Saturday, December 04, 2010

Grading "Glee" -- Season 02, Episode 09

This storyline of this episode was about breaking out of safe, predictable patterns, and yet paradoxically it was the most formulaic "Glee" episode in some time. When the underdogs become the favourites, it gets more difficult to root for them. Sectionals felt like an afterthought this year, it was never treated as a do-or-die competition like it was in last year's episode. Almost everything that happened in this episode was lacking in drama and intrigue, from New Directions' victory to Kurt having a tough time fitting in at his new school to the couples bickering and making up by the end of the episode like it was an 80's family sitcom. The only thing that felt real was Rachel's caustic, desperate cry to Finn, "you said you'd NEVER break up with me", but that had nothing to do with the music.

"Don't Cry For Me Argentina". C. It's nearly impossible to feel any sympathy for Kurt's character at this point. In review:

1) He cynically introduced his father and Finn's mother as a ploy to get cuddly with Finn. Finn became so uncomfortable around him that they had a big falling out, which Kurt's father blamed entirely on Finn. Although Kurt's father eventually learned the truth about what had been going on (one season later!), Kurt never apologized for anything.

2) Finn took nearly all the heat for not protecting Kurt in a number of episodes, although in most of those instances Finn wasn't entirely at fault. Sometimes these misunderstandings happened because Kurt refused to be completely honest, but Finn was always the one who came off looking bad to those around him. Kurt always allowed Finn to take the fall for him and never apologized for it.

3) Instead of sticking to a simple "thank you", Kurt chewed out his friends for praying for his father following his heart attack. Say all you want about the maturity level of rebellious, troubled teenagers, but if people want to show their condolences and want to help you, then LET THEM and be thankful for having such good friends. Kurt never properly apologized for any of this.

4) Once Karofsky started getting on Kurt's case, he yet again allowed Finn to take the blame for not protecting him. All of Kurt's friends went the extra mile to look after him around the school campus and to make his father's wedding a huge success. At the wedding, Finn said that Kurt is like a brother to him and was the person who taught him how to be a man. To repay Finn for his humility and to show him how much he values Finn's opinion and his friendship, Kurt transferred to another school without any warning. Of course he never bothered to tell anyone that the real reason he's transferring is to be closer to his boy toy.

Now tell me, in light of all that, why should we care about inconsequential details of Kurt's life like whether gets a solo part with his new glee club? And why would Rachel want to do even the tiniest thing to help her competition? This performance's calling card seems to be the fact that they sing the song in the same key. That amusing tidbit raised the grade to something halfway respectable.

"The Living Years". C+. Am I supposed to find something poignant about old people singing a song about death? Should I admire their bravery in standing defiant in the face of the jaws of death that could spit out their bones at any moment? At least the seniors themselves were game, and put forth a big effort to make the performance watchable.

"Hey, Soul Sister". B-. The Warblers' M.O. is becoming clear -- they take modern pop hits and make them so white bread that you can scrape the penicillin off the crusts when they're done. And their choreography is horrendous.

"(I've Had) The Time of My Life"/"Valerie". B/B. Mr. Schue was right -- "Glee" isn't the Finn and Rachel show anymore, and giving other characters their time in the spotlight is a Good Thing. But there wasn't anything special in this performance, nothing we hadn't seen a million times before, and that's largely because they didn't pull out all the stops using their best talent. Was I supposed to be touched by the Sam/Quinn relationship blossoming right there on stage like Finn and Rachel's did one year ago? Was I supposed to be moved by Mike Chang making the most of his leading dance role and Artie's "inspirational" speech to Brittany? New Directions' Season One Sectionals and Regionals performances were worthy climaxes to their respective half seasons (both were worthy of at least A's), but this was the very definition of ordinary.

"Dog Days Are Over". C+. I'd never heard or heard of this song, but it fell into the tired old "Glee" trick of using a throwaway tune with a title that approximates the sentiment that they'd like to end the show with.


Sandra said...

I know, I know, how could Sectionals be such a non-event this season??!!

While I like the idea of Kurt/Blaine getting together, I am not liking Kurt going to Dalton. His uniqueness and artistic creativity will be stifled. That's right, stifled I tell ya!!

And it's getting harder for me to get into the songs when I can't recognize half of them these days.

And, and, what is the point of performing IHTTOML if they don't even attempt The Lift? Sheesh.

Barry said...

Yeah, let's not even get started on the song selection for Sectionals ...

Even though I've been sounding off on Kurt lately, I'm not nearly as invested in the Glee storylines as it might seem. It's just that there's are literally no other storylines going on right now (except for the Finn/Rachel breakup that appeared from out of nowhere in the last two minutes), so there's not much else to talk about.

I guess they're going to stretch out the Kurt/Blaine courtship a bit. Meanwhile, the "Glee" directors and producers are doing a bad job at hiding the fact that Darren Criss is a midget.