GLEE 2.16: Original Song

It was time once again for Regionals on GLEE. Recall that last year the plucky underdogs from McKinley High School lost at Regionals. But this year, New Directions were determined to take home that ridiculously oversized trophy.

GLEE’s big gimmick this week was to have New Directions perform original songs at Regionals. This was justified by having Sue conspire to get the band’s permission to use a song revoked. But instead of simply choosing another song, Will (Matthew Morrison) went with Rachel’s (Lea Michele) suggestion to write and perform original songs. Talk about taking the long way! But it proved worth it in the end.
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Soap Opera Weekly: 8/30/10

The 62nd Primetime Emmys was kind of like a horse race last night: It started out really strong, moved at a gallop, then faded badly in the final turn, before finishing with a favorite and a dark horse in the winner’s circle.

First of all, I have to give kudos to GLEE’s Jane Lynch for pulling off my favorite win of the night; I figured she was the only guaranteed lock of the night, and luckily it happened. It was fantastic to see her win for such a vivid character and performance.

Speaking of GLEE, I loved host Jimmy Fallon‘s opening piece, in which he teamed with GLEE regulars Lea Michele, Cory Monteith, Chris Colfer and Amber Riley — as well as totally random guests Jon Hamm (Don, MAD MEN), Nina Dobrev (Elena, THE VAMPIRE DIARIES), Jorge Garcia (Hugo, LOST), Tina Fey (Liz, 30 ROCK), Joel McHale (Jeff, COMMUNITY) and AMERICAN IDOL’s Randy Jackson (as well as reality gadfly Kate Gosselin, whose 15 minutes is long past over) for a performance of “Born to Run.”

Fallon did a nice job keeping the show moving, even if he did rely a little too much on musical humor. The tuneful tributes to canceled series (like 24 and LOST) were clever, but I was less enamored of the audience-participation bits. Special kudos to Ricky Gervais for his hilarious segment, in which he complained about the ceremony not serving alcohol, so he doled out beers. (It was just a joke, and those waiters served non-alcoholic beer…)

My favorite wins: In addition to Lynch, I was really happy for THE GOOD WIFE’s Archie Panjabi, as she really brings to life a kick-ass character in Kalinda.

Least-favorite wins: Edie Falco in the comedy category (Since when is NURSE JACKIE a comedy?). And, as Falco herself noted, “I’m not funny.” Also, Kyra Sedgwick over Julianna Margulies smacked of a career-achievement award. And MODERN FAMILY beating GLEE just didn’t fly with me. MF’s absurdist humor strikes me as plot-driven “anything for a laugh” funny, whereas GLEE’s comedy feels more like it arises from character.

Tactically, I think it was a mistake to group the show by segments, but it did make it easier for fans to watch: saving the miniseries and movie category for the final hour was probably for the best; if it was going to be segregated, the-powers-that-be certainly didn’t want to lead with the HBO love-fest.

While it was tough to pay attention until the end, the two big categories were saved for last: MAD MEN won its third straight drama trophy (I thought last season saw a dip in quality, but it finished strongly, so that’s what voters must have remembered) and MODERN FAMILY unseated 30 ROCK. At least MF is funny, even if it’s no GLEE.

But I was quite happy with the Emmy ceremony as a whole.

Originally published on SoapOperaWeekly.com

GLEE 2.9: Special Education

Last year, GLEE’s “Sectionals” episode was all about that scrappy collection of outsiders coming together to form a family (or at least a team) to win sectionals. This year, Show Choir Sectionals was an excuse to tear the team apart via outside influences and internal strife.

Believe it or not, Emma (Jayma Mays) actually gets the blame for sowing the seeds of discontent, because she suggested to Will (Matthew Morrison) that he should change things up for sectionals and not go with his rigid format. “You’re a constellation of stars,” Emma noted in pointing out that lots of glee club members are capable of singing and should be showcased. (She said this right after perfectly pegging his predictable program.) Will agreed that after devoting so much time to making everyone feel like a star, it’s actually time to make them stars.
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GLEE 2.8: Furt

Is it possible that GLEE finally managed to go too far with Sue Sylvester? (I don’t like to say “jumped the shark” because… D’oh!) Having Sue marry herself seemed to redefine self-absorption, even for Sue! What’s more, it seemed to come totally out of the blue. Y’know, like the blue of her tracksuit wedding dress. (Wow, that was hideous!)

The one bright spot in the story was the appearance of Carol Burnett as Sue’s dictatorial mother, Doris, the “famous Nazi-hunter.” It’s easy to see where Sue (Jane Lynch) gets her bullying attitude. Doris started tearing down Sue from the first sentence out of her mouth. And while Doris felt that Sue had shut her mother out of her life, Doris was reluctant to share any details of her own. (In fact, I began to doubt that she has been hunting Nazis all this time.) And I was not familiar with the song “Ohio,” or the fact that people wrote songs about Ohio. Notice that Sue’s father did not appear. I’m guessing the show is holding him back for next season.
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GLEE 2.7: The Substitute

Another GLEE episode that takes its title literally (see Britney/Brittany and Grilled Cheesus), this one was all about substitutions, both physical and emotional.

In the most obvious sense, Gwyneth Paltrow portrayed Holly Holliday, a substitute teacher called upon to cover Will’s Spanish class when he fell in. An enterprising Kurt convinced her to replace Mr. Schue (Matthew Morrison) at the head of glee club, and she did. Literally. Meanwhile, Mercedes (Amber Riley) was trying to substitute food for love, even as Sue (Jane Lynch) tried to substitute…healthy foods for Mercedes’ beloved tater tots. Also? Terri (Jessalyn Gilsig) feared that Holly was trying to replace her in Will’s life,

The most effective substitution for me was probably Holly’s move to replace Will’s tired old songbook with a few more modern numbers. She also sought to usurp Will’s more autocratic style of “advising” the show choir by turning over most of the decisions about songs to the kids themselves. (Thus, the students became the masters — another substitution.)
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GLEE 2.5: The Rocky Horror Glee Show

The-powers-that-be at GLEE made the interesting decision to tackle the classic midnight movie/interactive stage production The Rocky Horror Picture Show by adapting it into “The Rocky Horror Glee Show,” leading to spasms of pearl-clutching and hyperventilation by self-appointed minders of so-called public morals. It would appear they got their money’s worth, as swathes of the work were excised and adapted.

On its surface, RHPS would appear to be the perfect production for the McKinley High show choir to tackle. As Will (Matthew Morrison) pointed out, the RHPS cultural phenomenon was spawned among the outcasts at the fringe of society, who bonded over their mutual affection for the crackpot musical. And, as has been repeatedly drummed into viewers’ heads, the glee club draws from the social dregs of the high school. But then again, GLEE itself airs on a major broadcast network at 8 p.m., not darkened movie theaters in a shabby part of town in the middle of the night. And thus, certain concessions must be made.
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HAWAII FIVE-O 1.5: Nalowale

Apparently, everyone likes working in Hawaii, because HAWAII FIVE-O cast two more familiar faces from cult TV series this week – one a hero that viewers will see again, and the other a villain whom no one wants to see return.

If you’re like me, you’ve been wondering what really happened to GLEE’s Ken Tanaka (Patrick Gallagher) that led to him being replaced as McKinley High’s football coach by Shannon Beiste (Dot Marie Jones). Principal Figgins (Iqbal Theba) briefly mentioned in the season premiere that Ken had a nervous breakdown – but I remained suspicious. Now, we need wonder no more. The truth is, he moved to the Philippines, changed his name to Carlos Bagoyo, and became a terrorist.
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