Remember when Ryan Murphy and Co. ruined Chrismukkah with that appalling holiday episode of “Glee” last month? Me neither, because I purposefully drank enough eggnog to kill each brain cell that contained memories of that offensive dreck.
Thankfully, the Glee gods started 2012 with a whole lot of YES and very little no.
Really the only negatives for me were at the very beginning, because despite obligatory slumber party screenings and wedding DJ mash-ups, I do not like “Grease.” Mercedes looked fantastic and Sam hit Travolta’s song-ending money note, but I’ll still pass on “Summer Nights.” And for a no-within-a-no, I have two words: Rachel’s outfit.
Marriage was on everybody’s mind at WMHS. Only that shameless hussy Becky was out for a hook-up, no “I do” required. We’ll get to her later.
Just like in real life, a variety of proposal/wedding tropes exist on TV. Excluding shotguns, green cards, and wealthy geezers on death’s doorstep, this episode presented us with some of the most familiar scenarios involving putting a ring on it.
First, we had the quickie elopement from Coach Beiste and Cooter Menkins. A Christmas Eve run for the border turned into a trip to the 24-hour wedding chapel for those two lovebirds. They must have ordered the Nachos Wedding Bell Grande. (Tip your servers, I’m here all week.) Despite the impulsiveness of it all, this union is bound to last.
Then there was the more traditional meet-flirt-date-move-in-propose development from Schue and Emma. Failed marriages to other people along the way? Sure. But this duo has been on a path to happily-ever-after for years now. If anyone on the show was going to get the flashy (and ultimately splashy) proposal treatment, it was them.
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Plus Schue’s plan to propose with the perfect song provided an easy tie-in for musical numbers, as members of New Directions offered up various suggestions.
Aside: I don’t have a Tumblr, but I’d like to start two: one for exclusively posting headshots people would send me of their wild “I just had sex” hair, and one for posting clips of amazingly good or devastatingly bad musical numbers. An example of the latter would almost surely be Taylor Swift and Amanda Seyfried’s rendition of “A Heart Full of Love” in the future Les Miserables movie, while most of the numbers from this episode would fit in the former category.
Anyway, the writers had to create a little suspense, so they brought back Emma’s bigot parents to potentially frighten Schue away from life with their OCDelightful daughter. They got to him enough that he asked Emma how she might deal with baby vomit, etc. Jayma Mays performed Emma’s reaction and rebuttal so well, with equal parts vulnerability and strength, that I just wanted to squeeze her.
Just in time for a rousing aquatic finale, Schue realized Emma balanced him out perfectly, and they got engaged.
The episode was rounded out with a third twist on matrimony involving Finn and Rachel. We’ll consider this the “Wait nooo, don’t do it, I’m not listening, la-la-la-la-la” proposal.
Not only are they so young, they’ve always treated their relationship like a revolving door, and their life goals are totally different. Basically, Finn was freaked out because he learned his dad was a PTSD-plagued, drug-addicted vet, which caused him to reevaluate his future. He landed on the idea that devoting his life to loving Rachel was the best he could do. Rachel has little hope for her NYADA dreams at the moment, but I don’t see her fantasizing about being an Ohio-bound teen bride. We won’t know her answer for another two weeks, but it’s possible that Finn will soon be joining Sue and Becky for “Beaches” in the Land of the Dumped.
What do we know about Becky Faye Jackson? She likes pizza, dancing, Spielberg and Pixar. She is a capable sexter. Her inner monologues have a distinctly royal intonation. She doesn’t care for hot dogs, and she’s a little bit racist.
And because she has Down syndrome, she has to deal with cruelty, condescension, and coddling from many other people. So when Artie rejected her romantic advances, she questioned whether it was because of her condition. Whether or not that was the case, few things hurt worse than unrequited teenage love, so she was obviously in a lot of pain.
Enough with the sad stuff, here’s more that had me saying “Yes!”
Best musical number: I was equally crazy about “Wedding Bell Blues” (because Sue and Beiste as backup singers and bridesmaids was the stuff of delicious fantasy, and original songstress Laura Nyro is divine), “The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face” (because it made my ears really happy), and “Moves Like Jagger/Jumpin’ Jack Flash” (because even this gay girl thought Artie, Mike, and Schue’s dancing was smokin’ hot).
Best Sue-ism: While Michael Chiklis in a wig was good, and I’m increasingly curious about the Boreanaz affair, I’m going with her triple slam at Artie’s Muppet voice, Porsche gloves, and geriatric style.
Best once and future voiceover: Dame Helen Mirren is fine. Her getting “reals” is very fine indeed. Especially when she says “He looks like an insane person.”
Surprisingly snappy housewife appearance: Word on the street (read: unsourced internet gossip) is that NeNe Leakes has graced a few scripted TV and film sets before, and it shows. Maybe when she’s done with synchronized swimming, she can coach Damian in acting.
New favorite Pillsbury pamphlet: “So You’re a Spinster”
And here’s a short “No” list:
Worst musical number: “Summer Nights.” Uninspired copycat staging.
Worst best man: Finn? Really?