December 2012


(Also posted on my Tumblr…)

Even though I am a musical theater-addicted person, I had never seen a musical version of Les Miserables before today. I saw the 1998 movie (non-musical movie) with Liam Neeson, but I never saw this show on stage or on DVD or anything.

That being said, when I snuggled down in my movie theater seat today, I didn’t have any expectations – which was for the best, I think. I’m a huge fan of the director (Tom Hooper), but I either loved or hated what he did with the staging and shooting of the songs. A lot of the solos were just close ups of faces, and that didn’t work when it was Crowe singing.

On paper, Crowe was the perfect choice for Javert (Gladiator/Bud White vs Wolverine), but that did not translate well to the screen. At all. The Confrontation was the only time I felt Crowe was in it for real and was believable as that character. He looked fairly uncomfortable while in the scenes where he was singing by himself. And, although this probably seems rude, I laughed out loud at his jump scene (and was not the only one to do so). It was awkward to watch, and the subsequent splat sound that played upon his collision with the fountain thing below was just awful. I burst into a fit of giggles (it’s my coping mechanism when I’m feeling secondhand embarrassed while watching movies or plays), and had to smother the sounds that were threatening to escape my mouth.

I thought Jackman and Hathaway were the strongest performers in the cast. I am familiar with both of them, musically, before this movie and felt that out of all of the leading dramatic characters, they had the best grasp on how to sing their dialogue and songs in a way that would transfer to screen. That being said, they were framed awkwardly during some of their songs. Props to Anne Hathaway for singing “I Dreamed a Dream” in what seemed like a one-shot. There didn’t appear to be any edits and she literally just sat in one spot and emoted. Even though I belt this song like it’s my job when I’m listening to it, her restrained performance was powerful and grounded in reality. A dying woman would not belt; she would cry and whisper and go through a gamut of emotions… which Hathaway did very well. She and Jackman will both get nominated for Academy Awards. Hathaway has a very good chance at walking away with the Best Supporting Actress statue. And you know what? I would be perfectly content with that.

The plot is my biggest problem – Valjean stole bread, went to jail for a long time, and then had a life-long rivalry w/Javert? Surely there were more important things for those men to focus on over the years (*cough* revolution). And then the whole Cosette-Marius-Eponine triangle? He only just saw Cosette that day before the big fight and fell in love? Come on.

Also – I really wanted to know more about Marius and Enjolras. What was their backstory? I mean, they were obviously friends and comrades, but I wanted to know more. I wanted to care about them and their relationship. I wanted to know why they were fighting and what they were fighting for. I wanted to care if they lived or died. Marius was going into battle well before Cosette ever came into his life… so why did one minute with her seemingly change his entire purpose for fighting? Why was Enjolras the leader of the revolutionaries? (Or at least of the young men who were fighting at the barricades?) (I think I just wanted to know more about Enjolras in general because Aaron Tveit is a magnetic performer and I just wanted to see him onscreen as much as humanly possible.)

Side note – I LOVED that little kid who played Gavroche. Even though you didn’t really know who he was or what his deal was, but you totally cared about him. And when he started collecting supplies, you just knew what was going to happen. I’m glad they left his eyes open the whole time; for he was one of the only characters who really saw everything and everyone for what and who they were.

Was anyone else as annoyed with the Thenardiers as I was? I get that you need to have some sort of comedy in a drama (you can’t depress the audience the whole time…), but I can only handle so much schtick before I want to gouge my eyes out. That being said, Sacha Baron Cohen and Helena Bonham Carter were well cast as the Thenardiers… I just could have done with a bit less of them.

Even though I didnt like a lot of the framing choices made and was disappointed by the ridiculousness and sometimes lack of plot, the movie looked gorgeous. The costumes, sets and cinematography were great. I also really liked that they recorded the singing live; it gave the performances an intimate and immediate feeling. Though, that also added extra awkwardness whenever Crowe was on screen. At some points, I had to look away because I was uncomfortable watching him. That made me sad because I normally really love Russell Crowe. I think he is a brilliant actor and is often a strong presence on screen. This film just did not do his talent much justice.

I was familiar with some of the music before I saw the movie. I thought Hathaway’s “I Dreamed a Dream” was understated and, as a result, powerful. I’ve read complaints about Amanda Seyfried, but I thought her voice complemented those she sang with.

I loved, loved, loved the Finale, especially the very end of it. I do enjoy a good reprise, and I was not disappointed with the repeated use of “Do You Hear the People Sing?” with the whole cast (well, those who didn’t make it…) and all the flags. That was a very powerful visual and was the epitome of what I thought the film was trying to accomplish. These were the characters who were fighting a losing battle the whole film – Les Miserables, if you will. These were the characters who represented good and evil. And though they were mostly good, that wasn’t enough to keep them safe. Someone had to pay.

(Even though this film is set in France, it was disturbingly patriotic and totally applicable to the USA’s middle and lower classes. Right?)

On a whole I was impressed they made the movie how they made it, but I didn’t think it was the bees knees. The weird shot and editing choices, Crowe’s awkward performance, and the overall ridiculousness of the plot/lack of exposition marred what could have been something amazing.

I liked it, but I didn’t love it.

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Hello, hello…

It’s Christmas Eve and I’m watching Love, Actually because I somehow managed not to watch it yet this holiday season. I think I held off on watching it because it’s something I usually watch with my family. However, this year, I don’t get to be with my family for the holiday.

While that has been getting me down over the past couple weeks, I’m holding together pretty well. I mean, there’s still been some tears, but I know my family loves me and I love them, and if nothing else, I’ll see them in May. I know that’s 5 months away, but I’ll just have to deal with it if that’s the next time I’ll get to see them, you know?

It’s been a little rough seeing people’s FB and Instrgram pictures of them spending time with their families. What’s been super upsetting is to see/read about the people who are complaining about spending time with their families. I would trade places with them in a heartbeat if I could. A heartbeat.

But, I can’t. So I sit here and smile while watching Love, Actually because I remember when my mom, sister and I saw this together in theaters oh so many years ago and how our whole family has watched it countless times together since.

I don’t have any “plans” tomorrow for Christmas. It’s just going to be another Tuesday for me. Sadly a Tuesday where I won’t be working, but a Tuesday nonetheless. I might go see a movie. I’ll probably clean the bathroom. Hopefully I’ll get some more job applications and perhaps some more writing done. I’ll talk to my parents and probably my grandparents. I’ll make a “Merry Christmas” post on FB. But really nothing special will happen tomorrow. And I’m kind of okay with that. I have the apartment to myself and can listen to my music really loud if I want. And that makes me happy.

So, I hope you and yours are having a wonderful holiday 🙂

Merry Christmas Eve!

… and David O. Russell did Bradley Cooper a huge disservice.

(*Note* This is also posted on my Tumblr page – Watch With Kate)

David O. Russell is one of my favorite directors of all time. I don’t think the world of him as a person, but I usually admire his directing skills.

That being said, I think he missed the mark with Silver Linings Playbook.

On a whole, I liked this movie. I think it was really original when compared to other movies that are out right now. The characters were flawed in ways that interested me (for example, Copper’s character was an un-diagnosed bipolar person who just got out of a mental institution… he was there because he had nearly beaten another man to death. That other man was sleeping with Cooper’s character’s wife, but still… you don’t beat people within an inch of their life.) and there was a ridiculously adorable and awkward ballroom dance competition/sequence that had me laughing and cringing with secondhand embarrassment.

So, why do I think David O. Russell did Bradley Cooper a huge disservice when Cooper is likely going to get nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actor?

Because that wasn’t Cooper up on screen.

Like, it was physically him, but he seemed to be channeling frequent David O. Russell movie star, Mark Wahlberg. From the body language, to the delivery of lines, the part of Pat had Wahlberg written all over it. I couldn’t shake this fact as I sat through the movie. And then, I come home and do a quick google search and found that Wahlberg was in talks for the movie at one point. And then it all made sense… Russell probably directed Cooper in the EXACT same way he would have done for Wahlberg. (Russell and Wahlberg worked on Three Kings, I ❤ Huckabees and The Fighter together.)

But, Bradley Cooper and Mark Wahlberg are two completely different actors and likely need to be directed in two completely different ways.

I’m not going to saw Bradley Cooper was “brave” for taking on this movie (I HATE when people say actors are “brave” for taking on a role… hate it), but it took balls to do what he did on screen and I admire the complete lack of vanity he had in the process.

What I mean is, you could tell they didn’t really bother hiding his facial scars. (I still remember reading in one of those People’s Sexiest Man Alive issues from awhile ago that Bradley Cooper had a lamp fall off the wall and onto his face when he was younger.) The wardrobe people also didn’t dress him in colors that would make his blue eyes pop. Usually actors with blue eyes are dressed in equally flattering shades of blue so their eyes sparkle and are extra swoony (see Paul Newman and Robert Redford in The Sting, or Daniel Craig in Skyfall). But in this film, Cooper’s eyes look gray and blah most of the film… which I was grateful for. This wasn’t a role where the audience is supposed to oogle Cooper’s good looks. It’s a film where you’re supposed to admire his talent. And Cooper proved that he was amazingly adept at channeling Mark Wahlberg.

It’s unfortunate. This was a good movie with good performances from the actors, but it could have been great. Cooper is a PHENOMENAL actor in comedy and drama (I had the pleasure of seeing him onstage in Three Days of Rain several years ago right after the popularity of Wedding Crashers. The man can act his face off in a drama. I’m glad he’s gotten to do more of them recently.). This film just did not use his skills in the way they could have been highlighted.

So, my hat is off to you, Bradley Cooper. I hope you get that Academy Award nomination. You’ll be up against Daniel Day-Lewis, so you probably won’t win, but it’ll be an honor to get nominated, and hopefully will be the first of several nominations that will head your way over the duration of your (hopefully epically long) career.

I just finished Christmas shopping and I’m sitting here (in tears) texting my mom to be on the lookout for packages at her house.

This is the first year I won’t be able to spend Christmas with my family. By time I got my work schedule for the month, it was going to be too expensive to fly to MN and back. I certainly can’t afford the ticket, and though my parents initially offered to buy my ticket, it was collectively decided that it wasn’t worth spending $800+ for me to be home for 2 or 3 days once we figured out the price.

So, I’ve been crying off and on about that (among other things) all week and I’m assuming that’ll keep up (or likely get worse) over the next week.

I’m also poor as hell and feel horrible about not being able to afford better gifts for my parents and siblings. They know that I’m in a not-so-great financial situation for the time being. (Let’s just say that there are multiple people who owe me money for work I did in November and regardless how many times I try to contact them, I don’t get any acknowledgment/response. Not cool, I tell you. Not. Cool.) I really am super worried I’m going to have to move back to MN in a few months. Thankfully I have steady(ish) employment all of December. And I finally got my computer cord in the mail today (my previous one fried and I wasn’t able to go on my computer b/c the battery would have died) so I have access to my cover letters and resumes after a week and a half of not being able to use my computer. This weekend will be spent applying for jobs… as will most of my “free” time from now until forever.

As with anyone, I have high days and low days. Because it’s the holidays and I know I’m not able to spend time with my family, it seems more low days are sneaking in. Add PMSing, money woes and lack of proper sleep on top of that and I am basically a hazard to myself and society. There’s so much stuff I want to do and see (i.e. things like plays and movies that would temporarily let my mind escape from it all), but I really can’t do as much of that because rent and student loans are more important. I did get a month-long Metro Card (I did the math and it was going to be the best deal over the next month), so I think if I’m feeling down, I’ll take a train to my favorite parts of town, or maybe go somewhere new, and just walk around and listen to music. Of course that would take time away from me applying for jobs… but at some point I’ll need fresh air or a break. (Everyone deserves a break, right?)

Wow – this was a super depressing post. Sorry about that.

Really though, as rough as things seem right now, I still have a lot to be grateful for. Even though I can’t be with my family, I love them and know that they love me. I still have a bit of confidence in myself that I will earn myself a good job in a field that relates to my career goals. (Let’s face it, though, come January I’m going to have to work retail somewhere. Good thing I have years of experience. Who cares about two college degrees when you know how to fold towels – am I right?) But, this past week I got to see my favorite performer of my generation do a mini-concert and I got to go to a Broadway show for free. So, see… my life isn’t completely horrible in the slightest 🙂

Honestly – I’m going to be okay. I just need to keep telling myself that and keep working toward a better future. I keep thinking about my life as a movie… and right now I’m at the part where I’m bringing the audience way down so that I can lift them back up again even higher.

So, I’m going to keep my chin up even though it’s definitely not the easiest thing to do right now.

Breath in, breath out. Repeat.

Have a good one 🙂

Glee, Actually really had nothing to do with Love, Actually except for Sue mentioning it in the beginning and the multiple story lines. However, Love, Actually takes place entirely chronologically and all the stories intertwine, whereas Glee, Actually had five separate stories. And while some of the characters overlapped, the stories were not intricately intertwined.

 

This was the third Glee Christmas episode in so many years and though it had moments of goodness, on a whole I’d rank it 3rd place.

 

Each chunk of story had a song… some were good… some were just kind of there. Obviously one story line was infinitely more important to me than any of the other ones (*cough* Burt, Kurt and Blaine), but I’ll go through all of them for you below.

 

(Spoilers if you haven’t seen the episode)

 

~~~

 

Artie – Feliz Navidad

 

Oh Artie… for the second time in three Christmas episodes, your wheelchair and inability to walk was an issue. His story line opened with a close up on his bruised and bleeding hands and a gash on his face. When Finn stopped to talk to Artie in the hall, he questioned what happened. Turned out the janitor didn’t put salt down on the wheelchair ramp and Artie slipped and fell out of his chair (and was left screaming until someone – a freshman girl – helped him up). Finn looked legitimately concerned (way to go, Finn) and suggested Artie go to the nurse.

 

The nurse indicated that Artie hit his head hard and should rest until his mom got there. (Um, pretty sure you aren’t supposed to let people who hit their heads fall asleep… but it’s Glee, so we needed a dream sequence where Artie could walk/dance.)

 

So, Artie falls asleep and wakes up in an alternate reality (it’s Black and White, so we know it’s a dream/It’s a Wonderful Life because the last thing Artie muttered before he passed out was how he wished he was never in the wheelchair…). In this reality, his legs work just fine, he doesn’t wear glasses or dorky sweaters, and he’s on the football team. (He was on the football team last season, so this isn’t a huge stretch.) However, in this reality, there is no glee club. And Artie isn’t friends with Tina. She’s the first person he runs into and he tries to get her excited that he can walk, but all she can do is stutter and shy away.

 

Artie is tres confused about what’s going on, but luckily Clarence, I mean Rory (remember the Irish kid from last season? Yeah, I forgot about him too…) was there to inform him how much Artie being in the wheelchair was really for the greater good of everybody.

 

See, if Artie wasn’t in a wheelchair, all the jocks would still mean and shove Kurt into lockers. Yeah, Kurt’s still at McKinley in this world…  he got held back a year because he was terrified of all the bullying and couldn’t catch up with home school. When Artie asks Kurt how Blaine is taking that, Kurt says wide-eyed, “Who’s Blaine?” What a horrible alternate universe if Klaine never happened. (Apparently Puck and Finn got held back too, as they, along with Jake and Ryder were the ones shoving Kurt into lockers… ).

 

Will and Terri are still together in this AU, and they have a baby (well, a baby doll… Will is too drunk to notice his cray cray wife faked her pregnancy). Emma married Coach Tanaka (nice call back from S1) and Rachel Berry is the school’s librarian. She never made it to NYADA, but she’s still performing in the community theater production of The Music Man. But no, she’s not Marian the Librarian because that’s the lead. (Maybe this AU isn’t so bad… just kidding it is. There’s no Blaine.)

 

Rory tells Artie that in this AU, Artie was too busy playing football to be in Glee. So, since there is no Glee (Club), there’s no glee. Period. According to Rory, Artie was the glue that held the glee club together.

 

Speaking of glue – Artie gathers the glee kids past and present (in actual Glee reality) in the choir room… excuse me, Sue’s craft room, to tell them about glee club. It was mildly amusing to watch the normally-enthusiastic glee kids (Kurt, Rachel) watch in fear as Artie burst into a stereotypical version of Feliz Navidad. (He put on a pancho and had maracas at one point). So, AU-attractive Artie sang and danced and when he was done, Finn remarked, “That was so gay.” (I wonder if AU Finn and Kurt are step brothers? That was not addressed…).

 

The most off-color (no pun intended for a B&W sequence…) moment was when Artie came across an empty wheelchair in the hallway. It wasn’t his; it was Quinn’s. Quinn never walked again after her car accident. (As horrible as it was, my favorite line in this whole bit was when Rory said, “Quinn texts and drives in every timeline, Artie.”) She might not have died in the accident, but she died of a broken heart. (Way to lay it on thick, Clarence. I mean, Rory.) So, Artie does everyone a solid and sits down in the empty wheelchair and wakes up from his dream back in the nurse’s office (wearing his tacky sweater, thankfully).

The lesson from this chuck of show was that the chair made Artie who he is, and though it sucks and he sometimes needs a little help, his life (and glee club) could have been a lot worse off.

 

Aw.

 

~~~

 

Kurt and Blaine (and Burt, but he doesn’t sing) – White Christmas

 

Rachel is getting ready to head back to Ohio to go on the Rosie O’Donnell cruise with her dads. Kurt isn’t going back to Ohio for the holidays because his family will be visiting Carole’s family in Zanesville. He talked to Blaine and he understood that for monetary reasons, Kurt wouldn’t be going back to OH so he could save money for NYADA (so much for their plans of having a serious heart-to-heart about the status of their friendship/relationship).

 

Never fear, though, Burt Hummel is here! In NYC! With a tree for Kurt. I beamed watching Kurt be so utterly surprised and happy to see his dad. They are the most adorable father/son team in the history of television.

 

Burt helps them set up the tree in the apartment and it’s adorable. Burt said that Kurt’s mom used to buy the tree. After she died, Burt forgot to get a tree the first Christmas he and his son were alone, and he didn’t remember until he saw Kurt hanging an ornament from his window. (My heart = broken at this point.) They reminisce as Kurt hangs some ornaments (one build his mom’s perfume bottle… that is so sad and touching and thoughtful), and then Burt gives Rachel and Kurt a present – their very own apple ornament to commemorate their first Christmas in NYC. (Aw, Burt.)

 

Rachel leaves (woot) and Kurt and Burt walk around town. They went to see a show at Radio City and then decided to do their tradition of going out for hot chocolate. While out, Burt does not beat around the bush and flat-out tells his son in so many words that he has prostate cancer. (Cue me yelling “NOOOOOOOOOOO” at my television.) However, it was caught early and it’s treatable/beatable. Kurt instantly thinks it’s a death sentence, though, and visibly gets upset about his dad not going to be there when he finally makes it.

 

Burt claps his son on the back and promises that he’ll be there for Kurt. I hope this is a promise the writers of Glee can/will keep.

 

(side note – Ryan Murphy has often said that Kurt is similar to himself growing up. Well, Ryan’s dad also had prostate cancer, but sadly passed away two years after his diagnosis. Though cancer is a horrible thing that countless people have to experience in reality, haven’t [fictional] Burt and Kurt Hummel been through enough? Like, Kurt’s mom died, Burt already had a heart attack and Kurt got bullied and cheated on. I thought Kurt was supposed to get some happy plot lines at some point?)

 

The Hummels have a nice moment when Burt tells his son that he should hold the people he loves close no matter what. (We, the audience, know he is talking about Blaine. Deep down, Kurt probably knows that too.)

 

Back at Kurt’s apartment, they try to focus on happy things like their Hummel traditions. They remark how they like exchanging one gift on Christmas Eve. Kurt gives his dad a NYADA hat, which he promptly and proudly puts on. Burt tells Kurt that his gift is too big to fit under the tree, so he hands Kurt an address and tells him to find his gift there and if he doesn’t like it, he can return it.

 

So, Kurt goes to the address – Bryant Park – and we hear a very familiar voice call out, “Package for Kurt Hummel! Surprise!” And it’s Blaine (on ice) and Kurt is surprised to see him. Blaine rambles on how Burt called him out of the blue and flew him out so he could see that surprised look on his face. Blaine then asks (jokingly, but almost desperately), “You are happy to see me, right?” Kurt, a little stunned still, said, “Yes. Yes. Always.”  Blaine then quickly admitted that Burt told him everything and that he (Blaine) promises to keep an eye on him (Burt). That’s gotta make Kurt feel a tiny bit better knowing he has someone looking in on his dad when he himself can’t be there.

The boys are reunited for their own Christmas tradition – a (flirty) duet. They sing “White Christmas” as they (and other patrons) skate about the rink at Bryant Park. Burt (representing the whole of the Klaine fandom) smiles as he watches his boys skate. (Yes, *his* boys.)  It *is* a flirty duet and you can see Kurt warming up to Blaine by the end of the song. And for a fraction of a second, you think maybe they’ll get just a little bit closer, but then Blaine skates off.

 

After their ice capades, the boys down some hot cocoa and have a brief, albeit needed chat. Blaine told Kurt that no matter what, no matter where they are, regardless if they were together, that they’re always going to be there for each other. Kurt agreed and they hugged. They are nowhere near ready to get back together (if that’s where they are headed… and I’m pretty sure it is, but they need space still.), but things are slowly, but surely getting better.

 

Much, much later in the episode, we come back to find Kurt, Burt and Blaine sitting on the couch watching basketball. All three men are fidgety and Kurt finally breaks and grabs an issue of Vogue. Burt and Blaine react accordingly because they had a bet going of when Kurt would give up on the game. Blaine lost (to which Burt said, “Pay up, Anderson. You may have dated my son, but I raised him.”) and it’s a cute, familial moment among three men who all have very different relationships with each other.

 

Burt asks Blaine what his plans for the future are and Blaine says he’s thinking of applying for NYADA. This is news to Kurt, but Blaine’s putting the information out there to test the waters. Kurt is shocked, but says, “I think that’d be great.” To which Blaine replies, “Me too.”

 

Then, later during the group song of “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” Blaine is helping Kurt set the table and prepare for Christmas dinner. He is giving Kurt the biggest heart eyes known to mankind and it’s painfully obvious that Blaine has romantic feelings for Kurt. But, he knows better than to act on them…

 

I recently rewatched most of Season 2 and it’s a kick comparing S2 Platonic Klaine to S4 Platonic Klaine. S2 Platonic Klaine Blaine was super handsy. He was always touching Kurt; on his knee, on his shoulders, on his back. S2 Platonic Klaine Blaine might not have had heart eyes for Kurt until Episode 16, but he expressed himself and their friendship via touch. S4 Platonic Klaine Blaine knows not to touch Kurt because he doesn’t have that right/privilege anymore. He messed up and he’s paying the price. He must know that he’s lucky Kurt is even speaking to him, let alone being able to be in his presence, so he’s treading lightly. It’s almost like watching an episode of Pushing Daisies, where Blaine is Ned and Kurt is Chuck. The sexual tension is there, but they literally can’t touch because it’ll ruin everything.

 

The ball is completely in Kurt’s court, but he’s not ready to play yet. He can’t – there is physically too much happening in his life right now. I read some comments how Kurt was cold and distant in the episode. No shit, Sherlock. He’s going through more emotions and having more feels than he can probably comprehend. He got his heart stomped on by his ex-boyfriend (low), he finally got into the performing school he wanted to go to (high), his dad surprised him (high), his dad has cancer (low), his dad flew his ex-boyfriend to surprise him (high and low)…

 

It would be so easy for Kurt just to allow himself to fall back into Blaine’s arms. Remember, it used to be Kurt that had Blaine up on a pedestal (S2 Platonic Klaine). Kurt used to have heart eyes for Blaine (not as prominent ones as Blaine seems to whip out at the drop of a dime), but that was then and this is now. Kurt’s heart eyes are gone. The pedestal was shattered long ago. Klaine was a fairly balanced ‘ship for the latter half of Season 2 and the beginning half of Season 3, but then it began to tip. It flat-out sank during TBU this season, but somehow both boys managed to grab onto something. Both boys fit on the friggin’ door and no one has to completely sink into the icy abyss.

 

But Kurt shouldn’t want to get back with Blaine right now. He hasn’t forgiven him and rightly so. What Blaine did was bad. (Not to say that Kurt was 100% flaw-free in their relationship, because he wasn’t there for Blaine at times… both boys need help with their communication.) But Kurt needs to decide for himself if he wants to get back with Blaine as boyfriends, or if them just being friends will have to be enough.

 

So, while I swooned a bit at Blaine’s longing looks of affection toward Kurt (Darren Criss has excellent heart eyes… this is factual information), I wasn’t falling for it either. I haven’t forgiven Blaine yet either. But, I think I’m ready to hear him out.

 

(That’s a lie – I’ve been ready to hear him out. And I think Kurt is almost there too. The writers need to do these characters and the audience a solid and have Kurt and Blaine have a serious, emotional conversation about their relationship. This is a plot line that too many people have to face in real life and it’s important to address it head-on and not just brush it under the rug and have Klaine be back together just ‘cuz. I think Not-Paul will help get this conversation started… I’m so looking to Not-Paul. He will be the most unwelcome-welcome character w/regard to our boys. Kurt’s never been with anyone else in any way. I’m not saying I want him and Not-Paul to get it on, but I think Kurt needs to emotionally experience someone else who isn’t Blaine in order to realize that maybe even though Blaine did a bad, thing, he’s still his soul mate. Nobody is perfect. And some mistakes are way worse than others. But Klaine is endgame. And I’m okay with waiting this separation out for them to get back together in a realistic fashion (well, realistic by Glee-standards I guess.)

 

~~

 

Puck and Jake – Hanukkah, Oh Hanukkah

 

Oy.

 

I love Puck and can sort of tolerate Jake, but I was not feeling it during this episode.

 

The jocks are still picking on Jake for being mixed raced (this frustrates me to no end and I’m about as white as you can get) and ask him if he’s celebrating Hanukkah or Kwanza. Puck’s still in Lima and helps his brother fend off the jocks. He says he’s doing research for a screenplay – a sci-fi piece with a high school element. Puck’s really just worried about Jake and wants to mentor him, so they hop on Puck’s motorcycle (Jake rides in the sidecar) and they motor it all the way to Cali.

 

The Puckerman boys end up on the Paramount back lot (conveniently where Glee is filmed… ugh) and Puck steals some guitars and the two boys serenade whomever they come across with “Hanukkah, Oh Hanukkah.” They finish the song off by getting matching Star of David tattoos.

 

Okay, so I’m only ¼ Jewish, but I was not enjoying the musical shenanigans of the Puckerman boys. I thought this song choice was fine, but they way in which it was presented was a farce.

 

And that is seriously all I’m going to say about this because I literally just shook my head the whole time.

 

Afterward, the boys are lounging poolside at one of Puck’s clients houses (they get caught). Puck lied to Jake about how he was doing in LA. He’s struggling and was too embarrassed to bring his brother back to his own place because it’s filled with IKEA furniture that he doesn’t know how to put together. Jake lied to his mom and told her he was vacationing with Ryder (awww… those guys are legit friends).

 

Jake invites Puck back to Lima for the holidays. Their moms don’t know each other (and therefore don’t like each other). They end up having an awkward family dinner (sans Puck’s sister) at Breadstix. Puck and Jake agree that their dad ran out on all of them, which allows both their moms to be on common ground (as Jake’s mom was unaware of Puck’s mom/family). So, the four jilted Puckermans all raise their glasses and toast each other.

 

Later in the episode, Jake and Puck talk together while their mom’s chat. Puck reveals he’ll be moving back to Lima. (I’m happy about this, as I like Puck and hope he’ll befriend Blaine again.)

 

 

~~

 

Sam and Brittany – Jingle Bell Rock

 

So, the Mayan Apocalypse is upon us and Brittany and Sam believe this is going down, hard core. Brittany goes so far as to cash in all her savings bonds and whatnot and buy her friends lavish gifts. Sam believes in the Apocalypse too. I appreciated his enthusiasm and his chalkboards full of reasons as to why this event was legitimately going to happen. (FACT!)

 

These two crazy kids (seriously – how did they make it this far in life?) gather their friends to tell each other how they feel. Brit tells Tina that she should not pursue acting and ten says to Joe that she doesn’t know much about him. (At least she called him a him… all last season she referred to him as “her”).

 

The glee kids walk out on Sam and Brittany, leaving them in the library where Sam sings a rendition of “Jingle Bell Rock” with the Cheerios (sans Brittany and Blaine… are they really going to be Cheerios the rest of the season?). While I enjoy Sam and his body rolls, my only notes during this performance was “Sam looks like Macaulay Culkin, but dances like Zefron in HSM2/Hairspray.”

 

Sam and Brit decide to get married, so Coach Bieste marries them in the locker room on December 18th.

 

Cut to 4 days later (and 1 day past the Apocalypse) and Sam and Brit are still alive… and married.

 

Fear not, they aren’t really married. Bieste is not ordained and as whimsical as she is at times, she is smart enough to know these two should not be married. So, she weaves them a semi-elaborate tale about how Indiana Jones discovered that the actual Apocalypse has been moved to September 2014. They both buy this, even though Sam should be fully aware of who Indiana Jones is (I mean, he does a Connery impression… you can’t do a proper Connery impression without acknowledging his role in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. Duh.).

 

~~

 

Marley – The First Noel

 

The Rose family’s story starts with Sue and Coach Bieste in the teacher’s lounge. It’s time to draw names for the Faculty and Staff Secret Santa and Sue pulls Millie Rose (Marley’s mom/the lunch lady).

 

Cut to Sue and Becky in Sue’s office. Becky, who is rivaling Kitty and Sue as meanest character on this silly show, opens a Benetton sweater from Sue and promptly throws it on the floor in disgust. (Well, then…). Sue ponders what to get Millie for Christmas and muses, “What do you get the woman who’s eaten everything?” (Rude.)

 

Sue overhears/witnesses Marley and her mom in the kitchen. Millie is telling her daughter than they won’t be buying each other presents this year because all their money needs to go toward therapy/help for Marley’s eating disorder (Bless you, Millie.). Sue loves Marley (she literally cannot even force herself to say anything bad about the pretty, talented girl) and her heart melts a bit as she watches Marley sing “The First Noel” for her mom. Millie tears up and says that’s the best Christmas present she could ever get. (Aw, Marley’s mom!)

 

In the choir room (which is still the Cheerio’s rehearsal space), Sue decides that she and Becky will sell their old, fancy tree and give the money to an important cause this Christmas.

So, on Christmas morning, Marley and her mom find their house has been broken into and they have a tree complete with presents (Becky’s sweater and the rest of the gifts she hated) and a stocking full of money. They hug and it’s a Christmas miracle, but admitted they should probably call the cops.

 

Later in the episode, Millie tries to return the money to Sue. Sue gives it right back to her and says that as single moms, they need to look out for their kids. Sue genuinely wants Marley to get better, so Millie takes the money back. Millie then invites Sue to the auditorium where the kids are dressed in white/off-white winter garb and it’s snowing and the stage looks gorgeous. Marley and company sing “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” and they are juxtaposed with the Puckermans/Sam & Brit singing at Breadstix and Klaine singing in NYC.

 

The Klaine part (which I touched on earlier) was extra emotional because there were just so many things left unsaid. Kurt’s got a whole mess of stuff to deal with/think through. Blaine loves Kurt and Burt… it’s adorable the way Blaine pulled out Burt’s chair, but made you wonder why Blaine wasn’t in Ohio with his own family. (We still don’t really know his family situation, but it would appear that he and Mr. Hummel are pretty buddy-buddy, which is super sweet and extremely heart-breaking at the same time.)

 

And so the episode ended on a heartfelt note and a wistful song. We won’t get new Glee until January, but in the meantime, I’m sure we can speculate what’s going to happen at the Sadie Hawkins Dance (4×11) and why everyone is Naked (4×12).

 

I was thankful for minimal Rachel and Kitty… I was thankful for no Finchel… and I was thankful for the Burt and Klaine scenes. I was underwhelmed by a majority of the episode, but somehow still have a shred of hope that the latter half of the season can work its way out of the rut the show has been in so far this year.

 

In other news,

 

Happy Holidays!

 

 

            Last night I had the opportunity to see David Mamet’s The Anarchist on Broadway. The play opened to poor reviews and will be closing next week. While it definitely wasn’t my favorite play of all time, it did launch an epic conversation between myself and the friend who invited me to see it with her.

            My only prior exposure to Mamet’s work is some of the scripts he wrote for movies (The Verdict, The Untouchables, Glengarry Glen Ross, The Edge, The Spanish Prisoner, State and Main, and Hannibal). I haven’t seen any of his plays, though I am very aware of who he is and what his mark on theater is.

            That being said, I walked into The Anarchist with higher than normal expectations (it’s Mamet) and walked away feeling underwhelmed but with a lot on my mind.

            The Anarchist has two characters – a woman in prison for 35 years for killing two police officers (Patti LuPone’s character) and a woman representing the state who is to decide whether the prisoner is to go free or stay in jail (Debra Winger’s character). There was really no exposition and the audience is plopped down in the middle of a conversation. It took awhile for me to figure out what was going on, but eventually I gathered the basic plot (LuPone’s character killed people, while she was in prisoner she thought a lot about God and religion and wrote a book/manuscript). The characters were not that engaging and I couldn’t really sympathize with either of them.

            While I was not entirely keen to the story (I have a personal problem of tuning out when people have lengthy monologues and dialogues about religion), I was completely interested (or rather uninterested) in the set and costumes.

            The set was a couple of tables, some chairs and some filing cabinets. It wasn’t flashy, nor should it have been. The women’s costumes were similarly not flashy. For me, this was a distraction. LuPone’s prisoner garb was ill-fitting (read: too big) and the sea foam green of her jacket/pants were almost the exact same color of the chairs. Her body blended into her surroundings, as did her hair (which was a silvery gray and pulled back into a straight, flat ponytail). I get that she wasn’t supposed to be glamorous, but I also felt that she probably shouldn’t have completely disappeared into the set.

            Winger’s costume was a pants suit. My immediate reaction to seeing her on stage was, “gosh, she looks very mannish.” I held this opinion throughout the entire play. Her pants were not super flattering, and she hiked them up much like a man would (pulling at the waistband, just so).

            Both characters were quite mannish, to be honest, and I kept wondering how the play would have (or could have) been different if it were written for two men instead of two lesbian women. (Was this why they were mannish? If so, what a horrible stereotype.)

            Winger’s character especially behaved very “manly.” Though both characters often sat with her legs wide open, Winger’s character spoke in a very low, monotone voice. She didn’t get emotional and was never really compassionate toward LuPone’s character (which, one could argue, made sense because LuPone’s character murdered two people…). I wonder if these stage directions were written in the original text of the play, or if the director (also Mamet) added that in during rehearsal.

            It would appear that this play lacked fluidity. When discussing the show afterward with my friend, I commented how The Anarchist just didn’t flow. Though the entire play is a conversation, but it all felt clunky. Like, each woman delivered her line. And then the other woman delivered her line. And back and forth and back and forth. Though it felt a tad smoother (and more natural) toward the end of the play, the overall feeling of the show was bumpy for me. I never got sucked completely into the show… like, if a show is amazing, I’ll just get so caught up in it that I forget there are other people in the room. During this entire play, I was aware of my surroundings and heard every cough and cell phone (that should have been silenced, geez).

            I wish I had something great to say about the “twist” in the ending, but it very much fizzled. There was potential for a big “ah-ha” moment and it just fell flat.

            LuPone and Winger are talented, talented women and I very much admire their film and stage work (this is the third time I’ve seen LuPone on Broadway… and the second time within this calendar year). Their talents were not used to their utmost potential with this piece. And while I admire Mamet, I just don’t think he has managed to master writing for women (or writing for only women).

            I wouldn’t recommend The Anarchist to the average show-goer, but I was very glad I saw it because it raised so many style and content questions. I had a really great conversation about the show with my friend and that’s really what good theater is all about. It makes you feel something and then want to keep talking about it afterward. (Plus, it totally helped that our tickets were comp. Free Broadway is always good Broadway in my eyes…)

           

 The Anarchist is playing on Broadway at the Golden Theatre (252 W. 45th St) through Sunday December 16th

Unpopular opinion – I didn’t think last night’s episode of Glee was one of their better episodes this season. For as much as I love Blaine, Kurt and Klaine, their positive storylines (for a change) were overshadowed by Rachel (who is making me more and more frustrated as the season progresses, which I will discuss a bit later).

Without further ado… Swan Song

(SPOILERS/OPINIONS from here on out)

So, the episode picks up exactly where the last one left off. It is Sectionals and the New Directions brought Marley back to the choir room because she fainted on stage. Quick thinker Blaine thought he had a juice box in his bag (he did) and the choir tried to make sure Marley was okay. She wasn’t talking much, but Jake confessed she had been skipping lunch and not eating. Santana (ever the clever girl) knew it was because of Kitty that Marley was becoming anorexic. Mr. Schue told the kids to get back out on stage because of risk of disqualification. Sue strolls in and told the glee kids that the judges unanimously voted and the Warblers won Sectionals. (In all honesty, they deserved to… the ND’s version of Gangnum Style was just ugh.)

Minutes later, we’re in New York and Kurt and Rachel are cleaning up from the Thanksgiving Kiki they had last week. Kurt walked into the room, having just got off the phone with Blaine (aw – they talked twice in one night… reconciliation is happening, folks) and he relayed to Rachel that the NDs lost and that he felt bad for Blaine because if Blaine were still with the Warblers, he’d be on his way to Regionals. (Maybe Kurt is aware that Blaine gave up a lot for him by transferring to McKinley… too bad they don’t have conversations like this more often).

Then Kurt and Rachel talk about making the most of chances you have, and that becomes the overarching theme of the episode. (In case you didn’t catch that mantra the first time around, it’s hammered into your skull multiple times throughout the show.)

Turns out NYADA has this Winter Showcase where the faculty chooses 10 students to compete. These 10 students are given Golden Tickets (was there no Copyright from the Willy Wonka people?) and it’s a huge honor (obviously). Kurt is very active on the NYADA blogs, as he reapplied for admission second semester. He vows he’s only going to try one more time to get into the school because he doesn’t want to waste his time chasing something that he keeps getting rejected for. Kurt and Rachel’s conversation leads to Rachel getting handed a Golden Ticket from Carmen (Whoopi Goldberg’s character; a very important woman at NYADA). Of course Rachel gets a Golden Ticket.

(This starts my first diatribe with how much Rachel frustrates me. This girl is literally handed everything she wants. And even when she doesn’t initially get what she wants, she somehow still gets it. Like, NYADA… she botched her first audition twice. Kurt did his perfectly. And when it came time to get the acceptance letters, she got in and he didn’t. Or prom queen. She wasn’t even on the friggin’ ballot and she was given prom queen last season. And somehow, despite her selfishness and divaesque attitudes, she usually has at least one guy throwing himself at her. I just don’t get it… This will continue later.)

Back at McKinley, Sue and the Cheerios are destroying the choir room so they can use it to practice. Finn (Schue 2.0) tries to stop her. They have a verbal disagreement and then she tells him they need to go to Figgins’ office. Now.

Actual Schue, Schue 2.0, Sue and Figgins converse. The glee kids have nowhere to perform because other clubs who actually still have competitions to work toward are using all available space. Finn hands over to Sue the keys to the choir room, though I suspect sometime this season, he (or actual Schue) will get them back. You can’t have a show called “Glee” without a proper glee club.

Later in her office, Sue feels empty inside for finally getting the choir room keys. She feels concerned that she crushed the kids’ dreams and wants to figure out how to alleviate her guilt. (There was a brief clip of kids talking about their life choices after glee… the best was Blaine performing on the bathhouse circuit.) Just then, Brad (the piano player) walks in and speaks for longer than we’ve ever heard him before. She thanks Sue for what she did because he hates the glee kids. We’ve always suspected it, but now he’s vocalized how much he despises how they just throw sheet music at him and yell “Hit it!” Oh, Brad. How I love you so.

In the choir room, Finn tells the kids that there is no more glee. Tina blames Marley and tells Marley that she’s no Rachel… but actually, she’s totally Rachel. Putting herself first and letting the group down is totally something Rachel would do (even though in Marley’s case it was a horrible, horrible eating disorder instead of Rachel putting her talent and aspirations for stardom ahead of everyone/thing else). Finn tells the kids they can still practice and perform, and then tells them if this is their swan song, then they should make it the best they can. Tina claims to be unmotivated because there is no competition to look forward to. When Finn says they can work toward next year, Sam asks about what the kids who are not going to be there next year supposed to do? The camera cuts to the seniors and we are left asking the same question.

Back from commercial break, Brittany is in the hallway and sees a line of Cheerios on the floor (the cereal, not the cheerleaders). She lies down on the floor and begins to eat them, one by one. (Gross.) They lead to an empty classroom where Sam is waiting for her with a glass of milk. He did it because he knows she forgets to eat breakfast and she calls him a genius. And then Sam tells her that he is into Brittany (and she thinks he’s awesome) and that he’s sad they never got a chance to sing a love song together. They sing “Something Stupid” (which always makes me think of the dance routine from Just Dance 3) and Sam actively pursues Brittany around the room. When the song is over, he tries to kiss her but she pulls away, claiming lesbian bloggers everywhere would revolt. (And by “lesbian bloggers,” I bet RIB meant “Brittana Shippers with Social Media Access).

Meanwhile in NYC, Rachel is in dance class. She asks Cassandra July (CJ) if she can get some water and CJ ends up stopping the whole class and belittling Rachel’s request for rehydration. I get that you need to drink water during rehearsal (trust me, I have a water bottle on me at all times), but I thought Rachel was in the wrong when she said that she was working her butt… because it made it sound like no one else in there was working as hard as her. Rachel and CJ have another argument about how CJ doesn’t think Rachel is a good dancer and Rachel says CJ is blind to how good she’s become.

And then they have an “All That Jazz”-off, and I would give this round to CJ. Her dancing is better (as it should be), and I just don’t think Rachel has the chops to pull off Velma Kelly. (Yeah, I said it.) CJ tells Rachel she’s not good enough and Rachel agrees she’s not as good of a dancer, but she is as good or better at singing, so she’s determined to win the showcase with her voice.

After the commercial, Kurt visits Carmen in her office and she remembers him from his audition. She received his most recent application (with a video of him singing an acoustic version of Wham’s “Wake Me Up Before You Go Go”… really, Kurt?). She says he is devoid of complexity and depth. We as an audience know this is not the case, however, when Kurt is performing for others, he usually doesn’t let them see him. He lets them see a projected version of himself… overly confident and often dressed in a distracting outfit or using props/dance moves. She tells him he is surface, but she wants soul. This throws him off, but I was so glad she pointed that out.

HOWEVER, I was yelling at my television when Kurt asked for a second chance to audition for her and Carmen tells him, “I rarely give anyone second chances, and when I do, it’s on my terms.”

REALLY, CARMEN? Because when Rachel auditioned for you last season and messed up and begged for a do-over, you let her. And then she tracked you down and told you she wanted you to travel to Chicago to see her perform at Nationals. So… you do give people second chances. At least, you give Rachel Berry second chances. (#endrant)

Back at McKinley, we find most the glee club kids have joined other clubs. Artie is now in marching band (he’s the drum major… although marching band is totally a fall sport and would have been over by time he joined… #justsayin #formerbandkid). Blaine and Tina have joined the Cheerios (fulfilling a lot of Cheerio!Blaine fans fantasies…). Them joining Cheerios was actually super easy – Sue was pleased to have a “handsome non-flammable gay” and “yellow #4” join her squad for diversity purposes. Jake and Ryder joined the basketball team (so now they are Troy and Chad from HSM…), Unique joined floor hockey and Joe joined inter-faith paintball.

(Small tangent – I admit I was one of the people who were looking forward to seeing Blaine in his Cheerios uniform. While the material is hideous, the kid can rock that uniform. Plus, Blaine joining Cheerios is actually a realistic plot point. He wants to be a part of a winning team. Sue likes him – she’s always liked Kurt and has previously referred to Blaine as “young Burt Reynolds.” He’s athletic. He’s strong. He’s flexible, can do cartwheels and splits in the air and can dance. Blaine’s only fault is that he’s an awkward clapper… which I’m sure he can work on. I just need to see a full-out Cheerios routine with Blaine and Tina. That is all.)

Finn is mad that most of the glee kids have moved on. He tells them that they have holiday concert rehearsal at 9:54 that Friday night because that’s the only time he could schedule for them to rehearse. Marley said she’ll be there and Tina gets mad about Sectionals again. The kids file out of the auditorium one by one… Blaine is the second to last to leave and Marley is the last glee kid standing onstage with Finn. The lights go out… and for the time being, glee club is pretty much toast.

In the hallway, Brittany asks Sam on a date to Breadstix that Friday during the time Finn scheduled Glee rehearsal. When he asks why she changed her mind, she says she doesn’t want to miss out and that he makes her smile. They both make each other happy, which is cute (they are both simple in their own ways), and when they kiss, I guess it’s warranted. Brittany has previously labeled herself as bi-curious, so a relationship with Sam isn’t unheard of. But Brittana shippers must be furious. (I am not a Brittana shipper, but I will empathize with your cause.)

Back in NYC, it’s finally Winter Showcase time. A voice over indicates it’s a competition and celebration and that these students exemplify the best of what NYADA is trying to achieve (to which I audibly groaned, “Ugh. How is Rachel there?” and then proceeded to write those same words in my notes). The first girl up dances and I actually would have liked to see that. (I bet that they dressed her up like The Black Swan on purpose…)

Meanwhile on the steps outside, Rachel is there, decked out in a gorgeous white dress (thank god Kurt works at Vogue.com, am I right?). Brody shows up to support her and gives her a little pep talk. She is terrified, but confident. She says she’s going to sing like she’ll never sing again and then kisses Brody. (Seriously? At the beginning of the episode last week, she was ready to write the guy off – write any guy off for that matter – but by the end of the episode, vegan Rachel was man-handling a turkey in order to flirt with Brody. And she super quickly got over the fact that he slept with CJ. And now she’s macking on him some more right before her big performance. I’m not against relationships. But I am against characters who say strongly they are going to look out for themselves and then turn back on their words mere minutes later as soon as a cute guy comes back into the picture.)

So, Rachel channels her inner Barbra and sings “Being Good…” pretty much exactly how Barbra would sing it. And I argue – why can’t Rachel sing like Rachel? I mean, Barbra is AMAZING and to sound like Barbra is a feat in itself… but this is a showcase of talent. Rachel should have sung it like a Rachel Berry song… not like Rachel Berry singing Barbra Streisand. So, it was good, but it was Meh for me.

It obviously was outstanding for the crowd, and they all rose to their feet and asked for an encore. After getting the go-ahead nod from Carmen, Rachel asked the band to play “O Holy Night.”

But Rachel’s Jewish, right?

*sigh* I love “O Holy Night.” In fact, it is one of my favorite holiday songs of all time. I have a whole playlist of people singing this one song. But, I have a feeling Rachel sang this song because 1.) it can be belted like whoa and 2.) it’s on the first Glee Christmas CD AND the latest Glee Christmas CD and the Powers that Be are likely hoping this early taste will boost sales.

This song is juxtaposed with Finn being sad and picking up the choir room. Poor Schue 2.0. Also, Carmen looks over at Kurt reacting to Rachel’s singing and you KNOW it’s foreshadowing. (Or, if you didn’t, then I’m sorry for your inability to pick up visual cues.)

When Rachel finished, she ran and hugged Kurt, then Brody. Carmen calls her performance superb and then says when they get back from break; there will be a performance from Kurt Hummel.

YES.

Kurt is outside pacing and is super flustered. Rachel gives him a pep talk and this is the only time in this episode where I am thankful her character existed. When Kurt says he feels he’s only at his best with props, Rachel reminds him of his “I Wanna Hold Your Hand” performance (S2 E3) and says how that was one of his best songs because it was just him. He quickly goes through his repertoire and when he gets to “Being Alive,” Rachel urges him to do that. He asks who he’s supposed to dedicate the song to… he sang “I Wanna Hold Your Hand” for his dad in the hospital, but who now? Rachel says he should dedicate it to himself.

And so Kurt Hummel tackles one of (if not) the greatest Sondheim songs of all time. He uses his performance as a NYADA audition and is singing it because he finally understands the song.

Now, I don’t know how familiar you are with this song and the show it’s from (Company), but this is one of my favorite musical theater solos ever. I had the privilege of seeing the revival cast with Raul Esparza and I cried when he sang this (and every time after I’ve seen/heard him sing this song). The lyrics are so poignant and just stab into your heart and slowly turn with every line until your heart hurts so much you feel like you can’t breathe anymore.

Listen to the lyrics. Really listen. It’s a confession. It’s Robert’s confession to himself that he’s ready for a real relationship; ready for someone to come into his life and destroy him in the best and worst ways possible. It’s the antithesis to an earlier song in the show, “Marry Me a Little,” but works as a standalone number as well. For Kurt, this song works on multiple levels. It is about how he is ready to be there for himself. He’s ready to do what he needs to do in order to feel and be alive. Put himself first. At the same time, it speaks of his relationship with Blaine. You can’t sing these kinds of lyrics without having had and then lost somebody (not just some body) who means everything to you. And maybe you want that somebody back…

This was a very moving performance. I teared up at the piano introduction (those chords kill me), but didn’t cry as he sang. That doesn’t mean it didn’t affect me; it did. It was a real treat knowing that Chris Colfer was the one who insisted Kurt sing this song. It was perfect for his lower register. The emotions were all there. It’s just a really great song that can only be pulled off by certain people/characters. Well played, Colfer. WELL PLAYED.

I wish RIB would allow Kurt more men’s songs like this. Kurt is a guy and deserves to sing guy songs if the plot calls for it. Yes, he can sing high, but he also can sing low very, very well (and those songs are often his best numbers).

Back from commercial break, Rachel calls Finn (didn’t they break up again? And didn’t they agree they didn’t want any contact with each other? Am I not remembering this correctly?). She doesn’t want to gloat about his Sectionals loss and she tells them she had her own competition that night and that she won. He was genuinely proud/happy for her but asks her not to rub it in that she won and he lost. She tells him that glee is about love or music and people who normally wouldn’t be friends singing together. Glee was about romances and not just the competition. (Funny, I like more of the competitions better than the romances they keep shoving down our throats.) She tells Finn to not let the glee kids give up on their dreams and for him to not give up on his dreams either.

And so Finchel is still in the mix, as it always was and always will be. I shipped Finchel for part of Season 1, but I am so beyond over them at this point, especially when they get back together and break up every other episode these days. Have them together or have them apart, but to me… if a couple breaks up and makes up every five minutes, they aren’t exactly a stable/lasting couple. (Now Klaine on the other hand… or Tike… Bring. It. On.)

So, Friday night, Finn is sitting in the auditorium all alone until Marley shows up. She’s the only one, of course. She says she found somewhere the glee kids could practice.

Finn then goes all Breakfast Club on the club (complete with “Don’t You Forget About Me” playing in the background and all my Judd Nelson feels came roaring back and I had to calm myself…) and writes them out an email in the same vein that Anthony Michael Hall leaves that letter; voiceover and everything. He sends the email and it’s received by the kids… Blaine is hula hooping at Cheerios practice when he gets the email on his phone. (Brilliant sight gag, Glee. Well played… having Blaine multitask like that. Bravo.)

Turns out Marley’s practice location is the outdoor courtyard. It’s cold and snowy and only she, Finn and the band are there. Marley apologizes for being naïve, insecure, and self-centered (see, she is like Rachel… except that Marley apologizes for screwing over everyone else). They start singing “Don’t Dream It’s Over” and I am like, “Hey, I remember I used to like this song” and I sing along while I watch.

The duet becomes a group number as in pairs, other glee kids show up. Tina and Blaine arrive (sans Cheerio outfits, but Ryan Murphy’s tweets last night indicate Blaine will be a Cheerio all year… though please, dear Cheesus, don’t let this mean we lose Blaine’s ridiculous sweater/bowtie ensembles), followed by everyone else. I love Blaine and Sam’s color coordinating winter hats and that Sam hit Blaine on the arm in a friendly fashion (The Blam friendship makes my heart feel warm and fuzzy.)

The show ended on a positive note. The New Directions were singing together and Kurt got his NYADA letter… but this time he got in. While I was super happy something FINALLY went his way, part of me hopes he turns it down. I don’t think Kurt Hummel was meant to perform for a living. It’s a great hobby and it makes him happy, but I think that character’s future lies in fashion. Under the guidance of Isabelle, Kurt can work his way up the ranks at Vogue.com. At NYADA, he’ll be back with Rachel Berry and likely playing second fiddle to her Winter Showcase-winning self. I want Kurt to take the road less traveled and do something for himself that he wants to do, not just what he’s expected to do.

But yeah… those were my thoughts on the episode. I wasn’t over the moon about this particular episode. Even the “happy moments” were questionable, plot-wise (though I should definitely know by now this show rarely makes a whole lot of sense). That being said, I have higher expectations for next week.

The promo for next week’s episode, “Glee, Actually” showed Sam doing a number with the Cheerios, proposing marriage to Brittany and the Mayan Apocalypse. Burt surprises his son in NYC (and fans know that Klaine filmed an ice skating scene to “Winter Wonderland” together… awww) and Artie has an “It’s a Wonderful Life” flashback about what his life would have been like if he never lost the use of his legs. (Spoiler alert – Kurt still gets shoved into lockers :/)

What were your thoughts about the episode? Did you like it, love it, hate it, or were you just kinda “Meh” like me?