The Gleecap: “Yes/No”

By Jon Erik Christianson • January 18, 2012 at 9:00 am


The Gleecap is a column dedicated to recap and review the zany antics that occur in each episode of the television show Glee. Blog posts will be released each Wednesday following an episode. Beware, there will be spoilers.

I, for once, made a New Year’s Resolution regarding the Gleecap. Many times across my adventures on the Internet, I’ve read Glee reviews from people who seemed to despise the show with every fiber of their being. It made me angry. I was searching out for reviews on a show I loved, and the reviews seemed to despise what I loved.

With this past season, I’ve worried that, as a reviewer, I’ve become the Grinch who stole Glee‘s Extraordinary Christmas. So I made the resolution to spit a little less vitriol at the show I purport to enjoy watching.

I then sent Ryan Murphy a letter asking him to make the show better.

Mr. Murphy, don’t make a New Year’s Quitter out of me. That would be terribly rude.

Story Overview

In a manner completely befitting the episode’s title “Yes/No,” every single major event, except one final shocker, can be sorted into either categories of “Yes,” filled with joyful acceptance, or “No,” brimming with brutal rejection.

On the fortunate side of the tracks, Mr. Schuester decides that he finally wants to propose to Emma. He asks the New Directions, apparently his only friends, exactly how he should propose. Strangely enough, they all respond in song.

After some tumultuous bumps down the road, including the misgivings of Emma’s parents and concern for their future children, Mr. Schuester proposes amidst a campy synchronized swimming production put on by the Glee club.

In the messy realm of teenage relationships, Sam decides he wants Mercedes back, and Mercedes realizes she may just want the same thing, despite her committed relationship to the frequently absent Shane. Becky, equipped with the internal monologue of Helen Mirren, starts pining for the most prominent handicapable guy in school: Artie.

Artie, hesitant at first, realizes that he really likes Becky…as a friend. He eventually clears up his feelings, and Becky copes by having a sweet bonding session with Sue.

In an very unexpected turn, Finn decides he might want to join the army and become a war hero like his late father. Unfortunately for him and for any chance of a good mood on that day, his parents and Mr. Schuester decide to rain on that parade by telling him that his father did not die in Iraq.

He died afterwards due to a PTSD-induced drug addiction.

Spiraling into frustration and confusion, Finn realizes that he has one truly great thing in life: Rachel. In turn, he makes sure that he never loses her by following in the footsteps of Mr. Schuester. He proposes to her. Rachel, like Glee’s audience, was left utterly speechless. So speechless, in fact, that she didn’t respond before the episode ended.

Oh, and Coach Beiste got eloped with the man who initially left her for Sue.

Characters

She makes the loveliest Queen of England. | Promotional photo courtesy of Fox TV

Becky – I never, in a million seasons, ever expected to be listing this girl’s name under this section of the Gleecap. Fortunately, it’s for all the right reasons. Becky, under her first major spotlight, proved that she is probably one of the most mature people walking through McKinley’s halls. She wanted to date Artie, so she asked him out. She wanted to make the relationship clear even when Artie was stuttering behind. When she got her heart broken, she knew the truth behind it and handled the grief like anyone should.

With the movie Beaches.

Mr. Schuester – For the first time in a while, the show gave him lines. For the first time in a long while, I actually liked him. Sure, it was weird exactly how much he was bonding with his students, but that’s excusable given the show and all the lovey-dovey camaraderie that comes with it. People may call out his confrontation with Emma, but his concerns were completely valid.

They’ve both been through divorces. Emma’s OCD is a messy problem, and it’s not wrong of him to want to clear that with her. That was responsible, although somewhat unpleasant. His interactions with Finn were also commendable.

Sam – I’m convinced the Glee writers create entire story lines just to keep as little clothing on Sam as possible.

Coach Roz – I thought anything even mildly graced by Real Housewives of Atlanta star NeNe Leakes was going to be absolutely horrendous. Strangely enough, she was pretty darn funny.

Songs

“Summer Nights” from Grease: I realize this song is a cult classic that fit perfectly into the context of the show, but I really wasn’t a fan of it. The vocals were adequate but not terribly stunning. I approve of Sugar having a line, but Rory’s lines seemed very much out of range. The lyrics also left me wondering what actually happened with their summer fling. Given Mercedes’ character, I find it hard to believe everything went down just as Sam’s hip thrust’s led me on to believe.

“Wedding Bell Blues” by Laura Nyro: I find it terribly hard to believe that Emma was actually singing this. The voice, albeit just as chipmunk-y as I’ve come to expect, did not blend well with other songs I’ve heard her “sing.” Beiste and Sue’s bridesmaid’s outfits, however, made up for everything.

“Moves Like Jagger/Jumpin’ Jack Flash” by Maroon 5/Rolling Stones: Both songs fit excellently with Artie’s voice, although I’m not one hundred percent sure that “Jumpin’ Jack Flash” really added much to the song. It’s a great retro addition, but didn’t change “Moves Like Jagger” much. The man-dancing/bonding aspect of the song felt bizarre.

“First Time I Ever Saw Your Face” by Roberta Flack: For once, I think all the other female vocalists outclassed Rachel on this one, including Tina. The raw emotional energy supported by a stellar ensemble singing really made the performance surprisingly powerful. My only criticism is that I’m sick of Rachel’s crying face.

“Without You” by David Guetta ft. Usher: I agree with Santana’s comment in that the song felt pretty irrelevant. I get that it serves as a catalyst for Finn’s eventual epiphany and realization, but it gave me flashbacks of when she got an irrelevant song every single episode. Fortunately, it was a unique spin on the song that managed well with her vocals.

“We Found Love” by Rihanna ft. Calvin Harris: This season, the Glee higher-ups realized that Rachel and Santana’s voices go excellently together. They should continue to abuse the knowledge because this synchronized-swimming supported song selection was stellar (holy alliteration Batman). I even enjoyed how campy the performance was. It felt like typical Glee campy, not shove-it-down-your-throat campy.

One-Liners

“Is that a mohawk or did someone glue a squirrel to your head?” – Becky “Helen Mirren” Jackson

“He’s going to have the grease monkeys wearing white dinner jackets.” – Burt Hummel about Kurt

“If you pee in my pool, I will kill you.” – Coach Roz Washington

Overall Score

The show had a jarring amount of emotional development that I was not expecting. Finn wanting to join the army, Finn’s dad being a drug addict, Becky’s entire storyline and her maturity, Mr. Schuester’s proposal and conflict with Emma, and Finn’s ultimate proposal to Rachel all caught me completely off-guard.

The songs are my biggest complaint. Although vocally most of them were spot-on, the context or cinematography for a few felt really off. And some may rail against Mr. Schuester’s decisions, I do feel they were necessary to get out in the open.

“Yes/No:” A-


Jon Christianson (COM/CAS '14) is the zany, misunderstood cousin of The Quad family. His superpowers include talking at the speed of light, tripping over walls, and defying ComiQuad deadlines with the greatest of ease. His lovely copyeditors don't appreciate that last one. If for some reason you hunger for more of his nonsense, follow him at @HonestlyJon on Twitter or contact him at jchristianson@buquad.com!



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