Glee: Yes/No

Posted on January 18, 2012

About 35 minutes into this episode, during a commercial break, we opined to each other that this looked to be more of a setup episode rather than one that will have any closure to any of its plotlines. Those are always the hardest episodes to write about because there’s no resolution to anything and as the reviewer you have no idea whether or not what they set up is ever going to pay off effectively. But we figured since the show was just coming back from a month off, maybe an all-setup episode was to be expected. Certainly, we would prefer episodes that take the time to establish plots rather than ones where Britney Spears wanders the halls of McKinley.

But then a funny thing happened. There actually was a bit of closure – or at the very least, progression – to some of the plotlines in the last ten or so minutes of the show, and it was, for the most part, kind of satisfying. There’s also an obvious concerted effort here to balance out as many possible characters and musical numbers as they can and to spread the scenes around among the cast instead of having 2 characters dominate an episode while everyone else (almost literally) sings backup. If this had been a bad Glee script full of typical bad Glee script problems, the entire episode would have been about Will and Emma, with Rachel and Finn playing backup and everyone else serving as extras and seat fillers. Instead we got storylines with Mercedes and Sam, Artie and Becky (which led to a truly sweet scene between Becky and Sue), Will and Emma, and a rather major plotline for Finn which ties into the theme of the season (“What do we do after we graduate?”) and offers us an end-development that’s probably going to lead to tears and lots of torchy solo numbers. That’s not bad. Throw NeNe and Helen Mirren into the mix and you’ve got yourself a pretty decent episode of Glee.

So Emma gets the idea in her head – upon finding out that Coach Bieste beat her to the altar – that it’s time for her and Will to take the next step. This is classic Glee, in which characters have no long-term goals or motivations and act wildly on their latest impulses. Emma hears the word “wedding” and that’s all the writers need to spin out from there. There are plenty of reasons for these characters to NOT want to pursue marriage right now, like her untreated mental illness, his disastrous first marriage, which really should’ve sent him into the office of a therapist rather than the arms of a succession of women, and the fact that they’ve only been an official couple for about a year now, after a long and rocky flirtation that had them both seeking out other partners.

But we don’t actually mind the wedding thing. Romance in a TV show isn’t known for being representative of the real thing, so if Emma’s thinking wedding and that leads to a couple fun numbers (especially the “Wedding Bell Blues” one, which is so perfect, we suspect the entire episode was built around that one idea), then we’re all for it. But then they pulled a classic Will move. We swear the writers on this show are completely unaware of how much the show’s fandom seems to despise Will and how badly the character has come off, again and again and again. Sure, he managed to do right at the end, with a proposal so charming it actually choked us up, but the way he got to that point managed to once again make him look like a real shit.

It’s bad enough he once sang to her about how he was going to fix her, a moment we found incredibly creepy and wrongheaded at the time. But now apparently, he’s realized that “fixing” her might be impossible and at the very least it’s going to be extraordinarily difficult, and this is enough for him to reconsider proposing to her. We don’t actually mind that her illness is giving him pause; that’s a mature response and he’d be right to ask himself some hard questions before he buys that ring. But that’s not what he did. He announced TO HIS STUDENTS  that he was planning to marry her and BUILT A CLASS ASSIGNMENT AROUND IT, then he took one of his students with him to buy the ring, and only after he asked her cruel and crazy parents for her hand in marriage and they put the idea in his head did he start pondering what it might mean in the long term to be married to someone like Emma and entertaining the idea of cancelling the proposal. Even worse, he voiced all of this to Emma rather bluntly after she screwed up her courage and asked him about the possibility of marriage. “I like the idea, but wow, you’re kinda nuts and I don’t know if I can handle that.” Never before, with every shitty thing he’s ever done, has Will ever looked this shitty. And we’re sorry, one charming proposal number just doesn’t wash that kind of behavior away.

The writers tend to want it both ways with their characters. They want Santana to spew the most insanely hurtful things to everyone around her (and admittedly, we find her lines very funny), but then we’re supposed to forget all that when her feelings are hurt or when she’s going through something tough. This is largely true of pretty much every single character on the show. Every action they take is meant to be seen as discrete and wholly unto itself. The viewer isn’t supposed to think about all the truly awful things Will has done because we got a great musical number or two out of it and in the end he did the right thing. He didn’t actually show any growth. His position at the end of the episode was largely the same as it was at the beginning, with only a pitstop along the way to acknowledge some misgivings and act like a jerk. Emma’s still OCD and Will hasn’t shown any reason to believe he’s okay with that and will be kind about it going forward. It’s always emotional payoffs on this show but not much in the way of emotional journeys to get to that point, which is why all the characters still feel like dolls being pushed around in a dollhouse rather than real people.

But believe it or not, we thought this was a fun episode, so long as we ignore Will. There were some fun musical numbers (although frankly, “Summer Lovin'” was a bit of a wash) and funny moments. The Helen Mirren bit was gimmicky and could’ve gotten old quickly, but we laughed our asses off. And sure, we should be harrumphing over the idea of a Real Housewife getting her own scene, but we were shocked at how well NeNe pulled that monologue off. She was pretty damn funny, to our big surprise.

The Sam and Mercedes romance is full steam ahead. We had some discussion about how the dating scenarios on this show are so unrealistic; e.g., the hot cheerleader dating the guy in the wheelchair or the sexy bad boy dating the plus-sized girl or even the quarterback dating the theater nerd, but out of all of the unlikely hookups on Glee, we find ourselves buying this one completely. They have a chemistry together and Mercedes never looks so pretty as when she’s flirting with Sam.

And while there’s plenty of reason to still get annoyed with the show for having Sue careen back and forth from villainy to being one of the most empathetic people in the school, we feel they mostly got this balance exactly right this episode. We especially enjoyed the scene where she unleashed a string of insults on Artie and he only rolled his eyes and thanked her. It seems the students have figured her out and realize most of her bluster is an attempt to toughen them up and set them on the right path. Of course her history doesn’t always bear this out, but we think this is the right way to go forward with this character. The “We’re going to get through this together” scene with Becky (who is, we might add, also quite good in her role) was lump-in-the-throat time and for once, we didn’t feel pandered to.

But as always, the Big Drama is reserved for Finn and Rachel. The nice twist this time was that it was Finn driving all the drama rather than Rachel. We’re finding his story more and more compelling as the season goes on and his fear and desperation about a life post-high school is consuming him and making him do some silly, impulsive things. The scene with his mother was truly heartbreaking and she doesn’t get the credit she deserves for being one of the best actors in the cast. Burt Hummel always gets the love from fandom, but Carole is such an EveryMom; she not only looks the part (don’t we all know a Carole?), she brings true depth and emotion to the role when it’s called for. We feared the show would take a hard line anti-military approach to the story, but to their credit, they managed some nuance.

Of course we all know that Finn and Rachel are not getting married or even engaged this season, so this development has us wondering what’s going to happen next, which can only be seen as a good thing, as far as we’re concerned. Aside from the blindspot the writers have with Will and the ongoing problems of character inconsistencies, we thought this was a fairly tight script and a mostly entertaining hour.

 

    • Anonymous

      You guys are really troopers.  Whenever I watch this show, I confess I fast forward through the storylines to get to the number.  I really enjoyed Jumping Jack Flash.

      And, am wondering, are you at all interested in “Smash?”

      • Anonymous

        Yes, TLo, please recap Smash when it airs!

    • Jacqui

      I was afraid after the Summer Lovin song it was going to be a really campy (well campier than a normal Glee episode) episode but I actually wound up really enjoying it. And being someone with OCD the scene between Emma and Will was quite similar to a conversation between me and my ex husband. Too bad my ex didn’t decide to think about that until AFTER we were married.

      • Anonymous

        I really did not understand the point of the Summer Lovin’ number. They did nothing with it. It was a shot-for-shot re-make. If I wanted to see that, I could have just watched Grease.

    • Anonymous

      Yes they used Helen Mirren with just the right touch. It seemed appropriate to have her as Becky’s inner voice. It seem fitting to have the Queen of Funckinfantastika be the inner person of a girl who most of the world sees as just a girl with Downs Syndrome

      • Anonymous

        I agree and her last inner monologue had me in tears because it was so touching.  Well done Glee!

        • Anonymous

          I surprised myself with how emotional I got with that scene. I shoulda seen it coming, but I didn’t.I love that Becky had her own little storyline last night and hope they do more in the future. Minus some of the musical numbers, this was a pretty amazing episode.

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_GFMOZFM3WT3T56EZHVZFK7UXSI Ramon

      Loved, loved “The First Time Ever i saw Your Face.” I heard that song so much the first time around that I got a little sick of it. Still, I think nobody can take that from Roberta Flack, and they didn’t, but that was a great version, quiet when the show tends to go for hyper and/or bombastic. 

      • http://twitter.com/leslielies Leslie S

        that was the number that brought tears to my eyes! I thought it was a very beautiful rendition with the 4 part harmonies.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=523566011 Dawn Grimes Stough

      i just can’t with glee anymore.  i keep up through the recaps here (which i love!), but i don’t really feel like i’m missing much.

      • Anonymous

        Yeah, I haven’t watched it in a while. I’d like to, because my young cousin loves the show as does the young daughter of a friend and it gives us something to talk about, but I simply don’t have enough time. 

      • Anonymous

        I feel the same way. It sounds like it might be worth throwing this episode up on Hulu and seeing if I can stand it, though. (Mostly for Helen Mirren.) Also, I heard Jeff Goldblum will be playing one of Rachel’s dads, which again might be worth seeing. I think he’d be hilarious in what I imagine that role will be like.

        • Anonymous

          Really?  Jeff Goldblum?  Another major hole in the plot– the photo of Rachel’s dads in the first season clearly did not include Jeff Goldblum!  On the other hand, he might be really great in the role…

          • Anonymous

            Meh, I wouldn’t call that a major plot hole. At the beginning of the series, they didn’t seem to be interested in involving Rachel’s dads, so why would they bother casting a big name like Jeff Goldblum for just a throwaway snapshot? I can’t really blame them TOO much for not plotting several years ahead to see this coming. (It would probably be an improvement if they did, as they did with a little show called, oh, MAD MEN, but it’s hardly a standard expectation).

    • Anonymous

      Agree completely on the Will thing; and a lesser actor than Jane Lynch would have totally screwed up the Artie and Becky scenes. I did like the number when Will got to show off his dance chops. Looks like Matt Morrison has been working out with Mike Chang.

      • Anonymous

        You know, I really did enjoy “Moves Like Jagger,” but I thought Will looked hopelessly dorky every time he got a close-up. Which is weird because except for the way too long “rapping” phase they went through, I find Matt Morrison very sexy when he’s dancing (meaning not talking and saying horrible Schue things). 

        • Anonymous

          I think they’ve so destroyed the character of Will that it gets hard to relate to Matthew Morrison.  I mean, Mr. Schue was always inappropriate, but now there’s no “teacher” aspect left to him.

    • Anonymous

      It was a fun show to come back to -good numbers, actual plot and some unexpected twists. 
      I guess I don’t see Will that badly but then that may be because I really don’t pay attention to his character much and he and Ms. Pillsbury do have some serious chemistry. But yes the characters all have two sides and they spin from one to the other as plot devices but never really integrate them into one person. 

      I do buy the idea of Mercedes and Sam in theory but I don’t find the actors have any chemistry (possible exception was the post slurry moment) but Mercedes ‘upset’ at thinking first of Sam when she was singing was written but not acted or felt. And when did they all become BFFs anyway? 

      Favorite moment: Princess Beatrice’s hat on sue!! Genius! 

      • Anonymous

        Agree about Sue’s hat!  Great!  I really liked the whole Marry Me Bill (Will) number and Emma’s bridesmaids. 

      • MilaXX

        Both Sue & Beistie had on the the Princess’s hat. Nice throw away moment.

      • Anonymous

        Seeing Beatrice’s hat on the bridesmaid had me spewing hot almond milk (my nighttime toddy) all over the key board. I’d forgotten that til you mentioned it. Genius! I loved Queen Helen as Becky’s inner voice, and thought her story arc was terrific as was Sue’s interaction. The writers got it just right, finally, I agree TLo, and with you on what a superb everyMom Carol is.  Almost too many musical numbers, but each one was perfect, even Summer Lovin’ to bring us back from hiatus.  Finally enjoyed a Glee episode from catch up narration to the final question by Finn. 

    • Anonymous

      Loved the retro bathing suits on the girls, those were so cute! 

      • Anonymous

        Agreed! I love the retro suits, and hair and makeup – they all wore it so very well. 

      • MilaXX

        I have to admit I have a soft spot for synchronized swimming and all those old Busby Berkeley movies.

        • Noelle Gaughen

          The the real synchronized swimmers were from a los angeles based group called the Aqualillies. Check them out at http://www.aqualillies.com – their facebook feed some really amazing photography!

    • Anonymous

      Did the cheerleaders’ skirts always have that division/slit?

      • Anonymous

        yes

      • Anonymous

        The skirts have always had the “car wash” strips–better to show off the hip shakes.

    • Anonymous

      Will really upped his douche quotient in this episode.  Becky was outstanding and I absolutely loved how they played out her story line, both with giving her Helen as her inner voice and having Sue show that she is hands down Becky’s biggest supporter.  I really love Sam and Mercedes together, they have great chemistry and are truly adorable.  The Finn/Rachel thing was a bit meh, but the performances and the Sam/Mercedes and Becky storylines really packed so much of a punch that I declare this episode a total win.

    • S. B. Hadley Wilson

      “The writers tend to want it both ways with their characters.”  I agree, but I also think it is true to life.  Interesting people are not one dimensional.

    • Anonymous

      The episode started soooooooo well. I liked “summer lovin'” for all its ridiculousness, I thought Emma’s number was sweet, well done, and appropriate. The Helen Mirren voice over was BRILLIANT.

      I even thought the whole Finn going into the army subplot was interesting, because for someone who isn’t academically strong and doesn’t know what they want to do, the army can be a great opportunity. I just didn’t like how it immediately turned into an intervention as if he had just joined a cult. One parental figure expressing concern for his well bring and the risks involved in armed services would have been appropriate and poignant, but out was presented extremely one-sided, as if Finn was simply too dumb to realize how stupid it would be to join the army. Plus, I’m getting really tired of the “every bad/cruel parent MUST be a right wing nut job”. Leave politics out of it, Glee. I’m socially liberal/fiscally conservative, and I’d rather not watch political caricatures during my hour of escapist musical fluff. 

      The nail in the coffin for the episode was Will’s douche-baggery in talking to Emma. You don’t tell someone who is struggling with a mental illness that they are possibly irreparably broken, and that you are afraid that they will ruin your life. The concern about how to make a life together is legitimate, but it takes a real ass to dump the entire responsibility for that on the person who is suffering & trying to get better. The sad thing is that I’m pretty sure the writers thought he was being sensitive and understanding…

      • Anonymous

        RE: the writers thinking they were giving Will the chance to be sensitive and understanding-that’s giving them waaaaay too much credit for depth.

        • Anonymous

          If there was any doubt about how the writers think about Will, it was resolved the moment he literally walked on water.

      • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_IHWCJIMARF4OOW6PQZQS3RFOOA JillK

        Will was forced into a position where he had to say no, otherwise his whole plan to propose to her with a musical number would be blown. And he had to come up with a reason she’d believe for him saying no. He was faking her out so she wouldn’t be expecting a surprise proposal from him.

        I can’t believe so many people didn’t pick up on that.

        • Anonymous

          Are you sure? I don’t think so… if it was all about throwing her off, then why the visit with the super-mean parents planting the “seeds of doubt”? WIth all due respect, I think you’re giving the writers WAAAAY too much credit.  

        • Anonymous

          I don’t think that makes him come off any better, if that was actually intended.  It probably makes him MORE of an asshole–rather than a wishy-washy weak-willed dude who got overwhelmed because he’s way too easily influenced, he’s enough of a megalomaniac to hit his fiancee at her most vulnerable, rawest emotional point so that he can micromanage the proposal scene he wants.  It’s actually plausible for his character, but if that was the writers’ justification, then it’s just more proof that they have no idea that they’re writing someone who isn’t so much “complex” or “realistic” as “a completely self-centered and oblivious loser with a mean streak who I wouldn’t let take care of a goldfish.”

          edited because I used the word “actually” three times in 2 sentences, yikes.

    • Anonymous

      Maybe I have to rewatch it today…..I was feeling like Nene was yet another sign that the show had finally jumped the shark.  After Christmas break (and we will not ever speak of that episode again)….I just didn’t care about anyone in the show.

    • Anonymous

      OK I’m still in shock over Nene showing up in Glee.  Not that she didn’t do a bad job but what this really means is that every other  stupid “Real Housewife” in Bravo’s stable of whining nagery will find the merest speck of justification to get themselves on other TV shows.

      Dog Help Us All.

      • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_5KDTLDJA7ZBCPDP6HV4FZMJDII Indigo

        Eh not many of the housewives would be considered for roles in acting I think. Just the super popular ones like Nene, Bethany, etc. Of course the popular ones are always the least self deluded ones. Bethany jumped ship and left RHoNY and Nene has considered leaving RHoA so maybe this is a springboard.

        And lets not forget that two of the Beverly Hills housewives were former child actors, so “technically” Nene isn’t the first. She’s just one of the few actually doing more with the fame given to her.

        • Anonymous

          Poor Kim Richards would be such a fabulous mess (I really do want her to get better)….maybe she could replace Chenoweth…..

      • MilaXX

        Actually the ATL ladies have been pretty successful in getting small bits on tv shows for a minute. On BH ho’wives Kim was a well know child actor as was her sister Kyle to a lessor degree.

      • Anonymous

         As I don’t watch any of these shows, I had no idea who she was. I thought she was some new deliciously bitchy character and I wondered if she could sing.

    • Anonymous

      I understand that the “fix you” song was somewhat offensive to a lot of people, but I actually found it kind of refreshingly realistic and touching.  Will is undoubtedly a profoundly screwed up person, but who hasn’t seen someone they love in pain and wanted to fix the problem?  In this case, the problem is OCD.  Will wants to fix the problem, therefore he wants to “fix” Emma.  Should she be offended?  Probably.  Especially if he expresses it like that to her (though I really think that song was supposed to be internal monologue).  Should we?  I don’t think so.  He sincerely wants what’s best for her and can see that the OCD is destroying her.  He’s just really bad at expressing it.

      • Anonymous

        I agree, I wasn’t terribly offended by that song — I think it’s a realistic response when someone you know or love is suffering, even if it seems insensitive.  I had PPD after my daughter was born pretty bad, and I know my husband would have done anything to “fix” that for me.  He couldn’t, but he sure as hell wanted to try.

        But he crossed the line this time.  Instead of simply acknowledging that she has a serious condition that will probably always be a struggle, and reconciling if/how they can strike the balance to live a happy life together [which it is possible can't be reconciled], he pretty much went ahead and said “Well, You’re really F-ed up and probably will be forever, so I’m not sure I want you to ruin my life.” Jackass.  If you can’t deal with it, that is as much to do with you as it is to do with her. Relationships are two-way streets.

        Jackass….
        The more I think about that scene, the more it pisses me off.

        • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_IHWCJIMARF4OOW6PQZQS3RFOOA JillK

          Ugh! That’s not what he was saying! She put him on the spot unexpectedly and since he already had a big plan to propose with a musical number, he had to tell her no. And he had to tell her no so she’d believe it was really a no, or his whole surprise would’ve been ruined.

          Did he do it in his usual dumbass way? Yes, he’s Will, so of course he said it all wrong. But he clearly didn’t really mean what he was saying – he was just trying to trick her into believing he didn’t want to marry her so when he proposed it would blow her away.

    • CQAussie

      I rolled my eyes and said to the Hubs when Will made his proposal a class assignment: “Isn’t that a bit inappropriate??”……laughed my ass off at Helen Mirren’s voice-over…..felt like finally the old Sue was coming back after her exchange with Artie and screamed out “Don’t do it!!!  You’re too young!!!” to Rachel as Finn asked her to marry him.  Suffice to say I got into this episode.  And oh yes, thoroughly enjoying the Sam & Mercedes storyline, especially since it resulted in Sam joining the synchronised swimming team!!  Complete with NeNe and her “40 acres and a pool”…!!

      But the bit that really cheesed me off was Will’s condescending reply to Emma’s “I’m almost done taking down the tree!”: “You started taking down the tree on New Years Day…”  Yeah, thanks Mr. Obvious, why don’t you just shit all over her parade even as she’s trying to ask you to marry her?  So the white tux and the romantic proposal didn’t really do it for me, although I did tear up because Emma was so clearly very happy.  I did agree with one thing Will said – Emma is a balance for him as well as he is for her.  Perhaps this marriage will work out after all!Really enjoyed the Rolling Stones mash-up….reminded me of an old boyfriend…..whose only good trait was that he was a raging Stones fan and I had no idea about the band till I met him and now I love them =D   Ahhh Glee….quit reminding me of high school!!!  

      • Anonymous

        I cracked up at the “class assignment.”  Way to make it literal that the assignments don’t even have the slightest facade of educational or preparatory purpose at this point.  

    • W A

      I hope you paid for those photos. SOPA will be after you.

    • Anonymous

      Please tell me I’m not the only one (over 35) who hears “wedding bell blues” and immediately thinks of Julia, Suzanne and Mary Jo singing to Charlene?

      (disclaimer – I’m 6 episodes back on Glee, so I didn’t see the version of it last night.  The mere mention of the song title made me go  to Atlanta mentally.)

      • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_GFMOZFM3WT3T56EZHVZFK7UXSI Ramon

        Bernice too, being gloriously cuckoo.

        • Anonymous

          Thank you – I couldn’t remember Bernice’s  name,but I definitely remember her in that episode.

      • Anonymous

        I think of the movie “My Girl” when Vada is singing the song to a photo of the teacher she has a crush on…:P

      • Anonymous

        Thought the exact same thing! Sue also makes a comment about “it’s 2012!” and how Emma could be the one the propose to Will. Reminded me of the countless times (at least in my mind) that Mary Jo said “it’s the 80s!” or “it’s the 90s!” when they were discussing feminist or race related issues.

    • Tara Burkholder

      I’ve officially had it with Glee and last night was the breaking point.  Finn made a responsible decision opting to enlist in the Army and douche-tastic teacher Will goes and stages a mother freaking intervention to keep him from doing it?? No. Hell to the no. There is absolutely nothing wrong with enlisting in the military.  It is a right, responsible, brave and noble thing to do, whether his father did it or not.  When a young person makes that decision, whether you agree with it or not, you support them.  Ryan Murphy, you are a prick and, although you don’t care, you just lost a viewer…truth be told, you probably just lost lots of military and military spouse viewers. We’re very loyal that way.

      • Anonymous

        Not to suggest Ryan Murphy isn’t a prick – he absolutely is, but I didn’t see it that way. I thought the point was Finn made a decision because he thought his father died a war hero and wanted to honor that. Which is great. But a lot of parents don’t want their children to risk their lives, or end up “broken” like the late Mr. Hudson. I think that’s valid too. 

        Military service (or any career choice) isn’t something to be entered into lightly, and this was just the latest in Finn’s “what do I do next” ideas. As we see, he quickly moved on to proposing to Rachel. 

        • Anonymous

          Copying and pasting what I wrote above:

          “.. for someone who isn’t academically strong and doesn’t know what they want to do, the army can be a great opportunity. I just didn’t like how it immediately turned into an intervention as if he had just joined a cult. One parental figure expressing concern for his well bring and the risks involved in armed services would have been appropriate and poignant, but out was presented extremely one-sided, as if Finn was simply too dumb to realize how stupid it would be to join the army. ”

          It felt like blatant anti-war political pandering, and it pissed me off. Trust me, I’m not running out to join the armed forces because frankly, I’m not nearly as brave and selfless as the people who do. Finn was interested in serving for  all the right reasons, and it could give him the confidence and strength to find his place in life, whether it is in or out of the armed services.

      • MilaXX

        There’s nothing wrong with enlisting if you see that as a career, but Finn wasn’t doing it for that reason. Joining the military because you have nothing else or think it will honor your father is not a good idea. It’s serious step and Finn was acting on impulse.

        • indigospade

           THIS

          The military is not something one should just jump into. if it turns out not like you expect it to (which I garuntee) you can’t just quit your job.

          On a side note in regards to tara

          As a military brat I find it odd how we force values of bravery and honor that soldiers supposedly have onto the public. One, I doubt that the percentage of soldiers who wanted to make it their career are a minority. The army’s biggest selling point is that you can move to a better job after, because other than to build a few skills why else would you risk your life and the chance to get ptsd? Too many people join because they don’t realize that YES you can be deployed. YES you could lose your life in battle. NO Call of Duty does not make you prepared for anything. Plenty of people join to pay for college, because they feel stuck where they are, because they know it’s a career that always moves upward, because of the benefits, etc.

          We force the idea of “doing it for Patriotism, Bravery, and Honor” on ourselves so we don’t feel guilty about sending our boys and girls (fellow human beings) out on to the battlefield. We’ll even call a bomb sniffing dog “brave”, so clearly the term is just a shallow word used to keep soldiers for having a breakdown when they realize they’re in over their heads.

          I support soldiers. Much like I support people working in any field. (doctors, teachers, waiters, artists) Few jobs are easy and every person has to pay some kind of price. And being a soldier in the line of duty is not easy either. But I don’t support war and don’t glorify it either. If a loved one wants to join the military, a career where you don’t really get second chances in, then I know I need to talk to them to help them understand their possible choices. If they still want to join THEN it’s on them.

    • Anonymous

      On Will: He also asked his STUDENT to be his best man.

      “Finn, you’ve taught me more about being a man than anyone.”

      Boundaries, Mr. Schuester.

      Also: he said “I need to think more about my choices” to his students about the songs (yeah, right), but then he leaves the classroom and Sam gives him the idea, and suddenly all questions are put aside? Rushy, rushy.

    • Anonymous

      Great recap. For once, I think I didn’t like the episode as much as you guys did. I do agree with your positives (and appreciate that you helped me see some things I didn’t see) but I did feel like the writing this episode was lacking. Most scenes felt to me like they were only there to lead to a musical number, as opposed to the music being there to support the scene/storyline. But I did enjoy it and I agree that there was a lot going on, most handled pretty well. I especially agree with your analysis of Finn and Carole.

    • Anonymous

      My reaction to the Finn and Rachel proposal? “Glee has finally for real jumped the shark”. I mean it’s been on the boundaries of that for a while but this really did it for me.

      At this point, I’m tired of the inconsistency and continuity failures. The songs are exciting once in a blue moon and the Sam and Mercedes plotline is the only thing interesting to me right now.

      • Anonymous

        Glee jumps over entire shark pools.  

    • Allyson Wells

      I totally agree about Will. I kept thinking he was going to crack a smile and say, “Just kidding!” when he was spouting off all those mean, inconsiderate things to Emma… especially since we all knew he was going to propose this episode. After he called her hopeless, among other things, I half expected her to say no to his proposal. Like you said, we’ve seen Will be a jerk in the past, but this was his absolute worst.

    • Anonymous

      I only caught a bit of the show, but (unfortunately) was just in time for Will’s totally f’d up scene. And I thought the pool scene was ridiculous b/c why/how did he change his mind so fast, and how sad for Emma that she got swept up in the fanfare and said yes to that proposal. I hope they end up breaking it off.  I guess I must still be a fan, though, because I was actually saying “No Finn! Don’t do it!” out loud.

    • http://twitter.com/ShelfAfterlife Shelf Afterlife

      I admit this is the first episode I’ve seen this season so forgive my ignorance, but I’m curious how Sue was talked into being there to smile and hand Emma a rose on the way to the proposal?  Are she and Will friends now, ’cause that’s just weird?  Otherwise I pretty much feel the same way you fellas do about the episode.  I’ve never seen a Real Housewife episode of any kind, but the swimming coach was funny and I LOL’d at “solo synchronized swimming.”

    • Anonymous

      I would really like for Will to leave the show after this season and let someone else “teach” the students.  Perhaps Sue could take over the Glee club.  I just can’t with Will anymore.  I do enjoy Emma though – loved the “So, you’re a spinster” pamphlet.  Nene was actually good.  Totally shocked by that.

    • Lori

      Emma didn’t get the idea because Coach got married.  Several episodes back Will caught her with a stack of bridal magazines. 

      Sue and Coach Bieste’s bridesmaid dresses were so witty.

        

    • Anonymous

      I love how you guys went with a superobnoxious Lea screencap for the home page. Not that there are many non-vampy, unobnoxious pictures of her to choose from, of course.

    • http://asskickingadviser.com/ Ass Kicking Adviser

      I liked the episode as a whole. It was fun. But yes, the whole scene where Will actually listened to Emma’s awful parents? Wha? And what a d-bag when she confronted him about marriage. But hearing her get her Marilyn McCoo on was worth it.
      I also thought the girls quartet of ‘First Time…’ was really good but was disappointed in the Grease number (although Kurt as Rizzo is genius). Oh Sam, you are no young-Travolta.
      But Kurt, Rachel and Finn hanging at the restaurant worrying about their futures; a scene that definitely rang true.

    • nykaren24

      I agree with you guys overall; I enjoyed the episode except for most of the stuff having to do with Will. I really disliked the fact that he went to ask for Emma’s hand in marriage from her crazy, cruel parents. He’d already met them and knew how awful they were; why in the world would he go back to them, even if he did want to “do it right”? And then when they gave their predictably cruel and thoughtless responses, he actually took them seriously? I guess under it all they made some valid points, but Will had never thought about any of this before? The whole thing just seemed off.

      The other part of the show that I wasn’t crazy about was the “intervention” with Finn after he announced wanting to enlist. I didn’t see it so much as anti-military; I saw it as their attempt to clear up Finn’s misconceptions about his Dad before he made his decision. But to have Carole give him that really important information, in school, with Will there? It just seemed wrong. That’s something she should have told him alone, at home. It wasn’t like he was going to leave school and join up that day, for heaven’s sake.

      Otherwise, I liked the episode, especially the parts with Becky and Sue. Although I did wonder if it is true that people with Down’s syndrome “Can say anything they like inside their heads.” Really?  It kind of makes it seem as though Down’s just makes it difficult for someone to articulate their thoughts, whereas I believe that those with Down’s have lower IQ’s and thus their thoughts would be on par with that. Am I totally wrong about this? I just wondered if those with Down’s or those with family/friends with Down’s would find this offensive.

      • http://profile.yahoo.com/FDQR3MXFKMHKQCSXT5J7HXSSIM jo

        Many, if not most, individuals with Downs Syndrome have lower IQ scores that would qualify them as intellectually disabled.  However, not all people with Downs have ID.  And even people who do may have a very articulate inner voice that can’t be expressed through verbal speech.  I’ve known some amazing visual artists (painters and sculpters) with ID.

    • Anonymous

      NeNe was good, I’ll give you that.  But my heart breaks a little every time there’s stunt casting like that.  I think of the literally hundreds of black actresses who could’ve knocked it out of the park and made money to count toward being insured by SAG.

    • Anonymous

      Regarding Will – I think the problem lies in the fact that Matthew Morrison is just not a good enough actor to make those scenes work in a way where he comes off less douchey.  We’re seeing a lot of his limitations this season and one of them is depth. 

      • Anonymous

        I disagree.  When Morrison’s been given a decent script, he knows what to do with it.  We’re not seeing his limitations this season because we’re barely seeing him.  There’s been almost no narrative arc and he’s even been missing as a teacher during the last several episodes.  There’s been some bizarrely bad writing and Matthew Morrison has borne the brunt of it.

    • Anonymous

      I can’t believe you two didn’t mention The First Time I Ever I Saw Your Face. I thought that it was one of the best Glee numbers of all time. I was getting emotional but I didn’t feel like it was heavy-handed in anyway and the staging of it was just so excellent. 

      • Anonymous

        Agreed.  I admittedly rolled my eyes when they started singing that one, but by the end I was literally choked up.

        • Anonymous

          Agree.  I actually don’t like the song (the Roberta Flack version, which was overplayed when it was popular)– but hearing a fresh version with the visuals– I was riveted.

    • Anonymous

      I love Glee, but I found myself watching this entire episode askance with pursed lips and a raised eyebrow.  “Summer Lovin'” was about as cheesy as they come, Sue was remarkably unlike her normal self (being NICE to EMMA?!), Will was grossly inappropriate in sharing so much of his personal life with his students, and personally, I don’t see the chemistry between Sam and Mercedes.  It seems more like a ‘Pair the Spares’ situation.  Plus, most of the music numbers seemed gratuitous to me.  Aside from the actual proposal, they didn’t seem to add anything to the scene.  Basically, I thought this was the worst episode since Season Two.  There was no subtlety to it.  Certainly not compared to the brilliance of “Asian F.”

      But I’ll stop ranting now. I did like Becky’s subplot.

    • http://twitter.com/cornekopia Shawn EH

      Plus, Moves Like Jagger! Adam Levine makes it okay for straight guys to be super-gay! Because Mick already did!

    • Anonymous

      I don’t even watch Glee and I’m sick of Lea Michele, I can’t imagine how those of you watch the show are able to deal. This is totally off topic, but did anyone here watch the Fashion Police where they covered the Golden Globes? I loved Joan Rivers making fun of Lea Michele standing there seductively licking her lips for the cameras. This girl really doesn’t see how ridiculous she looks.

      • Anonymous

        I saw that episode of Fashion Police and thought Joan Rivers was spot on with her mimicry of Lea Michele-as well as the commentary that Lea doesn’t have the curvy figure to really carry off the gown she wore.

        • Anonymous

          Yes! I can’t remember which one of them said, Lea you’re not hot enough for that dress. That’s Halle Berry’s dress.
          I died.

    • Anonymous

      Loved this episode, especially the “Wedding Bell Blues” number with two fab backup singers. Give me more scenes with the guys in the pool. Sam is so hot and officially my “TV boyfriend”.  Damien: Move out front where can see you better. Can we jsut get rid of Mr Schu? Sue: Get him transferred out to some rural school. Kurt has all but disappeared from the show. His story arc must be over.

      The Becky and Artie scenes were near perfect.

    • Anonymous

      Loved this episode, especially the “Wedding Bell Blues” number with two fab backup singers. Give me more scenes with the guys in the pool. Sam is so hot and officially my “TV boyfriend”.  Damien: Move out front where can see you better. Can we jsut get rid of Mr Schu? Sue: Get him transferred out to some rural school. Kurt has all but disappeared from the show. His story arc must be over.

      The Becky and Artie scenes were near perfect.

    • Anonymous

      I thought that was Helen Mirren! I thought that was great. I too wanted to hate that NeNe Leakes was there, but she WAS funny, though essentially, playing herself.

      When Summer Lovin’ started I almost changed the channel. I’m glad I didn’t because the rest of the show was great — especially that Esther Williams number. They are really studying old musicals to come up with new numbers and this one works really well. The thing about Finn and his high school hero afraid of life after; to me that is the one part that doesn’t ring true because, from what I remember, those high school heros didn’t crash to the ground or have any self-awareness, until AFTER graduation, so it’s weird that Finn would realize the hero to zero stuff now.

      And by the way, for Summer Lovin’, why was Rachel dresses like an extra from Downton Abbey?

      –GothamTomato

    • Anonymous

      Mercedes looks pretty flirting with Sam because they film her from above as opposed to from below or straight on when she sings making her look jarringly piggish. The very beginning of this ep (Summer Lovin – sucked) and the very end (F&R Proposal) sucked. The in between was the most I have enjoyed Glee in a long time Jemma sang Marry Me Bill to perfection.
      PS: Murphy in a nut shell with everything he does: characters still feel like dolls being pushed around in a dollhouse rather than real people. Which is why I will never delve into a new Murphy effort. Once Glee is over or I get so sick of it I cant watch – I am DONE with Ryan Murphy. 

    • MilaXX

      Initially I had a bit of a knee jerk reaction to Mr. Shue getting the kids involved in his proposal to Emma but then I think of every crappy youtube video of a teacher getting the school to help him with a proposal and as cringe inducing as I may find it, I can give it a pass. I too loved this episode and was especially surprised at how well Nene did. Overall pretty good for a Glee episode and I think the ladies rocked the vocals this week.

    • Anonymous

      Mixed feelings about this episode.  Some really good numbers and some strong acting.  You could just see Jayma Mays and Matt Morrison giving it everything they had to one of their very rare story lines, trying to compensate for the  lame writing–along with Eric Stoltz, their consistently best director.

      Don’t really buy Sam and Mercedes as a couple, but it made for some nice numbers, so I can live with it.

      Finn’s story line was actually good–it was nice of them to allow his mother a scene–most of the time she’s invisible.

      However, the continued destruction of Will Schuester’s character is just annoying.  It goes along with Glee losing its balance between the teen and adult world–the contrast of which was a key part of the original show.

      At this point, Glee’s pandering to its younger MP-buying, concert-attending preteen fanbase means the darker, edgier twists are whitewashed and awkwardly sentimentalized.  The writers don’t know what to do with the adults, while the teens no longer act like teens.  Would a 35-year-old man ask an 18-year-old student to be his best man?  Unlikely, but we get that because at this point the writers are almost writing as if Schue and Finn are the age of the actors–and there’s what? A four-year-difference between Corey Monteith and Matt Morrison?  

      From a musical standpoint–it makes no sense for Will not to sing a love song to or a duet with Emma.  But I guess this is part of the continuing effort to destroy Matt Morrison’s career.  He’s going to need to play someone funny and slimey with adults only to pull it back together.  

      Did like Wedding Belle Blues–with the Sue and Bieste as bridesmaids–particularly with the nod to the royal wedding hats.

      And Nene sounded like Nene–little wonder she was able to deliver the lines.

    • Anonymous

      Twitter was blowing up last night over Will’s shit-tastic behavior.

      Also, what a fantastic arrangement of “The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face.” Trivia – most people equate the song with Roberta Flack, but it was actually written by Ewan McColl, a folk singer, in 1957. Ostensibly, he wrote it as a love song to Peggy Seeger (half-sister of Pete Seeger.) McColl was married to someone else at the time, but he and Seeger ended up being together until the end of his life, with three children and three decades of amazing love and music making.

      Class dismissed. ;-)

      • Anonymous

        Thanks prof! As a fellow nerd I live for random factoids like this…

        As for the ep, it got closer to serving up the old Glee magic that got me hooked on the show in the first place. Agreed that the idea of Schue having Finn as a best man and “learning everything about being a man” from him was icky. And his reaction to Emma when he told her no (which I do agree was a ruse in some respects) was still a fucked up ruse.

        But Sue was spot on, Becky was endearing-and fab-with Helen on the vocals, and loved so many of the numbers. Hope they keep up the magic for longer than a week…

    • http://twitter.com/aStudiobytheSea Jody Lee

      Honestly, I grew up listening to the likes of Glenda Jackson or Glynis Johns.  Becky’s english lady voice I thought was pretty undistinguished, like they could have found some actress with a more amusing sound.  But the stunt casting explains it all.

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1046681022 Paula Berman

        Couldn’t you tell that was Helen Mirren, Queen of Fanfuckingtastica? Her voiceover rocked and was the only thing I really liked in the whole episode.

    • Anonymous

      So done with this show

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_WKSM57KFWUGRMKPDUW4SPL3GDM Kathryn

      Matthew Morrison is one fine chunk o’ man!!! Mmmmmmm!

    • http://ymwlt.blogspot.com/ Dawn Sinclair

      I’m betting they all sing Star Maker to Will at the end!

      dxx

    • http://twitter.com/poptartsjen Pop Tarts Jen

      I loved the Summer Lovin’ number but I’m a total dork for musicals so every time they do a showtune or a movie musical number I freak out. It’s what I wish my life were like … people backing me up as I sing.

      I thought it was an OK episode … not great, but I am glad for the Sam/Mercedes love and I loved Becky’s internal monologue in a British accent (though I didn’t realize it was Helen Mirren … even more bitchin’!) Also, when Santana made a smartass comment after Rachel’s song … hell yeah! It made her overwrought song worth sitting through.

      I did HATE Schue in this episode, and I don’t always get in on the Schue hate. But really? Announcing he’s going to propose to Emma to the Glee club? Taking Finn with him to buy the ring? Making Finn his best man? Ratting Finn out to his parents with no warning or urging to have him do it himself? Being an asshole to Emma about her mental illness? Blech. He sucks.

    • http://twitter.com/drnels Nels P. Highberg

      Anyone else think it was odd to have Artie sing the lead in a mashup about dancing and jumping (Moves Like Jagger/Jumpin’ Jack Flash)?

      • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_IHWCJIMARF4OOW6PQZQS3RFOOA JillK

        Uh, yeah. Totally wrong.

      • Anonymous

        I thought his voice was perfectly suited for that song! 

        • http://twitter.com/drnels Nels P. Highberg

          His voice was great. I just got a little creeped out that he’s singing about dancing like Mick Jagger when he’s paralyzed.

          • Anonymous

            The show did something very similar with the first episode of Glee. They just treat him the same as all the other characters.

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_IHWCJIMARF4OOW6PQZQS3RFOOA JillK

      I think you guys TOTALLY missed the point of Will turning Emma down and having to come up with a believable reason on the spot —

      HE DIDN’T WANT TO BLOW HIS SURPRISE PROPOSAL!

      He had to say no to her. And he had to come up with a reason she’d buy for why he’d be saying no.

      C’mon TLO, how could you have missed that so badly?

      • Anonymous

        Well, that’s not what came across, but it certainly makes more sense than what was written.

      • http://www.tomandorenzo.com Tom and Lorenzo

        That’s not how it happened. Will had the surprise proposal set up for him by Sam, whose idea it was, after he admitted to the glee club that he needed some time to think about his options.

        • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_IHWCJIMARF4OOW6PQZQS3RFOOA JillK

          Of course it’s how it happened. He had the surprise proposal in mind all along, he just hadn’t picked the song or venue he wanted to use yet. He ultimately went with Sam’s idea, but the proposal idea was there all along. All he told the kids he wanted to think about were the song options, not whether or not he wanted to go through with it at all.

          • http://www.tomandorenzo.com Tom and Lorenzo

            Sorry, but you’re simply making up things you want to be true. There was not one thing in the script to indicate that he always planned on proposing and never had any doubts. Will had doubts planted in his mind by her parents, and then expressed those doubts to her and to his students. It’s all there in the script. You’re proposing something – actually, you’re insisting on it – that isn’t indicated anywhere in anyone’s words or actions and in fact contradicts some of them. Why did Will look so concerned with what her parents said? Why did he sound so dejected when he told his students he needed to look at his options? Why did he look so sad after that conversation with Emma?

    • http://www.facebook.com/ariarhea Ashley Ray-Harris

      “Instead we got storylines with Mercedes and Sam, Artie and Becky (which led to a truly sweet scene between Becky and Sue), Will and Emma, and a rather major plotline for Finn which ties into the theme of the season (“What do we do after we graduate?”) and offers us an end-development that’s probably going to lead to tears and lots of torchy solo numbers. That’s not bad. Throw NeNe and Helen Mirren into the mix and you’ve got yourself a pretty decent episode of Glee.”

      Throw all those things in and you get an insane episode of Glee with too many plotlines. The Artie/Becky plot was great. Mercedes and Sam? Sure, why not? The major army/dad plotline for Finn? TOO MUCH! The audience had no idea that finn’s father’s military service mattered that much to him or that he was ever considering this. It was all just rushed out so Finn could feel sad and propose. It could’ve been really interesting and great, to see Finn realize he has to find his own path and come to terms with the truth about his dad. Instead, we got a few shots of Finn looking sad and complaining. 

      Hell, I was even ok with NeNe and Helen Mirren, those parts were fantastic.

    • Jessica O’Connell

      Ok just watched and I fully agree – Will pulled some major douchey-ness there. I couldn’t believe his conversation with Emma. I understand where it came from, and honestly it’s an important conversation to have, but he did a REALLY shitty job with it. Poor Emma, you could just see her heart breaking.

      I actually think it was all in all a pretty good episode. Like you said, just take Will out. Sam and Mercedes are adorable and Rachel’s “Without You” was pretty great. Will probably be downloading that one.

    • Jolene Barnett

      Eh, story.

      I was impressed that they actually gave Lea Michelle a song that worked for her vocal range. She does fine usually, but her solo this week actually suited her voice and strengths. More power ballads please. Her voice sounds so thin when she can’t belt a song out the way she wants to, so they may as well let her go for it.

    • Anonymous

      During the whole ring shopping scene, I was like, “why would you take Finn and not Kurt, Will?” and then Will asked Finn to be his best man and I rolled my eyes so hard I think I sprained something.

      The real creeper part was about how Finn wouldn’t let him do anything too awful at his bachelor party, or whatever the line was.  Boundaries indeed.  (even as a joke, that’s all kinds of ick to say to his student.)

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1046681022 Paula Berman

        It’s also totally unprofessional and insane to ask a student to be your best man. Does will have absolutely no friends?

    • Anonymous

      This review is so interesting to me.  This is the first episode I’ve ever been able to watch in “real time” (on t.v.), and so I had no spoilers (or input from TLo as to how to view it).  And I HATED most of it.  The plot twist that Finn’s dad didn’t die in action but instead was a drug-addled PTSD victim burned me up.  I’m a bleeding heart liberal, btw, but jeez, Finn’s love and respect for his late dad was the single sort of conservative and traditional thing in the show, and the show’s using such a cheap plot twist as a single-issue reason for Finn not to join the military…  no.  I really wanted to hear what a pair of loving parents would say to a son who was thrashing around about his future and making an impulsive choice to join the military.  It’s really not a bad choice for some kids, and maybe Finn is one of them– but as a parent, how do you help your kid negotiate that decision?  Finn has a lot more choices than he thinks (why is he not looking at playing ball for a smaller school?) and I think that’s where I would have gone with that conversation–  also, if McKinley suddenly has a syncronized swimming team with a tough coach– how did that happen?  That coach looks like a fierce foil for Sue…    outside of that, I loved the Helen Mirren thing, and NeNe (who I had never seen or heard of before– I kept wondering what semi-famous person she was). 

    • Anonymous

      Did you actually laugh at all during this episode? I don’t think I did. I thought this show was a comedy at one point though?
      I did smile at the “We Found Love” number, as cheesy as it was. Good job on that.

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_LGAKNANTSBR3YYEWLZDNT35IIY Whatever

      Seriously, I love you guys. I always wish I had uncles like you instead of the drunk crazy ones I have. The thought and detail you put into your critique is amazing. I disagree with you about 20% of the time, but damnit if you aren’t profound. you’re like my ebert for fashion and some television shows. too bad you guys didnt view ‘Homeland.’  how do you guys do it?

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=35701887 Sara McKinney

      I think I’m one of the few people who didn’t have a big problem with Will in this episode. IMO, ALL of his concerns were completely valid, and I think it was good that he told Emma about them. I thought it was obvious that he wasn’t trying to be mean or cruel. They NEEDED to have that conversation, and there was just no way to do that without hurting Emma’s feelings. Even though it hurt her to hear, she needed to face reality. I don’t think she had given much thought to how her OCD could complicate and possibly even ruin their lives if they decided to have children.

    • Anonymous

      I thought it was a fantastic episode. One of the best in a long time…I tend to disagree with the 2 sides to every character complaint. High school was several years ago for me now,but kids in high school are very two sided, very hot and cold, very one way with some people and another with others. They tend to start and stop friendships like underwear…It is more bothersome with adult characters when this happens…