Glee: Asian F

“You always make me watch Dreamgirls. You say you’re Beyonce, but on the inside, you feel like Effie White.”

Wow, what a packed episode. From the title I had thought it would be focused on Mike and Tina, but it was Mercedes who took centre stage.

She’s Telling You She’s Not Going

Aww Mercedes, our new original Effie White. Mercedes has clearly been storing up her resentment about not being in the spotlight for a while, and her rather adorable boyfriend Shane has finally given her the confidence to stand up and demand that people treat her and Rachel equally. Unfortunately, once the musical directors did just that, by casting both girls as Maria, Mercedes undid a lot of the good work she’d done by turning down the part, and not for the right reasons. Even if the audition wasn’t as good, Mercedes should know that Rachel would still make a great Maria, and be prepared to share the spotlight. But instead, now Shelby has someone with actual talent to coach –nooo that means she’s going to stick around for longer!

A Boy Like That

The boy done good huh? From being ‘Other Asian’ back in the first season, Michael now has an actual backstory with actual parents, and has landed an actual singing role in the school musical. I enjoyed getting to know Mike a bit better, and that scene with the imagined father and Tina moments was excellent. I look forward to seeing what happens when Mike’s father finds out about Mike’s dreams. If he flipped out over an A- I dread to think how he’ll respond to a career change!

And I, Will, Will Try to Fix You

I am not sure how sensible it was to put the Emma plot alongside Mercedes and Mike’s, since there just wasn’t much time to focus on it. The flashback to Emma as a little girl was so brief that I didn’t get emotionally invested, and the mixing of the seriousness of OCD with the silliness of the ginger supremacy stuff didn’t work either. I’d have preferred a more realistic explanation for why Emma’s problem is so chronic. The prayers scene was powerful, but then undercut by how patronising the song sounded. If anyone is going to ‘fix’ her, it will be the therapist Emma saw in Born This Way.

Move, You’re Stepping On My Dreams, Girl

Rachel’s ambition is normally seen as a positive, but this week we saw the lengths she is willing to go to to get ahead. Mercedes supposedly gave a better audition, but that didn’t stop Rachel letting Mercedes turn down the role. And poor Kurt! If Rachel doesn't renounce her candidacy, it might be the end for those two. But I think if the roles were reversed, Kurt would do the same to Rachel.

Gee, Officer Kurtke


It was sweet of Kurt to try and act like he didn’t mind taking the backseat to Blaine in the school musical, but with his dreams of presidential election slipping ever further away, Blaine landing the lead has got to hurt more than ever. In an unusually subtle moment for Glee, Blaine noticed people coming down the stairs and gave Kurt a friendly shoulder squeeze instead of a romantic kiss. In fact the whole scene felt more friendly than couple-y. Eek, I hope there’s no trouble on the way for Klaine!

Loved

- Mike’s mum is gorgeous.

- Figgins still thinks Tina is a fanger!

- They’ve used up half the songs from West Side Story now, so I doubt they’ll actually show the musical onscreen. Then again, there’s still the excellent America, and Tonight. Either way, they’re really getting the mileage from this plot.

Didn’t Love

- Mr Shue was verging on mean in his treatment of Mercedes. People can’t do better than their best!

- Since this episode was quite focused on parents, it was strange that Rachel and her mum didn’t have any scenes together. This meant that Shelby was hardly onscreen at all, which felt jarring since she’s only just been reintroduced as a Special Guest Star. Wait, gifthorse - mouth - not gonna look!

- Why is Mercedes sick? She’s not pregnant is she?

- What’s with all the focus on Bieste eating?

- Emma’s parents were too unbelievable, especially the ‘freaky deakie’ comments.

Glee Against the Music


Spotlight by Jennifer Hudson, performed by Mercedes with Tina and Brittany:
Strong vocals, and it very well into the episode. I was a bit weirded out by the fake conversation that Mr Shue and Rachel were having though. Fantastic black dress for Mercedes’ audition. Grade B

Run the World (Girls) – Beyonce, performed by Brittany, Santana and the girls of WMHS:
Who Run the World? Brittany! As campaigns go, this was an unconventional approach but so much fun. Evidently everyone’s dancing ability jumps up a notch by supporting Brittany’s presidential bid. Just as long as she knows that no one is going to be concentrating on a word she’s saying while wearing that outfit. Phwoarsome. Grade B+

Cool from West Side Story, performed by Mike:
It’s a good week for dancing at WMHS, and it’s a good week for Mike! I know that practically anyone can sound good after professional editing (just look at Ke$ha), but Mike’s vocals still surprised me. I did keep thinking though, no one can sing like that And dance like that at same time. Grade B

It's All Over from Dreamgirls, performed by New Directions:
Strange mixture of characters here. Everyone was using their regular names apart from Mercedes who was in character as Effy, anyone who doesn’t know Dreamgirls was probably Rather Confused. That aside, it was pretty funny, especially ‘Effie’ accusing Finn and Kurt of being together. Grade B-

Out Here On My Own from FAME, performed by Mercedes and Rachel:
Another killer black dress for Mercedes. Other than that, I wasn’t grabbed by the song or the performances. C+

Fix You – Coldplay, performed by Mr Shue and New Directions:
While the sentiment was slightly patronising, it’s a brilliant song (Coldplay’s best) and perfect for ending a Glee episode. It was nice to hear Mr Shue on the lead vocals for a change, so I’ll forgive the cheesy choir shot with everyone in angelic white. The bridge to the final ‘tears stream’ part of the song fit perfectly with the West Side cast members finding out their roles. Grade A-

Quotes for Gleeks

Emma: “Do you want me to iron some bacon for you?”

Will: “I thought I’d share my secret stash with you. I was a bachelor for over a year. It kept me off of Craigslist.”

Emma: “I spoke to their ghosts last night. I have ghost parents.”

Daddy Chang: “My son got an A minus on his chemistry test. An A minus is an Asian F.”

Kurt: “With only two days left for people to announce their candidacy, that leaves me and Brittany running in this race. Which is more like me running and Brittany just whimsically hopping and skipping nearby.”

Daddy Pillsbury: “If we’re not careful, redheads will be extinct in 30 years. It’s a recessive gene. If we keep heading down the road we’re on with everybody just mixing with everybody, we gingers will cease to exist as a species.”

Mercedes: “Miss Corcoran, I hear you’re starting a new group. You’re gonna need some star power, so here I am.”

Quote of the Week - Vamp Tina: “Excuse me from gym all year or I’ll drain your spicy, curry blood.”

This week is a tough one to rate – it had some great parts, but it also got a little overcrowded, a little schmaltzy, and there weren’t as many laugh out loud lines as usual. How about you guys rate it for me?

5 comments:

pommie-granite said...

Such detail !! I was watching the Michael Jackson trial with all the medical forensics on blood, drugs and other fluids and then I read this review. A very careful dismantling and examination worthy of Quincy M.E. but on Glee. A screewriter in the making?

Patryk said...

The show need more brilliant songs like Fix You. From the good old times of actual music (a bit strange to refer to 6 years ago as old times but there you go), not some produced pop.

Overall the best episode of the season. Mostly thanks to the focus on Mike who's still an unexplored character so his story did not reuse the same thing all over again like Rachel being competitive. I hope he's not a senior and will stay on the show next season.

topher darling said...

Patryk, unfortunately they 'established' in the season opener that Mike is a senior while Artie and Tina are juniors. I hope they keep Mike around on recurring status at least. He's so damn talented. His performance in the LXD, specifically in the season 3 episode entitled Can't Dance reminded me how underutilized he is in Glee. Yay for him getting a backstory!

Overall, I loved this episode. I'm so very tired of Rachel so I loved that this episode focused on overshadowed characters like Emma, Mike and Mercedes. Mercedes demonstrated a lot of versatility, not just in her performance of Spotlight but her character development. It's about time she had a good storyline that went beyond one episode and didn't revolve around food. I haven't seen Dreamgirls yet (although I'd wager I've heard most of the sings by now thanks to Glee) so the It's All Over performance was a bit bewildering but I still loved it. However, I think they rushed Santana back into the club just do she could sing that part. It's a very typical Glee move to drop the storyline quick but I'm not going to complain because I love Santana's voice and she usually has the best lines.

I LOVED Brittany's Run the World dance number too. After being pummeled with musical numbers over the last two episodes, a little pop and dance was very refreshing.

Three and a half secret stash boxes out of four.

Billie Doux said...

I thought this episode was terrific, better than any other this season so far. It hit all the right notes (pun intended) for me, especially with Mike and Emma. I didn't see what Shue was doing as condescending at all. She needs someone who won't judge her, who will just accept her as she is and be there for her, and he will. The ginger thing was stupid, agreed, but I've seen people treat their kids the way Emma's parents treat her.

Big big hints that Mercedes is pregnant, but maybe they won't go that way after Quinn's -- maybe something else is seriously wrong with her.

I don't know Dreamgirls at all, but I thought that number was impressive.

Stephen said...

I thought this was a great episode! I'm a big musical theatre fan, and I loved how musical theatre this episode (and season 3 so far) was, with only one song being completely diagetic, although I do see how the bursting into song could turn off people not so into musicals.

I did think it was a bit unfortunate that the word "fix" came into a plotline about OCD, a great song to end an episode on, and a great reason to start singing a supportive song, but the 2 didn't really go together.

Finn's awful voice ruined "It's All Over" for me, and I really expected her to start singing "And I Am Telling You...." after that. I wish they had saved AIATYING for a time when it would have some emotional impact, rather than her just blandly singing it in the choir room back in season 1.

I think the scene with Mike's mother would have paid off more if we had seen her before that very scene, even if not in a previous episode, her just turning up there after never being introduced to us, it lessened the effect.

In Mike's little dance when seeing visions of his father and Tina, did anyone notice his EXTREME Adam's Apple?!