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Bite into that BIG Apple! It’s Time for Nationals! – A Recap of Glee’s Season 2 Finale “New York”

“Man, it is really hard to find a bathroom in this city!  Every place you try to go, they say you have to buy something first.  No wonder there is so much public urination in the Big Apple!’

Greetings Gleeks!  After weeks of speculation, the moment we’ve been waiting for all season, has finally come and gone.  The Glee kids came, saw, and conquered New York City . . . or at least a squeaky clean, sparkly, neutered version of it.  Speaking of neutered . . .

“Where the heck did my balls go?  I know I had them earlier in the season, back when I was in JUVIE.  Is it possible that when I was taking a shower in the communal . . . ?  Uh oh!”

Times Square:  The One Place Where You Can Still Buy Tickets to See Cats

“These tickets all say ‘SUCKER’ on them.  Ooh, maybe that’s one of the Cats’ Names!”

The episode begins with the Glee kids arriving in the usually bustling (and sometimes pretty scary) Times Square.  Although Times Square is typically, by far, the busiest part of Manhattan, the Glee kids find the area eerily void of humanity (AND DIRT!).  Seeing this reminded me of the opening dream sequence of that Really Bad Tom Cruise Movie (well . . . at least I thought it was really bad).  You know  . . . the one where he goes to Times Square, and learns that he’s the Only Man Left on Earth.  Talk about a HORROR FILM!

“L. Ron Hubbard predicted this would happen.”

Anyway, the Glee kids all start belting out “New York, New York,” on the steps near the TKTS Broadway ticket booth.  And I cringe inwardly, waiting for one of them to get mugged.  Then Rachel actually DOES . . . well, sort of.  Standing in front of the rest of the Glee Club, Little Miss Barbra Streisand 2.0 excitedly informs her pals that she got them all tickets to see “Broadway’s Longest Running Show . . . Cats.”  It is then up to Quinn, of all people, to break it to Rachel that the show has actually been off Broadway for ELEVEN YEARS!

 

“Oh, Febray!  Say it ain’t so!”

(By the way, was anybody else bugged by the fact that RACHEL, the Human Broadway Show Encyclopedia — who usually spends at least 5 minutes per episode spouting out useless facts about the Great White Way — DIDN’T know Cats was dunzo, but QUINN did?)

Anyway, the kids quickly head to the hotel, where Cheapskate Mr. Schue only manages to secure them TWO ROOMS (which has GOT to make the Bathroom Situation an absolute NIGHTMARE!).   Oh, and I’m pretty sure the “self-sacrificing teacher” somehow managed to get a room all to himself. (Real nice, right?)

“Well, if I roomed with the kids, I couldn’t watch 8 hours of hotel porn, now could I?”

I have to giggle a little bit when Puck and Zizes try to get served at the hotel bar (They order a Manhattan, har de har har.), and the bartender actually QUESTIONS whether these two are of drinking age.  This, of course, is despite the fact that both Puck and Lauren each look about 35-years old, and, by Glee’s timeline, have probably been chugging back shots of tequilla, since they were twelve . . .

PUCK:  “Hey Sweet Cheeks, what time are you getting off from work?  I’m sharing a hotel room (and two double beds) with five other guys.   We can show you a REAL good time . . . and my girlfriend can watch.”

As if Mr. Schue hasn’t already proved himself to be the Worst Chaperone EVER, he then decides to lock the Glee kids in a SINGLE hotel room, so that THEY can pen the songs they SHOULD have come up with weeks ago for the National Competition, which is less than 24 hours away.  Meanwhile, HE goes off to promote Matthew Morrison’s upcoming album pursue his Broadway Dreams . . .

“On stage, we call this an ‘Inspired Performance.’  In the potty, we call this a Bad Bout of Constipation.”

 A Stagehand happens to catch Will Schuester performing “Matthew Morrison’s Hit Single ‘We’ve Got Tonight'”  on an empty stage, in the theater where April Rhodes’ CrossRhodes (not to be confused with the terrible Britney Spears film of the same name) is set to debut.  Stagehand is quick to compliment Will on his “obvious talent.”  He then tries to sell Schue some leftover tickets to Cats . . .

“They say there’s a sucker born every minute.  When’s your birthday?”

Nothing Says Loving Like a Street-side Serenade Outside Sardi’s

ARTIE:  “Just think, at this time last night, real, honest to goodness, hookers could have been occupying this very spot.”

SAM:  “Hey Puck!  Put down the friggin accordion!  You’re TOTALLY destroying our game!”

PUCK:  “What?  I want the ladies to know I’m good with my fingers!”

Cooped up in the hotel room, Artie and Brittany offer up THEIR suggestion for an Original Song the Glee kids can sing at Nationals.  It’s called “My Cup.” 

I can’t be the only viewer who found this song a little dirty, right?  I mean, come on . . . “In the middle of the night, I’m in bed alone.  Don’t care if you’re paper, glass, or Styrofoam” ????

Santana TOTALLY gets it!

You can listen to this masterpiece (emphasis on the “master”) in its entirety, HERE:

Though Britney and Artie are the first ones to suggest an actual song, it’s QUINN  . . .

(She of the “Last week, I said I was going to do something evil to Finn, and ruin Nationals for the Glee kids, when all I actually did was cut my hair short and scowl a lot.”)

 . . . who comes up with the most INSPIRED performance idea.  Bad Apple Quinn easily convinces the Glee kids to disobey Will’s wishes and spend the night running rampant around the city, instead of working on their Original Songs.  “We don’t have to write Original Songs,” says Quinn.  “New York City will write them for us.” 

(You know, I hate to break this to you, Quinn, but I’ve been trying to get New York City to write my next novel, for about a year now.  The City is just too damn lazy!)

Reality Checks notwithstanding, the Glee kids frolic around Central Park, while rocking out to an inspired “I Love New York / New York, New York” Mashup.

(Just out of curiosity, does anybody else agree with me that THIS mashup, along with Kurt’s and Rachel’s later duet from Wicked, would have, ultimately, been better choices, as Nationals performance numbers, than the songs the Glee kids actually ended up singing?)

Back in the boys’ hotel room, Finn, once again, suggests that Rachel and him singing a duet together would be a great strategy for getting in Rachel’s panties winning Nationals.  The rest of the boys agree, and egg Finn on to invite Rachel out on a romantic New York Date .  “You know, like the ones in those romantic comedies, that make men grow a vagina, if they watch them all the way through,” Puck adds.

Did Puck just really say “vagina” on Fox?  (And did I just type it . . . twice.)

 (Taking this statement into consideration, one can’t help but wonder whether this is what happened to Puck, after he went on his first date with Lauren Zizes to see “Something Borrowed,” starring Kate Hudson.) 

Speaking of girly movies, when Finn texts Rachel to ask her out on their Romantic Date, she looks like she’s trapped in the “Girl Bonding Montage” of a Chick Flick, herself . . .

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RACHEL: “If one of you ends up getting a Makeover to Increase Your Self Esteem, I’m SO jumping off the Empire State Building . . . Oh, wait . . . Quinn actually DOES that, in the next scene?  Just kidding!”

Finn takes Rachel out to explore the sights of New York.

“I guess going skinny dipping is out of the question, huh?”

The pair end up at Sardi’s for dinner, causing me to wonder what kind of High Class Paper Route Finn runs at home, because that place is NOT CHEAP!

“I hope you like washing dishes.  Because that’s how I’ve arranged to pay for this meal.”

“Seriously?  Now, instead of having Jazz Hands on stage tomorrow, I’m going to have Dish Pan Ones!”

At Sardi’s, Rachel encounters her idol, Barbra Streisand Patti Lupone (I guess Barbra was busy?).  Lo and behold, Patti has some Sage Advice for Rachel.  She tells her to . . . wait for it . . . “Follow [Her] Dreams.”

Oh my goodness!  I have never heard such inspiring words before.  My life will never be the same again.  Thank you, Glee!

Outside Sardi’s, Rachel tells Finn that the only thing that would make this night more perfect, would be if the pair were serenaded.  So, of course, Finn’s posse magically appears, and starts singing “Bella Notte” to the Happy Couple . . .

 You can LISTEN to the song, in its entirety, here:

Personally, I would have liked the scene much better, if the Boys started singing the Lady and the Tramp Song, back at Sardi’s, while Rachel and Finn were playing meatball hockey with their noses, and accidentally making out with one another, thanks to one Very Mischevious Strand of Spaghetti . . .

 Speaking of making out, while the Boys are still singing, Finn tries to plant a wet one on Rachel.  But, alas, Finn’s Love Interest of the Week runs away, because she ate some bad Chicken Carbonara has to go “Follow Her Dreams” . . . or something.  And because they have NO TACT WHATSOEVER, Finn’s boys actually continue to serenade him, even after he’s been FLAT OUT REJECTED . . .

AW-KWARD!

(Needless to say, at the exact same moment when this is happening, about 200 men, forced to watch Glee at home with their girlfriends, spontaneously sprout vaginas . . .)

 A Stagehand Saves the Day: Part 2 (Electric Boogaloo)

“We’re not in Lima, anymore, Toto . . . er . . . I mean, Rachel.”

Kurt wakes Rachel up the following morning, so that the pair can have Breakfast at Tiffany’s (or, perhaps, more accurately, breakfast OUTSIDE of Tiffany’s).  The aforementioned exchange made me wonder if Mr. Schue had followed the concierge’s advice, and assigned rooms based on “sexual orientation,” after all . . .

(Then again, had he done that, Santana would have been sleeping with the guys . . .)

Anyway, Rachel confesses to Kurt that she and Finn love eachother.  However, she knows she’s destined to go to school in NYC and be on Broadway, and blah, blah, blah, Boyfriend Emergency, blah. 

So, Kurt comes up with the “inspired idea” of breaking into the theater where the pair’s favorite Broadway Show, Wicked (Remember when they sang the duet to “Defying Gravity” together?  Ah, memories!), is performed.  This way, Rachel can see what she might end up missing in the long run, if she starts dating the Finn-ster  and actually ends up dating him for longer than a two-week period, this time . . . 

“But we’ll get in trouble,” Rachel squeaks.

Have no fear, Little Berry, SUPER STAGEHAND is here to let you Live Out Your Broadway Dreams (provided your dreams only last fifteen minutes) . . .

“Ta-da!”

With Super Stagehand’s permission, Kurt and Rachel perform a GORGEOUS duet to Wicked’s “For Good,” with the set of the play, flanking them on all sides . . .

“Woah, Kurt, how much hair product did you use this morning?  I’m worried your Snookie Poof will set this set on fire!”

“Hey!  I resemble that remark!”

You can watch Kurt’s and Rachel’s impromptu performance, here:

At the end of the duet, Rachel seems to have made her  “Sophie’s Choice” . . .

 Meanwhile  . . .

Quinn Cuts Her Hair, Will Cuts the Chord . . . on his Dreams

Back in the hotel room, Quinn has a mini freakout, because her, Santana and Brittany “don’t have a chance at true love.”  Umm  . . . Quinn?  You’ve been single for LESS ONE EPISODE.  You are act like a heinous bitch, about 95% of the time  Please allow me to serenade you, with my tiny violin, regarding your Tragic Lack of True Love . . .

 As for Brittany and Santana “not having love,” well, the former just dumped her boyfriend for calling her “stupid.”  And the latter is faux-dating her fellow beard, Karofsky . . .

So, take that QUINN! 

My personal annoyance with Quinn, notwithstanding, Brittany and Santana are surprisingly sensitive to their erstwhile-pal.  They even attempt to bolster her foul mood, by treating her to a ridiculously overpriced New York haircut.  And, as much as I dislike Quinn, I have to say, girlfriend looks quite fierce in her new do’ . . .

 

Downstairs at the hotel bar, Mr. Schue meets up with Vocal Adrenaline coach, Dustin Ghoulsby . . .

. . . (who, unfortunately, is wearing a bit more clothes in the scene, than he is in the above picture).  Dustin has conveniently heard through the grapevine that Schue plans to leave teaching to pursue his Broadway Dreams.  Dustin thinks that’s a fab idea, remarking how much HE would love to stop teaching Show Choir, considering how much he DESPISES his students.  “But I love my students,” Will remarks, as I throw up a bit in my mouth.

Insert shallow attempt at humor here  (I’ve got nothing.)

Will’s undying love for his underage students notwithstanding (See how I just made something Sickeningly Sweet and Innocent sound Disgustingly Inappropriate?), Dustin immediately rushes to go rat out Will to his students. 

However, when Will arrives at the hotel room to collect the Glee kids for the Nationals competition, rather than bitch him out for NOT GIVING TWO CRAPS ABOUT THEM, THROUGHOUT THIS ENTIRE NEW YORK TRIP, they actually encourage Will to give Broadway a try.  And yet, Will (who has clearly never met Patti Lupone) is not about to give up his  love of teens for something as insignificant as a Once-in-a-Lifetime Opportunity at Fame and Fortune.  Andhe  tells his kids as much. 

(So, much for leaving us with a Cliffhanger, Glee writers!)

Happy to have their Steadfast Mr. Schue for at least one more season, the Glee kids join their teacher in a Big Fat Group Hug.  Puck enters the embrace first . . . because he has a vagina.  (Ummm . . . yeah, I’ve used this word WAY too many times in this recap.  It’s starting to make me feel uncomfortable, to be honest.)

Anywhoo enough about vaginas (DAMN!  I did it again.), it’s NATIONALS TIME!

The Big Kiss . . . and The Even Bigger Kiss Off . . .

RACHEL:  “Finn, is that GUM, in your mouth?  How many times have I told you not to chew GUM on stage?  It’s unprofessional.”

FINN: *blows bubble in Rachel’s mouth*

 At the Nationals Competition, Some Random Girls’ Choir, wearing short slutty dresses, performs Usher’s 2004 hit, “Yeah.”  And while their singing is “OK,” the dancing is ridiculous, and reminds me a bit of the Glee kids’ bizarre lunchroom dance to Salt n’ Pepa’s “Push It,” back in Season 1 . . .

You can listen to the song, here:

In the bathroom at Lincoln Center, Rachel and Sunshine Corazon come full circle from their Season 2, Episode 1, Potty Sing Off . . .

.  . . when Rachel, upon hearing Sunshine RALPH in the toilet, finally apologizes for sending her to a crackhouse for Glee club auditions. When Rachel learns that Sunshine HATES Vocal Adrenaline, and is petrified of performing in front of the crowd(Can I smell a transfer BACK to New Directions for Sunshine in Season 3), the newly reformed diva even goes so far as to offer to give Sunshine the “thumbs up sign” when she’s on stage, so the youngun won’t be nervous.   “But don’t you want to win?”  Sunshine inquires, without the snarky edge she COULD have used with that line . . .

“How was the old crackhouse, by the way?  I’ve been meaning to get back there for a refill, but I’ve been so busy not preparing for Nationals, that I haven’t really had the chance.”

“Guys like us have to stick together,” Rachel replies, pulling Sunshine in for a hug.  (All together now, “AWWWWW!”)

Sunshine performs an original song entitled “As Long as You’re There.”  And, while her voice is amazing, I must admit, I was mighty underwhelmed by herVocal Adrenaline backup dancers, who basically did the same dance to this WILDLY DIFFERENT number, as they did last year to “Bohemian Rhapsody during Regionals. 

But don’t take my word for it.  Watch the performance here, and judge for yourself . . .

During New Direction’s performance, a Smouldering Jesse St. Douchey-But -Still-Hot-James arrives, sneaking into a conveniently empty seat next to Schue to watch the show. 

“I’m here to collect my payment for hitting on Rachel, and not helping you prepare for Nationals at all.”

Though Jesse claims to be only interested in the performance, it’s pretty obvious he’s there, because he’s still in love with Rachel.  And Schue glibly calls him on that fact. 

(So, am I the only one that’s still kind of rooting for Jesse?  What can I say?  I have a thing for Raging Asshats!)

Asshat Lovin’ = Good Lovin’

The first New Directions Number is an Original Song written by Finn, called “Pretending.”  Not surprisingly, it’s a Finchel Duet. 

“Pretending” sounds and looks pretty much like every other Finchel Duet we’ve seen since Season 1, from the “Walking Slowly Toward One Another from Opposite Sides of the Room” Bit to the “Staring Intently Into One Another’s Eyes While Holding Hands, and Making Teary Constipated Facial Expressions at Eachother” Bit.  The only difference HERE is the ending, in which Finn (despite Rachel having reiterated her “I’ve got to follow my dreams” dumping of him, prior to the start of the performance) abruptly shoves his tongue down Rachel’s throat.

The audience is stunned into silence. (probably because they skipped last week’s episode, and thought Finn was still dating Quinn).  After a few moments of uncomfortable awkwardness, Schue offers the couple a tepid Slow Clap off the stage.  Poor Jesse looks heartbroken.  But hey, that’s what you get for making breakfast on your girlfriend’s head in Season 1 . . .

Watch “Pretending” and the Controversial Kiss that Ended it All here:

“Pretending” was followed up by another Original Song.  This one was entitled “Light Up The World.”  And, while it was peppier, and definitely more fun to watch, than “Pretending,” I didn’t find the song itself particularly memorable, or the dancing that accompanied the song all that different from what we saw at Regionals with “Loser Like Me.” 

You can check out “Light Up The World,” here:

The Big Shock of the Evening (though, considering the meh performances, it actually didn’t seem all that shocking) is that New Directions doesn’t end up placing in the Top Ten at Nationals.  (It comes in twelfth.) 

Oh, the humanity!

Though everyone is pretty bummed about the loss, no one takes it harder than Santana.  The former Cheerio has a little Lima Heights Adjacent Style Freakout in the dressing room.

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Once she is back home from New York, Santana even goes as far as to create a Yellow Cardigan- wearing-Rachel Voodoo Doll to torture.  (Many of the Glee kids, Santana included, blame the loss on how mediocre they performed the inappropriateness of the on-stage Finchel Kiss.)

So, of course, it is up to Brittany to cheer Santana up.  During a very sweet little locker scene, Brittany tells Santana how much she loves her (but just as a friend .  . . for now, at least), and how lucky the two of them are to have found “family” in their fellow Glee clubbers.  Brittany’s surprisingly wise words do wonders for Santana’s spirits.  And Santana tells Brittany as much . . .

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I, for one, adore these two togther, and very much look forward to the mature progression of their relationship in Season 3. 

Speaking of couples I adore, Kurt and Blaine finally exchanged “I LOVE YOU’S,” this week!

As dramatic as the multiple Finchel Moments were in this episode, I loved the quiet sweetness of this single Klaine moment.  No over-acted overtures, extravagant gestures, or big speeches were necessary.  This was just another day for Kurt and Blaine. 

The couple was just having coffee together, sharing stories, and enjoying one another’s company.  And then, seemingly out of no where, Blaine said it . . . the three words that Kurt undoubtedly has been wanting to hear, since he first met the guy, earlier this season. 

It was perfect!  Kudos to Darren Criss and Chris Colfer for the understated elegance of this memorable moment.

Oh, yeah, and I almost forgot, Finn and Rachel got back together.  (SUPRISE!)  After all that hemming and hawing about “following her dreams,” it turns out Rachel has an ENTIRE YEAR LEFT OF HIGH SCHOOL, before she even has to think of applying to NYU.  Talk about an hour’s worth of unnecessary drama! 

That being said, the couple’s second kiss on the floor of the library was way more adorable and genuine, than their overblown stage one, at least, in my opinion . . .

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Speaking of couples, you know who else is secretly dating in Glee Club World because heaven forbid any of these folks date someone who isn’t remotely involved in the show choir ? SAMCEDES!

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Hmmm . . .  it could work! 🙂 

And, there you have it folks!  Two seasons of Glee down, and hopefully, at least a few more to go.  So . . . how did you like the finale?  Did you think the Glee kids deserved to win Nationals?  Are you down with Samcedes?  Feel free to sound off in the comment section below . . . 

Have a great summer, my Gleekies!

[www.juliekushner.com]

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You Can’t Win ‘Em All! – A Recap of Glee’s ” A Night of Neglect”

Hey, Mike Chang .  . . wanna become be a LESS neglected Glee club member?  Here’s a hint: WEAR LESS CLOTHING!

Welcome back, Gleeks!  Has this most recent Glee hiatus left you feeling neglected . . . unappreciated . . . used up and tossed out, like a snotty old tissue? 

Well, then, you are in luck!  Because this week’s installment of Glee is all about that oh-so-familiar feeling of being left out, passed over, chewed up, and spit out.  Talk about a  “Feel Good Episode!”

So, ball up those tissues.  Break out the comfort food.  And crank up the volume on that SUPER depressing song on your iPOD.  Because it’s time for “A Night of Neglect.”

Brother, can you spare a dime?

“Goodbye, money!  It was nice knowing you!”

So, remember the Super Bowl Episode, when the Cheerios, upon losing their national competition, also lost their ENTIRE extracurricular activity budget, in favor of the Glee club?  And then remember how, for about 3 episodes or so, the normally cash-strapped Glee kids suddenly had enough money, not only to travel to Regionals, but also to purchase massively expensive rotating sectional sofas to use as props for their in-school performances about the dangers of alcohol abuse?

Blame it on the alcohol . . . and a REALLY dumb plotline.

Ummm . .  . yeah, well, apparently, the idea of the Glee club actually having enough CASH to attend Nationals was “inconvenient,” for purposes of this plot.  Therefore, the writers had to find some way to make the Glee kids poor again, thereby forcing them to hold the “fundraiser” around which this episode revolved.  So, the writers decided to have Sue steal the money, and reroute it into an “off-shore bank account.”  SURPRISE!

“Just call me Sue ‘The Scapegoat’ Sylvester . . . everybody else does!”

And yet, assuming Sue HAS all this money (and can use a portion of it on her “precious Cheerios”) why is she even bothering sabotaging the Glee kids (AGAIN), in the first place? 

Of course, to even try and answer this question, would require attributing something to this show that it clearly DOESN’T have . . . continuity.  So, we will just move on from here, OK?

Anywhoo . . . so not only do the Glee kids need cash, but the McKinley High Smarty Pants, an Academic Decathalon Team, which, surprisingly, is made up ENTIRELY of Gleeks (Aren’t ALL after-school activities, on this show?) needs money too!  This gives Will and his temporary guest star new girlfriend Gwyneth Paltrow Holly Holiday the idea to raise money for BOTH after-school activities by (1) selling saltwater taffy; and (2) putting on a benefit concert with, a theme that is very near and dear to both club’s hearts: LOSERS . .  . er . . . I mean . . . “neglected artists.”

*sings*  “Soy un perdedor!  I’m a neglected artist, baby!  So, why don’t you KILL ME?”

Volunteering to perform at the event is Vocal Adrenaline Star, Sunshine Corazon, who has “600 twitter followers,” but still claims that she knows how it feels to be “neglected,” because she is “so very short” and “a much better singer than everybody else.” 

Despite having been burned before, by a member of Vocal Adrenaline, who also supposedly possessed a burning desire to “help out the Enemy” . . .

. . . the Glee kids ultimately let Sunshine audition for the benefit.  After all, they are Ridiculously Stupid, very much in need of the audience members Sunshine promises to bring with her to the venue.

“SUCKERS!”

In what was BY FAR the most riveting performance of the evening, Sunshine sings Celine Dion’s extremely-over played, but STILL fabulous, “All By Myself.”  During her rendition, Sunshine captures the heart of a Very Special Gleek . . .

“Nice knowing, ya, Zizes!  It’s going to be a bright SUNSHINE-y day, without you!”

“Dump me for the Munchkin, and I will LITERALLY eat you for breakfast, PUCKERMAN!”

Check out Sunshine’s spectacular performance (not to mention Puck’s SUPER mushy response to it) here; and you will see EXACTLY what I mean  . . .

Welcome to the Legion of Doom!

 While the Glee kids are hard at work preparing for their Night of Neglect, Sue Sylvester is just as hard at work, making sure it fails miserably.  Except, this time, Sue is not alone in her Nefarious Plotting of this Week’s Evil Deeds.

(Seriously?  Can Sue BE any more of a cartoon villain?  Next thing you know, she will be petting a bald cat, perfecting her Evil Laugh, and blabbering on about World Domination.)

Helping Sue to destroy Glee club, this week, are former New Directions’ advisor, Sandy Ryerson . . .

Nice CAPE, Asshat!

 . . . Vocal Adrenaline Coach, Dustin Goolsby . . .

News Flash:  You are INDOORS!  Take off the sunglasses, Vampire LeDouchebag!

 . . . and Will’s ex-wife, and FAKE Baby Mama, Terri . . .

She’s baaaaaaaack!

For such an “impressive” group of Super Villains, the Leagion of Dooms’ schemes to foil the Night of Neglect actually end up being disappointingly LAME.  These plans include having Charise and her “600 Twitter Followers” ditch the benefit, at the last minute . . .

“That’s what you get for sending me to ‘audition’ at a Crack House, B*TCHES!”

 . . . trying (and FAILING) to break up Will’s relationship with Holly . . .

“WTF?”

(Of course, she ended up leaving, ANYWAY . . .)

 . . . and hiring a team of “Hecklers” to make fun of Tina’s performance of Lykke Li’s “I Follow Rivers.”

Most Random . . . Team . . . of . . . Hecklers .  . . EVER!

(And yet, they still managed to make Poor Tina CRY . . . THOSE BASTARDS!)

Which reminds me, is anybody else curious as to why Poor Tina’s musical performances always seem to end with her bawling her eyes out?  (“My Funny Valentine,” anyone?)

As for Tina’s real life “Funny Valentine,” he danced at the benefit to Jack Johnson’s “Bubble Toes,” which made me smile . . . both because I love Jack Johnson . . . and because “Bubble Toes” are just adorably SILLY!

This would have been a whole lot more appropriate, if Mr. Bubble Toes danced barefoot . . . and shirtless.

Granted, it was a bit disappointing that no one actually SANG  the Jack Johnson song, as I think that might have been a nice addition to the performance.  (After all, unlike, most of the other artists featured in this episode, Jack Johnson actually IS a neglected artist, one who is often vastly underappreciated for his unique talents . . . at least, in my humble opinion.) 

I’d say Tina could have sang the “little ditty.”  But she was still crying at the time, and, therefore, would have inevitably converted the song from “Bubble Toes” to Blubbering ones  . . .

Speaking of blubbering . . .

Like a Virgin, Touched (with a Glove) for the Very FIRST Time!

No Glove . . . No LOVE, BABY!

After having experienced so much progress in recent months, it was disheartening to see Poor Emma having fallen completely off the OCD-wagon again, this week.  Recognizing that OCD sufferers tend to see their symptoms worsen in times of extreme stress (AWWW!  He’s been doing RESEARCH on her condition!  He SO Luuuuuves HER!), Will gently asks Emma what happened. 

“Carl’s gone.  He asked for an annulment, which, I guess, he’s entitled to, since we never actually consummated our marriage,” Emma explains dejectedly.

(Oh, the judge must have LAUGHED HIS ASS OFF, when he heard that one!)

“Have MER-CY!”

“How old do you have to be, to look back on your life, with nothing but regret?  Is 32-too young?”  Emma asks sadly.

Knowing an “opening” (See what I did there?), when he sees one, Will sweetly vows to help Emma through this “rough patch” in her life.  To “seal the deal,” he even goes as far as to put on a condom a pair of sterilized gloves . . .  Yep, he’s a slick one, that Schuester! 

Holly takes another Holiday (and this one may be permanent) 

Watching the aforementioned exchange from a nearby window, Holly Holiday already knows she’s been replaced.  But, to her credit, rather than stomping off in a Rachel Berry-like fury, the “adult” Holly sticks around to teach the kids an “important lesson” on the dangers of online (and in-person) heckling. 

(Awww, that was great, Holly!  Without your preachy and super annoying inspired speech I would have NEVER known that it was mean and hurtful to . . . be MEAN and HURTFUL to people.  Thank you, for showing me the light!)

Other examples of the not-at-all obvious teachings of Holly Holiday . . .

Holly also performs Adele’s Turning Tables” at the Night of Neglect Benefit . . .

Riiiiiiight . . . because the young chart-topping female / international music sensation is PRECISELY who I think of, when I hear the words “neglected artist.”

At the end of the episode, Holly sadly admits the following:  (1) She has taken a substitute teacher position in Cleveland, and is therefore, leaving town and the showASAP;

(2) she knows Will and Emma are in love with one another, which makes it kind of inconvenient for her to continue being Will’s F*&k Buddy girlfriend; and

(3) she promises to return the next time she has a film project to promote sometime soon.

“You go and POP that Cherry WILL!  Pop it ONCE AND FOR ALL!  Do it for ME!  Do it for America!”

Speaking of people who are about to DO IT . . .

I’m always chasing Klaine-bows (and so is Karofsky, apparently)

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My favorite non-musical moment from the episode, BY FAR, was Kurt’s and Blaine’s visit to McKinley High to support their friends’ benefit.  Upon hearing Kurt reminisce about the school, Blaine realizes immediately that Kurt misses public school, and all the friends he’s made there.  Unfortunately, this sappy sweet moment is interrupted by the magical “surprise” appearance of Karofsky, who was pining over Kurt, dancing to “Bubble Toes”, rocking out to Adele “lifting weights,” when he overheard the new out-and-PROUD couple strolling the halls of McKinley.

In a swoon-worthy move, Blaine, who knows full well about Karofsky’s homophobic self-hatred, and how it ultimately resulted in Kurt having to switch schools, stands up to the much larger Football Player . . . even going as far as to give him a REALLY HARD PUSH!

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But, then, just when it seems as though a fight is about to break out in the halls of McKinley High, Santana, of all people, steps in to SAVE THE DAY!

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Recalling a time, in the not-so-distant past, when Karofsky had the GALL to SLUSHEE SANTANA, of all people . . .

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OH NO HE DIDN”T!

 . . . Santana positions herself squarely in front of Karofsky, and begins to tell him, once and for all, how things are going to be, from now on. 

 “See, here’s whats gonna go down. Two choices, you stay here, and I crack one of your nuts, right or left, that’s your choice. Or you walk away, and live to be a douchebag, another day. And, also, I have razorblades in my hair. Mmm-hmmm.  Tons, all up in there,” monologues Santana, in a moment that is positively FILLED with Awesome!

“If I wasn’t gay and secretly in love with Kurt, I’d be SO attracted to you, right now!”

What’s better, after hearing Santana’s not necessarily idle threats, Karofsky ACTUALLY walks away! 

 

(Little do these two individuals know just how much in common they actually have with one another!)

Symbolism and foreshadowing aside, it was really nice to see Santana come to Kurt’s aid, the way she did this week.  It shows fans just how far her character has come from the one-note villainess she once was, back in early Season 1 . . .

Speaking of characters who have come far . . .

Rachel teaches Mercedes the TRUE meaning of DIVA . . .

Of all the members of New Directions, perhaps, no character has been more outspoken about feeling neglected than Mercedes.  And yet, as Lauren Zizes perceptively points out, though she may gripe and complain EXTREMELY OFTEN, Mercedes will ALWAYS inevitably cede the spotlight to Rachel.  So, Lauren comes up with this ridiculous plan for Mercedes to ask for all these STUPID DIVA REQUESTS (A puppy to wipe her face on?  Being carried out on stage in a Lady Gaga-inspired egg?), so that her Glee club mates know that she’s important.

Oddly enough, for a little while, anyway, this dumb ass plan seems to work, with Rachel Finn and Quinn rushing around like crazy to fulfill all of Mercedes whimsical desires . . .

But when Mercedes refuses to perform at the Benefit, it is Rachel who follows her into the parking lot in the rain and stabs her to death sets her straight . . .

“Diva demands don’t make you famous,” explains Rachel (and she would KNOW!).  “Having talent does!”

“So, why are you a bigger star than ME!”  Mercedes whines.

“Because the writers always give ME all the big solos and romantic storylines.  “Because I care more about being famous, than about being liked.  Everyone LIKES you,” Rachel explains, “Except for NOW, because NOW you are being a TOTAL ASSHOLE!” 

Ultimately, Rachel concedes the closing number at the benefit to Mercedes, who sings her idol Aretha Franklin’s “Ain’t No Way,” to an adoring crowd.  (OK, so have we just TOTALLY dispatched with the theme of “neglected artists” now?  First ADELE, and now, ARETHA?  Who’s next, U2?  The Beatles?)

Of all people, Glee club nemesis, Sandy Ryerson, is SO touched by Mercedes performance, that he conveniently decides to defect from the Legion of Doom, and give all the money from his illegal drug sales to the Glee club and the Academic Decathaletes!

The random guest star has been REDEEMED!  HOORAY!  (It’s just too bad no one can redeem that outfit he’s wearing.  Because that thing is HIDEOUS!)

Now, with Dustin and Sandy having totally FAILED at breaking up the Glee club, it’s up to Sue and Terri to finish what they started.    *Sigh*  Here we go again . . .

Oh, and did I mention that the “McKinley Smarty Pants,” led by Brittany (and her bizarrely Rainman-esque knowledge of cat diseases) went on to win the Academic Decathalon, thanks to the MOST RANDOM GAMESHOW CATEGORY EVER? 

Oh, Holly Holiday . . . you and your WEIRD costumes . . . and your bizarre weekly historical tidbits . . . about women with Man-Hands who Loved Hitler!  Now that you are really gone, I may actually end up missing you, after all!

[www.juliekushner.com]

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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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Would you like some wine with your cheesy? – A Recap of Glee’s Mid-Season Finale “A Very Glee Christmas”

“Is that an elf in your pants, Santa, or are you just happy to see me?”

Ahhhhh, Christmas.  It’s a holiday seeped in tradtion: the presents, the mistletoe, the egg nog, those ugly Christmas sweaters, the Yule Log, those ridiculous old made-for-tv movies on Lifetime and ABC Family . . .

It’s enough to nauseate warm even the coldest of hearts . . .

This week’s pre-hiatus Glee episode was all about the Holiday of Giving.  And it offered up enough Christmas Cheer and Yueltide Cheese to keep you in Sugar Shock, well past New Year’s (which I guess — considering that new episodes of Glee won’t air until February 2011 — is a good thing). 

Poor Will!  Based on the way things ended for him this episode, it doesn’t look like he’s going to be getting LAID, until after the Superbowl, either . . .

Let’s recap, shall we?

Secret Santas Got a Brand New Bag

When the episode opens, Emma — who has experienced some major coldness from the MAN WHO IS NOT-SO-SECRETLY IN LOVE WITH HER, ever since she announced to him that she ran off with Jesse from Full House Dr. Carl Howell for a Plot Device Vegas Wedding  — invites Will to a Christmas party at the Tanner Household La Casa de Carl.

“Have MERCY!”

Understandably, Will looks like he would rather stab an ice pick through his heart, than spend Christmas watching Emma and Carl PDA and “Santa Baby” on the “Most Wonderful Night of the Year.”  (Can you blame him?)

Fortunately, Will’s Sulkfest 2010 is interrupted by a Beiste Bearing Gifts . . . well actually . . . more like a Beiste bearing names, as the faculty at McKinley High plans to exchange Secret Santa gifts this year.  Will gets THIS NAME . . .

 . . . which makes him do this .  . . again.

We later learn that Sue Sylvester has actually rigged the Secret Santa so that EVERYONE pulls her name.  In the words of Stephanie Tanner from Full House,  HOW RUUUUUUUUDE!

Meanwhile .  . .

I Saw Someone Still Believing in Santa Claus . . .

When Artie learns that his “Very Special” girlfriend, Brittany, still believes in Santa Claus, he becomes determined to preserve the Magic of Christmas for her.  But he ultimately ends up shooting himself in the foot (wow that was inappropriate on SO many levels), when he takes Brittany to Santa Land at the mall.

While the rest of the Glee kids ask “Santa” for reasonable things like “bling” (Santana), “Puck’s Love” ( me Lauren Zizes), or for Channing Tatum to star in less stuff (Mike) . . .

(I think its an “abs” thing.  Some guys just don’t know how to handle a little competition . . .)

(Coincidentally, you can catch Channing Tatum in the upcoming film The Dilemma, starting January 14, 2011.)

 . . . Brittany asks for Artie to be able to walk, which reminded me of the time when he DANCED . . .

But, seeing how that was just a dream sequence . . . yeah . . . Artie is kind of screwed.

Would you rather be slusheed, or hit in the head with a designer shoe?

While Brittany has no trouble keeping herself in the Christmas spirit, the rest of the Glee kids are feeling a bit more Scroogey.  After all, they are STILL getting slusheed in the hallways (though now the slushees are in festive Christmas colors!).  And, when they try to sing “Need a Little Christmas” to classes around the school, in order to collect money for a charitable holiday class trip . . .

 . . . they get heckled and hit in the head with Christmas boots.  Bah Humbug!  Decorating the Glee choir room and singing “Welcome Christmas” does little to lift the kids spirits.  Although THIS helps some . . .

Speaking of sporting a little Christmas Wood . . .

Blaine and Kurt heat things up, while singing about the cold . . .

In my absolute favorite performance of the evening (even though plotwise, it didn’t really fit in with the rest of the episode, AT ALL), Blaine finds Kurt studying alone in the lounge at Dalton Academy, and asks him for a sexual favor.  You see, Blaine was selected to sing “Baby it’s Cold Outside” at some random Christmas pageant, and simply can’t play with himself practice alone. 

And so, the duo launch into a modern take on the classic song.  The result is fun and adorable enough to warm the cockles of even my cold, cold heart.   Those of you who haven’t seen it yet, can enjoy it here:

After the solo, Will randomly shows up at Dalton Academy — a school that not only has a “No Tolerance for Violence” policy, but, apparently, also has NO SECURITY WHATSOEVER.  You would think that the Spanish-teacher-who-hasn’t-spoken-a-lick-of-Espanol-since-the-pilot-episode was there to wish Kurt a Merry Christmas, or give him advice of some sort.  But NOOOOOOO . . . this visit was all about Will, and his problems!  (What else is new?)

You said it, Sista!

Here’s Kurt, suffering the slings and arrows of unrequited luuuuuuuuuve, and all Will wants to do is bitch about how can’t figure out what to get Sue for her Secret Santa gift.  Selfish much?

OOPS!

Will’s only gift ideas so far have been a Robot Dog and a Soul.  Now, I don’t know about that whole “Soul” thing, but a Robot Dog would be an AWESOME Christmas present . . . (hint, hint Mom .  . . if you are reading this)

(My cat would never be without a companion!)

Kurt suggests a fur-lined tracksuit, instead . . . and I, for one, am hoping he meant faux-fur . . .  At least, with the Robo Dog, you can be sure that no living creatures were harmed in its making . . .

Though some might beg to differ with that assessment . . .

You’re a Mean One, Sue the Grinch

Coincidentally, this is exactly what I look like, after eating bad cafeteria food . . .

On Secret Santa exchange day, Emma and the rest of the teachers quickly discover that Sue rigged the Name Pot (Name Jar?), in order to get all the presents for herself . . .

“You a regular Agatha Christie, except even more sexless,” Sue says of Emma, when the latter reveals Sue’s devious plan to the rest of the faculty.

The teachers stomp off in a collective huff, as Sue, along with her new minion, Becky, sort through all her new Christmas gifts with sadistic glee . . .

Not surprisingly, about six different people got her The Shake Weight . . .

Teachers and Late Night Infomercials — It’s a Match Made in Heaven (plus tax)

Eventually, Will returns to take all Sue’s gifts back.  He claims she has no legal right to them (which, I guess is true, but, then again, neither does he).  Will plans to take the undeserved gifts to the underprivileged children in a nearby district.  Though honestly, I’m not sure what a bunch of kids would do with an adult fur-lined track suit, a blender, and six shake weights . . .)

Sue, of course, is APPALLED . . .

“I’m appalled.”

And so, she decides to get revenge, by inexplicably painting her face Grinch Green (riiiiight, because no one will recognize her NOW!), and heading to the choir room — along with her trusty Reindog Becky — to steal back the gifts, and ruin Christmas for Will and the Glee kids . . .

While Sue and Becky snatched presents, smashed ornaments, tore tinsel, slashed mistle toe, and cut down the Glee tree, a voice in the background eerily broke into a rendition of Sue the Grinch.  I later learned that voice belonged — not to anyone in the Glee cast — but, instead, to K.D. Lang .  . .

Ummmm  . . . yeah . . . because that’s not random at all.

At the end of the song, Brittany arrives, decked out in her best Cindy Lou Who attire . . .

(By the way Gossip Girl fans, I bet you will never guess who played Cindy Lou Who in the movie version of the Grinch Who Stole Christmas . . .  I’ll give you a hint, her name starts with a Raccoon and ends with a Zombie.)

Meet Cindy Lou Who, also known as Little J / Taylor Momsen.  Poor Dr. Seuss must be rolling over in his grave right about now . . .

Anywho . . . Brittany mistakes Sue for Santa (Other things Brittany mistakes for Santa: tomatos, bananas, Stop Signs, Soap Scum on her shower.).  Not seeming the least concerned that Santa is “green” and “ruining Christmas,” Brittany joyfully admits to the Grinch herself, that the presents under the tree are for the homeless.  Brittany’s innocence and sheer honesty, in the face of such evil, makes Sue turn a little green . . .

. . . but it doesn’t make her feel bad enough to clean up her mess . . .

The next day, the Glee kids enter the choir room to find THIS . . .

Determined to save Christmas for his fellow Gleeks (it is his favorite holiday, after all), Finn offers to go pick out another tree for the choir room.  And Rachel (seeking entrance back into The Finn Hudson Pantalones) offers to come along for the ride.  After all, her first bid to win back Finn’s heart — which involved, you guessed it, her SINGING (lamest . . . Christmas gift . . . ever . . . Cheapskate) — failed miserably.  So, she really had nothing to lose!

“Merry Christmas, Darling.  Please enjoy the Gift of My Voice to make up for the fact that you are no longer entitled to the Gift of My Virginity . . .”

At the Christmas Tree Farm, Finn and Rachel sing a duet of the song Last Christmas . . .

When the song is over, Rachel, who has rubbed herself in car air freshener, for the occasion . . .

The best little roll-on perfume $2.50 can buy!

 . . . makes her second play of the hour for Finn’s fickle heart.  “Last year for Christmas, I asked Santa to give me you even though I am Jewish, and don’t celebrate Christmas and he did!  It’s time for you to forgive me,” she said matter-of-factly, offering him a big wet and slobbery tongue kiss, as proof of the veracity of her statement.

But Finn, who is a self-righteous asshat (WOW!  I can’t believe I am actually taking Rachel’s side on this one), runs away like the whiny b*tch he is.   In doing so, the bastard completely forgets about his lofty plans to “Save Christmas,” and leaves Rachel to smell like the inside of a car, all by her lonesome . . .  (Then again, maybe smelling Pine Fresh, will make it easier for Rachel to hitch a ride home with a Lonely Trucker or Hairy Mountain Man.)

“Last Christmas, I gave you my heart, and the very next day, you gave me a fart . . .”

Meanwhile, back in the Better Plotline . . .

Brittany, Meet Santa Claus . . .

The Glee kids beg the increasingly adorable Shannon Beiste to be “Santa” at Brittany’s house, because she “has the right body type.”  (Yeah . . . because THAT’S not insulting at all!)  Artie hopes that “Santa” can kindly break the news to Brittany that “he” will not be able to get Brittany her requested gift of A Walking Artie . . .

That night, Brittany is thrilled to see Santa Beiste doing a “Christmas Dry Run,” right in her own living room!

However, her face falls, when “Santa” explains to her that she must instead give Brittany the gift of patience, instead of what she asked for, as “fixing Artie’s legs” is not a present that can be delivered overnight.  To support her position, Beiste tells Brittany the story of a husky young girl who wished that Santa would make her look like all the other girls for Christmas.  But, instead, Santa gave her the gift of “patience,” allowing her the time to eventually realize that she didn’t really WANT to look like all the other girls after all!

Gee, I wonder who that “Little Girl” could be?

“Was it Ricki Lake?”  Brittany asks.

(You’ve gotta love when the writers of this show have the Glee kids making totally age inappropriate pop culture references.)

Though Brittany feigns a polite perkiness with Santa Beiste, the next day, Artie finds his girlfriend at her locker, looking completely crestfallen.  “I used to believe that Santa could do anything. If Santa isn’t magical, I don’t even know if I want to believe anymore,” she mutters.

In a move that makes me LOVE this couple even more than I did last week (Sorry Team Artina, I am 100% Team Bartie now!), Artie rushes Brittany home, to help her cope with her newfound crisis of faith.  Once there, however, Brittany finds a very special gift under her tree . . .

It’s called a Re-Walk, and its experimental technology allows people, heretofore bound to wheelchairs, temporary use of their limbs.  (Believe it or not, Re-Walk technology is very real.  You can read more about it here.)  Artie brought his Re-Walk back to school, to share it with the rest of the Gleeks.  Seeing her Christmas wish come true literally brought tears of joy to Brittany’s usually vacant eyes . . .

And, all cheese aside, if this Glee moment didn’t melt your heart, just the slightest bit, you are simply not human . . .

No offense!

Speaking of melted hearts . . .

How Sue Saved Christmas . . .

Desperate times call for Desperate Measures, and when Will finds the Glee kids, going all Gift of the Magi on themselves, to raise money for their trip to see the underprivileged kids, he is impressed and disturbed at the same time.  (The boys gave up their watches, while the girls were prepared to chop off their hair.  Umm . . .  does that sound like an unfair trade off to anyone else?) 

Fortunately, Will has a money-making idea that will allow the girls to keep their luscious locks, and the boys to still always know when its time for sex lunch.

In the next scene, the Glee kids sing in front of a group, for the second time this hour.  This time. however, the audience is made up of teachers.  So, the kids won’t have to worry about getting shoes thrown at them again . . .

Well . . . maybe they have to worry a little bit.

The song the kids sang, as their coffers filled with faculty donations, was “Welcome Christmas,” a song with which, I’ll admit, I was completely unfamiliar, before this episode.   And yet, one line of the song really stood out for me:  “Christmas time it will always be, just as long as we have Glee Tuesday nights at 8 p.m. on Fox”  Now how’s THAT for product placement?

Conveniently, at the last moment, Sue walks in on the “caroling,” and immediately vomits is touched with the Christmas spirit.   By the time the kids return to the choir room, all the Shake Weights are back under the tree, and everything is as it should be.

But wait!  There’s MORE!  Sue also convinces the Glee kids to go to WILL’S house, so that he doesn’t have to spend Christmas alone.  (What’s the matter Glee kids?  Do none of you have parents?)  Will is touched by the gesture, and shocked that it was Sue who orchestrated it.  “I thought you hated the holidays,” says Will incredulously.

“No, I just hate you,” Sue replies.

Did I mention that Sue bought Will a Christmas gift too?

It’s a razor!  So, Will can shave his HEAD!  Get it?  Well . . . I guess some things never change.  (And yet . . . now that Sue mentions it, Will would look kind of hot with a crew cut . . . kind of like Channing Tatum . . .)

Sorry Mike!

The last moments of this very Yuletidey mid-season finale feature the Glee kids celebrating Christmas together at Will’s house . . .

It’s a schmaltzy, but sweet, end, to a schmaltzy, but sweet, Glee episode.  Well, that’s all I’ve got, folks.  So, Merry Gleestmas to all, and to all a Good Night! 

(Oh, and see you next year, my fellow Gleekys!)

[www.juliekushner.com]

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Can’t We All Just Get Along? – A Recap of Glee’s “Special Education”

Last year’s Sectionals brought our Glee kids together, in a really big way, by forcing them to pull an ENTIRE set list out of their collective butts, in the last few seconds before showtime.  (If you recall, during that episode, New Directions’ original set list had been stolen by both of their competitors, thanks to one, very naughty, Sue Sylvester.)  This year, however, that same competition seemed to drive a wedge between our Glee kids, the likes of which we haven’t seen before . . .

It seemed as though Kurt’s absence from McKinley High and the Glee club had cast a dark pall over all of our characters, as well as over the episode, in general.  It was enough to make me wish that SOMEONE would stick a “warbler” up Karofsky’s ASS, so Kurt could come back to New Directions where he BELONGS, and things could go back to normal again . . .

To save Glee, this brave warbler is willing to BOLDLY go where no bird has gone before . . .

Pucker up those cheeks, Karofsky . . . and not the ones you used to kiss Kurt, either!

And yet, amidst all that darkness were some seriously sweet scenes between new couples (Artie and Brittany / Sam and Quinn), best frenemies (Kurt and Rachel), and prospective future couples (?) (Blurt and Puckleberry).  Let’s recap, shall we?

“I feel like punching you, everytime you open your mouth.”

Woah, Quinn!  Why don’t you tell us how you REALLY feel?

When Emma nervously suggested to Mr. Schuester, during the episode’s opening, that he too often relied on Finn, Rachel and Mercedes during New Directions’ public performances, at the expense of the rest of the Glee club, even the biggest Finchel fans out there had to admit the woman had a point.  Lately, the Rachel/Finn Opening Ballad, and Mercedes Song-Ending Beltfest have become almost as common in Glee episodes as mash-ups, show-tunes, and Journey songs . . .

Here they go again . . . and again . . . and again . . .

However, when Will announced to the club that the solos typically performed by Finn, Rachel, and Mercedes would go to Sam, Quinn, and Santana, during this year’s Sectionals (with a little Mike and Brittany dance number thrown in for good measure), Finn whined like a little b*tch, and Rachel carried on, as though she had just been stabbed by her best friends in front of the Capitol Building, a la Julius Caesar . . .

*insert tragic Death Music here*

Rachel’s Lament seriously offends those Glee kids who actually HAVE been given solos, for once.  And yet, no one is MORE offended than Santana, who chooses this precise moment to drop the bomb on Rachel regarding her illicit lovefest with Finn, during Season 1.   “But we were ON A BREAK!”  You can almost hear Finn argue in his head, though, at the time, he actually says very little in his own defense.

For what it’s worth, Finn.  Ross Geller from Friends feels your pain.

Later, at “couples counseling,” Emma (riiiiiiight, because, clearly, Emma is a Relationship Expert) suggests Finn and Rachel sing Eagles songs to one another to work out their problems.  However, Rachel would much prefer slapping Finn in the face.  (What’s with all the violence this week, Glee ladies  Make LOVE, not WAR!)  And so, Emma suggests that Rachel “storm out” instead, thereby accomplishing ABSOLUTELY NOTHING!

“I never advocate Face Slapping amongst students.  Faces, especially Teenage Boy faces, tend to be extremely germy and capable of spreading pestilence.  Just thinking about it makes me want to wash my hands 35 times.”

“Just Be Yourself” (Unless “yourself” is at all different from the rest of us, in which case . . . DON’T)

If Kurt had sent a “canary” in before him, to test the environment at Dalton Academy, that sweet little yellow song bird would have suffocated, moments after breathing the same air as those stuffy Warblers . . .  Last week, like Kurt, most of us assumed that the reason there is NO bullying at Dalton, is because of its “general atmosphere of acceptance,” and its “No Tolerance” policy for any form of violence.  This week, however, we learned that the actual reason Dalton is Bully Free, is that being a “Bully” requires a level of individuality and personality (albeit a BAD personality), which the stuffy Dalton-ites simply don’t possess.

“This place sucks ASS!  Once I get Blaine to swipe my V-card, I am SO out of here!”

Although the Dalton Academy Warblers initially seem to welcome new student, Kurt, into their ranks with open arms, when the teen has the GALL to offer some of his ideas for a Sectionals song list, the boys all start looking at him, as though he murdered all their family members, and ate them, one by one. 

So, when Kurt is given the opportunity to audition for a solo, he recognizes immediately, that he is going to need a lot of help, if he wants a shot at getting the part.  And so, he turns to the World’s Most Unlikely Ally EVER!

Though initially reluctant to help out her “competition,” Rachel ultimately relents, providing Kurt with what seems like the perfect song for him to use during the audition:  namely, “Don’t Cry for Me, Argentina” from the musical, Evita.  At the audition, Kurt really seems to knock the song out of the park — though a concerned Blaine, continually motions for him to stop waving his arms, and using dramatic gestures, while he sings. 

When Kurt loses the part, Blaine accuses him of “trying too hard.”  Apparently, at Dalton Academy, when you want to “fit in,” you also have to “blend in.”  And, as we know, “blending” is not exactly Kurt’s strong suit . . .

One Magic Comb to Rule them All

Thanks, Gleeky Tumblr!

I’ll be the first to admit that I was TOTALLY skeptical of the idea of a Brittany / Artie coupling, when the idea was first introduced a few episodes back.  I thought to myself, “How could these two POSSIBLY have any chemistry, with one another?” 

BOY, WAS I WRONG!   This week, Artie and Brittany may have even surpassed Quinn and Puck, as my favorite Glee couple . . .

Don’t worry, Puckster!  I still love YOU the most!

It all started when Artie found a terrified Brittany in the lounge, completely freaking out over her Sectionals dancing solo, with Mike Chang.  Though confident in her dancing abilities, Brittany worries about having the entire team’s hopes and dreams about winning Sectionals resting on her small shoulders.  Fortunately, Artie has an idea . . .

He tells Brittany that he owns a Magic Comb, and that, if she brushes her hair with it, they are GUARANTEED to win Sectionals.  “You are the best boyfriend ever,” says a very excited Brittany, before treating Artie to a chaste hug and lip smooch.

But then Mike and Brittany start spending a heck of a lot of time together, practicing their dance for Sectionals.  A jealous Tina begins planting doubts in Artie’s head, arguing that Mike has a thing for cheerleaders, and has started to smell like Lipsmackers (which, apparently, Brittany wears and Tina would know this, because she makes out with Brittany all the time)  Therefore, Mike and Brittany MUST be screwing . . .

Artie tries to deny to himself that his new girlfriend would ever cheat on him.  But when Brittany starts acting really coldly to Artie, and ditching him to hang out with Mike, Artie can’t help but wonder whether what Tina is saying is true.  Then, shortly before Sectionals, Artie accuses Brittany of adultery and she . . . admits to it.

Except, Brittany never actually CHEATED with Mike.

She just lost Artie’s Magic Comb!  You see, Brittany confused “adultery” with “being a dolt,” and assumed that Artie was just mad at her, about losing the comb!  But, as it turns out, the Magic Comb wasn’t really magic!  (SURPRISE!)  It was just something Artie found on the floor, and used to make Brittany not nervous anymore.  “YOU are magic,” Artie tells Brittany, before treating her to a FIERCE little tongue kiss.

And they all live Happily Ever After . . . well . . . at least these two do . . . (and I guess Tina and Mike do too).  But I can’t really say the same for everybody else . . .

“You stuffed Puck in a Port-a-Potty!  You Bastards!”

If it weren’t for the whole “being stuck in a STINKY Port-a-Potty for 24-hours” thing, Puck would have had the best episode EVER!  After all, he acted heroically, not once, but TWICE, during the hour.  First, Puck REFUSED to screw Rachel, to help her get revenge on Finn for sleeping with Santana, even though he seemed to REALLY want to make sweet, sweet Puckleberry Love to the girl .  .  . even going as far as to admit out loud that he “kind of liked” her.  Way to have self-control, Puckster!

Second, Puck LITERALLY took one for the team, this week, when Schue told him to find a new Glee club member to stand in Kurt’s place for Sectionals.  Puck approached his football team first, in the Men’s Locker Room, about the opportunity, but got shoved in the stinky potty, as a result. 

Kiss ME, PUCKSTER!

 (Ummm, where were Finn, Sam and Mike, during this ordeal, may I ask?  Aren’t they on the team too?)

Rotting away in Stinkville, Puck begins to worry that all hope is lost, until Wrestler Lauren Zizes comes to his rescue.  So, Puck asks HER to go to Sectionals with him. 

Lauren agrees, provided that Puck “makes out” with her.  And guess what?   Lauren ROCKS PUCKS WORLD!

She also, despite thinking that show choir is “lame,” happens to be a pretty good singer.  So, when you think about it, Puck’s puckery lips really saved Sectionals!

Honeymoon in Vegas

“Don’t hate me Wemma Fans!  I swear I didn’t mean it!”

Remember last year’s Sectionals when Emma had randomly rushed into marrying Ken Tanaka? (Ken ended up calling off the wedding, because she was so clearly in love with Will.)  Well, it looks like the woman is at it again!  (Maybe it’s an “OCD Thing.”)  First, we learn that Dr. Carl won’t let Emma go to Sectionals with Will, because the last time the two of them hung out, they did this . . .

Then, Emma admits to Will, that, instead of going to Sectionals, she and Carl GOT MARRIED IN VEGAS!

(Now, I hate to be a cynical about this . . . but I’m kind of thinking that this happened so quickly, only because Uncle Jesse Carl convinced himself that Emma was a “wait until marriage” kind of virgin, instead of a “just haven’t gotten around to it yet,” virgin. And, having dated Emma for quite a few episodes now, the dude just REALLY NEEDED TO GET LAID.)

“Have MERCY!”

Although, Will tries to politely congratulate Emma on her nuptials,  you can tell he’s pretty torn up about the whole thing . . .

Awww, don’t worry, Mr. Schue!  We all know it won’t last!  John Stamos is only guest starring for a few more episodes!

It’s Sectionals, Baby!

At Sectionals, the first performance comes from a group of aging GED candidates called the Hipsters.  They sing Mike and the Mechanics’ “In the Living Years.”  It’s a decent performance, but, given that none of the Hipsters appears to be under the age of 70, the song choice seems a bit morbid, if you catch my drift.  They end up coming in Third Place . . .

“Dammit!  I knew we should have sang, MC Hammer’s ‘U Can’t Touch This,’ instead!”

Before Kurt goes on to sing with the Warblers, he and Rachel share a sweet moment, during which they admit they believed one another to be their only true competition at McKinley, and admit how much they miss one another, now that they aren’t going to the same school. 

Perhaps, because of this shared moment, while the Warblers, led by Blaine, sing Train’s “Soul Sister” . . .

 . . . a supportive Rachel reminds a very uncomfortable-looking Kurt to SMILE!

Thanks hiyoritic tumblr!

(By the way, did anyone else love how Blaine condescendingly told Kurt how important it was to “blend in” to the Warblers, and not show-off, when the during Sectionals, showing off and standing out were precisely what Blaine appeared to be doing?  Just sayin . . .)

After the competition, Blaine assures a nervous Kurt, that he and his new bird (All the Warblers, apparently, have to care for REAL warblers, during their time on the team), are just “changing their feathers,” and will end up fitting into Dalton just fine. 

Admittedly, it was a nice moment for the pair.  But, am I the only one hoping Blaine will be WRONG?  I don’t want Kurt to “change his feathers.”  His “New Directions feathers” suited him just fine, in my opinion.

Speaking of New Directions, they are up next . . .

Our Glee kids open with Dirty Dancing‘s “I’ve Had the Time of My Life,” with Sam and Quinn taking on the Eye-F*&cking on Stage while Singing roles, typically reserved for Finn and Rachel.  Next up is Santana, who performs a rousing rendition of Amy Winehouse’s “Valerie” . . .

 . . . while Mike and Brittany dance, and throw one another around a bit . . .

When it comes time to announce the winner of Sectionals . . . SURPRISE . . . it’s BOTH the Warblers AND New Directions.  As it turns out, they will BOTH be performing at Regionals against Vocal Adrenaline!  How convenient!

It’s a pretty jubilant moment . . . until Rachel ruins it, by admitting to Finn that she tried to sleep with Puck, to get back at him for screwing Santana . . .

They break up over this.   And it’s kind of depressing . . .

But, just in case things were getting too sad for you, the episode ends with Mercedes and Tina singing Florence and the Machine’s “Dog Days are Over.”  And we get to watch the Glee kids run around the stage like lunatics, during it . . .

But, I think my favorite part of the whole number, was when Rachel made this face . . .

(Don’t worry, Rachel!  You keep making faces like that, and Finn will come crawling back to you, in no time.  It’s a well known fact that no teenage boy can resist a good “O Face” . . .)

And, just in case that O Face wasn’t enough to put a smile back on your face, next week it’s CHRISTMAS!  (Well . . . not really . . . but at least on Glee, it will be!)

[www.juliekushner.com]

 

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Fresh Faces, Altered Alliances, Same Sue! – A Recap of Glee’s Season 2 Premiere “Audition”

Your pals at New Directions would like to wish you a Big Ole’ “WELCOME BACK!”

Tonight’s season premiere of Glee offered us a number of things we thought would NEVER happen at McKinley High!  Artie, a Football Jock?  Finn, a Cheerleader?  Will and Sue, best buddies / Partners in Crime?  Rachel, dethroned as Queen Diva of New Directions?  WHAT THE GLEEK?

“What is the world coming to?  Oh, the HUMANITY!”

Perhaps, now would be a good time to backtrack and explain  . . .

Glee’s Big Gay Summer

According to Jacob Ben Israel’s video blog, a lot has happened to our favorite Glee kids during those warm hot summer months.  Finn and Rachel became a couple . . .

 . . . despite the fact that Finn still thinks Rachel is “control-ist.”

Tina dumped Artie . . .

. . .  because he and her just don’t share the same interests, anymore.  For example, lately, Tina has become very interested in Mike Chang’s abs .  . .

 . . . which are AWESOME, by the way!  Who knew?

I don’t know about you, but I smell another Love Triangle in our future . . .

(Speaking of abs, check out these new pics of Matthew Morrison, who plays Will Schuester on Glee.)

Holy, PECTORALS, Batman!

Also, Puck . . .

 . . . got a VASECTOMY??????

Presumably, this means that, never again, will another unsuspecting teen be forced to carry a Little Puckerman in their belly for nine months . . .

 He can still give them crabs, though . . .

Perhaps, most importantly, whatever “esteemed status” our Glee kids may have gained last year (read: no status at all), was lost the moment New Directions failed to place at Sectionals, last year.

Without a trophy on the mantel to justify their existence as a school club, New Directions’ ever tenuous funding is now on shakier footing than ever.  It certainly doesn’t help that Principal Figgins has hired a new football coach, Ms. Beist (played by Dot Jones).

The result of this “new hire” is that the Glee Club’s already anorexic budget has been cut by an additional ten percent.  But, here’s the kicker . . . so has the budget for SUE SYLVESTER’S CHEERIOS!

Understandably, this does not make Sue a Happy Camper . . .

Sue and Will: BFF?

With the Beist breathing down their necks, and snagging a big chunk of each of their club’s cash, Will Schuester and Sue Sylvester find themselves in a rather unusual situation.  They are both  .  . . ON THE SAME SIDE!

Clearly, the Apocalypse has arrived.  In order to recover the lost budgets for their respective clubs, Sue and Will decide to team up to topple the Beist.  Their Evil Genius Plan?  Operation Mean Girls . . .

An Expert Bully, Sue knows a High School Geek when she sees one: “She’s oversized, humorless, and refers to herself in the third person, as an animal (a Panther, to be exact),” Sue says of the Beist.  Sue figures that the best way to eliminate this beastly nemesis would be to capitalize on her insecurities and permanent outsider status.  For their first order of business, Sue and Schue order 25 pizzas, to be delivered to the Boy’s Locker room, precisely, when the first football practice of the Season is about to begin . . .

All right . . . now who gets the Sausage?

To Beist’s credit, she doesn’t appear to be at all fazed by the prank.  And when the new football coach learns that, if the pizzas are not paid for, the delivery boy won’t be able to afford to buy his kid Pampers . . .

 . . . Beist gallantly pays for the entire order.  She then offers all of her football players pizza, forcing them each to eat four slices prior to football tryouts.  “The first person who pukes, is cut!”  She barks.

Well, played Beist (or should I say, Panther)!

Then, in the faculty lounge (where Guidance Counselor Emma is no where to be found, by the way) . . .

Missing in Action

 .  . . Will and Sue sit at different lunch tables, both of which are otherwise empty.  However, when Beist tries to sit at both of them, the “mature educators” instruct her that she can’t, because the seats are already taken by their “imaginary friends.”

“Everyone said that Sue was the school bully, and you were really cool,” Beist says to Will, as she exits the faculty lounge.  “I guess they got that last part wrong.”

She sure showed him, didn’t she?

Then, Sue takes things one step further, by commandeering Brittany to claim that the Beist touched her boobies.  Using a doll that looks suspiciously similar to McKinley High’s Most Scholarly Cheerio (down to the vacant expression in its eyes), Brittany demonstrates to Principal Figgins the inappropriate conduct that she purportedly suffered at the hands of the Beist.  “She touched me here,” says Brittany emotionlessly, her thin fingers poking Little Brittany’s cotton-stuffed knockers . . .

Realizing that Operation Mean Girls has gone too far, Will begs Brittany to tell the truth about her “traumatic experience.”  Almost instantly, the Blonde Cheerleader cracks under interrogation.

“OK.  I lied.  Ms. Beist didn’t touch my boobs.  In fact, I really wanted to touch her boobs,” mumbles the not-so-closeted bisexual.

Later, when Sue tries to get Beist to eat cookies made of dog poop (“They’re organic!”), Will FINALLY intervenes on Beist’s behalf.  Later, he apologizes to the female football coach.  “Losing Sectionals forced me to realize that New Directions is still an Outsider at this school, and that’s how I made you feel.  I’m sorry,” offers McKinley High’s Most Recently Redeemed Bad Boy.

Awwww, it seems our Little Schuester has FINALLY grown up!  The question is, for how long?

A Little Sunshine can go a LONG way . . .

Still smarting from their Sectionals loss, and down one Glee Club member  .  . .

(Oh, Matt, we barely knew thee . . . and never even really learned what your voice sounded like)

 .  . . New Directions is going to need some new blood, if it wants to have a shot at attending Nationals in New York City this year.  To drum up interest in the club, and to show the school they aren’t just about “80’s music and show tunes” (which, lets face it, up until this episode . . . they kind of were), our favorite Glee kids decide to put on a show for their high school classmates at lunch.  Clad in the kind of vastly overpriced NYC t-shirts you might find at an illegally operated bodega in Times Square, the crew performs a fairly stripped-down, but still quite funky, rendition of Jay Z and Alicia Key’s Empire State of Mind.

And . . . basically, everybody ignores them . . .

 . . . well . . . everybody, except for THIS girl . . .

Rachel finds new foreign exchange student, Sunshine Corazone (played by Filipino pop sensation, Charise), in the ladies’ restroom.  In typical Rachel-fashion, New Directions Queen Diva immediately suggests that Sunshine join the Glee club, in a manner that is both patronizing and more than a little bit racist.  “Ah, I can see you don’t speak English,” Rachel begins sweetly.  “I . . . en-cour-age . . . you . . . to join Glee.  We need people who can stand in back of me, waving a fan, and looking on ado-ring-ly, while I sing.  Waving . . . a . .  .  flag . . . fun . . . Glee . . .  is fun.”

(Now, I am not a violent person, by nature.  But I wanted to slap Rachel so hard during this scene, that my fist very nearly detached itself from my body, and flew into the television screen . . .)

To her credit, Sunshine DIDN’T punch Rachel.  Instead, she started rocking out to her iPod, and singing along (extremely well, I might add), to the Beyonce and Lady Gaga song “Telephone.”

Impressed, and more than a bit threatened, Rachel begins to sing the song as well.  Soon, the two diminutive girls are engaged in a full on sing-off, circling one another like wrestlers at a WWF title match.

Then, Sue comes in to the bathroom, and catches wind of the whole exchange.  “SHUT UP!” She exclaims, stopping the girls’ right in the middle of their Glass Breaking Belt-fest.

You’ve gotta love Sue . . .

“That was fun!  I would love to join your club.  When are auditions?”  Sunshine inquires, with faux innocence.  (Clearly, this girl isn’t as naive as she appears .  . .)

Worried that Sunshine will upstage her during Glee Club performances will mess up the “team dynamic,” Rachel tries to convince the other Glee Club members not to allow Sunshine to audition.  And when her initial attempts at Sunshine Sabotage are unsuccessful, Rachel REALLY turns to the Dark Side . . .

“RACHEL . . . I am one of your two Gay Fathers!”

“Here are specific directions to the Glee Club auditions,” Rachel says sweetly to Sunshine, providing her with a slip of paper, that looks as though it says a hell of a lot more than, “Turn left at the girl’s bathroom, and enter the auditiorium, on your right.”

Little did Poor Sunshine know that Evil Rachel had just provided her with directions to a Crack House . . .

And if anyone would know where all the good crack houses are in Ohio, its Rachel!  After all, she practically grew up in Crack Den!

“Crack is WACK!”

When the other Glee Club members find out what Rachel did to Sunshine they are furious, particularly Tina and Mike (The Asian community is VERY tight, after all)!  And so, with her tail between her legs, Rachel must apologize to the now Partly Cloudy, Sunshine.  “They took my sheet music and used it for toilet paper,” whines Sunshine, when Rachel offers her condolences.

Ultimately, however, Sunshine agrees to audition for the Glee club, for real, this time.  On stage, she performs a rendition of Dreamgirls’ “Listen” that literally blows everybody away. 

Immediately, upon the song’s completion, Will offers Sunshine a position in the club.  Unfortunately, for Will, and the rest of New Directions, however, Sunshine has other plans.  And when Will arrives at Sunshine’s locker to personally hand her a practice schedule, he finds her being coddled by none other than THIS GUY . . .

He can “coddle” ME, anytime!

It’s the New Vocal Adrenaline Coach, Dustin Goldsberry (played by Cheyenne Jackson)!  Dustin has just waltzed into McKinley High to pick up Vocal Adrenaline’s newest star singer.  (Seriously?  Is there NO security in this high school?  I hope they have good insurance . . .) 

“They gave my mom and me a condo and a greencard,” Sunshine tells Will, excitedly. 

 (And this is all supposedly coming from a Public School?  I don’t think so, Glee Writers . . .)

Sunshine admits to Will, that she would have stayed with New Directions, had it not been for Rachel’s intimidation tactics.  “I just don’t think I could work with her, after she sent me to a Crack House” Sunshine explains, apologetically. 

With Sunshine’s Hello Kitty backpack, hugging his shoulders . . .

Bookbag of Champions

  .  . . Diego puts his arm creepily around Sunshine, and the two walk off into the Sunset (no pun intended), taking Will Schuester’s dreams of a slam dunk Sectional win, right along with them.

Apparently, Vocal Adrenaline’s new coach was tipped off to Sunshine’s incredible talents, by none other than Sue Sylvester . . .

 . . . who, if you recall, heard Sunshine sing in the bathroom, earlier in the episode.  So, much for the short-lived alliance between Sue and Will!  Perhaps, next time Mr. Schuester will think twice before turning down Poop Cookies . . .

The Downside of Big Boobs  . . .

Speaking of Sue Sylvester, apparently, she has decided to make little change to the Cheerios roster. 

Not only has she reluctantly allowed Quinn back on the squad, post-Baby Debacle . . .

. . . she has also reappointed her as Head Cheerleader, forcing Santana to give up her golden pom-poms, and relocate to the bottom of the proverbial Cheer Pyramid.

The reason for this change?  Santana’s new boobs!

Apparently, “having Massively Large Fake Tatas” and “Cheerleading” do not mix, at least, as far as Sue is concerned.

“Take your juicy vine-ripened chest fruit, and GET THE HELL OUT OF MY OFFICE!”  Sue yells at the recently dethroned Santana.

Sayonara, Suckers!

Santana responds to her demotion, by engaging in a full on catfight with Quinn, who has once again returned to her high-ponytail wearing, tiny uniform-flaunting glory.

So, much for the Glee kids being “One Big Happy Family” . . .

The Outsiders

You know who else is NEVER going to be Head Cheerleader?  THIS GUY . . .

Unfortuntely, after this episode, he might not be Quarterback, either . . .

No stranger to being on the losing end of a love triangle, himself, Finn sympathized with Artie’s desire to be “cool,” in order to win Tina back . . . as well as Artie’s desire to “have abs” . . .

Honestly, can you blame Quinn for “Pucking” this guy, over Finn?

And so, when Artie expressed a desire to join the football team, not only did Finn see an opportunity to help out a friend, he also saw a chance to utilize Artie’s wheelchair as a very unique weapon on the football field — a “human cannonball” of sorts.  (Ummm, Finn?  I’m not really sure that kind of thing is ALLOWED in high school football.  But, hey, what do I know?)

However, when Coach Beist hears Finn’s idea about letting Artie on the team, she becomes CONVINCED the idea is just another stunt of Sue’s and Will’s to make her look insensitive to physically challenged students, like Artie.  And so, “the Panther” lashes out, and THROWS FINN OFF THE FOOTBALL TEAM!

This results in Finn trying out for the Cheerios, in a hilarious audition, that reminded me a bit of that iconic scene from Napoleon Dynamite . . .

It also resulted in New Student Sam, despite his penchant for singing Poison’s “Every Rose has its Thorn” in the shower . . .

. . . and rocking out on the guitar to Travis McCoy’s “Billionaire” . . .

. . .  to ditch Glee club auditions, out of fear of catching the virulent contagion that is Finn’s new “OUTSIDER” status.  Did I forget to mention that Sam is also McKinley High’s newest Quarterback?

The episode ends with a very sweet scene between Finn and Rachel . . .

. . . during which they accept one another’s faults and mutual outsider status, and agree never to dump one another at least, until someone better comes along.  After the pair share an admittedly sweet, and, surprisingly not too nauseating, kiss, a dejected Rachel heads off by herself to sing a rousing, if slightly maudlin, rendition of “What I Did For Love.” 

Admittedly, when I first heard the song, I was certain it was another Streisand ditty.  (We all know how much Rachel LOVES those!)  However, upon doing a little research, I quickly learned that the song is actually from the Broadway show “A Chorus Line.”

Shows how much I know . . .

 (Seriously, Glee?  What happened to Will’s promise of LESS show tunes?  It’s only the first episode back, and we already had two . . . just saying.)

Certain mundane song choices aside, I was quite impressed with “Audition.”  The episode offered some solid development of veteran characters, like Rachel and Finn, as well as introduced some promising new ones, like Sunshine, Sam, and Coach Beist. 

I am also excited by some of the new plotlines that were teased out during the hour, and the questions raised by those plotlines.  For example: How long will Finn and Rachel manage to keep it together as a couple, before someone ELSE — most likely, Quinn or Puck — gets in the way?  Is Finn really off the football team for good?  Is Sunshine destined to be the next Jesse St. James?  What grand gesture will Artie inevitably plan to win back Tina’s heart?

And that was this week’s installment of Glee, in a nutshell . . .

So, now that you know my thoughts on the subject, how did YOU like the Glee premiere?  Did it deserve a standing ovation?  Or did you find some of the new storylines and characters a bit “pitchy?”

[www.juliekushner.com]

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