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Archive for September, 2009

I grew up in a series of small towns, each one depressingly smaller than the last, until I hit a school in which my graduating class was a mere 27 people. It’s a town where everyone has to at least leave to go on with their education, but since the nearest community college was a half hour away ( I took my last two years of theater there under the tutelage of a now famous award-winning playwright and actor), most never escape beyond the three hour Saskatoon and Edmonton area from this town. I’m sure many kids I went to junior high with are still in the Calgary area as well, but at least Calgary has developed into a more cosmopolitan center. After all, I ended up back here.

I recognize much of the teen age angst of Glee because it was my teen-aged angst. I had grown up with parents that valued an education above all else. They didn’t care what kind of education, just get one. I’m sure my vast knowledge of popular culture wasn’t their first choice, but I’m sure they appreciate me having something I love in my life. But even in the confines of these small rural outposts, I could find what I needed to stave off the boredom and quench the thirst for French New Wave and the discography of the Clash I developed in my teenaged years. It was better than going out and getting drunk like many of my classmates did. I’m pretty convinced that’s why my classmates didn’t talk to me.

But growing up in small towns with a more progressive personal mindset often got me in trouble with my peers. I never sat idly by as they tossed around bigoted terms that growing up in a 99% white town in the middle of the Canadian Bible Belt, and my reputation as a Commie loon follows me to this day ( I kind of wear it with pride). Which is why I clearly identified with ” Preggers”. I knew many of the blonde pretty cheerleader types who ended up pregnant by the eleventh grade, usually after wine coolers or beer at a party. I knew the slightly femme guy in the back who had a fondness for sequins and introduced me to his father as his girlfriend, and then I’d sit and listen to his father beg me to convince his son to rejoin the hockey team, despite the fact the last time the poor guy was on the ice, he executed a perfect double axel in the middle of a power play. In hockey skates no less. I was one of the kids so obsessed with my creative life that I was deeply offended when I didn’t get the part, or the assignment, or the song.

Watching last nights Glee was at times, for me, emotionally wrenching. I clearly identify with Kurt in a profound way. Not the coming out as gay part, but trying so desperately to maintain a relationship with a parent who disapproves of your passions. I had my brothers and mom as a buffer between me and my father. Kurt, an only child of a working class single father, has nothing. The fact that Kurt feels compelled to lie is heartbreaking, but it is like that across the world for gay teens. Ryan Murphy said in a recent L.A. Times article that a little of his own life made its way into his characterization of Kurt, and I can see it in the tender way Murphy laid out Kurt’s scenes with his father, played by a surprisingly good Mike O’Malley. Chris Colfer, in his scenes tonight, was both hysterically funny, touchingly sad, and devastatingly true to life. When Kurt comes out to his father after joining the football team in a bid to cover up why he was dancing around in black sequined lycra, it’s a pure moment. More shocking and pure is his father’s reaction- it’s kind of hard to deny your son may be gay when he asks for a pair of sensible heels when he’s three. Or has a hope chest. Which is full of tiaras. O’Malley plays it as a matter of fact, not deeply profound or overly emotional. It is what it is. He’s not overjoyed about it, but he certainly isn’t going to erupt into a homophobic screed.

The Quinn-Finn-Puck story line was a little more Degrassi conventional. First, this show does a great job playing off of Cory Monteith’s naive portrayal of Finn. He’s blank, he’s clueless, but he knows what he is and he is trying to figure out how to make it out without being enormously gifted at things that are more obvious paths of freedom. He plays on a losing football team, and he doesn’t have the grades to make it on academic scholarships. But he knows enough to realize he must get out of Lima. Quinn, pretty and perky, on a championship cheerleading squad, probably would score some sort of athletic scholarship at the very least,  but the news of her pregnancy leaves her in the lurch. She can’t escape with a baby on her hip.  Her telling of the “conception” to Finn was ludicrous to us in the TV audience, but would it really seem ludicrous to Finn? Think of all the guys you went to high school with who still insist you can’t get a girl pregnant if you have sex standing up. It turns out, though, Quinn has been naughty. She got drunk, and feeling particularly fat that day, she slept with Puck. He is the real father of her baby. Puck, never having a real dad, wants to do the right thing by Quinn, but Quinn also realizes that Puck, despite his good intentions, is never going to escape being a “Lima Loser”. She sees Finn as her way out of this hell, and even he isn’t a guarantee.

Meanwhile, we have the corresponding “pregnancy” of Terri Schuster, who now has her sister in on the scheme. Terri is a woman so obsessed with keeping her man that she’s not taking the more reasonable track in this sad situation, instead forcing herself to create an elaborate lie with padding and all. The news of Quinn and Finn’s little predicament gives Terri an idea. There is a sense of the illogical here ( how did Terri get into Quinn’s car? Why don’t we ask the ref’s at that football game that didn’t hand out that delay of game penalty when the team does the ” Single Ladies” dance?), but Murphy always brings in the more soapy elements with a dash of humor. Quinn is bewildered by the woman handing her prenatal vitamins, but Terri is oblivious to Quinn’s wary demeanor.

The ” D” story of Sue’s continued revenge on Will was probably the most laugh out loud funny in the episode. Sue’s minor celebrity gets her a slot on the local news, where she advocates caning and littering. But she’s told she is only as good as her last championship, and the affiliate boss knows her Cheerios are defecting to Glee. So Sue, in her own special Machiavellian way, gets Sandy Ryerson back on staff. He is in charge of all the arts programs, including Glee. ( Note: Figgins, played by Iqbal Theba, played a memorable villain of the week in the first season of Chuck. He played a guy nicknamed ” Wookie” by Chuck. And when you see that Mumbai Airlines video, you can kind of see why. Now imagine him without a shirt. Yeah, now you see it). They design a plan to steal away an increasingly frustrated Rachel, who loses her shit over not getting the solo ” Tonight”. Will is trying to teach her a valuable and much needed lesson- that Glee is a team, and all members of that team need a moment to shine. This is proven by Tina’s sweetly compelling performance of ” Tonight”, and Will pointing out that with greater confidence, her stuttering is diminishing. Rachel then tries out for this version of ” Cabaret” Ryerson is putting on. If there is one truly crushing moment in the episode, it’s the fact Lea Michele’s gorgeous version of ” Taking Chances” is only a mere twenty seconds of screen time.  Rachel and Will later confront each other about their perceptions and their goals. When Will still refuses to hand over ” Tonight”, still giving Tina a moment to shine, Rachel impulsively quits Glee. Meanwhile, Will’s work with the football team to help loosen them up ( leading to that fabulous dance on the football field), and garners him three more Glee club members. He’s now got eleven.

Last night’s episode was the first truly great episode since the pilot, and I certainly hope it’s the blueprint for the rest of the series.  Murphy’s previous high school show, Popular, had moments of complete camp and whimsy at first, but ended up becoming completely ridiculous a lot of the time ( it’s still genius, but it’s massively flawed genius). This show could go off in a million different directions. But this is what I have noticed:

  • The show is a musical, but not every episode is going to be heavy on the musical numbers. I think this helps it from turning into a version of Fame- The Later Years.
  • It’s got a massive ensemble cast, and there are lesser characters, like the Cheerios and Footballers who help make up the show choir, that will get a bit of screen time without having much else to do. But if Murphy remembers to keep focus on one kid a show, it will get better.
  • The pacing was better on this episode, and it will continue to get better. Anyone familiar with Murphy’s previous shows knows he is a guy who fits a lot into episodes, and sometimes the timelines don’t add up. But he does somehow make it work.
  • The cast is winning, but I am beginning to think where the writers are taking Rachel is dangerous territory. I know she’s supposed to be a self absorbed spoiled brat, but she was at least likable. I found her disturbingly unlikable this week. I know it was a set up for next week’s episode, but be careful.

Quoteworthy:

“All you need is some limed corpses beneath the floorboards.” – Sue to Sandy at his very creepy house.

Grade- A-

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I spend more time in the fandom of this show than I do for any other.  I also admit that in a perfect world, I’d be writing it and the Leonard-Penny relationship would have never been an issue. 

But I don’t write it. I’m also not a fanfic writer or even much of a fanfic fan ( though I’ve read some doozies in my life for various fandoms). But I am a WRITER, so even if I might prefer Penny showing Sheldon the ways of the world, it’s not my place to question the writers of this show about their choice. After all, it annoys me when a world I have crafted so meticulously over time gets ripped by a vocal group of fans without knowing what the ultimate endgame is. While I believe I know what the endgame for this show is, I really don’t have a clue. Plus, Chuck Lorre surprises me more than most sitcom writers.

The guys have returned from the arctic looking like wooly mammoths ( except Sheldon, who looks like Evil Spock from ” Mirror Mirror”). They settle in at home, and Leonard goes to tell Penny he’s home. Broken sitcom convention # 1: Normally, there would be some give and take, with the couple’s kiss coming towards the end of the episode ( see: Ross and Rachel, Friends, ” The One Where Ross Finds Out”). These writers have Penny and Leonard making out before the credits.

Turns out, Sheldon believes he has proven String Theory at the North Pole. Also turns out that his comrades have fudged the results to make him happy ( seriously, Sheldon in close quarters for three months? I’m in love with Sheldon, fer chissakes, but I would have gone along with the sled dog plan myself). This has Sheldon confronting the very happy at the moment Leonard, who admits to it quickly, and also admits to the plots they came up with to murder Sheldon ( really did like the idea of tying someone to four different sled dog teams and yelling mush). Heartbroken, Sheldon retreats to his room, where Penny attempts to cheer him up by first singing ” Soft Kitty” ( ” I’m not sick.” ” I don’t know what your sad song is.” ” I don’t have a sad song, I’m not a child!”), then trying to relate a story about losing out her spot as head cheerleader. She also manages to spoil a bit of Star Trek, which causes Sheldon to cry even harder.

After suffering the humiliation of informing the Physics department that he did not, in fact, prove string theory, Sheldon is mocked by Kripke at work- twice. Devastated, Sheldon resigns and takes off to Texas, where Mom is. Penny insists that Leonard goes and bring him home ( all S/P shippers together- awwwwww). It doesn’t take much- Mary Cooper just insists that evolution is an opinion, which sends atheistic Sheldon into a tizzy, and he heads home, where this will promptly be forgotten by next week.

The show ends with Leonard and Penny in bed together, where, let’s face it, it’s really weird.

Jim Parsons can do no wrong. The show always works best when Sheldon is the center of the episode and we are forced, along with the rest of the cast, to try and balance Sheldon’s unique world view with the structure of ” normal” society. This took it one step further. Sheldon is a character very much in control at all times, and it was fun to see him breakdown a bit. Everyone has their breaking points. We just discovered Sheldon’s.

As for the other story, Leonard and Penny- I’m curious to see where this is going to go, I admit it. I want to see how this idea, so unpopular with a segment of the show’s fandom, plays out. I know a lot of people complain of the lack of chemistry between Johnny Galecki and Kaley Cuoco, especially since the chemistry between Parsons and Cuoco is electrifying. But I find they do have chemistry together. I enjoy their scenes together. I find their chemistry quieter, less intrusive than non-existant. It’s atypical of the sitcom standard to put the less explosive couple together.  The fangirl in me may be disappointed, but the writer in me is curious to see what the writing team has in store for us.

Grade- A-

PS- I could handle a spinoff of just Sheldon’s mom. Laurie Metcalf is a genius.

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The talk sucks.

This little nugget from Barney explains the relationship talk so well, don’t you think?

See, Barney and Robin’s kiss at the end of last season caused Lily to a have a ” woo” moment, but they played it off as neither of them really wanting to take it forward. Except they have sex all summer long. That info makes Lily crazy, and she begins to pressure them into having ” the talk”. Robin insists they’ve tried to have ” the talk”, but neither of them likes “the talk” , so whatever. Why do they have to define it? Lily can think of one reason- you don’t end up going to a hockey game with built like a Mack truck Brad ( ” Wow, there are really six of them…” Robin exclaims after seeing his six pack) and having Barney going to the game to punch Brad in the face. So Lily tries the next logical step- lock them in a room until they have ” the talk”. And when push comes to shove, they decide to lie. Except the only people they’re lying to is themselves. Barney and Robin are a couple. Just don’t tell them that.

The other story, Ted, starting his new job at Columbia as an adjunct professor ( ” P-R-O-F-… F?”) gives us a schizoid douche Ted, as he changes his mind about what kind of professor he is going to be thirty times in ten seconds ( “You can call me Ted. Professor Mosby. T-Dog. Don’t call me T-Dog”). Turns out his ” class” is really Economics 305.  But as we know, the mother is somewhere in that Economics 305 class.

The show was uneven all through its fourth season, with some really great moments in between totally suck ass moments. This episode is a smashing return to form. It plays with the concept of relationships needing specific labels while admitting that the labels help the rest of the world know what you are. The show, for all it’s comedic brilliance, has been one of the best examples of the masks we place on everyday to impress a society that judges. Barney and Robin refuse to label their relationship for themselves out of fear and past mistakes, but in their own way label themselves as the iconoclasts they pretend to be. Lily’s obsession over the Barney and robin dynamic fits with Lily’s desire to be perceived as New York Typical ( even her double dating couples fantasy was oddly Americana- camping? Can you see Lily camping?). Even a woefully underused Marshall was complicit- he sees Professor Ted as Indiana Jones, and gets him a fedora and bull whip. But it’s Ted, so worried as always of what people really think of him, that learns a lesson. Late for his class, he doesn’t have time to think about a persona. He just talks about architecture.

Grade: B+

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I was one of those people last year who was on the fence about Fringe. I found the first half of the season unbearably slow and antiseptic. That all changed as the season went on, and the last two episodes sealed it for me. I even placed the series on my One Hundred Greatest Television Series list. So I was eager to see what the season premiere would hand us.

What it handed us was a wallop of emotionally charged story telling with a dose of “Ohmigod did they just do that?” horror.

It turns out that this show is a worthy successor to my beloved and late X-Files.

We start with the piercing sound of metal on metal, and then a guy staggering out of a car crash, bleeding from a head wound. He runs off as a crowd gathers. He gets access to an apartment building and promptly kills a man. He then takes out a contraption that seems  to plug into the soft palette of the mouth, causing shape shifting. He takes on a new body, leaving the old one on the floor. Then he leaves.

Meanwhile, Peter and Walter are having one of their cute moments at a grocery store. It’s Peter’s birthday on Friday, and Walter has it in his head that Peter needs a birthday custard. Peter insists he hates custard. Walter, in his permanent state of self loathing psychosis, neglects to register this. Seems alternate universe Peter adored custard. This world’s Peter just wants to get the hell out of the grocery store. He gets his wish with a phone call.

This is where we meet Agent Jessop. She’s been assigned to find out about the car crash. Seems the shapeshifter  has crashed into a FBI issued SUV. Peter arrives with Walter, angry and panicked. Jessop tries to get some answers about Peter’s relationship to the FBI, but Peter is having none of it. The SUV belongs to Olivia, who is nowhere to be found. Jessop and Peter argue about what she needs to know ( apparently, nothing, it’s classified) while Walter fiddles with the SUV. Suddenly, Olivia crashes through the windshield, unconscious and bleeding.

This all happens before the title card.

Olivia is rushed to hospital, clinging to life, Peter and Walter on her tail. the doctors inform our beloved Bishops that Olivia won’t make it. Walter refuses to believe this information, and we get a beautiful scene of Walter, helplessly and lovingly standing over a shattered Olivia, with Peter mournfully observing through a window.

 Jessop heads off to FBI headquarters, where Broyles confronts her. It’s a routine accident, and she is ordered to sign off on the report. Broyles then crashes Peter’s pity party, and informs him that he is off to Washington. seems that the government wants to shut down Fringe division. Peter himself then questions the existence of Fringe. We then see Jessop at a computer, trying to get into the Fringe files. She uses a stolen password to get access.

Rachel ( the fabulous Ali Graynor) shows up to execute her sister’s living will, and she tells Peter to say good bye. Peter does so, only to be shocked by Olivia suddenly waking and speaking in greek. She cannot recall anything that happened to her, but knows instinctively that she is in danger and begs Peter for her gun.

Peter returns to FBI Boston to discover that his credentials have been revoked. Jessop then rescues him, taking him with her. She gives him the file on the accident, but expects answers about FRinge. Peter tells her that they do nothing. Jessop is going after a guy she believes is involved with the accident, but discovers a dead body. Peter calls in Walter, who gets into it with an M.E. Jessop gives him the body to take to his lab.

A new guy walks into a shop. He asks the man at the counter for a Selectric 251. He is informed it never existed. The new guy insists. The counter dude tells him it’s been six years, and he won’t be waiting forever.  The new guy sits at the typewriter and types in that he has finished his mission and asking for extraction. Then, in a mirror, he sees his answer. His mission is not over. Finish it. And kill her.

Charlie shows up, and gives Olivia a story about his days as a police officer in which he was shot and hospitalized in the line of duty. He also tells her that she now has a gun under her pillow. Olivia finally admits being afraid, and that she cannot load her gun.

Walter has Astrid making custard as he performs an autopsy on this mangled body. Turns out our dead guy was a victim to a shape shifter.  He then shows Jessop and Peter a video of experiments he and William Bell did on a girl a while ago. They were trying to make her see God. They got a tale of the shape shifting mercenary.

Broyles in front of the senate is a hoot. He refuses to be talked down to by Senators who know jack about what he does, and tells them that he has spent his whole life protecting them from fears both common and strange. Unimpressed, they pull Fringe Divisions funding. Broyles meets Nina outside, where she tells him to save the day. And they kiss ( nearly died at the kiss).

Jessop and Peter are called into a mortuary with a body matching wounds that Astrid has red flagged. Jessop informs him that her father was a soldier and that he was adamant that he always finish his mission. Peter then clicks on the fact that the shape shifter’s mission was Olivia, and he flies out of there like a bat out of hell.

The shape shifter, though, has now taken over Olivia’s nurse, and is asking leading questions to Olivia, who really cannot remember a thing about the accident or anything else from that time. Disappointed in getting no new information, the shape shifter attacks Olivia. Jessop arrives and shoots the shapeshifter, who takes off through a window. Peter, Jessop, and Charlie all head to the hospital’s underbelly. The shapeshifter gets behind Charlie, who shoots. Jessop and Peter both run to where Charlie is, and he’s standing over the dead body of the nurse, broken contraption beside them.

After a nice Olivia and Peter moment in which Peter brings her flowers and they talk, Peter hand Broyles the shape shifter gadget, and tells him to use that to save Fringe’s funding. Our last moment is Charlie in the hospital basement. He’s lugging something to the incinerator. Turns out- it’s Charlie. Charlie is no longer Charlie, it’s the shape shifter.

Overall, a thrilling, quick, tight episode. I’m still unsure about our new agent, Jessop. She’s shown with a bible at the end. Is she looking for something to confirm end of days? Our regular cast is in good form, and the story is now taking real shape. I’m not much for mythology shows, but I’m totally getting wrapped up in this one.

Grade- A

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5:50 Going for a quick cigarette outside before awards begin.

6:00 Opening spiel, then NPH singing in a white dinner jacket. Yummy.

6:04 ” I grew up on television.”

6:05 Shaiman and Whitman wrote the song. Knew it.

6:07 Tour of the Emmy set.

6:09 Funny Emmy clip reel.

6:11 Jon Hamm ( sigh) and Tina Fey ( sigh). Supporting Actress in a comedy.

6:12 WTF Chenoweth?

6:13 The winner is… Kristin Chenoweth (stunner shocker but happiness!) She sobs her way funnily through her speech. I wanna hug her.

6:08 Comedy categories first. I’m suddenly very nervous for hubby Jim Parsons.

6:21 Some Neil and Hodgman funnies, then a convenient plug for HIMYM.

6:22 So surprised 30 Rock won a writing award. (Sarcasm)

6:27 Jon Cryer wins. Why?

6:28 One very pissed off NPH/30 Rock fan right here. ARGH!

6:33 I’m very worried about the rest of my picks. I’m 1 for three. The one- writing.

6:35 Justin Timberlake presenting Actress in a Comedy series. And he’s funny and charming.

6:36 Toni Colette wins. I’m way off tonight. I’m trying to figure out what tonight is gonna be. Watch Charlie Sheen win in a couple of minutes.  This is turning into a nightmare show for me 9 although I like Toni and Kristin, I like their shows, but I honestly thought they wouldn’t win).

6:39 NPH asks Cryer to show the envelope. It really does say ” Jon Cryer”.

6:41 The GG girls turn it over to Tina and JT, who thank Lorne Michaels for their Guest Actor wins. Then the GG girls present  Best Comedy direction to The Office’s Jeff Blitz.

6:48 Rob Lowe presenting Actor in a comedy. He mocks himself.

6:52 I’m gonna drink an entire bottle of wine right now and drown ,y tears because Jim Parsons did not win.

7:29 I have spent the last forty minutes trying to fix a computer crash. Rundown- Reality shows no surprise, mini/TV movies are pretty ho hum. Dr. Horrible- hilarious! Love the buffering jokes. And Captain Hammer to boot. Jessica Lange beats out Drew Barrymore.

7:59 Apparently Johnny Galecki and Kaley Cuoco were on stage with Jim Parsons when he presented. I didn’t notice as I laid at the foot of my TV stand staring worshipfully at a comedy God who was robbed of his Emmy. Really, I need a life.

8:01 I do not have a problem. All of you shut up.

8:02 Jimmy Fallon won as a member of the SNL writing team, right?

8:03 Jimmy is making me laugh. He hasn’t done this since he was on SNL.

8:05 It has to be “Motherlover”. Seriously.

8:05 It’s the Oscars team. Are you kidding me?

8:06 Ricky Gervais. Worshiping at the feet of the king.

8:07 ” Me, again.” HA!

8:08 Gervais present best comedy variety show to The Daily Show. Never disappointed when TDS gang wins. As I am also much in ,love with Jon Stewart. Have been since his MTV talk show in the mid 90s.

8:16 Prezzie time. But no Prezzie speech. Thank God.

8:17 Drama time. Great. Night should be ending soon. Crushing disappointments tonight. Cryer/Baldwin just took me out.

8:19 LL and Chris O’Donnell not funny at all. Supporting Actor goes to… Michael Emerson. My best friend Rosie probably just screamed with joy. I still couldn’t tell you what role he played.

8:21 Chris and LL also doing Supporting Actress. And that award goes to Cherry Jones.  Who is a theater goddess, so we are delighted.

8:23 In Memorium.

8:33 Hot vampires!

8:35 Ellen Burstyn and Michael J. Fox present directing for drama.

8:36 The award goes to the E.R. dude.

8:37 Now they present drama writing. I’m guessing… Mad Men.

8:38 Yeah, shocker again (Sarcasm).

8:39 Yeah, I’m one of those guys at Starbucks with a computer or notebook, writing away.

8:40 Simon ” Hot accent” Baker is presenting the actress drama award to Glenn Close. I am WAY OFF  with these damn acting awards this year. WTF?

8:44 Right now I’m kinda hoping Hugh Laurie wins and makes me 0-for-eight for acting awards.

8: 48 Dana Delaney presents Actor in a drama.  Bryan Cranston wins. This is the one I get right. And he rightfully deserves it. His performance is searing.

8:52 Bob Newhart presents Best Comedy. And drones on a bit.  But has some good lines.

8:54 30 Rock. Which is about as surprising as me eating peanut M&Ms.

8:56 I have never been so unhappy to see Cat Deeley in my life. I want my final award.

9:00 Emmys are going over.

9:00 I’m actually looking forward to Criminal Minds.

9:01 Sigourney Weaver presents best drama to Mad Men. No effing surprise.

That is it for the night and the year. Early surprises in acting awards turn into a night where many repeat winners come along.  Still crushed about Jim Parsons losing. May never be okay again…

Can’t wait until The Big Bang Theory premieres tomorrow night.

Till the next one ( Golden Globes in January, everyone!)

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Glee Episode 1-3 ” Acafellas”

The beginning of every new series is going to be rough. The chances of choppy waters increase when said show is ambitious and epic  like Glee is. That is not to say that “Acafellas” was bad. On the contrary, it was a delight in many ways. But after the genius of the pilot and the solid second episode last week, I was slightly disappointed with this week’s Gleeful outing.

The show has the potential to collapse under its massive ensemble cast- there are at least twelve significant roles on this show. That is a lot of people to try and work in to a show, complete with individual story lines and moments to shine. And this episode ended up feeling overstuffed and under developed simultaneously.

The valid question off the top, asked by Cheerleader Quinn, was whether Will had even tried to fulfil his performing dreams. After shop teacher Henri returns from his cough syrup induced thumb amputating shop accident, a sad round of ” He’s a Jolly Good Fellow” with Will, Ken, Sheets and Things’ Howard, Henri, and Sandy ” Stay 50 Feet Away From Children” Ryerson leads will to form an a cappella group, launching into a really fun version of Montell Jordan’s 90s classic ” This Is How We Do It”. This plays into Will’s B story, where he bonds with his dad ( the fabulousity that is Victor Garber- alas, no song), who admits his failings with ease. Fathers on television are routinely maligned, often absent and mean. It’s nice to see a father-son relationship that is rather warm and friendly.

The other story of the episode, the Glee kids hiring that annoying prick Dakota Stanley, honestly didn’t go anywhere. I get that they were trying to create a bit of tension between Finn and Rachel, and allowing Quinn and her minions try to disrupt Glee quietly, but it just felt… ugh. With no Glee performances this week, the show felt kind of empty.

The one thing that did work well this episode was the “C” story between Mercedes ( Amber Riley, so fantastic on ” Bust The Windows”) and Kurt ( Chris Colfer, a TV star in the making). Mercedes instincts were right on the money, but she allowed insecuirty and fear ( and a couple of ne’er-do-well Cheerios) to get her hopes up about Kurt, who was being a supportive friend. Ryan Murphy said in an interview that he wanted Kurt’s coming out to echo his own, so the one real moment of the entire episode was Kurt tentative telling to Mercedes, followed by a tear and an acknowledgement that he really wasn’t as brave as Mercedes wanted him to be.

Overall, there were some good moments, but over all, the cluttered, scattered tone left me wanting( and too much Terri- I really dislike her). Rumor has it next week is going to be a hum dinger of an episode, focused on Colfer’s delightful Kurt. I certainly hope all the love I’m hearing is legit, and not just a bunch of TV critics trying to sell me snake oil.

 Quoteworthy:

” I have no thumbs!” Henri, in a game of one ups-manship

” The parents discovered we’re feeding their kids prison food”.- Figgins

” Josh Groban likes a blousy alcoholic.”- Josh Groban, cementing my belief he’s a singing comedian.

” Is cliche a bad thing?”- Finn

” I’m going to ask you to smell your armpits.”- Sue to the Cheerios

” If you blow this for me I’ll shove my arm so far down your throat you will be able to taste my arm pit hair.”- Ken to Puck.

” I told Figgins we’d end up with a bunch of pansies if we didn’t get some hot wood in their hands.”- Sandy

Grade- C

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Larry Gelbart

I was a fan of Larry Gelbart before I knew that television shows had writers. M*A*S*H*  reruns always made me laugh as a kid. He stopped writing the show after its fourth season, but his fingerprints were on it until the very end. The show seemed to reflect his comic sensibilities always. He also had a hand in the delightful A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, a musical comedy about- well, comedy. There was his early years as a writer for Sid Caesar, and his later in life masterpiece, Tootsie. But more than that, he was available to other writers. I’ve spent the last few days reading from other writers about how when they met Larry, he would always be willing to help them out.

I never got the chance to meet Larry Gelbart. He was on my list of people I’d have to dinner in a perfect world. I can hardly believe he’s gone. It was only this year, watching PBS’ invaluable series on American comedy Make ‘Em Laugh, where I saw him looking still spry and as quick-witted as ever ( he was never a dull interview). Now, after a couple of shell shocked months where I have seen many of the idols of my childhood shake off their mortal coil, all I can say to this devastating loss as a fan of comedy is:

Gen. Wilson Spaulding Barker: Nurse, is everybody around here crazy?
Lt. Ginger Bayliss: Everybody who’s sane is, sir.

( M*A*S*H*, “Chief Surgeon Who?”, 1972)

I didn’t say it would be logical.

So long, Larry Gelbart. And thanks. Because of people like you, I wanted to write.

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