Blame It On The Alcohol
True, there are a lot of things that suck. So many. The entire latter two-thirds is basically a wash except when Kurt and Rachel are talking to or about Blaine. But I no longer hate Rachel's party itself.
It's mostly the Blaine/Rachel aspect. There's inherently knowing they're your OTP, and there's being smacked in the face with their gorgeousness all over again. My favorite Tumblr has a tag for them that reads "otp: your face tastes awesome," and this is an excellent moniker. This is also pretty much the only time in the entire series where Blaine is allowed to have curly hair, and I cannot describe how attractive this is. "Don't You Want Me" is WONDERFUL; I saved it to the hard drive and now I can't seem to stop playing it on loop. This is so, so much better than Kurt/Blaine. It really is.
And then we get it for an entire episode! I love how crazy/miserable it drives Kurt. The coffee shop convo is the best. "Who says I'm leading her on?" (by this point, I knew it was doomed and I was still doing Rockette kicks around the room on first viewing) "I'm really sorry if this hurts your feelings, or pride, or whatever..." Sarcastic!Blaine should come around more often, I like him. That he compares Kurt's judgmental bitchiness to Karofsky is just the icing on the cake.
As for the precious ending...
I'm sorry, this face just does not say "100% gay" to me. My headcanon right here is more like, "90% gay. Would go straight for Rachel. Reject option so as not to further upset Kurt. (Bro Code, Article 1) Something about When Harry Met Sally." What can I say? I find it suspicious that he has to immediately leave the scene.
[Edit: TUMBLR RIDES TO THE RESCUE by indirectly linking me to an awesomely fantastic missing scene proving there is much more backstory to the scene above than you think: It Was Almost You. Also, my ability to instantly find supplemental fic patches for everything these days is getting spooky. It's like having the Midas Touch.]
Other things that are wonderful in this episode: Blaine sleeping over in Kurt's bed. My brain still can't cope. I read an exchange on LJ somewhere that I really liked, which I can't find, but I can paraphrase with the best of them: "Drunk Blaine would definitely cuddle him without a second thought, but I don't think Kurt tried -- I think he probably just stayed awake for a while, secretly thrilled to have Blaine there and imagining what it would be like if this were real." Incidentally, it took like six seconds on Google to dredge up a fic with an absolutely perfect missing scene at the beginning: No Kicks, Just Cuddles
Now I'm realizing I need to hunt down the missing scene where Blaine awkwardly comes downstairs. Which I would absolutely do, if I had not spent the past hour distractedly clicking through 11 more pages of search results that pinged off the word "cuddling." I am not clear why it took me so long to look for these.
Finally, the scene in the kitchen with Kurt & his dad is actually really nice, especially when Burt lays down parental authority, right up until the point where Kurt whines about his dad needing to educate himself so Kurt can come to him with questions. In retrospect, this is super baffling given his stance on the matter in the next episode. Did the writers not have to check with each other at all before forging ahead with completely opposite versions of Kurt's attitude?
Definitely still the worst by a large margin. Basically all that's changed is my love for Landslide on the CD, after discovering it belongs to Holly rather than Santana and was personally approved on site by Stevie Nicks, and my ability to listen to -- if not entirely watch, thanks to Kurt's gas pains face -- "that confusing scene where all the boys danced around in a cloud of bubbles." (fact: my original review of this episode was dead on and holds up over time)
I keep skipping through it and going "shut up, shut up, shut up, I hate you." It's so offensive I finally realized I have to keep it on mute while I'm looking through it. Buuuut, I did finally drag myself through the uncomfortable Kurt/Blaine conversation where Kurt is my hero.
It took me four or five tries, because I kept thinking about him visiting Burt on top of this, and thus getting more upset than Kurt and having to drag Blaine off in my head to yell at him for a good ten minutes about appropriate boundaries, self-righteous superiority, respecting others' wishes, minding one's own business, and how no means no. Contrary to popular belief, Kurt actually does not have to learn about it until he's dating someone, and then he can have this conversation with that person. Like, even now, I am remembering Blaine's justifying example to Burt about fooling around at parties, and getting explosively offended on Kurt's behalf. Just because you are a slut with serious impulse control issues around alcohol doesn't mean we all are, okay? THIS IS NOT RELEVANT TO
*cough* Back to the conversation. I mentioned already how I love the quote about liking romance and Broadway musicals, but when Kurt kicks him out of the room and refuses to look at him anymore, I just sat back and clapped. I kind of hope Kurt refused to speak to him for the remainder of the week and ignored all texts. If it were me, I would have also cut off my nose to spite my face and pointedly quit the Warblers altogether unless and until they changed their competition game plan. Your move, Blaine.
Born This Way
So remember that one I refused to even review?
What hasn't changed: I am still FURIOUS at Quinn's asinine backstory -- which I refuse to admit as canon -- and repulsed on a core level by Mrs. Disgustington, a/k/a Lauren, a/k/a the worst character that has ever been on Glee and I am so freaking thankful she's gone. I still skip everything with Emma after 2 seconds, because my default reaction to her is STFU. I flatly refuse to hear "Born This Way" in any version, or even watch the number on mute.
What's changed a little: I can more or less deal with Santana and Karofsky's bearding now, even though I will never entirely get over either one of them unexpectedly popping out of the closet (Santana is almost worse, because why the fuck did you facilitate Sam and Quinn's breakup then??).
I also really like the office conversation. How Kurt just sits like a contemplative statue while all the fighting and accusations fly around the room, until then we get the first of what will eventually be
Rachel's nose job storyline remains the highlight of the hour, between all the Quinn/Rachel scenes it encourages and all the genuine love and support from everyone else in the club, but now I can actually concentrate on it without a hazy cloud of rage obscuring my view, as long as I know when to skip ahead. That's different.
A Selection Of Brand New To Me Scenes:
-Coffee shop: Awww, I am so stupidly charmed by "I told Kurt I'd be all for it if it weren't for Karofsky . . . Kurt needs to be safe," and Kurt uncomfortably changing the subject. I always wondered if there was anything besides "Somewhere Only We Know" re: the two of them talking about Kurt's sudden transfer.
-Somewhere Only We Know is not really new, but I never got tired of watching and/or talking about it. *dreamy sigh* (and oh look! there it is again in my icon. I knew there was a reason I chose that one. Besides wanting to constantly reinforce why Kurt is not allowed to do anything to instigate a breakup)
-As If We Never Said Goodbye: I actually didn't run across this until I checked out the soundtrack, and I went head over heels on first listen. The number kind of makes me cry every other time? It's just perfect for the context.
-The mall dance sequence: My entire first reaction to it was "what the hell am I watching?" -- it's no Safety Dance, and this is the first thing that should have been dumped on the cutting room floor if this were a normal-length episode -- but on subsequent viewings, I guess it's kind of entertaining. (Kurt's dancing at the beginning, oh my god) Besides which, Kurt & Rachel's friendship is now one of the cornerstones of my Glee viewing experience.
In conclusion, it has so many more good parts than, say, "The Spanish Teacher," and yet...I still feel like I need to label this one worse?
And then I went back to season 1. IT'S SO BRIGHT. The colors!
Then there's Baby Kurt, when his hair was so much better - I didn't realize how annoying spiky and product-filled it's gotten; it's rivaling The Doctor's evolution. Baby Quinn, too, with her super pale hair in severe ponytail. Finn and Rachel, when she was just a starry-eyed schoolgirl with a crush and he was a harmless nice guy light years away from being a Rachel's-future-life-ruiner. The glory days when Santana was a mere backup singer at best. And Kendra! You exist!
Remember when Kurt was in the closet for like three seconds? Like him being gay was somehow a secret up to that point. (aww, started crying early though, didn't he?) And remember when Mike and Matt never talked, but Mike became a regular while Matt unceremoniously disappeared?
Thoughts on various Jukebox performaces:
-Kurt is so fantastic in "Gold Digger." First he just stares at Mercedes for a really long time, and then there are adorably clumsy attempts to imitate Mr. Schue's effortlessly loose dance steps. His face is so red. (also, I legitimately thought Mr. Schue's shirt said "Ditch Plans" instead of "Plains" for half this performance, and was going to say that this foreshadowed so much.)
-I have never watched Push It in full. I will never watch it.
-I had never seen Poison before this moment. My face is just a mask of awkward horror.
-I Wanna Sex You Up: aaaand the awkward horror continues
-The Single Ladies dance with Brittany and Tina is still so...weird/kind of creepy. I don't know if I'm impressed that they all learned the dance or simply disturbed by the fact that they're doing this. But I'm kind of remembering why I hated Kurt.
-Taking Chances was what brought me back to Glee after I'd sworn it off. I'm just saying, such is the power of Rachel's voice.
-I always forget that Say A Little Prayer For You and You Keep Me Hanging On exist. I am kicking myself for this, because they are both incredibly lovely (especially the first one), and all the more precious given how many times Quinn's increasingly rare solos flunk out in the future (Man's Man's Man's World, I SIDE-EYE IN YOUR GENERAL DIRECTION).
-After checking out the first soundtrack, it turns out I am now secretly a fan of Hate On Me. Interesting.
-Hah, remember the giant kerfluffle I had over "Defying Gravity" and which version to love best, if any? I love how the duet version here is now the third cover in my library. It has grown on me so much. Poor baby Kurt fighting for recognition over Rachel (only, you know, not really).
...and then I got sidetracked because I decided I really wanted to do a Top 25 Performances of Season 1 list like I did with season 2, only I have been fighting with the list for hours and I can pick out a top 10-12 in no particular order, but I can't trim the overall field below 32. I'm trying hard for performer diversity while also trying to balance out favorite songs. Like, Jessie's Girl was not that great a visual. But on the other hand, it's Jessie's Girl. How do I fire that and keep multiple Madonna songs with a clear conscience? Speaking of which, why can't I get Vogue off the list? I feel bizarrely guilty every time I delete it. And also, is it really OK to keep Bootylicious but cull every Vocal Adrenaline number? Because it seems like it would not be.
This is not a really a new problem. I started doing it this summer and promptly gave up. Now I remember why.
The lesson we learned from today's excessive ramble (on no sleep, naturally) is that I need to own the DVDs already. Bite the bullet and pay the ~$40 or so for new copies. The scratches on these library discs are so intolerable and resistant to cleaning that I simply cannot risk used versions, even if personal copies have likely seen far less wear and tear.