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Sam and Quinn are adorable. But . . . what the Puck? – A Recap of Glee’s “Duets”

“Quinn, what the f*ck?  He’s not even a natural blonde!  At least with me, you already know what our babies will look like  . . . With him, it’s a total crap shoot.”

Let me start by saying that I ADORED this week’s episode of Glee.  Sure, before last night, I had never heard about 75% of the songs the cast performed.  (Who knew my lack of knowledge about Barbara Streisand, and 70’s musicals, would be such a handicap, when recapping a show about singing high schoolers!)  Yet, the episode was FUN, the performances – stellar, the dialogue — witty and realistic . . . well . . . at least about as realistic as dialogue on this show could get.

HOWEVER . . .  I had two BIG problems with “Duets.”  Here’s one . . .

“The horror!”

 . . . and here’s the other . . .

“This is SO uncool, man.”

For Puck’s part, his absence was explained away, early in the episode.  According to Mr. Schue, he’s in JUVIE.

Just don’t drop that soap, pal.  I hear those communal showers can be a little .  . . HARD.

Puck’s infraction?  Something having to do with a convenience store and ATM.  Unfortunately, I was too busy screaming, crying, and throwing my shoes at the television to really hear the explanation.

I REALLY should have forked over the extra cash for that warranty . . .

Now, as my mother calmly explained to me, as I proceeded to have a nervous breakdown to her over the phone, during one of the commercial  breaks, Puck’s temporary absence was necessary, plotwise, to enable the inevitable, Quinn / Samm (Quisamm?) relationship to blossom.

It starts with holding hands, it ends with holding *&$%s.

Besides, Mark Salling (who plays Puck) is busy finishing up and promoting his new album, Pipe DreamsSo, in all fairness, the guy is probably entitled to a day off or two.  But SUE?  Well, her absence was just inexcusable . . .

Glee staff writers, HOW,  I repeat, HOW could you create an episode that was both SUE-less AND PUCK-less?  Need I remind you, that this is the last episode before Glee enters a NOT ONE, but TWO-week hiatus?  Given that fact, this week’s TOTAL and COMPLETE lack of “Bad Boy” and “Bad Woman” was just majorly CRUEL!

See, you’ve gone and made Mr. Schue, CRY!  You should be ASHAMED OF YOURSELVES!

*takes a deep breath*

OK . . . I’m better now.  Let’s get on with the recap, shall we?

Meet Sam I Am (Gay?)

When the episode opens, Will begins glee club practice by making three anouncements.  The first concerns the absence of Puck .  . .


The second involves the introduction of New Kid, Sam, to Glee Club.  Sam hails from an All Boys Boarding School . . . and all that implies.

Coincidentally, do you think all that “communal showering” Sam did back at board school can account for his OBVIOUS penchant for walking around HALF NAKED throughout most of this episode?

Not that I’m complaining . . .

So, anyway, Sam introduces himself to the Gleeks by making a VERY lame Green Eggs and Ham reference.

Said reference proved precisely TWO THINGS about this character.  (1) He can read up to at least first-grade level, putting him leaps and bounds above SOME other Glee club members . . .

“Sam I Am?  Brittany I am!”

 . . . and (2) just in case any of you out there thought this guy was “too cool” to be a Gleek, he’s DEFINITELY NOT!

While he is in front of the class, Chatty Cathies Kurt and Mercedes take this time to size up the “Fresh Meat.”

“He’s on Team Gay.  No straight boy dies his hair to look like Linda Evangelista circa 1993,” whispers Kurt knowingly.

Coincidentally, 1993 was probably also the year the Kurt character was BORN.  (Watch those pop culture references, Glee writers!)

And, yet . . . the kid DOES have a point . . .

For his third announcement, Mr. Schue announces that New Directions will be having a “Duet Competition.”  The winning pair is to receive a dinner for two at The Olive Garden Breadsticks . . .

 . . . a restaurant, whose big claim to fame is . . . you guessed it . . . All You Can Eat Breadsticks . . .

OK . . . Is anyone else REALLY hungry right now?

To Couple, or NOT To Couple

Within moments, we are treated to our first of many obligatory Shirtless Sam shots, when Kurt accosts the Newbie in the men’s locker room and practically demands to be his “duets” partner.

“*sings*Gimme a head with hair.  Long, beautiful dyed hair.  Shining, gleaming, streaming, flaxen, waxen . . . Oh . . . I’m sorry Kurt.  Were you trying to ask me something?”

He’s going to have to think about it . . .

Meanwhile, in Sort of/ Kind of Lesbi-land, Brittany and Santana are laying on Brittany’s bed and TOTALLY MACKING ON EACHOTHER! 


And, I mean, they are really going at it.  In fact, I haven’t seen this much girl-on-girl action in a show about high schoolers since . . .um . . . ever.

Observe the telltale Post-Sex Head.

Things seem to be going great for “Brittana,” what with Brittany cooing over “Sweet Lady Kisses,” and Santana making surprisingly naughty (especially for 8 p.m. on Fox) references to “scissoring.” 

But then, Brittany mentions the duet competition.  Suddenly, Santana halts the Massive Makeout Session, and gets all huffy.  (That’s NOT WHAT I MEANT!  Get your mind out of the gutter!) 

“I’m not making out with you because I want to  . . . sing about making lady babies.  It’s just that with Puck gone, I need to get my mack on,” scoffs Santana.

Poor Brittany looks totally crushed by her lover / bestie’s massive KISS OFF.  In fact, it’s probably a good thing she ISN’T a guy, otherwise she would TOTALLY have a pair of THESE right now . . .

Rather than lead Brittany on more than she already has, Santana opts instead for an unlikely duet partnership with Mercedes, since the two share such complementary voices and styles.  If you recall, these two ALREADY sang one duet to the song “The Boy is Mine” last season, back when both divas were battling for PUCK’S affections.  (See, it always comes BACK TO PUCK!  WE WANT PUCK!  WE WANT PUCK!)

Meanwhile, Finn badgers Kurt about ruining Sam’s reputation, by performing a duet with him.  Later, in one of their trademark touching scenes, Kurt’s dad (who seems to be recovering quite nicely from his heart attack, by the way) surprises Kurt, by calling him out for aggressively trying to “out” people who may not be ready to do so.

Kurt, in a surprising show of self-sacrifice, ultimately gives up the opportunity to partner with Sam, leaving the new kid and his INSANE abs free to pair up with Quinn.

Meanwhile, in the Oddest Pairing of the Century, Brittany starts dating Artie . . .

  . . . she does this despite the fact that, for while, she thought he was a robot . . .

“Before we duet, we are going to do it,” says Brittany, in her trademark emotionless deadpan.  

And with that, the Dumb Blonde lifts Artie up, and carries him to the same bed where she was macking on Santana, a few scenes ago.  And then they . . . ACTUALLY DO IT!

So, just in case you were keeping score, that makes our final couples for the Duet Competition:

(1) Rachel and Finn (duh!)

(2) Mike and Tina (double duh!)

(3) Mercedes and Santana

(4) Quinn and Puck Sam

(5) Brittany and Artie

(6) Kurt and . . . um .  . . Kurt

Let’s see how they did . . .

Rachel and Finn – Like Grease 2, only with Nuns . . .

It seems that the Glee writers have been reading our recaps, in which we all bitched and moaned about how utterly detestable Rachel has been since the beginning of this season.  Because this week, they had to go and make her a SAINT . . . well .  . . at least a nun.  (I wonder how long THAT’S going to last!)

It all started while Rachel and Finn were practicing their first choice of song for the duet’s competition, “Don’t Go Breaking My Heart” (originally performed by Elton John and Kiki Dee).

When it was all over, Rachel surprised Finn (and the ENTIRE VIEWING PUBLIC) by wondering if the performance was simply “too good.”

Self-absorbed, personal recognition-grubbing diva, say WHAT?

Apparently, some time between this episode and last, Rachel randomly decided that she is . . . SELFISH.

 So, she decides she wants to be a better person.  Being a better person apparently starts with improving the Glee Club’s moral.  And, in order to do this, she and Finn must THROW THE DUET COMPETITION!

“Clearly, the apocalypse has come to McKinley High.  I never should have eaten that Grilled Cheesus.”

Of course, I commend Rachel for her new found generosity.  And, yes, Iagree with her that, lately Glee New Directions has become “The Rachel Show,” so change was definitely needed.  However, I have to say, I was surprised by who Rachel selected to “win” the competition. 

Why the New Kid?  Wouldn’t it make sense for one of the more seasoned, and more frequently shafted Gleeks to get a chance to shine?  Like . . . say . . . MIKE CHANG . . .

Nevertheless, Finn and Rachel begin concocting their “evil” plot to foil the competition.  Suddenly, Rachel has an idea.

She randomly recalls how inferior Grease 2 was to the original Grease, and attributes that negative comparison to Grease 2’s poorly written songs.

Now, while I’ll admit that most of the songs in Grease 2 did, in fact, suck, I will ALWAYS love me some C-O-O-L-R-I-D-E-R!  Come on, tell me that was NOT classic!

And so, in a move that would make those guys from The Producers proud, Rachel and Finn decide on a performance that is so “offensive” they can’t possibly win.  The song they choose is called “With You I’m Born Again,” and it was originally sung by Billy Preston. 

Yes, it was bad.  But, honestly, at first, I didn’t really get what exactly everybody thought was so “offensive” about it.  And based on the message boards I perused after viewing the episode, many of you didn’t, either.  So, I did some research. 

As it turns out, “With You I’m Born Again,” is all about spiritual awakening through . . . sex.   So, yeah . . . a song about sex, sung by a nun and a priest, who can’t have ANY SEX . . . ever . . . well . . . I guess that could be construed as kind of offensive. 

Then again, wasn’t that what the ENTIRE Sister Act movie was about?

Tina and Mike – MIKE CHANG FINALLY SANG! . . . sort of.

Now, if you’ve read my Gleecaps before, you know I was particularly excited about this plotline.  After all, I’ve been giving Good Ole Mike Chang quite the hard time for failing to sing (or talk much) throughout the show’s entire first season.  But hey, I guess can complain no more!  After all, in his duet with Tina this week, Mike Chang had more “speaking” (and “singing”) lines than he had ALL FIRST SEASON combined . .

When we first visit Tina and Mike, we see that things haven’t been quite so rosy, since the couple left Asian Math Camp.

Mike’s awesome abs, notwithstanding.

You see, Mike’s really big into his culture.  And he shows this, by repeatedly taking Tina on dates for Dim Sum.  Did I mention that HIS MOM always comes along?

As if that wasn’t bad enough, Tina wants to do is just once eat a salad that doesn’t have Chicken Feet in it, and Mike wants to go to ASIAN COUPLES THERAPY?

“I bet I’m starting to look REALLY good now, aren’t I Tina.”

To further complicate matters, Mike, who can dance like a dream, REALLY CAN’T SING, which is ironic since GLEE CLUB is for SINGING PEOPLE.  And yet, Tina and Mike make this work to their advantage by performing their duet to song “Sing” from “Chorus Line.” 

During the song, Mike basically talks to music about how he can’t . . . sing . . . and Tina finishes his sentences.  Through it all Mike does an awesomely comic little dance.  In short, I loved it.

This almost makes up for an ENTIRE season of laziness, Mike . . . almost.  Just stop taking your mom on your dates, will ya?

Santana and Mercedes – Rockin the Tina Turner Tune

In terms of a recap, I really don’t have much more to say about this duet.  Santana and Mercedes rocked out to Tina Turner’s “River Deep, Mountain High,” another song I had never heard before this episode.  The song highlighted both girls’ vocal range extremely well.  But, of course, it was the duo’s sexy sassy dance that really made it their own.

By the way, does it bother anyone else that the Cheerios ALWAYS wear their uniforms? 

Sometimes when I see them, I feel like I’m watching some cartoon where the characters always wear the same thing — like Charlie Brown or The Simpsons. 

 That CAN’T be hygenic.  I mean seriously, how many versions of that leotard to those girls have.  Is it like Ronald McDonald, and those wacky suits he always wears?

Do you think that when you open up Brittany or Santana’s closet, and it’s just filled with Cheerios uniforms?   Finn and Puck are athletes, and you don’t see THEM wearing their smelly uniforms everyday. 

I just don’t get it . . .

Britt and Artie are SO NOT Lady and The Tramp

Remember that iconic scene from The Lady and the Tramp where the titular couple goes on their first date to the Italian restaurant, and they share that one strand of spaghetti?  And then Tramp pushes the last meatball with his nose over to Lady so she can eat it?

Come on!  Who of you out there DIDN’T hope to reenact that scene with your significant other one day?  Well, apparently Brittany was no different.  In fact, her dream was to win the duets competition, and take Artie to Breadsticks so they could “do it” together. 

But then Santana came along, and had to f&*k everything up.

She told Artie that Brittany was using him for his voice, and that the only thing he could get her that she didn’t already have was “super choice parking.”

(I’d put an “Oh Snap” here, if that line wasn’t so gosh darn offensive . . .)

Artie is understandably crushed.  After all, Brittany took his virginity for crying out loud.  He dumps her, and quickly drops out of the competition.  In a sad and pathetic, but still kinda funny final scene, we see Brittany eating at Breadsticks alone, pushing her meatball to NOBODY.  I guess that’s what you get for being such a TRAMP.  (pun intended).

Kurt and Kurt (and, later Kurt and Rachel)

If you recall, Kurt gave up Sam as a partner, leaving him with none.  So, Kurt decides to sing with the Glee club member he likes best . . . himself.  Kurt performs “Le Hot Jazz” from the play “Victor Victoria,” dressed in half drag. (Though admittedly the “girl” side looked more “Guy who REALLY  likes Makeup” than “Female.”  Maybe this is because, on Broadway, the song is typically performed a by a woman.)

Anyway, once Kurt starts singing, magically, all these professional dancers appear on stage to perform with him.  You know what I call that?  Cheating. 

Though, I have to admit, they did put on quite the show . . .

Toward the end of the episode, Lobotomized Nice Rachel approaches Kurt and lets him know that the rest of the Glee Club loves him.  She sweetly tells him that even though he is lonely, he isn’t alone. 

OK . . . that’s it . . . tell me what you’ve done with the REAL Rachel!

Together the pair sing a mashup of “Come on Get Happy” and “Happy Days” are here again.  Sources tell me, this same mashup was sung by Judy Garland and Barbara Streisand on network television some time back.  Whereever the song came from, it made me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

And the winners are . . . Sam and Quinn

From the moment Quinn started washing that Slushee out of Sam’s hair, the chemistry between those two was pretty intense.  Things only got hotter when he tried to teach her how to play guitar by groping her and grazing her breasts with his hands delicately placing her fingers on the strings.  But when Sam tried to kiss Quinn, she FREAKED OUT.

Why?  Well clearly not because she’s a virgin . . .

Actually, Quinn had good reason to be tentative about jumping into a new relationship.  She has been through a lot this past season.   So, she was eager to return to just being a normal teenager / cheerleader / Mean Girl.  Quinn abruptly tells Sam she doesn’t want to sing with him, and takes off.

Later, with the matchmaking help of Rachel and Finn, the pair reconcile.  Together, they sing Jason Mraz and Colbie Caillat’s “Lucky.”  And, in the words of Santana, the performance is “so friggin charming,” it just had to win. 

Don’t believe me?  See for yourself.

So, off Sam and Quinn go to Olive Garden Breadsticks.

At dinner, Sam tries to “charm” Quinn by talking Navi . . .

“Dude, are you serious?  I speak fluent Navi, and even I know THAT doesn’t work.”

 . . . and doing a REALLY BAD Matthew McConaughey impersonation.

Hey LOOK!  It’s Linda Evangelista’s hair, circa 1993!  Now we know who Sam got the idea from!

Granted, this is the same guy who introduced himself to a group of high schoolers, by using a Dr. Seuss reference.  Can we really be surprised?  

Then Sam tells Quinn he has to confess something to her.  Of course, she immediately assumes, as Kurt did earlier in the episode, that Sam is on Team Gay.  He’s not.  Sam just wants her to know that he dyes his hair like Linda Evangelista.

Quinn is so overjoyed by this news, that she . . . MAKES SAM PAY FOR THE FREE MEAL THEY WON!

Ummmm .  . . how romantic?  Brattiness of that request aside, these two are cute together, and I truly wish them the best at least until Puck comes back.  But I couldn’t help but wonder, are those Breadsticks coupons still up for grabs, because I’m REALLY hungry!



Filed under Glee

Oh, We’re Jammin’ – A Brief Look at Disney’s Camp Rock 2: The Final Jam (contains spoilers)

This weekend marked the premiere of Camp Rock 2, a follow-up film to the 2008 Disney-produced Jonas Brothers / Demi Lovato vehicle of the same name (without the 2, of course).  The made-for-TV movie received pretty stellar ratings for a film of its genre, earning 8 million viewers on opening night, as well as the designation of “2010’s Top Cable Movie.”  Although the film lacked a bit of the heart, and felt somewhat less genuine, than the original movie, it still made for an enjoyable two hours.  For me, a lot of that enjoyment could be attributed to two key performances in the film  — both of which I will touch on in just a bit . . .

“Are they ACTUALLY doing the funky chicken?  Is this supposed to be a musical number, or a scene from my 55-year old, Uncle Marvin’s 4th wedding?”

It’s a brand new summer.  And our main character, Mitchie Torres (played by Demi Lovato) is gearing up for yet another “awesome” camp experience. 

On the surface, things look pretty perfect for Mitchie.  She has a great group of friends as bunkmates.  No longer does she have to hide the fact that she (gasp!) is part of the cooking staff at the titular Camp Rock.   And . . . she has a boyfriend.  Well . . . at least in the Disney Channel’s “we hold hands, and make googly eyes at eachother, but that’s about it” highly neutered definition of the term. 

Did I mention he’s a FAMOUS ROCKSTAR?  That’s right boys and girls.  Last summer, Mitchie won the heart of the floppy-haired, tight-pants wearing Adonis, Joe Jonas Shane Gray . . .

  . . . of The Jonas Brothers Connect 3!

(Sidenote:  Also featured in Camp Rock, is Jonas Brothers’ little brother, Frankie Jonas, who plays one of the younger campers.  Poor Frankie has been designated by fans with the unfortunate nickname, “Bonus Jonas”  — a moniker that will be sure to earn him YEARS of therapy, once he reaches adulthood.)

Frankie “when’s it going to be my turn” Jonas

Mitchie must be REALLY good at hand-holding and googly eyes, because Shane has convinced his band to take an ENTIRE SUMMER off from touring, just so he can “get to know her better.”  (Really, Shane?  That’s your idea of a fun summer?  No bikini-clad groupies, or all-night keggars?  Just summer camp, with your sort of / kind of girlfriend?  I guess “Shane” wears a purity ring too.) 

Aside from some “transportation problems,” on the part of Connect 3 . . .

You know, I really HATE IT when my tour bus falls off a cliff.  Don’t you?

. . . Shane arrives at Camp Rock, with no trouble at all . . . Well, unless you count the massive chicken sitting on his head . . .

But trouble DOES arrive soon enough, in the form of an invitation sent to Camp Rock from the mysterious Camp Star, which was conveniently built right across the lake, seemingly overnight.  It turns out that Camp Star is run by the EVIL music producer, Axel Turner . . .

Um, yeah .  . . this guy NEVER has to worry about being typecast as a villain.

. . . who’s been holding some long-standing grudge against Camp Rocks’ owner and director, Brown Cesario . . .

. . . since Brown kicked Axel out of his band, back in the ’80s. 

So, the EEEVVVILLL Axel Turner lures the entire staff and all of the campers from Camp Rock to Camp Star for a “bonfire.”  There, the group is treated to a flashy music number, and offers of immediate enrollment.  Axel even goes as far as to offer to double all Camp Rock counselors’ salaries, for “making the switch” to Camp Star.  Most of the Camp Rock counselors jump ship, along with some of the campers.  Most notable among the defectors is Tess (Meaghan Jett Martin), the resident mean girl and “villain, ultimately redeemed,” from the previous film.

Suddenly, without a staff to properly run it, and with the threat of massive future camper desertions looming large, Camp Rock faces possible bankruptcy.  Fortunately, Mitchie has a plan.

Why can’t the older CAMPERS be COUNSELORS?  (This actually makes a lot of sense, seeing as most of the film’s cast seem WAY TOO OLD to be campers, anyway.)

Camp Rock also decides to challenge Camp Star to a televised sing and dance off.  Our protagonists believe that winning such a contest will help Camp Rock to establish itself as a worthy camp, and, therefore, maintain its enrollment. 

The stress of preparing for this big event puts a major crinkle in the “quality time” (read: more hand holding and googly eyes) that Shane wants to spend with Mitchie.  The fact that Mitchie has undergone a complete personality transplant since the first film — going from shy, sweet, unassuming, and slightly insecure  — to raging Type A, diva taskmaster, certainly doesn’t help matters . . .

I won’t tell you how it all ends.  (Though I’m sure if you think hard enough, you can figure it out.)  Needless to say, a lot of singing and dancing is involved.

But what really made this film for me, was not its main plotline — which basically served as a mere framing device for the various musical numbers — but its clever subplots, and three-dimensional supporting cast.  My two favorite moments of the film came from actors Matthew “Mdot” Finley, and Nick Jonas, respectively.  Finley plays Luke Williams, the ambitious and arrogant (but with good reason) ingenue of Camp Star. 

Those of you out there who are Glee fans can probably understand Luke’s character best, this way:  If Camp Star is Vocal Adrenaline, with its’ “all work, no play” attitude, snooty performers, and over-produced, automaton-esque, musical numbers, then Luke is Jesse St. James.

And yet, while there are definitely things about the Luke character that seem borrowed and cliche . . .  (He also dresses and dances a bit like Usher, circa 2001.)

 . . . Finley manages to give the role a certain complexity and inherent likeability.  Even when the character is being a total douche, he’s somehow extremely charismatic.   Plus, Finley and Meaghan Martin (who plays Tess) exchange their fair share of witty and biting banter during the film.  The pair have excellent chemistry, which crackles and pops, during the few scenes they share together  — chemistry that could have downright sexy, if this wasn’t a Disney film.  So much so, that I found myself wishing the pair had more screen time. 

Finley’s solo rendition of the very danceable “Fire,” was impressive, and showed extreme talent and skill, on his part.  For me, it was the second best performance of the entire film.  (I’ll get to the first in a moment.)  See for yourself:

As I mentioned earlier, my other favorite performance of the evening, belonged to Nick Jonas, and his character, Nate Ericcs.  Nick actually had very little to do acting wise, in the first film.  So, it was nice to see him really get a chance to perform here. 

Throughout most of the film, the shy and intelligent Nate finds himself pining over fellow performer, Dana Turner (played by Chloe Bridges), who just so happens to be the daughter of Camp Star’s EEEEVIL director, Axel Turner.  (Kudos to Disney for NOT going the way-too-obvious Romeo & Juliet route here.)

 You see, Nate obviously likes Dana.  And Dana obviously likes him.  But the BIG FAMOUS ROCKSTAR is SHY!  And he doesn’t know how to talk to girls.  (Stop laughing!  It could happen!)  So, he sort of / kind of stalks her, through the first half of the movie, ogling her from behind bushes and peering at her from beneath overtuned canoes . . .

Finally, Dana confronts Nate, telling him to buck up and CONVERSE with her.  “I don’t even know anything about you . . . aside from the fact that you like canoes,” she whines.

Who doesn’t?

So, Nate, who has always been someone who can best express himself through song, serenades Dana with the quirkiest and sweetest little ditty ever, appropriately titled,  “Introducing Me.”

(If you’re a fan of things like cute little puppies, teddy bears, and candy Conversation Hearts, click on the internal link, which will surely satisfy even the most stubborn of sweet tooths.)

If the rhythm of the above-referenced song sounds slightly familiar to you, you are not alone.  Many have noted the similarity between Nick Jonas’ “Introducing Me” and Jason Mraz’ “I’m Yours.”  But I’m going to keep my opinions on this matter to myself, for now, and let you decide.  You can listen to an acoustic version of “I’m Yours” by clicking here.

Both “Introducing Me” and “Fire” are available for download on ITunes, as is the rest of the Camp Rock 2 soundtrack.  As for the film itself, your best bet is probably to Netflix it. 🙂



Filed under Camp Rock 2