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'Glee' - 'Home' Recap

by Allison Waldman, posted Apr 27th 2010 10:25PM
Kristin Chenoweth as April in 'Glee' - 'Home'(S01E16) As the season moves on, the initial joy of 'Glee' remains; that feeling that was there in the pilot has been sustained. But with time there are also subtle shifts in tone and character, more music, changes that are part of the natural progression of a television show. With this second half of the season, we've now seen three episodes.

For some, last week's Madonna mash-up was the best 'Glee' ever. Not so much from my perspective. Too much hype and too little substance, much like the Material Girl herself. The episode lacked heart. With 'Home,' 'Glee' found the heart, delivered the substance and, in every way that matters, kicked ass with this episode.

The theme of home and family ran throughout the show. The terms were interchangeable in some contexts, but home also related to being comfortable with who you are and the person you present to the world.

The return of Kristin Chenoweth's character, April Rhodes, was a highlight. She's a great singer and actress. You know she's going to do something wonderful musically -- and she did -- but as a character, April has grown. She wasn't the cold-hearted, empty-headed lush she was before. Yes, still flawed and still searching to find her path, but April was much more Will's friend this time around. Their duet to Springsteen's 'Fire' reflected how much they enjoy each other's company. April's journey is ongoing, and as a pop-up character on 'Glee,' she's a McKinley High alum we'll hopefully see more of in seasons to come.

For Mercedes, Finn and Kurt, there were major character developments. To be a Cheerio, Mercedes faced pressure from Coach Sue. To stay a Cheerio, Mercedes had to decide whether to conform or not. Staying true to herself wasn't easy, but insight came from an unlikely source -- Quinn. The scene in the nurse's office between the two actresses was excellent, especially because of Quinn's revelation that she cares about someone other than herself; her baby. Equating that love to Mercedes needing to love herself in all her dimensions was moving.

Kurt's heart was in the right place, even if his reason for playing matchmaker to his dad and Finn's mother was selfish. He wanted to be closer to Finn, but the unexpected result had Kurt feeling more like an outsider than ever. He was jealous of his father's kinship with Finn. Ouch.

Finn finally heard his mother's voice and accepted that she needed what Burt offered. Finn even welcomed Burt into his father's chair. Only Kurt couldn't accept the change to his home/family. Chris Colfer's eyes told the story, as much as his voice and body language.

With 'Home,' the music was less about performance and more about emotions. Madonna's lyrics are not complex; they're pretty shallow. Not so with Hal David, who wrote the words (to Burt Bacharach's music) for 'A House Is Not a Home' and 'One Less Bell to Answer.' His words set a scene and grab your emotions.

Kurt's rendition of 'A House Is Not a Home' really showcased his tenor voice and perfectly set up April's 'One Less Bell to Answer.' Finn also had a piece of the former, but his interpretation related to the father he never knew. And Will's part of the latter, in duet with April, dramatized his loneliness since breaking up with Terri.

The mash-up of 'A House Is Not a Home' and 'One Less Bell to Answer' was not an original. This was a reference -- a salute -- to Barbra Streisand. She did the two songs in a duet with herself on an Emmy-winning TV special in 1971.

Like Kurt, Mercedes had a spotlight moment, turning a Cheerio performance into her anthem performance of 'Beautiful.' Commenters have complained about lip-synching and autotuning and this was the first time it seemed apparent to me. Amber Riley has a big voice and I think she can do that song just fine, but it looked like it was dickered with in post-production.

The finale was the song 'Home' from 'The Wiz.' The inside joke was that April was heading to 'the Broadway' to do an all-white version of that Broadway musical, which pre-dates Kristin Chenoweth (and Idina Menzel) appearing in 'Wicked,' which also was a variation of 'The Wizard of Oz.' It's all connected! Kristin's vocal was amazing, with New Directions backing her up. Again, the staging was spot-on.

Not to be overlooked, the Sue storyline was also a hoot. She got exactly what she wanted, a positive story from Splits magazine ... but only because the writer believed that Sue was the driving force behind Mercedes' performance. Will Sue appreciate the good notices at the expense of a Cheerio staging a mutiny? Doubtful.

Other points of interest

-- Sue to Mercedes and Kurt: "How do you two not have a show on Bravo?"

-- Sue's reason for no longer carrying a picture ID: "People should know what I am."

-- Kurt to Finn about Carol's new look: "Who do you think 'Pretty Woman-ed' her up?"

-- Brittany line of the week: "I'm pretty sure my cat's been reading my diary."

[Watch 'Glee' on SlashControl.]

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I knew only one of the songs in this entire episode, so the slow, "meaningful" numbers just bored me to death. Especially the one in Mr. Schuster's house... that went on for about two minutes too long! Ugh! The plot was great, but I felt really, really let down by most of the music this week. And it was definitely missing an upbeat feel-good number, which is usually a hallmark of every episode.

("Beautiful" was the song I knew, btw. I acknowledge I should have known "Fire." But the rest? Geez!)

April 29 2010 at 5:56 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Best "Glee" to date.

April 28 2010 at 11:46 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Glee + Roller Rink + Xanadu = missed opportunity

April 28 2010 at 10:40 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

my oh my, did my ears trick me or did they used a real orchestra with the Burt Bacharach songs, instead of synthesizers. I like that change.
Indeed less auto-tuning, it sounded more pure. And I don't mind the lip-synching, but it has to be spot on.
What kinda bothers me, were the background skaters during 'Fire' some were clapping totally off-beat.

April 28 2010 at 5:55 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

One nitpick Finn's father was supposed to have died in Desert Storm. However combat action ended in February of 1991. So that would make Finn at least 20.

April 28 2010 at 5:21 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I LOooooved the episode. It was absolutely brilliant and had substance. The writing was meticulous.

I loved how we got to see Mercedes and Kurt perfom more in echo to last wks episode where if u remember, they joined the cheerios because they felt underused in 'glee club'. I hope that wasn't the case on set.

Kristin is just a delight to watch. This was indeed a tearjacking episode like no other. WOW this was good.

April 28 2010 at 5:16 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

It should also be mentioned that Ms. Chenoweth just opened on Broadway as the female lead in the revival of the 1968 musical "Promises, Promises" (songs by Bacharach and David, book by Neil Simon, based on the 1960 Billy Wilder movie The Apartment). For this production, and with the approval of the original creative team, "A House Is Not a Home" is now included in the show (as is "I Say a Little Prayer") to improve Fran Kubelik's character arc (see http://www.playbill.com/features/article/139053-PLAYBILL-ON-OPENING-NIGHT-Promises-Promises-What-You-Get-When-You-Fall-in-Love).

This means that Ms. Chenoweth may well have been singing "A House Is Not a Home" live on stage at the same time (more or less) that she was singing part of it during the Glee episode.

(But to be honest, no one can ever top Marilyn McCoo and the Fifth Dimension's version of "One Less Bell to Answer" back in 1970...)

April 28 2010 at 1:29 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Britney on GLEE has made me downright giddy. Madonna, Britney, Lady Gaga, possibly Billy Joel or Courtney Love...who's next? How about some other possibilities - could a Disney episode be in store one day? or Michael Jackson? http://thesmogger.com/2010/04/27/gleeful-possibilities/

April 28 2010 at 12:32 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

And last week I was ready to give up on Glee, I'm so glad I stuck it out because this episode was the Glee I loved before the break. My only complaint is that there was no Emma and very little Artie, Tina, and Puck. Kristin is a phenomenal talent and I'm glad to see them have her back and they made her character less one dimensional. Personally, I think Lea Michele is overrated, so I loved the fact that for the first time since the break, she didn't do all the singing. How ironic is it, that Kristin and Idina have both guest starred, but only Kristin gets to sing especially considering their history?

April 28 2010 at 11:21 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I'm glad that they spotlighted Kurt and Mercedes, but I so wish they would focus on all of the other kids getting WAY less screen time. I'm sure their time will come to, but man at least Brittany/Santana are getting something to do. Matt/Mike (and Tina, Quinn, Artie) have been severely under utilized as of late.

I actually preferred this episode over the over-hyped Madonna episode. The songs were meticulously chosen not just because of the song, but the plot required it. And yes, there was an actual plot! For once! I'm shocked!

Oh and Rachel had ONE line. Refreshing though a bit jarring. I agree with a bunch of people that the kids in the skating rink was a wasted opportunity.

April 28 2010 at 10:45 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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