Glee, 2x19, "Rumours"
Oh, beloved episode. You are a serious contender for best of season.
I love how season 2 is so ridiculously divisive in terms of quality. It has four contenders for WORST EPISODE EVER! so far, and yet keeps randomly knocking things out of the park, season 1 style. It's official now: Ryan Murphy is the star writer of 2011, and Brad Falchuck is dead to me.
[Edit: There is a distinct possibility that I will be scavenging Tumblr for 800 Sam-related GIFs/pictures and sticking them in this review later, when I have more time. Stay tuned. Right now it is just SO MANY WORDS, as I wrote until all the thoughts were out.]
First time a theme episode has not sucked! HIGH FIVE.
The first thing you should know is that I profess to love Fleetwood Mac. In actuality, the only album of theirs I have ever heard is the live "The Dance," but I have been professing to love that since I fell in love with it at age 13. I also absconded with my dad's 3-CD compilation of "The Enchanted Works of Stevie Nicks," since I really love her the most. (remember, part of the reason I called myself Rainbow Stevie in the first place was in tribute to her.) The spectacular musical win is a large part of what makes this episode, even though I had only previously heard the starred numbers.
* ++Dreams: At first I didn't like the way her voice trilled up on "it's only ri-ight..." -- but luckily it grows on you quickly, because their voices together are magical but the magic was sadly absent from her last appearance. And, be honest: there are few greater joys on Glee than watching the two of them get lost in a song together. I don't even need it to end with her practically kissing him in front of the students, although I will clearly not say no to that.
Never Going Back: Fairly boring. I am always up for things that involve Sam + guitar in the background, even if not singing, but this didn't stand out amidst the brilliance. Not bad enough to skip during replays, though.
-Songbird: Oh sweet Jesus, Santana, stop hijacking the prettiest songs for your own lame-ass issues. Skipped! Honestly, I tried to listen to the track before the episode so I had no context, but merely attaching her name to the project ruined it. New emoticon: >P
++ I Don't Want to Know: This didn't blow me away, but I find that as days pass, it's the tune that gets stuck in my head. It's catchy and like its simplicity. And of course, I REALLY love the fact that Finn & Quinn finally got a whole duet together. I love Quinn's voice. They really do match nicely...and performance-wise, there is anger. Love the anger! Basically, I am not happy with relationship!Finn unless he is having some sort of issues. It's the only time on television where I agree that nice/happy is boring and drama is interesting.
* ++ Go Your Own Way: I LOVE this performance and right off the bat it was my favorite. She's just so bouncy and happy while singing it. I always love the way her voice sounds, so this should come as no surprise.
* ++ Don't Stop: Did not love it at first listen; it sounded too juvenile and just didn't have the vocal or emotional strength of Fleetwood Mac. But I knew it would grow on me, based solely on the fact that I heard Sam and Finn and Quinn and possibly Rachel on the leads, and it did. To the point where it turned into my by-far favorite of the bunch. As for the performance...we'll talk about the highlights at the end.
Flawed Approach: BS
Literally the only thing wrong with this episode is the excessive focus on Brittany/Santana. I don't know much about it, because I vehemently skipped all of their scenes, but I know it was there, dragging down the quality. Starting with the unbearable opening. Look, show, understand something: Brittany has crossed the point of no return. Nothing she does will ever be relevant for me. Her plummet from favor was less overt and ruinous than Santana's, but she's still completely annoying.
Unrelated note: the only other part of this episode I completely hate is when Quinn sweetly reminds Becky to vote for as prom queen, and Becky tells her, "Bite me." That's it, Becky needs to die. Sue has corrupted her beyond redemption or even a shred of likability. Nice going.
I landed on this by accident, but it was totally worth it just for Artie's super-frustrated, "God, Brittany, why are you so STUPID?" I applauded. I can't believe he hasn't said that before now, but it was amazing to watch her shocked face crumple into tears when she said he was the only person at the school who'd never called her that and ran off, upset. I had no idea Brittany's brain could process insults like that, let alone be hurt by them! It's fascinating. Suddenly I want to do all kinds of mean things to her to see how she reacts. Try running over her cat next. That's right, I'm advocating animal experimentation in the name of science.
P.S. All I really got out of this was "Artie's obsessed with Angry Birds? So is Tina! LET'S GET THAT GOING AGAIN. Murphy, why couldn't you get bored with boring Team Asian Fusion instead of brilliant Team Pretty Blonds?"
Semi-Flawed Approach: W/E
Why is Emma in this episode at all? Proof that she is terrible, she's actually pushing him to quit and take the Broadway option. Midyear, mind, in a move that would involve ditching the kids who depend on him. Emma is the worst! Worse than that, I hate that she is as much of a reason for him to stay as they are.
But I also never turn down crying, especially from him, so there's that. I'm just going to stick with "I can't do that to the kids" as the sole reason for the crying over the difficulty of the decision. (p.s. stop referencing your "terrible marriage," jerk.)
Plus, OK, it was kind of fun to watch her look all sad and torn apart at how uncomfortably close he was to April, again. Haha! That's right. Walk away, bitch.
APRIL! It's hard to say whose eyes lit up more at the sight of her, mine or Will's. I love her any time, but it's especially thrilling after that nauseating bog of fun-sucking that was Holly Holiday. I love that she came to town with her eyes set on pursuing him, too. And so sad he remained largely oblivious. April, you have got to stop arriving right when he renews his private I-love-Emma vows.
Still. Loved her coming over for "dinner." (so apparently this time around, Will's not going to bother commenting on how hard she fell off that wagon) When April says things like "I forgot what a good teacher you are," it comes off as sweet rather than skin-crawling. How much do I love the fact that she's the one who pushed the Rumours-themed lesson plan of the week?
[Will: You know, I think I might have "Rumours" on LP somewhere.
April: Oh, everybody does! I mean, I don't, I sold mine for drugs.
(he turns away)
April: Nope. Actually did that.]
I love that she got him to help with the show as much as possible. What about a summer show, April? Because despite the dreadful boredom of her brief song snippet and horrifically operatic vocals, it's easy enough to mute and just be awed by her gorgeous blue dress and how very, very dapper he looks in a tuxedo.
In sum: every second April was on the screen lit up my soul. There's something extra-precious about her character that far outstrips all the regulars and most of the guest stars to boot. How is she so enchanting??
Ferocious Like The Honey Badger
Oh, Terri. I've missed you.
Loved Sue's "disguises," for starters. I love that, while Terri did not really succeed, she did not epically fail like those other losers and remained in Sue's favor. Guys, she lives in an efficiency with a raccoon in the wall. Poor thing clearly let stupid love get in the way of financially ruining her ex-husband. She needs to win one. Maybe this wasn't the week she won, but she put some good ideas to work in very subtle ways. Why can't they work out a way to have her on more often? The show lacks a certain charm when she's not here.
Muckraking Rumor Mills
* I love how much time Sue has to devote to creating random mean-spirited clubs these days. I also love how Azimio manages to work some bullying in where the lame hallway patrol isn't around to catch him, earning himself praise for slapping a palmful of toothpaste against Creeper's face.
* I don't know what's more amusing, Brittany's list of questions or the fact that Mr. Schue doesn't protest their relevance until after he's answered the question of "Boxers or briefs." REALLY? REALLY?
* I am...oddly hostile when it comes to large portions of the club hanging out together outside of school. Certain people (Quinn, Rachel) are too good to be seen with other people (Larda, Puck). All I really got out of this scene was confusion as to why Kurt's fidelity was a larger issue at stake than the more relevant fact of Sam not being gay. Makes you think about how the media affects teen perception of this sort of thing.
* Now seems like as good a place as any to mention Finn & Rachel's stakeout, which I could take or leave but which was redeemed by playing a clip from "The Chain" (GREATEST! Although kind of a poor choice, creatively, as it just makes you hunger for more of the real Fleetwood Mac, and then you get newly dissatisfied with the Glee covers).
* I also laughed at Finn asking Rachel to explain karma to him, as clearly he's never seen the simplest explanation of all, My Name is Earl: "Do good things, good things happen. Do bad things, bad things happen."
* How is it that Kurt only has one significant speaking scene, and he manages to be a prissy bitch throughout? I told you before, Tickle Me Doughface, we can't get along if you persist in verbally flipping Rachel off. Really, we don't get along unless you're crying and/or miserable, but especially not if you interfere with my girl. Not even if she interferes with you first and is in the wrong.
(sorry. All your Sam-helping credit is null and void after this part)
Quinn vs. Finn
I mostly just wanted to mention how pretty Quinn's hair looked pulled back when she stormed up to Finn right before their duet. Her hair has been in this sad, ragged state of choppy layers lately, but that 'do hid it nicely. Did I mention how much I like them when they hate each other? Somewhere in the back of my mind is a memory of shipping them, but it's in hibernation right now. I also enjoyed Scary Quinn coming back out to ban Finn from dueting with Rachel, even if it sabotages their chances at competition. I know she hasn't mentioned it in a while, but THIS YEAR IS ABOUT HER. I still respect that.
(okay, real reason I like this part is that Mr. Schue has a reason to say something to her directly. Even if that thing is just a stern/completely ineffective "I don't think you can mandate who pairs up for Nationals.")
Sam, Champion of the Hour
The first scene kicked me in my special hurty place as Rachel attempted to make good on my shipping inclinations and he shot her down with "You're not my type." LIES. No, I mean, it is clearly an actual lie as part of a bigger reason not to go to prom, but still. My rebellious self will only ship them twice as hard now, at least until I temporarily drop that like a hot potato when Jesse breezes back to town.
Up next, just try to count all the awesome things that happen near-simultaneously in the choir room: Finn storms in, yelling at Sam for explanations of this cheating bullshit, because why wouldn't he do the same thing that Finn did to him? (hmm. Because Sam's not an ass?) Quinn is pissed. Sam is more pissed. Finn shoves Sam, who hardly needs an excuse to lunge back, along with some choice snarling about how he's "got a lot of nerve accusing me of cheating when you're the one who snuck in and stole my girl!", inciting fight number 273452 broken up by Will Schuester. Everyone on this show solves everything with violence, it's great. Finn storms out
Scene three: I figured there was no cheating happening (Sam's better than everyone; RS approves this message), but still, I'ma bust out a lame shipper name just to say FABREVANS HUG, FABREVANS HUG, ONE MORE TIME TO CHERISH AND PRETEND, WOO! In some episodes, that would be the high point. But no. There are a billion things yet to come.
[flashback: take a short break to hang out under their tag on Tumblr, and just gaze in awe at all the pretty.]
Scene 4: Secret's out. I love Schue's brief moment of being a concerned teacher. I love the continuing tradition of Sam clenching his jaw and trying to ignore, ignore, ignore the unfair dogpiling until he explodes at everyone and puts them to shame. "Because that's where I live now. My dad lost his job a few months ago, then we lost our house, so now we live in that motel. In one room. Are you all happy? The truth's finally out." We call this part "heartbreak, part 1 of 27."
(also: Quinn helping babysit little siblings? *flashes back* I bet there was a delightful duet happening! Quick, fetch me a Rumours album so I can decide what they sang)
[edit: I'm going with "You Make Loving Fun." I can even crank subtext out of it.]
Scene 5: round II of "count the number of awesome things happening simultaneously."
+ Sam + little siblings is absolutely, by far, the most precious thing I have ever seen. I want 9532 fics written about their life, and because this is the Glee fandom, I can be assured that some will actually happen. Based on our 5-7 minutes of introduction, he is the world's best big brother (how cute is it when he picks them up and tosses them on the bed?), and Stacey & Stevie are the most adorable children ever. Yes, I checked, and they all have S-names, one of which is even episode-thematically appropriate. I love this show sometimes.
+ Pretty much every additional sentence he says, with that specialized Depressed Puppy look of his, only makes him more lovable. Heartbreak, part 3 of 27: "You know, when the bank takes your house, they literally take it. They come by one morning and kick you out of your own house. Just lock you out."
+ Finn: Why didn't you just tell us?
Sam: You've seen how fast information flies around this school, right? You think everyone would have just treated me the same? I would have been even more of a freak.
Not for the first time, I find myself despairing and wondering why this storyline couldn't be happening while he was still dating Quinn. Or anyone who might care at all. (now hating "Trouty Mouth" twice as hard)
+ We find out Sam & Quinn go to the same church, which, grind the shards of glass into my heart with their broken perfection.
+ "I kinda like having her around to do some girl stuff with Stacey." See "why aren't they dating," and oh, geeze, how cute are the pictures in my head right now. BRB, have to go find an unrequited Sam/Quinn missing-scene fic that details how much he still likes her and is just very, very careful to hide it since he's not That Guy. For bonus points, someone should also write the fic set back when they were actually dating where she meets his siblings and bonds with his sister for the first time.
+ Finn & Rachel (with help from the rest of the glee club that apparently isn't broke this week like they usually are) bought back Sam's guitar, reducing him to tears that Finn & Rachel are completely ill-prepared to deal with. Why is no one available to hug him right now? Answer: because Stacey is available, and it is the most heart-exploding thing in existence.
Approximate expression of my love for this moment: ♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥
To the power of 1,000.
In Conclusion: Don't Stop
* MORE PRECIOUS EVANS CHILDREN (look, look at Quinn immediately beckoning Stacey onto her lap!). Their presence here makes little to no sense, but that hardly matters.
* I feel like I recognize a lot of the outfits in this number, but more than anything I notice Sam is wearing the shirt from the first number in the Christmas episode, the one he was wearing the moment he technically stole my heart
* Which reminds me, have I mentioned how much I love his overgrown, floppy hair? That's my one consolation prize for the Quinnless world: fantastic hair.
* April comes to sit with Will in the audience, providing me both general squee that she is there, and specific squee that the combination of her presence and the performance provides him a reason to look conflicted of heart some more.
* How much do I love the beginning of the song now, with Quinn sliding up to share the spotlight with Sam on the first verse? Tumblr's already gone nuts.
* There is something about this dance number that screams "rehearsed choreography!" whereas the group numbers normally look effortless, and yet...I do not care.
* Finn + Quinn + dancing with children = yes please
* Ooh, there goes my Sam/Rachel radar, pinging at the quick shot of her grabbing his hand to lead him forward
* Apparently I cease my vendetta against Brittany when she's got Stacey in her arms. Cool.
* The guys lifting Sam on their shoulders may be the happiest I have ever been while watching a group number.
* Except maybe how it ends with Sam picking up his little brother. ♥
* Oh hey, bonus Finn/Sam hug. Forgot to mention, when not solving problems with violence, everybody hugs it out.
* This is one of those numbers I would have killed to have seen filmed. It just looks like so much fun.
Look, I found you the missing scene(s) about how Kurt found out about Sam's situation. It's amazing, and comes with bonus Kurt/Blaine at their cutest. READ NOW OR YOUR EPISODE IS INCOMPLETE.
Up Next: So much looks so terrible. I would skip it entirely, but I suspect Jesse will be too enmeshed to easily separate his parts, and besides, Sam might have lines or something. Quinn definitely will, so I'm stuck. I plan to make heavy use of the skip button, though, and I'm already preparing my rants on various issues.
P.S. Lol, just found out "Born This Way" got season-low ratings, at least in the total numbers department. I'm proud of you, America.
How I Met Your Mother, 6x22, "Perfect Cocktail"
MY STARS, how adorable was the Ted/Zoey in this? I could take or leave the drinking plot; maybe I'll find it funnier in retrospect (why is Lily so gross sometimes?). Right now alI can do is flail at great length about how much I love this pairing. I will probably watch the next episode to find out that Zoey's romanticized childhood story of living in the Arcadian is a crock of BS designed to manipulate him, but right now I want to believe because I am spellbound by Ted's reaction to it. YES. THIS. RIGHT HERE. You're going to have quite a task topping this scene with anything The Mother does. Oof, she breaks my heart sometimes. But my happiness with a sincere exchange of I love you's before this blows up knows no bounds.
Applause for surprise cockamouse! That's the one thing that would have sent me over the edge, too. I would have defended everything else in the name of "all it needs is some loving restoration," but not after that.
As for the other plot: I did get quite a kick out of Marshall smoothly sabotaging all of Barney's potential hookups. Barney's payback photos weren't quite as funny, but they still made me laugh. I also liked Weird Clarity Barney, and the overly emotional version, but then Marshall brought up his stupid dead dad and I put my fist through the wall. Do you think maybe by season 8 they'll have let go of it?
That was really depressing. So much sadder than the funeral episode, seriously.
Kids, it is not often that I will choose someone over Barney. But I choose Zoey over him. I choose Zoey over this entire gang. How could you possibly expect me to care about the notion of Barney losing his job more than her happiness? (maybe he would be forced to spend his time in productive ways instead of living a grossly extravagant life and being a sleazy horndog) A sizable part of me is dreaming happily of a world in which that iconic lionshead stonework falls off the wall and squashes him like a bug.
I think it was good-depressing, though. In the way that turns your heart inside out, wrings out every last drop of emotion and hangs it out to dry until something new fills it up again. I still don't personally agree with his motives for switching back to his original side, but at least they gave him an understandable motivation rather than just being a bullheaded, selfish jerk like he has been all season. I got hand-claspy when he gave her one last perfect night to see the Arcadian before he destroyed everything, both literally and figuratively. Even on the eve of its destruction, this relationship is pitch perfect!
I cheered when Zoey whipped out her trump card (hah, secret recordings!). I played a little "Ted Mosby Is A Jerk" to maintain my sanity while he maneuvered around that hiccup. And then I did one last handclasp of "oh, you're getting this so right!" between the way he looked at her when the verdict came down, and the fact that he went after her exactly as hoped. There was nothing he could say to come back from this, but I at least wanted him to go through the motions.
My face = Zoey's. I may have shed a tear or two.
"Sometimes, things have to fall apart to make way for better things."
I see what you're trying to say there, show, but you're wrong. There are no better things in Ted Mosby's future. This was it.
[EDIT: oh god, I forgot he was quoting what she said to him about her divorce. That makes this ten times worse. I'm pretty sure Zoey would rather still be married to The Captain than dumped and living with 22-year-old drug dealers. There's going to have be someone amazing in her future to make up for this. Some kind of mega-rich vegan who uses his inheritance mostly for charitable works, volunteers full time and has a ton of rescued pets. And hates boats.]
At least Ted went out on such a lame note that, as heartbreaking as it is to watch her walk away, I'm pretty sure she's too good for him anyway. Now if I can just forget the part where she already walked away from a(n admittedly failing) marriage because of him, we'd be golden.
Still one of the better episodes this season.
Other things to love: Robin as the official go-between messenger, Barney demonstrating his best evil laugh, Ted's AMAZING dream, Robin's hypothetical ninja story (followed by a slap to interrupt Ted's claim that he has the reflexes of a jungle... "Tree?" Lily supplies helpfully), and the astonishingly adorable little puppy; wirehaired dogs are not allowed to be so cute!