Possibly I have spent too much time this week with the good parts, but that was strangely not horrible! Maybe I should practice super-pessimism and threaten not to watch it at all more often. It definitely helped that I read every spoiler, reaction and review I could find (while avoiding Tumblr) before I waded in so there were no ugly surprises. Well, maybe one. But it could have been much worse.
Per the TV Line recap:
Warning: This week’s “controversial” episode of Glee — entitled “The First Time” — contained not a single scene of gratuitous teen sex, nor did it linger on the undulating, half-clothed bodies of its young and attractive cast members.
Me: YES! I mean, I had already made dollsome tell me if it was safe, because she is excellent at gauging what I can and cannot handle, but still. That doesn't mean I won't bob and weave to avoid all of it, though, because after I thought about it, I realized not even the tamest of bed scenes are going to balance out the fact that they are in high school and that, that is icky. Things that would be sort of cute with adults are instantly negated by their age. If it happened, fine. I probably can't undo that lip-curling unpleasantness. But I cannot have this kind of knowledge settled in my brain or it will slowly drive me to insanity. In the immortal words of Miranda Bailey, "I DO NOT WANT TO KNOW ABOUT YOUR BASES."
In sum: RS, would you like to talk about the title plot?
Excellent. Having gotten rid of that, here are some discussion points:
-I'm sorry, who requested a love interest for Shannon? Because it definitely wasn't me. I ship things for one reason and one reason only: I love seeing pretty people together. And Shannon's not even pretty enough to serve as the cardboard-prop function of facilitating scenes with an attractive guy in love. Granted, for that to work the guy has to at least be noticeably attractive, and this dude's face is the most boring thing I have ever seen. But I could not be less interested in this awkward nonsense. Skipped everything after the first scene; I'd rather watch Blaine get it on with Sebastian.
-Speaking of which: I wouldn't. Dear Glee, you suck at creating gay characters. I mean, you really suck. If there was an award for sucking at creating them, it would be a trophy and you'd be at least to third base with Finn tonight. You have this one absolute fluke in Blaine, who is perfect and better than nearly everyone on the show, but otherwise this makes your -- is it fourth? No, I think fifth -- failure in every way, unattractive of face and downright ugly in personality. Are we supposed to ship this? Like...at all? I just don't understand where Sebastian's cocky well of self-confidence comes from when there is nothing even remotely appealing about him and he is in fact actively repulsive.
+ Sebastian's one use has been summing up Blaine as "Sex on a stick and sings like a dream." That should be on icons. And Tumblr graphics. (I said the teens couldn't have sex. I didn't say I wouldn't ogle them and/or make comments about it.)
-As of this week, Artie is dead to me and I have staked his heart to prevent him from ever being redeemed. He joins the dead souls of Satana and Disgusting Girl. This actually puts him lower on the totem pole than Puck or Kurt, which is awfully depressing, but that's what an ego-inflated slimeball I feel he has become.
-One of the things Artie (or by extension, Glee) has managed to ruin for me is the song "Tonight," which I have always found kind of boring and still do, but was willing to overlook for the pure beauty of Rachel & Blaine singing to each other in character. The exact words were "This song is about ___" and then he said something else unsavory; I DID NOT NEED TO HAVE THAT IN MY HEAD. I didn't try very hard to fall in love with the song before this episode, figuring I had plenty of time, and now I can't even think directly about it, much less watch or listen. *growl*
The Hidden Highlights
-When I saw it in spoilers, I first read Kurt's bucket list ambition as being the CEO of LEGO. And frankly, that dream is a lot cooler.
+ I got my hands on the Uptown Girls clip early and played it repeatedly for the 2 days before watching the ep. The performance ended up being my favorite of the week. Not just because the arrangement is fantastic -- the Warblers fail a lot, but when they succeed, it is MAGNIFICENT -- or because I get to watch Blaine's face nostalgically taking it all in, but because they convey this pure and indescribable sense of joy in singing. (except for the one creepy Shark Boy) Even more than when Blaine was part of it. And then when they all light up upon seeing him and pull him in...oh! Just happy, happy times. Dalton is so much cooler without Kurt in it.
+ What we saw of West Side Story was gorgeous. Is there any way that we could somehow have the Glee cast perform the entire thing? Because I have never more desperately wanted to buy a ticket to a fictional play. The colors, the personalities, the music & choreography; it glitters with potential and taunts me with the barest glimpses. Not that I'm not incredibly happy to have gotten those, I'm just saying, I wish I was a William McKinley student right about now.
+ Failing that, I'd really have liked to cut that entire superfluous Shannon subplot, and halved the gay bar times (I personally cut out the entire section inside, and did not feel I lost any story) for more time on the musical. Pay all the copyrights you have to, just get me this.
+ How happy are we that Mercedes flounced off the scene those few episodes back? Rachel makes the most beautiful Maria; I can't even convey what a rip-off it would felt like to watch Mercedes try to imitate it. I am speaking mostly of A Boy Like That, whose amazing brass instrumentation rips through the scene's introduction and just gets better from there (the pit band had excellent material to work with.) It should be the kind of sound I hate -- Rachel's voice goes through several roofs and possibly shatters water glasses when she first enters -- but there's something so very high and pure that I can't get enough of it.
(unfortunately, the second half of their duet gets very dull, and awful stuff was intercut with it in the episode so I couldn't watch it either)
+ I fell for America ahead of time too, initially appalled by and then extremely fond of their ridiculous Puerto Rican accents. A Santana solo that I love, what?? But I do. The short bob actually looked -- dare I say! yes, but only because she's too evil for long hair to make a difference in her appearance -- better than her having it long. The dresses were beautiful. Tina looked and sounded especially lovely on her line. The dancing was gorgeous.
+ Coffee meeting. I quite like Blaine politely fending off the creeper's advances (especially if Kurt is sneakily around to hear), as well as Kurt shooting territorial, that's-my-boyfriend-and-I-am-watching-yo
(and okay, maybe Sebastian has a second use, because the way he looks Kurt up and down like "Seriously?" is HYSTERICAL. I know, Sebastian! None of us understand either, even those of us who saw pet death used as the catalyst)
+ Post-bar: Initial Reaction: Drunk Blaine, let's just stop at "I am disappoint" and then transfer all my rage onto Kurt because he's the one who got you into this mess to begin with. Just like when Finn created problem situations and then smugly rose above them in Blame it on the Alcohol. One of the Brothers Douchenozzle rises back to fame! (I've been reading my Special Circle of Hell reviews for comparison purposes lately.)
Reaction Thirty Seconds Later: I LOVE IT. I can't stop watching it. Kurt's wee little Heartbroken and Betrayed face, THE BEST. The fight just comes out of nowhere and blows his world apart. Plus, he is so girly that I can actually transpose this realistic scenario of handsy pressure onto all my het ships without a problem. This is the one situation in which it's easier to work with teens than adults, too.
Blaine: Why are you yelling at me?
Kurt: Because I've never felt less like being intimate with someone, and either you can't tell or you just don't care!
(ALL SUCCESSFUL RS-APPROVED RELATIONSHIPS INVOLVE TEARS. ALL OF THEM. Kurt calling after him in vain gutted me in all the best ways)
And Other Things
-"Sure beats the last time you were drunk and made out with Rachel."
NO IT DOESN'T. ...okay, well, it does since this time there were tears and Kurt had legitimate reason for them, but you know what I mean (Blaine/Rachel for life!). I could not look directly at most of this scene and hop-skipped through it, thinking things like "Where was my Tony/Maria kissing?" IT WAS NOWHERE. I've been dreaming stupidly, okay! I want it, I want it bad. Was somebody afraid of destroying their "virgins don't know what love looks like and can't possibly portray it on stage" rep by Blaine & Rachel inevitably exploding with chemistry?
-Buoyed by the comments about tameness and ready to play with fire, I sneaked partway into Finn/Rachel at the end, and LOOK AT FINN BREAKING DOWN. That's awesome. Rachel's ultimate response is...not my first or even fifth instinct for how to respond to it, but we've well established that at a certain point in fictional romances, I bail and leave it to the characters to take care of business off screen. Do what you have to, don't wake me. I can still enjoy it all the way up to "You're special" like nobody's business. Whoa, wait, was that a flash of me shipping them for a second?
I don't know if anything good happened after Rachel waved her virginity as a prize for her super-average-looking prince (feminism, we should talk about how for once I agree with you and stuff), but I suspect it was not worth it, so at that point I bailed, having ultimately watched maybe 65% of the episode altogether. I feel good about that number and have no plans to increase it.
In Conclusion: I'm still banishing it to last place for the season on principle, but that was definitely better than at least two of last year's four worst episodes -- possibly, thanks to the musical, even all of them? -- and also The Power of Madonna/Theatricality. The insane part of my brain also likes it better than the previous episode, and that's because my stupid brain doesn't know about the horrors I prevented it from seeing/hearing.
Oh, and I just checked out West Side Story from the library so I can fill in the gaps. Not quite the same as a stage musical, but close enough, and definitely the same as what Rachel watched for inspiration (head canon: *invents scene of Rachel inviting Blaine over to watch it*). I've only seen it once, at which time I was in 6th or 7th grade when it was shown in class, and I was understandably bored to tears. Now I'll probably just annoyed that the roles aren't being filled by Glee members, but that can't be helped.
How I Met Your Mother, 7x09, "Disaster Averted"
I SUPER ENJOYED THAT. Sight gags (bears, everywhere you go!), endless jokes at Ted's expense, a pretty girl, Barney's ridiculous stories, tidbits for the Barney/Lily shippers, SLAPPING -- which you'd normally think would be the highlight of any episode but here only made second place -- and then some beautiful surprise Heartfelt Barney/Robin backstory, featuring tongued-tied Smitten Barney and a gorgeous almost-kiss.
AND THEN SURPRISE REAL-KISSING. OH. HEY. WHAT UP?
I can't even pretend to entertain concern over the internet's accusations of cheating because a) One of my main fandoms is Glee; that's the only way to get from one relationship to another, b) both of their current relationships are obvious shams and contain anti-chemistry, c) their breakup was so stupid that many scholars don't even acknowledge it existed, and d) I don't care! I literally do not care whatever circumstances they use to get them back together, or even if this is a one-off and they both claim it was a huge mistake next week, which I'm currently preemptively assuming they will so they can't crush my heart again. It happened and it was pretty and I just needed to see a scene of it, all right? I certainly don't care if I drummed out Victoria with a scarlet letter for doing the same thing.
(side note: actually, it was not pretty at all and I couldn't look directly at it, but I have Memoryshop which means I can use all kinds of inventive features to blur edges, soften images, and otherwise make things look the way I want them to look as long as they happen)
The almost-kiss was much better by far, but that was long ago and ruined. This is new and still has a vague chance of moving forward eventually, maybe not until Barney's wedding day, but I can be patient.
And did I mention the wonderful, wonderful slapping? TIMES TWO. Now with bonus slaps!! In conclusion, I laughed from start to finish, pausing only for squee (or any time the phrase "boogie boarding" was uttered, because there is nothing I hate more on this show than when it tells a story in stop-start fashion and then repeats the same lazy transition over and over and over again).
Private Practice, 5x07, "Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough"Amelia's downward spiral continues to frighten and amaze (can we get Derek involved in it again? I'm just going for outside shots here; it might distract him from his adoption/marriage problems), now going for killshots with phrases like "We stopped being family when you started sleeping with my brother's best friend while you were still married." And adding some serious junkie drugs. With needles and what I can only assume is a crack pipe -- oh, damn, I just missed an opportunity to make a "what was she smoking" crack. (We're so used to using it as a joke one forgets about its actual addictive drug powers. Speaking of things used as a joke: she actually used the phrase "What is your damage?" Loltastic! I mean, do people actually say and not just type that? I'm not around people. I don't know.)
At least Ryan is nice to look at. Television tends to have a difficult time finding people who are actually attractive to play their rich bad boys.
Addison's fertility treatments continue to happen at an alarming rate, which is to say they're happening at all. I can't imagine this will go anywhere but tragically for her, so I'm hoping we can not only implant but maybe make it to the 2-3 month mark before she loses it. Or maybe the .0005% chance of it working at all, let alone on the first try, will go through!
Pete got his Defensive Husband mode on and went to bat for Violet, very nice. Of course, he tempered it with a little "Only I can be mean to my wife" rhetoric, but he made up for it with a tiny but genuine olive branch (you know it's love when he watches your shows with you even if he hates them).
Jake continues to be my favorite. I technically choose Addison's neutrality, since I managed to be partly against both sides at once -- edge to Jake because of the baby and my gut reaction, but I don't know quite how I feel about life support in the case of brain death to begin with. It varies on a case-by-case basis. And in this one, evidently no one was going to miss her. (yeah, we can throw out morality as the basis of my decisions)
But.you, NO-NO ON THE BULLYING FOR ORGANS. You don't get to bully for organs because it is a freaking medical miracle that you can transplant organs at all. By rights, it should not be possible; nature gives you one set and when they fail, that's nature saying it's over. Transplants are a miracle, not a right, and you should assume you're not going to get one unless you are very lucky. I realize I would probably feel differently if I had a relative who needed one, but it would still remain a case of "my feelings are more important than your feelings." That opinion is your right, but call a spade a spade.
I was happy with how it worked out, at any rate. I think. Do I have to go pick up some more Three Rivers to reset my attitude? I might have to do that. I've still got a decent-sized stockpile of new ones left.
And since there are only ever two topics on this journal lately: I love checking the book section at The Dollar Tree, because surprisingly often they'll get overstock of actual quality books, and not just crap that was always destined for this store. This week they had paperbacks of the first Gossip Girl (quality only in the recognizable-name sense), as well as Wish You Were Here (#21), The Secret Rites of Social Butterflies (#73) and even Francesca Lia Block! Unfortunately, it was only Wasteland, which I'd a) already bought at a library sale, and b) subsequently thrown in the garbage barely-read because it was that disgusting. None of them were things I needed to own and so didn't buy, but still. Who doesn't love brand-new chain bookstore books at garage sale prices?
[EDIT: On second thought...their value would at least double if I brought them to Paperbacks Plus. It would be store credit (25% of cover price) instead of cash value and PP only lets you pay for half your purchase with store cred, but...if I sit and work out the math, I think I could break even on trading these books for books I'd want.]