Tag Archives: Cee Lo

A 2010 Musical Gleeview – My Picks for Glee’s Top Ten Musical Moments from Season 2 (so far)

New Year’s Eve is a time for getting so wasted that you forget your own name reflection.  As 2010 comes to a close, many of us will undoubtedly spend time crying into our tenth glass of champagne    making out with that dude in the corner with the tongue ring  looking back on the past year, and seeing how it “measures up” to previous years.  And I’ll be the first one to admit that all the gut checking and personal evaluation that we tend to do during these last few days of the year .  . . well . . . it kind of sucks. 

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But you know what doesn’t suck . . . evaluating TV shows, instead! 🙂

If you read entertainment magazines at all, or just spend time talking to TV viewers, you probably already know that Glee, while still a ratings darling, in every sense of the word, has, for many, fallen short of the high expectations it created for itself, during its spectacular premiere season.  (That vastly overused term “Sophomore Slump” has even been bandied about.)  And while I agree with a lot of the criticisms that have recently been lodged against the show, I still think that Glee gave us fans a lot to love this year . . .

But I’m going to talk about the musical performances, instead. 😉

What follows are (in no particular order) my picks for the Top Ten Musical Moments from the first half of Glee’s second season:

(1) “One Love” – Puck Puckerman and Artie Abrams (originally sung by Bob Marley)

One of my biggest complaints about the second season of Glee had to do with its CRIMINAL underuse of my FAVORITE character on the show, Mark Salling’s Bad Ass Bully with a Heart of Gold, Puck.  Yes, I do realize that Mark Salling was absent from the show for a few episodes, while he was promoting his own album.  But would it have KILLED the writers to throw the poor guy a bone or two, in the storyline department?  Wasn’t it bad enough they took his girlfriend, Quinn, away, and inexplicably paired her with that Macauley Culkin-look alike?

But I digress.  Puck’s single solo of the season thus far, came in the form of a mellow Bob Marley cover, sung while strumming on an acoustic guitar, during lunchtime, at McKinley High.  At first blush, one would think that Salling’s Puck and Kevin McHale’s Artie would be an odd choice to sing this particular duet.  Yet, Puck’s rebel mystique and crushed velvet voice  complimented Kevin McHale’s Artie’s Elvis Costello-esque geek chic mystique surprisingly well.  See for yourself!

You see?  A little Puck can go a LONG way in making this blogger happy! 🙂

 

(2) “Forget You” – Holly Holiday (originally sung by Cee Lo)

Initially, when I read that (1) the often stodgy-seeming Gwyneth Paltrow would be guest starring on Glee, to promote her star turn in the upcoming music-heavy film, Courtry Strong; and (2) she would be performing a neutered version of Cee Lo’s “F*&k You,” (a song who’s success is largely based on its ingenious pairing of an innocent Motown backbeat with highly explicit lyrics) I was extremely skeptical.  Yet, when the actual episode aired, I was surprised by the inherent likeability and youthful energy Paltrow put into the Holiday character.  And “Forget You,” while admittedly no where near as awesome as the original “F*&k You,” was fun and compulsively watchable in its own unique way.  After all, Cee Lo’s version of the song doesn’t feature Heather Morris’ Brittany doing “The Robot,” in time with the music!

Check it out!

(3) “Sweet Transvestite” – Mercedes Jones (originally sung by Tim Curry)

Speaking of neutered versions of racy songs that surprisingly didn’t suck on Glee . . . many Rocky Horror Picture Show fans were initially up in arms, upon hearing that Glee writers chose a FEMALE to play the iconic Dr. Frank-N-Furter (a role made famous by actor, Tim Curry, in the original film, thirty-five years earlier) in their incarnation of the cult-classic musical.  And yet, while the bizarre way the show’s writers chose to censor this song boggles my mind (She couldn’t say “transsexual?”  But “transvestite” was OK?), as Mercedes, Amber Riley put a clever twist on the well-loved song, giving it a spunky feminine naughtiness that was entirely her own . . .

(4) “Teenage Dream” – Blaine and the Warblers (originally sung by Katy Perry)

Going along with my “if you want to change the entire meaning of a song, simply change the sex of the singer” theme, I was super impressed by Darren Criss’ Blaine and his Dalton Academy Warbler’s rendition of Katy Perry’s “Teenage Dream” in Glee‘s sixth episode, entitled “Never Been Kissed.”  While the original song is poppy, syrupy sweet, and generally “girlicious,” this Glee version is old-school snappy (something you could picture Frank Sinatra or Sammy Davis Jr. singing), thought-provoking, and, yes, VERY, VERY GAY. 

(Then again, that last characteristic may have more to do with the Warblers — in their Harry Potter Gryffindor robes, singing about “skintight jeans,” and dancing like Carlton from the Fresh Prince of Bel Air — than with the song itself.)

(5)  “Just the Way You Are” – Finn Hudson (originally sung by Bruno Mars)

In the eighth episode of Glee‘s second season, entitled “Furt,” Kurt’s dad, Burt, and Finn’s mom, Carol, got married amongst the entire cast of Glee and some underpaid extras  family and friends.  During the reception, in a sweet and highly emotional moment, Finn, who, up to this point had always been kind of a homophobe, embraced (both literally and metaphorically) his new homosexual stepbrother, Kurt, by dedicating the above-referenced Bruno Mars song to him.  The result was a poignant and uplifting musical extravaganza that you can witness in its entirety here.

(6) “Me Against the Music” – Brittany S. Pearce and Santana Lopez (originally sung by Britney Spears and Madonna)

In contrast to the previously listed songs on this countdown — most of which were selected for their unique interpretations of popular music — this musical number was selected due to the obvious appreciation that its creators have for the original version.  When it originally aired, the Britney Spears’ themed “Brittany/Britney” episode of Glee was much maligned for its almost complete lack of a cohesive storyline, and its synthetic (and at times just plain weird) Extended Music Video on Acid (or, perhaps more appropriately, Laughing Gas) quality. 

And yet, it was this episode that was responsible for finally displaying to Glee fans the long hidden talents of Heather Morris.  Who knew the daffy and childlike Brittany had such hot moves, or such a sweet, pop song-friendly voice?  The performance (which was part of a dream sequence, shared by both Brittany, herself, and Naya Rivera’s Santana) is an almost frame-by -rame recreation of the original “Me Against the Music” video, performed by Britney Spears and Madonna.  In this incarnation, Brittany gives a surprising amount of grace and class to the role of pop tart, Spears, while Santana expertly embodies the older, more sophisticated, Madonna.

(7)  “Baby It’s Cold Outside” – Kurt Hummel and Blaine  (originally sung by Everybody and Their Mother)

I’m not usually a fan of Christmas music.  But even I have to admit that Chris Colfer’s Kurt and Darren Criss’ Blaine did a bang-up job of breathing fresh new life into a VERY OVERPLAYED holiday anthem.  Not only does the song look and sound different, because it is being sung by two men (as opposed to a male and a female), it also features an oddly ironic and humorous tone, thanks to Colfer’s and Criss’ playful intonations and liberal use of self-aware facial mugging. 

Kurt and Blaine are sweet with one another, and have an obvious romantic chemistry.  And yet, they aren’t taking themselves or the song too seriously, which I, as a Holiday Song Cynic, found extremely refreshing.  Filmed in the living room-like confines of Dalton Academy’ s study lounge (complete with working fireplace and Yulelog), the mood of the performance is as casual and comforting as its two likeable leads.

(8 ) “Stop in the Name of Love / Free Your Mind” Mashup – The Glee Boys (originally sung by The Supremes – “Stop in the Name of Love” and En Vogue “Free Your Mind”)

Glee‘s mashups tend to be either hit or miss with me.  And, lately, I think the show has started to go a bit overboard with its seemingly compulsive need to throw ANY two completely unrelated songs together just because the producers think it might “sound cool.”  But, for me, this particular mashup REALLY WORKED. 

Who would have thought that a 60’s squeaky clean pop tune like “Stop in the Name of Love” would complement En Vogues’ Angry Anthem for Racial and Sexual Tolerance so well?  The fact that the song is performed as a tribute to one of my new favorite Glee characters, Coach Shannon Beiste . . .

. . . and features the typically ripped t-shirt and leater-clad Puck in a POWDER BLUE SUIT, only adds to its charm!

(9) “Telephone” – Rachel Berry and Sunshine Corazon (originally sung by Beyonce and Lady Gaga)

When Fox started promoting Glee’s Second Season, much press was given to the recent addition of Internet sensation and Filipino pop star Charice to the cast.  The actress had her primetime debut in the first episode of the Second Season.  She played Sunshine Corazon, a 9th grade foreign exchange student with an innocent charming demeanor and a powerful singing voice. 

The Sunshine character was featured in not one, but TWO songs during that episode, which was entitled “Audition.”  During those two performances, she quickly proved herself to be everything she was hyped up to be, and then some.  Then, inexplicably, the character TRANSFERRED SCHOOLS!  She hasn’t been seen or heard from since!  Talk about a TEASE!

“You mean to tell me that I flew halfway across the world for under TWENTY MINUTES of screen time?  WTF?”

Fox’s bait-and-switch tactics notwithstanding, Charice’s Sunshine Corazon, along with Lea Michele’s Rachel Berry, starred in what was, in my opinion, one of the most fun and creative musical performances of the first half of the second season.  I strongly suspect that when Beyonce and Lady Gaga wrote and performed the music video for “Telephone” they never envisioned that one of the most popular covers of the song would be filmed in a high school bathroom! 

“Whatchu talkin’ about, Glee?”

In terms of the song, Lea Michele’s voice complements Charice’s perfectly, as if the two were born to sing together.  But the performance actually made this list for two definitively non-musical reasons: (1) the clever way in which Sunshine’s bubbly cuteness is used to highlight Rachel Berry’s b*tchface, and increasingly grating diva dramatics; and (2) the AWESOME ending of the video, where Jane Lynch’s Sue Sylvester tells the girls to “SHUT UP!”  (You see, while I’m at home, watching Glee on my couch, I tell Rachel Berry to “SHUT UP” at least once, during just about every single episode of Glee!  In that moment, I felt like Sue Sylvester read my mind.)

Either Rachel Berry is really angry at me right now, for making the above comment, or she is just extremely constipated.

In case you are interested in checking out Sunshine Corazon’s also fabulous performance of “Listen” (from the musical Dreamgirls ), which was also featured in this episode, you can find it here.

10) “I Wanna Hold Your Hand” – Kurt Hummel (originally sung by The Beatles)

In an episode entitled “Grilled Cheesus” — which was arguably the most controversial hour in the Glee’s short history — Kurt’s father Burt suffers a heart attack, and falls into a coma.  Burt’s hospitalization calls to the forefront the Glee kids widely varying feelings about God and religion.  Kurt himself just so happens to be an atheist, a fact that deeply troubles some of the more religious characters on the show, who wish to provide him comfort and solace in the only way they know how, through prayer. 

In a Five-Hanky Speech, toward the end of the episode, Kurt explains to his classmates that, while he doesn’t believe in God, he does believe in his father, and the strength of their extremely close relationship.  For him, this worldly relationship surpasses any sort of spiritual one. Kurt then breaks into a sorrowful rendition of The Beatles, “I Wanna Hold Your Hand.” 

As Kurt sings, the performance is intercut with fond memories Kurt has of his father and his childhood.  During those scenes, Young Kurt is played by a 13-year old actor named Adam Kolkin.  The two actors look so much alike, it’s truly shocking that they are not related.  (Way to GO, Casting Directors!  You get a cookie! :))

The cumulative impact of Kurt’s speech, his musical performance, and those heart-wrenching flashback scenes was something that stayed with me, long after the final credits rolled on this episode.

So, there you have it, my Top Ten Musical Moments from the first half of Glee‘s Second Season.  Did I miss any of your favorites? 

[www.juliekushner.com]

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Filed under Glee, music, Top Ten Lists

Will Sing (and Dance) for Tater Tots – A Recap of Glee’s “The Substitute”

Question:  Which actress’ name first comes to mind, when you hear the words “tater tots?”

If your answer wasn’t Gwyneth Paltrow, you probably didn’t watch last night’s episode of Glee.  Kind of ironic isn’t it?  Here’s an actress that probably never ATE a tater tot in her life.  And now, she will be forever associated with a food that Sue Sylvester says looks like Deep Fried Deer Poop . . .

Bambi would not approve . . .

“My poop is WAY prettier than that!”

But enough about deer poop, let’s talk about “The Substitute!”

The Trouble with Monkey Flu . . .

“Hey!  What are you looking at ME for?  I didn’t do it!”

When the episode first opens, Poor Will Schuester is just minding his own business, and heading off to class.  Little does he know, that he is about to have the WORST DAY EVER!  It all starts, when Sue Sylvester announces that she has become interim principal of McKinley High School .  . .

Why, you ask?  Well, apparently, Principal Figgins has caught the monkey flu, because some student carrying the virus, sneezed on him, at Sue’s behest.

I’m guessing that McKinley High spends so much money on the Cheerios, that it can’t afford to hire a Vice Principal, for when these sort of situations occur . . .  Also, Sue conveniently has a “Principal Clause” in her “Cheerios Coach Contract.”  Whatever that means . . .

So, about five seconds later, this same girl sneezes on Will.  And then about five minutes minutes after that (or maybe it’s the next day . . . it’s always really hard to mark time passage on this show), Will is showing signs of “monkey flu sickness,” himself.

One second, his Glee Club looks normal (well, normal for them at least . . .)

The next second, they look like this . . .

I kind of like most of them better this way, actually . . .

Next thing you know, Will is home sick in bed.  Catering to Sick Will’s needs is . . . HIS EVIL PREGNANCY-FAKING SHREW OF AN EX WIFE, TERRI?

Except . . . Terri’s actually being kind of nice.  She’s doing things for Will, like feeding him soup . . .

 . . . and bringing him his favorite DVD to watch while he’s sick (Singing in the Rain), and rubbing menthol on his back, and . . . HAVING SEX WITH HIM?

Now, don’t get me wrong.  I like a Shirtless Schuester just as much as the next girl.   But there’s just something about watching a sick, hallucinatory, feverish Will, screwing that disgustingly horrible witch Terri, that makes me throw up in my mouth a little . . .

My sentiments exactly, Emma . . .

When Will is not busy screwing The Evil One, he keeps his sick self busy, by watching Singing in the Rain.  As a result, he has a dream that he and Mike Chang are starring in the classic musical . . .

In the dream sequence, the pair sing and dance to that INSANELY OLD song, “Make EM’ Laugh.”  (Well, actually Will sings, and Mike just dances, which is what Mike does best, anyway.)  I’ve been told by those significantly more educated in show tunes than myself, that the number was an almost frame-by-frame replica of the performance in the film.  I don’t know if that’s true or not . . .

All I know, is that I really liked the part in it where they did flips off the wall.  That was very cool!

 Meanwhile . . .

Glee Club Gets a New Look . . .

In Mr. Schuester’s absence, Rachel tries to take over Glee Club . . .

But . . . basically, nobody likes Rachel not even most fans of Glee.  So Kurt, commandeers substitute teacher, Holly Holliday (a.k.a. SPECIAL GUEST STAR Gwyneth Paltrow) to run the club instead.  We know Holly is a “fun” teacher, because she teaches her Spanish class about how many times Lindsay Lohan was in rehab (It was five, in case you were wondering . . .) . . .

“I RULE!”

 . . . and sings Conjunction Junction (from School House Rock) to her English class  . . .

Right . . . because there are SO many high school students, who don’t know their “ands” from their “buts” . . .

Ms. Holliday’s manner of teaching Glee Club is also a bit untraditional.  Unlike Will, who can be rather set in his ways (“Come on!  There’s gotta be a Journey song we haven’t done yet?”),  Holly’s all about being “loose,” and going with the flow.  (“Let’s go to Taco Bell, and toke up!”)  She even goes so far as to  . . .  ask the kids what songs THEY want to sing for Sectionals.

Shocking, right?

Puck is the first to volunteer a song.

He suggests, “that new song from Cee Lo, ‘Forget You.'”

At which point, the ENTIRE Glee Club (except Rachel, because she’s lame), yells back, “The song’s called F*&K YOU . . .  MOTHERF*&Ker!”  (Or, at least they would have said that, had they been REAL HIGH SCHOOL KIDS, and not actors on a “family show” airing on Fox at 8 p.m.) 

(Come on!  I would expect “title neutering” from other Glee kids — like Rachel, for example — but NOT PUCK!  No wonder those kids in juvie kicked his ass . . .)

Puck’s Faux Pas aside, I have to say, I was pleasantly surprised by Gwyneth and the Glee kids’ “Family / Female Oriented” (She switched all the “he’s” to “she’s” and vice-versa.) version of Cee Lo’s iconic song.

Sure, the removal of the explicit lyrics took away a bit of the original song’s edge, but Gwyneth’s interpretation was fun and funky, in its own way.  But for me, it was the kids’ dancing that really made the number for me.  Brittany’s Robot Moves, in particular, cracked me up . . .

from the Vegemaryam Tumblr

Rachel didn’t seem to enjoy it, as much as I did, however . . .

“Kurt, have you been putting garlic on your tater tots again.  Your breath stinks!”

Later, when Rachel spies Holly and Sue bonding over “Animal Hoarders (?)” and red wine . . .

 . . . she quickly becomes worried that someone ELSE might actually get a friggin solo at Sectionals Holly will permanently usurp Will’s role as Glee Club coach.  So, of course, she rushes to Will’s home to tell him as much. 

As it turns out, Rachel’s fears were well-founded.  Because, when Will returns to the school, Sue DOES actually FIRE HIM!

And if you believe this firing is going to last, I have a Grilled Cheesus I’m selling on E-Bay for $20,000.

Buy it as a Christmas Gift for your loved one!

Sue Gets Humiliated by The Beiste / Takes it out on THE TOTS

Firing Will wasn’t the only change “Principal Sue” tried to make at McKinley High in Figgins’ absence.  She also tried to ban chairs?  (Yeah, I didn’t get it either.) 

 However, the poo REALLY hit the fan, when Sue tries, once again, to oust her other nemesis (aside from Will), Coach Beiste, by disbanding the football team.

“Who are your Cheerios going to cheer for, then?”  Beiste inquires calmly.

Honestly, there were ANY NUMBER of things Sue could have said in response to this.  But the most obvious replies are:

(1) There are other sports teams at this school, aside from your STINKIN’ football team; and

(2) We are a NATIONALLY RANKED Cheerleading squad.  We compete in NATIONAL COMPETITIONS.  Haven’t you ever seen Bring it On, or any of its 85,000 straight-to-DVD sequels?

And yet Sue, the Queen of the One Liners, was suddenly at a loss for words?  (What’s a matter Sue.   Karofsky got your tongue?)

Anyway, Sue is so EMBARRASSED (as she should be) about being bested by The Beiste, that she decides to rile up the student population by REMOVING TATER TOTS FROM THE LUNCH MENU.

Mercedes — who has been having a hard enough time coping with the fact that her BFF Kurt has started “seeing” Harry Potter Blaine, and now he only wants to hang out with him, and talk about “gay stuff” . . .

Gleeks tumblr

“Oh my gosh!  Every time I open my mouth, a little pink purse comes out!”

 . . . is CRAZY PISSED about the whole “No Tots” thing.  And so, she confronts, Sue about it.  Sue responds by showing Mercedes this . . .

And, just in case you are curious, that thing that Sue is holding in her hand is neither a toilet brush (as Mercedes suggests) . . .

 . . . nor, is it part of the tree where the Gummi Bears used to live, in that adorable cartoon from the late 80’s / early 90’s . . .

 . . . as Brittany suggests.   It’s broccoli. 

(Actually, I’d have to agree with Mercedes on this one.  Although, not about the toilet brush thing.  She’s on her own, on that one.  As far as vegetables go, broccoli is one of the lamer ones.  It’s got a mealy consistency, and ALWAYS gets stuck in your teeth. )

Did I mention that when Mercedes comes to Sue’s office, the New Principal calls her “Jackee?”

“Oh HELL, NO!”

And yet, despite Mercedes starting of a Tot Riot, Sue’s ban on the “Deep Fried Deer Poop” stays.  In fact, so many parents like the idea of their kids eating healthy, they petition for Sue to become principal PERMANENTLY.  

Can they do that?  I’m not really sure they can do that . . . Wait, why am I pretending like this show is at all RATIONAL?

Holly Tells Rachel that She Sucks.  The World Nods in Agreement

Well, that Holly is damn near perfect, isn’t she?  When Rachel starts bitching to her about how the “gangsta rap” they did in class earlier, hurt her back, Holly responds by saying, “Rachel, you suck!”

Then Rachel proves precisely just how much she sucks, when Holly tries to win the girl over, by allowing the Diva to perform the song of her choice.  “I was thinking of something fun, upbeat and glamorous with a good dance beat,” says Rachel.

So what “fun, upbeat and glamorous” song does Rachel pick to perform with Holly?  You guessed it . . . another show tune . . .

The song chosen one of the lesser known numbers from the musical Chicago.  (“Hot Honey Rag”?)  And what I recall most about it, was Rachel’s not-so-hot-honey-rag attempt at doing a cartwheel.  (Don’t worry, Rachel.  I can’t do them either.)  The Glee Kids really seemed to like it, though . . .

Then again, they like EVERYTHING .  . .

Well . . . ALMOST everything.

Holly Gets Fired / Kurt Gets Threatened / Mercedes Gets Made to Feel Like Deep Fried Deer Poop

Back to that weird Tater Tots Storyline . . . apparently, with Holly’s OK, Mercedes stuck tater tots in the tail pipe of Sue’s car.  As a result, Mercedes got suspended, and Holly got fired.  Then, to add insult to injury, Kurt tells Mercedes that because she (1) eats tater tots; and (2) has a gay best friend,  she MUST really be hungry for a man . . . specifically, THIS MAN . . .

WAY better looking than Tater Tots . . .

Now, while I’d LOVE to see Mercedes date that sexy stud pictured above, as much as the next gal . . .  I have to say, I’m not really digging the message this storyline sends to overweight teens (or teens with gay best friends, for that matter). 

Contrary to popular belief, not EVERY high school girl needs a boyfriend to be happy.  And not every girl who occasionally indulges in unhealthy foods is “eating her feelings.”  Whatever happened to the days (Season 1), when Mercedes tried to starve herself, but ultimatelylearned to love her body, and sang “Beautiful” to the school auditorium?  Seriously!

Then again . . . I’d probably sacrifice a few tater tots for THIS GUY. . .

Actually, I hate tater tots.  So, the decision would be a fairly easy one.

But you know who I WOULDN’T give up tots for .  . .

Talk about mixed signals!  One second, Karofsky is creepily winking at Kurt, and shouting out, “Hey Homo,” the next he’s even more creepily threatening his life.  What gives, Scary Bully Dude?

Will’s Return / Holly’s Story / Yet Another Musical Interlude

Later in the episode, Sue gives Will back his job, after all the Glee kids come to her office, “singing” his praises.  My favorite “praise,” however, came from Brittany who says:  “Will taught me the second half of the alphabet.  M and N seemed so similar that I got frustrated, and stopped.”

You know . . . she kind of has a point.

Later, Holly visits Will at his home, to apologize for trying to steal his job.   She also explains to him (and us) why she’s been a substitute teacher for 10 years, rather than seeking out more permanent employment. 

(10 years?  Either substitute teachers get paid A LOT of dough in “Lima,” or Holly’s been eating A LOT of cat food, this past decade . . .) 

As it turns out, some student named Cameo, who, according to Holly, looked like “an attractive Biggie Smalls.”

For the record, Biggie, I always thought you were MAD studly . . . RIP Dude. 

 . . . punched her in the face?  Weird . . . 

When Holly’s and Will’s romantic(?) interlude is interrupted by the EVVVVVVILLLL Terri, Holly makes me like her yet AGAIN, by telling Will, “Your wife is kind of a b*tch!”  (You got THAT right, sister!) 

Then Will kicks Terri out, telling her the Monkey Flu Sex was a mistake.  (Good call, Mr. Man Slut.)

It’s a damn good thing you’re pretty, Will . . . Because you kind of suck at life.

The episode concludes with Holly inexplicably wearing a Mary Todd Lincoln costume . . .

 . . . which she THANKFULLY changes out of to perform a mashup of “Singing in the Rain” and Rihanna’s “Umbrella” with Will and the Glee kids . . .

And while I am Hella, Hella, Hella sick of the Umbrella, ella, ella song, I did enjoy all the “puddle jumping” the Glee kids did on stage.  It reminded me of playing in the rain, when I was young.  Although . . . you’ve really gotta wonder about the McKinley High School budget, when they can’t even afford to plug up the leaky pipes in the auditorium . . . That water bill must be INSANE!

[www.juliekushner.com]

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