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October 12, 2010

Glee 2.3: "Grilled Cheesus"

It seems this episode was pretty polarizing, but I'm going to claim some middle ground: I thought the episode was touching and contained some good emotional notes, but I didn't like the treatment of religion or some of the other inconsistent plot elements. And I haven't been able to put this into any sort of coherent argument, so hey, bullet points!

* First, yes, of course, the story with Kurt and his father was touching. It seemed to be so deliberately playing on the audience's emotions, though, that it didn't actually make me cry the way a lot of more subtle shows do. (I cry at TV much more often than at real life. It's a problem.)

* Finn's whole "grilled cheesus" thing was . . . I'm trying to come up with a word other than cheesy. Hah. It played up the "dumb jock" stuff, and I really liked his characterization better the past two weeks.

* The 15-year-old girl in me who listened to Yentl on repeat completely ate up the whole "Papa, Can You Hear Me?" sequence, and really, Rachel is at her best when she's doing Streisand. (See also: "Don't Rain on My Parade.")

* I didn't hate Kurt's version of "I Want to Hold Your Hand," which is saying something, because my skepticism of Beatles covers runs bone-deep. I was not so wild about Mercedes's "Bridge Over Troubled Water," though, and I think I finally figured out why - I think of that as a very personal song, so the big group setting just seemed off. Well, that, and sorry, Mercedes, your voice is lovely but you are no Art Garfunkel.

* People seem VERY upset about Finn's "Losing My Religion." First, on a musical level, sure, his voice isn't as strong as some of the other voices on the show, but it's fine and I like it. And as to the common complaint that that song isn't actually about religion - sure, we know that, but I can totally buy that Finn would have taken the song at face value. So that didn't bother me at all.

* Writers, last year Rachel was taking down the abstinence club and practically throwing herself at guys. Don't ruin the characterization by making her suddenly weird about Finn touching her breasts just to give him something funny to pray about. Also, they never talked about the whole lying thing, so she still thinks he's a virgin and he still thinks she slept with Jesse, right? That makes that whole scene make even less sense.

* Puck doing "Only the Good Die Young"? Awesome. (I asked for that in my Billy Joel post, remember?)

* So, the actual religion stuff . . . apparently my thoughts are complicated. A list within a list!
1. I kind of hate that Sue was actually right about something for once, but she basically was.
2. At the same time, high school music departments do religious songs all the time, whether that's right or not, so why was this a big deal suddenly?
3. And on the other hand, I didn't think Emma was right, but I loved seeing her stand up to Sue and for the kids.
4. It doesn't seem surprising at all that most of these kids, when pressed, would identify as Christian, and that some of them wouldn't be sure how to react to Kurt when they suddenly found out he was an atheist while he was in the middle of a crisis.
5. As everyone else in the universe has said, it's unfortunate that they made all the atheism due to various childhood traumas. That seems unfair.
6. And there was no excuse for the bedside prayer service without Kurt's consent, especially since Finn's mom was there, so it wasn't just kids being clueless but trying to help.
7. Except - if Kurt's father is in fact religious, and Finn's mom knows this, does that override Kurt's objections? I am undecided.

* Ewwww, Finn ate a week-old sandwich!

* Finn's "I thought we were sort of family" reaction to not being told about Kurt's dad was perfect.

* Oh! And how perfect was the kid playing little Kurt? Amazing.

Posted by Kat at 03:00 PM | Comments (0)

September 28, 2010

Glee 2.1: "Audition"

Honestly, I wasn't wild about this season premiere, but it felt very transitional, so I'm willing to give it the benefit of the doubt and see if the rest of the season improves once it gets going. I did like the way Will and Rachel acted similarly when they felt threatened. As far as the new characters, I liked the football coach and the new boy, but I wasn't wild about Sunshine. I know Charice has lots of fans, but this seemed like one of those stunt casting things where the guests fans like it and everyone else doesn't get it. That said, the Sunshine/Rachel duet of "Telephone" was clearly the song of the night:

Other thoughts: "Empire State of Mind" worked better in context than I thought it would. I'm sorry to say that I barely missed Emma. I love the way they're writing Finn and Rachel as a couple, so I hope that lasts for a while. And, as always, Will did not sing enough.

Posted by Kat at 01:57 PM | Comments (0)

September 15, 2010

A new song from Glee...

Here's "Empire State of Mind:"

Now, I don't always jump on the "Glee should never rap" bandwagon. I kind of love "Gold Digger." But this? This is . . . pretty bad. A friend said it was "awkward," and she's so right. The kids just can't quite get all the words to come out of their mouths correctly. Sigh.

Posted by Kat at 11:00 AM | Comments (2)

August 27, 2010

Billy Joel Songs I Want on Glee

Glee got the rights to use Billy Joel songs, and TWoP has a list of songs they should use. Here are my ideas; some are the same as TWoP's and some are different. Disclaimer: I realize that I am totally biased toward Will, Finn, and Rachel. I would happily just listen to/watch them forever. But I tried to work a few other characters into this as well.

Edited to add: Alyssa points me to "Vienna," which I'm not sure I'd ever heard. But she's right - it's marvelous, and would be a good Will-to-Rachel song.

"The Stranger" - This feels like a Kurt song to me, for some reason.

"Scenes from an Italian Restaurant" - Tailor-made for some sort of "Will and Terri run into each other" scene, no?

"Just the Way You Are" - Hmm. Will to Emma, maybe? This could be practically anyone, really. Oh! No! Wait! Finn should try to be more . . . whatever . . . to be like Jesse, and Rachel should sing this.

"My Life" - I agree with TWoP that this would be good for Quinn this season.

"You May Be Right" - This song has Puck written all over it.

"It's Still Rock and Roll to Me" - Oh, come on. This is practically a reactionary music class in a song. OBVIOUSLY Will will sing this to the club.

"Tell Her About It" - I'd like a nice ensemble number of Will and the boys all advising each other on their various girl problems. On second thought, this would probably be the best Billy Joel option for Mercedes's voice. She can lecture the boys about how they're being dumb.

"Uptown Girl" - Finn to Rachel, obvs.

"A Matter of Trust" - This actually fits Finn and Rachel pretty well. Duet please!

"This Is the Time" - I think Will would do a nice job of this. (I LOVE this song.)

"We Didn't Start the Fire" - How about an Artie-led ensemble number?

"And So It Goes" - This seems suited to Tina, actually.

Posted by Kat at 10:00 AM | Comments (2)

June 10, 2010

10 Things I Liked About the Glee Finale

I won't go so far as to say that this week's Glee season finale made up for all the issues I've had with recent episodes, but it was very, very good. Here's why:

10. "Don't Stop Believin'" This is the song that hooked us all a year ago, and I'm glad they brought it back in the finale. But I'm also glad they did it a little differently, and included more of the kids in it.

9. It laughed at itself. The bit about the scrappy little group being "so 2009" was hilarious.

8. It focused on the stars and the important storylines. Don't get me wrong - I like the supporting cast, a lot. But I feel like I signed up to watch a show about the Glee club's competitions, the Rachel/Finn/Puck/Quinn love quadrangle, and Will's Terri/Emma drama, and some of the episodes got way away from this. I was glad that the plotlines I really cared about came back in the finale.

7. The "Bohemian Rhapsody" birth scene actually worked. I had heard about this scene before I saw it, and I was skeptical. But it was actually really, really good. (And speaking of the birth scene, I'm glad Quinn's mother reappeared, but that everything wasn't magically all perfect between them.)

6. Sue has a little bit of a soul. I know a lot of people really love Sue, but I'm kind of iffy on her. She's funny at times, but it gets old. So I liked to see her get a little more complicated - and actually speak like an educator who cared about educating.

5. Emma's back! I missed her. I loved watching her stand up for the glee club - for the kids and Will - and I'm glad it seems like there will be more of the Will/Emma story next season.

4. Will. Puck. Ukelele. What more needs to be said?

3. The boys all said "I love you." Will, Finn, and Puck each said they loved Emma, Rachel, and Quinn, respectively. This was exciting on a "fangirl squee" level, but also nice to see given the focus this show (and so many other shows) has had on the girls and women having unrequited love for the guys.

2. "And I didn't have a father." I'd been a little sniffly for much of the episode, but this was the line that made me sob. The relationship between Finn and Will isn't discussed much, but I think it's one of the more touching and realistic elements of the show.

1. "To Sir, With Love" I've been saying they should do this song in the finale for months, so I'm very happy they did. And coming as it did after each student gave a tribute to Mr. Schuester, it was virtually perfect.

Posted by Kat at 02:00 PM | Comments (1)

May 19, 2010

Glee's Inexplicable Timing

(Now that I think about it, Glee has rather inexplicable pacing as well, but that's a different subject for, perhaps, a different post.)

The third album of music from Glee was released yesterday. Now, I understand why FOX wants to put out as much Glee stuff as possible, and I will obligingly buy most of it. But I don't understand why they chose to release this album so early. Upfront week? Neil Patrick Harris buzz? Unless there's some compelling reason I'm not thinking of, it just doesn't make sense. There are twenty songs on the album; twelve of them were from episodes that aired over the past few weeks. Three appeared last night - hours after millions of fans already had the album - and five have yet to show up on the show. This does a disservice to both the show and the album.

For me, at least, part of the pleasure of listening to the Glee albums is remembering the characters and situations that were taking place on the show as the songs were being sung. When the songs appear on an album before the show, it all feels very disconnected, and it's way less exciting to hear them. I mean, from listening to the album, I can say that sure, the Lady GaGa episode sounds like it will be interesting - but I could have guessed that anyway. This "Beth" song, on the other hand - well, I don't know what it's doing, although I'm sure it will make sense once the episode airs.

Perhaps the bigger problem is that hearing the music in advance takes something away from watching the show. Yes, song lists often leak, but they don't include many details, so it's still interesting to find out who will be singing which song and what they'll do with it, musically. Now that level of interest is gone for these songs, and they're something like Chekhov's gun - we'll be watching the episodes and trying to figure out which events are building up in such a way as to lead to these songs we know are coming.

Overall, I feel like Glee just handed us a photo album from a vacation without actually letting us take the trip first. Now, no matter how great the trip ends up being, it will be something of a letdown.

Posted by Kat at 05:00 PM | Comments (0)

May 13, 2010

The Most Incredibly Exciting Week Ever

Okay, that may be overstating things a little, but seriously, folks, there's a lot of exciting pop culture stuff going on in the next week or so. Here's a rundown of the things that interest me. (Notes: All times are Eastern. Here's an explanation of "upfronts".)

Thursday, May 13
8 p.m.: The Vampire Diaries season finale (The episode description promises death and destruction. Damon says he wants to eat cotton candy and steal Stefan's girl. Yes, please!)
10 p.m.: Private Practice season finale (Okay, I'm not actually that excited about this, but apparently a main character will die, so there's that.)

Friday, May 14
Robin Hood and Letters to Juliet come out. No, I'm not expecting cinematic greatness from either, but as I am a fan of Matthew MacFadyen, Eleanor of Aquitaine, and laughably bad historical movies, in the former case, and Amanda Seyfried, Gael Garcia Bernal, silly Taylor Swift songs, and Italy, in the latter case, I am looking forward to both of these.

Monday, May 17
9 p.m.: Gossip Girl season finale (Blair responds to Chuck's ultimatum and, as usual, Jenny does something that makes us want to kill her. Necessary preparations: watch An Affair to Remember; buy scotch.)
10 p.m.: Castle season finale (I'm rather hoping this will see the end of Anders Demming getting between Castle and Beckett, but we'll see. It's too early in the series for Castle and Beckett to get together, anyway.)
Muse's new single, "Neutron Star Collision (Love Is Forever)," is released. (On a Monday? Yeah, I don't know.)
NBC and FOX Upfronts

Tuesday, May 18
9 p.m.: Neil Patrick Harris guest stars on Glee. Joss Whedon directs. (I don't need to explain why this is exciting, do I? Didn't think so.)
11 p.m.: Bradley Whitford on Chelsea Lately
The Demon's Covenant, the second book in Sarah Rees Brennan's Demon's Lexicon trilogy, is released.
The third album of songs from Glee comes out.
ABC Upfronts

Wednesday, May 19
8 p.m.: The Good Guys preview episode (If you're unclear on my feelings about this, um, head over here.)
Google I/O 2010 begins.
CBS Upfronts

Thursday, May 20
8 p.m.: Bones season finale (They're saying it's going to be shocking and polarizing, again. So I'm a little worried. But at least no alternate realities this time!)
9 p.m.: Grey's Anatomy season finale
10 p.m.: The Mentalist season finale
Google I/O 2010 ends, so we'll hopefully have an Android-as-hotspot announcement by then.
CW Upfronts

Posted by Kat at 12:00 PM | Comments (4)

May 04, 2010

The scene you might have missed last week on Glee...

Freaking American Idol keeps running over, so for me, at least, this cut off in the middle of the song. (I had two things to record at 10, so I couldn't pad my Glee recording. Tonight I'm padding. I have learned.) Here's that last scene, with "Home:"

Posted by Kat at 08:49 AM | Comments (0)

April 17, 2010

Madonna Songs I Hope Are on Glee

Glee is doing an all-Madonna episode next week, and since I more or less missed the eighties, I'm somewhat less excited about this than many fans seem to be. The Jane Lynch version of "Vogue" is getting the most buzz, but I've actually never seen the original video, so I'm kind of meh about it. (Yes, I'll look up the video before Tuesday.) But here are some Madonna songs I actually know/like and hope they will include!

"Crazy for You"
"Papa Don't Preach" (Yes, they already sort of did this, but they can do it again, right? It's just too perfect!)
"Like a Prayer"
"Take a Bow" (Too bad the inevitable Jesse betrayal probably won't be happening yet, because this would be perfect for that.)
"Beautiful Stranger"
What songs are you hoping they do?

Posted by Kat at 04:04 PM | Comments (3)

April 13, 2010

Song of the Day: "Maybe This Time"

In case you haven't noticed, I'm really excited about Glee tonight. :) So, for our song of the day - "Maybe This Time" from Cabaret, as performed on Glee by Lea Michele and the incomparable Kristin Chenoweth.

Posted by Kat at 03:00 PM | Comments (0)

Happy Glee Day!

Glee returns from hiatus tonight. The fans (including me) are pretty excited. To put it mildly. You should give it a try, unless you hate music and funny things. Then you might not like it, I suppose. To those who have asked whether it is basically a TV version of High School Musical - no. Not at all. I mean, they are both about high schoolers involved in music programs, but the similarity pretty much ends there. Glee is much funnier, and smarter, and more adult. And it takes itself a lot less seriously.

There were two lines in the midseason finale that really encapsulated the reasons why I love this show. The first occurred when one of the students (Finn) asked the teacher why he always had to be the one to step up to the plate. Mr. Schuester's response: "Because sometimes being special sucks." So often, adolescents who are talented in some way (be it academically, musically, athletically, whatever) are told how lucky they are, and how many opportunities they have, without any acknowledgment from adults that there are drawbacks to being the different one, the special one, and that it can be a burden as much as a gift. So Mr. Schue's blunt statement was refreshing, and the show deals with this dichotomy well in general.

At the competition that comprises the climax of the first half of the season, the glee club discovers that they need to change the songs in their program at the last minute. When asked if she has a solo ballad she could sing, one of the main characters, Rachel, immediately responds with "Well, I do have something I've been working on since I was four." And I had one of those instant flashes of recognition of a kindred soul, because don't we all have something like that? Or, as I said to my mother when I was trying to explain why she should watch the show, "Haven't you spent forty years just waiting for someone to come along and say 'Help! We need someone who can recite The Sound of Music in its entirety, right now!'?" This scene was perfect wish fulfillment, for a character who often has a hard time of things on the show.

And here's the song she'd been practicing since she was four:

Watch tonight. Really.

Posted by Kat at 02:00 PM | Comments (0)

April 08, 2010

Matthew Morrison slays me.

Hey, I found some posts I started before Texas and never posted! Huh.

This scene from the mid-season finale makes me laugh and cry all at once, no matter how many times I see it. And I know it's all about Lea Michele, and she's completely amazing, of course, but I am just astonished by how much acting Morrison can do while sitting at a piano alone, not saying anything:

And, oh, never mind. I had a video here but it's been removed from YouTube. Argh. I would recommend watching the full episode, "Sectionals," here.

As a friend says, his duet with Kristin Chenoweth just kills me dead, every time:

Less than a week until new Glee!

Posted by Kat at 06:12 AM | Comments (1)

March 09, 2010

Watch this now. This means you.

Well, this means you if you are a fan of Bones or Glee or Smurfs or Joss Whedon or Neil Patrick Harris or Aerosmith. If you aren't a fan of any of those things, well, your life must be a little drab. I'm sorry. Anyway, there doesn't seem to be an embedding option, so you should head over to the Ausiello Files and watch the newest episode of ATV.

Posted by Kat at 10:23 PM | Comments (1)

February 22, 2010

Songs that should appear on Glee, Part I

Please tell me that I'm not the only Glee fan who now listens to the radio and thinks about who should sing which songs on the show. Here are a few that have occurred to me recently...

The Beach Boys - "Be True to Your School" (Some sort of vaguely ironic but still-adorable version)
Taylor Swift - "You Belong with Me" (Rachel to Finn, obviously)
Mariah Carey - "All I Want for Christmas is You" (Wait, Rachel's Jewish. This would be a great song for her voice, though.)
Lulu - "To Sir, With Love" (Everyone to Mr. Schue. They have to graduate eventually, right? This would be perfect.)
Cole Porter - "I've Got You Under My Skin" (I'd love them to do some older songs, and this would be great.)
The Beatles - "If I Fell" (Will on lead with Finn and Puck harmonizing.)

Posted by Kat at 05:00 PM | Comments (0)

February 17, 2010

I don't know why you say goodbye

Glee is coming back on April 13, and there's a new promo out!

And yeah, yeah, Madonna episode, whatever. The real news here? They apparently got the rights to a Beatles song ("Hello Goodbye"). Whoa.

Posted by Kat at 11:00 AM | Comments (2)

December 23, 2009

Hey Glee fans...

If you haven't yet seen this video made by Mark Salling (Puck) about how much he loves working on Glee... well, you should. It's adorable.

Posted by Kat at 09:26 AM | Comments (0)

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