Tag Archives: R.E.M.

Christ on a Cracker! – A Recap of Glee’s “Grilled Cheesus”

“I don’t know . . . it still just looks like burnt toast to me.”

I’m going to level with you guys.  I struggled a lot over whether to write this recap.  For one thing, my parents always told me that, in order to make friends and influence people, two topics I should definitely NOT talk about were politics and religion.  

Now, I’ll admit, I often fail miserably on that first part.  After all, when it comes to politics, I can be a bit opinionated, at times . . .

However, the second part I’ve stuck to pretty rigidly, since I was a kid.  So, why stop now?

Second, having endured the exact same thing that happened to Kurt during my high school years (and, I suspect, with less happy results, than the character will experience), this was a particularly tough episode for me, personally, to watch and critique in a non-biased fashion.

Third, and this is probably the most obvious reason.  This episode was, for the most part, NOT FUNNY!  It was more “Glum” than “Glee.”  And, the “Grilled Cheesus” aside, the topics dealt with here were deadly serious.  Someone’s father being in a coma, is not exactly the type of thing you can . . .

YIPPEE!

BOO!

OMG!

or Ugly Cry Face . . .

 . . . your way around. 

(Although . . .  I would certainly be willing to try . . . :)).

And yet, all that aside, this was a well-written, extraordinarily acted, and insightful episode of Glee, one that featured  remarkable musical performances, and tackled some very controversial issues with class and dignity.  So, in that sense, I thought it was at least worth my recapping time.

That being said, I’m going to try to make this one as painless as possible . . .

A Lean Mean Lord Making Machine . . .

Coincidentally, Finn made this face twice during the episode.  First, when he initially discovered the Grilled Cheesus.  And second, when he discovered his girlfriend Rachel’s supposedly “not so great” boobs were actually “pretty awesome.”

Glee has never been a show averse to product placement.  After all, what are “artist-themed” episodes, if not a half-hour long commercial for the artist in question’s music catalogue . . .

And who doesn’t get a little Brain Freezey for a Slushee . . .

 . . . after feasting their eyes on an advertising campaign like this?

But this week .  . . the Glee advertising department REALLY outdid itself.  And it was all for a man named George Foreman, and his little Grill that Could . . .

After all, can YOU think of a better advertisement for a product, than the implication that if you buy it, it will make food that includes within it a direct line to the Man (or Woman) Upstairs?

I should know.  I bought THREE George Foreman Grills — each in a different sizes and colors — during the first commercial break.  (No . . .actually, I really didn’t . . . but I almost did.  And that has to count for something . . .)

Anyway, we have Finn making his Grilled Cheese sandwich at the top of the episode, when out from it pops a familiar face . . .

.  . . only he looks more like this.

But you’ve really gotta hand it to Finn.  He doesn’t try to sell it on Ebay, like some other crackpots in his position have done before him.  Nor does he end up phoning one of those creepy religious talk shows you often find on television at 3 a.m. to share the “great wonder of it all.”  Instead, Finn asks the Cheesus to grant him three wishes . . .

“Mr. Finn Hudson, sir, have a wish, or two, or three.  I’m in the mood, to help you, dude.  You ain’t never had a friend like J.C.!”

Here were his wishes:

(1) For his team FINALLY to win a football game;

2) to FINALLY get to squeeze his girlfriend, Rachel’s . . . ummm . . .  melons; and

3) to be Quarterback of the football team again . . . FINALLY (even though he only lost the position last week).

Lo and behold, all THREE of Finn’s wishes come TRUE!

YIPP . . . well, I guess we can’t really cheer about that Sam kid dislocating his shoulder.  That would be EVIL.  And we can’t be “EVIL” in front of the “Grilled Cheesus,” can we?

That would be a “No.”

Suddenly, Finn is “shaken to his core.”  He’s “born again.”  He’s “down with J.C.”  (at least, as long as he keeps giving him everything he asks for). 

Finn’s newfound religious fervor (not to mention his egomaniacal self-absorption) causes him to suggest that the episode’s Glee club’s “theme of the week” be spirituality.

While we’re on the subject of the “theme of the week,” I wanted to run something by you guys.  Do you think that EVERY Glee Club member performs a song each week – – and that the Glee writers only SHOW us the main characters’ performances?  Or, are you of the mindset that performing each week is entirely voluntary for the Glee Kids.  So, that SOME members of the club choose to perform EVERY SINGLE WEEK . . .

 . . . while others are just LAZY ASS SLACKERS . . .

Yes, I’m looking at YOU, Mike Chang!

Anyway, Finn’s suggestion causes the Glee club to get into a discussion about spirituality.  Mercedes is down with it . . .

 . . . so is Quinn . . .

 . . . Kurt decries what he sees as most organized religions’ complete failure to include homosexuals and women within their circle.

Every time Brittany prays, she falls asleep.

Puck thinks about the Man (or Woman) Upstairs every time he touches a woman’s  .  . . um . . . melons.

(Coincidentally, we think about the Man (or Woman) Upstairs every time we see Puck with his shirt off . . .)

Oh my LORD!

Puck’s aforementioned religious proclamation, and his strong desire to be faithful to his “Jewish Singer” roots, inspire him to PERFORM FOR THE CLASS.

*Coughs loudly, clears throat, and glares in Mike Chang’s direction*

  . . . sorry.    Puck PERFORMS Billy Joel’s “Only the Good Die Young.” And it is so AWESOME, and INCREDIBLY SEXY, that watching it, I felt like I had . . . (excuse the religious imagery .  . . but this is, after all, the “Grilled Cheesus” episode) DIED AND GONE TO HEAVEN. 

Can we get this guy a record deal and accompanying solo album?  Seriously?

But you don’t have to take my word for it.  See for yourself . . .

By the way, another recapper (although I can’t for the life of me recall which one) compared the Glee kids dorky dancing during Puck’s performance to that of the Peanuts kids in the Charlie Brown Christmas special.  Upon further consideration of this argument, I am inclined to agree .  . . 

Observe and compare . . .

But this storyline isn’t about Puck (unfortunately).  It’s about Finn.  And through all the turmoil Kurt is experiencing  with his father (which I will discuss in just a bit), Finn begins to feel  a wee bit guilty about the good luck he has been experiencing — which he believes could be attributed solely to the “Grilled Cheesus” .  . .

. . .  and, of course, the George Foreman Grill . . .

But then, school therapist, Emma Killjoy . . .

 . . . provides him with logical explanations for all the wishes “Grilled Cheesus” purportedly granted him, thereby peeing on his godlike dreams . . .

So, of course, Finn does what any self-respecting manly man does, when his dreams have just been peed on .  . . he sings.

Specifically, he sings R.E.M’S “Losing My Religion,” which would be really poignant . . . if he wasn’t singing about a by-now-very stale piece of bread . . .

Speaking of that stale bread . . . Finn ultimately eats it . . .

 . . . which, depending on how you look at it, could either be considered Communion or Indigestion.  Take your pick.

Give Me Something to Believe In

*Takes deep breath*  OK.  I guess I can’t put it off any longer.  So, here goes.  The episode opens with Kurt and his father having a conversation about their weekly Friday night dinners, which Kurt has been canceling out on lately.

We know things are about to go very badly for these two when (1) Kurt tells his dad to start eating healthier (never a good sign on a television show); and (2) Burt tells Kurt he is “very disappointed” in him (an EVEN WORSE sign).  The next time we see Burt, he is experiencing serious chest pains, while helping a client.  He eventually keels over from a heart attack.

To make matters worse, Kurt’s mother died when Kurt was a little kid, so he doesn’t really have any family members to support him during his time of need.  Thus, it falls to his favorite teacher, Will, and guidance counselor, Emma, to break the news to Kurt about his father’s accident, and accompany him to the hospital.

At the hospital, Kurt learns from the doctor that his father has survived the heart attack, but lost a lot of oxygen to his brain in the process.  As a result, he has fallen into a coma.  In his first moments alone at his father’s bedside, we see Kurt repeatedly asking his father to squeeze his hand.  This request and gesture will become important later . . .

At school, the Glee kids rally around Kurt, trying to support him in any way they can.  Brittany offers him a book report she wrote on Heart Attacks, which she wants him to give to the doctor working on his father . . . of course.

Forget Gray’s AnatomyBrittany’s Anatomy is the ultimate medical resource on all things heart attack . . . and it’s written entirely in crayon!

However, most of the group attempt to offer Kurt solace through prayer.  His Bestie, Mercedes (along with Quinn and Tina), even dedicates Whitney Houston’s “I Look to You” to him.

Kurt is honored by his friend’s gesture, but clearly uncomfortable with its spiritual undertones.  After all, as mentioned earlier, he is a staunch atheist. “Your voice is stunning, but I don’t believe in God,” he tells Mercedes, matter-of-factly.

Kurt cannot reconcile the existence of a higher power with all the strife he has had to endure during his few years on earth:  his mother’s death, his struggles with homosexuality, and now, his father’s heart attack.  “I appreciate your thoughts, but I don’t want your prayers,” he concludes, before exiting the room.

Little did Kurt know that his little speech had an audience beyond that of his fellow Glee club members, namely approximately 13 million television viewers Sue Sylvester.

One might expect Sue, at this point in the story, to come up with some nefarious plot to bring down Will Schuester and the rest of the Glee kids.  (It is Tuesday, after all.)  However, it appears that Sue actually sympathizes with Kurt in this situation, and genuinely wants to help him.

You see, Sue is an atheist as well.  She “lost her religion,” back when she was a child, and the power of prayer wasn’t strong enough to allow her older sister Genie to “be cured” of Down Syndrome.  So, Sue calls Kurt into her office . . .

“I want to be your champion,” she tells Kurt, encouraging him to rat out the Glee club for discussing religion behind school walls.

When Kurt complies with her request, Will and Emma, are brought before the Useless Principal Figgins . . .

Sue, of course, is there to plead her case.  “Our country is not a monarchy, believe me, I’ve tried,” she explains.

“If your students want to praise God, I suggest they enroll in Sweet Holy Mother of God Academy on Jesus Street,” she adds.

Later, Emma confronts Sue about her behavior, asking the latter to keep her beliefs regarding organized religion to herself.  “I realize you are only half orangutan, but I am still allergic to your lustrous ginger mane,” Sue explains.

Well, they do share the same haircolor and range of facial expressions . . .

But then Sue gets serious.  “To ask someone to believe in something that is pure fantasy, is just plain cruel.  That boy’s father could die at any moment now.  I suggest you start preparing him for that.”

Later, in a surprisingly sweet scene, Sue’s sister Genie causes Sue to soften her hardline stance on religion, by admitting, that she, herself, does believe in God, despite all of the strife and difficulties she has experienced living with Down Syndrome.

Meanwhile, Rachel . . .

 . . . has somehow found a way to make Kurt’s father’s medical troubles all about her . . .

I know . . . I’m surprised too.  *snorts*  After commandeering Finn into agreeing to raise their future kids Jewish, and letting him touch her boobies, Rachel sets up some candles outdoors and serenades him with some Barbara Streisand.  But hey, it’s “Papa, Can You Hear Me?” so, I guess it’s mildly appropriate.

Ohhhhh!  This song was from that movie Yentl!  The whole “candles” thing makes a lot more sense now . . .

Rachel’s solo singing party is moved to Kurt’s Dad’s bedside, at a hospital that apparently has the most LAX VISITING HOUR RULES EVER!  In that cramped hospital room are Rachel, Quinn, Mercedes, Finn, and Finn’s mom.  Mind you, NONE of these people are Burt Hummel’s immediate relatives, and NONE of these people were approved as visitors by Kurt.

But I digress . . . Kurt arrives and finds all these people . . . surprise, surprise, praying over Burt.  “We are all different denominations (and Finn worships cheese), so we figured one of us has to be right,” explains Mercedes.

Kurt is PISSED!  He kicks all the visitors out, in favor of giving Burt some accupuncture.  (Apparently, Kurt, while not so down with J.C., is loving the Eastern Medicine.  Go figure!)

The next day at Band Camp Glee club, in probably the most touching part of the entire episode, Kurt shares with the Glee kids how his father was always there for him, during times of trouble, and whenever he felt lonely.  He dedicates a soleful cover of the Beatles’ “I Wanna Hold Your Hand” to Burt, that doesn’t leave a dry eye in the house.  You can watch it here:

(And while you are watching, be sure to check out Little Kurt in the flashback scenes.  Sources tell me that kid is NOT ACTUALLY RELATED TO KURT.  I can’t believe it!  Never have I seen two actors, who weren’t identical twins, look more alike in my life.  No joke!)

Later, Mercedes once again confronts Kurt about his lack of religiosity.  She claims he is closing himself off to many of life’s possibilities.  Kurt, in turn, apologizes for pushing his friends away, and agrees to come to church with Mercedes, if only to see all the awesome hats purportedly there.  In fact, just to prove that his presence is, in fact, all about the hats, and NOT about the J.C., Kurt arrives at church wearing a GIANT TARANTULA on his head . . .

At church, along with her church choir, Mercedes dedicates a rousing rendition of Simon and Garfunkel’s “Bridge Over Troubled Water” to Kurt.  Even Kurt seemed moved by the gesture (then again, maybe it was just that the Tarantula Hat was swaying in time with the music.)

BTW . . . I love how Mercedes addresses her entire geriatric congregation with the words, “Hi Church!”  (Very cool!)

That night, at the hospital, Kurt squeezes his father’s hand, once again, telling him, that, while he might not believe in God, he believes in his father, and the love that the two of them share with one another.  And then . . . it happens . . . Kurt’s father squeezes his hand back.

At the conclusion of the episode, the Glee kids return to their usual “finale spot” on the auditorium stage, decked out in angelic white.  They sing a cover of Joan Osborne’s “What if God was One of Us,” which I can honestly say was about ten times better than the original version. 

Of course, the fact that Jenna Ushkowitz’s Tina got the (increasingly rare for her character), opportunity for a nice solo in it, definitely increased the performance’s likeability for me.

Hear for yourself:

But, OH NO!  Someone heard the Glee kids singing about *gasp* religion!

It was SUE SYLVESTER!

But she LET THEM DO IT, without ratting them out to . . .well . . . it’s not like Useless Principal Figgins would stop them anyway . . . but still . . .

So, there you have it, a Very Special, Rather Depressing, Moderately Religious, Well Acted, and Surprisingly Objective Under the Circumstances episode of Glee . . . about burnt toast.  Did it make a Believer out of YOU?

[www.juliekushner.com]

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Shut up and SING! It’s almost time for Season 2 of Glee!

 

If last Sunday’s Gleek-tastic Emmy opener put you in the mood to watch your favorite show about singing and dancing teens, Glee, well then you’ve come to the right blog post.  Unfortunately, I don’t have quite enough clout in the entertainment world (read: “no clout at all”) to show you episodes from the show’s groundbreaking Second Season, which is set to premiere Tuesday, September 21st, at 8 p.m. on Fox.

However, I DO have plenty of mildly spoilerish intel about the new season, complete with a few pretty pictures, and some relevant YouTube videos. These should tide you over, while you eagerly await the season premiere.

So, what are we waiting for?  Let’s get GLEEK-Y!

For starters, here’s the new promo for the show, which aired just a few days ago on Fox. 

Pretty cool, right?  Now, let’s breakdown what we’ve learned about Season 2 so far . . .

The Episodes

Season 2 of Glee is slated to have 22 episodes.  The first few episodes will air on Tuesday at 8 p.m on Fox.  These early episodes will culminate in a SPECIAL extended episode, which will air following Superbowl XLV.

Following that episode, Glee will move to the much coveted Wednesday at 9 p.m. timeslot.  And, you know what that means?  More sex, drugs, and violence ALLOWED by the censors!

Yes, PLEASE!

So far, the producers of Glee have released titles for the first THREE episodes of Season 2, along with brief synopses of each.  In the first episode, entitled Audition, New Directions will be forced, due to more budget cuts, to bring on additional members — a task that will cause tension between on-again, off-again couple, Rachel and Finn.

Two auditioners likely to “make the cut,” are foreign exchange student Sunshine Corzan, played by YouTube sensation and master songstress of the Philippines, Charice (more on her later)  . . .

 Newbie Sunshine duking it out with Rachel Berry in the school bathroom, to the tune of Beyonce and Lady Gaga’s Telephone.

. . . and transfer student / football jock, Sam Evans (played by Chord Overstreet) . . .

Just like another one of our favorite Gleeks, it appears that Sam’s “talents” will be discovered in the shower.  How convenient for those of us scouring the net for shirtless shots of the actor to use in future recaps.  Just saying . . .

Sam is described by producers as being a protege and eventual rival of Finn’s.  It is also rumored that he may be an upcoming MAJOR love interest for one Kurt Hummel.

The second episode is entitled “Britney / Brittany.”  This one will obviously be the much talked about “Britney Spears-themed episode,” comprised entirely of songs by the aforementioned artist, and featuring a cameo appearance by Spears herself.

Heather Morris (as Brittany) posing with Britney Spears — I can see a resemblance.  Can’t you?

The show’s third episode, entitled “Faith,” will be religous-themed, and feature songs including R.E.M’s “Losing my Religion” . . .

 . . . and Barbara Streisand’s “Papa Can You Hear Me.”

Other episodes airing this Season will include a Rocky Horror Picture Show – themed episode .  . .

 .  . . during which the cast of New Directions will undoubtedly perform the Time Warp dance.

Another episode will feature the cast singing entirely ORIGINAL songs.  There will also be a second Madonna-themed episode.

In the Season 2 finale, the cast will head to  New York City, to compete in the national Glee club competition.  There, they will most likely perform Jay Z and Alicia Keys’ anthem to the Big Apple, “Empire State of Mind.”

“New Directions” for our original Gleeks

If the scoop about Kurt’s new love interest enticed you, there is plenty more where that came from!  Speaking of Kurt, Mike O’Malley, who warmed everybody’s hearts with his performance as Kurt’s Dad, Burt Hummel, has been upgraded to season regular status . . .

. . . as have our two favorite “mean girl” Cheerios (and possible lovers?) Heather Morris (Brittany) and Naya Rivera (Santana) . . .

Our favorite love square, starring Rachel, Finn,  Quinn and Puck, is said to be in full effect next year.  However, a NEW love TRIANGLE will ALSO invade the Glee club.   This one will star, the loveable Artie, quirky goth, Tina, and awesome dancer, Mike Chang.

Sources say that when the season opens, Tina will be dating MIKE, having dumped Artie, due to his poor social skills and frequently rude comments.

New Cast Members and Guest Stars

Earlier in this article, I mentioned the cast additions of Chord Overstreet . . .

 . . . and Charice.

What I DIDN’T mention was that Charice’s character’s singing voice will be SO impressive, that it will enable her to make a play for Rachel Berry’s crown as Queen Bee of New Directions.  Listen to her sing this rather impressive cover of Beyonce’s “Halo” (a song which just so happened to be performed on the show, by Lea Michele’s Rachel Berry last season), and compare for yourself.

Another addition to the cast will be John Stamos . . .

John will be playing that dentist boyfriend of Emma Pillsbury, Carl Howell, who was briefly mentioned last season.

Although I sincerely doubt John will be singing on the show, fans of the oh-so-cheesetastic 90’s sitcom Full House, will likely remember that he CAN, in fact, sing.  This will become evident in the VERY retro clip, below.

Also featured in Season 2 will be Cheyenne Jackson, who’s character will replace Idina Menzel’s Shelby Corcoran as the coach for New Directions’ rivals, Vocal Adrenaline.  Since I am nothing without my journalistic integrity, I’ve decided it is absolutely imperative that I provide you with a picture of Cheyenne in his underwear . . .

You’re welcome.

I will not, however, be providing you with an equally scantily clad photograph of our next new cast member.  Dot Jones will appear as McKinley High’s new football coach, and rival to BOTH Sue and Will Schuester, Shannon Beiste.

Beware of THE BEISTE!

Other Glee guest stars will include Carol Burnett . . .

. . . who will play Mommy to, none other than, Sue Sylvester . . .

Speaking of Sue, Javier Bardem will guest star as one of her exes.

Woah!  Maybe I should start wearing track suits.

Susan Boyle will also guest star as the Singing Lunch Lady.

New Music

Look for songs by Billy Joel . . .

. . . Coldplay . . .

 . . . Paul McCartney . . .

 . . . Courtney Love . . .

 . . .  and Led Zeppelin . . .

. . . to be featured on the show.

Oh, and just in case you CAN’T wait until September 21st to get your Glee fix, the Complete First Season of Glee DVD set will be available for purchase on September 14th.  

You can preorder it (at reduced cost) here.

Of course, September 14th is still over a week away.  Is that too many Glee-less days, for you?  If so, worry not.  Glee: The Beginning, a young adult novel said to function as a prequel for the series, is available in stores, RIGHT NOW!

You can order it, by clicking here.

Not much of a reader?   Low on cash?  That’s OK.  I’ve got something for you too.  To conclude this Glee-themed post, I have provided, for your viewing pleasure, a video of that fabulous Journey Medley, performed by the New Directions, during the Season 1 finale.  And, just in case, you didn’t see it when it first aired, you can find a picturesque recap of the entire episode right here.

Well, that’s all I’ve got, for now.  See you on September 21st!  Until then, happy Gleek-ing out!

[www.juliekushner.com]

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Filed under Glee, Spoilers and Sneak Peaks