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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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Too DIVA-licious? – A Recap of Glee’s “The Power of Madonna”

“Psst!  Sue!  I don’t really know how to tell you this . . . but your HIGH BEAMS are showing . . .”

Could there ever POSSIBLY be such a thing as TOO MUCH MADONNA?  The Verdict is still out for me on that one.  But one thing is for sure, Glee definitely put this question to the test,  during last night’s episode .  . . With a total of EIGHT musical numbers from the Madonna catalogue, and countless other Madge songs blaring in the background throughout the episode, there was literally little room for anything else during the hour.  In fact, the plot took SUCH a backseat during “The Power of Madonna,” that I felt less like I was watching a musical teen dramedy, and more like I was at concert featuring my favorite Madonna cover band . . .

In terms of the musical numbers, Glee TOTALLY outdid itself last night!  I have NO DOUBT that the show’s inevitable Madonna-themed album will remain in high rotation on my iPod for perpetuity.  And, as if that wasn’t enough, some of the costumes and choreography on these numbers were (dare I say it) BETTER than the original music videos on which they were based!  Here were my four fave performances of the evening . . .

1) Express Yourself

The first singing number of the evening, was a Girl Power-Infused, Pastel-Colored, Beltfest, that would have made the Divine Miss Madonna, herself, PROUD!  Sure the “rationale” behind the song, “BOYS are MEAN, GIRLS RULE!” was a bit cliche and juvenile, but the flawless performances by our female Gleeks, more than made up for this.  Once again, while, unfortunately, I can’t show you the musical number in its entirety, you can at least listen to it, HERE . . .

2) The Borderline / Open Your Heart Mash-up

While, the on-screen chemistry between Lea Michele and Jonathan Groff is admittedly sizzling, there is just something about the screentime she shares with Cory Monteith, that is incredibly honest and sweet.  Plus, now that these two have that sort of “unrequited love” thing going for them again, I may just have to go back to rooting for this couple to “re-couple.”  The “story” behind the mash-up, is that Rachel has just admitted to Finn that she is still dating Jesse St. James, star of Vocal Adrenaline, and the Gleeks’ arch rival.  Finn sort of/ kind of tries to be supportive, but more or less just ends up sulking.  (After all, don’t all boys only want what they can’t have?) 

 I imagine the number was supposed to be a sort of dream sequence, taking place jointly in the minds of both characters.  Otherwise, the Madonna music video-attired class mates bustling around in the background, and the LOUD SINGING IN THE LIBRARY  .  .  .

 (Really Glee?  Again?  McKinley High doesn’t have other places for its students to break into song . . . like, say . . . THE BATHROOM )

. . . would just be completely bizarre.  You can listen to the lovey-dovey, brooding fabulousness HERE . . .

3) Like a Virgin

Not to toot my own horn or anything  . . .

. . . But I TOTALLY called the use of this song, the minute Emma “came out” as a “Big Ole Virgin,” during last week’s episode.  In terms of a natural and seemless meshing between storyline and singing, “Like A Virgin” clearly won the award last night.  Three virginal Gleeks: Rachel, Finn, and Emma, all decided to do the DEED last night, with their respective sort-of significant others Jesse, Santana, and Will.  Only Finn actually did it.  (But he lied to Rachel, and said he didn’t.)  Conversely, Rachel DIDN’T DO IT, but told Finn that she did. 

Emma also didn’t do it (not quite sure WHY though . . . of the three relationships on-screen, this one seemed the healthiest, Will’s Man Sluttiness aside).  However, she DID decide to get “counseling” for her problem.  (I’m assuming when she says “problem,” she’s referring to her OCD, and not her Virginity, as the latter is SIGNIFICANTLY easier to “kick” than the former . . . just saying.  Also, it would kind of be a dick move on Will’s part, to refer Emma to a counselor, just so he could get laid . . . ).  Anyway, here’s the song . . .

4) Like a Prayer

Sure, the finale ensemble number had no correlation to the episode’s storylines whatsoever.  But, in this case, it sort of didn’t have to.  It just worked.  I LOVED how Kurt and Mercedes got oodles of solos, during this episode.  After all, my girl Mercedes kind of had a point when she griped that, lately, all they have been letting her character do is “belt the high notes at the end.”  (Something tells me — with these two now on the Cheerios, and a romantic storyline for Kurt on the horizon — that we are going to be seeing a lot more of this dynamic duo, in the coming weeks.) 

Oh, and are any of you ACTUALLY buying that Jesse St. James transferred schools and joined the Gleeks, just to be with Rachel (who he really just met), and not to please his Nazi Vocal Adrenaline Glee Coach, Ms. Corcoran?

A close (and very smart) friend of mine commented on how IDIOTIC Will Schuester was for BLINDLY going along with this.  And I think she has a point.  On the other hand, in a SANE world, who in their right mind would go so far as to TRANSFER SCHOOLS just to commit an undercover Glee Sting Operation for your coach?  REAL PEOPLE in the REAL WORLD simply wouldn’t even consider this an option to be concerned about.  Then again, this IS a school where teachers rufie their principals, so that they can blast Madonna through the speakers during school hours . . .

 . . . so maybe Mr. Schuester should have seen this one coming . . .

Speaking of Shady Glee Narc D-Bags, in addition to seeing Kurt and Mercedes in the forefront, during the final song, it was nice to see Jesse St. James withering away in the background.  Two weeks and that dude is already starting to grate on my nerves .  . .

In other news, we FINALLY learned the source of Sue Sylvester’s obsession with berating Will’s hair.  Apparently, following the release of Madonna’s 1986 True Blue album, Sue, then “age 6” (I’m thinking more like “age 16”), tried to bleach her hair and had a terrible accident, as a result.  This Hair Catastrophe has forced Sue to keep her hair short, ever since.  So, when it comes to Will’s highly-gelled coiff, Sue is simply jealous.  While this surely sucks for Sue, I can’t help but agree with Will, that her current ‘do is TOTALLY Florence Henderson!

A Very Brady Haircut!

Well, that’s all I’ve got!  See ya next week, Gleeks!

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“Your V is Showing . . .” – A Recap of Gossip Girl’s “The Sixteen-Year Old Virgin”

You’ve really gotta hand it to Gossip Girl.  Even when the show seems like it’s being a hypocrite, it can surprise you, by proving that it is not afraid to call itself out on its own BS . . .

Of course, I am referring to the moment when the unabashedly sluttiest teen drama on television suddenly became all morally aghast, when its youngest cast member contemplated offering her V card to a slightly older man (Slightly older being 19, mind you). 

19!  He’s practically got one foot in the grave, already!

But as I said, our fave nighttime soap is nothing, if not self-aware.  And our Upper East Side sexpots more than redeemed themselves by the episode’s end.  Sure, “The Sixteen-Year Old Virgin” ‘s plot twists were a tad on the predictable side (I guessed two out of three within the first ten minutes.)  But that didn’t make it any less fun to watch . . .

So, without further adieu, let’s strap on our Jimmy Choo’s, sneak out of Daddy’s house, and get ready to get de-flowered . . .

Get thee to a nunnery, go!

Jenny Humphrey , circa 2080 . . . still grounded.

Contrary to what I might have thought upon viewing the conclusion of last week’s episode, Jenny did not , in fact, run away from home to shack up with Drug Dealing Damien / Poor Man’s Jared Leto.

Instead, she obediently followed her father to Brooklyn.  But all was not as it seemed . . .   After “good” Little J kissed her Daddy goodbye, and headed off to school, she (gasp!) REMOVED HER PONYTAIL!

Long hair = The Devil’s Playpen

So, of course, Jenny cuts class and heads off to La Casa de Drug Dealing Damien.  It only takes a few seconds of half-hearted necking, before Ole’ Horndog rears his ugly head (no pun intended).  “When I date someone, sex is usually part of the equation,” explains Jordan Catalano Damien, matter-of-factly. 

(Yes, Damien.  Because discussions about mathematical formulas are always such a tremendous turn-on for us girls.)

E = MC Screwed?

After some more subtle-as-a machine gun hints from the Suave Big D, Little J agrees to do the deed with him that night after school.  Stop me if you’ve heard THIS one before . . .

Unfortunately, for our Craptastic Cassanova, Big Daddy Rufus has grown wise to Jenny’s cutting class to canoodle with Sir F*cks A Lot.  So, like any Proud Papa, Rufus rallies the troops for a rescue mission.  Jenny’s Big Brother, Dull Ass Dan, can give two sh&ts about what, or who, his little sister is doing.  After all, he’s too busy contemplating whether or not to “go public” regarding the most boring relationship in television history . . .

Just looking at these two puts me to sleep . . .

Slutty Serena and Pornstar Pizza Delivery Guy Nate, however, go ABSOLUTELY BALLISTIC!  “Jenny can’t possibly cash in her V-Card!  She’s WAY TOO YOUNG!”  They exclaim, in horror.

Sidenote: If you recall, Nate lost his virginity at age 16 to Serena, as shown in flashbacks of the event (and in those now-famous promotional posters for the show), which were said to occur months prior to the show’s first episode.

Although not explicitly stated, it is implied that Serena lost hers MUCH earlier . . .

A photograph of Serena Van Der Woodsen and her first “serious” boyfriend . . .

Fortunately, Serena has an ingenious (and by “ingenious” I mean “mind-blowingly” dumb) plan to rescue Jenny’s Flower from Drug Dealing Damien’s evil clutches.  The plan involves Serena seducing Damien and Nate coordinating it so that Jenny will catch him in the act. 

 (Don’t you love how Serena’s schemes always seem to involve her getting naked?  If I recall, her equally “ingenious” plan to get her absentee father to notice her also involved her slutting it up with random guys.)

Oh, the sacrifices I make for the ones I love . . . (and kind of . . . sort of . .. like . . .  a little bit).

Damien, however, proved himself to be smarter than I thought he was, and didn’t fall for Serena’s not-so-nefarious plan.  But Nate takes matters into his own hands, by calling in the Daddy Squad.

Have no fear, Deputy Killjoy is here!

Rufus returns Jenny to the high-security prison that is his Brooklyn apartment.  There Dumbass Dan finally wakes up from his Vanessa-filled stupor long enough to tell Jenny not to “do it” with Damien, because she is only 16.  “When you were 16, you were in love with Serena, and everybody thought it was adorable,” retorts Jenny.

Touche, Little J!

Later, Serena berates Nate for not trusting her “ingenious” plan and for calling Rufus.  Nate responds that he had to prevent Jenny from screwing at all costs, because she is just so darn cute and innocent at 16.  “Not like me, who was such a major slut at 16!”  Serena seethes.

Hey, would you look at that shoe your wearing!  It fits!

Nate then proceeds to detail all of the people Serena had been rumored to have screwed prior to age 16.  Serena tells him not to believe EVERYTHING he hears, but doesn’t exactly deny having been sexually active prior to her encounter with Nate. 

All sarcasm aside, I LOVED this exchange between the two of them!  As I mentioned in my intro, Gossip Girl is well aware that it is a slutty and trashtastic teen soap.  For better or worse, the show is never afraid to own up to that fact, even during an episode like this one, which was obviously meant to promote more chaste ideals . . .

Need I remind you of this photograph ?

Nate later apologized to Serena for his faux pas, recalling how much he loved her, even at age 16, and how devastated he was by her sudden and abrupt post-coital disappearance.  He seemed sincere.  However, I couldn’t help but wonder whether Nate’s over-protectiveness of Jenny went just a bit beyond typical “brotherly concern.”  Watch out Serena, I smell a love triangle . . . AGAIN.

Although Rufus does a fairly good job of keeping Jenny locked up in her fairytale tower (where all the virgin princesses stay), the latter somehow manages to reunite with Drug Dealing Damien at the episode’s token hoity toity social event, a dedication of a museum wing to Chuck Bass’ Dead Dad. There, Drug Dealing Damien clocks Nate in his pretty boy face . . .

 . . . too pretty not to include in my recap.

. . . and escapes with Jenny directly to his apartment and The Bedroom of Abandoned Flowers . . .

Another one bites the dust?

And just when it looks like Little J is about to become minus one Big V, Don Juan Damien makes some “seductive” comment about how sex is “no big deal.”  Seriously?  Could this guy be a bigger moron?  Jenny comes to her senses and escapes.  And her Flower lives to see another day, which is more than I can say for the rest of the cast . . .

When Bad Acting Happens to Bad People . . .

Back on the Upper East Side, in Chuck and Blairville . . .

Still love these two . . .

Chuck is bonding with his “Mommy Dearest.”

Unfortunately, her complete inability to emote, and her monotone delivery of every single line she utters, proves her to have graduated from the Ben Stein School of Acting . . .

Bueller . . .  Bueller . . . anyone?

Unfortunately, Chuck is too preoccupied to notice his “mother’s” clear lack of a personality and soul.  After all, he is facing a boatload of sexual harrassment charges made against him by patrons of the hotel he owns.  Blair impresses me yet again, by not believing this hogwash for even a moment.  The timing of these law suits just seems a tad too convenient, coming right on the heels of the dedication of a museum wing to the late Bart Bass.  The couple’s suspicions appear to be confirmed when Chuck’s Uncle Jack returns to the scene with designs on Chuck’s hotel.

EEEEVILLL . . .

Perhaps to illustrate that his loss of Bass Industries’ to Lily Bass has left him destitute and desperate, the Elder Bass now sports a ridiculous mountain man-esque moustache and beard.  Uncle Jack confronts Chuck and causes him to doubt the veracity of Mamma Bass’s claims of maternity.  Chuck grows even more suspicious of Mommy(?), when she backs out of the museum dedication party upon hearing that Uncle Jack will be there. 

 Despite Blair’s protests, Chuck orders a DNA test to ascertain whether Mamma Bass is truly his Mommy.  However, when he is discussing the matter with Blair, Lady Bass overhears him.  With a stiff, heavily Botoxed face, we have to assume is “very hurt and angry,”  she (boredly) stalks off.  Chuck decides to have the DNA test done anyway . . .

Later, Chuck’s Creepy Lawyer, who also appears to have attended the Ben Stein School of Acting with Mamma Bass . . .

What can I say?  We have a great financial aid package . . .

 . . . informs Chuck that the ONLY way out of this scandal is to give up the hotel temporarily to another member of the family, until things die down.  Already, my BS meter is going off the charts.  Come on, Chuck!  Bad actors just can’t be trusted!

Of course, Evil Jack Bass is waiting in the wings to take over the hotel.  But “fortunately” Chuck has another option.  You see, the DNA test Chuck ordered proved Mommy- Can’t-Act-For-Crap Bass is, in fact, related to him.  So, Chuck promptly turns over the hotel to HER, to apologize for doubting her parentage.  Mommy Bass accepts . . .

In the final moments of the episode, in a plot twist, that, by now, should surprise, precisely NO ONE we learn that Creepy Lawyer, EVIL Uncle Mountain Man, and Mama Bass are in cohoots . . .

In other, really dull news, Dan and Vanessa have decided to go public as a couple.  In other, less dull, and slightly surprising news: (1) Lily and Rufus have reconciled; (2) Rufus never slept with that trampy neighbor lady; (3)  and Lily may have been seeing Bily Baldwin  . . .

Dr. Van Der Woodsen, NOT to screw his brains out, as we once thought, but to seek treatment for her OWN, as of yet, unknown medical condition.

So, in conclusion, Mamma Bass is an Ass.  And neither Little J, nor Drug Dealing Damien, nor Rufus, nor Lily are getting any loving . . .

Until next week, XOXO!

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Et tu Barb? – A Recap of Big Love’s “Under One Roof”

Watch your backs, Big Lovers!  Tonight’s episode was all about betrayal.  Not a single character made it through the hour unscathed.  In fact, one character didn’t make it out alive.

 So, without further adieu, let’s take a look back at this blood bath of an episode, to find out who stabbed who, and which wounds were lethal . . .

She’s Baack!

While at a restaurant schmoozing a potential campaign contributor, Bill and Barb run into a very pregnant Anna, a.k.a the fourth wife that almost was . . . but wasn’t.  Doing a bit of mathematical calculation in their heads, Bill and Barb become instantly convinced that the bun in Anna’s oven is Bill’s.  Of course, the self-righteous Henrickson clan is certain that Anna should want nothing more than to rejoin “The Family” with her new baby.

Despite Anna’s pleas that the Henricksons leave her alone, the following evening, Bill and the wives arrive at the restaurant where Anna works to re-plead their case.  As far as they are concerned, the situation is a clear win-win.  After all, who wouldn’t want to join a family as healthy and functional as this one?

 

Clearly smarter than she looks, Anna blows them all off.  Later, however, she approaches Bill at his office to inform him that she has changed her mind.  Apparently, fifteen-hour restaurant workdays are not exactly healthy for a mother in her third trimester.  Anna proposes that Bill provide her with some monetary help.  In exchange, she will arrange for Bill to have some visitation rights, once the baby is born.  Anna conditions the agreement on Bill’s promise to keep the other wives out of the arrangement, because, frankly, they scare the crap out of her.

“Oh HELL no!  I absolutely refuse to become part of that loony family!  I’ll stay in your tummy forever, if I have to!”

Anna suggests that they hire a lawyer to draft a visitation agreement.  However, Bill assures her that such formal measures are not necessary.  He may be a D-Bag, but he’s no dummy.  After all, bastard children and political campaigns do not exactly mix.  The less evidence against Bill, the better  . . .

“Yeah, no sh&t, Sherlock!”

When Barb learns about what transpired between Bill and Anna, she is livid.  After all, any baby conceived during a Henrickson marriage is Henrickson property, as far as she is concerned.  (women and children apparently equal chattel, here in Big Love land).  Barb barges into Anna’s apartment and demands that she reconsider.   She is shocked to find another man there.    “He is my fiancé,” explains Anna.

According to Anna, her fiancé is aware that the baby Anna is carrying is Bill’s.  However, he is allowing Anna to receive help from Bill because he wants what’s best for the baby.  (Do you want to see a paternity test?  Because I sure do!  No man is that understanding.)

Barb remakes her lame argument about the baby being born out of “their” marriage.  This is the moment Anna chooses to drop her bombshell.  “The baby was NOT conceived during the marriage.  It was conceived before [Bill and I] were married.”

“Oh Billlllyyy!  You have some explaining to do!”

The Thing That Wouldn’t Leave . . .

The Henrickson’s not only had to deal with the woman who had abruptly re-entered their lives, they also had to cope with the one who just wouldn’t leave.  Evil publicist Marilyn, still intent on signing Bill’s casino to her client roll, finagles yet another meeting with Bill’s partners to make her pitch.  She goes one step further by approaching Barb with girl talk and sweets wrapped in a red bow.

 Beware of evil women bearing goodies, Barb . . .

Marilyn does a fairly good job of getting into Barb’s head, regarding the latter’s lack of equal standing at the casino, despite her being a full partner.  Marilyn then informs Barb about her pitch for representation of the casino – a pitch to which, of course, Barb was not invited.  Ultimately, Barb goes behind Bill’s back and signs Marilyn as casino representative, on his behalf.  Apparently, Bill is not the only one who can make agreements that affect The Family without the rest of The Family’s approval.

Not Without My Daughter!

Nikki’s “fashionable” new look

Nikki is appalled and disgusted when she learns that her “ex-husband” and the father of her child, J.J.,  is being “sealed” to her mother at the same creepy run-down motel where she lost her virginity at age 14.  When J.J.’s sister calls her to inform her that J.J.’s whole family is coming down for the “sealing,” Nikki begins to fear for her mother and her daughter’s safety.

To prove her independence, Nikki crashes the “wedding” dressed in “modern” clothes.  Or rather, she dresses in clothes she assumes are modern, seeing as she has basically  dressed like a pilgrim since birth.  Her sideways ponytail and short jean skirt were admittedly hilarious.  However, I think 1984 probably wants them back.  In all honesty, I haven’t seen Chloe Sevigny so poorly dressed since . . . this.

But I do feel a bit bad about harping on Nikki’s clothing, seeing as she was definitely the hero of this episode.  When Nikki learns that her 16-year old daughter is to be sealed to an older man, much like Nikki was sealed to J.J. in the past, Nikki breaks into the motel and gallantly comes to her daughter’s rescue. 

Getting Loco Down in Mexico

Things are going slightly better (at least, at first), for young Ben, as he bonds with his Crazy Grandma and Grandpa down in Mexico, while they attempt to carry out their “bird-brained” scheme to bootleg parrots across state lines.  Ben lies to his family, telling them that he is nursing his Grandmother’s broken foot.

Meanwhile, Ben and Grams are having a grand old time dancing (on both feet), eating shrimp cocktails, and talking about living together in Mexico.  Unfortunately, when they go to market to collect their parrots, things do not exactly go as planned.  Apparently, Ma and Pa Henrickson aren’t the only ones involved the bird racket.  The creepy mafia-esque polygamist Greene family like their birds as well, and aren’t big fans of competition . . .

Blind (and Dumb) Ambition

Much to the chagrin of the entire Henrickson family, Bill is determined that they come “out” as polygamists upon Bill’s election to Senate.  Under the flimsy rationale that it will help his campaign, he begins making rash decisions on the family’s behalf.  First, he decides to rebrand his “local family” casino by placing billboards for it outside of his voting district.  Then, he makes plans to purchase a larger campaign headquarters, despite the financial burden it will undoubtedly place on the increasingly cash-strapped family.

After meeting some unexpected opposition from his wives, Bill reveals his new “campaign headquarters” to his family.  These “headquarters” are not located in a stodgy warehouse, or office, but rather, inside a stately mansion.  Bill informs his wives that this is where he plans to move with them, after they come forward as polygamists.  According to Bill, it has always been his dream to have his entire family living under one roof.

Love Hurts (and Sometimes Kills)

Juniper Creek Trustee, Dale, and Albie are still involved in their heated love affair at the episode’s opening.  Unfortunately, their relationship cannot stay a secret for long.  Soon, Albie’s wife, Laura, finds the couple leaving their clandestine hideaway together.  Heartbroken, Laura begins to tip off the other trustees as to Dale’s sexual orientation. 

In a heart-wrenching speech, Dale confronts his religious leaders about his struggles with homosexuality.  He complains that although he has lived a righteous and religious lifestyle, he cannot change his sexuality, no matter how hard he tries to do so.  Still not satisfied, Laura approaches Bill about Dale and Albie. 

Bill meets Dale in secret to confront him with this new information.  Although he is sympathetic to Dale’s troubles, Bill has no choice but to ask him to resign, due to the obvious conflict of interest this presents with respect to the trusteeship.

Shoving the final nail in the coffin, Laura then confronts Dale’s wife and children with their patriarch’s secret.  In the last few moments of the episode, Albie enters the couple’s secret hideaway to find a dead Dale hanging from the rafters by his tie.

It doesn’t get much more intense than that, folks.  Tune in next week, to find out whether Bill can rescue his crazy parents and fairly sane, but Oedipal, son from the Mexican firing squad . . .

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