Glee, 2x13, "Comeback"
Oh, this is the worst recurring theme ever.
Why do I love things on this show? None of them last! They not only don't last, they are replaced by nauseating alternatives!
But more on that later. The music in this was depressingly excellent by comparison, so let's start with that. So many songs, and not one wrong turn! Some fumbled executions, and not all knockouts, but none of the choices made me recoil and everything was at it should be on a series like this -- fun, pleasant, easy listening. Only "Dream On" has ever had this kind of success rate on its music.
Part I: Music & Performances
++ Baby: Oh, that was just precious. The acoustic gig was cuter -- both because I would like a full-length acoustic guitar version of this to exist, and because a pack of 13-year-old girls mauling Sam is adorable
*repeats, oh, 9 million times*
[edit: cue my horror/anger when I zipped off to hear the full-length version, only to hear something suspiciously like a rap interlude crash-land in the middle of it. WHAT, WHAT, WHY.]
+ Somebody to Love, Bieber version: It gets less awesome when Sam isn't the only one singing lead -- how is that every time Artie manages to get a good vocal showcase, there's something wrong with it?? -- but all in all, this is the inoffensive, charmingly meaningless style of dance-based pop music that's gotten lost on the airwaves and is the kind of guilty pleasure I like admitting to. This is what needs to make a comeback. The performance wasn't as great -- all the chalk was just weird -- but musically, I think I liked it more. Besides, it's an excuse to watch more of Sam in an improbably fetching purple hoodie. And the girls' teeny-bopper reactions made me laugh.
++ Take Me Or Leave Me: WHOA WHOA WHOA, you're telling me that the same week you break my heart is the same week you grant my razor-thin-chances wish to sing something from Rent?? Their voices
(I guess we're just going to willfully ignore the problem of Idina Menzel starring in Rent, screen and stage? Cool)
+ This Little Light of Mine: While only a shadow of a song, and despite featuring three of my least favorite things ever (ukulele and children singing...and the fact that it's this song), given the context and the fact that Will is spearheading this, I can't not love this. Even though it weirds me out to see Sue holding a small child and legitimately smiling.
I Know What Boys Like: Good song choice, barf-a-licious choice of a singer, thus ensuring I will never be able to listen to the original again without traumatic flashbacks. But on the bright side: I skipped most of it, but then when I accidentally landed on it later while flipping through, suddenly Sam was shirtless. What? Why is this? What?? It took me a very long time to register that everyone was clad in underthings, and then to realize she must be picturing them that way in order to get over her stage fright? Whatever. My brain is also taking in Quinn's pretty white lacey thing and it's going places. Places I'm not sure I want to follow it.
Voice: Voila, I made it appear here. Use it as you will.
(I like how all the girls are totally covered up, either in response to the 7:00 timeslot or because after the magazine scandal they didn't feel like being accused of pedophilia again. Hey, whatever works.)
(last thing I noticed -- Finn in a Power Rangers T-shirt. Delightful! Figures this is the best thing he does all hour, and it's only in DG's brain).
++ Sing: I had no idea what this was and would never have pegged it for My Chemical Romance, because it sure sounded like an epic classic from Sue's era. This was a good thing, because it meant I was blown away by this song. Remember when I said that "Dog Days Are Over" was going to be one of the pieces I looked back on with bittersweet nostalgia after the kids graduate? This one, despite the odd costume choice of red plaid flannel, is even more powerful. I want clips of its performance in celebratory/inspiring Glee fanvids EVERYWHERE. That was absolutely good enough for Regionals, Rachel, hush.
In conclusion, I've got some tough Music List choices to make right now. Which pieces are worthy of looping repeat until they lodge themselves in my heart forever? Will I stick to my new plan about not allowing cover songs I already love the originals of? So much suspense!
As for the rest...I bet I can knock out at least 50 more thoughts.
Part II: Sam/Quinn (My First Love Broke My Heart For The First Time)
1. *moan * Do I have to talk about it? I'd really rather just deny this episode ever happened. Why, Murphy? Because you got "bored"? Screw you, you just make the show. Your entertainment is of no concern.
2. You know who just took such a severe character hit that she's never going to recover from The Kurt Zone? Santana. Yeah. Once upon a time, she was amusing. Entertaining, even. But this whole screwing-her-way-through-the-club, corrupting-as-she goes business? Disgusting. I can't even...looking at her makes me sick. I was almost handling the breakup until they added her to the mix at the end, but that was one kick in the stomach too many. Can we just kill her off? Because I have zero tolerance left.
Not funny, Voice.
Voice: It's a little funny.
3. And it was going SO WELL. Like, we kicked things off with him planning a precious date at Color Me Mine*, and I have no idea what that is (apparently it involves painting coasters), but I want to do that. Seriously, Quinn, why such initial skepticism? I have been on your side since day 1, but I will throw you over in a heartbeat to back Sam's corner in all this.
[*edit: oh my word, it is a real place. No wonder they name-dropped it like 700 times.]
Part of me wants to quote Rachel's "On the CHEEK?", but the rest of me is too enchanted by these shots.
4. It's vaguely depressing how easily Quinn manipulates dumb boys with the worst lies ever and still gets them to believe her. It's sweet how willing he is to believe her, though. I was going to say it also wasn't that improbable, as I could totally envision Finn choking on a gumball for real (or on any toy with small parts designed for children age 3 and up) -- although why one would give mouth to mouth prior to the Heimlich maneuver is less clear -- but apparently Sam beat him to the punch.
5. Sam voiceover, which was exactly what I wanted more than anything this week: "I know she's into me. I just get the feeling that I'm losing her. I can't let that happen. Quinn's the best thing that's happened to me since I got to this school."
6. Although if his dad's advice that one of the ways to a girl's heart is to take her hunting, I'm thinking I just found out which side Sam inherited his brains/lack thereof from.
7. Duly noted: the next Sam/Quinn fic to hit fandom clearly needs to include mention of the various taxidermy items in the Evans household. (And then you have to decide if Quinn loves animals and is grossed out, or if she's used to it because her dad hunts too. And if the latter, did she ever go with him in an attempt to have a father/daughter bonding experience, or was that too unladylike?)
8. On to the Bieber experience! GOOD GOD, DEAD OF ADORABLE. Have I flailed about it enough? Clearly not. I love how everyone is looking at each other with lifted eyebrows, and Quinn can't decide if she's more embarrassed for him or herself, and he just refuses to care and grins that stupid self-assured grin until he's got everyone (most importantly, her) on his side.
You know you love me, you know you care...
9. Bieber experience, round II: "This song, like all the songs I sing, is for my girlfriend, Quinn." So shameless. Love it.
10. Post-stage performance, Quinn gives Finn a (sadly metaphorical) kick in the nads and chooses Sam. Unfortunately, she doesn't make it backstage with the other groupies before Santana prances up to coo at him. This would have actually been kind of a cool scene if he didn't eventually fall for it. I like how he's slightly wary of her predatory approach, but mostly is just kind of like, "...huh. All right then," because he's already got Quinn. If only it could stay like this forever.
11. In the library: that said, being as my glasses are quite rose-colored this month, at this point I do not blame him at all. I really don't understand what guys see in Santana, given that I imagine her crawling with germs in the manner of Maw Maw under a blacklight on Raising Hope, but I guess it is hard to resist when offered no-strings-attached action and the girl you really like completely screwed you over. Mostly he just looks so sad in this scene, like a puppy in time out without knowing why, that I want to go back to the season premiere and watch Quinn get slammed into the lockers some more.
Shake me 'til you wake me from this bad dream
12. "Do you think I could borrow one of your T-shirts to use as a smock tonight at Color Me Mine? I kind of have a thing for wearing my boyfriend's shirts."-- Aww. Also, that was a breadcrumb, fanfic writers. Don't go overboard with it, but do work it in.
"We're not going to Color Me Mine. And I'm not your boyfriend." -- NO! Can't you at least have the Date of Unprecedented Adorable first?
The amount I have cared about any of the kids' breakups on this series so far has been minimal (aside from that horrible time Jesse broke an egg like he broke Rachel's heart), but Sam and Quinn both totally kill me in this scene. Sam, mostly, who is particularly bitter because unlike Finn his feelings do not shut off at the flip of a switch, but Quinn's "I want to be with you" rips my heart out a little too. Children! You are hurting each other for no good reason! Look at your miserable expressions!
13. But hey, no, maybe that's good. If they can simultaneously hurt and be hurt, it means they still care. I'm going to go plot out my waiting game, because the reality of Finn/Rachel being endgame (god, don't renege, don't renege now!) just spelled hope for me.
[side note: I really HATE the directing in this scene, the way their faces loom weirdly into the camera and just look...wrong. Quinn's bad hair is not helping.]
14. Even though it seems much more likely that Quinn is doomed to a lifetime of being Addison Forbes "Once A Cheater Always A Cheater" Montgomery
15. Sidebar 1: What the hell, Santana, don't discourage him from speaking Na'avi. I may hate Avatar with everything my soul has, but that level of dorkiness is appealing.
16. Sidebar 2: Wait, wait. Did you go out with Santana before you bothered to inform Quinn you were no longer dating? Well, that'll cost you your first points of the evening. *headdesk* Why doesn't this show know how to conduct relationships without cheating? Has anyone not cheated to some degree?
17. Look, their end is so depressing it even warrants a bar of non-lip-synced lyrics playing over the scene.
18. The only reason I am not retching at the sight of Santana draped all over Sam is because at least he has the decency to look totally checked out of it. Yes! If this relationship can remain entirely about spite and revenge, I will approve it so long as it eventually falls apart.
19. *dives into pile of fanfic for comfort* You know what's looking really good right now? All those ones where Quinn inexplicably gets knocked up a second time. I say this in jest, but actually, It Happened Again is quite good.
[EDIT TWO: they keep getting deleted, reshuffled and tinkered with, and reposted. At last check, the author's pen name at ff.net was readingtoomuch. Track 'em down that way; I'm tired of this.]
Part III: The Rachel Berry Trendsetting Experience
20. Apparently Rachel's signature look is called "Sexy Schoolgirl/Librarian Chic." It saddens me that Rachel makes conscious decisions about her wardrobe; I want to believe she just picks out whatever she thinks looks cute.
21. I also want to hate how ludicrous this subplot was, but I think I really only disliked it at first because I can't stand Brittany in large doses. Rachel's mad desire to become a fashion icon in hopes of regaining relevance is actually so cracktastic it's brilliant. Watching her fail over and over again gets tiresome, but she had the right idea, and this is still the most likable she's been all year. Pining after Finn is good, but ignoring Finn altogether makes her shine!
22. Now, if I could just forget that horrible bitchy clique session in which everyone talks down to her in their carousel horse sweaters (which are admittedly cuter than reindeer, but only by a very narrow margin and only because horses > everything). SHUT UP, QUINN. Besides, I am already at my breaking point; subsequent rewatches of Rachel's desperate "I am trying to stage a comeback here!" just shatter my heart. This is too reminiscent of the girl singing her heart out on YouTube to nothing but nasty commentary. In other news: I like Brittany even less when she is able to string coherent sentences together.
23. I do wish her trend hadn't extended to people cutting in hideous bangs like hers, though. Of all the things!
24. Side note: is it me, or does Quinn's hair look oddly layered by the end of this episode? In an extremely unflattering, too-short/thin way.
25. Ah, that's better -- make your comeback in song, Rachel. Be fantastic. Ignore the weirdly hostile way Mr. Schue seemed determined to shoot you down before you even said anything (SAD RS IS SAD. She needs her wrongbad ship vibes more than ever today).
Part IV: Sue's Diabolical Plan: Destroy From Within
a/k/a, see, this is how you use her effectively.
a/k/a, here is where I mention all the adults
26. SUE-ICIDE! GOIN' AU. RIGHT NOW. Not only is the idea of a world in which Sue kills herself a beautiful image, but even in canon, look at all the legit panic I got from Will & Emma (complete with him busting down locked doors; yes please). Followed 2 seconds later by pointy fingers and pitiless lectures. Hahaha.
27. Sidebar: why are these two -- him especially -- allowed to just drop everything and leave school in the middle of the day to check on people they're not even related to?)
28. I love Sue's mock-outrage. "These gummy vitamins didn't work at all!"
29. How come when Sue slams kids into lockers, Mr. Schue is suddenly powerless to do anything? Not that I don't enjoy her epic temper tantrums, even without a musical score, I'm just saying. Where is my moment where he goes to make sure Tina's all right?
30. Best pamphlet ever: "I Am Too Depressed To Even Open This Pamphlet." (You'd think they'd make it more of a flyer, then.)
31. Emma insistently pushing the idea of Sue sitting in on Glee club: I think you can actually see Will falling out of love with her.
32. Sue orchestrating a diva-off! I like Rachel & Mercedes so much better at each other's throats than as weirdo buddies. But that may be because I'm tired of Mercedes having unexpected friendships with people when nobody is willing to let Quinn and Rachel randomly bury the hatchet, which is the only thing I want out of life right now.
33. Sue experiences an unexpected setback:
"Hey, where's the hate??"
"Not the point of glee club, Sue."
34. MY LIFE MOTTO AS A VIEWER: "Sometimes, Glee
35. Did I mention how much I loved Will dragging her to the hospital to sing with tiny wee sick children? Let's mention it again. SO GREAT.
These smiles actually happen in real time without any image/context manipulation. Blows my mind.
36. I like how all Will has to do is be in the same vicinity as a woman with pretty hair, and I am all, "Hey, I could get on board with Will/Bailey." Teacher/nurse = a fantastic meeting of professions. On another note -- she looks really familiar, like I've seen her on
37. So Sue is off to coach Aural Intensity. Well, this should be fun. :D
Part V: Leftover Bonus Win
38. Scenes of Mr. Schue teaching Spanish: always welcome.
39. Will: Now, who can tell us what an anthem is?
Brittany: It's the bottom of an ant's pants.
Will: So close.
--This delivery was so great that mere text cannot replicate it.
40. You know why there is Puck/Sam slash in the world? Because the former is disturbingly obsessed with the size of the latter's mouth.
Voice: Sorry, did I imagine all those entries in which you refused to call him anything besides Cartoon Lips?
RS: Well, that was different. That was a specific nickname born of contempt, in the grand tradition of Azimio.
Voice: Contempt that turned to love, though. Maybe it was always just hidden away, in the grand tradition of Karofsky.
RS: Stop it.
41. Every so often, there will be a moment where the dialogue really rings true for a high school student. Sam explaining his rationale for Bieber being anthem music was one of those moments.
42. It's not often that Finn not only sounds smart, but sounds smarter than everyone else.
Finn: You guys do realize that Justin Bieber sucks, right?
Sam: Quinn seemed to be pretty into it when I was singing in glee club.
Finn: Right. Well, I'm gonna spend my time working on songs that aren't geared toward 12-year-olds.
Sam: Good. And then you won't have any time to pick up other guys' girlfriends.
43. I liked all the other guys demanding in, though, and particularly liked Sam's threat. You know who could use a punch to the face right about now? Smirky McSmirkerson. Apparently Finn isn't giving up that King Douche title any time soon.
44. Loved Finn's epic WTF scowls as all the girls swooned over The Justin Bieber Experience (original and expanded versions), and even his usual ally of a teacher was no help at all. Aw, poor Finny Bear. Feeling unappreciated?
45. Mercedes! It's so rare that you have great lines 2 weeks in a row! (in response to 4 Bieber clones: "Sweet Jesus, who bought tickets to Crazytown?")
46. Did not care for the ending; Finn's lame "I believe in you" speech does not make up for his douche behavior of late. However, I hope there is original music coming, and I really hope it is as wonderful as the implicit promise of being written by Rachel Berry makes it sound.
47. Dalton Academy/Blaine/Kurt were not in this at ALL! I didn't even notice their absence until the previews rolled. It was so glorious. Glee should be like this all the time.
48. UPDATE: Look at this bit of loveliness I found -- "Seasons of Glee," a guide to who should play what part in Rent. It's better than my initial ramblings because it's full of beautiful pictorial evidence. Watch, I am now going to spend the rest of the day, if not the week, listening to the CD. Why was I not smart enough to grab the movie when I saw it at the library this week? Noooo, I picked "Scream 2" for my repeat viewing fare. *headdesk*
And A Last Spot O' Fail
49. The worst non-triangle-based part of the plot was anything involving The Disgustingtons, as I've decided to newly mint the grossest couple on record. All of their scenes were immediately skipped and will be forevermore. I'm pretty sure she's the actual worst thing about the entire series to date.
50. OK, I suffered through "I Know What Boys Like" for the reaction shots, and I'm glad I did, because although it was somehow worse than I imagined (TINA WHY), I also caught this shot, which continues two entirely appropriate reactions:
The first one, in case you are unclear, is "just threw up in my mouth a little."
51. See? 50 thoughts. :P
In Conclusion: The sad thing is, I think this might be among my top 3 of the season so far? There was just so much to love that I watched it three times, and even the heartbreaking stuff, after a week of silent and hidden despair, is turning into angst of gold. Even though it's a RYAN MURPHY episode. Whaaaa??
Next Episode: I am gleefully excited about one kiss shown in the promo. The rest of it fills me with a combination of such choking fury and cloying despair that I don't think I've been this cross-eyed with anger at the show since I stomped off in the middle of 1x02. Teenagers getting drunk and losing all hormone control at a party? You could not design a more tailored rage-inducing scenario for me.