S1E13: Valentine’s Day is one of those holidays that never goes right on most television shows, and this week’s New Girl takes this notion and runs with it. Rather than set up perfect Valentine’s Day plans that go terribly wrong, they set up awful Valentine’s plans and guess what? They go right! Well, for everyone except Jess, but someone has to take position of comic relief. The good news is, the story progresses a little further this week – a sliver of a centimeter for Jess and Nick and a big ol’ leap for Schmidt and Cece. There’s not really much on the line on this show, but this episode dealt one of its few face cards.
”Tonight is all about what little Jess wants.” –Jess
As a newly single lady, Jess is “stoked” to spend her first Valentine’s Day trolling for dudes. She drags Schmidt along with her as she attempts to attract men with her overnight sex bag and lifetime supply of condoms. At first, Jess makes a genuine connection with a cute, nerdy guy at the bar, but as Cece said earlier and Schmidt says immediately: one-night stands cannot be based on an actual connection. She needs someone who doesn’t click with her in any way outside of the physical realm. Enter guest star Ryan Kwanten, who sadly was not making use of his God-given Aussie accent. Instead, he spends most of his dialogue trying to remember whether his tacos from Tuesday lunch had avocado or cheese.
She decides to use her giant box of condoms on the dummy, and she asks Schmidt to give the two of them a ride to Oliver’s place. Everything about this is wrong. He invites Schmidt to watch Planet of the Apes with them; he lives in a bad neighborhood and “yoothz” (Schmidt for youths, or young people) take the tires off the car; oh and Oliver’s ex-girlfriend, who is definitely the reacher in the relationship, is still living with him. Things get nuts when Jess has Cece and her shroomed out DJ (bastard of a) boyfriend try to pick Schmidt up so Jess can get it on. Next thing you know, Cece and Oliver’s ex are getting into fisticuffs over Cece’s hulking manslut and Schmidt has to carry the warring model out. Jess is finally left to get back to business with Oliver, but he starts crying because he misses his ex (who is literally sitting 10 feet away). Jess doesn’t make it happen, and we all breathe a sigh of relief. Ryan Kwanten or not, that situation was about as seedy as it gets. We had to know Jess couldn’t really pull off an overnight sex party. She calls it an overnight sex party for godsakes. But we learned one valuable lesson: something about not sleeping with hot guys because you’re too nice and they might be in love with their crazy ex-girlfriends and live in bad neighborhoods? Okay, we learned that Jess is a sweetheart who can’t take what she wants when she knows she can help someone instead. That’s better.
“I’ve got a nose strip on my face, man.” –Winston
Both Nick and Winston wind up spending their evenings with more quirky cohorts than expected. Nick surprises Julia with champagne at her office, but she’s working all night, so he’s stuck chatting up her horny little intern, Cliff. With the champagne prematurely open, Nick is a little tipsy and spills his guts about why he quit law school, causing the intern to quit in a firey display of anger. Julia’s rightfully pissed, but Nick comes back and does all the intern’s work for him – making us pretty sure that this alterna-Jess relationship is sticking around for a while. They both made each other care about Valentine’s Day, but it’s too bad Julia’s job cuts that short. And if we know anything about sitcoms, long office hours means an incoming fight and potential breakup.
Winston, who’s creeping into more relevant territory, spends Valentine’s Day with Shelby, his former hook-up buddy. She invites him over to what he thinks is a date, but it’s actually a girls night in. Luckily for Winston, living with Jess has afforded him some feminine insight and he’s able to bond with the ladies, winning him a big Valentine’s Day kiss from his lady. It may just be the sway of his romantic appeal, but if that’s what it takes to make us actually care about the usually flat character, then so be it.
”Don’t overthink it.” –Schmidt
Finally, we have the last little scene. Schmidt coaches Jess on one-night stands, saying she picked all wrong. He says it should be someone she knows and who won’t get weird about it. She immediately thinks he’s talking about himself, but when Nick catches her at Schmidt’s door with a thousand-pack of condoms he wrestles her away from the door. (This is that sliver of a centimeter I mentioned in the intro – I said it was small!) And here’s the big one: Cece is actually in Schmidt’s room after being treated awfully by Kyle the shroom king. The next morning they’re cuddly, but it seems Cece is having second thoughts. Cece and Schmidt are kind of perfect for each other, which means they’re going to drag this thing out as long as they can. Plus, Cece’s not going to keep this up without a fight – she has standards and they don't allow for a Schmidty relationship.
Do you think Winston is a flat character? Are you hoping for more Schmidt and Cece? Do you think Julia has almost run her course? Let me know in the comments or get at me on Twitter @KelseaStahler.
S3E3: Glee continues to keep the interesting storylines coming – and without any interruption from Sugar Motta! (Though I’m sure she’ll be back next week.) No longer do characters make empty threats and then come back with smiling faces at the end of the episode and while some of our issues seems to be wrapped up nicely – like Kurt’s sweet gesture to Blaine when he tells him he hopes he gets Tony (he does) –we know things are going to get messier down the road, so we’ll enjoy their little happy moments while they last.
“When I saw you dance, it’s when I fell in love with you.” –Tina
In case you were wondering, the “Asian F” title refers to Mike Chang’s storyline this week – because he’s a series regular now! He got an A- with all the hard work he’s dedicating to glee and football outside of his classes. This of course brings his father into the school to insist he quits glee or breaks up with Tina or he’ll be forced to assume Mike is taking drugs and that’s why he’s doing “poorly.” Mike promises to work with a chemistry tutor so he can keep dancing.
The result is a handful of scenes that really showcase our latest regular – and my potential new favorite. The first is one in which Mike uses the dance studio for practice and imagines his father telling him dance isn’t a career and then imagines Tina being sweet and encouraging. It’s this vision that convinces him to try out for the singing part in West Side Story and his performance of “Stay Cool” is one of my favorite in recent memory. Where has that voice been? The combination of his moves and he newfound voice are a severely untapped resource. This plot is brought home when his mother finds him and says she supports his dreams and she understands because she once dreamed of being a dancer. He teaches her to dance right there, and suddenly Mike’s character is the big leagues – and he brought a tear to my eye.
“Forget West Side Story, this is Clash of the Titans.” -Puck
Now that Kurt and Blaine are no longer vying for the Tony role, it’s all about Rachel vs. Mercedes. When her boyfriend tells her to stop acting like she has to beat Rachel and start believing that she’s amazing and that Rachel is the one who needs to surpass her, Mercedes stumps the directors with her show-stopping performance of “Spotlight.” They aren’t sure who to choose. They order a second audition with a song of their choosing, but not before the issue starts to get to Mercedes.
At dance practice, she can’t complete one of the moves and Schue calls her out. She wheels around and demands to know why Schue only puts pressure on her and not Rachel. She storms out and Schue says she’s out of New Directions, but not before we witness her in the Effie role from Dreamgirls as she tells off the entire dance class and leaves. Later, she faces off against Rachel and she’s clearly the better choice, but the judges decide to double cast the role. This is the final straw for Mercedes, who declines the offer and removes herself from the production altogether. Of course, I think we all saw it coming when she showed up in Shelby’s office offering to join her new glee club.
“So you’re cool flushing McKinley High’s future down the magical poop-stealing water chair?” –Brittany
Kurt’s now focusing all of his attention on running for student council and while he seems to be ahead in the polls at the start of the episode, Brittany runs through the student body with a viral video campaign of her performing “Run the World” by Beyonce to promote McKinley having the first female student body president (which still seems a little archaic to me). Her amazing performance – Mercedes and Rachel who? The dancers are the ones killing it this episode – seems to hook the female half of the students and it puts the fear in Kurt.
But it gets more complicated. When she thinks she’s going to lose the Maria role, Rachel gets desperate. She needs something for her NYADA application, so she throws her selfish hat in the student council ring. Kurt tells her what she needs to hear, which is that she’s putting material accomplishments before her friends and she’ll regret it. And it looks like she really will. After she gets the Maria role all to herself, she decides not to back down from the student council run. Finn’s disappointment is about as palpable as anything Finn ever does, but it’s not a pretty. She’s getting out of control and it could cost her Finn once again – the strange thing is that the prospect of their split doesn’t seem all that upsetting anymore. Maybe it’s the lack of romantic rivals?
“I was a bachelor for a long time. This kept me off Craigslist.” –Schue
Before we get into the real issue here, can we pause a moment to say “WHAT?” Schue not only brings out his secret stash of what we can assume are Playboys, but he implies that the only alternative for a single guy is random hookups on Craigslist. Whoa. That’s pretty ballsy, Glee.
Anyway, Will finds Emma’s stash of wedding magazines and starts thinking about their future. He’s worried that he hasn’t met her parents and after seeing a signed photo from Vera Wang that reads “Marry Up” – seriously, where the hell did that come from? – he thinks that Emma is ashamed of him. Beiste convinces him that he’s a catch and that if Emma won’t introduce her parents, he needs to bring them to him. So he does – and it turns out Emma was embarrassed of them because they’re awful ginger supremacist people who call Emma “freaky deaky” because of her OCD.
We finally see a little of the Season One Will when he stands up to her parents on her behalf and later, when Emma is still distraught over their behavior, he’s at her side to comfort her. They really are making this relationship more robust instead of letting it be just a fluffy little teacher romance on the side, which is wonderful.
This week leaves us with less of a cliff-hanger and more of a look towards the future. We’ll soon see Shelby’s choir forming, student elections coming down to the wire and the West Side Story production taking place. Oh and then there are those two other untouched issues of Sue’s political campaign and Quinn’s quest to regain custody of Beth. Things are likely going to get a whole lot more complicated before they get better, and with a dramedy, that’s exactly what we need. Just no more Mr. Schue falcetto, okay? That "Fix You" rendition was sweet, but a little weird.
S3E2: Glee, as the Aussies say, good on ya. It seems the series really is inching back towards that feeling we all got hooked on in Season One. Sure there are still plenty of kinks to be worked out – go away, Sugar Motta – but the storylines are stronger, the emotional connections are more poignant and the stakes are higher. This could be Glee’s comeback season after wheeling out of control last season.
“We’re going to all it ‘Kurt Hummel’s Bulging Pink Fun Sack.’” – Brittany
Let’s start with this whole “unicorn” notion. Of course, it’s a Brittany-ism; unicorns are special people who understand how special they are. As Burt Hummel says, a unicorn with a horn is “just a freakin’ horse.” So, Brittany wants to use this metaphor to help Kurt win his campaign for class president. There’s just one problem: Kurt doesn’t want to appear “that gay.” By the time Britt starts putting up posters, Kurt berates her and essentially fires her.
Then Santana, who’s not completely heartless, steps in and convinces Brittany that she should run, even though she thought she wasn’t smart enough, Santana convinces her she is. Of course, Kurt holds no hard feelings, but it’s still not easy for him to accept that he’s got Britt as competition. But more on that in a minute.
“You look like a Real Housewife of Reno.” –Puck
Quinn continues to trudge along with the Skanks, chain-smoking and terrorizing girls for lunch money, when Sue asks her to be a part of her arts-smear campaign by being the subject of a video about how the arts ruined her life. This quickly falls apart when Quinn confronts Schue, plays the victim, and gets what’s coming to her: a demand for her to grow up and stop blaming her problems on others.
This is bolstered when Shelby Corcoran (Idina Menzel) returns as Sugar Motta’s own personal choir director (a plot so inane I’m not even going to acknowledge its presence – but at least it brought us Idina). She wants Quinn and Puck to be in baby Beth’s life since she regrets never being in Rachel’s – a thought brought on by her beautiful impromptu duet with her daughter – but not if Quinn is still trying to be a badass. After Puck so sweetly visits Beth, Quinn decides she wants to see the baby too, but Shelby insists she clean up her act first. She flips quickly to rejoining the Glee club with newly dyed blonde locks, but her inner struggle isn’t solved that quickly (thank God). She’s just keeping up appearances to help her new goal: getting custody of Beth. Duh-duh-duh.
This is going to be good – and that’s only one side of the Shelby coin. We still have to deal with the Rachel side, which was cracked open ever so gently when she gave Rachel audition advice and sang “Somewhere There’s Place For Us” with her.
“We need an anti-Sue.” –Bieste
With Mike Chang’s Booty Camp dance classes well underway and handing off the glee musical to Bieste, Emma, and Artie, Schue’s got more time to focus on taking down Sue. When Quinn returns to the Glee club, Sue uses it as ammunition, painting Quinn as an addict, returning the clean-cut ways of the Glee club from her Skank life. Right. Somehow, this psycho-babble campaign is working, and she’s become number one in the polls, which means they need someone else: [Spoiler if you didn’t see our post last week] that someone else is going to be Burt Hummel.
I get why this plot is here, but the notion that Americans really would turn so vehemently against something as wholesome and nurturing as the glee club is beyond me. Sure, they may support budget cuts, but this “war on arts” thing is a little over the top – even for this show.
“You’re gay, and not like Rock Hudson gay.” –Burt
The class president campaign isn’t the only place Kurt is finding trouble with his image. He’s also feeling left out with regard to the Glee club. Rachel is the obvious pick for Maria in West Side Story, and the plan was for Kurt to play Tony so they could both have ammunition for their NYADA auditions. The rub is that no one wants Kurt to play Tony – well, except for Emma. He auditions beautifully, and adeptly with a Barbra Streisand song but it only serves to exacerbate the fact that Artie sees him as delicate and Bieste thinks he’s too much of a lady.
After he auditions a second time with Rachel and a scene from Romeo and Juliet and is laughed offstage (which only makes sense for plot because the performance wasn’t in any way laughable), he approaches Burt with his issue. He wants to nab the leading romantic roles, but he has to tone it down to do so. Burt sides with Brittany – why hide his unicorn horn? He should start forging the path for new types of leading men who are more akin to his style – he needs to be a pioneer. Now this is an after-school-special type moment that I can get on board with because it’s something current and pressing for many young high school kids and for the arts in general. It’s an issue that deserves to be explored.
Still it seems that Kurt isn’t quite ready to move forward with this notion. When he watches Blaine’s magnetic audition song, “Something’s Coming” – which lends an optimistic tone to Burt’s words about creating new roles – he overhears Artie ask Blaine if he’s consider auditioning for Tony instead of Bernardo. We’re left on an actual cliff-hanger for once as Kurt storms out and Blaine stands there, speechless, with a quivering lip.
Thank God you’re back Glee. I knew you had it in you. Who’s ready for next week’s episode? This girl.