Thursday, 29 September 2011

Glee: I am Unicorn recap/review

So, before getting to the less important stuff in the episode (storyline, characters, songs, themes), let's discuss the most pressing issue of all - what on earth was Blaine wearing in his first scene?!

I'm talking about the cropped white trousers, checked shirt tucked in, braces and pink bow tie (not great quality picture to the left). It was like a clown outfit. A clown outfit gone really, really wrong that even a clown with the worst fashion sense in the world wouldn't wear. There are outfits characters (read: Kurt) wear on Glee that make me wrinkle up my nose at how odd they are, this made me want to curl up in a ball and cry until the river of tears caused my skin to completely wrinkle.

What was the wardrobe department thinking? Bring back the Dalton blazer now!

Now that I have mostly forgotten (but not forgiven) that outfit, let's move on with the show.

I am Unicorn was about finding the special things that make you, you. Your unicorn moment. It's perhaps not how most people would describe it, but Britney's explanation about unicorns knowing how special they are made a weird kind of sense. Clearly Britney's emotionally wise, just intellectually a bit, well, dumb.

But it's not Britney's stupidity which is the surprise - one (of the few) thing(s) Glee's writers have been consistent about is Britney's lack of knowledge of some things (the capital of Ohio is O, Will I Am is president). What was suddenly discovering Puck is academically stunted. Yes, he's  a slacker and has been in juvie, but does he really not know how to spell basic words? For those who didn't see it, his picture for his daughter said "Too Beth". Grr.

What Glee wasn't about this week was the glee club. Apart from a brief scene at the beginning and some booty lessons (Mike Chang in slow motion - yes, Mr Schue - no) , the focus was on the students putting on a musical. Is Glee going to forget about its actual glee club for the moment? I hope not, although evidence points to yes. 

Because back this week is Shelby, Rachel's biological mum and the woman who adopted Quinn and Puck's baby - who's barely (if ever) been mentioned since season one. Now suddenly, she's back, wanting to reconcile with Rachel, and bring Puck and Quinn into their daughter's life. What? I love Idina Menzel, but the bolt of the blue way she's been brought back is silly. Why do you do this to us Glee, why? Why so erratic?

And with the sudden return of baby Beth comes one of Glee's most ludicrous (Eastenders-like) plot lines - Quinn's descent into bad girl, then her (pretend) transformation back to her former perky blonde self, all so she can get back custody of her daughter. Why can't she just struggle emotionally with giving up her daughter? Why does there have to be the farce of her trying to get Beth back by pretending to be good? The quicker this plot goes away the better.

One storyline which did have a ring of truth was the Kurt/Blaine audition, which also encompassed Kurt's difficulty in accepting his limitations. 

Last year Glee's Ryan Murphy hit back after a writer said gay men couldn't play straight convincingly. This episode is a second sort-of rebuff to that. Kurt (our central unicorn), in this instance, doesn't have the right qualities it takes to play West Side Story's Tony. But that's less to do with Kurt being gay than Kurt being...Kurt. On the flip side, Blaine, also gay, seems perfect for the part, regardless of his sexuality. What Murphy is trying to say here has got my mind spinning in circles, so let's just take it on face value - Blaine suits this part more than Kurt, maybe next time it will be different.

What was lovely to see was how something simple (two people pursuing the same part) caused conflict. This is the kind of thing that actually happens to teenagers, as opposed to them creating elaborate plots to get back babies (I'm not saying this has never happened in real life, but come on).

It'll be good to see how this issue is resolved. Kurt is clearly coming to terms with the fact that he is not a musical theatre guru (last week with the freaky kids, this week with West Side Story), that he is not suited to every role and that he will have to show people how special he rather than expecting them to just notice. Meanwhile Blaine is struggling between his loyalty to his boyfriend and his desire to do something he loves and is good at. Even if you missed the rest of the episode, that conflict - pain, indecision, realisation - was played out beautifully on Blaine and Kurt's faces in the closing moments.

Honourable mentions this episode go to Burt ("You sing like Diana Ross and dress like you own a magic chocolate factory") and Mike (yay) explaining how Kurt has one dance move which freaks him out.

The music:
This week's songs were exclusively from the world of musical theatre. Kurt, Rachel and Shelby all put in solid performances, but the episode belonged to Darren Criss as Blaine with his brilliant rendition of Something's Coming. It was perfect in every way.

What Glee did well this week:
The triumverate of Artie, Coach Beiste and Emma were hilarious. Among the gems were Artie's face when Beiste speaks about her lady parts, Beiste announcing to a puzzled Glee club that she played the forum in A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum and Emma's speech about wanting to be wrapped in Kurt's arms.

Next week:
More ignoring the glee club in favour of the musical, more conflict, and hopefully Britney taking part in a debate. That last one is on my wish list. As is seeing Santana come back properly.

Thursday, 22 September 2011

Glee: The Purple Piano Project

"Wait, are you working on a time machine too?"

Perhaps the writers of Glee didn't realise the irony of that question, coming as it does out of Brittany's mouth, because the last thing Glee needs is a time machine. Tonight marked the start of season three, but so much of the episode harked back to the ground covered in season one.

Everyone still hates the glee club - maybe in season one the club was uncool, but now? It's a little on the implausible side. Especially considering it's high school, and glee club is full of beautiful people, including cheerleaders and footballers.

Sue's still trying to destroy the glee club - she's switched between love and hate so many times and now, guess what? Sue hates the glee club again. And she's been given a platform from which to try and destroy them, as she runs for political office. As an aside, why would she be allowed to carry on with Sue C's It while in a political race?

Quinn's a cow again - okay, this time she has pink hair and is hanging out with a group calling themselves The Skanks, but Quinn is back to her cold, shallow, pretending-to-be-something-she's-not self.

Santana's still a bitch - out of the glee club, back on the Cheerios and doing Sue's bidding - just what has changed about Santana since season one?

Will's still Will - sill not quite understanding the kids in glee, still fighting a losing battle with Sue, still stuck in a relationship where he wants more than his partner wants to give (although with creepy lines like "guess who woke up before me?", who can blame Emma?).

And of course, with Sam and (supposedly) Lauren gone, we're almost back at the same line-up for the glee club as well.

Almost, because this episode saw Blaine become a New Direction. It's hard to believe he'd be allowed to transfer by his parents, or that for a character who's so intelligent he'd be so irrational as to swap schools to be with a boy. And I don't really like the move.

But, as the cliche goes, it's no use crying over spilt milk. Especially when Blaine turns up to school in red trousers, does a peppy number surrounded by cheerleaders and then has the routine overshadowed by a flaming purple piano.

Blaine and Santana should now become best buds. She could do with having her character rounded out and for someone seeing through her Lima Heights Adjacent tough girl act, he could do with a friend as bitchy as he is charming, and they would be, to borrow a word used multiple times during the episode, fierce together.

A mention must go to the talent that is Chris Colfer as Kurt, who saves viewers from utter boredom this week. From his facial expression as he listened to the awfulness coming out of Sugar's mouth to his pep talk to Rachel to his delight at Blaine transferring, Colfer is a joy to watch. If Kurt wasn't planning on running for senior class president, I'd be campaigning for him to do so.

The music:
Two of this week's songs contained the word 'beat', hinting at a theme surrounding having the beat and feeling beaten because of the treatment of others. Or am I just looking too hard for some coherency? You Can't Stop the Beat from Hairspray is a personal favourite of mine, so that won for me.
Kurt and Rachel's rendition of Ding Dong The Witch is Dead was clearly a sign of pride coming before a fall.
That fall came courtesy of newcomer Harmony, played by The Glee Project's Lindsay Pearce, who was great on the manic mash-up of Anything Goes and Anything You Can Do.
Blaine's version of It's Not Unusual, well, it was as smooth as chocolate. (I'm still missing the doo-wopping Warblers though.)

What Glee did well this week:
Less Rachel. I've waited two seasons for this to happen, but finally, finally, Rachel seems to be sharing the vocals equally with the rest of the glee clubbers.

Next week:
Kurt auditions for the school musical, Shelby's back, and will Blaine ever wear socks with an outfit?

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Glee season three recap/review masterpost

All Glee season three recap/reviews in one handy place.

"Wait, are you working on a time machine too?"

Episode two - I Am Unicorn
So, before getting to the less important stuff in the episode (storyline, characters, songs, themes), let's discuss the most pressing issue of all - what on earth was Blaine wearing in his first scene?!

Episode three - Asian F
Asian F was an episode about expectations - those you have others, that others have of you, that you have of yourself.

Episode four - Pot O' Gold
It's safe to say Glee crammed a lot into Pot O' Gold, its first episode back after hiatus.

Episode five - The First Time
"You take my breath away."

Episode six - Mash Off
Finn deserved it.

Episode seven - I Kissed A Girl
"Rule wisely. Rule fabulously."

Episode eight - Hold on to Sixteen
Hold on to Sixteen is another solid episode from Glee (one of the best of the season, and, dare I say it, among the best ever), and I'm almost ready to start believing that the show will consistently get back to its season one glory. Am I cursing it by saying that?

So, this episode of Glee was weird, wasn't it?

Episode 10 - Yes/No
Let me just say it, the star of this episode was Helen Mirren. What's that I hear you say? Helen Mirren in Glee? Why yes, Mirren stars as Becky's inner voice - a genius concept. 

Episode 11 - Michael 
This highly anticipated episode was called Michael, which I personally believe was a shortened version of its working title - Let's see how many Michael Jackson songs we can cram into one episode.
Episode 12 - The Spanish Teacher
One of the writers of Glee - I can't remember which - has been quoted as saying this middle block of episodes in season three are all about fun.

Episode 13 - Heart
The Valentine's Day special of Glee was an episode about tolerance, acceptance, and most importantly, love. Was it also an episode about religion? Maybe, but I think it was more an episode about faith, in yourself, in each other, in doing the right thing, and, if that's what you believe, in God.

Episode 14 - On My Way
Glee is a bit like the nursery rhyme about the little girl with the curl in her hair - when it's bad, it's horrid, but when it's good, it's very, very good.

Episode 15 - Big Brother
Hello Glee. It's been a while, so I feel like we need to greet each other once again. Luckily there are now no more hiatuses planned, so there will only be goodbyes. But let's not dwell on that quite yet.

Episode 16 - Saturday Night Glee-ver
Sometimes I feel like Glee should be renamed The Rachel Berry Show, and this was one of those weeks.

Episode 17 - Dance with Somebody
Letting go is difficult, and that's what this episode was really about. What it wasn't about was leaving.

Episode 18 - Choke
Heartbreaking. That's the word that sums up this episode of Glee. Heartbreaking.

Episode 19 - Prom-asaurus
Glee is getting ready to wind down. There are only a few more episodes left until the end of the season, and then everything will change, with more than half the characters graduating. Who knows what will happen after.

Episode 20 - Props
Glee has spent a lot of this season letting real life bleed into fiction, whether it's mixing in hints of what its real life actors are doing in real life (Chris Colfer writes a screenplay=Burt suggests Kurt write a screenplay) or bringing an actor's real life skills into the show (Chord Overstreet is famous for impressions=Sam doing a lot of impressions since he returned to Glee).

Episode 21 - Nationals 
Okay, I'll admit it, I may be crying a little bit. This episode was really emotional, and it's not even the end. Who knows what a mess I'll be after the season finale. 


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