And so we've arrived at Sectionals. Last season, this was a major turning point episode, both for the characters and the show (which got its back-nine pickup and ended the fall season with "Sectionals"). Hopefully that can be the case again this year, and if this episode is an indication, it may be.
Early in the episode, we got Rachel calling Sam and Quinn "Ken and Barbie", which was funny in itself. But then it was followed by Quinn telling Rachel, "you used to be just sort of unlikeable, but now I pretty much feel like punching you every time you open your mouth", which was my favorite non-Britney Spears moment of the season. At least it was until Will lashed out at Rachel, because she needed that. And this show needed that. While it wasn't quite a Season 1 moment, it captured an energy that the show's been missing of late.
For much of Season 1, this show was way too Rachel focused. And it seems that in Season 2, she's really only taken a backseat to Kurt (who has become the "Glee" cause du jour), and as a viewer, I'm getting just as fed up as Will with her diva attitude. It reached the point that when Finn broke up with Rachel (quick recap on how that happened: Rachel found out Finn slept with Santana, so she made out with Puck, and confessed that to Finn, who was justifiably pissed)
And you know, Will's plan for sectionals (really Emma's plan, but whatever), may have come out of nowhere, but he kind of had a point. There was no way that New Directions was going to beat The Warblers on singing ability alone, and I was wondering how the writers of the show were going to get around that -- or if they would even bother, considering how much they've strained the suspension of disbelief this season (and as for the conclusion to that, well, I'll get to that). Plus, I heart Brittany. Her moment when she thought "adultery" meant being stupid, like being a "dolt"… phenomenal.
OK, now on to Kurt, who has dominated this season's stories, for better or worse. I was genuinely concerned that the show was going to make it so when he showed up at Dalton, everything would be perfect for him, but it wasn't. He's not exactly fitting in, in large part because he doesn't want to just "fit in". He wants to be a star, and I think he's slowly realizing that save for the Karofsky situation -- obviously a huge negative in his life -- his situation at McKinley wasn't entirely terrible. And that little pep talk at the end, with the strained bird metaphor, only emphasized to me that Kurt doesn't want to become a new Kurt, but that he wants to be in a place here he can be who he is, unconditionally.
Of course, we haven't seen the last of Kurt, Dalton, or The Warblers, since "Glee" wussed out and had them tie with New Directions at sectionals. I'd venture to guess that means regionals is going to be The Warblers, New Directions and Vocal Adrenaline (who have sadly been absent since the first episode of the season). And while that will make for some great performances in the regionals episode, it also means this Kurt story is going to get dragged out even longer, which I'm not sure is good for the long-term viability of the show.
But, for now, let's leave that for another day and get to this week's song reviews:
Don't Cry For Me Argentina - A
Sure, I may have written above about how much I loved seeing Rachel get dissed, chewed out and knocked down several pegs, but Lea Michele still has an incredible voice, as does Chris Colfer (in his own way). Sure, the show can get a little too focused on these two characters, but the music they produce is fine by me.
The Living Years - B
I really liked this performance, so much so that I have a hard time believing that the actors we saw on screen were singing it.
Hey Soul Sister - B-
There have been times I've had to separate my feelings about the song from my grade for the performance. I hate this song. I'm sorry, I just do. But, ya know what, it worked for the The Warblers, and I liked Kurt's awkward half-smiling throughout the whole thing.
The Time of My Life - D
Hey, remember what I wrote three lines ago about separating my feelings for a song from my performance grade. Yeah, I can't do that here. I really, really, really dislike this song. I'm sorry, "Dirty Dancing" fans, I just do (related: I think that entire movie is stupid). And Quinn's leggings under her dress looked stupid (somehow they looked worse on her than everyone else). Almost as stupid as Chord Overstreet's hair (OK, now I'm just piling on… I'm sorry).
Valerie - B+
A quick story -- I have all the "Glee" soundtracks, and one of my favorite songs from the first one is "Rehab" by Amy Winehouse. But until two days ago, I'd never heard her original version. Now I've got another Amy Winehouse cover I love for which I've never heard the original. Maybe I should start listening to more Amy Winehouse (oh, and Naya Rivera's voice doesn't suck).
Dog Days Are Over - C
This was just an average "Glee" song. Not great, not bad. Just average. So it gets an average grade. I don't think it was a particularly good spotlight for Mercedes or Tina, and I thought it was kind of weird that the "roster filler" girl -- who'd just admitted that she thought show choir was stupid -- was involved in this performance.
For more coverage of the 2010-11 television season, visit the AdamReisinger.com TV Reviews home page.