'Glee' Season 2, Episode 16 Recap
by Joel Keller, posted Mar 15th 2011 11:30PM
['Glee' - 'Original Song']
'Glee' should have original songs more often.
I say this knowing full well that this is next to impossible to accomplish. Over 100 songs have to be incorporated into a typical 22-episode season, and it's just impossible to write original songs for all of those episodes. If that were to happen, you'd inevitably get songs closer in quality to 'My Headband' than to 'Get It Right.'
But what the original songs did was give this episode a cohesion that we haven't seen in a 'Glee' episode in quite a while. For the first time in a long time, the songs actually carried the story forward instead of grinding it to a halt. And, at least in the case of the songs New Directions sang at regionals, they were pretty good, to boot.
Now if only we can figure out just who some of these characters are... or who they're becoming.
Writing the characters to match the story is something that's plagued 'Glee' since day one. It's something that most of its fans don't seem to care much about, for good reason: it doesn't get in the way of what they enjoy about the show. But to someone who wants to see the characters grow and change over time, sudden shifts like we tend to see in this show become maddening.
Take Quinn, for instance. This week we got a goodly amount of Dianna Agron, including one of those patented 'Glee' scenes where we hear what a character is thinking, and a heavy duty emotional scene with Rachel. But through it all, I kept wondering what was Quinn's motivation to becoming prom queen? I thought she had matured to the point where things like class status didn't matter as much to her. Sure, she wanted to get back to being the head Cheerio, but that was as much about making a comeback than being on top at all costs. Is her desire to be with Finn about really liking him or being the most popular girl in the school?
For hardcore 'Glee' fans, it may have seemed welcome to have "evil Quinn" back, but I was enjoying the Quinn who had some perspective. Still, her rationale to Rachel on why she deserves to be with Finn had a more subtlety than you might think. She doesn't have aspirations beyond Lima, Ohio, while she knows that Rachel has Broadway in her eyes. And she knows that Finn will only hold Rachel back, no matter how much insight he has into her songwriting process.
"You don't belong here, Rachel, and you can't hate me for helping to send you on your way." I'm grateful for that bit of nuance; even though Quinn's being selfish, she might actually be looking out for Rachel on some deep-down level. "If you keep looking for that happy ending, then you're never going to get it right." Sounds like a song title to me!
Speaking of weird characterizations, I know that Kurt was a little frustrated with Blaine, but enough to call him out on how the Warblers sometimes seem like 'Blaine and the Pips?' It seemed a little bitchy, even for Kurt. But, if that was necessary to get Blaine to see Kurt in a new light -- loved his rendition of 'Blackbird'... poor little Pavarotti -- and to get them together, then the shift was worth it.
Back to the original songs. Santana singing 'Trouty Mouth' about Sam was all slinky, sultry and completely inappropriate for a classroom -- don't any of the kids passing the choir room notice this stuff? Why is Puck's song 'Big Ass Heart' any less offensive to Lauren than 'Fat Bottom Girls' was? My favorite of the non-regionals songs was Mercedes' 'Hell to the No,' mainly because it was infectious and the "hell to the no" refrain really gets into your head.
But I have to reserve my kudos to music coordinator Adam Anders, who wrote these songs with help from a number of pros pros, for 'Get It Right' and 'Loser Like Me.' They cut to the heart of what's been going on for the gleesters this season. After Quinn and Rachel's confrontation, Rachel was finally heartbroken enough to write what she feels. No matter what she does with Finn, she doesn't feel she'll ever get it together to keep him. And the message of 'Loser Like Me' was clear; make fun of us if you will, but we'll get the last laugh. OK, not exactly the least belligerent message, but the sentiment was there, especially when "Mike Chang!" wheeled out the slushie machine.
More fun stuff:
-- We got a little bit more to the really emotionally evocative Santana/Brittany relationship, but Santana is woundedly going back to her cruel Santana ways, calling Artie "Stumbles McCripplepants."
-- Sue was integrated a little better into this week's episode, but she still mostly feels like she's being left behind by the storytelling of this show. Though hearing her call Santana and Britt "Tweedledee and Tweedlefakeboobs" was a hoot, as was Brit going "I don't even remember putting that in there," when the dirt Sue packed in there came flying out.
-- Couldn't the writers have integrated Kathy Griffin a little better than making her a Sarah Palin/Christine O'Donnell clone who was judging regionals? When the writers rocket back to quirky like they did with Griffin, Loretta Devine's stripper-turned-nun, and the "gadabout" news anchor, it feels like a remnant from the pilot. It was funny to hear Griffin say she denounces the gay lifestyle -- a great in-joke for her fans -- but she felt wasted here.
-- New Directions won! But, of course you knew that was going to happen, as this season doesn't end with regionals like last year did. How do they go straight from regionals to nationals? There are no state competitions in between?
-- What are the ramifications of Sue punching out the drunk lieutenant governor's wife? Probably none, since Sue can get away with anything.
-- Pretty much everything the Warblers sing goes in one ear and out the other. But I did like the fact that Kurt did bust Blaine's chops about singing everything out of the Pink songbook, which is exactly what the Warblers did for their group number.
-- The highlights for the April episodes showed some interesting upcoming events: More Gwyneth! The return of Jessalyn Gilsig! Even the creepy former glee club director is coming back. Should be interesting, unless it's maddening. The chances of either are about even.
'Glee' airs Tuesdays at 8PM ET on FOX.
Read AOL Music's recap of 'Original Song.' You can also listen to all the songs from the episode.
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Watch the full episode here: