Wednesday, 2 November 2011

3x03 - Asian F

Hiatus is over today and I realised I never posted my thoughts about Asian F! So while I watch and write my thoughts on the new episode for Hypable’s recap, my write-up of 3.03 is here:

Major storylines - 

Mercedes: I don't get her deal. Are they meant to be saying that she's legitimately sick or hurt, or is she faking, lazy, or slacking off when the rest of them are working hard? If she really is sick or hurt by the physical work, is it meant to be because of her weight or fitness? 

I really, really hate her boyfriend. Like, a lot. He’s supportive, yeah, but to the point that he disregards her actual feelings about things outside competition. And you know what? Yes, Mercedes, people have told you that you're better than Rachel - on many occasions, with certain performances - you know who has mainly told you that? RACHEL, in her own weird ways. Also, why is it that her boyfriend's confidence in her has made her so apparently changed and mature and powerful, or whatever they said about her audition with Spotlight? (which I found a. boring and b. in no way a showcase to prove her a good Maria) Not that I really care either way, because I hate her, but her self-confidence shouldn't just be about a guy, right? She doesn't need other people to believe in her for her to believe in herself - no one ever got success that way. Yet she never had that drive on her own, has admitted it to Rachel in the past. She's naturally good and wants automatic credit for that, but when it comes down to it she isn't driven enough to work for what she wants.

Her attitude to Rachel when they are offered callbacks is just vile. She's known Rachel for three years and Rachel's little comment about how it can't appear as if they're just giving her the part is much in line with her comment last episode about assuming Mr Schue meant she'd be directing the musical - it's a defense mechanism, just little bits of her crazy fantasy coming out of her mouth, and when they're shot down she takes it quietly. Someone who's known her for that long, who has become her friend, should be aware of that, it should produce no more than an eyeroll. But Mercedes' response towards her when Rachel offers her congratulations is just gross, and it gets so much worse in the next booty camp scene, where she can't do the moves, and when Will asks her if she even practiced, her response is not "yes, of course" it's just "stop picking on me, blah blah Rachel, I've outgrown all of you. *knocks over mic stand*" It is an absolutely horrid and un-called for moment, like it just makes me say "what the fuck is wrong with you?"

This leads into the Dreamgirls dream sequence, which is probably the best and most ‘realistic’ surreal scene Glee has ever done. Now, it's no secret I really don't like anything about Mercedes, including her voice. It's fine, but it isn't, to me, in any way special or noticeable. A lot of black girls can sing like that and that style, to me, while good quality, technically flawless, is bland. Nothing she has ever done has moved me. It bores me and even on the Glee Live tour, her solo was the one where I'd tune out and check my phone. But aside from her voice - I have NEVER liked her character. So it made me very happy to see her being called out - particularly the fact that Kurt was involved, because I feel they have definitely outgrown their friendship and that it was a pretty shallow friendship to begin with. They stuck with each other when they literally had no one else, but it started out creepy (with Mercedes thinking they were dating) and really came to a head in Substitute, I believe, for two reasons - Kurt saying Mercedes is using him as a replacement boyfriend, and Mercedes tuning out at dinner when Kurt and Blaine were discussing gay rights. That was the moment when I gave her the red card and it upset me so much that Blaine felt he had to say "let's talk about something we're all interested in" - it's like, bitch, this kid is meant to be your best friend and you don't care about his basic human rights - particularly you coming from a minority that, less than 50 years ago, also did not have basic human rights? Cool, so you'll just tune out? That's fine. Go home. I will never forgive her for that.

Anyway, "It's All Over" was pretty awesome - I like that they twisted around the parts without changing the lyrics to create those awkward Brittany/Santana and Kurt/Finn moments. I liked that they had Puck slightly on her side, seeing as they always had a weird kind of connection. It was kind of weird that they changed people's names from the original lyric, yet still referenced Mercedes as "Effie" - and also, in Dreamgirls, the reason behind Effie's illness and slacking ends up being because she was pregnant... which is of course making fandom wonder if they're doing that with Mercedes, which I do not believe. However I do want to know if her illness/weakness is real or if she just complains more than everyone else.

The diva-off has honestly been done so many times before that I tuned out a little, but Kurt – honestly, if you think you’re going to be talking about this for the rest of your lives, you can’t have a very interesting life planned. Both girls were good, but the cutting between means neither really got the chance to show off their performance onscreen. I disagree with Rachel’s statement that Mercedes was better than her – she was about equal. My favourite thing about the entire situation was supportive-boyfriend!Finn.

Rachel’s reaction to the double-casting genuinely impressed me – I thought she’d take it much worse. She does that little defense/fantasy thing I mentioned above at first, but, again, when corrected, takes it quietly and graciously. Whereas Mercedes’ reaction was just… so horrid. I don’t get it – does she think that she won the role, that everyone thought she was better, but they double-cast because no one wanted to tell Rachel “no”? Because I don’t feel that was the case at ALL. Artie’s right – it is a “stupid pride thing” and if she’d rather let that get in the way of having fun and peforming then good riddance to her.

Emma and Will: First of all, I actually wanted to throw myself under a truck when I realised that Will was going to show Emma his porn. Please no more references to Will's penis ever. Please?  I don't like that he keeps making these little hints and barbs about having sex with her. And "kept me off of Craigslist"? Really? Are you seriously that randy? But why is it a shock that Emma has a stash of wedding magazines anyway? Remember how she was actually engaged to one guy, and hosted a wedding just to cancel it last-minute? Of course you don't. But anyway, the storyline with her parents was actually surprisingly well-done given the ridiculous “ginger supremacist” premise. They actually, somehow, made that somewhat workable and realistic, and Will calling them out was good - though probably added to Emma's anxiety, however he should not have put Emma through that in the first place after she’d asked him not to. Does no one on this show ever communicate outside the moments we see them on screen? (see: Kurt/Blaine also) Also - didn’t Emma’s OCD stem from falling into the runoff at a dairy? Wasn’t that a thing? Oh Glee, even when you manage to make something realistic and touching, you fuck it up by making it contradict your own canon. LOVE YOU SO MUCH, GLEE. “Fix You” was such a waste of a brilliant song – they could have done that at competition, all chanting in unison on the chorus, it would have been haunting, but they gave it to Will… sigh… and while it was nicely done, with the prayers and cutting over the casting announcements and all, I am a little sick of Will’s attitude about “fixing” Emma. He may have her best interests at heart, but he’s very forceful about it in a way that I do not feel is helpful or healthy for someone so fragile.

Mike: I feel like I can't comment too much on his storyline without dealing without addressing racial stereotypes of a minority I don't belong to and therefore have no right to pass judgement on. I don't know if his father's behaviour is realistic or not - because it's Glee, i'm going to guess not, especially the specific dialogue used, however I can understand the issue of any student being held back from extra-curriculars because of academics. I think Harry Shum Jr did a great job reacting genuinely and emotionally to his on-screen father, and that scene of him dancing alone in the studio is quite amazing. I wish there was a way to have shown his inner monologue without making him look like he was hallucinating, but the points were so valid - especially about the threat of injury, which was something a dancer friend of mine was dealing with at the exact time the episode aired. The Tina fantasy was a bit weird, as was her previous scene with him - it's like nearly every line they give her is exposition and not very natural, which is a shame. They do it in the choir room scenes as well sometimes, they give her lines that are basically to explain the situation to the audience, like "so it's a _____" which is getting kind of old. She needs stronger plots, especially if she is one of the few remaining cast members still at McKinley in season 4.

But anyway. Mike's actual audition is amazing. I've seen some arguments about the song choice, because in the film "Cool" is a song done after Riff dies, and that's where the very famous floorwork/kneepad choreography comes from, but in the actual stage show it IS Riff's song, so, whatever. He looked amazing and sounded fine - definitely passable for that role in a high school show and I seriously hope we get to see him and Blaine act together as Riff and Tony. At the end, when Bieste comments about him wasting his time teaching the footballers the choreography, his response is one of those moments of Glee where for a second I feel like I'm watching a genuine drama show - perfect emotional delivery. I can't wait to see Harry act in more serious roles, such as the upcoming White Frog.  And the bit with his mother was so sweet, though I found it a bit convenient that her dream had been dancing too. Surely sometime in the past 17 years, this had been discussed, as Mike’s dancing has not been a secret, at least since he joined Glee?

Kurt/Brittany/Rachel/presidency: Although Kurt's line about Brittany "whimsically hopping and skipping" alongside his running made me laugh out loud, I think that with Santana behind her, helping her translate and express her ideas, Brittany legitimately is making some good points and appealing to the female population to vote will probably work. I loved Sue and Emma awkwardly dancing in the pep rally. But Rachel.. oh, Rachel. You are incredibly irrational and your fear drives you to do very stupid things, I understand, but your running was really not cool – specifically as you were the one to suggest and encourage Kurt in the first place. But here’s the thing – when Kurt confronts her about her candidacy, it was him I was rolling my eyes at. Rachel was desperate and selfish and thoughtless, and she’s wrong, but she was NOT being malicious, but Kurt’s spiel about how if she won it would help her college chances but if he won it would make a difference for kids like him? Please. Please. This is the first word we are hearing about his campaign having any altruistic motives – he originally applied for exactly the same reason as her, and it’s only now, when challenged, that he has invented some moral high ground to take in order to fight with her. I’m not saying that it isn’t a valid platform for him to use, or something he wouldn’t be concerned about, but that was NOT his original motive and he’s acting like it was in order to be superior, and I kind of want to smack him. Yeah, Rachel’s in the wrong, but she’s so socially unaware that she isn’t secretive or manipulative about it, she doesn’t hide her ambition – Kurt tries to give himself moral superiority through emotionally manipulating and cutting others down. They both need to knock it off. And does Kurt really think that Rachel wouldn’t have his issues at heart if she did win? She has a rainbow flag in her locker. Even though her and Kurt are having issues right now, this is yet another aspect of why they have the potential to be legitimate best friends forever, whereas Mercedes will end up being someone Kurt forgets. Rachel was probably educated in and supporting gay rights before even Kurt was.

Little things:

- Does Figgins still seriously believe Tina is a vampire? Does she dress up as one to get him to do her bidding, or was that a figment of his imagination?

- Bieste is so fucking awesome, she is one of my favorite characters and one of the only people on this show who talks sense.

- Kurt/Blaine: I'm going to try and not spend too long on this because they weren't an A-plot, but their one scene didn't sit well with me. I'm pretty sure we were meant to find it cute. I didn't find it cute. I didn't exactly say "oh, it wasn't genuine" or think it was sinister as much as I know some other people were saying about it, but what stuck with me was the "You always zig when I think you're about to zag." line - THAT just left me thinking "oh, awesome, so Blaine expected Kurt to be shitty about it? That's healthy." Giving Blaine support, the flowers, it was the right move on Kurt's part, for sure, but the fact it was an afterthought is what still worries me. it's good that he came to that conclusion, whether it was because he really felt it or because he knew objectively, despite jealousy, it was the right thing to do. But it was once again an afterthought, whereas Blaine's choices always seem to be Kurt's happiness first. It's his automatic compulsion, and the fact that Kurt's automatic compulsion isn't Blaine is what makes me think that dynamic can never really be good, because I still don't think you can LEARN to be automatically compelled to be selfless. At the end, when the cast list is announced, Kurt really seems to be struggling - he fakes happy for Blaine but is clearly still upset, and that is just... shouldn't they be talking about this? Is this going to keep being a plot point? Equally important, is that little moment on the stairs where Blaine held back from PDA going to be a plot point?

- I liked the booty camp scene where Will is encouraging Finn and is all "you can do it!" and Puck is like "no he can't" as like, a motivating bro move. It's a really cool and realistic moment of Puck and Finn's friendship. 

- All of Rachel's dress and hair choices this episode - flawless and I want them. 

- This was hyped as the best Glee episode ever. Cory Monteith said in an interview that if we did not feel that way he would give us all $20. Cory Monteith, you owe me $20.

1 comment:

  1. About the Mike storyline-- his father's behaviour is probably realistic (like you guys said on Gleechat), but his mom's is just... weird and awkward and too unrealistic to be sweet. There's no way she'd agree so quickly when the whole notion of her son dancing for life is a new one. She's also asian, after all, and even if she doesn't agree with the whole study conveyor belt, she knows all too well the extent of the pressure that Mike will get if he does his thing and would at least try to get him to truly consider what he's doing.

    About the Kurt/Blaine-- yeah, Blaine probably expected Kurt to be shitty about it, but that's just being someone who has ambitions. As in, it's something that Kurt has always wanted and to have Blaine be considered for his role, that's a gigantic wake-up call after his asking Blaine not to audition for Tony. I think it's asking too much of Kurt to be selfless to the point that he'd be unreservedly happy for Blaine when Blaine got Tony, of course he'd be disappointed and upset but he's trying not to show that to Blaine. For me it wasn't so much an afterthought as a Kurt needed time to come to terms with it before he could bring himself to be able to genuinely support Blaine. (which I think he did really feel, rather than doing it objectively because that doesn't seem like something Kurt would do in the first place. Not a very objective guy).