Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Glee-Cap! New Directions... towards hell. Season 2, Episode 1

You'll have to forgive me this season my dear readers, I fully intend to re-cap Glee, but I also know that there are many things that will stand in my way of punctual re-capping: work, painful shoes one wears to functions, dinosaurs, and speaking engagements, but enough about me. Our plucky young show choir shares many of my challenges this fall in getting you an insightful and hopefully hilarious recounting of their antics, Cheerios, Schoolwork (HA! when have we ever seen this kids in a class), Football Season, and of course, DRAMA!!!!

They haven't won sectionals and now must prepare themselves for their own Autumn trials and travails. They have become minor celebrities on the blog of the school newscaster, but no one is signing up to audition for Glee Club!!! GASP!
"These girls have been lined up since mid-July, one girl ate a pigeon, a few started worshipping a dead possum carcass as their Lord" -Sue
Thank you Sue, I needed that.

The rest of this episode, I'm not sure any of us actually needs.

I know it's the first episode of the season, but wow. The only place you thought you could take this was "Lets make sure they're doing vile things all the time. That'll make you root for them and think of them as plucky underdogs."

As always, spoilers after the jump, also, ontology. Deep Breath and JUMP!

Oh, and anyone who has ever been in a Public High School arts program knows, the beginning of the year comes with budget cuts that must be fought tooth and nail for your program's very survival. Glee Club is no suggestion, but this time, Sue's Cheerios budget is at risk well. GASP!

Coach Beiste, a particularly androgynous football coach with 5 consecutive national football championships under her belt. (yes, her).

Nationals are in New York this year. And so to recruit, they sing this, even after the online poll explicitly pleas to Mr. Schue to not rap. ever.

It fell flat. So what are they to do?

Well, by awkwardly and disrespectfully recruiting transfer and exchange students in bathrooms. Why is there a transfer student showering alone during class time? also, why aren't the lights on? When does this happen? And why does Finn have time to stalk him? WHY IS THIS HAPPENING???

So, Sue and Mr. Shue are teaming up to try and harry the new coach. But she is handling it with maturity and compassion, while holding the football players

Asian Camp. REALLY? ok, it was a dream. WHY WAS HE ALMOST NAKED??? well, I shouldn't complain too much, we're only a few minutes in and this is really not a "problem" per se.

OK, it's just clear to me that the first few segments of this episode are an homage to man crushing. The Glee Club guys all really like Sam, a comic book loving transfer student who as I mentioned was naked in the shower. Also, Mike Chang, has been upgraded to almost full character, Trina's boyfriend etc... Oh yeah, he was almost naked in the Asian Camp sequence.

Meanwhile, Rachel is deeply threatened by talented exchange student from the Philippines, Sunshine, whose name I am not making up.

As we see with Coach Beiste, who is initially such a stereotype that it barely deserves mentioning, is shown to be nuanced. Even when she misunderstands Finn's attempt to get Artie (guy in the wheelchair) onto the football team.

Upside, she flipped out and Finn is off the team.

I must point out that this is Mr. Shue's fault, because I do not like him. Also, because, in this episode, his infantile, mary-sue-ish innocence is lost. Sue gets him to prank and haze Coach Beiste and in so doing, he finally does something that makes him have to look inwards. It should not be lost just how childish the behavior Sue and Shue engaged in ordering pizzas to the locker room, not letting Coach Beiste sit at their lunch table. This seems pretty intentional on the part of the writer. Ultimately, this show is about high school, and they seem to be trying to celebrate that on several levels.

What I think is going on. While I never rule out bad shrimp or accidentally taking crazy pills instead of Advil, Glee is setting up the pins only to knock them down later.

This however, is the SANE part of the show. Up until this commercial break, things have been back and forth, a little confusing, but a little funny. At this point, things turn around and become so insane and mixed up that I do not know where to begin.

Quinn and Finn are both auditioning for the Cheerios, Quinn earns her spot through her ability to leverage her personal narrative Finn on the other hand, is desperate. Having been kicked off the football team wants something to replace it. Mr. Shue and Coach Beiste have a showdown in the Principal's office, where Mr. Shue manages to make it all about him.

Santana got a boob job because she wanted to get more attention. Sue demotes her from team captain because she doesn't approve. Quinn is back on top of both the squad, the chastity club and the pyramid. Of course, then it turns into a cat fight of epic proportions.

After courting their prospects, no one shows up to auditions.

Brittney and Sue get ugly, Brittney accuses Coach Beiste of touching her inappropriately, then... uh... she says she actually wants to touch Coach Beiste's boobs. Yeah, I must have taken crazy pills. This is just beyond absurd.

Rachel sent Sunshine to an actual crack house when she directed her to auditions.  Trina, Mike and Mr. Shue tell her she has to make it right, so they reschedule auditions in the auditorium and Sunshine blows them away.

Ultimately, characters are supposed to be people and THESE ARE TERRIBLE PEOPLE. Felony terrible. Rachel admits she did these terrible things because she loves herself too much and didn't want someone stealing her spotlight.  Then she sings about how she did all this for love.

Setting us all up for "personal growth" by making sure the bar is as low as humanly possible.
As is my custom, let's break down the female characters in last night's episode:

Rachel - selfish, sends foreign exchange student to crack house where she is robbed, even after admitting she didn't do it for "the good of the club" she doesn't get that her utter self-serving pathology is not ok.

Quinn- is back where she was before she got pregnant, possibly hypocritical celibacy club president, cheer captain, and protegee of Sue.

Santana- Boob Job for attention, starts cat fight in hallway with Quinn. Is angry, that's her emotion, it's her only emotion. 
Trina- Asian, Now it's really a "thing". Object of remorse/stalking for Artie, Deus ex Machina.
Brittney- rain man shit. Accuses someone of molestation then says she wants to touch their boobs, skulks around the background looking plastic and clutching dolls to her neck.
Coach Beiste- When I say they make her nuanced, she is on a roller coaster of emotive behavior. Alternately stereotypically threatening and compassionate. She is trying to do right, but dag nabbit, her female vulnerability causes her to persecute poor innocent Finn who just wanted to get his disabled friend on the football team. She was out of line, but also, there is a tone it was about her hurt feelings. I am conflicted here, I have to hope that conflict is their goal. 
Sue- Vacillates between felonies and immature pranks, also, wildly judgemental. On the plus side... that's consistent?
Overall for a show that is reported to be "funny" none of this was funny, it was appalling.

Will I need to turn this into a drinking game as a coping mechanism? or will it just drive me to drink? you'll have to tune in to find out.

Haven't gotten enough hilarious despair? hilspair? despairious? despairity? Check out Caitlin Burns' blog The Mystery of Girls Media or on Twitter: Caitlin_Burns


Unknown said...
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Unknown said...

Her name is Tina, not Trina. Also you forgot to mention the new Vocal Adrenaline coach inexplicably swooping in with his talons & snatching up Sunshine. Other than that, I completely agree with your assesment of the season opener. Hopefully the Britney Spears ep next week is better.

Unknown said...

Like someone said, it's Tina, not Trina. Also, you seem to be missing out on the fact that Brittany is bisexual, which means slut ("I've made out with everyone in this school... girls, boys, Mr. Whatever the janitor...") so that's probably the basis for her line about touching Beiste's boobs.

I hate that they made both Rachel and Quinn revert to their Pilot selves again.
You forgot Mercedes in your assessment of the female characters, though it's understandable because she only had a few lines.

Steve G. said...

I feel like I'm the only person who liked the season premiere :/ I thought portions of it were silly and stupid, but then again, it is a show that's premise is based upon a glee club existing at a high school and feuding with a cheerleading squad that is somehow more popular than anything ever.