Glee s2e22 finale review: 'New York'
|REVIEWS - TV|
School's out, and S2's writers maybe ought to skip the crit...
Well, thank God that’s over. As usual, I’ve had a really hard time trying to order my thoughts into a cohesive review instead of just flinging feces at the monitor and screaming at the top of my lungs. This was one of the worst episodes of the show’s forty-four and it was definitely the most random. It was also possibly the most self-indulgent, incoherent mess I’ve seen in the context of an ongoing television series (in other words, I’ve seen worse movies, but this might be the nadir of my personal TV consumption).
I’ve written about Glee in a number of different ways, ranging from blind ranting to sycophantic ass-kissing and recently, many heavy analyses of its failings in performing even the most perfunctory narrative expectations of a TV show. I’m tapped out; I’ve had enough: this show has exhausted my ability to grin and bear it, and this episode ruined and ignored the exceptionally major suspension of disbelief it requires to survive, let alone enjoy the series.
Last week, I wrote that I was excited to see this episode, if only because they employed the oldest device in the book to interest me, only to forget they even said it. I was suckered in by a cheap trick and they didn’t even have the common courtesy to give me a Cheap Trick cover. Two of the subplots they’ve spent much of the season building up were cast aside in favor of rehashing the same tired bullshit and force-feeding tepid schmaltz into my astonishment-spawned slack, gaping maw. Beyond all that, the program’s normal disregard for logic was pushed past the breaking point and large tracts of the episode made so little sense that I couldn’t even rationalize the character’s decisions - and I’m good at that!
So yeah, I’m done. I’ll keep reviewing the DVD sets for something to do and if I hear the show has magically grown the beard next season due to the addition of whatever actual writing staff they hire this summer, I’ll give the first four episodes a shot all in one go and continue to review it in three-to-four episode batches. Crushes on Dianna Agron and Heather Morris notwithstanding, I’ve actually dreaded Tuesdays for the last few months because there’s simply no joy in writing about Glee anymore and I feel like I’m just writing the same complaints in a different configuration every week, which isn’t as fun as it sounds.
Anyway, here’s the pro/con list for the second season finale... may God have mercy on your souls.
Con: Rachel, drinking in Times Square says, “I made it.” Bitch, you didn’t make shit! You’re there for a glorified field trip.
Con: Wait... they still haven’t written their songs for the competition yet? The songs they were supposed to implausibly write on the plane trip? Oh shit, I feel some bullshit comin' on!
Con: It would’ve been so cool if, when they started singing “Theme from New York, New York,” somebody would’ve yelled at them to shut up.
Con: How is it Quinn knew Cats closed eleven years ago and Rachel didn’t?
Con: There’s some real flat photography of Manhattan in this episode. They try to make it look like a tourism come-on but just manage to look like another episode of TV’s most unimaginatively shot series.
Con: So Will catches Puck and Lauren trying to get served at the bar of their obscenely expensive hotel and they don’t get in any trouble? Seriously, this is the least stupid development involving Will in the episode.
Con: It is immediately followed up by the stupidest thing Will has ever done: he gets the gang in one of their two rooms, tells them to write two songs AND LEAVES THEM ALONE! IN NEW YORK! ALL DAY AND INTO THE NIGHT!! Among this group are a juvenile delinquent on probation who probably shouldn’t’ve been allowed to leave the state, two girls with a reputation for fucking anything on two legs, three kids involved in a bitter two-year back-and-forth love triangle, and you just leave them to their own devices?
Pro: Brittany’s high-waisted pants.
Pro: “My Cup” and all the incredulous looks from the rest of the club.
Pro: I couldn’t really get a good shot of it, but Santana’s slinky green-and-black striped dress.
Con: The musical number it’s in. Ok, one last rant...
At the beginning, assclown Ryan Murphy stated that all the numbers would be either within the context of an actual performance or entirely imaginary and though the rule, the ONLY consistent rule of this fictional universe, was bent once or twice, this number broke it right in two. They’re shown, individually and as a group, singing the same song in three or four different locations around Manhattan, cutting and jumping between them. How does this work? Where’s the music coming from? If this is imaginary, how are all thirteen of them having the same hallucination? Did they really just rhyme “York” with “dork”? I hate you, Glee.
Con: Aren’t you gay?
Con: Why is Sam encouraging Finn to ask Rachel out on a New York date? Didn’t he just steal your girlfriend only to drop her on her ass a month or so later?
Pro: While the girls (and Kurt) are having a pillow fight, Rachel (who’s trying to write) gets a whap on the back of the head from Quinn... which winds up being her big revenge.
Con: I guess Finn Googled “romantic places in Central Park.” You know, that’s a really big place; there are plenty of New Yorkers who have no idea where that bridge is even though it shows up in like, half the movies with scenes in that park.
Con: So Rachel’s all surreptitious about the text message she got; does that mean she somehow manages to get all dolled up for her date without the others seeing her?
Con: Turns out Will abandoned his students to sing on an empty stage where Crossrhodes is going to be performed. He sings a song from his actor’s new solo album (available now on the iTunes!). Somebody kill me. As if that weren’t ridiculous enough, some random usher played by a character actor who’s always a gangster crops up to tell him he’s sure talented. Ugh.
Con: You know, I buy that Rachel brought a bunch of extraneous dressy clothes for her first trip to New York, but Finn’s suit is a step too far.
Con: Hang on, Rachel has two gay dads who wholeheartedly support her obsession with musical theatre, have built a stage in the basement for her and have the money to supply her with a credit card with a high enough limit to buy all the ridiculous shit she purchases over the course of the show (see the Christmas episode), but I’m supposed to believe they’ve never taken their little princess to see a real Broadway show? Nope, not buying it; there’s no way Rachel would be able to settle for after-the-fact touring companies hitting Cleveland, Cincinnati, Indianapolis or Detroit.
Pro: You’re a good sport, Patti LuPone!
Pro: Ok, I can’t complain about a well-done scene where Rachel meets her principal idol who encourages her to follow her dream...
Pre-Con: ...but I can complain about how it impacts the story, which I’ll get to in due time.
Con: Rachel says, “Being in New York is like falling in love over and over again.” Only if you’re actually falling in love over and over again, tourist.
Con: Damn, they sure get around on this date: south Central Park, almost twenty blocks downtown to Sardi’s for dinner, and then a stroll through the West Village forty blocks further down. Gimme a break.
Pro: I did like the guys serenading Finn and Rachel, including Puck playing an accordion, but...
Con: ...it leads to another huge break in logic. How was this planned? How did a dimwit on his first trip to the city manage to assemble a date like this? Why was there no acknowledgement of the guys by either Finn or Rachel, who would most certainly appreciate the drama of the gesture and the effort that went into it’s construction? Were they imaginary?
Con: And then, after rebuffing his advances, Rachel disappears into the night by herself. I suspect she just caught a cab back to the hotel and paid with her dads’ credit card, but it’s more fun to imagine her lost in the absurd, labyrinthine subway system, confusedly winding up in Brooklyn before finally slogging her way back to Times Square.
Pro: Her breakfast at Tiffany’s with Kurt was cute, though. Too bad it led to...
Con: Another unbelievable usher allowing trespassers to sing acapella on a Broadway stage, y’know, just because.
Ridiculous Con: And this is one of the show-breakers: Rachel doesn’t want to get back together with Finn (even though she really does) and the entire episode hangs on the idea that she won’t date him again because she’s gonna come back to New York to go to college. What does one have to do with the other?!? You’ve already dated once, it lasted about four months; you’re not going off to college for about fifteen months, that’s enough time to repeat the cycle at least twice! What’s worse... no, you know what? It can wait.
Pro: Quinn’s freak-out was well-done and included Brittany mouthing a surprised “shit” (I always love getting things past the censors). When Santana offered to “make [her] feel better,” I, of course, thought “threeway” and Quinn thought that, too before turning her down (which, unfortunately, was not what Santana was getting at). However, this good scene leads to no less than three cons...
Sub-Con #1: So yeah, yet another person infers they know Santana’s gay, but nothing’s being done with it. It’s now halfway through the episode and zero progress has been made towards resolving Santana’s subplot, which was actually involving and with twenty-two minutes left in the season looks unlikely to be. Speaking of closeted subplots...
Sub-Con #2: I’ll go ahead and skip right to this: Dave doesn’t show up this episode. His subplot winds up going nowhere and if they pick it up at the beginning of next season am I supposed to think that it just got put on hold for the summer? Why build something to not finish it? While we’re talking about unfinished bullshit...
Sub-Con #3: That thing from last week? Where Quinn was all, “Imma pull some bullshit in New York and be all coy about it to hook the audience into caring by thinking that I’m gonna monkeywrench the competition or something, ANYTHING interesting” winds up not happening. She cries about feeling unloved to Brittana, then gets an awesome haircut that deserved a reveal shot, if not a clichéd “New York makeover” montage, but gets a medium two-shot with Brittany for the only line she has for the rest of the episode.
Pro: Even though it was blatantly transparent what was happening, I did think the first Dustin/Will scene was funny; but, like everything else good in the episode, it’s marred by a...
Con: Will hasn’t seen his students in almost twenty-four hours and he’s having a midday whiskey with Dustin at the hotel bar. Jesus, Will!
Con: Aaaaaaand in the very next scene, the club tells him they know what he’s up to, so he immediately decides to stay with them, anticlimactically tying off Will’s insipid non-plot for the last leg of the season. We knew he wasn’t gonna leave, what was the point of this? NO STAKES!! Nothing was ever at risk, so there was no drama, just wasted screentime for the past four weeks that could have been used to do something crazy like establish Mike as a character, resolve Santana and/or Dave’s stories, explain Brittany’s learning disability, develop Tina or Mercedes or, I don’t know, write the songs that still haven’t been written by the day before the competition.
Con: So there’s fifty show choirs at the competition, I assume one for each state, otherwise, why fifty? By that rationale, in order for both Nude Erections and Homo Adrenaline to compete, both being from Ohio, someone got screwed. I suspect Wyoming.
Con: While they’re watching the Unnamed Group from Somewhere, Mercedes leans in to tell Rachel, “They’re good!” Well, I should hope so, since they all look at least twenty-six!
Con: Rachel brings up that “Ridiculous Con” from earlier and it still makes no sense.
Con: Following up an underwhelming performance of an original song by Sunshine, Nude Erections takes the stage to perform their own trite compositions. This original song nonsense needs to stop - part of what made the show interesting was specifically their use of other people’s music to further the plots, even in the context of public performances.
Pro: Anyway, they lose. Hell, they don’t even place. Until the beginning of this episode, I honestly thought they were going to win just because they’re the heroes, but while it was going on and they weren’t writing the songs, I became afraid they would win. Thank you, Glee writers for not rewarding procrastination and sloth.
Con: But they still have Finn say, “But we tried so hard!” You didn’t, though and it’s the fault of the show that no one points that out.
Con: That’s right, Glee, even though her father is a doctor, Santana is still an ethnic stereotype who needs to fly off into torrents of phonetic Spanish when she’s angry. Christ, I need this to be over.
Pro: Kurt still managed to remember that he had a spectacular time.
Con: Mercedes and Sam - Pair the Spares, anyone? And why are they concerned with keeping it a secret? This doesn’t make any sense, none of it does.
Con: Brittany’s speech about family and assurance to Santana that “anything is possible” appears to have taken the place of an actual resolution to their subplot and for what purpose? Are they gonna stretch this into next season? God, I just give up.
Con: Aaaaaaaaaand Finn and Rachel get back together, making the main thrust of the episode (if not the season) for nothing.
Better luck next year, kids. If the new writing team can manage to do their jobs better than the three stooges running things now, maybe the show can become as good, if not better than it used to be and maybe get back those millions of viewers they lost over the last few months.
“My Cup” - Brittany
“I Love New York / New York, New York” - Madonna / from On the Town (Nude Erections)
“Still Got Tonight” - Matthew Morrison (Will)
“Bella Notte” - from Lady and the Tramp (Puck w/ Mike, Sam and Artie)
“For Good” - from Wicked (Kurt and Rachel)
“Yeah!” - Usher (White Girls from Somewhere)
“As Long As You’re There” - The Wrath of Sunshine
“Pretending” - Finn and Rachel
“Light Up the World” - Nude Erections
None. I think I covered it all above.
Rachel - He did seem crazy... he charged my credit card by swiping it through his butt crack.
Rachel - Hey, d’you notice how it smells like it’s wet here all the time?
Kurt - I feel like Eloise.
Brittany - I have pills for that.
Puck - You’re in New York, the city of love.
Sam - I thought that was Paris.
Kurt - What is up with these bagels?
Rachel - It’s the water.
Santana - Quinn! Quit hogging the bathroom, I needs to re-pencil my eyebrows on!
Santana - I think I know how to make you feel better.
Quinn - I’m flattered, Santana, but I’m really not that into that. (cue Santana face-fault)
Dustin - I hate my kids; I would literally whip them if I could...
Will - I love my kids.
Dustin - What? No you don’t, they’re hideous! My kids are at least attractive; yours look like they weren’t baked properly.
Dustin - You’re tearing up... people are starting to stare. I bet they think I just broke up with you.
p.s.: One Last Pro: “The Safety Dance” is part of the encore for this year’s live tour:
p.p.s.: I just remembered it’s Towel Day, or Star Wars Day if you’re old school and reject that “May the Fourth be with You” nonsense (I’m writing this on the 25th). Happy Nerd Year!