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I finally got to go on a walk today, for about the first time in a week. Went for over an hour; it felt awesome. Took 15 minutes to find my MP3 player first, but I'm really glad I brought it, because it not only super-energized me, it kept playing all these happy Glee songs that took away any reservations I might have about it getting two more seasons to screw things up, and rejuvenated my whole outlook. For instance, I think the odds of getting Ryder/Marley in canon just doubled. Nobody's ever dated longer than 2 consecutive seasons, and Jake's already used up most of one. Unless they eliminate Lima but that is also a win.

For your convenience, here is a list of Possible Songs To Restore Your Faith:
[also known as Shuffle Magic, and non-comprehensive]
Don't Stop Believin' (optional - only if it still has power for you)
You Can't Stop The Beat
Roots Before Branches
Candles ("NOPE I CAN'T HANDLE THAT KIND OF PAIN RIGHT NOW" *skip*)
Loser Like Me
Don't Stop
Silly Love Songs
Light Up The World
Borderline/Open Your Heart
Don't You Want Me
Here's To Us
Glory Days

Awesome, all this list did was make me want to create a choosy list of nostalgic songs that send my emotions into a tizzy. It would be at least 5 times longer and...never be finished, because it just occurred to me that I did start a list like this once for Tumblr, but never got around to finishing it. Maybe I should do it by season? Because there are fun songs on Glee, and nice songs I still want, and then there are songs that just sucker punch me with emotions and a rush of memories every time I hear them.


TRANSITION
Glee, 4x19, "Sweet Dreams"
Lately I keep having dreams where I'm a high school senior and dating Ryder. I wasn't going to admit that to the world, but I wanted to give Glee an idea of what "sweet dreams" actually look like, as opposed to this mess of an episode that doesn't even sing its title song.

Only 1200 words and done within 48 hours, so you know it's bad. MAXWELL, WHAT HAPPENED? You gave me my two favorite episodes in season 3! You introduced Blam: Crush Edition to the world! And...then you wrote this.

The Wanted
I. Rachel's storyline was the unparalleled shining star here. From the way her opening voiceover almost made me weep with pride (Rachel/Broadway is my real OTP) to her rehearsal with Shelby where they were both in simply gorgeous shades-of-purple outfits, I loved it. I hope Idina Menzel was incredibly strict about her storyline this time around for agreeing to come back to this after what they did to her. Also, I have so many questions:

When did Shelby move to New York? Why haven't we heard about this before now? How sad should I be that Beth has to grow up here instead of a place with a backyard? Is Quinn allowed to see her again yet? Probably not, but then why isn't Rachel spending a significant chunk of time bonding with her mother and/or stepsister? If Rachel or any of her friends need a part time job, can Shelby hire them to work in the day care, or can they at least volunteer there for work experience? Most importantly: who can find or write me all the fic where this happens?

I didn't really like their duet, due to weird affectations/accents, but I might force myself to try just because I crave their voices together. No, the song of the episode was "Don't Stop Believing" (solo reprise). I hadn't listened to the original for a very long time, because I eventually played it so many times that it lost its practically spiritual effect and I need that feeling back. Because of that, I wasn't sure if the scene would get to me - but oh, it did. I had chills within two lines, and by the end I was genuinely teary. while also laughing at how Chris really has grown like 17 feet

Everything about it was magic. I never liked the version they did at Regionals, but here the different vocal inflections were wonderful, and it was nothing short of rapturous to be there with her in that moment, remembering everyone and what it felt like to be part of that group for the first time, while channeling all of that support and confidence into a shining a bright light in your future.

And of course, I got a huge thrill out of Kurt quietly baking cookies in the background at the end, and generally being sweet and supportive with nary a black-haired bitch in sight. Even one moment of respite from her presence between them felt like I could finally breathe again. This is what home is supposed to feel like. Just the two of them.
*Yes, even Blaine would alter that dynamic, albeit not in a bad way

II. The other thing I really liked was Mr. Schue snapping at kids. (So much for all that love!) Unique and Sam were being genuinely annoying, while the other two hurt just right; I love a good Clash Of Favorites. Poor Marley has basically had zero personal connections with him since joining the club, and the first time he notices her she gets called out on daring to frown, and then shot down and yelled at? And then mild, soft spoken, universally beloved teacher's pet Blaine getting full wrath for a very polite suggestion - he looks genuinely bewildered by what is happening.

In fairness, I understand when Schue gets tunnel vision and wants everything to fall in line, plus these children are being brats and that set list was infinitely better than what they came up with. Dreamweaver, Sweet Dreams, You Make My Dreams Come True? Yes, you should be allowed to have input, but first how about you stop arguing and actually put effort into a rehearsal before you start a mutiny. You might surprise yourselves and sound amazing. Sorry, I just happen to enjoy Dictator!Schue getting stern and authoritative and refusing to put up with juvenile BS, no matter how innocuous.

I very much appreciate that Marley's dream is to be a songwriter - she has excellent singer-songwriter role models - and the fact that Jake didn't hold her hand and prop her up the entire time was a bonus. It was like she was a real live character!

Love/hate relationship with: I finally, fiiiiinally get a scene where Marley not only directly talks to but also sings with Blaine AND Sam, the lack of which after their warm welcomes in the season premiere has been driving me insane. Not only did she specifically feel bad for them/want to cheer them up, my heart soared with the eagle's nest to see Blaine making eye contact, encouraging and supporting Marley one-on-one. (also, hee at Blaine smacking Sam like 'behave' after he says no to singing with her) Which makes me twice as rageful about the turkey ruining this glorious budding friendship scene; why couldn't Schue have yelled at Tina? That would have been the most amazing foursome in Glee history.

I enjoyed Schue feeling ashamed of himself as he lurked in the wings eavesdropping on the group song, and his genuine apologies at the end. (Blaine does not look convinced. Good job, Schue. You kicked the world's most loving dog and broke his trust in people.)

What I would really like to happen now is for him to apologize to the 3 he wronged one on one, and then maybe spend extra time with Marley - because he needs to recognize her crippling self esteem issues, which are way more obvious than the subtle ones he picked up on Quinn, and give her validation and encouragement; SHUT UP I KNOW WHAT I AM TALKING ABOUT - and Blaine, because he takes the latter's general talent/leadership skills for granted and he should really make an effort to find out how he's actually doing and what his future plans are.

Huh. It appears that all the gears in my brain have been churning at double speed ever since "Blaine, I am disappointed in you." TELL ME MORE ABOUT THESE EXPECTATIONS, and whether Blaine is aware of them, and also whether Blaine cares about fulfilling them. (But please be gentle about the last one. My headcanon of Blaine adoring him for his dedication as a teacher has taken a beating and it's bruised and fragile, struggling to survive.)

Do Not Want
-"You Have More Friends Than You Know" (or as ontd_glee has hilariously dubbed it, Obtain It Not Wrong - the 2.0 version of Get It Right) sounds like a song that would play over the credits of a Disney movie, and I think I mean that with all due respect, but as much as I want to love it I can't handle Stage Name Unique getting 25-30% of the vocals where there is no way to tune them out. SO DISAPPOINTED.

-I don't understand why Blaine is still on the Cheerios or why he would care whether Sue was wrongfully accused or not (because yeah, when I vow to take down my enemies and they accidentally destroy themselves, I definitely care about making sure it's fair*), but -- handsome fruity voodoo powers!!! XD Roz Washington finally validated her existence.
*YOU'RE SUPPOSED TO BE DOING THIS FOR ALL THE ABUSED STUDENTS; mentoring one with Downs and sticking up for one bullied gay does not make it okay to scream at, harass, and/or physically assault the rest of them.

-Sam's inexplicable "alter ego" was incredibly aggravating - I genuinely thought someone was trolling with super-fake spoilers when I saw that news show up. Can Blaine please hold a one-on-one intervention involving the phrase "I'm actually worried about you"? Because if genuine PTSD then OK, let's talk, but otherwise Sam can sit his ass down.

-That idiocy was somehow eclipsed by Finn's entire plotline. If only they had thrown in a few more party scenes! I am just not sure I understand what the atmosphere at Lima University is like. P.S. I am now more eight times more grossed out by Finn than ever before.

(also, I love that no matter how dumb Glee is about college, they somehow find new ways to infuriate me. I don't know precisely what month it is there anymore, but there is LITERALLY NO UNIVERSE IN WHICH IT IS POSSIBLE TO START A 4-YEAR DEGREE BETWEEN VALENTINE'S DAY AND JUNE. NONE, ZIP, NADA, ZÉRO. And I know that for Glee, "early acceptance" = "before graduation," but in the real world, "early acceptance" means before Christmas)

-Outcast (or per ontd_glee, "Failure Such As Myself") is another song that might have been nice, but Unique ruins it again - now with the aid of Jake - so no dice. I miss season 2's original songs. They're all my favorite now.

Conclusion: I'm gonna predict bottom 3 for the year.

Up Next: I am extremely excited for Isabelle + Kurt, ready to go to war on Hummelberry trying to divert Santana away from her awesome career as a hot bartender already*, and nggghhh my brain just melted all over the aerobics room floor where Blaine is working his tail off

(*this isn't even because I hate Santana, it's because that is a genuinely decent job that utilizes literally all of her skills, gives her the social life she thrives on, and allows her to have fun as a hot young thing in New York without being tied down to obligations or struggling to make rent. It may be a little bit because I don't see a love of acting in her, nor do I see the kind of drive and overall package needed to be a label-signed star, but mostly it is because bartending and amateur singing gigs fit her like a glove, and a performing arts career feels almost as forced as what they tried to foist on Finn, regardless of what 3x16 told us. If she does go that route, it shouldn't be for at least 2-3 years, after she's had time for her life to get stagnant.)
---------------
AND THEN AFTER THAT IT'S EPISODE 21.

LET'S TALK ABOUT THE SPOILERS FOR EPISODE 21 AND 22, SHALL WE?

[I will even use a spoiler cut.]
-"Kurt's back in Ohio for Burt's medical appointment." Already dancing. Friendly reminder that my offer to sacrifice Burt in the manner of Pavarotti is still on the table, though I don't think it will be necessary. I just want to talk about cancer some more. That's how I roll.

-"Significant" Burt/Blaine scenes. Plural. "Thank you, God." And Blaine talks about his feelings for Kurt. "Did I already thank God?"

-Kurt and Blaine in the choir room at the same time! THIS IS NOT A DRILL.

-Also Kurt and Blaine + a couple irrelevant members of the class of 2012 at the Lima Bean. LOOK AT ALL THESE SCENES!

(sidebar reminder that while fandom was busy bitching about insufficient PDA last year, I did not for one second take Kurt & Blaine being in the background but together all the time for granted)

-A week ago, someone felt the need to drop a little "Blaine decides to propose" bombshell on us for the finale, and Mt. Fandom erupted like so:


I too had some feelings about it: "Oh, I am...so very angry I'm going to find someone to kill just to prove her wrong."

As the week wore on, the spoilers evolved and it now appears that Blaine is going to cool his jets and Jim Halpert his engagement route after all, which makes me a much happier panda, because I am all on board for seeing Blaine think about this. They've also upgraded it to "Blaine talks to several people" about these plans, and even though I'm betting "several" means "two, three if two of them are together," I like the sound of extra screentime for it.

I am still kind of leery of this plan, because of course that's where they need to be in the end, but I'm already sick of wading through people spazzing about how fast they can get hitched. I'll believe it when it happens, and I'm not bouncing off the walls with anticipation because Blaine is still in high school. We went over this nonsense in season 3. All I want from this finale is a guarantee that they're firmly pointed back toward each other, meaning a shift on Kurt's end. Ideally in a way where they are back together by the final seconds. I can dream.

It's still weird to talk about marriage as a pending canon thing. It feels awkward and uncomfortable in a way that all of their implied eternity promises did not. (and I am still not convinced we are meant to take that one stupid tweet as Gospel Truth Etched In Stone that Kurt will absolutely get married at age 21, although with the renewal news, it does seem more plausible)

But I am really excited that none of these spoilers are mentioning what Kurt thinks at all, because I would like to be surprised and delighted for something good on that front. Fingers crossed.

Then there's something something about Patty Duke as half of a lesbian mentoring couple for Klaine, about which I am less enthused. Try and surprise me, Glee, I dare you -- but television has had real poor luck interesting me in all-women couples, and your success/failure ratio on creating likable-on-sight gay and lesbian individuals is horrible.

If that felt like a rage tangent, it's because I'm feeling rageful now that I'm scrolling through a Klaine blog with actual season 3 content, and it feels...off. Like a sweater that's grown too small. And I'm angry and scared and worried all over again that they broke my ship and kept it away from me for so long, forcing me to turn to alternate options for squee, that I won't feel the same when I get it back.

[DISCLAIMER: I wrote the last 2 paragraphs last night and I've been too afraid to see if anything's changed. Maybe I should have left Candles on that playlist after all...]

[edit: my head is still reeling over the fact that they're really going to leave this year unfinished and set the season 5 premiere in spring 2013. This is either going to spiral very quickly into a Grey's Anatomy mess of timelines, or someone's school year is going to get shortchanged eventually. Lose/lose! Plus now I have more time to panic that Blaine will somehow not go to New York after all. Oh, yeah, I force-fed myself some more season 3 Kurt/Blaine today and I don't think it will take much to bring me back. One sweeping speech topped off with Heart Eyes ought to do it.]

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