Eclaire Fare

Enjoying Pop Culture, One Bite at a Time

Glee 1.6: Vitamin D October 8, 2009

Filed under: Glee,Television — Emily @ 2:51 pm
Tags: , , ,

Remember those milk commercials from the ’80s and ’90s that had the tagline “Milk: It Does a Body Good.” Well, it is fitting that last night’s episode of Glee was titled “Vitamin D,” because this show is my weekly dose of feel good fun – and I know that all the laughing I do while I watch is good for me. I thoroughly enjoyed this week’s episode, which had the girls and guys facing off in a mash up, with the idea that the winners would get to choose which song they do at sectionals. While Will was trying to motivate his students to apply themselves, Sue was in turmoil over the glee club’s continued success; Ken and Emma were negotiating the terms of their “secret, live on separate sides of town” marriage; and Terri was weasling her way into Will’s work place by becoming the school nurse (she took a first aid class at Sheets ‘n Things!), with the hope of keeping Will and Emma apart. Things came full circle when Terri’s presence led to the glee club students’ hyper performances during their mashups, after she gave them a Suphedrine “pick me up” (after all, she is the school nurse, and it’s over the counter, so it’s perfectly fine). Let’s take a closer look at each of these subplots:

  • Sue’s Corner – I loved Jane Lynch’s lines so much this week that I may just transcribe every word she said. So, here are her quotes of the week, which includes just about everything:
    • While observing Will and Emma in the lunchroom: “Oh dear God, please, please, stop talking. I’m trying desperately to ignore the treacly sweet inanity of your asinine conversation, but now I’ve got bile in my mouth. I will hold my tongue… no further.”
    • While convincing Will that he needs to scare his students into succeeding: “We’re dealing with children. They need to be terrified. It’s like mother’s milk to them. Without it, their bones won’t grow properly. So if you want results with a kid, you find that competitive animal within, and unleash it. Okay.”
    • “Ellen, that blouse is just insane.” (In reference to Emma’s ridiculously bright yellow top, complete with a large bow attached to the top button)
    • Thinking outloud while writing in her journal (I hope this becomes a semi-regular bit on the show, because it was fantastic): “Dear Journal, feeling listless again today. It began at dawn when I tried to make a smoothie out of beef bones, breaking my juicer. And then at Cheerios practice – disaster. It was unmistakable. It was like spotting the first spark on the Hindenburg. A quiver. That quiver will lose us nationals. And without a championship, I’ll lose my endorsements, and without those endorsements, I won’t be able to buy my hovercraft.”
    • The standout moment in this episode, and perhaps the best Sue Sylvester quote so far out of a goody bag full: “Glee Club. Every time I try to destroy that clutch of scab eating mouth breathers it only comes back stronger, like some sexually ambiguous horror movie villain. Here I am, about to turn 30, and I’ve sacrificed everything, only to be shanghaied by the bi-curious machinations of a cabal of doughy, misshapen teens. Am I missing something journal? Is it me? Of course it’s not me. It’s Will Schuester. What is it about him, journal? Is it the arrogant smirk? Is it the store bought home perm? [and after remembering that she’s noticed Will and Emma flirting over lunch she continues…] If I can’t destroy the club, I will have to destroy THE MAN!”
    • [During a conversation with Will’s wife Terri] “Let me be frank. Your husband is hiding his kielbasa in a Hickory Farms gift basket that doesn’t belong to you.” Terri asks who, and Sue replies, “Guidance counselor. Real floozy of a man eater. Wears creepy brooches like the kind my Nana was buried in.”
    • “I’ve always thought the desire to procreate showed deep, personal weakness. Me – never wanted kids. Don’t have the time, don’t have the uterus.”
    • “I think you should both pack up and move out of the district, unless you want to lose your man to a mentally ill ginger pygmy with eyes like a bush baby.” Ouch. Sue certainly knows how to deliver an insult.
    • “I’m not an American citizen. I was born in the Panama canal zone. But I managed to get a passport, and run for office twice.”
    • The episode ended with the revelation that Sue was being brought in to co-chair the glee club. “Hey, kids. I gotta tell you, I’m just thrilled to be coming on board to co-captain this little showbiz cruise. I can’t wait to start singin’ and dancin’, and maybe even puttin’ on the ritz a little bit.” That should make for fun times.
    • The only thing about Sue’s storyline that I didn’t like is that she put the school nurse in a coma by tripping her as she walked down the stairs. I thought it was a bit extreme to say the old lady was in a coma. A broken leg or hip would have been enough to put her out of work for awhile.
  • Ken and Emma Sitting in a Tree… – I thought Ken’s marriage proposal was very sweet: “Emma Pilsbury, this is not an engagement ring. It’s more than that. It’s a promise. I know you have this thing about being clean. Now I can’t promise that I’ll pick up my underwear or squeegee the shower door, but I can promise to keep your life clean of sadness and loneliness, and any other dark clouds that might float into it. It’s cubic zirconia. I know how affected you were by Blood Diamond. Emma Pillsbury, M & M, will you marry me?” Sadly, Emma’s response was decidedly unromantic: “I would want to keep my last name, and I’d want to continue living in different parts of town, and I think it would be best if we didn’t see each other after school. And I wouldn’t want a big ceremony, like in a church, with people. We wouldn’t have to invite anybody, you know, or tell anybody actually, it could be like a secret marriage.” Ken’s smitten response: “That’s actually a better deal than I expected.” So I guess these two not-so-in-love birds are going to tie the knot. The Ken-Emma-Will love triangle is most certainly not why I watch the show, and it’s a shame that the writers have made Terri such an awful person. It doesn’t speak well of Will that he couldn’t pick a better spouse than this completely self-absorbed dingbat. And even though Ken comes across as an unattractive slob, he really is very sweet. He’s getting the worst deal in this situation.
  • Nurse Terri – It was interesting (and annoying) for Terri to be on Will’s turf at school. Of course, it was ridiculous that the principal would hire her based on her weak qualifications of having done first aid training and used a defibrillator at Sheets ‘n Things, but it was amusing to watch her “work.” She managed to get Will and the glee club students in trouble, but she also convinced Quinn to agree to give her the baby when it is born. What a “sweetheart” she is, telling Quinn that she can manage to pay for maternity care for nine months if Terri is going to pay for the kid for 18 years.
The Glee girls performed a hyper rendition of Halo/Walking on Sunshine

The Glee girls performed a hyper rendition of "Halo/Walking on Sunshine"

  • The Mash-Ups
    • The Guys – Their hyperactive rendition of “It’s My Life / Confessions” was entertaining, and comically fast. It makes me wonder how many caffeine pills N’Sync and the Backstreet Boys used to take, because they sure had a lot of energy.
    • The Girls – Rachel’s introduction says it best: “If there’s two things America needs right now, it’s sunshine and optimism. And also angels.” Their super sunny rendition of “Halo/Walkin’ on Sunshine” was really something. The warp speed. The yellow sundresses. The gold shoes. Again, the addition of the suphredrine made it an entertaining, yet hilarious performance.

Other Random Observations

  • Kurt doesn’t understand how lightning is in competition with an above ground swimming pool. Neither do I, but that was part of Will’s humorous attempt to convince his students that competition is a necessary and healthy ingredient of success.
  • I learned that a mash-up is “when you take two songs and mash them together to make an even richer explosion of musical expression.” I am now a fan of mash-ups. I’ve heard them before, of course, but I had never heard the term “mash-up.”
  • Rachel became slightly more likable in this episode, first by reaching out to Quinn, who was feeling like an outcast because of her pregnancy, and then by becoming a team player, learning to care more about the group than her own fame.
  • If I were to dress up for Halloween this year, I would be Sue Sylvester. I would wear a track suit and a smirk on my face, and I would memorize all the painfully inappropriate and hilarious things she has said so that I could converse in character all night. That would be really fun. Which Glee character would you be for Halloween?
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Glee 1.3 Hits (Almost) All the Right Notes September 20, 2009

Filed under: Television — Emily @ 4:11 pm
Tags: , , , , , , ,

Impromptu singing at a car wash? A boy band performance at a PTA meeting? A restraining order delivered by Josh Groban himself? What’s not to love about Glee’s third episode? Appropriately entitled “Acafellas,” this episode centered upon Will’s attempt to revive his musical performance career by starting an acapella boy band. Joining him in the world of dated pop music and cheesy dance moves were football coach Ken Tanaka, Sheets ‘n Things employee Howard, the thumbless shop teacher, glee club star Finn, cougar-chasing jock Puck, and Josh Groban-obsessed Sandy Ryerson. In other developments, Sue Sylvester’s cheerleader spies attempted to derail the glee club by convincing them they needed to hire a well known (and ruthless) choreographer, Will had a heart to heart with his father about parenthood and pursuing his dreams, and Mercedes pursued a platonic relationship with uber-gay (unbeknownst to her) Kurt.

Mercedes impromptu solo at the car wash fundraiser was the highlight of this weeks episode

Mercedes' impromptu solo at the car wash fundraiser was the highlight of this week's episode

I thought this episode raised Glee back to the heights it reached in the pilot, which I’m relieved about since the second episode fell a bit flat. Some of my favorite moments:

  • The shop teacher’s freak shop accident, in which his over the counter cough medicine addiction caused him to cut off his thumbs. “I’ll never hitchhike across Europe…” And loved the irony that the guys gave him a cake with two hands giving the “thumbs up” signal.
  • The male teachers’ pow wow about their feelings: Ken lives at the YMCA and only has one pair of long pants, Sandy’s only creative outlet is writing Desperate Housewives fan fiction, Howard is afraid of his vacuum cleaner, Will (“apparently”) doesn’t know how to dance, and Henri doesn’t have thumbs. This exchange, of course, ended in the awkwardness of them singing “For He’s a Jolly Good Fellow” to Henri, which in turn inspired them to start Acafellas.
  • The Acafellas’ “white hot New Jack Swing” practice session (and the “this is how we do it” scene transition).
  • Sue Sylvester’s casual mention that when she was in Special Forces, she was “on the strike team in Panama when we extracted Noriega… We took out the shepherd, and then we went after the sheep.” I love that she was using war analogies in her quest to disband glee club.
  • The Acafellas’ sports bar performance of “Poison.” It was hilarious fun, even if they don’t do a very good job making it seem like a live performance. Why do they have to use a studio recording – can’t they just film them singing it live?
  • Sandy’s proclamation about Josh Groban: “He is an angel sent from heaven to deliver platinum records unto us.” As it turns out, this was a sign that he is super-obsessed with Josh, and considers him a pen pal, etc., etc.
  • Another performance by Vocal Adrenaline (“Mercy” by Duffy), with So You Think You Can Dance’s Lauren front and center.
  • Teenager Puck’s attraction to older women and his strategy of using his pool cleaning business to meet them was creepy and very inappropriate, but also amusing. Apparently cougars are the it joke on television this fall, since the topic is showing up on shows ranging from Glee to Cougartown, and several in between.
  • Mercedes’ car wash solo was my single most favorite moment of the episode. I loved the spontaneity and all-out drama of it, as the show suddenly turned into a Beyonce-style music video, complete with cheerleader background dancers, an SUV on a stage with fog and flashing lights, lots of breaking glass, and Mercedes having her moment in the spotlight with all sorts of vocal acrobatics: “I bust the windows out your car…” I’d love to see more moments like this on the show.
  • Acafellas’ performance of Color Me Badd’s “I Wanna Sex You Up” – Sure, in reality, a performance of this sexually charged song would be highly inappropriate at a PTA meeting, but like last week’s “Push It” at the school pep rally, I am willing to suspend my disbelief for the sake of entertainment.
  • It was nice to see Victor Garber as Will’s supportive father. Hope to see him, and Will’s mom, more in subsequent episodes.

And the not so right notes of the episode:

  • I wasn’t crazy about the subplot involving the glee club kids trying to hire Dakota to be their choreographer. His insults were so over the top, and no one ever explained where they would find $8,000 to pay him. Other than Mercedes’ standout moment, the teen-centric in this episode paled in comparison to those involving the grown ups.
  • Josh Groban’s cameo was just as bad as most celebrity appearances on fictional tv shows. His pleading with Sandy to stop calling him and leave him alone was poorly acted and a bit over the top, even for this show.
  • I also wasn’t amused by the scene in which Josh Groban hit on Will’s very drunk mom. It was the third scene of the episode where we saw her highly intoxicated, and by that time the joke was pretty much played out.

What were your favorite scenes in this episode? Are you loving Glee more and more with each episode like I am?

 

Glee and Vampire Diaries: Opposite Ends of the Teen Spectrum September 11, 2009

Somewhere in Ohio, high school misfits find a common purpose in a revamped glee club, while somewhere in Virginia, a sad and isolated high school student finds a reason to be gleeful when she hits it off with the “new boy at school” vampire. I had to think really hard to work “vamp” and “glee” into both of those sentences, which just goes to show you how far apart the worlds of these two shows are. One is all inspiration, comedy, and fun; the other is all doom, gloom, and a love that spans centuries. One is more comedy for everyone than teen show; the other is a drama mostly for teens, mostly supernatural, and not funny at all. (Well, I was amused by the cawing blackbird and spontaneous fog, but I’m not sure that’s what was intended.)

I highly anticipated the premiere, post-pilot episode of Glee, and I was cautiously intrigued by the approach of Vampire Diaries. Now that I’ve seen both of these shows, I am prepared to share my initial reactions and opinions.

Overall Impression

  • Glee – While the second episode didn’t have the absolute, joyous perfection of the pilot, I was still thoroughly entertained. Some stand out moments included anything involving the principal, anything involving Jane Lynch’s cheerleading coach, and the glee club’s two performances – Kanye West’s “Gold Digger” and Salt n Pepa’s “Push It.” I am not as interested in Rachel’s pining over Finn, or Terri’s spontaneous decision to fake being pregnant rather than telling Will it was a false positive. But if the show continues to find humor in the high school social strata, and if the glee club continues to grow and improve, I’ll keep tuning in.
  • Vampire Diaries – I was entertained enough by the pilot that I will watch the second episode, but I’m not yet convinced that this is “must see tv.” While I was watching the pilot, I kept thinking to myself, “I’m too old to be watching this.” I was so not interested in the melodrama of what’s his face wanting to get back together with Elena, or of Elena’s brother Jeremy being all wounded when his summer fling Vicki stopped paying attention to him. And the spooky parts weren’t very spooky. I wasn’t scared during the opening scene when the college kids had a bloody encounter with Damon, nor when Vicki was attacked in the woods. Really the only things I did like were Elena’s narration and diary entries, her friendship with possibly psychic Bonnie, Stefan’s mysterious past and desire to finally return home, and Stefan and Damon’s history as brothers, including their involvement with Elena’s Civil War-era look-alikeĀ  (Damon mentioned that he vowed to make life difficult for Stefan a long time ago, but we don’t really know why yet.).
Jane Lynch is my favorite thing about Glee.

Jane Lynch is my favorite thing about Glee.

The Acting

  • Glee – Overall, the acting is excellent on this show, which means that the casting was well done, too. The very best thing about Glee is Jane Lynch as cheerleading coach Sue Sylvester. Lynch has always been fantastic in any role, but she is so completely hilarious and spot-on here, that every expression, every glare, every word out of her mouth is golden. If she isn’t nominated for supporting actress in a comedy category at all the tv awards shows this year, then something is very, very wrong. Matthew Morrison plays idealistic do-gooder very well, and I also love Jayma Mays as germaphobic guidance counselor Emma Pillsbury. So far the teen cast are too caricaturish to evaluate, but given time I imagine we’ll see some sort of development with them as well.
  • Vampire Diaries – I observed some rather atrocious acting during the pilot. I hate to name names, so instead I’ll just give credit to those who impressed me or seemed well cast. Well, that just leaves me with the three who received top billing: Nina Dobrev, Paul Wesley, and Ian Somerhalder. Dobrev brings a quiet confidence and a no-nonsense air to Elena, Wesley plays “I’m the good one” vampire Stefan as well as one can, and Somerhalder brings some much-needed comic relief (I’m not sure it was supposed to be funny, but I laughed) and passion to the whole proceedings. Somerhalder just has that creepy, evil eye look about him, similar to Cillian Murphy, that makes him well-suited for a role such as this. He will be entertaining as Damon, and will probably be the main reason I’ll keep watching, if I do.

The Soundtrack

  • Glee – The music is probably the main reason I watch this show. I enjoy hearing choral interpretations of popular songs, plus I like the quirky, Bobby McPherrinish harmonies that provide atmosphere for many of the scenes.
  • Vampire Diaries – In the tradition of many CW shows that have come before it, this vampire love saga is chock full of barely known music from current bands. At least, it’s barely known to me. But I am all for promoting the little guys. In fact, I like how the CW often advertises the music at the end of its shows: “Tonight’s episode featured music from…” That being said, I didn’t absolutely love any of the music in the pilot episode enough to go download it. Maybe next week. Click here for a list of the songs from the pilot.
Vampire Diaries is the land of lost teens, with almost no adults to be found.

Vampire Diaries is the land of lost teens, with almost no adults to be found.

Where Have All the Grown-Ups Gone?

  • Glee – Well, all the grown-ups are hanging out in the halls of the high school, because most of them are teachers and faculty. The only parent we’ve seen is Finn’s mom, when he flashed back to their fun times on the front lawn with the lawn care guy. And the only spouse we’ve seen is Will’s crazy, self-centered wife Terri (played very well by Jessalyn Gilsig. And for a show about a high school, this is as it should be. Since most of the action takes place at school, there’s no reason to develop the parents at this point.
  • Vampire Diaries – Now that is a good question for this show – where are all the grown-ups? We saw one older teacher, who was put in his place by Stefan when he gave the class some misinformation about Mystic Falls’ civil war civilian casualties. And then there was that secretary who Stefan glamored into enrolling him at the school without proper paperwork. But Elena and Jeremy live with their grad student aunt, who doesn’t look much older than 25, and none of the other kids seem to have any sort of parental guidance. (Am I forgetting anyone?) I haven’t figured out the relationship between Stefan and his “uncle.” I’m guessing that’s just a living descendant of the family who is aware of his family’s bloodsucking past. It seems awkward to just ignore all the parents. I mean, a simple mention would do, or a wave goodbye as Bonnie and the gang head to their coffee shop hangout. I am surprised that we aren’t seeing more parents since this show is from Mr. Dawson’s Creek himself, Kevin Williamson. I always enjoyed the parents’ subplots on that show, since real teenagers’ lives are usually mixed up, rather than totally separate from, their moms and dads, grandparents, guardians… Maybe the show will introduce more adult characters in the coming weeks. If not, I’m calling this out as a flaw.
Vampire Diaries reminds me of Roswell, specifically Max and Lizs relationship.

Vampire Diaries reminds me of Roswell, specifically Max and Liz's relationship.

Reminds me of…

  • Glee – It’s hard to think of any shows like this one. It reminds me more of Christopher Guest movies, such as Best in Show or A Mighty Wind. Unlike most of what comes on tv these days (lots of revivals, remakes, and spin-offs), this one seems very original.
  • Vampire Diaries – This show has nothing in common with Buffy the Vampire Slayer, except that a vampire falls in love with a teenage girl. But I don’t see Elena picking up a sword and vanquishing Damon in the season finale. No, Vampire Diaries is more reminiscent of Roswell. On that show, alien Max Evans fell in love with Liz Parker, and Liz wrote in her diary about how her world was turned upside down the moment she got involved with him. Like Elena, Liz had a friend with psychic connections – as I recall, Maria was somehow in touch with that kind of thing. Aliens, vampires… while there are many differences, both Liz and Elena are drawn to Max and Stefan because they aren’t like the other boys.

In the Great Scheme of Things

  • Glee – I am thrilled to have a musical comedy on tv. Amidst all the melodrama of teen romance, the mystery of criminal investigations, and the depressing cases of medical shows, Glee is a breath of fresh air. I just hope the showrunners and cast can keep up with audience expectation for a long time to come.
  • Vampire Diaries – This, my friends, is no Joss Whedon show. Buffy or Angel it will never be. The love triangle was always just a part of the story on those shows, with a more epic story arc taking center stage. I’m not sure this show will ever rise above the Stefan-Elena-Damon love triangle and the mayhem that Stefan will try to prevent Damon from inflicting on Mystic Falls. Do I sound skeptical? Well, I am. Perhaps if I continue watching, then after several episodes I will compare Vampire Diaries to other vampire shows of the past, to see how it stacks up. I should at least give it a chance.

So obviously, if I were forced to choose between these two shows, I would immediately select Glee. Vampire Diaries pales (pun intended) in comparison to the more magical, zingier Glee. What did you think of these two shows?

 

Fall 2009 Preview: Fox’s New Shows September 3, 2009

And I thought that CBS had a mediocre lineup of new shows. Fox seems to have put all their eggs in one Gleeful basket this fall – everything else will likely be quickly forgotten. Weak, vague, or annoying premises; unfamiliar actors; and not a lot else.

Not Interested – I can’t even bring myself to analyze most of these shows, since I am completely uninterested in them. If you want to know more about them, go to Fox’s Fall Schedule.

  • Brothers – Something about a retired NFL player moving back home to his family in Houston
  • The Cleveland Show – An animated show about a guy named Cleveland and his son, a pair of talking religious bears, and some other Simpsons-esque characters.
  • Human Target – Something about a mysterious guy named Chance (shouldn’t he be on a soap opera instead?) who is hired by people to be an undercover body guard when their lives are in danger. (Sounds like a pale imitation of one facet of Dollhouse to me.) Poor Mark Valley. He deserves better than this.
  • Mental – This show has already started. Something about a psychiatrist who may be as unstable as his patients.
  • More to Love – Fox’s description of this show is so ridiculously over the top that I had to share it with you here. From Fox.com: “The dating competition series follows a single average guy with a big waist and an even bigger heart as he romances several confident and secure plus-size women. Each week, the husky hunk will wine and dine a group of curvy women to determine if they have more love to give or if they are truly more than he can handle. As the competition narrows, he must decide if one full-figured lady has what it takes to become his true love.” Could they have found any more excuses to use “big” and “small” words? I am so sick of these dating shows.

  • Past Life – This one sounds really hokey. Fox.com describes it as “a new drama series about an unlikely pair of past-life detectives who investigate whether what is happening to you today is the result of who you were before.” Um, ok. Why would it matter?
  • Sons of Tucson – Oh, is this going to be Fox’s version of Sons of Anarchy? Not so much. According to Fox.com, this is “a family comedy about three brothers who hire a charming, wayward schemer to stand in as their father when their real one goes to prison. What begins as a business relationship evolves into something more complex and compelling: a family unlike any we’ve ever seen.” Really? Unlike any we’ve ever seen? Such a lofty promise, but I’m just not feeling compelled to watch. Still, this is probably the second most interesting new show that Fox is offering, next to Glee. But there’s a large gap between them. Tyler Labine (Reaper, Invasion) is the big headliner, but I’ve honestly never liked him very much. Still, he has his funny moments and may be a good fit for this sort of comedy. I’ll try to keep an open mind until this show premieres at midseason.
  • The Wanda Sykes Show – Wanda Sykes will bring her distinctive humor to the late night talk show format. Fox.com describes it this way: “The high-energy one-hour show will feature biting commentary on topical issues and heated panel discussions with recurring personalities. The series’ unique format will highlight Sykes’ outspoken comedic perspective on current events and will also allow her to leave the studio to shoot segments in the field.” In this instance, I read “high energy” as “loud and annoying.” I guess you could say that Wanda Sykes isn’t my favorite comedian. But it will be interesting to see if Fox will find success in this relatively new (to them) area of late night talk.

Very Interested


  • Glee – I’ve been waiting all summer for this show to begin, after watching the pilot in May. I stop what I’m doing every time I see a commercial for it. The music is contagious, the comedy is genuinely funny, the main characters are interesting, and the social satire is spot on. I especially love Jane Lynch as cheerleading coach Sue Sylvester, and Matthew Morrison as glee club teacher Will Schuester. They are on completely opposite ends of the spectrum. He has a passion for helping his students discover their hidden potential, while Sue only has a passion for keeping everybody else down so that she and her cheer squad can remain the queen bees. After the pilot, the teachers are more interesting than the students, but I’m sure we will get to know the students better, too. I can’t wait!

What will you be watching on Fox this fall?

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