Imagine that you sign up for a jewelry-making class at your local community center–for the sake of this illustration, let’s say it’s Beaded Necklaces 101–and you join a teacher named Leslee for six weeks that culminate in one carefully-crafted spectacle of drapey, dazzling color. Then you give that necklace to your friend at her bridal shower, and…she laughs at it. Hard. She’s not really trying to be a bitch, she just thought you were giving her a tacky gag gift.
What do you do? Do you start acting all sad? No way! You start laughing right along with her. “I just couldn’t take that class seriously!” you exclaim, through your fake giggles. “It was miserablehahahahaha!”
This is what happened with season two of Glee. The creative team carefully strung together what they thought were beads of meaning: tiny gemstones of acceptance, pearls of meaningful truth, and when viewers hated it, they acted like they were being ironical the whole time. So they brought in a new writing staff (that one guy who has a small but hilarious part in every movie you’ve ever seen! that one woman who did Buffy! other people!) and planned to bring the show back to basics.
Did the new writers help? Well, some of the jokes feel a little bit sharper (I actually laughed out loud at Emma’s “macabre Kent State” joke) if not over-milked (self-diagnosed Asperger’s was funny the first 16 times), and the overall pace feels a bit faster. Though I wanted to share in the joy of Murphy’s new-found swagger, however, my writing staff of one has determined that this episode sucked. Hard.
We’re immediately reminded of what sad, dejected outsiders these kids are. They are purple pianos! At least they can all lean on each other and teach us a valuable lesson about acceptance. And they got rid of the heavyset girl so we don’t have to hear anymore…oh wait, what’s this? Oh, yep, even in her absence we are given a Lauren Zizes fat joke. She ran away slowly! Because she’s fat! The rest of these sad kids were born this way, but not that one fat bitch! Come on, writing dream team. Aim higher.
I mean, Murphy himself said he “hired people who will read scenes and scripts and go, ‘We can do better, let’s change that. Like, they’ll literally say, ‘You know what? We don’t wanna do that with Mercedes.’” I mean, a group of writers who LITERALLY will say that something shouldn’t go in a script? They have ideas about what makes a well-written show, and they’ll act on it? And you’re not even being figurative? You guys really have found the best in the biz.
At least they streamlined the craziness and took the show back to its roots so they aren’t going to do stupid things with characters like have Quinn do her best imitation of Joan Jett-meets-Michael Showalter’s character from Wet Hot American Summer. And they’ve brought it back to being all about the music, which is why the first song shows up 20 minutes into the episode. And best of all, they aren’t going to teach us heavy-handed lessons, like having Sue cut funding for the arts. Maybe when they said take it back to the roots, they meant the miniseries Roots. That was the last time I felt this bored.
Let’s talk about things I do love: Blaine. My god, Blaine. Heart of my heart. And Rachel’s dress during that bloodbath of a wicked witch song was totally on point. Kurt’s outfit during that number was also kind of cute, even though suspenders are currently the most exhausting way to announce one’s overweening antique-mall quirkiness to the world. Hearing Lea Michele sing a Barbra Streisand song is exciting even when it sucks, because it evokes that sweet season one nostalgia of “Don’t Rain on My Parade.” Also, I love Blaine. My god, Blaine.
Sugar is whatever, and if Charice is any indicator, we probably won’t see her again for 18 episodes. Sue is still underwhelming to me–a poor man’s Karen Walker, even with the newfound Michele Bachmann angle.
At the risk of starting to sound negative, the most offensive of all the offensive things tonight (assuming that you’re capable of being offended) was “Anything Goes/Anything You Can Do.” For a brief moment, it made me understand how people could hate showtunes. Hell, for a minute it made ME hate showtunes, and I’m the guy who could invite librarians to do research at my house if the Gay Shit room at the national archive happened to flood or catch fire. Why did she sing like that? Why was it choreographed by that one 8 year-old girl from Dance Moms? Why was it filmed like a My Chemical Romance video? I wanted to sit in the car and cry with Kurt and Rachel, but instead I sat on my couch and grief-ate two sleeves of Ritz crackers and some chocolate so stale that it had reverted to condensed Ovaltine.
You guys, I don’t know if I can do this much longer. I know I’ve threatened before, but this show bums me out. Like late-night-McDonald’s-run-when-the-ice-cream-machine-is-down bums me out. It’s not even fun to be snarky about it these days. I stopped paying attention during the last 15 minutes, only to catch this line:
“But these pianos are still making music, and so are we.”
Then a performance of “You Can’t Stop the Beat.” I think at this point, that’s what we’re all afraid of. Hopefully next week they’ll finish with “You Can’t Polish a Turd.”
What did you think? Did you hate it as much as me? Did you love it? Do you question my taste level? Start a fight below (I dare you!) or come argue with me on Twitter.