S FACE"?
All right. Our theme tonight is No Themes Allowed. It'll be like a DVD commentary track - I'm sitting down to watch it again and fleshing out my list of thoughts as I go. Most of them are even positive. I might even cave to self pressure and stick in superfluous category headers to break up the numbered monotony.
1. It took Will less than 20 seconds to start shouting this week. Is that a new record? I jest, but I find myself in the same despair every time I stop searching for humanity in Sue's dead, soulless eyes long enough to fully comprehend how bad the situation was at this point.
2. I refuse to watch the second scene. I don't need to see how Quinn got pregnant, I don't want to see how Quinn got pregnant. My understanding is that she was drunk - blindingly, blindingly drunk! - and did not really consent so much as "didn't resist." That is how it's going to stay.
3. Minor spaz attack when I saw Quinn in Mr. Schue's kitchen at night. I didn't even have time to consciously process my hope that she'd switched halfway houses again before I realized the whole club was there, but whatever! For a few blissful seconds I saw fanfic come to life as he asked if she was all right and she mildly snarked about being able to manage a stack of paper plates.
4. Wait, the entire club is at his place! Subconscious wishlist item #1452 comes true, and even though it's depressing (snap out of it, bitches! Why did you even show up, if you were already defeated?), there's a lot to love about that. Namely, the way Will's face falls after Tina's tearful mention that she loves everybody so much, and she finally has Facebook friends besides her parents. Or how much I love Finn for asking why the group has to be over even if its officially disbanded. Or Rachel's miserable plea to go around the room and talk about what they loved about glee. Followed by...
Will/Emma, round 1
5. "It took everything I had not to cry." That is what I will be focusing on here, and not the subsequent "I miss you" nonsense (YEAH, WELL, TERRI MISSES YOU. SHUT UP AND DEAL WITH YOUR CLUB-RELATED PROBLEMS). Even if I am all...easily swayed by that gooey-eyed look he gets, listening to her indirectly remind him why she's amazing. You know when I last saw that look? Ned the Piemaker gazing at Chuck.
6. Although Ned's gazing was generally not interrupted by reverie-shattering bombshells that Chuck was dating her dentist. Part of me feels bad for Will on principle; most of me is more like, "Yes! His name is Carl, he will be played by John Stamos, and I am so, so excited by this development!" See, now Emma has attractive & viable alternate love interests, too. There is no reason the two of them need to date ever again, right?
7. "I just feel like you and I had our shot." Hey, what a coincidence, that's exactly what I feel! Give up the ghost. Bring on the Stamos.
8. FYI: I wish, all the time, that Emma was played by someone other than Jayma Mays. I have the oddest sense that, while I still would have hated her on sight, a less obnoxious actress could have gotten Ems to grow on me. I also wish that she and Jessalyn Gilsig had swapped roles - it would probably help if I'd hated Will's wife, too.
And I Will Try to Fix You
9. I already have 700 favorite scenes on this series, but Will unexpectedly breaking down over "Don't Stop Believin'" on the radio is the newest addition. Hearts. Hearts and doves and flowers.
10. The price I pay for having all my wishlist items happen on this series is being saddled with the knowledge that they will never buck their two predetermined OTPs, even though I've admitted I might accept one of them. Does this stop me from having a crankypants reaction over Rachel randomly falling back in love with & kissing Finn? No. TOO SOON AFTER JESSE. STILL LICKING WOUNDS.
11. Remember how it was way too soon to bring out the "teachers don't give you all the answers" speech back in December? It also way too soon to break my heart with speeches about how "one day, all of you are going to be gone - and all of this, all of us, will be nothing but a hazy memory." Not for 2 and preferably 3 years, Will, so I don't want to hear it! It makes me cry! I miss high school, I miss my equivalent-of-glee-club, pep baaaaaand! Also regular band and anything connected to it.
12. "I love you guys too much to not let you make the most of it." I think that is my favorite thing about this club - they throw the word "love" around all over the place without hesitation.
13. When he reminded them that they brought him back with Don't Stop Believin', I choked up too. I don't think anyone will ever forget that performance, especially if you saw it back in May 2009, before this show developed an empire.
14. I really love the girls' costumes. They're like dance recital attire, all golden and shiny.
New Directions performance
15. I don't really know Journey songs so much as melodies sound familiar, and I still can't tell if I've heard the originals or just clips of them. How much did Glee change them up? I thought the slow part with Finn/Rachel was predictably dull, the fast part was more engaging, but when they went to their signature piece and parceled out the lines all over the club, I lost it.
16. Mostly I was crying because I hate change, even change that makes things more inclusive. Puck & Santana, while best suited to each other, make me break out in hives when they touch. I do like how Rachel trills out "shaaa-a-a-dows" on this one, and the key change, but the original is vastly superior, if only because it doesn't have Mercedes wailing. Overall, this was better than their Sectionals set, but medleys always seem like such cheap, shortchanged excuses for songs.
17. I tried to focus on being swept away by how they poured their heart and soul into it, totally having fun. All of a sudden they look like pros, old hats at this competition stuff. Hee, it really is like a dance recital, complete with the scampering off stage!
18. ...okay, now that I've passed the initial crankypants stage in which I harshly judge any song that does not blow me away, I'm ready to let go and love how Brad is totally thrilled, and Mr. Schue is still off in the wings, loving it. DSB is magical, no matter what, and the choreography is even better with a larger group.
19. Wait. Quinn's dad had an affair, and her mom kicked him out? The hell she did! You know what, I don't even care. After Will/Terri, I have ceased to believe in so-called "toxic" marriages on this show. As far as I am concerned, everything is salvageable. Fix this.
Vocal Adrenaline performance
20. The thing is, I don't think you have to be a good singer to cover "Bohemian Rhapsody." In fact, it's probably better if you aren't, because this song does no favors for anyone's voice. It's ridiculous, it's relatively dull, it's various shades of irritating, and the only reason I like it at all is the way it's used to hilarious effect in the "Lost Rhapsody" video (which uses the Weird Al Yankovich cover, proving my point). I also despised the way it intercut with Quinn giving birth, ensuring that I will never watch this segment again. Not a fan. At least the choreography was truly magnificent.
21. I am still unclear why we had to see her giving birth at all. DO NOT WANT. EVER. UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES. SO AWKWARD. Lone redeeming factor: I move we legally change Puck's name to "You Suck You Suck You Suck You Suck!!" Even if it might be a hassle to type.
22. And WTF was with the timeline? I can't even...I would have to draw complicated lines and diagrams with frequent cross-referencing to even begin figuring out when Quinn actually arrived at the hospital or how long she was in labor.
Judging & Results
23. Pardon me while I do some customary fawning over Josh Groban for a bit. To this day I have not found another male singer I like both musically and personality-wise even a tenth as much as him.
24. "I thought that brunette was pretty good." Note to self, do not ship Josh/Rachel. Do not ship Josh/Rachel. Please for the love of all that is good and holy, do not ship Josh/Rachel? Ooh, good news, I think I might be able to ward my brain off on this one until she's 19 or 20. Meanwhile, now I really wish he was playing his normal self, because I weirdly want to believe in a world where he picks her out to duet with him. If Charlotte Church got to sing with him, Rachel should too.
(Yes, universe, that was me subtly expressing my wish for a Lea Michele/Josh Groban duet somewhere in the future so that I may die in ecstasy. Don't let me down.)
25. I can't believe that even before it turns into an attack on her, Sue - Sue! - is actually taken aback by Newton-John's callousness with respect to poverty and brown hair. "Come on, they're just kids" = me dying of SHOCK.
26. But not too shocked to process my immense, electrifying joy as all three of them suddenly buried her in an avalanche of insults for which she had no recourse. You're not a celebrity, you just try hard! Delusions of grandeur! You live in Ohio! For once in her life, Sue is actually speechless. This is even better than the time Mr. Schue destroyed her.
27. I honestly didn't know who was going to win - was kind of hoping that ND would, so season 2 would pick up where season 1 left off, thus stretching out the number of years we could keep the original cast around - but it still sucks watching all their faces lapse into stunned shock while Jesse whoops and cheers (and hugs Shelby, YAY) with the rest of his side. Though it's almost worse how graciously Mr. Schue accepts their tiny consolation trophy.
28. Was that my last-ever sight of Jesse? I'm so depressed. If there was one thing that failed to come true on my imaginary wishlist this year, it was that I never got to see Jesse & Rachel really have a final (private) conversation.
Hospital, Badshipping, and Goodshipping
29. Still grossed out beyond words by Puck/Quinn, and feeling pretty WTF about the "Especially now" bit, but I loved that last scene with the baby.
"Do you want to keep her?"
"No. Do you?"
I love that Quinn does not succumb to Fictional Mother Syndrome. I love that she is able to stare right at this little ball of pink that currently looks so cute/helpless/adorable/endearing, look past it to the future reality, and make the right choice for herself without hesitation. I love that when she volleys the question back, he can only offer a sad little look. It's not practical, but he kind of does anyway. Damn it, Puck! Stop being less horrible than I've come to expect from you!
"Does she have a name?"
I love that Quinn is making this a clean break. I love that Puck won't let her, determined to keep this one connecting link.
30. But mostly, I love that SHELBY IS ADOPTING THE SYMBOLIC GLEE-FAMILY BABY, who almost belonged to everyone and ultimately belonged to no one, but will hopefully still be nearby, quasi-connected after all. This is the most amazing solution ever. How did I not even consider this as a possibility??
MS. CORCORAN FTW
31. And while it's incredibly insulting that she looks Rachel right in the eye and says she missed out on her chance with her (um, not according to Rachel! She would still like to develop a relationship with you; winter/spring/summer or fall, all you have to do is call!), and while I am devastated that real life means I will not get to experience the combined power of Mr. Schue + Ms. Corcoran coaching glee together (CAN YOU EVEN IMAGINE), I am more than happy that she'll be off bonding with the baby instead.
32. FYI, now shipping Will/Shelby to the power of A MILLION. If there is one thing that can replace Mrs. Schuester in my heart, it is Will simultaneously hooking up with Idina Menzel and winding up as the father of Quinn's baby after all. Screw you, Emma! Screw you!
Will/Emma, round 2
33. Although Emma makes an admittedly awesome hellcat, flipping out at Figgins with exactly as much hysterical fury as I could ever wish for. As far as she knows, they lost because Sue cheated! THIS BULLSHIT WILL NOT STAND.
"I don't care what anybody says, some things are worth fighting for!"
"You mean like the kids."
"Yes, of course."
I love quickly this exchange spins out, almost lyrical, every syllable and accent like a choreographed dance step. And...
34. Look, I can hate Will/Emma to the power of a million and still go into tizzy when he grabs her by the arm, spins her around, and is all "The hell it isn't, I love you" on her. The latter phrase comes off like a line being spoken on stage, overly dramatic, but whatever, I don't argue with declarations of love and decisive kisses. Especially when those kisses are observed by Rachel, who tactfully has no reaction at all as she snags him for a different sort of love declaration.
[Incidentally: remember before my shipping priorities got all weird, and my highest aim was for her to be the teacher's pet where they just hang out and talk and are good teacher/student buddies? I want that again. She can be either the sideline cheerleader or the surreptitious matchmaker trying to unite the pair of clearly-destined teachers.]
To Sir, With Love
35. Way to make me cry, show.
"At the beginning of this year, I was just another football player." Oh, Matt. I'd laugh that nothing has changed in that respect, but I like the deeper implication that even though he plays a minor role, this club had a major impact on him.
"I had a stutter."
"I was a closeted diva." (Closeted?! WAS?!)
"I used to be captain of the Cheerios."
"I was afraid to dance outside my room."
"I hated everyone in this club."
"So did I."
"I wasn't honest about who I was." I adore how Kurt says this, all sweet and poignant with a little sailor's cap perched on his head.
"I was tossing kids into Dumpsters."
"I had never kissed a girl before."
"I was getting slushied." Again -- was? Also, the hell, that's all Rachel's got?! How about, at the beginning of this year, she had no real friends? Or something like, she didn't know how to be a team player/part of an ensemble? (not strictly true, but she's certainly gotten better about it, and it would have sounded good)
"I didn't have a father." What the...oh, there we go. "Someone to look up to, model myself after. Someone who could show me what it really meant to be a man." That would have worked better without the whole Burt storyline, but whatever, AMAZING, Will's already at a loss for words and they haven't even started singing yet.
36. "To Sir With Love" hasn't really clicked with me yet. I suspect my brain is keeping up a protective shield, because if I let those lyrics really settle in, I will most likely start bawling in a fit of bittersweet nostalgia. It is probably a really good thing I did not know about this song in high school, as I would have played/sung it 209352134 times in the weeks right before and after graduation until I cried myself into dehydration.
37. ...okay, we're on replay #5 and it's getting to me. It's getting to me bad. I love that solo lines trade off all over the place, I love that almost everybody eventually starts crying (including Santana! SANTANA), and how Will fights a losing battle against having to wipe his eyes before blowing them all a kiss. God, I know I liked this the night it first aired but over the past ten minutes my adoration went off the charts.
38. Forget Will, Sue is moved to tears by it. Sue! SHE DOESN'T EVEN HAVE TEAR DUCTS. You know you'll have to recreate exactly this level of love and emotional intensity for the series finale, right? Good luck with that.
39. I cannot believe how much I want to squeeze them all into a sobbing group hug and kiss them all on the head or something. Guess what just made the Music of 2010 list!
Barren Choir Room of Depression
40. I like that even though Will is done fighting battles with Sue, responses short and cold, he has time for one last legitimately angry remark. "Explain something to me. Maybe we weren't good enough yet to beat Vocal Adrenaline. Fine. But we were so much better than Aural Intensity." On second thought, it's actually kind of sad how that turns into a plea for basic human decency from her at the end.
41. So, Sue finishes gloating** and then loftily condescends that she's decided to allow Glee to continue another year for her own personal amusement, prompting Will to unintentionally torture her (hee!) by grabbing her hand and refusing to let go while profusely emphasizing that deep down, she's a really good person.
**I would just like to point out, Sue, that Will has also proven he can take you down and wipe your little cheerleaders off the face of this earth, and he did it before you snuffed his club out, so let's put your victory into perspective.
42. Will passes the good news along to the club. Amidst shouting and celebrating, Rachel suddenly spins around - "Are you serious?!" - and then LAUNCHES HERSELF AT HIM FOR A HUG. A proper, arms-around-the-neck-and-embraced-in-kin
43. And in case that wasn't enough, when Rachel tries to start practicing for next year, he takes her by the shoulders and escorts her back to her seat (despite her sputtering protests of "but I have ideas!"). BRB, DYING.
44. True story: "Over the Rainbow" (especially the ukulele version) inspires STABBITY HATRED in my soul, and this final performance was no different, which sucked, because I wanted so much to appreciate Mr. Schue playing an instrument and performing for the kids he loves as much as Sue loves hers.
45. But while writing this post, some sort of spiritual awakening took place as his voice undid 15+ years of contempt. Puck's harmonizing might have helped. Either way, it went from boring to incredibly beautiful, probably once I focused on all the kids expressing their love and/or platonic affection for each other. Because in the end, that's what this episode (season, series) is all about.
46. What month is it now? Because it's weird that he tells them to take the summer off when Quinn was supposed to be due in spring break. But she was also a month from her due date when they were figuring out set lists, so, I AM CONFUSED. On the one hand, it would make sense if the club ended before the year was over, but then you don't throw the word "summer" in if it's, like, early April.
47. Puck has not done anything to piss me off in several episodes, scene I didn't watch tonight notwithstanding. It's weird. I think I might voluntarily like him next year if he doesn't backslide or regrow the mohawk.
That really was amazing, even though (or because?) it felt like a series conclusion. Do you think they'll do a series-conclusion style finale every year? I'm almost more afraid of season 2 now, because the first one was so full of so much wonder and splendor (bad parts, what bad parts? I never spent half of every week complaining!) that I almost want it to stay that way. Then again, the beauty of it is, if season 2 does suck, I can always go back and believe the illusion that 22 episodes was all it ever had. I still can't get over how beautifully they wrapped things up on every level, while still leaving doors open for their pending developments. That takes talent.
Season 1, Overall
The back 9 went literally all over the map in terms of quality, but I still think the year finished as strongly as it started. It's a show that, for me, continually improves. But just to be sure, let's attempt the impossible and rank the year as a whole, including a few shifts from December.
19 - Dream On
10 - Ballad
7 -Throwdown (hard toss-up, though. Ballad won on Will/Rachel principle, yet...I think I fast forward less in #7?)
22 - Journey (deducting points for insufficient musical amazement...and Quinn's labor)
5 - The Rhodes Not Taken
1 - Pilot
17 - Bad Reputation
14 - Hell-O
12 - Mattress
11 - Hairography
13 - Sectionals
21 - Funk (what the hell, episode, when did you get awesome? Why do I actually want to place you higher?)
3 - Acafellas (these next 3 are kind of interchangeable, but: Will/Terri, Dakota Stanley & Josh Groban win this)
4 - Preggers (I will not reward the Single Ladies football nonsense, no matter how good the other stuff)
2 - Showmance (tainted forever by driving me out of the fandom, saved by Will/Rachel interaction and "Take a Bow")
16 - Home (apparently, it gets boring in retrospect - not enough Cheno)
6 - Vitamin D
9 - Wheels
18 - Laryngitis
15 - The Power of Madonna
8 - Mash-Up //// 20 - Theatricality (currently cannot choose between their immense suckitude)
Day 29 - Current TV show obsession
Just in case this post did not make it painfully obvious, Glee. It fades fast when it's not on the airwaves, so I expect by late August I will probably be all "ugh, what the hell, is it time for this show to come back already?" But as soon as I get a new episode, I will be spilling over with shiny joy for what I said back on day 3 of this meme.
In fairness, my other major TV obsessions this season were Numb3rs, Ghost Whisperer, Lost, and Bones, all of which bit the dust in various ways, plus The Office, which only diverts me when there are major Jim/Pam happenings. I'm rebuilding my fandom base, plus I have a lot to pull out of storage yet.