As I hop and skip around discs in utterly random order a few scenes at a time, I am gradually learning that many of my original opinions are now wrong. For example, "Theatricality." I can't believe I ultimately ranked it tied for "season worst." This episode is AMAZING. Karofsky (Awesome version) and Azimio are on freaking fire, Kurt cries incessantly, the powder keg beneath a year's worth of Finn-stalking explodes, it's a Shelby-and-Rachel bonding fest (mostly), and Puck is even...endearing? Clearly the only thing that was ever wrong with it was "Bad Romance," and the song is no longer repulsive to me anyway. Like at all. Like I've played the Glee version 20 times today. Damn it, Kurt.
Voice: So what you're saying is, ask you about "Born This Way" two years from now?
RS: HAHAHA no.
Voice: I think yes.
+ Need to nip at my season 2 list as well, even though I've already done that a few times. Clearly I was just so traumatized by the first 5 episodes of season 2 that I was not able to rank "Never Been Kissed" objectively, because that was not as good as I remembered. Still good, but a lot more awkward than I was expecting. I also am having trouble remembering anything I actually liked about "The Sue Sylvester Shuffle," given the entire chunk I took out of the middle because of the I-can't-even-look-at-it zombie makeup. Quinn's
[edit: and then I forget about the latter half of the season because I can get volume 2 back next week, but the complete season 2 has a ridiculous waiting list.]
+ What Never Been Kissed does have, though, is a whole lot more violent Kurt abuse than I remember. I'd blocked the entire locker room scene from memory, since Karofsky's little sexuality reveal was straight-up trauma for me, so it was nice to see that for the first time and appreciate Kurt's reaction. Just the reaction. There is still massive trauma if you look up too soon.
+ And, I suppose, NBK also has that first coffee chat with Blaine, giving the "prejudice is just ignorance" speech that put me halfway to loving him (Karofsky confrontation being the clincher), where I did not remember Kurt being moved to tears at the beginning. Aww, new stops for the shipping tour! They just keep on coming.
+ Every sighting of Curt Mega (I think his actual character name is Nick?) in the background of the Warblers fills me with glee. It took me forever to recognize him under the season 2 hair, but I have been preternaturally fond of him since "Uptown Girl" and now it's like spotting a celebrity every time.
+ Goodness gracious, "Grilled Cheesus" is so much better** when you adore Kurt instead of despise him. So much! To the point where you're like, "Mr. Schue, WHY ARE YOU HERE," because suddenly instead of being a wonderful pillar of support he is just an interruption taking away from your Hummel family time. Which, for the record, is heartbreaking and wonderful and the kind of thing you can watch with no end. "I Wanna Hold Your Hand" has become a musical obsession of mine.
**The title plot gets worse, alas. Ugh.
+ "I appreciate your thoughts, but I don't want your prayers." Never mind. That's why I called Kurt a pill, wasn't it? (edit: oh, that's right, he apologizes for it at the end. Not directly, but in general. I forgot about the "I don't believe in God, but I believe in us." I'm guessing it didn't affect me in 2010, as opposed to now, where I am a sobbing mess. On a related note, the obsession this show has with hospital scenes is impressive)
+ Holy crap, do you have any idea how much I don't know about "Duets"? The Glee concert movie is the only reason I even know River Deep, Mountain High and...(I forget the mashup's name with Rachel and Kurt at the end) even exist, and I never knew where they came from. One of them is amazing! Guess which one.
+ I also really like when everybody calls Kurt out on his Finn-stalking. I completely forgot how this was still around for a bit of season 2. There is really never a time when Burt is not the best, is there? E
- Back in 2x01. Oh dear lord, the Beast is awful when screams at Finn and throws him off the team. That's it, I've gone back and forth about being on her side for a year and a half, but now I'm officially against her. (by contrast, Sue is wonderful when she strips captaincy from Boobs McGee)
-Turns out Britney/Brittany is pretty much unwatchable now. At least I can finally tell episodes 1-4 apart.
- I hate Kurt and Rachel's beginning's of friendship in Special Ed so, so much. I'm surprised at how viciously I reject it even now.
And ugh, Kurt's utter bombing at his first Warblers meeting...no. This episode is so hard to sit through. Except for "Hey Soul Sister"! I've finally gotten to see it after it bent my ear on the CD, and it's just wonderful. You're right, clearly the Warblers should have won Sectionals outright.
- (watching Baby It's Cold Outside) "You are much better than that girl's gonna be"? My bad. Apparently there are two times in history where Blaine makes my hit list. Poor random girl -- she thinks she gets to sing this fun song with a devastatingly charismatic charmer, and he's secretly a jerk.
+ Blaine: "I'm not really good at talking about my feelings...I'm much better at singing them." Oh. Okay, now it makes a little more sense why people are so determined to use "Cough Syrup" as justification for their eight zillion Depressed/Suicidal/Self-Harming Blaine fics.
+ Things I have never seen: The Disgusting Girl/Santana fight. Wow. On the one hand, it's hard to root for anyone because they're both my least favorite ever, but on the other, it's really pretty cathartic watching Santana get repeatedly and violently slammed against lockers/sent skidding down the hall. If I follow this up with Finn outing her, I might be able to survive another day of Fandom Mach Madness.
Switching back to season 1 exclusivity now:
+ Can we talk more about Theatricality and how much I love Kurt in it? Still on Finn's side for the meltdowns, but now it is possible to feel sympathy for Kurt in the process. I wish Past Me could recognize how adorable "You are such a boy" is. Him standing up for Tina is still my favorite bit by a landslide, though.
+ I need to know why Bad Romance is not horrible anymore! Is it because Chris Colfer said it was his favorite in the Comic Con panel? (yes) It seems that as long as I don't think too hard about how they are actually respecting, admiring and looking up to the original artist, I am able to separate how much fun they're having, and especially how this is Kurt's little darling of a number and really, it's just cute how much fun he's having with it. Even the costumes almost seem...not awful? On everyone except Finn. And Vocal Adrenaline.
+ To Sir With Love: there was a brief period earlier in the year where I stopped being infatuated with this number and got bored with it. That ennui is gone now, and I am back to getting choked up by the performance.
+ Best thing about season 1: Artie is sweet, intelligent, and not horrible in the slightest (except briefly in Power of Madonna, and then he is wonderful by the end so it cancels out). No, he actually used to be like this! Before Brittany inexplicably paid attention to him and his ego exploded into something rivaling Disgusting Girl's.
+ As much as I enjoy the actual "Defying Gravity" performance now, and as much as I actually like how much less confident little baby Kurt is in season 1 compared to who he is now, whenever he gets on his bitchy high horse and puts Rachel down, I still just want to end him.
Speaking of that performance: Kurt breaks your heart and is perfectly competent until he deliberately isn't, but every time it cuts over to Rachel, she is so impossibly gorgeous that you marvel there was ever a contest.
+ Totally forgot about the anonymous "your son's a fag" call. Or maybe I never even saw it? Because it seems entirely possible I would have blazed right on by any scenes that threatened to show Kurt alone. Between that and the ending where he explains why he threw the audition...ugh, Kurt. My heart. I can't take this identity crisis that my outpouring of sympathy for you is causing.
+ I'm glad Ballad happened when it did, because I still like it, but I'm not sure the episode is #3 in my heart anymore. Now that Rachel's all legal and whatnot, apparently the illicit student/teacher thrill is gone. I jest! It's because Will is usually unbearable now, and Rachel's hair was better then, no bangs and almost to her waist. But boy, I will never regret what an explosion of sheer joy it was for me when it aired.
+ Dream On is still 100% flawless perfection. Whew.
+ Man, I miss Terri. I miss being able to watch Will in romantic storylines. "Mattress" still crushes my heart every time, every time!
+ Whoa. You know what else is way less horrible than I remember? The Power of Madonna! It's actually...kind of wonderful? I mean, Emma and the Like A Virgin sequence aside, along with a few other scattered obnoxious bits of shrill feminism that even so are mostly trite and tired enough for me to ignore now, it's good. Especially in the music department. I now love all the songs except the aforementioned one. Specific newcomers include:
- "Express Yourself." I skipped this in the episode and had never heard it until I listened to the soundtrack, and the beautiful group of girls' voices knocked my socks off. The performance, with its rainbow of pretty bustiers, just made me beam.
- "Borderline/Open Your Heart." Same deal, except when I heard it on the CD, it blew me away even more. It always bewilders and fascinates me when Finn & Rachel manage to pull off sounding as awesome in duet as they think they do.
- "Vogue." The video fascinates me now, okay, whatever. Sue Sylvester, dance on air. Still don't agree with Kurt and Mercedes' decision to side with her over Schue, but I've gotten ridiculously attached to Cheerio Kurt.
+ And between "Home" and "Laryngitis," abandonment-issues!Kurt just shatters my heart into a thousand pieces. You are RUINING ME. Quick, fetch me Santana scenes so I can sharpen my hate. Ahhh, there we go. Even in season 1, which was the year she was most likable because she mostly used her powers of evil for the greater good, I am finding her unbearable and excessively irritating.
+ I don't know if I mentioned this, but at some point I even came around "Rose's Turn," which I had formerly mocked and mocked hard, but now I can't stop playing it because I seem to obsessing over Chris Colfer's voice rather a lot lately.
+ FYI, the librarian in the scene where they do "U Can't Touch This" is credited as "Ancient Librarian." FANTASTIC.
+ And speaking of "Bad Reputation," remember that beautiful heart-to-heart between Mr. Schue & Quinn? Who knew her tragedy was going to be never-ending. I keep waiting for Tumblr to do some kind of comparison with this, especially now:
"You really think that I can get it all back one day?"
"No. I think you can get something even better."
+ Psst. Look who I found in the Unwed Mothers Connection! a/k/a, an idea of how Quinn got mixed up with the Skanks:
Yes, I know it's just because Courtney Galiano is a well-rounded dancer extra, but you can't argue this!
Overall? Really, really relieved that season 1 still shines and sparkles as bright as I remember it. Every time I get too entrenched in the present, start wondering how this show can possibly be worth watching without Blaine and if maybe it's one of those shows whose forward progression on character growth/relationships/storylines is so important that you can never look back, or at least not look back too far -- Grey's Anatomy, Bones up to the point it imploded out of existence -- it sends me into a depressing spiral. And this cleared it all up.
Season 1 Rachel is the darling of my heart, it's where we first met all our most important guest stars (especially JESSE), there's still something extra-special about that first self contained 13-episode arc, and the music is, always and forever, timeless.