S3E10: It’s hard to approach this recap because while I’m definitely in the boat of people who are just a few bits of sanity away holding a candle light vigil for Community. Yet, I really didn’t love this episode. Now, don’t get me wrong. It certainly ended on a sweet, satisfying moment that solidified just how much we’re going to miss our little Greendale family. And because of that, I’ll try my best to take some of that Christmas spirit and let it guide me to be a little sweeter even though there were moments of this episode that made me cringe.
”I’ll understand every scene because we’ll sing what we mean instead of making a face.” –Abed (singing)
While I don’t disagree with the criticisms this episode presents for its subject – Glee - I do disagree with a few of the ways the episode goes about it. First, let’s set the scene. The study group is in the cafeteria when the glee club comes in and starts singing terrible mashups of pop songs that should never be glee-ified. (I love that even Shirley vehemently hates the glee club.) Luckily, we’re saved from an unwelcome musical treat because ASCAP comes in and stops them from singing because of copyright laws. Thank God, because after hearing the songs that they came up with for the rest of the episode (Troy’s rap excluded) I was not all that impressed. Anyway, the notion that they can’t perform these songs at regionals lands the glee club in a mental hospital. This, of course, leads us into the point of the whole episode: glee absorbs the study group.
“That guy’s like human fro-yo.” –Troy
I couldn’t have said it better myself – and to Taran Killam’s credit, I don’t think anyone could have portrayed Mr. Rad(ison) quite as terrifyingly as he did. That being said, if I didn’t hate Glee’s Mr. Schue so fervently, I would have been really put off by this very basic caricature of him. He embarks on his sinister goal to get the entire study group in glee club (but Britta can play the silent tree) by ensnaring Abed with the idea that if the glee club’s Christmas pageant doesn’t happen, Christmas won’t happen. (Did anyone else notice the clay figures he had set up? That’s either creepy or a cute little homage to last year’s Christmas episode. Or both.) Abed’s great love of the season overtakes him and he joins the club as the signature Glee doo-wops bloop around in the background.
First he nabs Troy by suggesting that though he’s a Jehovah’s Witness, he can celebrate under the guise of “going behind enemy lines” to investigate the holiday. This leads to that rap – which was released earlier this week and may be my favorite part of the episode – and Donald Glover takes a backseat while Childish Gambino (Glover’s rap alter ego; Google it) takes over and just like that, Troy is taken. Then they take over the study room and turn it into a practice space. Using blatant nostalgic appeals to Pierce’s baby boomer demographic (and Troy’s hilarious Bob Dylan impression) they nab Pierce too.
”Look, eventually you hit a point of diminishing returns on the sexiness.” –Jeff
Next, they get Annie and she, in turn nabs Jeff with a “sexy” Betty Boop/Baby routine that honestly would not have been worth sitting through if it wasn’t for Jeff’s line at the end (see above). Yes, Glee over-sexualizes teenagers on occasion – and I’m the first one to point that out, among the series’ multitude of other flaws – but this version of the overall parody left a sour taste in my mouth. Though I’m sure it was really fun for Alison Brie to shoot the scene.
Finally, Pierce nabs Shirley with a gospel choir of young children singing about not being able to call Christmas Jesus’ birthday in school because of all the secular rules. Watching Shirley fight the urge to join the kids is probably one of my top five Shirley moments ever, but of course she eventually breaks and sings out the Lord’s name with the youngsters. This leaves Britta all alone, so she finds Jeff in the hall, but he turns around like a zombie from The Walking Dead, only instead of sunken eyes and festering wounds all over his body, he’s wearing a terrifying smile and a cardigan. Oh the horror!
”You do not get to call Britta the worst.” –Troy
Finally, it’s time for the Christmas pageant and everything’s going well – at least as well as the terrible original songs can go (and you can bet that, in and of itself, is also a dig at Glee’s little original songs stunt last season) – until Abed finds out the truth. Mr. Rad recruiting the group wasn’t about saving Christmas, it was about regionals. And if that wasn’t dastardly enough, Pierce’s welcome exclamations of “What the hell is regionals?” all episode certainly made sure we thought so.
Abed ruins the pageant by sending Britta out to sing “the song that’s in her heart,” which is basically a holiday version of her stoner pizza dance from the multiple timeline episode – but also a welcome respite from the lame holiday song that preceded it. This practically kills Mr. Rad, who all but admits he caused the first glee club’s bus crash and ran off, trying to feign that The Kings of Leon were there as a distraction – which was a bit of a cheap shot at the whole rivalry between the band and the Fox series. All this commotion temporarily ruins Christmas for Abed until the group comes to his door, singing Christmas carols and saying they want to spend the holiday together. They all gather in front of the TV together once more (just like they did last year and just like all their viewers were doing at that moment) to spend the holiday watching the Christmas specials on TV. And that last minute of the episode is why the whole thing worked.
I’m just as annoyed with Glee as the next person. It’s become lazy and it does put songs in place of actual dialogue or emotion, but there’s nothing wrong with that. It reminds me of the first documentary spoof Community did. Technically, it poked fun at the medium that many of the series’ Thursday night cohorts employ, but it was done so thoughtfully and carefully. It was done intelligently. This week’s episode, while parodying a show that is admittedly poorly-written most of the time and certainly doesn’t merit the praise of mockumentary shows like Parks and Recreation or The Office a few years ago, Community fans merit a better episode, better commentary, and better parody of the subject at hand. Luckily the episode landed on the right note, and that line, “We’ll see you after regionals,” was tinged with a little more sadness than it was likely originally intended due to the show’s circumstances. Plus, I have to admit, as half-assed as a lot of the parody bits were, the cast’s comedic timing and delivery always manage to make me laugh out loud. Who cares that the story was a bit weak this time around? It’s the last episode we have before the dreaded undetermined hiatus gets underway, and it’s Christmas. Let’s just cherish the episode for what it is – and I’ll try to ignore the weird dance moves Jeff was doing in that pageant.
At his first day of Sky High Will Stronghold (Michael Angarano) the son of two of the greatest superheroes ever Commander (Kurt Russell) and Jetstream (Kelly Preston) shocks everyone by exhibiting absolutely no superpowers. To make matters worse Will inherits an archenemy and family foe in Warren Peace (Stevens Strait) who can shoot fire from his hands. But Will's "Sidekick" status is quickly upgraded to "Hero" when he realizes he possesses superhuman strength. Newfound status in tow Will deserts his geeky pals and falls for Gwen (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) a technopath who can control technology with her mind). But when Commander and Jetstream's biggest bounty the villainous Royal Pain comes back to threaten his family Will and his sidekick friends reunite to save them their friends and the destiny of Sky High. It's a tough first homework assignment but hey that's high school.
Veteran stars Kurt Russell (Miracle) and Kelly Preston (Eulogy) give comical performances as real estate agents by day superheroes by night but it's the younger cast that steals the show. Lords of Dogtown's Michael Angarano probably better known for his role as Jack's biological son Elliot on NBC's Will & Grace flawlessly depicts an angst ridden high schooler dealing with teen pressures. Meanwhile Mary Elizabeth Winstead (The Ring Two) who plays Will's love interest Gwen gives a first-class performance as the most popular--and most hated--girl in school. But the heart and soul of the movie resides in the sidekicks: Layla (Danielle Panabaker) Ethan (Dee-Jay Daniels) Zach (Nicholas Braun) and Magenta (Kelly Vitz) who round out a young cast of lovable outcasts. Also look for some surprisingly delightful performances from Lynda Carter (the original Wonder Woman) as the school principal cult favorite Bruce Campbell (The Evil Dead's Ash) as Coach Boomer and Kids in the Hall trooper Kevin McDonald as Mr. Medulla.
Director Mike Mitchell the man responsible for hilarious Rob Schneider comedy Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo and Ben Affleck's fiasco Surviving Christmas strips this family comedy of the violence normally associated with characters that go "ker-pow" in the in dark alleys and infuses it instead with a old-fashioned comic book feel. As a scene changer for example he flashes the Sky High logo across the screen. And the special effects were surprisingly dazzling: Super strength is demonstrated by smashing the entire gym floor and the flying bus that took them to and from school all add to the film's appeal. Everyone's power--whether it be flying freezing flaming stretching or speed--is shown seamlessly which makes the film so pleasantly watchable. While the students may be "saving the world one homework assignment at a time " Mitchell's comic-y touch is the key to the film's success.
The story of a shaggy, adorable, and abandoned stray dog named Boomer, as he tries to win the affections of a French Poodle named Celeste, and his experiences with the Sinclairs, the first family to adopt him.