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Glee is the answer when questions are wrong

I had a day where I pretty much wanted to do nothing but sit and watch Glee performances. The weather was beautiful this afternoon, but it was so nice that I couldn't stop walking, which you should not do for 2.5 hours in flat-soled boots. The result that I am now sporting a blood blister on one heel and too crippled to move anymore. Ergo: Glee videos.

Although right now I am pretty much playing Community's Christmas episode on loop, repeating various songs at will along the way.

Community, 3x10, "Regional Holiday Music"
I literally cannot stop watching this. Does that make it my favorite episode ever? I'm not ready to make those kind of claims. But it's way up there, that's for sure.

It sounds like this was born of actual dislike for Glee, which I hope is untrue, since I'd hate to have to unleash my knee-jerk reaction of, "Oh yeah? Well, maybe your lame show deserved to get drop-kicked off the schedule." HOWEVER, since the Glee mockery is a lot funnier when you know the show inside and out, I prefer to think of it as an homage. There is Christmas magic in the fact that this works for both Glee lovers and haters. It's the great unifier.

And in further tribute to Glee, I'm structuring this review mostly around reactions to performances, although to my immense annoyance most didn't have clear titles.

Glee!: I saw a clip of this on Tumblr before I watched it, by the time I had finished those two minutes I was crying with joy. Everything's cooler when cameras are spinning, indeed. All of the lyrics in this are my favorite, basically, and between the optimistic music and dancing, you can probably just watch this instead of taking your daily antidepressant.
(I also appreciated the use of Glee-style trepidation!vocals to cut to commercial)

Troy & Abed's rap: Oh no. I don't have the excuse of white guys in this, and I still love it. Do I...secretly like non-offensive rap on its own merit? (horror!) Far and away my favorite of the night, I particularly love the crazy intense expressions on Troy's face at the beginning, the well placed use of AutoTune, and the fantastic "A-B-E-D!" solo which still cracks me up some 40 plays later. Plus, well, the music is undeniably fantastic and the atmosphere with the background dancers doesn't hurt.

Baby Boomer Santa: The first time, my enthralled expression mirrored Pierce's, until he actually joined in and then it instantly transformed into the horror written on the faces of the other study group members. But it grows on you. I manage to love Troy & Abed's musical journey through the decades more every time I see it -- the guitars! the afro wigs! The propmasters on the side! "And then in 1970 he did more drugs..."! The falsetto! The robot! Etc! - and damned if Pierce's addition doesn't sort of crack me up now. But mostly, I'm just going to be dancing around and singing "Baby boomer Santa, thank you for MTV!" all day.

Annie The Christmas Stripper: this was a particularly horrifying low point, which may or may not have destroyed my ability to ship Jeff/Annie at all, past, present, or future, due to the overwhelming -- and did I mention horrifying? -- pedophilia vibe clinging to it like skunk spray. It cannot be shaken. Whatever inherent humor they were going for got completely overshadowed by the ick.

But after you see it 10 or 15 times, you get desensitized enough to at least tolerate it. Plus every time I see this part --
Jeff: Eventually you hit a point of diminishing returns on the sexiness.
Annie: What's a dimini(trails off into babytalk gibberish)?

-- I burst out laughing.

Shirley & the Godless Children's Choir: The best part is Shirley quietly losing it under her breath ("That's what they do, that's what they do!"), because this is two types of musical fail at once (gospel and children), but when Shirley joins in it makes it all worthwhile. I just wish it was longer, because then I could petition church to replace one of its traditional songs with a rendition of "Happy birthday, Jesus / Cut the cake, cut the cake now..."

Pageant Opener/Britta's Interpretation: This is just here so I can complain about how lovely the beginning was, and how desperately I would have liked a full version of that and less of Annie fetishizing infantilism. It just makes Britta's vocal crash landing that much more painful. Stupid Abed destroying things. THIS IS WHO YOU ARE NOW.

(and writers, I was looking forward to Britta singing! Annie too, before they ruined that. You can't deprive me of the Rachel and the Quinn. Boo.)

Carol of the Faculty: Could have done without Leonard, but applause for the new interpretation (which I will be humming for quite some time). Merry Changmas indeed. You know what makes it so merry? Watching a cat knock his ornament off the tree and listen to his delicious screams off screen.

In conclusion, I think Community should probably release some sort of EP to raise a bit of extra Christmas cash.

Non-Musical Win
Every last single thing, including but not limited to:
+ Mr. Rad, his sweater vest, his manic enthusiasm, and his secret homicidal mania. Especially the secret homicidal mania.
+ The actual glee club's fantastic Victorian costumes. And music. I liked what I heard of the remix.
+ Chang enforcing musical copyright
+ Everyone closing in on Annie, Stepford-style
+ "Britta's adorable! So, Shirley or Annie..."  and/or "SHE'S PLAYING A TREE. ...and it's gonna be so fun!"
+ Vicki being stage manager
+ Inspector Spacetime's long lost Christmas special
+ "That sounds terrible. I want to watch it twice."
+ Study group caroling! (I told you I was looking forward to Britta sing) In Christmas sweaters!
+ The adorable ending
+ And the timely vocals of "We'll see you after Regionals." You don't need to know what they are; the important thing is that they happen in March.

I still don't understand what it is about the glee club that causes it to be universally hated in multiple universes, though. It literally means glee!

The Office, 8x10, "Christmas Wishes"
I genuinely did not think anything could get worse than Moroccan Christmas.

Commendable moments: HENRIETTA THE PORCUPINE, Andy's girlfriend having gorgeous hair, use of "Christmas Eve/Sarajevo 12/24," Ryan wide-eyed and mutely respecting Robert's (truthful) assessment of the Black Eyed Peas' music, Ryan helping Kelly with computer viruses, "I get really pranky when I drink," and Jim and Dwight punching each other in the principal's manager's office (among other things below).

I realize this looks like a long list, but those were all extremely short moments.

Here's what I'm going to remember from this one: The restrained prank-baiting, followed by Jim's boyish glee as the pranking ban is lifted. This was not a big enough part of the episode, but it kept it from being a total failure.

Barely. Overall, I can't imagine I'll ever voluntarily watch this one again. You understand how it's weird for me to watch the office give alcohol to a child just to see what she'll do, right? I think somewhere, vaguely, in the back of my mind is a glimmer of love as Andy's protective instincts take over to make sure no one's taking advantage of Erin -- although it felt very big brother and I didn't even want to imagine it any way other than platonic -- but that was overshadowed by the horribly copious amounts of Erin ruining this episode. (And the warehouse boredom.)

To quote my mom: "Why don't they use Angela more? They keep using this girl instead of her."

Law & Order: SVU, "Spiraling Down"
When I first looked up the information for this episode, the major guest star was billed as "Everwood's Treat Williams," so I went to see if that was the adult lead on that show. It was, but holy crap, unrecognizable. Even after watching the entire episode, I still cannot recognize him. Gray hair is not every man's friend, apparently. Or maybe it's just really important that he have a full beard. I don't know. But that is a whole lot of change for only 5-7 years.

More relevant guest star: Kay Panabaker. The Panabaker sisters are among my favorite frequent-flyer guest stars of the world, and even with a cliche "oops, my boyfriend's a pimp" role, she killed it. Liking the direction of Olivia's eventual departure less and less each time Andre Braugher shows up, though.

I don't know how I feel about the way they've decided to introduce us to Amaro's wife. On the one hand, conflict could be interesting, but on the other, I liked her face on sight so now I'm invested. Was the profound stability of the Stabler marriage too much responsibility to repeat, or did you just think it was really important to leave open the option of partner chemistry this time around? Because there are easier ways to do that.
CSI, 12x09, "Zippered"
Took me forever to figure out why I knew Catherine's assigned FBI buddy. Riiiiight, right right right, Archer Montgomery. I've asked this question before. He was such a horrible part of Private Practice I apparently block him from memory. This is the first non-sleazy role he's ever played, to the point where I not only found him charming, I was all aboard the chemistry train.

Great to see Annabeth Gish, too, brightening up what turned into quite a filler episode. The best thing it had going for it was that Russell was much less annoying than usual, and possibly even this side of funny. "Someone spilled ink all over this report," for example. Or the part where, man after my own heart, "Leave it to you to find the books in a room full of guns."

On second thought, the best part was Xiomara on scene, the Calleigh "Bullet Girl" of Vegas.

Chuck, I am disappointed in your lead-character nudity antics. Deeply disappointed.

Beyond that, I was surprisingly fond of the hack-off and any related hacking activities. So much more attractive than the spy life. I think we should probably set about changing the mission of Carmichael Industries ASAP, Sarah's fulfillment be damned.

I was not looking forward to Danny Pudi's guest appearance, because of all the things about Community that are good, Abed is not really one of them and I have seen no evidence to give the actor any spare credit either -- but the model arrogance was actually pretty good. And I LOVED Yvette Nicole Brown being added in, all the more so upon reading that she wasn't supposed to be in it, but she showed up on set and they decided to use her.

Prison subplot was pretty funny, considering it featured people other than Chuck or Sarah and therefore would normally be considered beneath me.

And WOW, was not expecting Decker to go 'splodey.
...I just saw an NCIS promo that apparently has Gibbs helping a woman give birth in a car. This cannot possibly be right.


( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
Dec. 12th, 2011 01:40 pm (UTC)
I loved Annie's stripper-Santa routine, I don't see why a lot of people seems to have been offended/horrified by it. Was it actually worse than the time she used her sexy-schoolgirl act to get signatures when she and Britta did that oilspill-thing? Was it worse than her bringing up her dad when she and Jeff were making out? Annie playing on her sexuality and being immature at the same time = nothing new. Neither is her and Jeff's would-be relationship having undertones of ick, atleast since s2.
Atleast here it was definitely played for laughs, and Allison rocked that solo both in terms of comedic effect and actually singing/performing well. Along with Troy and Abed's routines (especially the rap!) it was my favorite of the episode, I still can't get "Boopy Doopy Doop Boop SEX!" out of my brain.

Also, who doesn't like Abed?! O_O
Dec. 12th, 2011 06:00 pm (UTC)
I just can't get past the part where her voice overshot "ditzy" by a mile and hit "five year old." Or possibly "three year old." I have never been bothered by this relationship for a second, but she's never been quite this way-beyond-immature and overt about her sexuality at the same time.

As for Abed, hah, crackers4jenn about disowned me when I first started watching Community. I've upgraded to at least enjoying him with Troy; this is Reformed Me! The basic rationale was that I don't like people who have trouble grasping how to handle social situations -- I watch TV so that I DON'T see myself.
Dec. 12th, 2011 08:15 pm (UTC)
But that's the point of parodies, it's not a parody if played straight! And lord knows she had to go a *couple* of extra miles to out-do Glee, or else people would mistake it for a copy or an homage.
And maybe not at the same time, but she has absolutely been *exactly* this immature and overtly playing up her sexuality before (to mention two examples: bringing up her dad while kissing Jeff in the timelines episode, and playing the sexy schoolgirl in that episode where she and Britta were collecting donations). And honestly I prefer this scene to those - atleast here it was obvious beyond question that it was done purely in the name of comedy rather than part of her character.

Haha! I completely get your logic, but I have such a different take on it. What I hate on TV is people who are awkward in social situations and KNOWS they are awkward, and acts like they are, and who other people find annoying. But Abed? People LOVE Abed! And I'm kind of like him! That's the kind of fake reality I turn to my TV for, the one where I could be my TV-quoting, pop culture referencing self and have people love me for it. The one where I might be weird for liking people to characters, but people still wanna be my friend anyway!
(Also, by the same logic I completely disown shows where bad stuff happen in any unacceptable way. Sure, some crap has to happen for the good stuff to be good, but it all had better be for a good reason and with good end results or I am OUTTA THERE *doorslam!*.)
( 3 comments — Leave a comment )

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