None of this two-week, multi-hour finale stuff for “Glee”: The show managed to tie up loads of loose strings – from Emma and Schue, to the competition, to Quinn’s dishonesty – in the one tidy hour of “Sectionals.”
It kicks off with Rachel suspecting that Puck is the father of Quinn’s baby because she noticed Puck moving to the aid of the pregnant cheerleader after a fall. And because she thinks she’s “a little psychic.” She stirs the pot by telling Quinn that she should have the baby checked for Tay-Sachs disease if the father is at all Jewish (this checks out, by the way), and ultimately tells Finn of psychic suspicion, because she’s still got mad hots for him.
Meanwhile, the rest of Glee knows Quinn’s secret anyway – Mercedes told ‘em – but want to suppress Rachel from spilling the beans because they’re pawing their way to sectionals and can’t bear a shake-up. Schuester, who can’t go to the competition because of Sue’s previous blackmailing attempt, has recruited Emma to travel with the group as advisor, and departs mentioning “I don’t know what the future holds for me or for us.” (Hey, FOX, are you listening?)
Too bad, all for naught. Finn soon gets punchy with Puck, dumps Quinn, quits Glee. Quinn, who’s strong suit was never crying, cries. Rachel feels bad, tells Quinn she’s sorry for her loose lips, and reveals her feelings for Finn. Quinn tells Puck she’s raising the baby on her own. And off to sectionals we go!
The songlist that Sue Sylvester leaked to the rival high school took effect, and the urban all-girls school rips off Mercedes’ solo moment, “And I’m Telling You I’m Not Going” from “Dreamgirls,” and the group’s “Proud Mary” (with wheelchairs!), while the deaf school provides the evergreen Deaf People Can’t Sing joke on “Don’t Stop Believing.”
McKinley is crushed, near defeat, until Finn arrives an hour before their performance, with sheet music to his new personal anthem “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” by the Rolling Stones. He was inspired after Schue’s anti-pep talk to him that being a leader, being special and “the bigger man,” sometimes “sucks.”
Rachel, naturally, was ready with a new showstopping solo, Barbra Streisand’s classic “Don’t Rain on My Parade” from “Funny Girl.” Even as it’s lip-synched, here’s a lesson in breathing, folks.
As the judges of sectionals debate the winner, the kids confront/are confronted by Jane Addams Academy for Girls coach (Eve! Again!), who has good intentions of coming clean about cheating and ripping off the crew’s songlist. That doesn’t happen, but what does happen is that the coaches from both rival high schools tell Principal Figgins that Sue Sylvester was the one who leaked the songlists to them. Figgins apparently grows a pair in about five seconds, dismisses Sue as the Cheerios coach and reinstates Schue as the leader of Glee. Sue vows revenge in a storm of many mixed metaphors.
All this, and the group wins the competition, on their own merit, too.
What of Emma’s wedding, then? She had pushed off her wedding for a few hours so that she could play advisor to the team, the last straw for Ken, who finally sees the light that, one, she’s just settling for him and, two, she’s always had eyes for Will. Schue arrives in the ultra-tacky-decorated VFW hall for the nuptials, only to find Emma, beautiful bride Emma, alone, after being dumped. She reveals that she’s resigned from McKinley because of the shame she has about the whole Ken thing and because every time she sees Schue, she’s heartbroken. Will tells her he’s “just left my wife.” She gives it pause, but at that moment, is having none of it, since this all “just” happened. In the reference to Mercedes' song, "I'm going."
And Schue has left Terri, true, though in clashing with him at home, she tries to make her case, mentioning she’s started going to therapy. She asks if his love is gone forever and Schue, leaving that door open, says he doesn’t know.
Later, Glee presents Schuester with the trophy and a very special performance of one of Kelly Clarkson’s newer singles “Life Would Suck Without You,” which then inspires him to run down the hall (in slow-motion, no less) to find Emma before she departs. He finds her with her packed box, sets it on the floor, and sets a kiss on her lips. She smiles, just as we all did, since we’ve waited for this thing to happen all season. and end scene.
We are promised the next big hurdle for the group, Regionals, when the season starts back up on April 13.
Props to the show’s writers for continuing its development on cheerleader Britney, this show’s Ralph Wiggum: she said she wasn’t keen on Emma being Glee’s advisor because of a certain “keeping that bird in my locker” incident. Puck keeps bringing the pain with a “Fight Club” mention and, in a moment of songless panic, Artie delivers by offering to “improvise some of my def poetry jams.” And no one, not even the show’s creators, don’t know what a city comptroller does.
It’s the show before the finals! OMG! I am exhausted before the show even starts. Maybe watching elimination Wednesdays could count as a workout, because they have become pretty nerve wracking. The truth is, at this point you don’t really want anyone to go because the bar has, truly, been set so high. Not even Mollee. No joke.
[Full recap of Wednesday (Dec. 9) night's "So You Think You Can Dance," including the results and your Final Six after the break...]
Final eight. Or, um, seven. One of the girls is missing. And it’s (racking my brain, racking my brain) Ashleigh! No! This can’t be happening! Or maybe it isn’t, because Cat, who is dressed like a 1980s pirate who chooses to wear her ill-gotten gold as ugly shorts instead of burying it (though really, I’d suggest burying those shorts or at least melting them down for cash or a nice necklace), isn’t mentioning it. At all. She yacks about next week, and then this week, and I have just about decided that Ashleigh is dead and everyone’s too broken up about it to say anything or I just imagined she wasn’t in the intro and I’m having early onset dementia, when she finally tells Ashleigh to come onto the stage. So, at least I know she’s not dead. That’s a good thing.
Ashleigh, it turns out, has injured herself. In rehearsal, she accidentally popped her shoulder out of its socket and then got all war commando and popped it back in. Go, Ashleigh! I knew the girl was tough. Anyway, she’s not dancing tonight and seems pretty broken up about it, but we can still vote for her. I hope she gets the pity vote. She looks so sad when she’s not wearing high heels and a ridiculous sequined dress. Poor Ashleigh.
Anyway, everyone else can dance, so let’s get to it!
[Full recap of Tuesday's (Dec. 8) "So You Think You Can Dance" after the break...]
After taking two weeks off following the disastrous January Jones and disappointing Joseph Gordon-Levitt hosted shows in mid-November, it was a relief that the "SNL" crew came back with a much better effort. "Gossip Girl's" Blake Lively made her debut as a host and in what might be a surprise to some, showed some great comedic skills. For many, the show was just a pit stop before "New Moon's" Taylor Lautner hosts next week, but there was a bunch that really worked tonight. And, as always, a good chuck that didn't.
The Salahis Just Can't Stay Away
Obama (Fred Armisen) appears at a Pennsylvania event while the infamous Salahis (Bobby Moynihan, Kristen Wiig) show up behind him, crashing the event. Taking photos, posing, while Obama has no idea. Best moment is when the secret service agent asks them what they are doing and they shoo him away like "It's all good" and he believes them. Then, a second agent appears behind him and they all start taking photos of each other. Meanwhile, of course, Obama has no idea what's going on. Finally, an agent comes on board to take them all off. One beat later, they return with fake mustaches. The agents come back AGAIN ready to carry them away, only to have Joe Biden (Jason Sudeikis) come on and just OK the whole thing. And yes, they start taking photos again.
The punch line? The Salahis, Biden and the agents ask Obama to stop during his speech and take a group photo. He complies as though it's no big deal and then returns to his speech. Oh, wait, he got it wrong. Can they try that again? And, the nice guy Obama is, he takes it one more time. Cue "Live from New York, it's Saturday Night..."
Grade: B -. Great idea, but went on way too long. Love that "SNL" is non-partisan (remember that Fox News) but do we seriously need to see them mock Obama every single show? Really?
"The Left Hand" pays off nearly every moment set up by "The Public Eye" in spades. It ups both the political commentary (Daniel Perrin's brain scan is revealed to show himself to be "very ambitious for a junior senator" - a comment that could have been taken from a right wing blog in the thick of the presidential race last year, but he's also revealed to be a dupe running only on his family name, which, again, George W. Bush) and the action, but it's mainly an episode about the ways we can never really know the people we love the most. If "The Public Eye" brought the insightful commentary on the World We Live in Today that I love from this show, "The Left Hand" was an hour of payoffs both action-wise and emotional.
[Full recap of the second of Friday's (Dec. 4) "Dollhouse" episodes after the break...]
"I think her bad guys are badder than my bad guys." - Echo
"The Public Eye" is like the "Dollhouse" version of one of those Daily Kos diaries where the diarist rants about how the Obama administration's incremental pragmatism has crushed said diarist's greatest hopes and sold out the political left. Though it was produced quite a while ago, it's on a Joss Whedon show, Whedon's a renowned lefty, and there are just too many parallels throughout to think that it's not a bit of "be careful what you wish for" storycraft. Also, like any good Daily Kos diary, there's a little George W. Bush bashing thrown in for good measure. Though, to be fair, very few Daily Kos diaries have two women beating the crap out of each other underneath a bridge somewhere in the D.C. area (though more should).
[Full recap of the first part of the "Dollhouse" return after the break...]
To the mattresses!
The phrase means go to war, and is an apt one for this week’s episode of “Glee,” titled “Mattress.” Sue, as always, tries to bring things to a head with Will Schuester and his club, with a few gotcha moments a jabs. Will and his wife finally have a productive confrontation, Quinn faces off with Sue, Ken bristles at Schue and the whole school passive-agressively battles the gleeks.
First, there’s Cheerios coach Sue vs. Glee: she effectively gets the group’s photo out of the yearbook, on the grounds that the photo always gets defaced (True.) and because she wants to further demoralize and erase the crew from school history. Schue pays to get them back in, even if it the photo’s spot is so small that it can only host two students’ mugs in it. Naturally, Rachel is one and, even though she convinced (whined for) Finn to join her, he flakes because he fears the chiding (potatohead!).
As Rachel gets here solo pic taken, she gets tipped of to some acting parts in a mattress commercial. She ropes in the rest of Glee, without Schue’s approval, to star in the TV spot on the basis that it will make them celebrities and they’ll never get made fun of again. They agree, make an A-DOR-AH-BULL showing, and the commercial airs. The store owner sends them some mattresses as a “thanks.”
Which leads us to a mattress of another sort: Terri’s pillow baby bump is finally discovered by Schue and she gets her pregnant bluff called. Awful, awful Terri stumblebums all over an explanation why she lied, he leaves her and spends some quality time sleeping in his office. On one of the mattresses. A week before counselor Emma gets married. Asking for her advice if he should divorce Terri, Emma is sweetly even, saying “You’re a lot to lose.”
After a stirring television editorial appearance encouraging “uglies and fatties” to stay home to give her “retnas a break,” Sue makes another discovery: the mattress commercial. As the students have been “paid” in mattresses, she protests that Glee is no longer has amateur status and cannot compete at sectionals, thus ringing the death knell for the group. Schue takes the bullet by returning the rest of the mattresses and stepping down from the group, since he’s the only one who accepted “payment,” even though he wasn’t even in the thing.
Quinn, too, who has long sought getting back into the Cheerios, calls Sue on shenanigans, since the cheerleaders get free swag all the time. In her blackmail, she tells Sue to give one of the Cheerios’ pages to a full-group shot of Glee. It happens, the crew is still in competition, they all “Smile” for their picture.
And the photo gets defaced anyway.
We appreciated the pocket-square-Ted-Knight reference (don’t worry, we had to look him up too), a line from “When You’re Smiling” – our favorite version comes from Billie Holiday – and the mention that Finn’s forehead could act as a tablet for a haiku. And Terri's observation that, "This marriage works because you don't feel good about yourself." Thanks for saying what we're all thinking.
One of two songs in this episode by this name, this one is performed by Rachel with much skipping and skirt-twirling, which is prominent in the music video to the song’s original performed by British singer Lily Allen. The track topped the U.K. charts in 2006 and made a good showing in the ‘States when the album “Alright, Still” dropped in 2007. Results are not in yet as to, whether or not, it will enhance your yearbook picture grin.
Van Halen, that stalwart of ‘80s rock and ‘90s disenchantment, probably never envisioned their “1984” album hit as a soundtrack to a mattress commercial or fodder for a high school glee club television dramady. But here we are. The kids jump (and nothing gets them down) on mattresses as they sing this groundbreaking track: the original featured keyboards, not Eddie Van Halen’s typical shred, as the leading riff, a rare thing for Van Halen and for pop music of the time. It was the band’s only No. 1 hit ever and even scored them a Grammy nod.
Speaking of Grammy nominations, check out the new ones here.
Charlie Chaplin is normally thought of as a silent kidder from early film history, but he was in fact behind this melancholy classic. It was sung in his 1936 movie “Modern Times,” then actually updated for modern times first by Nat King Cole and then dozens of other pop stars – including Michael Jackson and his brother Jermaine, after the King of Pop died.
Dum, dum, dum dum-DEE-dum, dum-DEE-dum. I think that’s the Darth Vader theme, or maybe it’s a Lady Gaga song or one of those infernal KFC commercials, but in any case, my point is that it’s elimination day, poor widdle Cat’s least favorite day of the week, wah. And I’m not exactly looking forward to it either, because I’ve been hugely disappointed with the judges’ taste when it comes to picking off the dingbats and I have a lot less faith in the average couch jockey.
Does Cat look like a windblown hooker tonight, or is that just me? Is she wearing a massive Ace bandage? I have to say, she was looking pretty darn normal for a while, and this Madonna circa 1993 outfit is just obliterating that. I know she styles herself, but I’m saying, Fox, come on, get her a professional.
But enough about Cat. It’s time for the group dance! Whee!
[Full recap of Wednesday (Dec. 2) night's "So You Think You Can Dance," with results, after the break...]
Oh, no. No wheel. Crap, they’re dancing to Billy Joel. Wearing black Spandex. This is very high school musical, and I don’t mean High School Musical, I mean a bunch of kids who aren’t too coordinated running around and dancing. Too much is going on and none of it’s coordinated. Oh, wait, they just did a quick little group shimmy. Toasty Oreo put this together? Oh, Toasty, not your best work. I am officially embarrassed for him on so many levels.