This Week on "Glee": We All Get Slushied
Well that episode was an interesting send off into the hiatus. I know there are so many inconsistencies with this show that I almost shouldn't bother. There have been so many questions raised that I've just blindly ignored them, but with "Original Song," I've reached my limit. Why wasn't there a school from the Vocal Adrenaline region? Shouldn't some school have represented them, or is there just a three school limit? And why wasn't Vocal Adrenaline there? Are they exempt because they won Regionals last year? Because beforehand they were winners something like 6 years in a row, which means that they should have been performing? Why was there only like a day between writing the new songs for New Directions and actually performing them? Shouldn't they have at least had back-ups on hand? And I know y'all have asked this a thousand times, but seriously, where are Artie's terminator legs? Those would have made an amazing show stopper for Regionals. If they don't show up again before the end of the season I can only assume that they've become sentient and have started to terrorize suburban Ohio towns during the full moon. I have no answers for those questions, but they were bubbling up inside of my brain so much after that episode that I had to pose them.
Now that that's off my chest and out in the ether, I have to move on, because I can only assume those questions will never be answered, considering that "Glee's" M.O. has been to leave plot points dangling, never to be spoken of again. Obviously, the big focus on the episode was the competition. In a totally realistic approach to the whole competing nonsense, the club decides to eschew any practiced and rehearsed songs they'd ever done (only partly because they received a forged cease and desist order) and try trotting out some original songs. Rachel suggested the idea again and Quinn agreed because of a half-hearted attempt to keep her enemy closer. After that the group throws out some original songs that aren't that great, Schuester decides to help inspire them by reminding them that most of the great songs come from places of pain. No offense to any high schoolers out there, but a lot of the "o woe is me" nonsense that comes from high schoolers isn't that relatable to large audiences. However, the group digs deep and decides to write a song based on the fact that Sue throws dirt and sticks at them.
This soul searching and whatnot takes them almost instantaneously to Regionals where their impeccably choreographed (and I can only assume practically impromptu) dance and song number takes them to the top and they win. This was in no way surprising, and everyone probably could have seen it coming from a mile a way. Probably the only other noteworthy thing from Regionals, besides the performances, was the guest star lineup and how completely useless they all were. Kathy Griffin and Loretta Devine are totally wasted in distracting cameos. Griffin played a Sarah Palin/Christine O'Donnell type Tea Party crazy and Devine was a reformed stripper turned nun. I suppose the one positive thing about their cameos was the fact that they, at least, weren't as insanely high profile as the judges at last year's Regionals. Small miracles, I guess. Anyway, it would have been preferable if they had kept the judge roles smaller and less distracting, especially because we learned nothing from the judge's discussion and they could have skipped over that scene completely. Oh and Sue punched the second lady of Ohio when it was announced who won. There is no way she should be able to talk her way out of going to jail with this one, but she will and it'll be inexcusable. I know you have to suspend some disbelief when watching TV shows, but characters based so strongly in reality should have to face some consequences.
Before we break down the performances, a few other things went on in the episode. Like the fact that apparently Quinn is a little crazy about the whole Prom Queen thing. So much so that she's pretty much only dating Finn because she figures that will ensure the crown. However, Quinn realizes that Finn probably still has feelings for Rachel, which she can't understand (neither can I, Quinn, neither can I). In order to keep Rachel away from Finn she decides to employ the "keep your friends close and your enemies closer" tactic and befriends Rachel. While working together for the original song, Rachel confronts Quinn about Finn and their relationship. Quinn gives the saddest "we belong together" speech I've ever heard and this inspires Rachel to run off and write her MVP award winning song. At this point two things crossed my mind. One, why does Rachel insist on talking about how independent she is in the same breath that she cries about trying to win Finn back? Their relationship is so ridiculous at this point and her mentality towards it is just infuriating. Of course they'll probably end up together, much like Will and Emma will, and the message will be that as long as you cling desperately enough they will always come back to you. Fantastic. The second thing that crossed my mind was Quinn's future plans for her life. This was the girl that struggled with her pregnancy because she wanted more for her life than just being obligated to being stuck in her hometown. In her ideal Prom Queen life it just seems like all she wants is to just be stuck in her hometown. There is absolutely nothing wrong with the life she described--far from it, in fact--but the way she delivered that line just made it seem like she was resigned to that as her fate. It was a surreal moment where I knew Quinn was supposed to be painted as the villain during that conversation, but I felt sorrier for her than for Rachel. But Quinn's posturing seems to be for naught because Finn was giving Rachel the look of love while she was singing at Regionals. For better or for worse, those two will end up together, I'm sure.
One couple that did get together in this episode, though, was Kurt and Blaine. When the Warblers' canary died, Kurt sang a song about how distressed he was over the whole thing and Blaine realized how in love he was with Kurt. Embarrassingly enough, Blaine decided to express his love in the most schmaltzy way possible--that's the kind of speech you expect to hear Hugh Grant stammer out to Julia Roberts. But of course they were happy, which is great for them. But Blaine getting Kurt the duet for Regionals had me wondering something: why is Blaine, a junior member, king of all the Warblers? They had auditions for solo parts and Kurt didn't even make it through the first round. He wasn't as good as the other guys, apparently, yet we've never heard a solo from one of them and Blaine was able to get Kurt a solo for Regionals, one of their most important competitions. Do Blaine's parents own Dalton Academy or something? Seriously, I'm curious about this. Blaine is ok, but he's not the demigod the rest of the Warblers seem to make him out to be. The other notable relationship moment was when Santana brushed off Brittany. It was heartbreaking to see Santana be so callous to Brittany, but just further proves the point that Santana doesn't deserve Brittany. In the meantime, though, Santana has decided to maintain her sham of a relationship with Sam.
The music from the episode was all over the place. Starting off with "Misery" felt like Groundhog Day, because regardless of what Blaine and the Pips sing, it all almost sounds the same. I don't know if that's more of an issue with picking (mostly) pop songs or their skills as an a cappella group, but it was such a generic way to start the show. I feel like there was a point in this show's run where at least a few of the songs felt fresh, but maybe I'm kidding myself. It was a good performance, but nothing spectacular. Kurt's bored eye-rolling pretty much summed up my thoughts entirely.
Unfortunately for Kurt, he got some of my eye-rolling share thrown his way. I couldn't tell if he was being serious with his performance (crying and wearing black) or just taking it as a joke in order to show off (bringing a cassette to the Warbler's meeting and as a side note: a cassette? Someone alert the Smithsonian that their ancient artifacts exhibit has been raided). He did sing it well, though. It was a sweet soft rendition that's been done about a thousand times before, but at least it was done well. I do find it weird that Kurt has once again picked a song based solely on it's title in order to encapsulate his theme (misses holding his dad's hand, sing "I Wanna Hold Your Hand;" dead bird, sing "Blackbird;" etc.), but it wasn't poorly done so at least we can feel thankful for that.
Better than most of the other songs performed that night were the failed original songs. "Only Child," was the perfect sophomore follow up to "My Headband." It perfectly tied in Rachel's narcissism, martyrdom and talent. "Trouty Mouth," wins all the awards. Santana sang it surprisingly well considering what a joke it was, but that just made it funnier, especially Sam's constant freak out over the lyrics. But to be honest? The jokes about Sam's lips and Santana's fake boobs are getting old. And I'm starting to feel bad for the actors who are constantly getting picked on for their attributes. At this point another joke about either one of those things is just old hat. I shouldn't expect it to stop anytime soon though; if there's one storyline this show manages to carry throughout it's the never-ending kicking of a horse's rotting carcass.
While Mercedes sang "Hell to the No" well, I kind of hate that she sung it. Apparently, "Hell to the no" is her catch phrase, which is weird because I didn't realize that in addition to being sassy she was also a cartoon character. It bothers me that already likable characters get this one-dimensional white wash, while less enjoyable characters get developed plot lines and relationships. Hell, even the guest starring nun had a more specific back story than Mercedes's. If I could have just one wish for the future of "Glee" it would be that worthwhile characters get more development. Seriously, Mercedes has a lot more potential than just a tater tot revolution and hackneyed catch phrase.
After everyone had a chance at throwing out a potential original song, the group wrote a song together and then they were off to Regionals after the shortest amount of rehearsal time ever. Aural Intensity was up first with a terrible performance of "Jesus is a Friend of Mine." Sue may have worked wonders with the New Directions when she got them to sing, "Sing," but she bit it hard when she coached Aural Intensity. Then the Warblers were up and in a surprising turn of events they decided to put forward some of their most lackluster performances ever. Honestly, where "Misery" was the same old story, at least it was fun and good. "Candles" was an absolute mess and didn't do either Blaine or Kurt any favors. Then Blaine headed up "Raise Your Glass," which wasn't bad, but it was just completely underwhelming. Maybe I have the bias of being over the over-exposure of the Warblers, but the number was just so blase. And I couldn't be bothered to care about the fact that the Warblers wouldn't be performing any more outside of nursing homes and Gaps, hopefully off camera. These are words I'll probably regret when I miss the dulcet tones of auto-tuned a cappella to the sounds of screeching solos, but for now I won't lament their lack of competition status.
At least in this year's Regionals competition there's little to no competition, making it obvious that the Glee club would win. Because this year, even though the New Directions were hardly as good as they were the year before (or even at Sectionals when they got to showcase other talent), they were better then everybody else. Rachel kicked things off with "Get It Right" and I have to believe that the "American Idol" producers are pissed Ryan Murphy stole the song they intended for their winner to sing. It was a generic oatmeal bland bubblegum ballad that seemed exactly like the kind of song a weepy teenager might write. I will say this, though: it was one of the first performances in a long while that Rachel didn't sound like she was screeching to get the notes out. It was a nice sounding song and that I'm sure will do extremely well on the Glee iTunes charts. While it had little to do with Rachel's performance, the spinning camera thing needed to stop after the first time around. Whoever thought that'd be a great idea and not distracting is completely wrong and needs to knock it off. The spinning does not imply "dramatic" or "swirling emotions"--it implies seasickness and headaches.
And then the finale, "Loser Like Me," which was inspired by the physical torture of Sue Sylvester. Realizing how well letting Rachel and Finn sing the duet worked in last year's Regionals, they decided to do it again. The song would probably have been much better suited to Mercedes or Santana for the female pop aspect of it, and probably Sam or Puck for the male vocals. Dear Ryan Murphy: stop trying to make Finn and Rachel happen; they suck together, both musically and emotionally. It wasn't terrible with Finn and Rachel, but it wasn't amazing either. The fact of the matter is, New Directions should have spent no time trying to write their own song and claimed "Raise Your Glass" over the Warblers as it may have been better suited for them. But whatever, it was a pandering song that tied in that meta slushie joke that no one inside the show universe should have understood (unless in this reality, every school everywhere has a serious issue with rampant slushie attacks), but absolutely played to the TV audience's favorite moments. We're all just losers after all, right, "Glee?"
It's hard to really be surprised by the episode's mediocrity because nothing about the plot was unexpected. For a while now, "Glee" had been setting up New Directions to win Regionals and making the Kurt and Blaine hook up happen. The conflict between Quinn, Rachel and Finn had been ebbing and flowing from day one, so that's predictable, too. The bad thing about all of these unsurprising moments is that it barely sets up any suspense for the episodes following the hiatus. I guess Nationals is the big nail biter, but it hardly has me waiting on the edge of my seat for the show's return. We'll have to wait until April to see how "Glee" continues the season and whether or not they answer any of my questions.