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Glee: Sectionals

Ms. Hitchens: "What happened to that white guy with the Jheri curl?"

After waiting for what felt like an eternity, Sectionals finally came. Was it worth the wait? Certainly, there were some episodes this past Fall that felt unnecessary - not just filler material, but ones that brought down the overall quality of the show. But I would say that "Sectionals" provided a satisfying ending to the first half of one of the freshest, funniest shows I've ever seen, and has nicely left the rest of the season wide open.

Chapter I

One of the many reasons I liked "Sectionals" is because it tied up all of the storylines that have been dominating the season. Finn finally knows that Puck is the father; combined with last week's reveal, all of the secrets surrounding the two pregnancies are out in the open. McKinley won Sectionals, even despite cheating competitors and a last minute set. Shue was reinstated as Glee director. Sue got hers - and boy, did she get a nice kick in the ass from Figgins, who finally admitted that he'd looked the other way because she was bringing home awards. Rachel got to be the star in an absolutely mind blowing performance. And Will and Emma finally got together.

Some could make the argument that the Quinn/Finn/Will/Terri plotlines lasted way too long, but I personally think that wrapping those up was a bold - and wise - choice. In doing so, Glee closed its first chapter, and left us wondering what would happen next. I mean, how long could Sue get away with her underhanded tactics before we got tired of it? Not that I don't love me some Sue, but I'm tickled to see what havoc the "sleeping giant" will wreak now that she's lost her status as school superstar.

I applauded several of the characters during tonight's episode - starting with Quinn. I'm glad girlfriend decided that she's going to deal with things on her own. She's always played the role that she'd been cast in - devoted daughter, Chastity Queen, head cheerleader, quarterback's girlfriend. Now that her entire world has been dismantled, it will be great to watch Quinn really develop as an individual, especially since I have no idea what kind of person she'll be.

But the one who really stood out tonight was Emma. I don't know why, I always think of her as a mousy guidance counselor just because she's nice. I realize now it was mostly because she accepted her fate of marrying Ken and never having Will, but otherwise, she's always been a strong, supportive character that has helped both her students and her friends realize their own potential. Her speech to the other Glee Club directors was bulls eye, and her resignation from the school probably one of the smartest decisions she's ever made.

Album I

Plus, the music from tonight was thoroughly enjoyable - the kind of Glee tunes that I can't wait to download. (They've had a dry few weeks.) I'd wondered if they were going to repeat some of the songs we'd already heard, and how they'd pull that off without boring the audience. Sue leaking the set list and having the other schools perform them was an ingenious way for us to hear fresh music without the obvious "why wouldn't they sing what they've been practicing" question.

OK, I admit - "You Can't Always Get What You Want" was slightly heavy handed - especially when the audience started standing up and clapping along. I can suspend reality and believe that these kids can pull together a pitch-perfect performance (harmonies and all) without having ever practiced, but having an audience of parents dance along was taking it a bit far. I also didn't think there was anything special about the song until halfway through the number, when the kids just cut loose. Is it better than "Don't Stop Believing" or the Boys v. Girls mashups? Definitely not. But it was entertaining and appropos, in an unsubtle, Ryan Murphy kind of way.

In contrast, Rachel's solo "Don't Rain on My Parade" was jaw droppingly, breathtakingly perfect. I'm sorry, I love Rachel and I love Glee, but Lea Michele belongs on a stage. She was incredible playing to that audience, and frankly, she should never have to sing with anyone else :-) While I've always been impressed by Lea's talent, to be honest, I didn't think her singing had the same depth or maturity that Kristen Chenoweth's did - which was ok, because she's supposed to be a teenager and sound like a teenager. After "Endless Love" and her solo tonight, I willingly surrender my tongue for speaking such blasphemy. I guess the pop songs they usually choose to perform don't really show off a range like Broadway does (although, why I wasn't blown away by "Defying Gravity" is a question mark).

Everyone's been a-twitter about Mercedes' solo. No offense, Amber, but no one will ever be able to impress me with "And I Am Telling You I'm Not Going" after the job Jennifer Hudson did in Dreamgirls. Yes, Mercedes was incredible - easily her best performance of the season. But without the emotional context (either as Effie, or being booted out), it didn't pack as much of a punch. Again, not to say it wasn't good, just that someone else has already done it better.

Finally, "My Life Would Suck Without You." I'm not ashamed to admit that I like Kelly Clarkson, and have this single on my iPod. I thought the kids did a great job with it - it was fun, and once the guys joined in with the harmonies, it did the original proud. But it was the realization on Will's face that really did it in for me. I'm going to forever link the song to Will running down the hall after Emma (cliche, I know) and kissing her (cliche, I know).

Thank You, and Goodnight

I think the best thing about "Sectionals" was the way that they brought the show full circle. Like any good bookend, "Sectionals" neatly paid homage to the Pilot, with a couple of winks and nods to the fans. When the Deaf School teacher said that "Don't Stop Believin" was the number one downloaded song on iTunes, Glee was acknowledging that it was that song's unprecedented success that shot Glee into the spotlight. Thanks for letting us know you appreciate us, Mr. Murphy.

Which brings me back to "My Life Would Suck Without You." The choreography of that entire number referenced some of the most memorable moments of the first half of the season: the cowboy hats from "Rhodes Not Taken", sneaking back to the finger/Single Ladies dance from "Preggers", Quinn's audition with Britney and Santana with "Say a Little Prayer", the guys from their "It's My Life/Confessions" mashup, Tina's funny - and inappropriate - thigh chop from her audition, "Hairology", of course, and even the Celibacy Club balloon move from "Showmance." Heck, I even wonder if the prominently featured Reach To Nowhere during "You Can't Always Get What You Want" was a little shout out to the fans who've been complaining about it.

Bits & Pieces

-- Santana: "Having sex is not dating."
Brittany: "If it were Santana and I would be dating."

That party line scene was just A+ all around. Oh, the kids' faces!

-- Rachel: "I've never told you this before, but I'm a little psychic. I can't read minds or anything yet, but I do have a sixth sense."

-- Emma: "Artie keeps ramming himself into the wall and I'm pretty sure Jacob just wet himself." More Jacob, please!

-- Sue: "You'll be adding revenge to the long list of things you're no good at, right next to being married, running a high school glee club and finding a hairstyle that doesn't look like a lesbian."

Honestly, I can't look at Will's hair without cracking up anymore.

-- Candace: "They weren't singing, they were like honking."

Btw, Candace was played by Anna Camp, who was Sarah Newlin from last season's True Blood. Another TB alum!

-- Quinn: "You have to take me to get the Jewish baby test."
Puck: "Does it have to be tonight? Because I have my fight club."

-- Figgins: "Sue, there is an orgy of evidence stacked against you!"

-- Sue: "Get ready for the ride of your life Will Schuester. You're about to board the Sue Sylvester Express. Destination: Horror."

-- This week's fashion roundup: Mercedes looks 100x better without those bangs in her eyes, Rachel's skirts are still indecently short, and why was Kurt wearing a bottle nipple on his head during Sectionals?

-- Enough with the scarlet fever joke. It wasn't funny the first 4 times, it still isn't funny.

I wouldn't say that "Sectionals" was the best - or even one of the best - standalone episodes so far, and it was full of predictable cliches (Finn coming back to save the day, Will running after Emma). But it was a fun and entertaining way to head into a winter hiatus - giving us viewers closure, while leaving us guessing about what comes next. Three out of four trophies.

See you guys in the Spring!

4 comments:

  1. What a satisfying episode. You nailed it, Serena:

    [I]t was a fun and entertaining way to head into a winter hiatus - giving us viewers closure, while leaving us guessing about what comes next.

    Exactly.

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  2. I absolutely loved this episode. I think you and I are in complete agreement about everything that happened in this episode except for two things:

    1) I think I have to be the only person in the world who does NOT want Will and Emma to get together. I was very disappointed with the ending.

    2) A more minor point -- I thought that the audience dancing along wasn't that overdone at all, but only if you consider the event itself. The audience was probably composed of people who were not used to hearing good Sectionals in the past (recall who McKinley's competitors actually are, as well as the fact that McKinley's Glee club hadn't been doing well until Will Schuester came along). I'm convinced that they were forced to go for family/friends/job/etc. reasons (much like Judge #3), and were really thrilled when New Directions came on like a breath of fresh air. Who WOULDN'T stand up and dance after that? =)

    Okay, three points: I was kind of upset with Quinn, but I liked your interpretation of the world. I still think it's really wrong of her to turn Puck down like that.

    Loved the review, Serena!

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  3. I also really enjoyed this episode. It was such a joy to finally get to Sectionals, and I was grinning from ear to ear when New Directions finally performed. There was never any doubt in my mind that they would win (because where would the season go from here, if not to Regionals?), but I loved watching them discover they'd been betrayed. Their faces in the audience were hilarious.

    I also really loved Emma's confrontation with the other club directors. Your assessment of her in this episode was spot on, Serena.

    However, I agree with Koi Nahin that I was a bit disappointed with the ending. I didn't want Emma and Will to get together. Not now, at least. I can see it somewhere down the line, so I was sad to see that Emma was leaving (even if it made perfect sense for her). But right now is not the right time for them. As Emma wisely noted, Will *just* left his wife. I was so proud of her for leaving him at the lodge. Emma deserves better than rebound status.

    I LOVED Sue and Will's various confrontations this week. I cannot wait for Destination: Horror!

    Thanks for the exceedingly detailed reviews, Serena! I love reading reviews that are longer than some of mine. :) And even though we often disagree on the quality of a given episode, I've really enjoyed getting your take. "See" you in April!

    ReplyDelete
  4. You know I missed Lea Michele when she was in Spring Awakening on Broadway, and boy do I wish I'd seen her. She's amazing on a stage and while I still wouldn't put her in the same category as Kristen Chenoweth (who I've seen in person a few jaw-dropping times), she's definitely amazing. Reminds me of a young Idina Menzel actually...

    ReplyDelete

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