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Glee Review: Right And More Than Okay

Though a belated goodbye to Whitney Houston and a fairly premature goodbye for the glee kids, this week’s tribute episode of Glee proved once again that sometimes the show is lightning in a bottle. Lately, it hasn’t struck very often, but in this earnest celebration of the singer and how far the glee kids have come, my expectations were surprisingly exceed.

Before we delve into the bulk of the show – which, come on, is clearly about the musical performances – let’s review some of the plot updates.

Mr. Schue, realizing the club was affected by the death of the songstress, decided to make this week’s theme about cherishing Whitney and choosing one of her songs that really exemplifies what they’re feeling. Of course, Sam had to mention that Whitney could get a little cray-cray, but it wasn’t about that. Schue didn’t sing a song, but he should have, since he was so wrought over his club members’ impending graduation that he decided to move up his wedding by months to ensure they’d all be in attendance.

On the glee kids’ side, everyone was around, but Kurt and Blaine’s “lesbian bed death” relationship and Quinn and Joe’s burgeoning one stood at the center. After seeing Quinn looking down (she’s been going to therapy but nothing’s changing), Joe started accompanying Quinn to her rehab, stretching her legs over and over and over, and when he shied away from her, she thought it was because he thought she was wheelchair gross when really it was because he didn’t know how to deal with the sexual feeling arising in his Christian body. Once everything was straightened out, the two quickly decide there’s something there. (Strange at the end of a school year, but they had to give him something to do.)

Kurt and Blaine had more serious issues when Kurt gave his number to Chandler, an admirer he met in the show tunes section of a music store who loved his hippo-headed broach. Sure, they didn’t meet up or call each other (…yet), but Chandler was sending flirty texts, and when Blaine found out he was livid. Was it cheating? I’d fall in line with Blaine (and Rachel who warned him of the slippery slope), but Kurt didn’t think so. He just liked the attention, especially since Blaine’s been showing him very little of it. They even have to schedule make out sessions, which in high school, just seems wrong. Though after a counseling session in Emma’s office, they got to the heart of the matter. All Kurt’s been talking about is NYADA, and all Blaine thinks of is being left behind. The two vow to stick together no matter what.

Oh, and Rachel and Santana bonded over their love-hate relationship and decided to love a little more for the remainder of the year.

THE SONGS
“How Will I Know” sung by Mercedes, Santana, Kurt and Rachel. A
Sometimes things get strange when Glee cold opens with a song, and sure, it didn’t seem to make much sense to the story as a whole, but it certainly put me into the right mood. The arraignment was unique, with a sense of melancholy that isn’t present in the original, and unexpectedly highlighted the different leads so well, you’d think it was a song made for each of them. (Kurt, at least, thinks every Whitney song was made for him.) It was effective because even if the words didn’t exactly match up to the story, the feeling of fear and hesitation that comes with leaving your past behind to embark into a wide open future was very much conveyed. A capella = awesome too.

“I Wanna Dance with Somebody (Who Loves Me)” sung by Brittany and Santana with the Cheerios. B+
Who doesn’t love this song? It’s fun and sassy and makes me want to dance. Brittany is no Ms. Houston when it comes to the voice, but she’s got the right kind of energy. She tried to get everyone to dance with her. (Anyone think Brittany should know that Quinn and wheelchair equals skipping over that dance request?!) But in the end, Santana was the only lady she wanted to dance with. The writers even changed the words from “I need a man to take a chance” to woman which was a nice touch. Plus, the grey mini and huge bows is soooo how I remember and picture a young Whitney.

“Saving All My Love for You” sung by Joe and Quinn. B
The two decided to duet, and by the song choice, was it a shock to anyone that these two are going to end up together in the end? I still don’t feel the connection. The show ramped up this storyline pretty quickly and completely out of the blue. I think Damian actually fit into the cast more seamlessly and performed better, but Joe did have that smolder in his eye that I remember from the Glee Project – though that appears to be the only emotional look Samuel Larsen has mastered. Still, it was sweet.

“So Emotional” sung by Santana and Rachel. A
Seriously, why weren’t there more glee girls singing this song? I’d imagine it be the perfect representation for almost all of them. (Tina, Quinn and Mercedes, I’m looking at you. You too, Finn.) It doesn’t matter much, as these two killed the song. Lots of scampering around, flipping hair and belting it out. Their voices also blend really well. Naya Rivera should feel proud to have the kind of voice that meshes well with so many different sounds.

“It’s Not Right but It’s Okay” sung by Blaine with New Directions. B-
Now, we know that “it’s not right but it’s okay” to text flirt in Kurt’s mind. Everyone has their own line to draw. But that just made Blaine want to angry sing. Everything felt strange about this number, or maybe it’s just the incessant calling out of other glee members through song. Really, Blaine?! I know you are having issues, but to call Kurt a cheater in front of the whole club and then get them to sing along with you while he looks on. AWKWARD. Still, in terms of a performance, it was great. It was an awesome representation of the original music video, with Darren Criss completely embodying Whitney’s character and mannerisms.

“I Have Nothing” sung by Kurt. B+
After an exceptionally touching scene between Burt and Kurt where Burt shares how hard it will be to see Kurt leave, how nothing will be the same again, and how the two made each other men (tear), I thought the song would be an homage to his father. But, instead, it was a perfect counter balance to Blaine’s angry song – Kurt’s sorry song. Anyone else as stunned as I was to figure out that Kurt could be right that Whitney songs are made for him? I never would have guessed this would sound as beautiful as it does.

“My Love Is Your Love” sung by Artie, Mercedes, Blaine and Kurt with New Directions. B+
There’s not much to say here, except that it was a smart choice for the whole club to sing together, from the message to the vibe. And it was sung well. I loved the idea that glee rehearsal was optional (maybe this is why they do not win National competitions), but everyone ended up showing up just to be with each other in these last 42 days before summer. It left a happy taste in my mouth.

In the end, I have to give the writers, actors and show runners a metaphorical high five. I thought this week would be cheesy, partially inappropriate and, overall, fall short of paying tribute to one of the best singers and performers of my time, and yet, it was one of Glee’s best episodes this season. It felt honest and earnest, but most of all, the songs and performances were solid. I could care less about the storyline, because usually that’s not all there, coherent or consistent, anyway. It’s all about the music, and for the first time in weeks, I actually wanted to download the songs. Mission accomplished. Now, enough about what I thought. Sound off below!

MEMORABLE MOMENTS

  • “And Quinn, you’re still dancing in my dreams. And you can fly and breathe fire.” – Brittany
  • Rachel realizing that she can’t sing Whitney’s rendition of the National Anthem, and Kurt’s affirmation that he’s surprised anyone’s attempted it after Whitney “nailed it to the wall.” True story.
  • “Finn sends me cutesy text messages all the time. Usually they’re puns about my boobs, but I still appreciate the effort.” – Rachel
  • Joel McKinnon Miller as a deadpan wedding planner. Wasabi is the new sea foam.
  • Schue admitting that he will be rapping at the wedding.
  • “I can be super helpful, but when you ask me stuff, you have to be real specific.” – Sam
  • Blaine on the brink of tears. It’s like babies crying. You shouldn’t revel in it, but sometimes it’s just so darn adorable.
  • Everyone’s “oh no you didn’t look” to Kurt during “It’s Not Right but It’s Okay.”
  • “Oh crap! I think I just realized I’m going to miss you. Oh, God! Say something irritating so I can get the taste of this out of my head.” – Santana
  • Burt and Kurt, Starsky and the Gay Hutch – Burt
  • “Sorry, Finn. I tried to get your balls back from Rachel, but she’s got those on lock down.” – Puck
  • I wanna make sure you guys remember all the bro-ments that we had together.” – Puck
  • Kurt slipping bronzer into Blaine’s lotion, even though he only ends up with tan hands.

For another take on this week’s episode, check out The Good, the (Not So) Bad, & the Nostalgia by Josh Hatala

Season 3, Episode 17: “Dance With Somebody” (originally aired April 24, 2012)

Glee airs Tuesday night at 8 p.m. on FOX.

Are you a Gleek? Click here for more Poptimal coverage of Glee.

Images courtesy of Adam Rose/FOX

One Comment

  1. It’s the first timew in months that I’m desperate for more Glee; they nailed it. Lewis, I loved your article I agreed completely on everything, except when you said Glee was all about the music, the storyline may be shallow sometimes, but I’m really interested on it; and even more now that the kids are graduating a gettng into universities…

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