Monday, November 14, 2011

GLEE: "I Am Unicorn"

The title of this episode comes from a Brittany metaphor. She says that a unicorn is a pony who does a good deed and is rewarded with a horn. Then it poops out cotton candy until the horn falls off and it forgets it's magical. I don't know where she gets this stuff; it is certainly not in any unicorn lore I'm familiar with. It's not even My Little Pony stuff. She says she wants to help Kurt because he's the school's biggest unicorn, someone who "knows they're magical and isn't afraid to show it." I'm at a point where now I'm really concerned about Brittany and the show is not doing itself any favors by making her this naive and dumb. Either her parents should be brought up on child abuse charges, or the school should be reprimanded for failing at educating her. I did like though that we got to see a bit of her in class. This show has a history of forgetting that these kids actually have classes to go to.

We learn that Vocal Adrenaline did NOT win Nationals last year, but came in second. Their coach was fired, so Vocal Adrenaline may be vulnerable. For this reason, Mr. Schue says he needs to focus all their attention on glee club, and this means he cannot direct the musical. For this reason, the directing duties go to Emma and Coach Bieste, along with Artie as student director. In the meantime, Mr. Schue is instituting a "booty camp" for the kids to improve their dancing, and Mike Chang is helping him. It's about time! Their dancing has always been a weak, and if they really want to win these are the sort of things they need to do. If he got the Acafellas working, surely this will help. Mercedes however resents having to go to booty camp.

Annoying Miss Sugar got her rich daddy to give money to the school if they would hire Shelby Cochran (Rachel's mom) to coach a second glee club highlighting Sugar. This is bad for the school, but it's a way for the show to get back to the storylines of the first season. Season two went by with almost no word at all about Quinn's baby.

Quinn makes a deal with Sue to star in a propaganda video about how the arts ruined her life. Sue has convinced her that she was fine until she joined glee club. She goes to Mr. Schuster to tell him on camera that glee club ruined her life, but Schue gives her an earful. I like that he tells her off, and that they mention the time that she was living with Mercedes, which was ignored all last year. I guess her parents took her back. The biggest problem with the video scenes is that it makes Becky a joke again, carrying a boom mike in the shot. Meanwhile, she is missing her baby and doesn't like that Shelby is back. Shelby tells her that if she wants to be a part of Beth's life, then the new grungy Quinn has to go. Uh oh, just when I was starting to like new Quinn.

Brittany's plan for Kurt's campaign is lots of pink and glitter and rainbows that just screams gay. Kurt's idea is for something more understated, but frankly his poster is just as gay. It's gay in a different way, but still. Though for once it's nice for Kurt to not want to walk around with a sign saying that's he's "gay gay gay". After last year, I appreciate him wanting to be seen as more than that.

Auditions are fast approaching for West Side Story. Both Kurt and Blaine want to audition for Tony, which has Kurt very nervous. Rachel of course wants Maria. She was planning on auditioning with "I Feel Pretty", which shows just how dumb Rachel is. It's a fluffy song and doesn't showcase her range well, or what Maria is about. Furthermore, Sondheim is on record saying he dislikes his lyrics to it. Shelby suggests doing "Somewhere" instead. So Rachel tries it, and while it's a better song I think it is still not a great audition. The problem with "Somewhere" is that it's as much identifiable with Barbra Streisand as with West Side. And so Rachel falls back on her old standby of Barbra imitation. She sings it with her mother and it's far too bombastic and loses all the sense of the lyric. The song is about hope for love in a violent world and I don't get any of that from this performance. All I get is notes.

Puck visits Shelby at home and very much wants to be involved in his daughter's life. He even drew her a picture of a clown that looks more like a pig (actually it looks like a leprechaun in a bow tie). And again the state of the American education system is hinted at: on the top of the picture Puck wrote "Too Beth". The lack of spelling ability in high school students really saddens me. This is not an exaggeration; read my previous posts on the subject to prove it.

And now we come to Kurt's audition which is a strange blend of good and bad ideas. He performs on scaffolding, which allows him to be somewhat athletic, climbing and swinging. This is good if he wants to be Tony. And yet once again he chooses the wrong song. He may think lyrically it's right, but it's still a girl's song and he needs to prove himself masculine for once. The scaffolding did help, though at times it felt less gymnast and more pole dancer. Also, just to be picky, these bits make it clear that he's singing to a prerecorded track because it would be a lot harder to belt out those notes will upside down and all. I'd have preferred a vocal that was more authentic to this situation, and less clean. But he caps it off with some fantastic knife twirling, which I think was Chris Colfer's idea. That moment was really spectacular, and if he had chosen a different song then it really would have helped him. Or if he wanted to stick to his usual self, he should have sung "Maria" which would at least have suited his range, and been a song from the show.

This might be a good time to mention that for some time now I've thought it would be good for Kurt to sing They Might Be Giants' "How Can I Sing Like a Girl" on this show, because it fits him perfectly.

Kurt overhears the directors talking about him, and while Emma is in favor of him for Tony, Coach Bieste doesn't think he's "street" enough. So with this in his mind, Kurt flips out when he walks down the hall and sees Brittany has hung all of her glittery unicorn campaign posters. The last thing he wants now is to be seen as feminine. To counter this unfortunately, Kurt does the gayest thing he could possible do. He performs a scene from Romeo and Juliet with Rachel... in full Elizabethan dress. I mean, he does put on a nice gruff voice, but that doesn't stop it from eliciting giggles from the directors. Oh Kurt, why are so naive?

Quinn comes back to glee club all prettified again, with the pink washed out of her hair. We learn that she's doing it just for show in order to get custody of Beth back from Shelby. But even so, I miss troubled Quinn. Couldn't she have at least kept the nose ring? Even just a stud? I like nose studs. Oh well, there goes my favorite part of the season so far.

Ultimately, Kirk embraces Brittany's design elements for his posters, but by then Santana has convinced Brittany to run for president herself. And Kurt's got competition for Tony as well. Blaine auditions for the musical with the perfect Tony song, "Something's Coming" which he nails, of course. Blaine really is a perfect Tony. However, I will save my further opinions on casting choices for the next episode, when things get heated. Mercedes was wearing a shirt that said "Diva" in this episode, and that's going to prove true.

Not a bad episode, but a lot going on. There was barely any music in this episode!

Songs in tonight's episode:
Somewhere -- from West Side Story
I'm the Greatest Star -- from Funny Girl
Something's Coming -- from West Side Story

favorite line
Burt Hummel on Kurt: "Dude, you're gay. And not like Rock Hudson gay, really gay. You sing like Diana Ross and you dress like you own a magic chocolate factory."

Next Episode: Brittany's presidential campaign, Mike Chang in trouble with his parents, and the war of the Marias as both Rachel and Mercedes fight for the lead in the musical

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