RS (rainbowstevie) wrote,

I feel like ruminating on Glee, and I best do it now, before spoilers and filming happen.

I still have no idea what my favorite episodes of Glee this year were, and I am utterly boggled as to how to rank them since everything had so many positive and negative streaks in them at once, but I decided to get all positive and write a different kind of list. Think of it as me streamlining 22 reviews for you and paring them down to the optimistic parts.

Twelve Things I Loved About Season 4

NOTE: This is a list of overall themes, rather than individual moments or scenes. Those are going to be a separate and much longer list. It is not in order, except for #1, which is obviously the best thing to happen on the entire series after Klaine/Blaine himself. Also, originally written for a Tumblr audience so this may be redundant for LJ, but WHO CARES. On LJ you can comment directly.

1. BLAM! Sam and Blaine becoming best friends who are as comfortable with supportive hugs/telling each other how much they matter as they are dressing up in ridiculous costumes and acting like goofy little kids has made the McKinley half of the show infinitely more appealing*. Sam needed a buddy, and Blaine needed someone to loosen him up. This relationship worked with AND without the crush - the infatuation wasn’t necessary, but as it also didn’t hurt anything, it felt a bit like having our cake and eating it too.

(*on a shallow note, the fact that they are the club’s most attractive and kindest remaining boys does not hurt)

2. Kurt & Rachel living together as soon as humanly possible, firmly establishing their platonic soulmatehood. It made their friendship that much closer and more interesting - plus, the loft is so big and full of interesting things, it’s almost a character in its own right.

3. Bram: Sam and Brittany shouldn’t have worked, but something about those two wide-eyed innocents with nothing but good intentions in their hearts lit me up from head to toe every time we saw them being sweet and cuddly together. For me, at least, it eased the loss of the little background moments that Klaine provided last year.

4. Rachel’s Funny Girl arc - even though we still had to waste most of a year on her useless relationships, there were glimmers of her independence once or twice earlier in the year, and we’re just now beginning to see her shine again.

5. Blake Jenner. I’m so glad that Glee Project exists and he won it. From the moment Ryder set foot on screen, he’s been my favorite new kid both in and behind the scenes. He’s cute in a lanky-teen-boy way, he can work the heartbreaking tears like nobody’s business (usually for legitimate reasons, because heavy backstory like whoa), and my eternal hope that Marley will like him back before he’s completely over her is the one thing that makes me want to keep the newbies around past their sophomore year. Also, despite the minimal media attention thrown his way, when the actor does get interviews he just seems like a really nice guy.

6. Marley…as a conceptualized character, anyway. She’s been largely suffocated by the “Jake’s girlfriend"/love triangle mess, but they started off with a good choice as their New Rachel, and I still have infinite belief in her potential. The scenes where her shyness, insecurity and vulnerability show through are what drew me to her in the first place, because for all the great characters who have been part of the club, there was never one in whom I could firmly see myself - until her. So the moments where she triumphs are that much better.

7. Blaine & Tina’s friendship - again, with or without the crush. It’s really difficult for me to fault Tina when she’s playing the role of The Fandom, and doing so without malice. It’s been nice to watch them gradually become a complementary pair to Kurt/Rachel that is similar as far as being sweet, supportive & affectionate, but without the competitive streak that occasionally wedges between them.

8.  Burt’s (mini) cancer arc - well played for all the best emotional resonance without lasting consequence.

9. - between the thrill of Kurt finally being appreciated, praised and encouraged somewhere, getting Sarah Jessica Parker, and having her play Isabelle/The Best Fairy Godmother A Boy Like Kurt Could Have as a woman who exuded sweetness and light at every turn, there was not one wasted second of screentime with this storyline.

10. Adam. Mind you, only after we learned that his entire life’s purpose was to smile at and be charmed by Kurt, without ever getting a chance to become an established relationship (better to leave us wanting more than forcing too much).

11. Cassandra July, Wicked Witch Of the Dance Room: I am an unapologetic Kate Hudson fan, and I thought they made excellent use of her & her abs. Much of Rachel’s NYADA journey was suffocated under Brody’s hovering prescence, but this was a part that stood out.

12. “Grease": Almost everyone (including yours truly) was still reeling from the breakups and in no mood to deal with newbie focus, especially after stewing in hiatus for a month, so I really think it was just timing that hurt this one. School musicals are always fun material, and in retrospect, it’s great to see them scramble to put this together and then actually pull it off despite a dearth of proper leadership.

BONUS: the destruction of both Finchel (for reasons of healthiness) and Brittana (for reasons of my personal disinterest in everything about them).

And in conclusion…it seems obvious now, but the sheer amount of focus in New York is its own bonus. Remember, two years ago, Ryan Murphy was still talking about how the kids would graduate and that would be that, just like real life. It might have been a safe bet we’d still see them come back, but there was never a guarantee we’d ever actually follow any of them out of Lima, much less on a regular basis. So even though it wasn’t a perfectly balanced split and the NY scenes never felt like enough, we actually got quite a lot of material that had nothing to do with the high school glee club on which this show is based. For that, I’m always grateful.

But do I have a list of "the 10 or 12 worst themes about season 4" raring to go? OF COURSE I DO.

Oops. The negative list got made today too. It's less text, though; I tried to be succinct.

Twelve Things I Didn't Need In Season 4

1. The two-part blow of a) Blaine cheating, scarring a rare pristine fairytale of a relationship forever, and b) Kurt & Blaine staying broken up all year. (NUMBER ONE BY A THOUSAND LIGHT YEARS)

2. Santana moving into the loft. Santana being any part of the NY scene instead of disappearing into the ether like Quinn.

3. Quinn being 98% absent and showing up only to disappoint me on two new and incomprehensibly awful levels (adultery w/ professor + casual lesbian hookup I never watched and reject right out of existence even more than 2x18's backstory).

4. Rachel being infatuated with Creeper Brody from about five minutes after starting at NYADA, being suffocated by his omnipresence for 2/3rds of the year, and making Idiot College Freshman choices like agreeing to a semi-open, living-together-sans-commitment, casual hookup sort of a relationship topped off by the spectacular reveal of him being a grimy, lying hooker. The taint of this relationship is hard to scrub off.

5. Speaking of hookups, all those gross emotion-free affairs that happened at the wedding. Klaine included. Also everything about Mr. Schue's bomb of a wedding. They deserved a pretty ceremony without one last bump in the road; the choir room intimacy was in no way better.

6. Unique being a full-time character, and literally everything associated with her, including the Catfish storyline.

7. Jake and Marley having no chemistry, yet having excessive focus on their relationship ups and downs from basically the first episode. NOBODY CARES, SEAN.

8. Jake's Kermit-The-Frog way of singing. Until now, I've never had a voice that I actually couldn't stand for reasons other than just being the voice of a person I don't like.

9. Kitty the Cardboard Cartoon Villain with no hope of genuine likability or even tolerance in sight.

10. Joe being almost completely ignored and left in the background all year (Sugar too, but I miss her less). It irks so much.

11. Blaine getting stuck in a Cheerios uniform and not even succeeding at bringing sanity to that realm in the form of a coach who does not physically or emotionally harm her students.

12. Teen Marriage, part II: Delusional Stalker Edition, and the assorted hamfistedness of trying to be politically relevant at the same time.
But let's go back to positive things!
Top 25 Season 4 Glee Performances: Day 3
Getting there...

15. Give Your Heart A Break

This song gets no love from anyone but me, but I think it sounds incredible as a stripped-down piano duet. It brings happy memories of early fall and new school years and the sort of fun things college kids do. It's also the only song in the evil 4x04 that doesn't rip my heart to pieces, because despite Finn's Woe is Me faces, I never get the sense that Rachel is doing anything other than having fun performing, or singing to anyone other than him. It's all very understated and sweet to me.

14. Don't Stop Believing (Solo)

If this reprise doesn't stir up your heart feelings, something may be wrong with your soul.

13. Bye Bye Bye / I Want It That Way

Two of the greatest pop songs from the end of the 20th century become one true super-song. Love the N*SYNC half with their marionette moves, while the BSB crew looks like they could be an actual famous group.

12. I Still Believe / Super Bass

Sass Master/Boy Band Crooner Blaine Anderson, followed by Sue Sylvester rapping with attitude, an entourage and long blonde wig/fake eyelashes? IT IS THE BEST OF ALL POSSIBLE WORLDS.

11. Girl On Fire

Not only is it a beautiful song with great lyrics, but I feel like you get an entire character study of Santana in three minutes. Rarely have a song & character matched so well.

P.S. Caught up on another three Goodwin Games episodes - I know the finale is in a few hours but I can't wait that long to post. WHY HELLO THERE, ADAM RODRIGUEZ. I'm just going to do a little twirl and faint over everything with him & Chloe in episode 6, sound good?

(also, episode 6 is my favorite one since the pilot when you factor in Jimmy's ridiculous country songs and April's priceless mortification/reactions to everything. April is not having a very good week in this one.)

As for episode 5, I love that whip-smart little girl, and found it cute how hard they telegraphed that ending (also cute). I was side-eying Chad super-hard since I am not over my disgruntled feelings about Brian The Possible Homewrecker on The Office, so it was fun to watch Henry explode in derisive mockery over him being an "ND" with a nedical school diploma from Narvard. And then the show took an unexpected corkscrew jab to the heart with Piper crying for "daddy' and running straight past Jimmy's open arms and over to Chad The Douche instead. What?? You can't do that to me after you've made a point of showing me that Jimmy actually does have a relationship with his daughter, albeit a secret and inadequate one where she seemed to love him in spite of his absence and lowlife ways.

Episode 4 is memorable mainly just for the random ostrich in the kitchen, but I suppose a little bit for convincing me Chloe actually is smart and not just "not a total ditz."
Tags: comedies, glee
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