Happy Endings is hanging by a thread at ABC. Heroes has been canceled since 2010. Pushing Daises has been, well, pushing up daisies since it went kaput almost four years ago. But fans needn't worry. The word "canceled" simply doesn't hold that much weight these days. Any defunct show can find new life on another network like Cougar Town did on TBS when ABC tried to kill it, or change everything about itself to stay afloat like The Killing on AMC, or raise enough money on Kickstarter to make a movie to tie up loose ends like Veronica Mars. In fact, in the wake of Mars' revival, Pushing Daisies creator Bryan Fuller tossed around the idea of a Kickstarter for his baby and more recently, MSN and XBox are eying ways to bring Heroes back to life.
As it turns out, the afterlife is a fertile place for a fallen TV series. And while fans may be rejoicing, we're all losing out in the long run.
It's something that's been a trickling process for years, and it's just now reaching a head. FX's Glenn Close-starrer Damages made the switch to what was then the new frontier on DirecTV when it was no longer lucritive for FX, and NBC sentenced the final season of Friday Night Lights to the same fate. Now, we find budding original content providers like TBS and Netflix picking up network scraps like Cougar Town and Arrested Development, hoping for enough success to build future content upon. And while those scraps may have been great and have the potential to be great upon resurrection, they were still scraps. Remnants of television's circle of life. Things that tried and failed. And this new wave of reviving the dead is disrupting a very important balance.
Writing, pitching, creating, and producing a brand new television show is a terrifying, tireless effort. Networks see thousands of pitches before they even give out their handfuls of pilot orders – typically about 15 or 20. Once the pilot orders are fulfilled, maybe 10 become series, depending on the networks' needs. And after these series premiere, at least a third will be canceled after only a few episodes. Clearly, there's months of work (and mountains of money) poured into creating shows that the networks think (hope and pray) that audiences will latch onto. Why would a fledgling original content provider or cable network go through all of that legwork, when some canceled cult series is just sitting there, waiting to be revivied and loved by its hungry, saddened fans?
It's an opportunity too good to pass up. Yes, TBS and Netflix are coupling their revivals with original content like Men at Work on the comedy-skewing cable channel and House of Cards and Hemlock Grove on the streaming site, lending credibility to their content slate, but they're also leaning heavily on the security of the revived contents' built-in audiences. That's not so bad, right?
Well, it's not so bad at first. But one trend inevitably begets others, and over at AMC, we're seeing the results of the trend in the form of a third season of The Killing, the show the Internet loved to hate. Rather than dumping the series and braving a brand new scripted program that could be the network's next Walking Dead, Mad Men, or Breaking Bad, we're looking down the barrell of a show we're not sure we want. True, it could work and it very well might for AMC, but the track record of the rebranded series is generally grim.
If we hobble over to NBC, where the charming series Up All Night was retooled in the hopes of broadening its audience, we find the now demolished remnants of a series that had it almost right only to lose it all by trying to please everyone. Community was allowed to keep going with its meager cultish ratings, even after creator Dan Harmon was kicked out of the roost, but that series has become a deeply saddening shell of itself. Wouldn't we rather be exploring new possibilities, even if those possibilities turn out to be turkeys like Whitney or even CBS' canceled Partners, as long as there's some promise of finding something worthwhile? Wouldn't we rather reminsce about a series that we loved more than our own siblings than watch it go down in a whirl of flames and mangled parts?
Take Freaks and Geeks, for example. Its single, pristine season which ends with Lindsey Weir's optimistic journey of self-discovery is heralded as one of the best seasons of television ever. Yet, when it aired, almost no one was watching it. Now it's a legend, untainted by the hand of network notes meant to drive up viewership and simplify the beauty of the series in its original form. Freaks and Geeks was gone far too soon, but now, it will remain perfect for the rest of time. Its fans will remain fans forever, because no cheap resurgence will mar the perfect memory of the show.
And the more our current slate of canceled shows are brought back in various zombie forms, the more fans will expect some way to continue their symbiotic relationship with their favorite series, rather than going through the normal withdrawal, recovery, and discovery of new material process. The Veronica Mars movie kickstarter is a slap in the face of an example of that: give the fans an opportunity to put their weight behind a project, and they will make it happen. Nearly six million dollars (or $5.7 million, to be exact) doesn't lie. But it's like that desire to see more of the happy couple at the end of a romantic movie: if we drag this out, is there the potential of witnessing the ugliness and the cracks that come with too much prolonged exposure? Isn't it possible to end on an unanswered question and let the moment where our imaginations run wild be the answer in and of itself?
It is possible to end a TV show "before its time," however abruptly, and still do it justice. It worked for Freaks and Geeks and Arrested Development, and it worked for Veronica Mars, even with that cliffhanger. As excited as I am for movie about the teen sleuth all grown up, it was actually a fitting end to the series to leave Veronica in a puddle of uncertainty. She leaves her troublesome on-again-off-again boyfriend, her father's fate as Sheriff hangs in the balance, and everything is uncertain. In a way, ending the series with any sense of closure wouldn't be true to Veronica's character. Her life is built on tumult, it's only fair that her TV journey ends that way too, just as Lindsey Weir needed to go off on her wild Grateful Dead tour and Michael and George Michael has to escape their terrible family members on a ludicrous yacht.
And let's not forget, that while we all mourned the loss of shows like Freaks and Geeks, Veronica Mars, and the soon-to-be-revived Arrested Development, the conclusions of those series allowed the actors, showrunners, creators, and writers to muster up more creative juices and create other projects with potential. Freaks and Geeks creator Judd Apatow took his "failure" on the NBC series (and Undeclared, for that matter) and turned it into creative fuel for his formidable empire of comedy films, starring many of the actors who started on Freaks and Geeks. When Rob Thomas was no longer able to tell stories about Veronica, the teenage sleuth, he moved on to telling hilarious, adeptly crafted (albeit, equally cult-worthy) stories about cater waiters on Party Down, which became so beloved it's got its own slew of reunion/revival rumors. When Arrested Development went under, many of its stars built successful careers from their small screen success: Jason Bateman became the beloved everyman in big budget comedies, Michael Cera makes millions being awkward, and Will Arnett may not be able to hold a series, but he's become a beloved comedic actor throughout the industry. Not everything these folks have done is a crowning acheivement, but out of their faltering series came more creativity.
Without these sudden steps back, many of these folks might have lived out their acting/writing/producing days on these shows, risking being branded one-trick ponies before they'd even streched their legs. Instead, they're people who reached out for something great and didn't quite grasp it. They are people who deserve a second shot, and they're people with the fire to make that happen. Generally, I try to avoid quoting old white guys to make a point, but in this case, Thomas Edison really gets it: He said, "If I find 10,000 ways something won’t work, I haven’t failed. I am not discouraged, because every wrong attempt discarded is another step forward."
That sentiment is the fruit of the creative process. When something isn't working, whether that's because of the content itself or the mechanisms that produce and promote the content, it's an opportunity to stop, reassess, and figure out a way to make it better. In the case of television, it's not always that the content, jokes, and story lines are bad; it's that they're not clicking with the folks they need to click with. And while TV networks are getting better, bit by bit, at giving series more time to breathe and develop before they're given the axe, we have to, in turn, give them the opportunity to give us something new. We need to learn to leave our comfortable bubbles and let go of the shows that leave us, because that's when we're free to discover the next big thing.
Think back to the moment at which you first fell in love with your favorite canceled series. Think of the bond formed with each character. The sudden feeling that you belonged in that show's setting. The urge to call it home. That feeling is magical, wonderful, and, when it's really good, it's almost transcendant. Why settle for the reheated leftovers of something you once adored, when you can create that bond with something you may love even more?
Follow Kelsea on Twitter @KelseaStahler
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I believe it was Hemingway who said, "There is no hunting like the hunting of man, and those who have hunted armed men long enough and liked it, never care for anything else thereafter." And it was pretty much every fan of the televised version of The Walking Dead who said, several times, "I hate Andrea." But after tonight's airing of The Most Dangerous Game: Walking Dead Edition, even the most avid Andrea-haters should be warming up to the beleaguered blondie, or at least hoping that she doesn't die at the hands of the sadistic, misogynistic Governor. And if you're not — well, I know a great therapist who takes insurance. Because watching 40-odd minutes of a large, formidable man literally hunting a small, relatively helpless woman (not because she isn't a sharpshoot — because she didn't have a gun) was Hitchcock-ian terror at its very best.
The show's "Andrea problem" is a tough one. She's a beloved character in the comics, but TV-Andrea has never really found her footing. It's like they just don't know what to do with her — they tried something new with this whole Woodbury thing, but making her sleep with the Governor made everyone like her even less. It's sort of like with Kate from Lost — you know you should like her, because on the outside she's this badass fighter chick, but most of her actions on the show have revolved around what the (often shitty) men around her are doing. Quite literally, her actions on this show have been as follows: 1. Complain about not being able to have a gun. 2. Give up and attempt suicide. 3. Pine for Shane. 4. Sleep with clearly insane man who is trying to kill all of the heroes on this show. Like DARYL.
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That's not to say that I think that Andrea is a hopeless case — Laurie Holden is an undeniably talented actress — and I think that this episode was a step in the right direction. Should she have gone home with the men of Grimes last week, after the "negotiation" went down? Absolutely. But then, the writers wouldn't have been able to give us this fantastic horror movie of an episode, where we find ourselves biting our nails and holding our breath for a character we've always found to be grating. Sneaky.
So, here's how it all went down: For whatever reason, the episode started with a strange little flashback to Andrea's time with Michonne. The ladies shared a meal in the woods with Mich's Walker friends — a "girls' night" as the increasingly likable character called it. Michonne, you silly. And this being a girls' night, it eventually came time for a game of truth or dare. "Truth," said Michonne. So Andrea asked her where her Walker pals had come from — were they some random Joes that attacked her? Or, had she known them? From Michonne's scowl, you could tell the answer was "B." "I'm so sorry," Andrea replied. "Do you want to talk about it?" (This must have been early on in their relationship, because we all learned in like, ten minutes that Michonne doesn't want to talk about anything.) "They deserved what they got," she said. "They weren't human to begin with." Now, I'm not saying that this scene wasn't completely awesome — it was only strange because Michonne wasn't in the rest of the episode, at all. We flashed from the campfire scene — focusing on the Walkers' chains — to the Governor holding the same chains, in the Hostel-esque torture chamber he was building with Princess Scowleypants in mind.
Since we're being all literary here, it was Chekhov who said that, once a gun appears in a story, it has to go off. So when you saw those torture chains, you knew SOME unfortunate bastard would be stuck in s**t's creek by episode's end. Foreshadowing 101, guys. Only this week, Andrea would be the unfortunate victim. But, thankfully, she wouldn't go down without a severe, devastating fight. His friendship with Daryl long forgotten, Martinez was gathering ammo for Woodbury's meeting with Team Grimes — you know, the one where they're going to murder everyone. Andrea saw this go down, and finally — FINALLY — concluded that the Governor did not have peace in mind. The "it's just a show of force" excuse can only work on so many occasions, kind of like lying about a dead relative to get out of midterms. You only have FOUR grandparents, kid!
So Andrea and Milton — who I still kind of hate, for being a giant p-word — decided to stop the Governor from unleashing Hell. Andrea was to run to the prison to warn the others, Milton was to… ask him politely to not go through with it. David Morrissey was absolutely chilling in his resolve when Milton "confronted" him, eerily reinforcing that revenge on the entire Grimes Gang was "all that matters."
Then there was this other truly terrifying sequence that let us know just how fully nutters the Governor is: Milton and Andrea watched from above as he looked over his (many) torture tools, happily whistling under a single lightbulb. Because it's not a torture dungeon if there's more than one light. Andrea took out her pistol and was ready to go, but Milton stopped her. Again, I hate him.
"I knew Philip before he became the Governor," Milton said, when Andrea asked why he still protected his boss. "That man still exists." Ugh. Milton is going die in the finale, right? Right? He made a good point when he said that, if the Governor died, Martinez would take over and the cycle of violence would continue, BUT STILL. Despite his cowardice and stupidity, Andrea gave him a pass, and invited him back to the prison, using the saddest PR pitch I've ever heard (and I get weekly emails from the "My Strange Addiction" team): "You know Merle — he fit in! You'll be fine." Hahahaha. Everything about Merle makes me giggle.
So Andrea took off, and the hunt began. Unfortunately, before she snuck out, Martinez took her guns. Then the Governor approached her and explained that he wanted to keep her safe and separate from "all this," rubbing her shoulder while he did so. It was creeeeepy, and Andrea looked sort of like Skyler White during the last season of Breaking Bad with her hiding-my-disgust-face. The little bird flying the coop then faced a second obstacle: Tyreese and Tyreese's sister, Sasha, who I forgot we're supposed to care about. I really don't. They were guarding the wall, and Andrea tried this half-assed "OMG Walkers! Over there!" diversion to get them to leave, and it totally didn't work. They wanted word from the Governor himself. So then she explained that the Governor is actually a psycho killer, and despite their disbelief, they let her go. Free will, and all. (Sasha is also going to be dead by the finale, right?)
"We stand on that wall to stop Biters, not keep people in," Tyreese argued when he explained their actions to the Governor later on. The Governor is an evil genius and he's still trying to keep Tyreese and Sasha on his side, so he used the "women be crazy" argument, saying that Andrea had spent the whole winter by herself (lies! She was having girls' night with Michonne!) and was now just a poor fractured soul who was also on her period, so.
"Did she say anything?" the Governor casually asked. "Like, panicked?" This should have been your number one red flag here, guys. But no. Everyone in Woodbury is stupid. Including Milton, obviously, who made it SUPER CLEAR to the Governor that he had told Andrea about his nefarious plans. "You should let her go," he said. "She just wants to be with her people." The Governor then slammed him against his locker, stole his lunch money, and made him (and us) s**t our pants with his intensity. Go after Andrea, he would.
Tyreese had an inkling that SOMETHING weird was going on when he learned that people were going after Andrea, but his horrible white friends (who will be dead by the end of the finale, right?) insisted that they had a good thing here, she should help the Governor go after the "that crazy-ass cowboy and the chick with the sword." We got some (unnecessary?) background about why that one white guy (whose name is not worth the Google search) has an obvious beef with Tyreese, and it's because big, handsome Tyreese saved her from some Walkers before that one time she died from Walkers. She had a bit of a crush on him after that, and white guy has been a total dick ever since. I really don't care about this guy's insecurities — I think this scene was put here so we'd cheer when he gets violently killed in the finale. Maybe by Carl. Or Beth. Beth! Can you imagine the humiliation?
Tyreese and Sasha's "This Place is F**ked Up Tour" continued, with their next stop being the large pit of Walkers/Biters that Martinez had assembled to unleash, again, upon the Gang of Grimes. "This is awesome!" white guy said, literally. "They've got women and children!" Tyreese replied. Then white guy and Tyreese got into a fight which led to Tyreese ALMOST pushing his fair-skinned companion into the pit, which would have been awesome. But, not today. That's a finale type of move. "Take him back to town," Martinez scowled. "Let him do some knitting." Making men feel inferior by suggesting they do things that women like: middle school playground tested, adult men approved.
Cut to Andrea on the road, where we learned right away that this would not be an uplifting journey home. Armed with only a very small knife, she got attacked by three Walkers pretty much right away. She killed them all with some degree of ease, but the true enemy was yet to emerge. Fight the dead, fear the living — remember? It was pretty cool that she was deep in the middle of an open field and he just charged at her, guns blazing, in his truck. She snuck into the forest, but he was hot on her tail.
Her next stop was some abandoned warehouse, and he found her in all of ten seconds. Hunting humans is eeee-zzzzy. We always go for the totally obvious hiding spot, and knock a ton of s**t over when we get there. It was dark and scary, and the Governor opened up the door and strolled in with the slow bravado of a man who knows he has the upper hand. Poor Andrea tried to hide, but A it was quiet and every breath she took put her at risk, and B, there were biters in the joint! Not the quietest creatures, that's for sure. Even the Governor's creepy serial killer whistling couldn't hide the sound of brains being smushed. She had been caught.
"Andrea!," he whisper-shouted. "Come back to me. Come back to Woodbury. We need you. That's your home now — your people." To drive that inviting point home, he started smashing things to terrify her. This horrifying cat and mouse game continued, with the Governor brutally killing several Walkers to, again, let us and Andrea know just how violent he tends to be. But then, finally, the mouse managed to trap the cat in a room full of Walkers. Escape at last! Death for the Governor! Anticlimactic end to the season!
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But no. Andrea ran away, and became the first person this season to actually be happy to see Rick Grimes when she spotted him on lookout from beyond the prison fence. She jumped. She screamed! She was elated — she was home. But then, the Governor came out from behind her and covered her mouth. Ohhhhh it was that terrible moment from every horror movie where you just feel for the victim, so so much, because they actually had one beautiful moment of relief before the terror continued. Being a woman, and living through the unfortunate knowledge that your size and physical strength makes you an easy victim, I just felt so much for her. She had no chance with this big, beefy, crazy man on her trail.
It was even worse when the Governor pulled back into Woodbury, and wouldn't even tell Martinez that he'd found Andrea. That's when you knew he had something truly f**ked up in mind for his former paramour. What was that f**ked up thing, you ask? Why of course, the prime seat under the lightbulb in The Governor's chamber of horrors. She wasn't shackled quite yet, but the show ended with a shot of a terrified Andrea bound, gagged, and all alone in Hell. The next couple of episodes are going to be rough.
Oh, and one other thing — someone, in the middle of the night, burned all of the pit-Walkers. Was it Milton? Was it Tyreese? Could it be — gasp — Martinez? No, it probably was not Martinez. The Governor was not too excited to hear about this latest development, but when Tyreese and Sasha confronted him re: how terrible the whole thing was, he again used the "scare tactic" defense. "Why didn't your men just say that?" Tyreese asked. Because they don't share defense tactics with people they don't know, duh! And with that, Tyreese was once again totally cool with the Governor. But one more thing: "Where did you get the gasoline?" The Governor asked. "Come again?" Tyreese replied. Sorry Milton — your number is up. "I hope you find out who did it," Milton said, calmly, on the street. "Already have," Governor replied, with an eery sense of calm. Some men just want to watch the world burn.
So, what did you think of the episode? The best Andrea-centric one we've had yet, no? Does it change your opinion about her, even a little? Sound off in the comments. (And that's why, you always leave a note.)
Follow Shaunna on Twitter @HWShaunna
[PHOTO CREDIT: Gene Page/AMC(2)]
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If you boil it down to its component parts, the Real Finger Pointers of Veracity Manor is actually a mystery program. That's why we all tune in. Everyone who doesn't watch the show and sits at home talking about how it is foretelling the end to Western civilization thinks that it is about conspicuous consumption and women fighting. It is not. No, that is not why we watch this. We watch it for the mystery. We watch it for the little moments in between the aggression, the tiny asides, the weighted statements, the accusations made with only the eyes. Yes, especially this bunch of Jessica Fletchers here in Beverly Hills, they are always stirring up mysteries. Did Kyle really steal a house from Kim? Why did Kelsey leave St. Camille of Grammer? Was Taylor abused or not? Exactly what kind of drugs is Kim Richards taking? And just what kind of drugs is Kim Richards on now that she's all better (she looks good). Now we have a new mystery. What the hell did Brandi Glanville say about Adrienne the Queen of the Maloofs? What, exactly, is this very personal secret that was not revealed?
We interrupt our regularly scheduled recap to bring you this message from W.I. Simonson of Santa Monica, selling used Mercedes to 16-year-olds for more than 80 years. Don't you love this white model that Kyle and her husband MMmmmmm bought for their teenage daughter Alexia? Isn't she going to be great driving it? She had to take three tests before she could even get her drivers permit, but, boy, is she going to tear up the rode in this affordable model from W.I. Simonson, right on Wilshire Blvd. Come in and drive home with the car of your dreams and the woman of your fantasies. And if you have a reality show, let us know and we'll give you a nice car for free so that you can put it on the show. Yes, W.I. Simonson, where all the Simons are your sons!
So, yes, we were talking about mysteries. What the heck was Brandi talking about at Lisa's luncheon?
We interrupt our regularly scheduled recap to bring you this message from Vanderpump Rules, which premieres Monday, Jan. 7, at 9 PM. Welcome to SUR, a (air quotes) sexy, (air quotes) unique, (unnecessary air quotes) restaurant in Beverly Hills and meet its owner Lisa Vanderpump who you know very well. "Hello, I am Lisa Vanderpump, and welcome to SUR, a (air quotes) sexy, (air quotes) unique, (unnecessary air quotes) restaurant in Beverly Hills. My new show is all about me and the staff here at my restaurant. Would you like to meet them? No, no, it won't be awkward at all. It will certainly not be like those two episodes of 90210 when Kelly fell in love with Jake only so that he could anchor the cast of Melrose Place. No, it will not be like that at all. First, meet Jax, a man whose abs are as impossible to come by as someone with his name who is taken seriously. He is a bartender here who loves to party. He will chill your rosé at work, but he will heat things up at home. Say hi, Jax. Oh, and this Stasi. She is pretty and wears too much lipstick and likes to cause drama. Last night she made a very stupid joke and then a high powered entertainment agent who is a personal friend of mine stormed out. I'd fire her if she didn't have a contract for the whole first season. Now she thinks she deserves an apology when she was the one who did something wrong. Haha, Stasi. Who do you think you are? Adrienne Maloof? Haha. Don't answer that. I would introduce you to Schaena, a world class spelling-bee champion and cocktail waitress who also slept with Eddie Cibrian, but I sent her home because Brandi is on her way over. We can't have that awkwardness, can we? Well, don't they sound like a really fun crew? Be sure to tune in Monday, Jan. 7, at 9 PM for Vanderpump Rules and learn even more."
Alright, so secrets. Lisa invites a bunch of people to lunch and...
We interrupt our regularly scheduled recap... Jesus, not again... to bring you this message from SUR, which now has a totally new appetizer menu, feature a tomato salad, goat cheese and beef crostini, tuna quesadilla, and all other sorts of delicious food. Are you done now? Yes. OK.
Alright, so Lisa invites everyone over to lunch and Kim Richards is shockingly the second person there! And guess what? She looks good! I mean, Kim is seriously on the mend. She has on a cute outfit, her hair and makeup look nice, she's not mixing chicken salad in a bowl with her bare hands, and she's, you know, coherent. This is a whole new Kim Richards. She's totally sane but, I gotta say, I still kinda like her. Kim decides that she is going to call Kyle and ask her why she's late and goes on this whole meta tirade about how she's so concerned about Kyle because she never comes to things anymore and she's so undependable and always late. Oh, this Kim Richards who can laugh at herself and be funny is delightful. I would like to invite her over for scones and a marathon of RuPaul's Drag Race and we'll just laugh and laugh and laugh at everyone and then we'll go try on outfits from Kim's closet and talk about Witch Mountain. That is what I would like.
So, everyone files in for lunch and somehow Brandi goes on a tear about Adrienne, the queen of the Maloofs. Even before she told Adrien to "shut the front door" in Ojai they were having some sort of complications, but someone at lunch asks her what her problem is with Adrienne and it just opens the floodgates. Oh no, wait. There's a term Brandi has for it. "The truth cannon." Yes, everyone puts on their constructions hats and puts their hands over their ears and she just fires all of her ammunition against Adrienne up in the sky and hope some of it lands on them as it falls back down to earth.
Her major gripe seems to be that Adrienne is a liar which, after her "I have a book deal" sneer at the Ojai dinner, is rather believable. But what exactly is she lying about? Brandi says she... Cue the thud sound effect, cut to the shocked faces of everyone at the lunch, cut to the interviews where everyone says that Brandi's blow was way too low. Oh, yes, we aren't ever going to find out what Brandi was talking about. It has been edited out. It has been covered over. Here is a show that had to talk about domestic violence, suicide, and Kim Richard's boyfriend Pumice who was made out of rocks. This is a show that talked about all these things, but there is one allegation that they will not talk about. It is a secret. It is the love that dare not speak it's name.
What do you think the secret could be? Is Paullo the Chimp cheating on Adrienne? Is she secretly poor? Is she really a man, baby? Was she freebasing with Kim out behind the dumpster at the Beverly Hilton? Is the secret just some book about visualizing the future that she read because she saw it on Oprah? Did she give birth to a race of mole people that live under the mountain? Did she craft her sparkly extensions out of the souls of orphans? Does she not pay her parking tickets? We'll never know. It's a secret!
Well, the problem with the internet is things don't stay secret for very long. According to the scuttlebutt on the web, Brandi said that Adrienne...(Well, if Bravo isn't going to say it, I'm not going to say it either. I don't need a Maloofsuit on my hands. But you can find it here.) That means that during their conversation at dinner in Ojai, Adrienne was lying. Now the information isn't even that personal. Well, it is but it isn't. There's another cast member that did the same thing and has been upfront about it since the show started, so why does Adrienne care? If it is true, why is it a big deal? Why not just own up to it and be fine with it? It's never the secrets that kill you, it's the cover up. And if it is a lie, then why the insane reaction? Why not just correct it for the record and move on?
This is the frame of mind everyone is in going into Kyle and MMMMmmmm's Real Estate Eleganza Party (thanks, Greggy, for the name). It's the christening for his new agency, The Agency. I mean, really MMMmmmm, you couldn't think of a better name? That's like having a cat named The Cat. Just because you call it "The Cat" doesn't mean that is what you put on its birth certificate. At least call the company MMMMmmmmm and Co, LTD or some bullshit. But The Agency? Yeah, good job. I want that creative visonary selling my house. Here, hold this sack of eye rolls.
We interrupt your regularly scheduled recap to bring you this important message. God, what is it this time? We have to tell them about the hotel where they're having the party. OK, fine, but make it snappy. Welcome to the JW Marriott in beautiful downtown... Alright, we don't have time for this. Give us the bullet points. There's a cute event space, as you see. We have a Wolfgang Puck restaurant. There are awesome condos with great views. St. Camille even went into one. OK, that's it. I hope the free party was worth it. It was.
Everyone shows up to the Real Estate Eleganza Party, including Kim Richards looking very smart in a black skirt suit (she looks good!) but there is one accessory that Kim is also wearing. It is her concern face. She is concerned. She is very concerned about what Brandi said about Adrienne and, well, she thinks that Adrienne needs to know. This sober Kim has a lot of opinions. As soon as she and Paullo the Chimp (PS – can you believe that people are amazed that a chimp has a hairy back?) walk into the party Kim pulls them to the side and tells them the "secret." We still don't know what it is. We still have no idea. Like the name of God, it is unspeakable.
But Paullo runs over to Brandi and calls her a bitch and then they just start jabbering back and forth. Paullo won't tell Brandi what she said but, seriously, at this point Brandi has talked so much shit about the two of them that he could be mad about any number of things. For the constant shit talker a bit of clarification is always helpful. Paullo won't tell her in front of everyone, he doesn't want to say it in front of the camera. He asks her to step over to the side. Oh, yeah, Paullo, that's gonna happen. Some women you are harranguing is going to go off in the corner so no one can keep her safe. Yeah, no woman on earth would go off with you. But he doesn't want the secret (ooooHHOOooOOOhHOOOOOHHHOOO) on the record. What can this thing be that is worse than Taylor getting beat up by her husband? Camille finally broke that seal and when she told us the heavens opened and received her in their light and glory. Maybe Brandi is in the process of being canonized right now for exposing the secret? There was lots of screaming and then the worst kind of Housewives fight. "You're lying." "No, you're lying." "No, you're lying?" "I'm lying? No! You're. Ly-ing." Then Adrienne and Paullo stormed out and we still don't know the secret. Like I said, the fighting and aggression are only second to the mystery. We want to see into this little unmarked box that they're all raging over.
Kyle is all pissed because Kim decided to tell Adrienne about this at her party and it is not the right time and place for this fight to be happening. OK, I am so sick of Housewives saying "not the right time or place." It's like a Real Estate Eleganza Party is some solemn event. If you don't want anyone to have some stupid drama fight at a party because it is going to mess with your husband's work, then, you know what, don't invite Housewives to the party. That is the only way to ensure there will not be a Housewives fight, is if there are no Housewives there. If there are Housewives in attendance, something insane will always happen. That is truth. That is Cohen's Theorum. It is science.
And while all this is going on, Lisa Vanderpump is at the hospital. Ken is having surgery and the whole family is there to support him. He lies in the bed, looking more like a butterscotch Simon Cowell than ever, and he is not nervous at all. But the kids show up and hug and kiss him and Lisa frets enough for everyone. The girls probably think she should be at the Real Estate Eleganza Party, but she is there. It's because they are a good couple and very much in love. It's the little things you do together, that make perfect relationships. The hobbies you pursue together, savings you accrue together, looks you misconstrue together that make marriage a joy.
Lisa is very very worried about Ken and I was getting all ready to tell her to stop being an anxietymonger. I wanted to tell her it's just hip replacement surgery due to a polo injury (talk about British People Problems), that these happen every day. My mom just had one last year and she's back playing golf and doing yoga and sending me annoying text messages like nothing ever happened. Liza Minnelli had both knees done at once and look at her, she's fine! But then I realized the secret. I uncovered the mystery. This is about Ken being 16 years older than Lisa.
So Lisa waits in (where else?) the waiting room and the children are gone. She holds her phone in her hand because if she doesn't put it in her pocket or her purse then there is still something to do. She doesn't have to fear relaxing because she is tight with purpose. She has her phone to put away. She has something to do. Something other than worry. But that is what she is really doing. She's considering the possibility that Ken will never come out. That he will die. What then? There will be a whirlwind of activity – the calls to friends and family, the planning, claiming the body, filing the malpractice suit. There will be memorials and remembrances and wills and probate. There will be all of that. Then after that, the stillness. It will just be her and the dogs in that big house, a ghost amid the white furniture. There will be no one to tease, no one to keep her up at night with his snoring, no one to walk up behind her in the kitchen and give her a hug while she drinks her coffee and reads the newspaper at the granite island. That's what she's afraid of. That emptiness. That nothing. That indent in the bed that will never quite go away. The moving on. The putting on a brave face. The bracing for the end. That is what Lisa really fears.
Because this is all just practice. This future with Ken dead isn't so much a possibility as an inevitability. Barring accident or disease, the day will come when Ken, so much older, will die before Lisa. Sure there's a chance he'll outlive her, but he'll probably go first. That's the way it has always been. She knew it on her wedding day, she know it when Pandy and Max were born, when she was holding their warm pink bodies in the nursery. It's been there with her every day – like her breath, like her wedding ring – that knowledge, that yapping thought. It's realer than ever. As Lisa dangles her shoe off her big toe and shakes it back and forth, she finally relaxes into her dark revelry, the rest of her body starting to go slack when it jolts up again. It's the phone, still in her hand, vibrating. Her stomach sinks, thinking that it's the doctor, that something has gone totally wrong and there is news – bad news. But why would the hospital call? She looks and sees that it's Brandi. She puts her finger on the screen of the phone, thinking about whether or not to swipe it. She has nothing else to do. Why not talk to Brandi? Why not gossip about the party she was missing as Brandi drives home? But she couldn't. She presses the button on the top of her phone and the shaking stops. She lets her hand relax over the arm of the chair again and goes back to the important business of dangling her shoe. She doesn't really have time to talk. Not right now.
Follow Brian Moylan on Twitter @BrianJMoylan
[Photo Credit: Bravo]
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Well, friends, it’s time to settle in and accept the fact that True Blood has grown out of control like ivy crushing a frail, wooden trellis. It’s happened and there’s nothing we can do about it. All we can expect now that we’ve reached the halfway point of the season is for the remaining episodes to try to unravel the mess that’s been made. And we’re somewhat prepared for this since Russell Edgington is involved, but he’s not the one we should really be worried about. He’s since joined Salome and Nora in their praise of Lilith – so soon after renouncing their movement – and now, he’s simply a “fun”-loving vamp in the midst of a movement he only supports as long as it’s fun for him. Russell is relatively innocent and our fears are centered on another axis of evil: her name is Lilith.
And while men have provided a great deal of the conflict for the series – Sookie is a magnet for them – this season is greatly about the wiles and woes of women. Nora kidnapped Eric and Bill and brought them to the Authority; Salome played Roman and freed Russell for the love of Lilith; Sookie is struggling with the notion of her fairy essence and whether or not she should keep it; Arlene is destroyed in the wake of Terry’s Ifrit insanity; Pam is learning independence from Eric and the concept of motherhood; and Tara is learning that even though Pam is a bit cruel, she’s a better mother than Lettie Mae ever was.
But first, let us deal with this mess called Lilith. At the Authority’s chambers, we find Russell’s face splattered with blood, so we can be sure that last week’s staking really was the end of Roman. The Authority troopers sweep in to take Russell, as Salome pleads with them to keep him alive. We see one final flicker of the Bill and Eric buddy system when Bill sweetly panics because he can’t find Eric: He’s strung up on a column and his sense of humor has clearly not been dampened: “The view from up here is spectacular.” When they find themselves locked up once more, Bill and Eric reveal that they’re more stupid than we thought. Boys, we figured out Salome was the one who released Russell weeks ago. Try to catch up. They don’t catch on until they’re summoned to her chambers, where Nora and Russell are freely frolicking while Salome clears the “mystery” up for them and admits the plan was hers all along. She couldn’t carry the burden of having gone against scripture to kill the Guardian, Roman, so she needed Russell to do it for her. Somehow it’s okay if Russell does it, but I’m calling BS. I say she just didn’t have the strength or bravery to do it herself.
Meanwhile, Russell is only halfway committed to this whole Sanguinista movement. He’s just happy someone is allowing him to roam freely without having to escape the Authority’s rules at every turn. He offers Bill and Eric an olive branch, clearly brought on by the high of complete and utter freedom. Bill and Eric are distrusting of everyone and deny Salome’s offer to join them until the following day, when they attend the Lilith ritual and assume they can participate and simply pretend to play along.
But, it’s never that easy. Boys, when did you become so damned naïve? Did you really think it would all be so easy? Still, Bill shows himself to be the weaker of the two, as he has all season, whenever he’s bent to Roman’s mumbo jumbo “for survival,” Eric has stuck to his guns and look: they’re both still alive and well. He says he still believes mainstreaming is the only way to keep the world from imploding, yet when the Lilith praising starts (and Russell beheads the first dissenter) Bill and Eric drink the blood of Lilith along with everyone else, assuming it couldn’t hurt.
Next: Lilith's blood isn't so sweet...Well, if drinking vampire blood is like a drug to non vampires, then drinking an ancient vial of the original vampire’s blood is like heroin for vampires. The entire gang, including a very cozy Russell and his new plaything Steve Newland (who are actually kind of cute despite Russell’s bloodthirsty nature and Newland’s former desperation for Jason), storms Bourbon Street in New Orleans and begins intimidating innocent humans and claiming the streets as their own. It’s not long before they descend upon a karaoke bar full of cartoonishly boring, vanilla people, ripe for blood-sucking. The group drains the entire bar, leaving a wasteland of dead bodies, leaving no one behind. Russell is even shown drinking the blood of a young boy – we’ve traveled into truly ruthless territory. The likes of which we’ve yet to see on True Blood. Suddenly, a drop of blood manifests itself in the form of a naked Lilith, rising from the pool of blood that coats the floor. Why is she naked? Well, I think the bigger question is why the original vampire is emerging from a pool of human blood in the middle of a karaoke bar.
Luckily, Eric the “Bible-banging c**t” hater isn’t completely taken in by the blood of Lilith. Godric, in spirit form, is able to break through to him and convince him that Nora needs his help to understand that what they’re doing is wrong. In his heart, Eric knows it’s wrong. We know this is true when he looks at Nora and doesn’t see the vision of Lilith that is standing before her. At least we know that True Blood didn’t get as weird as we feared – Lilith’s apparition appears to be little more than a vision brought on by the high provided by drinking her blood. Let’s hope that’s the truth.
Meanwhile, Bill does not seem to be slowing down. While Eric stops to contemplate the acts he’s committed that night, Bill is as ravenous as ever. Could he truly be a sponge, absorbing whatever those around him are doing? We saw how hard it was for him to break free from Lorena’s free-wheeling lifestyle. Perhaps Bill is not as strong and upstanding as we’ve always assumed him to be. Could it be that Eric is actually the good one?
Perhaps Eric is the good one, but for now, that distinction has no bearing on Sookie’s life. She’s dealing with plenty of her own issues. After she used her light powers at the fairy burlesque, her fairy friends are concerned she’s using up her magic. If she uses it too often, she will lose her powers all together. While the thought clearly terrifies both fairies, Sookie’s eyes light up. She has the chance to be normal, just like she’s always wanted.
Plus, she’s riddled with guilt over her parents’ death. It was her special blood that killed them and after she talks to Sam, who says if he could become normal he’d stop putting his loved ones in danger, Sookie sees only one answer: she’s got to get rid of her magic. Jason does his best to convince her that there’s nothing wrong with her and that she’s not to blame, but while he visits Jessica to try and work through his feelings about vampires, Sookie tries to use up all of her light.
But before he can get to her, he’s knee deep in a fight with Jessica. She tries to convince him that all vampires aren’t equal – that some are good. It’s something we, the viewers, are beginning to question too, what with Eric and Bill going all blood-sucking zombie in New Orleans. Jessica starts to kiss Jason to show him how tender vampires can be, but he tastes the blood of the fangbanger she’s been feeding on upstairs. She tries to convince him the dude is just her dinner, but that’s not something Jason can wrap his head around – and to be fair, that’s probably because like he says, when a human is feeding on cow’s meat, there’s generally not any sexual interaction with the provider of the sustenance. And if Jason wasn’t already fully against the vampire way, Jessica’s reaction to his hate will surely finish him off. She bites him, something she said she’d never do to him because it was so intimate, yet now, it’s done in violence and anger. He shoots her in the head in an effort to get her off of him, and just like that, his only tie to vampire-centric sympathy is gone.
Meanwhile, Sam and Andy are dealing with the aftermath of their self-defense killing at the supernatural weaponry store. Sam’s keen nose ferrets out the box of Obama masks in the store’s back room, confirming what Hoyt’s latest friendship already suggested.
Hoyt, who is still the most pointless character on this show, is being initiated into the hate group (he even gets his own Obama mask later), whose angle is to eradicate everything that’s making them lost their sense of superiority in nature. Hoyt, still hurt by Jessica’s rejection, latches onto what he thinks is “love” radiating from his hateful cohorts. After their leader, someone who goes by “The Dragon,” calls to tell them Junior was killed at the gun store, Hoyt gives them Jessica’s full name and they convince him she glamored and “date raped” him. It’s obvious he doesn’t fully believe what he’s saying, but his hate is obtuse and obstructing that he agrees with them and says he fully hates her. He could have just condemned her to death, and now that Jason is no longer on her side, she could be in real danger.
The two groups later converge when Sam’s nose leads him on a chase through the hospital. He finds one of the men who shot at he and Luna and tackles him. It’s one of the men who was with Hoyt and while he’s working his regular job, Hoyt and the others are suiting up for another murderous mission. He smells one of the crew who shot him and Luna, follows him and tackles him. It is one of the men – one who was with Hoyt. It’s possible, seeing as the men were so eager to deliver an Obama mask to Hoyt, that they could be heading for Jessica’s house. And just when she’s been left alone by the one person who cares most for her.
Next: Alcide isn't pining over Sookie... at all.But Jason isn’t the only one who’s moved on. Alcide is filling his sexual desires with his partner, the sexy werewolf who vouched for him when he challenged the pack master. She does have the jump on Sookie in that she constantly walks around naked while Sookie insists on wearing actual clothing. But she does touch a nerve when she tells Alcide to take V once to level the playing field against J.D. whose completely hopped up on the stuff. Alcide may not stick to his feelings for Sookie, but he never wavers on V: “No. It’s like swallowing death. You take it, and you’re dead inside.”
Just then, Martha comes in to defend J.D., who she says was always so loyal to Marcus even though he believed that he had more right to the packmaster title. She eats her words later when she witnesses J.D. convincing the pack to take V, even baby wolf Emma. Martha may have started as an irrational bi**h this season, but she’s quickly showing herself to be nothing more than a fierce mother who refuses to believe the worst in those she loves. But this betrayal is bringing her to reason, as much as she might want to resist. Alcide may have another ally after all.
Oh, but there’s more. There’s at least a six-pack of characters we haven’t even touched upon. After Terry left her in order to keep her and the kids safe, Arlene is watching her wedding video and mourning the loss of the life she once knew – and in the process, we are too. We see Jesus and Lafayette when they were happy, Jessica and Hoyt considering marriage, and Jason still happily chasing tail. The world of Bon Temps is changed and marred, even moreso than when the video was taken – a time when the whole town thought they’d lost Sookie forever. But it may not be lost. Holly comes to Arlene with the best advice anyone on Bon Temps has ever given: she tells Arlene not to give up on Terry because clearly, they live in a world where nonsensical incidents and beings are the norm. She convinces Arlene not to give up on her husband, but she can’t do much about Terry giving up on himself.
When the Ifrit sneaks up on Patrick and Terry, it won’t kill them. In fact, it laughs and gains enjoyment from torturing the two former soldiers. Terry can’t take it and tries to kill himself because he doesn’t want to be tortured by this manifestation of their guilt for the rest of his life – well guess what buddy, that’s how guilt works. Patrick takes the gun and apologizes for giving him the order that cursed their whole regiment, and his intolerant comment about suicide being for Muslims aside, Patrick is the only who makes sense: Terry can’t throw his life away because he’s got kids waiting back in Bon Temps. Hopefully, Patrick will take his guilt and remorse and sacrifice himself to get this Ifrit out of our lives so we can focus on the important plotlines for once.
Speaking of plot points that need be sewed up (you’re going to hate me for that choice of words in a second), Lafayette visits Jesus’ uncle thanks to his mother’s “conversation” with Jesus’ severed head. There’s just one problem: Jesus’ uncle sews Laf’s mouth shut and is planning to kill him so he can reclaim the dark magic Lafayette stole from Jesus when he was possessed by Marnie. (You and I know how nuts this sounds, and we’re okay with the notion of a vampire religion. This story has got to go.) Jesus’ tio is about to kill Laf, but his wife jumps up and murders the magic man before cutting the bloody stiches off of Lafayette’s mouth. I’m always prepared for blood on this show, but the mouth-sewing torture was just a little too far for my tastes – and perhaps it’s a matter of adjusting, just like we did with the notion of watching attractive vampires suck on people’s necks and thighs, but it’s something I don’t care to get used to.
Finally, we have the secondary plot that I wish was more central. The compelling development of Tara’s relationship with Pam is not given nearly the billing it deserves, especially now that Tara’s mother has denounced her. Lettie Mae selfishly takes Tara’s new life – the one she did not want for herself – as a personal attack. At least we see where Tara gets her selfish notion that the world is out to get her. With Lettie Mae’s refusal, Pam is not the only mother Tara has – and she’s still more nurturing than her real mother ever was. Case and point: Tara is crying in Pam’s office and she allows Tara to hug her like a frightened child, but only for a moment. As soon Pam starts to feel something, she pushes Tara off. But it’s happening slowly – she’s coming to love her child, especially in the wake of her split with Eric.
With rich stories like the vampire religion, Russell’s real plan, Tara’s relationship with Pam, Sookie’s possibility of becoming normal, Bill’s apparent rejection of reason, why are we wasting time with fire monsters and Hoyt? True Blood, you’ve clearly still got the ability to ensnare us, but every step you take towards these half-baked stories is a step away from maintaining your grip.
Follow Kelsea on Twitter @KelseaStahler
[Photo Credit: HBO]
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And now, welcome to the Glee American Idol Variety Hour: 60 minutes (or approximately 43 without the commercials) of broadcast programming whose only purpose is to make us “ooh” and “ahh” while only establishing a minimal emotional connection. Of course, if this was American Idol, that connection would build over the course of the season as we reached the live shows while barreling towards the epic finale of the season. But because this is the broken-down, exhausted jalopy that is Glee, we’re puttering along in that audition phase of the Fox singing competition. Which, if you’re an Idol viewer like myself, tends to get old after the first week. Contrived drama between auditioners? Check. Mean judge? Check. Group week mania before finally pulling it all together at the last minute? Check. Predictable outcome because of all the ridiculously easy-to-read hints dropped throughout the episode? Check. And finally, the closer featuring a Kelly Clarkson ballad? Ch-ch-check. Now if only Ryan Seacrest could have stopped by to keep the episode on track.
Exhibit A: Auditions Circuit
The big plot this week was, of course (because Fox and Lea Michele would not let us forget however hard we tried), Kurt and Rachel’s big auditions for NYADA, and as we saw very blatantly in the previews for the episode, things weren’t going to go right for Mini Babs. Leading up to the big A, we see Kurt preparing for his moment with a rehearsal of “Music of the Night” from Phantom of the Opera. And between the fire hazard — er, candelabra set design — and Artie wheeling around the stage fanning the mist, we knew ol’ Porcelain wasn’t going to stick with this song. Besides, he does know that for most auditions, he’s lucky to get a dinky piano accompaniment, right? Arts schools don’t let you stage an off-Broadway production to get your point across.
Kurt has the brilliant, totally sound idea to switch his audition number to “Not the Boy Next Door,” as famously performed by Hugh Jackman in amazing gold lamé pants in The Boy From Oz. Rachel’s brain suddenly suffers a cataclysmic case of the Midwest conservatism they’ve been fighting for three seasons and she decides to “save” Kurt by breaking their pact to not speak to each other until after the auditions so she can convince him to stick with the safe choice, the Phantom song. A: The audition judge is from New York, and therefore open to expressions of sexuality and personality like the number from Oz. B: Kurt sings “Music of the Night” like a lost little puppy — albeit a super adorable lost little puppy.
When it comes time to audition — shocker — Kurt has gold pants on under his Phantom cape and his “swans” at the ready for an impromptu performance of “Not the Boy Next Door.” Unsurprisingly, it’s amazing and Whoopi the NYADA judge loves it. Of course, because this episode is (indirectly) brought to you by American Idol, Whoopi takes a second to pull the old audition fake-out on Kurt. Giant pause, heavy breathing, then boom: Immense praise.
Cut to Rachel’s audition, which, as we saw approximately 3,500 times on Fox this week (don’t quote me on that — math’s not my forte), is not going to go well. Rachel takes her own advice and sticks with the Barbra Streisand song we’ve heard her sing 3,500 times (although that may be because we went through a phase after we paid 99 cents for it on iTunes), but what’s this? She forgets the words… twice. And Whoopie, in all her turbaned glory, cuts off our young heroine and informs her that this is the end of her NYADA dreams. Of course, it’s completely absurd that Rachel would forget anything. You’ve seen the way she wakes up: Like a musical theater mummy with a smile that could burn through all the sadness in the world. (It’s a little creepy.) But like an Idol audition, the plot set the overconfident egomaniac up to fail and it had to deliver.
Next: Glee finds its Simon Cowell.
Exhibit B: The Mean Judge
Whoopi Goldberg’s NYADA dean Carme Tibideaux is the Simon Cowell of the art school audition circuit. Kurt and Rachel trade stories of her vicious tirades just before they take the stage for judgment. Obviously, the meaner streak comes out when Rachel flubs her whole audition and Whoopi tells her that if she forgets the lyrics on Broadway, the understudy takes her job, as she coolly walks out and turns the lights out on the devastated could-be starlet.
But Whoopi really brings it home when she offers up high praise to Kurt. Even Simon knows, being so brutally honest only works if you occasionally dole out servings of some very serious praise. And telling Kurt that Hugh Jackman would have been impressed with his performance may have been an overstatement, but it certainly fits the bill.
Exhibit C: Group Week
Next stop: Idol’s infamous group week, wherein a gaggle of singers fight and cry and fear failure until they get it together in the 11th hour. The Glee version of this comes when all the New Directions guys gather to muse over their concerns about Puck’s potential to flunk out of high school weeks before graduation, which is a plotline that really should have come up months ago. (If anyone has the potential to flunk out, it’s Puck.) Apparently, they all work out together too (except for Joe of the ridiculous dreads, who stands there like he’s afraid the free weights might bite him).
After Puck’s plan to pass Geography by seducing his teacher fails (and here you thought he’d worked out all his Mary Kay Letourneau wiggles) and he sings an unwieldy version of Alice Cooper’s “School’s Out” that is so powerful it makes 1980s groupies pop out of lockers, the Glee gang gathers to prep him just enough to pass his final exam. And by prep, I mean they all sing a rock version of “The Rain in Spain” and Puck consequently only knows the test answers that come from the lyrics of the My Fair Lady tune. Add in the “sob story” about his deadbeat dad showing up to ask him for money, inspiring him to graduate and become a better man, and you’ve got the perfect group week package.
Exhibit D: PSA/Sob Story
This week on the lesson-learning portion of Glee, we learn about the perils of domestic abuse. (I’m fairly certain they’re just pulling social issues out of a hat at this point.) Bieste comes to school with a shiner, and assuming no one could get the jump on Bieste, the glee club girls who aren’t stuck in a wheelchair or crying over a flubbed audition make jokes in the hallway about her getting clocked by her husband. To teach them a lesson for their heartlessness — which is actually an accurate depiction of how even the sweetest high school girls sometimes act among friends in the hallway — Sue, the co-advisor of the glee club, and her mini-me NeNe Leakes rope Bieste into a lesson for the girls. She asks them to turn a song into an empowerment anthem for women, and they screw it up on the first round. But we’ll get to that part in just a minute.
By the time the girls get it right with the song choice — Florence + the Machine’s “Shake It Out” — we find that Bieste was hit by her husband Cooter, and that while she told Sue she moved out to live with her sister, she’s really staying with the abuser and trying to work things out. And much like last week’s one-off treatment of the gender identification issue facing many teens, this quickie after-school special of the week treatment of such a huge issue like domestic abuse undermines the gravity of the topic. Out of nowhere Bieste has an abusive husband, Sue puts a glee-club bandaid on it, and she really thought that was the end of it? Once again, this show bites off a bigger topic than it can even fit between its tiny little molars. And once again, the series fails to lend the appropriate respect to the sensitive topic. Besides, they’ve got a truly disturbing issue ready and ripe for the picking: Can we tackle Will’s infantilism soon, please?
Next: And now for a very inappropriate Broadway number.
Exhibit E: Inappropriate Broadway Number
It’s a good thing Randy Jackson was too busy picking out a polka dot bowtie for tonight’s Idol to be around to see the Chicago number that the girls picked out to combat domestic abuse. (In case you don’t watch Idol auditions every year like I do, you should know that if there’s one thing Randy hates about auditions, it’s all the folks who come in and try to perform Broadway numbers for him and his fellow judges. No! Not the vibrato!)
This time, the inappropriateness wasn’t so much about genre as it was about tact, but we’ll let the slant connection slide. While Bieste is wrestling with her struggle with domestic violence, these ladies waltz up on stage in skimpy lingerie and sing “a song about crazy women in their panties killing men for chewing gum.” (For once, NeNe makes a damn good point.) Randy would probably have some misplaced metaphor about a fish to insert here right about now.
Exhibit F: Close with a Kelly Clarkson Ballad
After all is said and done — Puck miraculously passes his exam using only facts obtained from My Fair Lady, Kurt rocks his audition, the glee girls pat themselves on the back for singing an uplifting song, and Rachel blows her audition — we can’t escape the episode without a big emotional ballad to watch all the storylines get wrapped up with a bow. And what better way to pay homage to Idol than by closing with a Kelly Clarkson ballad, sung by Rachel and appropriately titled “Cry.” With this we get the Idol auditions one-two punch: rousing ballad courtesy of the show’s own success story (nepotism!) and an emotional sob story to send us on our merry way (but really beg us to come back and make sure that heartbreaking young person achieve their dream, by golly!).
And in closing, because there are still parts of this show that we love, some of the funny little moments that were the spoon full of sugar to help us swallow “Choke”:
--One of Rachel’s biggest fears is “Menstrual Bloat.”
--Brittany’s prom theme idea is “Aliens” and involves a probing booth.
--An A+ for the intro that hearkened back to Season 1’s wildly (terrifyingly) driven Rachel Berry.
--Finn knows something’s wrong with Puck because he hasn’t been logging onto any Call of Duty tourneys.
--Rachel can’t even lie to Kurt when he asks if he can sing “Music of the Night” as well as Michael Crawford.
--Bieste’s sister is named Denise Bieste, because of course she is.
--Puck gives himself the name “Puckgellan” to amp himself up for his geography test.
Did you see it all coming? Are you getting tired of the way the show throws emotional topics around in the plot? Do you think I’m nuts for finding all these connection to Idol? Have I just been watching too much Fox?
Follow Kelsea on Twitter @KelseaStahler.
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S3E16:: Fans of the contentious love triangle on the CW’s Vampire Diaries were probably a little disappointed with this episode, but fans of a good old fashioned murder mystery (with some blood-thirsty vampires thrown in) were in luck. “1912” is all about solving the mystery of the Mystic Falls serial killer and patching up that brotherly love between Damon and Stefan.
While it certainly feels like punishment to have absolutely no movement forward in the Stelena story line - just one giant step back - it’s one thing that’s actually really great about the series. While the love triangle is the obvious hook, this episode proved that it’s got more going on than a pair of lovesick vampires.
“If you’re gonna slaughter council members, at least go a-list.” -Damon
After staring down the barrel of Meredith’s gun last week, Alaric is accused of being the killer after Meredith seems to twist the story. She healed him with vampire blood and says that he came after her with the knife from his file. And when non of Alaric’s alibis check out - he was always drunk or “sleeping” which are pretty flimsy excuses - Rick is starting to look really guilty.
And while Damon says he’s going to stay out of it, but he goes home and uses Stefan’s diaries to dig through the year 1912, when Mystic Falls last had a serial killer going after the council members. His and Stefan’s nephew, Zachariah Salvatore, was one of the victims. This somehow connects to the time he met another vampire named Sage, who taught him to stop pining over Katherine and “enjoy” women: and we’re back to Vampires 101. The art of feeding as seduction, it’s all just a little Bram Stoker, but how could the series delve into that time period and not pay homage to the classics? (It was written in 1897, so not too far off.)
“How could you do this to him? He didn’t kill anyone and you know it.” -Elena
“You date vampires, Elena. It shouldn’t come as a shock to you that your guardian is a murderer.” -Meredith
When Elena confronts her, Meredith is insistent that Rick has a pattern, along with a history of violence and alcoholism, which indicates the probability of his guilt. Determined to stop her, Elena and Matt break into Meredith’s place and find her secret cubby with files on all the victims as well as a Gilbert family journal. They find a letter from the coroner’s office saying the medical examiner’s death was at a different time than Meredith claimed, but before they can do anything about it she comes home and catches them in the closet. In that brief moment, Elena and Matt have an almost intimate silent exchange - which only prolongs her inevitable return to Stefan. Why, writers, why?
Meredith catches them and takes them to the police station, where Sheriff Forbes lets them go but tells them that Meredith turned in the letter earlier that day and she apologized for accusing Rick. And we’re at a turning point: we want to believe Meredith is the bad guy, but she doesn’t press charges and she turned in the letter. We need these factors to start believing her story.
“After my parents died, there was something about being with Stefan that felt safe.” -Elena
Though there was no forward movement for Elena’s journey back to her chosen Salvatore, there was one giant step back. Stefan is craving human blood badly after abstaining for so long, and Damon is determined to fix his cold turkey spell, convinced that moderation is the only way Stefan can be normal again. He and Rebekah threaten to kill an innocent girl unless Stefan feeds on her. He finally gives in, and Elena walks by and sees Stefan with blood all over his face. Of course, she’s completely crushed.
Matt, stealer of break-in-and-hide-in-the-closet moments doesn’t understand how she ever became so connected to a vampire, and she says he was the perfect comfort after her parents died: he can’t die on her, it felt safe. At Paleyfest, creator Julie Plec said that we’d be going back to that night when Stefan saved Elena and her parents died, so while this feels like a step back, it could in reality serve as the factor that propels that latent emotion forward.
“Before you know it, you’ll be the king of moderation.” -Damon
Now that Elena has spurned him, Damon is burning every bridge he’s got. Even the sexual one between him and Rebekah. He lets her come along and play with the big boys for a while, but as soon as Stefan finally sinks his teeth into that poor girl, Damon tells Rebekah to scram like some sort of alley cat.
With no one left, he’s ready to give all his attention to Stefan and he’s certain Stefan is making progress. And when Stefan says he doesn’t need Damon’s help, we learn the last time he said that was 1912, when Damon convinced him to drink human blood. That time, he turned into a ripper almost immediately and Damon did nothing. Damon says he did nothing because he didn’t want to something, but he wants to now. He’s certainly going off the deep end in the wake of Elena’s heartbreaking response, but not the way he did when we first met him. He may be freewheeling it a bit, but he’s putting his relationship with his brother above all else. He’s good-bad Damon.
“I’m the one that’s supposed to look after you, even though I suck at it.” -Alaric
But the big mystery this episode is whether or not Meredith is right about Rick. She’s seeming more credible and the evidence suddenly piles up. Elena reads Jonathan Gilbert’s granddaughter Samantha’s journal, and it seems insanity runs in her family. But there’s more to it.
Damon also discovers that Samantha testified about the murders, but she was deemed insane and was sent to a mental hospital. There’s just one gaping hole in this story: Damon killed her before the testimony took place. She was a Gilbert, and she had the Gilberts’ protective ring - the same one Alaric wears - and the strain of dying and coming back to life so many times started to make her crazy, literally.
Meredith comes to Elena’s house saying she cleared Alaric’s name and she wants to help him, and this time, we want to believe her. She’s redeemed herself a bit and Elena has read further in Samantha’s diary and realizes that what happened to Samantha is happening to Rick: he’s the serial killer, he just doesn’t know it. Cut to a flashback of Samantha stabbing Zachariah and our worst fears have been realized: Rick really is guilty. But how does one go about fixing a mental disorder caused by a magical ring? That’s a tall order, but a mystery worth postponing the series’ romantic hook for just a bit longer.
Did you think there was any way Alaric could have been the killer? Do you trust Meredith now, or is there more to her? Let us know in the comments or get at me on Twitter @KelseaStahler
S2E10: Talk about a slow burn and a big finish. Last week, I said The Walking Dead was taking it slow just to take us into some seriously heavy territory, and man, was I right. This week delivered blood and guts, extreme danger, heroism, philosophical discussions, and the cumlination of almost two seasons of conflict between Shane and Rick. It was, in a word, epic. I'm tempted to criticize the episode for packing far too much into one hour, but I can't.
The mark of a great television drama is its ability to elicit a visceral reaction from its viewers. By keeping us in this relatively safe bubble with our heroes safe on Hershel's farm and no major characters left in real, inescapable jeopardy until now, the series' sudden onslaught of danger, big questions, and violence had an immeasurable impact this week. It's all about dynamics - the longer we wait for the action to build, the more intense it is when we finally reach our destination. TV dramas have acquired an arsenal of techniques (or cheats) to get us invested in storylines as quickly as possible, allowing us to move through emotional turmoil at what would be an alarming rate in the real world. However, The Walking Dead opts for a more organic trajectory, allowing the emotional components to weasel their way into the deeper regions of our hearts and when they finally hit, the effect is incapacitating. And now that I've made it through "18 Miles Out," consider me immobilized. "Rick, you can't be the good guy and survive." -Shane "I'm not the good guy anymore." -Rick We start in medias res (literary technique meaning to start in the middle of things) with Shane trapped in a school bus by walkers, Rick being chased by a sizable zombie, and Randall (the kid Rick saved last episode) reaching for a knife so he can cut of his restraints. Almost every time a Walking Dead episode starts this way, it's a great one and "18 Miles Out" keeps with that tradition. We return to the events before the walker onslaught, when Rick and Shane are taking Randall out from the farm so they can release him into the wild, but first Rick needs to have a chat with his former partner. Rick asks Shane why he sacrificed Otis - was it really to save himself and Carl? Was there another way? Shane insists he had no choice, but Rick soon explains why he needs to know so much about that night: Lori says Shane is dangerous. Rick puts Shane in his place, staking his claim over his family and his wife, and mentioning the one thing that signifies the ways in which Rick is actually much stronger than Shane: he was able to resist killing Shane when he learned of his tryst with Lori. Shane returns Rick's irrefutable argument with some backpeddaling about how his relationship with Lori wasn't premeditated - Rick didn't say anything about that, which only makes us more suspicious of Shane's true intentions - but the bottom line is pretty clear: it's Rick's way or the highway. And with his ability to take control in this scene - emotionally and logically - you'd be hard-pressed to find an argument against him. So, when Rick roughs Randall up, but tells Shane they need to find a place to give him "his fair shot," we know Rick truly has been darkened by this new landscape, but he hasn't lost his superhuman strength of character. Shane and Rick find the school from the opening scene and there's a roaming walker, but Rick cautions the trigger-happy Shane against using his firearm, touting the fact that there's always another way - Rick's theme of the night. Rick lures a walker to the fence by cutting his finger and the walker runs over so Rick can stab him in the forehead. They find signs of former life: blankets, baby seats, and burned bodies (a practice to keep the virus from infecting other survivors). These signals should be enough to tell them that school is anything but safe, yet they stay anyway and use it a setting for the culmination of their season-long philosophical wrestling. Randall claims he went to school with Maggie, but that she never noticed him, as a way of evoking their empathy. Shane's reaction is to pull a gun on the kid. He fires, but Rick takes him down, leading the duo into the most heated argument they've ever had as Rick says he wants to take the kid back and think about whether or not killing him is the answer. Their arument escalates until Shane comes out with it: he thinks Rick can't take care of his family. We finally see Rick unravel and he throws a punch at Shane, igniting the fight that's been brewing since Season One. It seems Shane is fighting for the chance to kill Randall, but when he throws a massive wrench at Rick's head, we know he's out for blood. Unfortunately for the whole trio, Shane's murderous attempt wakes a legion of walkers in the schoolhouse and suddenly, we're caught up to the episode's opening scene. "You've gotta stay strong for them...We can make now alright - and we have to." -Lori The ladies back at the farm work through two huge issues in this single episode: the woman's place in this new primitive world and suicide. Maggie's discussion with Glenn has her worried - was it really her fault that he froze in the bar last episode? Lori tells her that it's their place (the women's place) to be the back bone for the men - "Tell him to man up and pull himself together - just don's say 'man up.'" Lori sees the women as a support system of people who simply know better than the brutes. It treads a thin line between empowerment and old world ideals.
Later, when Beth tries to kill herself with her breakfast knife, this strikes a chord with Andrea who was prevented from taking her own life when Dale caught her. But instead of having a real argument about Beth, Lori and Andrea lay out it all out. Part of their disagreement seems to stem from Andrea's jealousy - her comment about Lori's "boyfriend" is the classic move of a jealous woman. Shane only slept with Andrea, but he thinks he's in love with Lori; that has to infuriate Andrea. Lori criticizes Andrea for trying to play along with the boys keeping watch with her rifle, but Andrea sees Lori's dedication to housework as pointless. It's an interesting question: should they accept the military state at hand, or should they try to maintain as many elements of their old lives as possible? It's a lighter version of Beth's ultimate question: should they fight to live when they'll likely be eaten alive eventually, or should they just accept that death is on its way and beat it to the punch? Beth opens the topic when she asks Lori if she thinks not aborting her baby will make a difference - it's just going to have to fight for its life and likely eventually lose when its finally born. This question is nothing new - Andrea delt with it after her sister's death and Lori wrestled with it when she first found out she was pregnant - but its importance in this world is immeasurable. This question can't get an answer and then be done. It's an ongoing issue. Maggie tries to talk some sense into her sister, but Beth says they can't avoid loss and they should both committ suicide so that death is comfortable and their choice. She's raving and begging Maggie to take the leap with her. Just then, Andrea sits with Beth so Maggie can take a break. But instead of watching Beth, Andrea leaves her so she can make her own decision. Minutes later Maggie finds her sister locked in the bathroom and crying; she attempted to slash her wrists, but ultimately decides to live. As Hershel sews his daughter up, Maggie banishes a smiling Andrea from the house. Andrea is beaming because she gave Beth a real chance to choose: she's going to live and she chose that fate on her own. I'm with Lori - it's a great thing that Beth resolutely chose to live, but at the same time, it wasn't fair to Beth's family for Andrea to leave her alone after they trusted her with the girl's life. "If you want to kill me, you're gonna have to do better than a wrench." -Rick Back at the school, things are looking pretty dire. Rick is taken down by walkers, but because he's just that much of a badass, he manages to shoot all three of the walkers hungrily piled on top of him. Watching him shoot one walker by shoving his gun in the first one's head has to make up for the lack of action for the past few episodes. Shane is trapped in the bus, like we saw in the beginning, and he's using his blood as bait and stabbing walkers in the head - still, he's looking pretty hopeless. Rick and Randall come together and they have a chance to escape while the walkers go after Shane. Rick hesitates but ultimately uses Shane's own logic against him and they run to the car, but not before staring at the two slain walker security guards. Just as we're all sitting with our jaws scraping along the ground thinking, "Did Rick really pull a Shane?" he comes riding back onto the campus in his SUV like the Lone Ranger on his steed, crushing walkers'heads under the wheels like so many diseased grapes. He whips around the back of the bus and picks up Shane. The image of the dead guards must have triggered affection for his former partner on the police force - a throwback to the good ol' days. But this image of the dead law enforcement duo takes him even further. On the road, they stop again to put Randall in the trunk and Rick delivers another speech: he acknowledges that Shane tried to kill him, but he saved him anyway. If this episode does anything, it confirm's Rick's incredible strength. All that talk about his inability to make the tough decisions is moot: he makes the toughest decisions of all. He does the right thing and administers mercy even when it seems impossible. Rick needs the night to make up his mind about Randall, "it can't be that easy killing someone." This experience has solved it for viewers, and as Rick sees it, for Shane as well. Rick won the philosophical argument with his selfless actions. He lays down the law: "That is my wife, that is my son, that is my child. If you're gonna be with us, you gotta follow my lead. You gotta trust me." He ends his speech by asking his former best friend to "come back" - not to the farm, but back from the dark place to which this apocalyptic world has banished him. Still, as they drive back to the farm, Shane looks agitated and exhausted as he watches a lone walker trudging through a field. I can't help but think back to the moment when Rick and Shane examined the security guards' biteless bodies: "it could be scratches." With all Shane's ominous staring, could he have sustained one of those scratches? Does this moment signify something greater? Let us know in the comments or get me on Twitter @KelseaStahler.
S3E11: To be fair, we sort of asked for this. Critics have harped on Glee for toying with reality too often. Suddenly, they’d be singing for no apparent reason, and they’d be onstage, with a team of dancers and a bevy of cellists. Sometimes there were even bedazzled football jerseys. It was outlandish, but honestly, that was not what bothered me. It was the tendency for the show to allow the songs to stand in place of real dialog instead of using them to punctuate the story. Who needs to tell a story when an All American Rejects song can do it for us? Nope, this will not stand. And it seems, that with this episode, Glee is attempting to make up for its past sudden musical shifts but explaining absolutely everything. The result is dialog that makes us want to watch the series on mute until the songs start because once those darned kids start singing, we’re able to forget momentarily that the plot is pretty dismal. They’re just so talented! How could I not be enjoying this? Then Mercedes says, “Look, we love being back in New Directions but we hate that we missed our one chance this year to do Michael.” (What’s with the sob story? Did they forget that they all angrily defected and then lost at sectionals?) And boom: we’ve got an excuse for a theme episode. It sounds like an after school special in which the dialog is awkwardly positioned so the powers that be can make their point – only instead of an argument, the point is a set of Michael Jackson songs.
”Alright, twink, I think it’s time I showed you a little Lima Heights hospitality.” –Santana
After Mercedes whines, Schue happens to walk by and say he’s conveniently planned for them to do Michael Jackson for regionals too. It’s so obnoxiously convenient it’s rendered me momentarily snarkless, which is good because I really enjoyed the glorious return of Blaine as a lead singer during “Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin’.”Moving on, while half of the club is acting all chummy at the Lima Bean, Sebastian shows up to ruin everything. Blaine talked to him that morning and told him about Michael, so Sebastian stole their set list and since Warblers perform first, New Directions are screwed. What is he, a musical theater-loving James Bond villain? NEVER GIVE AWAY YOUR EVIL PLAN.
Schue’s solution is WWMJD (What Would Michael Jackson Do), which I’m sure is going to upset a church group somewhere. Apparently, if Michael was an entire glee club, he would meet the Warblers in an empty parking garage and ambush them with a performance of “Bad.” And when performances like this one really get going, we almost forget that the storyline is weak. The Glee strategy seems to be: waffle through the story then lull the audience into complacency with a really fantastic musical number. I just wish my friends who made that uninformed realization three years ago weren’t being proved correct now. At the end of the song, the united front of blazer enthusiasts respond by hitting Blaine with a slushie, but he reacts as if Sebastian threw battery acid on him. It’s not battery acid, but rock salt and Blaine has to have surgery. The adults aren’t really doing much and Schue says to let the system take care of it, but if we’ve learned anything from movies, the system never works. Artie is so pissed, he even uses the word “damn, and his speech about being an underdog is a sudden, out of place attempt to recreate Season One sweet spot. But we’ve been trained and are only listening to Artie’s compilation of invisible floating letters until the next song starts, which was pretty fantastic. Artie’s imagination allows him to perform “Scream” with Mike Chang, because he’s the best dancer. It’s the MJ answer to Sue’s “Vogue” video from the Madonna tribute and it gives Kevin McHale a chance to actually dance – which he can do really well! If only Brittany’s robot legs from last season were real and could help him do this every episode! (No, please don’t do that for real, writers.)
“If you want everything you’ve ever dreamed of, you’re going to have to break up with him.” –Quinn
Finn approaches Rachel about that whole unanswered proposal and she says everything everyone else is thinking: she’s way too young to make this decision, living in New York doesn’t mean they’ll break up, a ring isn’t necessary, they’re so young, etc. Finn continues his psychobabble and makes it clear that he wasn’t listening at all when he says he’ll give her a few more days to decide. Where is Miss Pillsbury with her perky wisdom and mandatory counseling sessions? For some reason, Rachel tells Quinn about the proposal, and Quinn tells her to break it off. Her reasoning stems from her Yale acceptance letter and the fact that she’s sure she’ll forget all her old boyfriends. Invoking the “new women” stay single forever argument, she launches into “Never Can Say Goodbye” with her parade of ex-boyfriends all starting at her adoringly – which are some mixed signals – and we’re reminded that Quinn’s got a cute voice, but not much power. She ends by giving a generic speech about being the only one standing her way, letting go of the past to start the future, and all of this, of course, is directed at Rachel. Apparently, in life you only get to choose one purpose: feelings or success.
“Sam Evans, you are crazy.” –Mercedes
“Crazy about you.” –Sam
It’s not the most genius bit, it was cheesy, and it’s not all that important, but the moment between Sam and Mercedes is a tiny bright spot in the middle of an overgrown plot. After putting her name in lights (aww) because he says she’ll be famous someday (double aww), he asks her to sing “Human Nature” with him and then he’ll leave her to be with Shane. He starts playing and she can’t resist singing. This is really sweet and simple (even with the crazy lights in the background). They kiss and it’s adorable (we’re just going to ignore the part where she’s cheating on her boyfriend). It’s cute and I liked it. Honestly, I’ve got no snark for Samcedes.
“Kurt, this isn’t violent, it was clever. I taped it to my underboob.” –Santana
Despite Santana’s brilliant idea to drug Sebastian and get him a tramp stamp, she and Kurt decide the high road is better. And while that doesn’t entail violence, spying and sabotage are apparently trucking along up there. We learn that it is a Warbler tradition to engage in an unwinnable duel in which the head Warbler (Sebastian) duets with his opponent, preferably in a Johnny Depp-approved hat (Santana). Once again, the performance – this time of “Smooth Criminal” – is fantastic, but it doesn’t solve anything. They both think they’re the winner. Still, because of the whole Bond villain syndrome, Sebastian admits to putting rock salt in the slushie (which he says was meant for Kurt), but not without throwing an icy red treat in Santana’s face.
Still, she has a recorder taped to her underboob and gets Sebastian’s confession on tape. See? Oversharers never prosper. Kurt insists they take the high road again – and thankfully Puck makes a long overdue joke about how in his slow little mind he thought the high road was a marijuana reference and Santana whips out this gem, “If Kurt would have taped this to his junk, we would have never heard the end of it. We would have had a whole week of songs about it.” (Thank you. It seems the series has only mostly lost its marbles.)
Kurt’s big plan is a performance of “Black or White” to show the Warlbers that they should all support each other and even though that song is about race, not one school’s superiority over the other – wait, I’m still not sure why Dalton and Vocal Adrenaline beat them. Is their advantage that they pay the judges? They must; they’re not actually better. Anyway, it’s a good performance, but the recreation of the end of the “Black or White” music video was a little indulgent. Everyone but Sebastian joins in before he delivers his evil villain speech – the whole “you’re all weak” racket. Santana says she’s got him on tape admitting his guilt, but they going to take the high road (there it is again) and plan to beat him without turning him in. But they will shame him in front of his team.
"No plans, no college, nowhere to go." –Rachel
Burt pulls Kurt out of class to read his NYADA letter – because now that arts education is back, who needs Spanish? He’s a finalist – and they had us fooled with that tiny envelope because everyone who’s applied to college knows acceptance letters come in fat envelopes. Though there hasn’t been a significant amount of development in this storyline this season, Mike O’Malley (Burt) always manages to bring these scenes home. Unfortunately, this is overshadowed when Rachel doesn’t get a letter. And Lea Michele turns in a real, vulnerable performance that doesn’t involve a Barbra Streisand song when she equates her lack of a letter as her lack of a future. This only gets harder when she and Finn visit Blaine, who’s toasting Kurt’s letter with Diet Coke – which has to be bad luck. “Luckily,” they stop this realistic, awkward situation with another song from MJ’s catalog. “You’ve Got a Friend” is sweet, but it detracts from the giant, gurgling green-eyed monster that is surely struggling in Rachel’s self-important heart.
“I always feel like you hear me better when I’m not talking.” –Finn
If this quote is true, why do you want to marry Rachel, Finn? Anyway, Finn pulls Rachel aside because he “forgot” one part his proposal – the part where they skip ahead to Michael Jackson week and sing “I Just Can’t Stop Loving You.” After she outshines him, she delivers the saddest proposal acceptance a 17 year old ever uttered: “I can’t have it all but at least I can have you.” At age 35, that’s a perfectionist realizing she needs to chill out a bit and go with the flow, but at age 17, it’s sad. She’s not supposed to be ready to accept that she can’t have everything; you’re supposed to want everything as a teen so you aim impossibly high and hit a level that will keep your parents off your back as long as you start paying your own rent by age 22.
After she seals her fate, it changes. Rachel gets her letter late and she’s a finalist, but when Kurt asks if she told Finn yet she reacts as if the power of Michael made her forget she just got engaged. But clearly now that her dreams are coming true, she has to dump her Lima loser boyfriend, right? Right? Because it’s like the rules of feminism, or something. And yes, this is the big cliffhanger at the end of the episode.
What did you think of the episode? Are you more on board with Samcedes than Finchel? (I am.) Do you think they could have picked better MJ songs for his TRIBUTE episode? Let me know in the comments or find me on Twitter. @KelseaStahler
Through four diverse women's personal accounts, as well as experts and activists interviews, the program illustrates stories of women who triumph over their struggles at the hand of violence and offers resources for victims and survivors.