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Season highlight vs. season lowlight

[Edit: I WOKE UP THIS MORNING AND LJ CUTS HAD BEEN FIXED.

MIRACAAAAAAAAAALES!!!]

Look, two Glee reviews for the price of one! If you're curious, the first one is insanely long and the second one is insanely short. (for me. Which means it's only in the triple digits, word count wise)

Glee, 3x15, "Big Brother"

I am fully aware that this review has all kinds of extraneous and unnecessary sidebars in it. I was so happy to have a mess o' Glee feelings to tackle again that I didn't even try to edit it down from its [holy crap why are there 5,000 words]. Or care. It took me way too long just to start processing and if I spend one more day on it I'm going to snap.

So I went in with this rattling around in my head:

Per Gleezone spoilers, would you consider this a Blaine-centric episode or a Quinn-centric one?
A: Both.
Past Me: HOW COULD IT BE BETTER??

In reality, it's got an ugly-sized amount of focus on Sue, and a sizable amount of secondhand embarrassment that required a full second rewatch to get past the hysterical laughter/mortification factor that several things about this episode set off. I still can't tell if that's real or just because ontd_glee has steadily poisoned my mind over the hiatus in a way not even Tumblr can course-correct.

[edit: I'm going with mind-poison. I've spent the past week avoiding the comment section and flushing it out of my system with excessive episode replay. Now I'm in a place where the vast majority of the show just makes me smile, and I feel sorry for people who can't sit back and be largely entertained by it. Now watch the irony of my first paragraph unfold.] [edit 2: also my second episode review, whoops]

These Things Could Go Away Any Time
Sue and her stupid apparently-real pregnancy (now with twice as much Very Special Issue annoyance factor), Coach Roz (apparently ageism is cool on this show now? Glee, please take note of how *I* am commenting on an -ism), and Finn and Rachel talking to each other. At all. About anything, unless it is how they found that they could not make sense and admit that they'd be glad if it was over.

And on that note, Finn jet-setting to California with Puck to start an expanded pool-cleaning business, while doomed to fail from a business standpoint, sounds like an amazing idea. Almost enough to tempt me away from having him run Burt's shop or even joining the Army. This is ridiculous! I started out against this engagement just because his presence was quietly suffocating Rachel's star-studded trajectory, but now there are so many dreams I suddenly have for Finn and none of them involve New York. This is officially the most offended I have ever been by a relationship with zero dirty sex scenes or ugly people.

Side note: it grosses out my eyes that of all the relationships, THIS is the one that mutated from the fictional page to reality.

See That Tragically Beautiful Girl, The One In The Chair?
Quinn being paralyzed has been spoiled since about the day after 3x14 aired. I have been in either denial or a tailspinning rage ever since, because Quinn does not need yet another obstacle to surmount on her way to living a happy, hassle-free life.

I am taking "Good thing is that I'm starting to regain feeling, so with a lot of physical therapy and your prayers, I stand a good chance for full recovery" as a verbal contract, Murphy, and there will be HELL to pay if you break it**. That is basically the only thing keeping me from feeling suicidal at this point. (#offensive blogging)

[**Other verbal contracts: "I'll never say goodbye to you", "I never want to mess my thing up with him in any way", and "My dreams are bigger than that and they're bigger than you." One of those is fraying, so you see my distress.]

If I have that hope, then I am extremely happy with this new rising-above-it-all Quinn living up to the potential for genuine sweetness and optimism I have always wanted her to embody. I kept trying to figure out why I loved her scenes so much this week in spite of everything, and I realized it's because I'm not used to her smiling this much. But I am never going to stop pretending this isn't happening to her until it really isn't.

It's Because I'm In This Chair, And You Felt Sorry For Me
(sidebar: from the first day I heard this particular lyric, I have thought of no one but Quinn. Specifically, a distressing future image of Quinn at college, entering her second year of being single and ignored)

I hate the idea of Quartie. Even for friendship (the alternative gains no admittance in my head whatsoever). Maybe in season 1 it would have been okay, but Artie has transformed into a horrible human being (he messed with my King and Queen's heads in 3x05; NEVER FORGET) and I do not want Quinn to be associated with that bacterial scum. So I spent most of their scenes just hoping and hoping, as I have been hoping since early March, that at some point she would shout something like "I'm not like you!" at Artie. And then she did! My heart was very happy. I will also be furious if Artie turns out to be right about her needing to accept it, because you cannot have two characters paralyzed in car accidents on the same show. Television shows have quotas, like it or not, and you are already way over budget on your gays.

Pay attention, this part is important: on the bright side...holy crap, it took no time at all for me to throw over Sam/Quinn for Joe/Quinn. Like, in half a heartbeat. Memories of Fabrevans fading and burning away in the morning sun. And they were one of my five all-time OTPs, so I don't know what this means except SWEET (TEEN) JESUS, I MISS HAVING HET SHIPS IN CANON ON THIS SHOW. It has been almost a year. I have pretty much been crying with happiness all week at the number of times my brain has drifted off to think about these two. Their interaction just makes me happy, the way Quinn looks so surprised when he is consistently nice to her no matter how mean or snappish she is. This is new for her. Even Sam kind of had an agenda. And, well, I think it's obvious at this point how much harder I fall for Joe every time he shows up.

This One's For The Girls
I think we are all crabby we didn't get any hospital scenes (for crying out loud, Karofsky's set was RIGHT THERE), but as you may have gathered from my spastic Feelings Explosion post, Quinn & Rachel's hug is the highlight of this episode (even with the wet and shirtless Blaine, which, we'll get to that). I never know beforehand what it is I want most, but it turns out that Rachel getting excessively weepy with an expression that basically screams "HUG ME," and Quinn opening her arms to provide just such a comfort? Heaven! I will not accept that it required paralysis to get here, but fine, good consolation prize. Oh, and look at that, I didn't even notice until just now how she never lets go of her hand. Feelingggggggs.

That's It! Trouty Mouth Mountain is Officially Canceled
(favorite Chris Colfer tweet ever)

Everyone has a Senior Skip Day story, so let me tell you mine. We only had a school-endorsed money-making version: you had to buy a ticket for both events or go to school, otherwise it as an unexcused absence. And sure, first you had to suffer through a motivational speaker (which at least came with a complimentary breakfast)...but then you jetset off to spend the entire day at an amusement park just like this. Since school trips were the only time I got to go there, it was quite a treat. My best friend and I had so much fun. I think. I didn't journal about it so my memories of the day are fuzzy, but you can see some of our experience reflected in volume 6 of Interview Lady.

All of this is my roundabout way of saying that
a) I wish there had been WAY MORE time -- like, I don't know, an entire episode? Or at least a single friggin' line of dialogue -- in this park, because the montage was relatively stupid to watch, and
b) WHERE IS THE FIC. I want a massive, multi-thousand word fic detailing the entire day's events from start to finish. I will also accept multiple submissions if each author only wants to tackle a portion of the group or day.

P.S. You Brittana fans are under special mission orders to find or write me fic in which, on some other day, Santana remembers Brittany's wish and takes her to a petting zoo/hobby farm where she sees something give birth. Ideally a place where there are lots of other already-born baby animals she can cuddle and pet. Presumably Santana can't resist and lets her incessant bitch armor down for a minute to play with baby animals so I can actually tolerate her.

Best Looking Man In North America
(now featuring 200% more background sidebar, because why the hell not)
My Grammy Matt Bomer Story: I've always thought he looked classically decent but didn't do it for me, and White Collar looked stupid so I wasn't real motivated to think about him, and then before I really had a clear opinion on him, he publicly came out and promptly fell victim to that Oh, You're Gay? That's Disappointing, Bored Of You Now curse that tends to randomly strike some celebs while leaving others (hey, Magical King Of Everything NPH) alone. So when I heard he was guest-starring, I was unimpressed.

As of the airdate...still not really feeling it, but every time I watch Cooper's scenes, his ridiculousness gets more entertaining. This should clearly be the bulk of my review, but everyone has already said so many amazing things on the Anderson brothers that I'm at a loss for new words. *stalls for 5 days*

[Five storyline rewatches later...broken down by scene, more or less]

That's Why I Never Really Talk About My Brother
a) Live viewing notes: "You okay? You seem a little preoccupied." = I'm already dead from this miracle. Kurt and Blaine! In dialogue! Wait, there's MORE?
b) I still take issue with the fact that Kurt is unaware of what his brother looks like. They've been to Blaine's house. I refuse to believe that his parents do not have a single photo containing their elder son anywhere around the house, or that Kurt is too unobservant to have noticed.
c) Forever delighted by how enthusiastic Cooper is about meeting Blaine's boyfriend
d) I can't decide if Kurt's starry-eyed meltdown is more entertaining or embarrassing (it's like he's five years old. hysterically cracktastic as that cheesy commercial is), but once he starts trailing along behind/beside them without ever taking his eyes off Cooper, this is all I can think about:

In which Kurt reminds me of a horror movie where this creature follows you around, terrifying you. And by “terrifying you” I mean “mildly creeping you out with their giant heart eyes.”

Why Do You Do That? / Baby Blainers
Love the restaurant scene -- this is the first time in a long time (maybe since meeting Sebastian?) that I feel like we actually get to see Blaine's side of things, or that he has a storyline other than "Kurt's boyfriend." (and I love that storyline. I totally support him being a love interest prop forever. But this is icing on top) 

I love the frustration in the title quote and "of course you don't," cracked up at the line being spoken straight to ontd_glee ("All you ever do is tell me what I'm doing wrong. You waste no opportunity to remind me how much at suck. At, like everything.") and then got handclaspy at how so very little it takes for Blaine to bounce back, ever hopeful that this time it will be different.

Did not love Baby Blaine, other than the joy I felt when one million speculative hiatus fics featuring Ultra! Supportive! Big Bro Cooper! got kicked in the fanon balls. I was so looking forward to a towheaded little ragamuffin, not least because I thought that we were operating under the theory that Blaine's shellacked monstrosity was symbolic of his need for hyper control/outward perfection? He did not have that age 4, shut up.

But it did set up all sorts of intriguing thoughts for fics going forward. I'd like to see one taking a new look at his transfer to Dalton, and how it must have been so much more of a mecca even than previously assumed. To go from living in a shadow and a stream of low-grade criticism plus bullying at school, to a world where they practically worship the ground you walk on?

A Master Class in Terrible Advice
* You have no idea how hard I laughed through all of this. "Other choices I can plan ahead: SCREAMING ALL MY LINES! Because I'm really intense, and THE THINGS I'M FEELING are really intense. Because I'm an INTENSE ACTOR!"

[...remind me I need to mock up a macro featuring Blaine in "Fighter" for this quote, k?]

* Blaine looks so disgruntled throughout. I love it. Especially "Why are you writing this down?" And how he finally crabs about the terrible advice, only to unintentionally turn the spotlight on himself and promptly look very uncomfortable. Aww.

EDIT: Here is an extremely entertaining missing scene from Cooper's POV (his special, delusional POV) -- We'll Call You. It's very clear, at this point, that Cooper is cray-cray.

Can't You Just Support Me?
Where do I even start here.

* SIDES FROM NCIS. (it took me forever to realize they're the direct timeslot competition) Rachel reading Abby's part? Me ignoring the fact that they're calling her "Agent" Sciuto, which just leads me to believe that Cooper doesn't have "sides" so much as "fanfic he printed off Tumblr"? KING AND QUEEN OF GLEE CLUB ACTING OPPOSITE EACH OTHER? All golden.

* Sarcastic and/or Angry Blaine > everything.

* Except when he explodes at the end, and I keep slamming on the brakes to rewatch that because I don't have time to ask the internet, but I'm convinced he sounds like he's frustrated almost to tears by that point, or at the very least, that the breath he draws in after that is distinctly shaky.

* I still find it admirable that he manages to rein in what must be every instinct to throw a punch after Cooper's "I can't tell you're talking to me if you don't point your finger" cheek.  I wanted to punch Cooper at that point. I'm pretty sure if they were at home right here, Blaine would have hauled off and decked him. #more headcanon

* I also find it extremely noticeable and suspicious that they keep Kurt's back to the camera at all times for this scene.

This Seemed Worthy Of A Header
* "Squirt." + more Disgruntled Blaine

* "It also wouldn't kill you to let Kurt stop picking out your clothes." / "He...does not." = DYING. Besides, he's wearing socks in this episode. That's a step forward.

We're More Than Just Brothers. We're Special Friends
The first part of that line was clearly just to throw fuel on the incest shippers' fire, since apparently having them sing STIUK wasn't enough. Otherwise, loved everything about this last conversation. Especially because Blaine mocks his lesson to show emotion by SPEAKING REALLY LOUDLY, to be INTENSE!, it sounds like sheer Darren Criss. And is fantastic.

Don't forget the hysterical bonus clip of Cooper's audition tape they released online, not least for the parts in which Blaine shyly pokes his head and manages to be even more adorable than usual.

Obnoxious Klaining
Never getting over this precious locker scene. NEVER. Between the plush puppy and Kurt's magnificent pouty puppy eyes, I have ultimately wound up staring at about 50 different gifsets for god only know how long. Thoughts:

* I am highly amused by how Blaine startles
* "Margaret Thatcherdog" is trending in my life as Kym's nickname for the week.
* That is the fugliest stuffed puppy I have ever seen in my life. And I must have it. Why is it sold out on Amazon and not even being sold for ridiculous amounts of money on eBay?
* So this puppy is going on Blaine's nightstand next to the picture of Kurt, right, where it will make him smile every time he looks at it?
* Speaking of smiles, the way all the tension just sort of melts off Blaine at the sight of Kurt is having a liquifying effect on most of my molecules
* How Kurt temporarily switches back to cartoon-puppy voice and shoves the toy in Blaine's face for "But I love the big lug!" Also because aw, I like when the word "love" gets tossed around.

* No, Blaine. You do NOT have a Unicorn Kurt poster in your locker. Just no. That is worse than Kurt's inappropriate shrine to you.

* Can we back up and please FIND ME THE FIC where Kurt tries to convince Blaine to come with them to Six Flags? My fic-finding skills are rusty, and I would like more Brooding Blaine in my fiction.

[Edit: Found one! Brothers which pulls double or triple duty not only for this part, but also to serve as a missing scene for Blaine's headspace prior to the Master Class, set within the context of "Blaine had always been struck by how comfortable Finn and Kurt were with each other."]

* Live viewing note: "I would have just brought you guys down," Blaine self deprecates, and oh hello there, all of the vindication for "Wrong" and other depressed-Blaine stories. I am starting to get it.

* Also on the fic front, can we have the one where Kurt recovers his ability to speak to Cooper in a normal voice and sets up the meeting between him and Blaine? I've got a contender, but it doesn't feel quite solid enough to endorse as canon-worthy and I'd like options first.

Leftover
-The lone Sue scene I liked was when she destroyed Mercedes' phone, and Brad quietly rocked a fist-pump cheer. GO BRAD. I bet those kids are always disrepecting his awesome piano playing by texting through his songs.

-I cannot believe that this long after "8", there is STILL no readily promoted Will/Cooper slash. Fandom, you are defying Rule 34 like whoa. For that matter, I haven't looked, but I am now also expecting Cooper/Flo, since I'm told the Progressive insurance lady actually does have an online fandom.

MUSIC
The sheer fact that Blaine or Quinn had a hand in 100% of the music this week is some sort of record-making Glee miracle. I almost literally could not be happier with whoever's idea this was. That said, multi-pronged judgments as follows.

Still Standing
Song: perfectly listenable, though nothing I'd want to put on repeat yet. It irks me that I never want to buy any of Quinn's songs because most of the time when they do throw her a solo or duet, it's a really drab song choice.
Performance: So much smiling Quinn! Also doing my best to focus on Blaine's face when possible, because the line of fic that rang through my head through most of hiatus was Blaine seems to explain — and comprehend — things the best, so you acknowledge his company. He patiently sits by your bedside in a bowtie and a cardigan and chronicles a frighteningly long list of injuries with gentle eyes. . . . Blaine takes your hand. "You hurt your spine. Your spinal cord. It might get better."

You don't cry until then.


++Hungry Like The Wolf/Rio
Song: I love it! So fun; it's the only one that made the Music List and it took exactly 2 plays for me to start obsessing.
Performance: I seem to recall taking issues with Blaine's expressions the first time around, but I can't remember that now because I am so enchanted by the choreography (14 hours' worth, apparently; sounds about right). And the way it looks like choreography, the way Don't Stop did, but I am charmed by it anyway. Nothing better than happy choir room numbers, ideally Blaine-led, and between Cooper literally shoving him aside at one point and Blaine hopping on the piano in what is clearly an attempt to divert Kurt's attention from his brother back to him, I could not be happier.

Plus there is the end, in which Cooper gains a whole new fan following for making an unprovoked attack on the gel. You don't know how many times I watched that bit just to cackle at Blaine's expression. Enough times to catch it on one particular frame, which immediately spawned this:


Imaginary thought bubble beside Cooper: stars / rainbows / shiny / I'm awesome! / prancing unicorns

+Fighter (about which I have many feels, apparently)
Song: My ears initially took one listen and then fled back to the original to luxuriate there for days on end. I really didn't think he put enough anger or passion into it and it sounded really watered-down. I may have been part of the disgruntled fandom sector that wanted Santana or Mercedes to cover this one, although in my case it was just because it's one of the few songs they would have sounded good on and it would have helped fill their quota in an acceptable way. But because I like this song and I like his voice, it didn't take long to convince my ears otherwise. Now it sounds great.

Performance:
First time: he sounds idiotic doing the spoken part no matter what -- spoken parts belong to their original artists, always, but especially when are changing the song's whole meaning -- but I could not BELIEVE they left that in the episode version. It seems like such an obvious cut, especially because I was sure this number would start after the fight in class, so in context it was even more bizarre. Do you think Cooper was standing there like, "Why are you sing-quoting Christina Aguilera lyrics at me?"

First several times: still a lot of embarrassment when you try to sync the song meaning with the actual context. Also with the shower scene, because I never quiiiite get to the point where I feel comfortable kicking back and ogling instead of being secondhand mortified at the "pander to your fangirls, minion!" aspect of it. (believe me, it's frustrating) And good god, I can't even look at his expressions on the stage full of TV screens because the faces he is making are just...awful; he looks like he is having gas pains.

Eventually: It is a good number. The boxing part is fantastic even though I can't stop thinking "god, you're skinny" in a Donna Noble voice; it is ridiculous, this is not the impression I get when he is fully clothed. I'm guessing that is because of the layers, it is my headcanon that this song is a regular part of his workout playlist, and I just really like the idea of all this resentment burning underneath the surface.

Up, Up, Up
Song: Again, fine -- love how light her voice is; it's like little air bubbles filled with music notes -- but annoyed by Artie trampling on it. I'm still hoping it eventually grows on me in the manner of One Love (People Get Ready), but for now it's bottom of the heap.
Performance: ...I guess I kinda covered that under Trouty Mouth Mountain.

+ Somebody That I Used To Know
BACKGROUND: One month ago I ran every Glee couple I could think of through my head, excitedly trying to figure out how would be best for it, but the popular vote was right: this number belongs to Puck and Quinn. When I figured out that wasn't happening and Blaine had definitely nabbed lead, I still managed to get excited, figuring we had one half of perfection covered and now it was only a matter of time until Quinn or Rachel was confirmed for the Kimbra part based on whatever context they needed for this to work, and it was going to be MUSICAL NIRVANA. Then it...wasn't. You have no idea how devastated I was to hear there would be no pretty female voices at all when that is the whole reason this song is great.

I still can't even get into how ridiculous it is that you would waste such a fantastic song by totally and completely ignoring its context and trying to jam it into a completely unrelated context that only works for a solo line here and there.

Song: See "Fighter," but where I fell for this version even faster because I have no willpower, and I came up with that excuse to trick myself by pointing out that if this was just a random cover, it would sound fine. Original is still better, and may be the only time an original has beaten a Blaine feature, but this is excellent. Plus Blaine actually sounds wonderful covering the Kimbra part, best choice after my two girls, so I'm happy.

Performance: It's still hard to look at Blaine's face toward the end, but if you focus incredibly hard on the fake context they've manufactured here, it does get more compelling and/or starts to make sense. It's clear that they're both at fault for the fact that they don't talk much, and "I don't even need your love" = :'( They both just look so disappointed in each other.

IN CONCLUSION: I have skipped past the Sue parts so many times I don't even remember they're there. Still, they exist, and just for that I think this episode disappointingly falls just short of landing in the top three. Fourth (for now) still isn't a bad place to sit. At the rate they're going, maybe by the end of the season I'll have enough Awesome/Pretty Good episodes to outweigh the mighty stack of Mediocre ones.

--------
3x16, "Saturday Night Glee-ver"
Wow. That was...quite the parade of torture.


What I didn't hate:
-that fantastic opening number (pure joy and hearts in my eyes whenever Blaine randomly sings and dances through the halls, and when did he gain the ability to go toe to toe with the professional dancers? is mesmerizing, can't stop watching)
-Blaine and Kurt dancing in "More Than a Woman" (GLUED TO THE SCREEN for every scrap of a second on that one, super awkward though the lyrics were for them. Kurt, your season 1 hair! Blaine, why do you look so ridiculously hot in such a fugly polyester outfit with a tacky gold chain?)
-Lord Tubbington doing household chores
-Will having little Glee kid figurines that he plays around with and no one finds inappropriate or creepy at all.
-The three seconds in which Kurt pushed Rachel to communicate with Finn, then snarked at her about marriage and sashayed off.
-Blane's general shameless, giddy enthusiasm about disco. (I knew I loved this boy.) Joe is quietly on board with the disco too, in case I was not already platonically infatuated with him.
-The ending number, because it's impossible to ruin "Stayin' Alive" and the white suits were fantastic and LOOK WHOSE HAIR IS BREAKING FREE OF THE GEL

Aside from that, I am just going to ignore all the idiocy and/or boredom from idiot ships that are not mine, and focus my rage in three very specific places:

a) An actor. Really. That's Finn's dream now? Yeah...no, I just, that's not really working for me. (side note: I was literally choking on my rage during several of his scenes with Rachel)
b) Santana. Useless bitch Santana gets a free ride to college when she didn't even apply -- someone else did it for her -- while Rachel is still running around acceptance-letter free and expressing a willingness to forget New York entirely if Finn wants something else. EFF ALL OF YOU.
c) Aaaaaand Glee Project Grad. How can I put this: remember back during the pilot, when I wasn't quite sure whether Kurt was a boy or a girl? It's like that, on steroids. The first time I saw them in a Glee Project video, my reaction was thusly:

[spoiler cut for cartoon blood and violence in gif form]




That feeling has only multiplied now that they've been given a character, who managed to instantly annoy me on every level possible. Get off my show and never come back. How the hell did YOU get episodes and not Marissa? And TPTB, if you're going to waste Jesse St. James with oddly disappointing hair and only one half-decent line to reference Mercedes' laziness, it's like he's not even guest starring.

In conclusion: really have to think long and hard about how low I can rank this. It didn't offend me as much as some, but there is just NOTHING I ever want to watch again except Klaine gifsets on Tumblr and maybe the opening/closing numbers. But even they're not going down as performance highlights.

Up next: Oh, I don't even care if it is the awful-idea Whitney tribute, that looks like a pack of exciting storylines coming my way. Hurry up and get here!

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