That is quite honestly the most fun I've had with the show all year.
Glee, 4x12, Naked
Can't even remember last time I loved such a vast percentage of a Glee episode. Even Jake and Marley bugged me slightly less than usual.
++Torn: I love the original to an insane degree, maybe too much to let Glee take its place in my library, but at the same time I love her voice and the duet magic so this was my second favorite number of the night. All I've ever wanted is Rachel to sing all the 90s-early 00's adult contemporary songs ever. As for the performance itself? Stunning. Top 25 of the year without question, even as it breaks my heart to stare contrast straight in the face and see how far Rachel has fallen despite the ways she's grown. Her sixteen-year-old self is just so solemnly disappointed. It'll be a while before I can watch it again, longer without crying.
++ Hot in Herre/Centerfold:
(my, the quality has gone to seed. Does it exist in HQ anywhere?)
[EDIT: This song/performance is now pretty much the greatest thing I have ever seen in my life, and has been upgraded from one minus sign to two plusses. I especially love Jake on "Nelly just fall out."]
(4) The performance is so straight-up ridiculous and awful that
--A Thousand Years: Rachel 2.0 would have sounded so pretty doing Christina Perri 2.0 by herself. As it is, I love the original too much to let Kermit the Frogboy half ruin it. Plugged my ears.
++Love Song: I've always harbored irrational hatred of the song itself, but it's a contemporary female vocalist and ladies (one of whom is Quinn!) are singing it, and that is A+ work in any department so I trained myself to love it fast. If I ignore Santana's presence as much as possible, it's super cute. And since I can't think of a better girl to logically take her place in the trio and I do tend to like her voice, this beautiful palate cleanser is just the best way to leave the night. Schoolgirls bursting with all the giddy, cheerful innocence of the kids they are.
++This Is The New Year: Like I said in the feelings explosion: this symbolizes everything that is good about the show when it gets things exactly right. Forget the messes in New York, forget the heartbreak of graduations past and pending; live in the moment and focus on what it's all about: friendships, both inseparable and unlikely. The exuberance of budding puppy love. Celebrating yourself. Uniting for the joy of singing even when no one's watching. And hope.
(oh, and the song is super catchy too)
(and contains Lord Tubbington!)
(I could probably write an entire post gushing about everything I love in this number alone)
First of all, NOPE. Brody is naked for one reason and one reason only, and there is no reason at all Rachel isn't reacting to the sight of him. NOPE. DIDN'T HAPPEN. Next, watch me handwave the pregnancy scare everyone's afraid will go to her.
Second of all, KURT IS MY HERO. Besides his awesome double take/trauma face at the table and utterly dismayed "no you're not," every scathing thing that comes out of his mouth is gold, starting with being enraged about his flea market chairs being sullied (come on, it's just manners not to sit naked on other people's furniture. I didn't think people needed to be told this. And Douche Bro, just because you're comfortable with your body doesn't mean other people are comfortable with your body. This too falls under the umbrella of "common decency."
It would have been even better if Kurt hadn't been the weasel who convinced her she needed a makeover in the first place, or if he'd been as disgusted with Brody from the beginning as I have, instead of constantly scheming ways to let them have alone time. That said, the way he growled "Rachel is a serious actress, Brody," at him while glaring daggers at her made my night. "Doing pornos" was maybe a bit harsh (UNLESS HE IS ALSO SUBTLY REFERRING TO HER EXTRACURRICULAR ACTIVITIES, HAHAHA *SOB*), but I am all the way here for "Slutty Barbie" and "what happened to you?" I'll forgive him if he's regretting pushing her to change, because now she's beyond where he can reach.
(sidebar: I also really want him to be upset not just about the addition of a third person to their small space and invasion of his privacy, but the specific loss of their 2-person life. I want to believe that he really loved living with her - despite what the spat in the next episode suggests about them getting on each other's nerves - and it was bad enough when she was gone all the time, but now their cozy little home base is gone forever. Hi, my name is RS and I rudely project my feelings onto unsuspecting male characters like a boss.)
While I would have liked to at least seen the phone call to Quinn of Kurt realizing he's in over his head, I think it was good for him to say his piece and then get the hell out. He and Rachel may be platonic soulmates and twinsies, but as much as I wanted her to really hear his concern beyond the judgment, at the end of the day, he's a man and he doesn't get an equal vote in what nudity means for a woman. This was a job for the sisterhood.
New York: Girl Power
Can I just say, the second Rachel said "I'll do it," in the first half, I collapsed in relief. I've never been happier about predictable TV.
Per Tumblr: "Props to Lea Michele for bringing season one Rachel back with just the way she talks. I hadn’t quite realized that Rachel spoke differently in season one until this scene, but she really does. Acting, man. How does it work?"
It's crazy. And a little bit sad, because I'm kind of relieved that Rachel has lost the manic edge she had in season 1 that I didn't really notice until it was gone, but in direct comparison there's still so much I miss about her unbridled optimism and her determined belief in her obvious stardom destiny and her lack of bangs.
That said, Rachel's current hair is infinitely better. It's magnificent princess hair, also sported by goddesses and Rapunzel. It's so pretty that I always forget how long it is, because my brain apparently can't process that much gorgeousness. Rachel's hair has never been short, but there's "pretty long" and there's long + voluminous wavy tresses. #hairporn is the only porn for me
I wish Quinn had gotten to say more than Santana, but either way I just loved seeing Rachel have female friends again. I know I already talked about Love Song, but I'm still not over how happy it makes me. Quinn! You're normal again!
On the Title Plot
I've ragestroked out like eight times this past week while trying to tackle the title plot, so suffice to say: literally no story I've seen has ever required explicit nudity to tell it properly (I've racked my brain, and the only one you can possibly argue is Titanic), the fact that I go out of my way to avoid things that have nudity in them makes a pointed statement about how unnecessary it is, aaaaand rage-stroking out again.
SIDE RANT ON:
I am just so sick of interviews where actors talk about how uncomfortable/awkward love scenes are to film. I PROMISE YOU, THEY ARE JUST AS EXCRUCIATING AND UNCOMFORTABLE TO WATCH. Therefore, there is no reason to keep making them. I want to be very pointedly on the record that I will not look directly at such scenes, and if everyone would just get on board with this viewpoint, they might finally be recognized as gigantic wastes of time and then people could stop doing them. If it's not something you'd watch your best friend do in real life, that's the line at which it is not okay to show on screen. And don't make me regret not amending that phrase to "family member."
SIDE RANT OFF.
tl;dr: Glee handled this as well as could be expected for a story they should have just left alone. They gave a relatively balanced perspective in order not to piss anybody off while still getting across their Very Special PSA, which I think was a roundabout way of saying "when you turn 18 and get desperate for cash, Gleeks, don't answer ads for modeling jobs on Craigslist."
McKinley: General/Mostly Good Stuff
-Lol Warbler news scandal. I forgot that was even in this episode. Too much is happening! Like the Finn vs. Sue battle, that too, liked that.
-FONDUE FOR TWO! Marley + Britt-Britt + Lord Tubbington!! I have to cherish these rare and precious glimpses of Marley when she gets scenes without Jake or Kitty in them.
-Has anyone on Glee ever actually taken the SATs? Brittany can't score a 2340 by accident because 800 of those points are a written essay. I am not sure it's possible to score a 340 by anything except computer error, either. More importantly, everyone seems to be ignoring the fact that you take the SATs your junior year; they are a problem for juniors, not seniors. You can start as early as January, but ideally between April and June, and the latest anybody retakes them is ASAP in the fall of their senior year. And only if you do badly. And, and, many people take the ACT instead, or in addition to it to maximize their chances of a good score. So much fail in such a short scene.
But I guess it gets us where we need to go.
-♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥ to Tina staunchly defending Blaine's perky and perfect little cupcake behind, and his reaction to it. I never want this subplot to end.
-One of the Ryan Murphy Q&A's informed us that Neck Brace Cheerio's name is Celeste, by the way. #IMPORTANT LIFE-CHANGING NEWS
-Blaine being a bright-eyed, totally calm little chipmunk master of yoga without even trying. OF COURSE YOU ARE.
-Jake, Ryder, there seems to be some extra gay between you this week
-Joe rocking his weekly line: "I'm as God made me, dude."
-Wade Thing being kept in the background
-I would have more sympathy for Artie's issues with being a calendar pin-up if he hadn't abused his West Side Story directorial power to get grossly inappropriate about everyone's sex lives/lack thereof. That said, while it didn't light my heart on fire or anything, I thought it was a nice story and left us with a few good Competent Finn scenes plus a new friendship with Sam.
Dear Blaine: I just want to make it very clear that you are now literally for sale.
I'm still embarrassed for every actor who had to take part in that calendar. The incessant photos of Darren Criss all over my dash, in particular, make me cringe in revulsion, and the ones of Joe are almost as bad (THE BUNNY COSTUME. MY CHILDHOOD. WHY. On the other hand...Mr. July, let's talk. And Sexy Leprechaun, you look sharp).
But I didn't end up hating this plot as much as I thought, because minus Blaine it ended up more goofy than sexualized, and now I barely even remember why I was so against it in the first place, especially since it showcases Tina being some sort of secret genius. And more importantly, gives us important continuity on Sam's obsessive body-image issues. And bonding moments.
Part I: In which Blaine's crush either takes a dangerously heart-involved turn, or sobers up fast as Sam shifts out of Objectification Adonis Mode and into Heartbreaking Vulnerability Territory. This is someone in desperate need of a friend. And, sadly, the kind of support that Brittany just can't give.
"You don't know what it's like. You can sing and dance and you kick butt in school, and you're all charming and everything..."
Compliments have never made a person so sad.
(p.s. headcanon that Blaine's grades are roughly on par with Mike & Quinn, validated)
"And even if you have...7% body fat, you're going to see that all of us are still going to love you."
#I like when everybody loves each other and isn't afraid to say it
#voice as soft and smooth as talcum power right here y/y?
(Still so pissed they cut out the ending to this. The more you watch it, the more you realize that "we're still going to laugh at your impressions" is a really weird and incomplete-sounding way to end such a serious scene. #how long until this script goes up for auction #or can we get R-Murphs to release it on YouTube first #crap I'm inventing headcanon dialogue as we speak)
Part II: Hey, It Worked Before
Just because I'm delighted that Blaine is using the counseling-office-ambush Kurt taught him. Also, wowbright has a fic for that: Tiny Imperfections.
No teacher tells Blaine to go see Ms. Pillsbury, and his boyfriend doesn't drag him there. But he goes to talk to her anyway, because he wants to.
(no but really, Phase 1 of Blaine Anderson's Master Plan For Making Art And Helping People is a beautiful thing to behold. He goes above and beyond and doesn't even think twice about it)
Part III: *dying whale noises*
Because Blaine is so proud of showing Sam what people think of him, and that video choked me up. (I even liked how suddenly bittersweet-sad his face got when Mercedes appeared)
For the record, I am a strong supporter of Manly Chord Tears; I'm growing to like them almost more than the Pretty Colfer variety.
AND THEN I GOT MY HUG. 57 sectors in my brain just lit up and punched the air! Thaaaaat is all I've ever wanted and I can't take it anymore; release the self-indulgent Deluxe Transcript.
"Don't mention it."
But Blaine is smiling into his shoulder, and he would have done this all for him as a friend anyway, but he can't be blamed for hugging Sam a little tighter than a friend might, lingering in the embrace just a little too long, because it feels so good to be held like this again.
Yes, I kind of wished this all had happened without the crush, to better emphasize how satisfying platonic relationships can be for storytelling purposes. Depending on what was cut out of the locker room scene, the crush might have even ended mid-episode, but now we'll never know.
But even though it was absolutely friendship-motivated, I like the option of reading it as "this is the only way I can show you how much I care." It's a very student/teacher vibe in how to navigate attraction hands-off, and ohhhhh, someone just figured out why she is so fond of crush-on-your-straight-male-friend stories. Wow. That is an eye-opener.
Conclusion: Yep. Best one so far.
Up Next: Not that you'd get this from the promos or spoilers or literally any advance notice, but: A REMARKABLE FESTIVAL OF SICK BLAINE. This is the best present because I never even consciously hoped for it, having always been content to just binge on fanfic.
Also Santana or something, ugh. And Hummelberry fights, for which one can expect great rewards at the end.