Isabelle, Kurt & Rachel – The Way You Look Tonight/You’re Never Fully Dressed Without a Smile
Sophy says: This was so cute! I mean, it’s somewhat marred by the fact that it led to Rachel throwing out her reindeer sweater, which is the cruelest thing this show has ever done to me. But. It was still an adorable sequence, and I loved watching Lea twirl around in those dresses. And, and, and I liked the mash-up. And although you can tell that one of these three people is not a professional singer, Sarah Jessica Parker still held her own, and her character was sweet enough that I’d forgive her anything.
Yes, even muscling in on my Hummelberry.
More on that disturbing lack of resentment later, but for now let me just note that Rachel Berry hasn’t had a solo yet.
Rachel Berry hasn’t had a solo yet.
Yes, I am deliberately pretending the grope-fest never happened.
I gotta say though, whilst I normally love a makeover, I’m going to say no to the end result of this one. The movie star highlights are just… no. I feel like the highlighting and tousling and fringing is all just too much, to the point where this hairstyle very much obscures Lea’s beauty rather than showing it off. And, you know, it’s just not Rachel. But there’ll be more on that later.
A WHOLE FUCKING LOT MORE.
Rin says: Agreed. Makeover’s are my favourite episodes of ANTM, for the love of god. But this one, whilst making Lea Michele look absolutely stunning, just doesn’t work for me in terms of Rachel’s character. I was about to burst into a Rophy Says No! rant, when I realised there’s a whole new postcode for that later on. You’ll see.
This song though? I loved it. I thought it was completely charming, and if you told me before the season started that we would be putting SJP in the Best Song category I would have died laughing and then slapped you on the face.
But we were wrong. Yes, SJP isn’t a big belt-out-voice kind of singer, but she’s playing a role where she isn’t supposed to be. It’s like how we can still very much appreciate Bieste singing, because it’s different. (OR SMG IN THE BUFFY MUSICAL. BUT THAT’S A WHOLE ‘NOTHER THING.) Not everyone can be a Lea Michele, or a Chris Colfer. BUT SJP REALLY DOES LIKE TO PERFORM.
I loved the start of this and looking at the caps before Rachel gets made over, you can actually see Rachel faces. You know? And the dancing with Kurt was the cutest ever, and I adore Rachel’s harmonies in this song. They’re gorgeous.
I also love that Kurt just popped up in a ridiculous suit, like he helped himself to the Vogue closet too. <3
Sophy says: SMG in the Buffy musical is the cutest thing. Life’s a show, you don’t get to reheeeearse!
“This is what you have to look forward to. In a few short years, you’ll either be an alcoholic…morbidly obese…or both.”
Sophy says: AHAHAHAAHAHAHAH HOLY SHIT. JUST. PUTTING THE VODKA ON THE CRACKER. AND THEN THE WOMAN IN THE BACKGROUND JUST CALMLY GOING ABOUT HER LUNCH. I JUST.
But possibly the best part was “And of course your complete lack of adult friends means you’re well on your way to a career as a pedophile birthday clown.”
JUST. OH SUE. NEVER CHANGE. NEVER STOP MAKING LIGHT OF ALCOHOLISM, OBESITY AND CHILD MOLESTATION.
Rin says: AND WHEN SHE STROLLED IN AND CASUALLY SAID, “Hey buttchin,” but it was almost affectionate?
But the guy with the vodka on the cracker. I just. Amazing.
Sophy says: OH MY GOD IT WAS SO CUTE. Chord is really good at bashful.
Rin says: I just. ‘The straight vote.’
“We’d be like Wolverine and Cyclops, you know, show people how we’re cool with each other. And you know, if you ask me, that’s what matters.”
Sophy says: Darren Criss is wonderful. Shall I say for the billionth, pointless time that I don’t understand the hate a fraction of fandom has for him? Looks like I just did. Really though, I think he’s a lovely actor, very natural and endearing. And I was really touched by this scene. I especially loved the way he said he felt really alone all of a sudden and the delivery of “I did all this for him – I did all this for him.” Because it had such a gently incredulous tone to it and it really made me think of how sometimes when we’re kids, especially when we’re kids in love for the first time, we can live whole sections of our lives for the wrong reasons and then wake up one day and think What?
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying what Blaine and Kurt have – or I’m sensing a ‘had’ on the horizon – isn’t real or special or something to be chased. It’s just that it shouldn’t have taken over all of Blaine’s life the way it did. And that’s something he’ll have to face now, and deal with; whether he’ll have to split up with Kurt to find himself remains to be seen. (I’m guessing yes.)
I thought it was a really clever scene too, in that it allowed the writers to address the fact that Blaine’s characterisation has been messy – in part because of the backflip he did when he stopped being King of Dalton and became a (this just in) junior at McKinley. This scene was the writers saying, ‘Yes, we know, you still don’t know who Blaine is outside of being Kurt’s boyfriend – and you know what, he doesn’t know either anymore. So let’s find out.’
I felt the Klaine was handled extremely well in this episode – in stark contrast to the set-up for Finchel’s (likely) split. Kurt was self-involved and Blaine felt left behind. It made sense. It felt natural. Kurt has a tendency to get carried away with his own perspective, and to be insensitive to the needs and experiences of others without actually intending to offend or hurt anybody. It’s the one real character flaw that saves him from being a Mary Sue. Blaine has a tendency to smile and smile and smile… and then end up with a whole lot of repressed hurt and aggression that maybe he wouldn’t have had in the first place if he’d just been able to say “Hey, this is me, this is who I am, and this is what I would like from you.”
And so these two problematic character traits came together in this episode, and maybe the consequences will be dire. But I’m pretty sure they’ll be interesting, and that’s what counts.
I’m going to need to get on my soapbox in anticipation of comments that may be coming our way. Yes, I firmly believe that Kurt was insensitive in this episode. I think that was the heavily telegraphed intention of the skype scene and the unanswered phone call.
All the wank I’ve seen around the place about how Kurt couldn’t take the call because he was at work is just wank. He may have been at work, but he was not working. It was an unequivocally social interaction, had after work hours. It’s possible that the fact that Kurt’s phone says it’s after midnight when Blaine calls is just a bit of prop fail, but the Breadstix celebration was certainly after school hours, and at Vogue they were talking movies and drinking wine. Regardless, the whole argument that Kurt’s new and at the bottom of the food chain so couldn’t risk being disrespectful by taking a call? Oh please. Yes he’s new, yes that means he probably should be at the food chain, but you know what? He’s not. He’s really, really not. He’s pretty much the boss’s new BFF, actually. She’s a sweet, insecure woman who is keen to mentor him however she can, and frankly, quite ready to let him mentor her.
Isabelle would not have minded if Kurt took Blaine’s call. She wouldn’t even have noticed if he’d taken 30 seconds to text him saying ‘Call u soon luv u’. The reality is that Kurt wasn’t answering Blaine’s call because he felt like what he was doing was more exciting and/or more important than talking to Blaine about his election – the same way he felt his video was more exciting and/or more important than Blaine’s election in the skype call. And that’s rough, given how important the very same election was to Kurt only a year before. It’s rough considering how unswervingly supportive Blaine has to him then – and how unswervingly supportive he has been of his new life. And you know, when you actually put it into context it gets even rougher. Because either Kurt was so unable to listen to a word Blaine was saying that he wasn’t even aware that it was election day… or he didn’t care that it was election day. As in, he wasn’t interested in finding out whether his boyfriend won or lost, in congratulating him or being a shoulder to cry on.
My heart absolutely broke for Blaine when he realized that Kurt wasn’t going to take his call. When he realized that he could no longer turn to him for the kind of unflagging support and intimacy some of us need in a relationship. I really felt terrible for him. And I do think Kurt was in the wrong if either of them was. But I didn’t want to point bread at Kurt about it, you know? Because I get it. I get being carried away with his vogue fairytale. I get being selfish sometimes. We all are.
What I’m saying is, Kurt wasn’t a good boyfriend in this episode. But he wasn’t a bad person. Glee nailed the balance.
And you know a little thing I thought was genius? Kurt’s fancy, bright, new New York boss introduces herself with an anecdote about how ugh Breadstix is… and when Blaine’s call gets declined he is celebrating at none other than Breadstix. It really hammered home that stomach-achey feeling that Kurt was upgrading, for better or worse.
And okay now I’m going to talk about the actual Sam/Blaine part of this scene. I thought it was really sweet. I thought it was really sweet that Blaine felt comfortable sitting down and talking openly with Sam about his relationship with Kurt, in a way he didn’t with Artie. That was a sure sign that their time together working on the campaign has bonded them, and it was also a testament to the open spirit Sam has, harking back to that time he insisted on singing his duet with Kurt no matter what people thought. Not that Artie would have been all ‘Ew, gay germs,’ or anything, but I thought it was nice that Blaine could talk to Sam about his boyfriend in just the same way that any of the guys would talk to him about their girlfriends. It was easy. It was natural. It was one of those times that you’re struck by how gay/straight really is just person/person after all.
And then Sam came out with the line that I know a lot of people were upset by – the bit about how Kurt’s the first gay guy Sam’s been friends with but Blaine’s the first gay guy who’s been his bro. As I understand it, people are upset because they see Blaine as significantly less gay than Kurt, and Sam as confirming that gay male/straight male friendships are only successful where the gay male is not, you know, too gay. I can see where people are coming from, but at the same time I really don’t think that was the intention here. I think Sam just wanted to say that he happens to have more interests in common with Blaine than he ever did with Kurt, not that he likes or respects Kurt any less because of that. And honestly, to me it’s always been a matter of Kurt defining himself as not-one of the guys, rather than him being rejected by them. Whereas Blaine very much wants to be one of the guys, like he was at Dalton. And Sam is letting him have that. Sam is consciously and cutely letting him have it, as a way to say ‘You’re something more than just Kurt’s boyfriend, you are not just Gay Boy #2’.
In short, he wants Blaine to feel like it matters that he’s at this school, and the best way to do that is to say that it matters to him – that he’s his friend, and in a different way from Kurt. As a separate thing from Kurt.
I thought it was really rather lovely?
Rin says: IT WAS REALLY FUCKING LOVELY, OKAY?
And I love that this is a theme of Glee. Yes, sometimes they get it way wrong and I get angry at Kurt, etc. etc. But in hindsight, it’s all good because I do firmly believe that Glee has been a great platform to open up discussion on LGBT topics. And the way Sam said that his friendship with Blaine, that it matters just because they’re them and people might see that and think differently, was really sweet. And it’s a really simple idea, and to all of us on here it seems small, but I feel like it is the small things like this that make a difference to the general public.
In general this is a really nice transition into friendship for Sam and Blaine, ’cause remember in 308 where they had that kerfuffle? And there was that compromise where Sam got to do his sexy dance in a lols way, and they had their ‘top dogs!’ moment after their performance. This feels like a continuation from that. It’s like, all of their closest friends have gone and graduated, and now these kids are left to form new close friendships. It’s interesting, and I love that Glee are exploring a lot of that with the leftovers at McKinley. Ha, leftovers. I really like what Sophy said too, about how Blaine felt like he could go to Sam with his problems, that he wouldn’t be placing Sam in an uncomfortable position by discussing Kurt, and it shows a nice level of trust. I kind of wish Sam would discuss Mercedes though, could Glee be trying any harder to shove all of that under the rug? BRING SAMCERDES BACK DAMNIT, WE LIKED IT.
Not going to address the whole Sam/Kurt thing, because anyone who is trying to frame it in a way that is ~sexist is purposely trying to find flaws where there are none.
I don’t have much to add to the whole Klaine thing. Except that I really like what they’re doing, no matter the heartache it causes, because it’s also just a really good reflection on long-distance relationships. Yes, we’re in an age where we are more connected than ever, but it still doesn’t make it any easier. It’s like, yeah, we have 6 different ways to contact each other, but that doesn’t mean we can communicate any better. Not everyone can be as awesome as Rophy and Yahoo. I’m really looking forward to where they’re going with Klaine, as long as it has nothing to do with a third party. I WILL NOT HANDLE ANOTHER LOSER FUCKTARD LIKE THAT ONE WHOSE NAME I CAN’T REMEMBER AND WHOSE FACE WAS STUPID, WHO KURT MET AND SMS’D WITH. If they do that again, there will be so many elephant stampedes.
Sophy says: Yeah, I’ve read and reread and then reread again the argument that it’s sexist for Sam to say he gets on better with a person who likes some stereotypically masculine things than a person who likes mostly stereotypically feminine things, and I cannot follow the logic at all. It’s like, if two little boys bond over their trucks are they being sexist? Is it sexist if a woman likes shopping with her girlfriends better than watching the footy with her guys friends?
I’d be singing a whole other tune about this scene if I felt Sam was even remotely trying to say that he didn’t like or care about Kurt as much, because they didn’t share as many interests, or that the kindness and support Kurt showed him last year didn’t mean as much as being able to chat about comic books… I’d be really fucking pissed if I thought that was the case. But I really don’t think it is. And even then it wouldn’t be sexist.
Best ‘Brittany is random’ Moment
“What is your favorite color?”
“Filipino. They’re very hard workers, and family is very important to them.”
Sophy says: HAHAHAHAHAHAH OH MY GOD. I nearly choked. Oh Brittany.
Rin says: I love her. I LOVE HER SO MUCH.
I might go as far to say that S4 Brittany has been my favourite Brittany so far. I wouldn’t say that she was in Santana’s shadow, but it’s just been really nice to get to know Brittany outside of her otp. Brittana have always been sort of a package deal from day one, and even all of that Bartie stuff was just a means to an end for Brittana. So it’s nice that we’re just getting Brittany being awesome, and that also Heather gets a chance to shine. Remember when she was the only reason we could get through some episodes in Season 2?
“And then they’ll probably start burning people, too.”
“That’s a lie.”
Sophy says: I JUST. The delivery was spot-on.
Rin says: I loved how they all looked so grown up during this campaign. The whole thing was absurd and spectacular.
AND I LOVE SILLY BLAINE. BURNING PEOPLE, WHAT.
Sophy says: I LOVED THE CONTINUITY. He’s still pissed about the hair gel ban. Lol, oh Blaine. Time to move on.
The OG’s (Original Gleeks)
BECKY >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> ALL.
Sophy says: BECKY. Holy fucking shit. I was starting to worry she wasn’t going to be on the show anymore, and to be honest, that’s a solid 45% of why Kitty’s scene with Sue in 401 made me so angry: because it looked like she was going to replace Becky as Sue’s right-hand woman. So relieved to find that that’s not the case.
And GOD, just the way Sue is smiling at Becky. And she’s all “Not feeling it?” AND BECKY JUST SHAKES HER HEAD.
I COULD DIE FROM HOW CUTE THIS WAS. LITERALLY I HAVE ACUTE CUTITIS.
Rin says: Literally one of the best moments in Glee, ever. BECAUSE SUE JUST KEPT STARING WITH THAT SMILE ON HER FACE, AND THESE TWO ARE SUCH A GREAT COMEDIC DUO. I am so so so happy that they’re still going to be around, and I hope Becky never graduates, or even if she does, she better get hired by Sue in some absurd made-up job position as Sue’s Little Helper. Or something. BECAUSE SHE JUST NEEDS TO BE ON THE SHOW FOREVER.
Not that I think Glee will get another season, but we’ll see.
Becky/Xylophones. ONE. TRUE. PAIR.
Sophy says: AHHHHH. I WAS SO HAPPY TO SEE HIM. LITERALLY, HIS REAPPEARANCE ALONE WOULD HAVE MADE THE EPISODE FOR ME.
Rin says: That’s quite an intense love you have for such a minor character.
Are you perhaps projecting?
Is this going to be another Sophy/Dudley thing?
Sophy says: DUDDERS :(((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((
Rophy Says No!
All of Brody/Rachel, but we just didn’t want to have that many screencaps..otherwise we’d have nightmares.
Rin says: Bestiality. Not a fan.
Sophy says: Oh god. Can someone please wave some magic flowers over Rachel’s eyes, stat?
Dear everybody who likes Brody/Rachel, stop. Please stop. Please stop liking them immediately, you are breaking my heart.
I am not a Finchel shipper, okay. Stop looking at me like that, I’m not. Just because I don’t indiscriminately loathe Finn, doesn’t make me a Finchel shipper. In fact, just because I don’t indiscriminately loathe Finchel? Still doesn’t make me a FInchel shipper. What I’m saying is, I’m in no way judging Brody or Brody/Rachel harshly because I have a pre-existing loyalty to Finn or Finn/Rachel. I’ll admit that I’m probably somewhat biased against Rachel/AnybodyButQuinn, but I have enjoyed alternative Rachel ships before: I really wanted Puck/Rachel to be more than it was, and I’m still yearning to this day for them to bring Jesse/Rachel back.
I wanted Rachel to be single this season. But not to the point where I was going to be incapable of enjoying or at least respecting a well written romantic storyline for her. I wanted Rachel to break up with Finn this season. But not like this.
I’m just going to get this out of the way. I consider what Rachel did in this episode to be cheating (yes, my threshold is low). I consider cheating to be dickish, in 90% of cases. In this case I consider it pretty much unforgivable, from Finn’s perspective, and yes, it does diminish my respect for the character of Rachel Berry.
My problem is that Finn and Rachel did not simply split up. Those saying it’s that cut-and-dried and that therefore Rachel is completely within her rights to move on like any other single gal are just being wilfully obtuse. Whether you approved of it or not, and, as is well-documented in these recaps, I most certainly did not approve of it, Rachel and Finn were engaged. As in they had come to an agreement that they loved each other on a forever level. On a level where they wanted to spend the rest of their lives with each other and only each other. And then at the eleventh hour, Finn realized a teen wedding was not what Rachel needed – that a ring on her finger was not going to enhance her life – that as her husband he in fact would be likely to hold her back from pursuing her dreams.
So he sent her off to New York. He gave her permission to leave him behind the only way he knew how – by not giving her permission to do otherwise.
Maybe you hate Finn. I get that. Sometimes I hate him a whole fucking lot myself. But this was clearly a selfless choice, made at great personal cost to himself, so that Rachel could personally benefit.
HE DID IT FOR HER.
Now, do I think that should make her beholden to him? Do I think the fact that he set her free means she shouldn’t actually be free? No. But she owes him the respect of at least letting him know she’s ready to move on, before she actually gets to the face-sucking stage.
And believe me, she knew she was getting to the face-sucking stage that night. Quite apart from the fact that ‘Let me cook you dinner’ is pretty much a polite way of saying ‘Let’s have sex,’ she was flirting aggressively with Brody all night. With wine. With full knowledge of the fact that he is constantly thinking about kissing her and thinks she’s really, really, really…. sexy, yes, thank you Brody, we got the memo, you can shut up now.
I mean, if it wasn’t clear to Rachel that she and Finn had broken up in 401, I highly doubt that it’s clear to Finn in 403. I’ve gone back and checked as best I can all the references to Finn, and I don’t recall Rachel saying she was continually trying to communicate with him and being rebuffed. What I’m saying is, people need to stop putting this spin on the situation of ‘Oh, Finn dumped Rachel and then wouldn’t talk to her for months, so it’s A-OK for her to move on without further reference to him.’ He didn’t dump Rachel. And it’s repeatedly acknowledged by Rachel that any lack of him reaching out to contact her has nothing to do with not wanting to talk to her and everything to do with giving her space to live her New York dream. And. Even if they are ‘on a break’ that doesn’t mean Rachel has no responsibility to fucking be kind to someone she professes to love. Seriously.
A simple email might have sufficed, if she really felt the guy she wanted to marry a few months ago wasn’t worth more than that. I mean, at least just drop a quick line to firstname.lastname@example.org and let him know you’re cooking dinner for the guy who grabbed your vagina in dance class last week.
The bottom line? What Rachel did in this episode was tacky as fuck. And it’s only made worse by the fact that it’s a rehash of that time she cheated on Finn with Puck.
And look, I gave her a pass there, for multiple reasons – she had genuine cause to be upset about Finn lying to her re: sex and Santana, she came clean which took balls and showed she understood what she’d done was wrong, and most importantly, she was a kid in high school. So whilst it was wrong of her to cheat and particularly insensitive of her to cheat with Puck, of all people, I still felt that on balance Finn was unduly harsh in dumping her over it, and a major dick for hooking up with Quinn – of all people. I was pretty much on Rachel’s side. Because, you know, being a huge Rachel stan, I generally like to be on her side. But I just can’t, objectively, not see Rachel as the douche in this situation. And the way I see it, if you don’t think she’s the douche in this situation, it’s not because what she’s doing is cool beans on an objective level, it’s just because you hate Finn Hudson so much that you’ve decided he’s no longer a human being worthy to be treated with any respect or consideration. If you really think he’s that much of a monster, then sure, Rachel can pull this shit on him with impunity. Heck, if he’s that much of a monster she should feel free to tie him to a post and throw fruit at him.
You know who I wish she would tie to a post and throw fruit at?
God, the sleaze-factor was through the roof in this episode. I mean, he’s been a smarmy little bitch from day 1, let’s face it, but he really took it to the next level in this episode. I can’t be the only one who laughed out loud when he said he was going to keep his hands to himself and be Rachel’s friend… and then immediately got down to business. And by business I mean face-sucking. I’m not saying Rachel didn’t send him every possible ‘Kiss me’ signal, but still. He really needs to stop saying “I’m super noble,” whilst really, really not being noble. At all.
Maybe I’m alone in this, but a guy is just never going to be attractive to me if he’ll actively pursue another guy’s girlfriend. Especially when he’ll do it based solely on an initial attraction. Like, it’s different if you meet a girl and get to know her and fall in love and then realize she has a boyfriend. And then it turns out the boyfriend is kind of a jack-ass and she’s not really happy with him but she doesn’t have the guts to break up with him. And so you keep, like, trying to be close to her, because by now you’ve become such good friends, and you honestly think she’d be happier with you and you love her so much. And then one day you tell her how you feel, because you can’t stand it anymore, and she looks at you all wide-eyed and lovely and you can’t help yourself – you lean in to kiss her…
That scenario is very different from this scenario. This scenario is: Big Man On Campus sees hot, vulnerable girl, makes a pass at her. She says she has a boyfriend. He continues to make passes at her wherever possible. The boyfriend could literally be the nicest guy in the world and and also have puppy-cancer, Big Man On Campus does not care, because the girl is hot and vulnerable and eventually he will wear her down.
UGH UGH UGH.
Brody needs to get off my screen, yesterday. He has reached the turning point. There is no coming back from this. Even if they actually gave him a personality (seriously? Your big secret you’d never tell anyone is that you liked Ace of Base?), or even if, heaven forbid, they gave him a personality that actually meshed with Rachel’s… I don’t like slimeballs. And as far as I’m concerned, that’s what he is.
Finn > Brody. I almost wish they’d gone through with the wedding.
Now you may think I’m winding down. You may think I’m done being angry. But I’m actually just getting to the crux of what bothered me about this scene. And you guys, it bothered me to the point where it ruined an otherwise extremely enjoyable episode. It bothered me to the point where I nearly wanted to cry. It bothered me to the point where in an episode that guest-starred Sarah Jessica Parker, I was saying No to Rachel Berry.
Let me rephrase that. I was saying No to this impostor played by Lea Michele – this coy, sassy, tousle-haired, smokey-eyed, champagne-swigging Let me fail to cook you dinner replacement for Rachel Berry.
I can’t stress this enough. The biggest problem I have with Rachel/Brody is not actually Brody. And I despise Brody.
The biggest problem is the fact that Rachel is no longer Rachel.
I commented on this in the first episode of the season – this niggling sensation that I was watching a new, unnervingly normal character in the New York scenes, one who was simply being played by the same lovely woman who played Rachel for the first three seasons of the show. There was nothing of the ridiculous in her, and it bothered me a great deal. But I kept thinking Kurt would bring the real Rachel back. Or maybe I was just blowing things out of proportion, and she would be back to her old self as she acclimatised to her new environment.
Now I’m starting to think my first instincts were right. I’m starting to think this Rachel is a new character, and that it’s a conscious decision on the part of the writers to make her so. Because it’s just so darned extreme how not extreme Rachel is this season. It’s just so painfully clear that she’s turned into a real girl overnight. She remains adorable, sure, but she’s adorable in a Lea Michele way, not in a Rachel Berry way. And this episode, with its emphasis on Rachel being made over, on her throwing out her reindeer sweater and having extremely poorly written conversations with Brody about changing on the outside and changing on the inside… this episode seems to be saying “Yes, we intend this change, no, it will not be going away.”
And if that’s the case, it’s easily the worst decision the showrunners have ever made.
First because you don’t change a character that fast. It doesn’t work. Glee does this all the time, and it’s annoying, but you kind of give them a pass on it, because it usually happens with minor characters, or characters who had not previously been strongly established. It’s easy to forgive them when Tina’s not a Goth anymore, or when the dynamic between Kurt and Blaine is upended to suit their agenda, or when Sugar goes from being a comically overbearing plot device to someone happy to sway in the background. It’s less easy to forgive them when their lead character, and the primary reason why I fell in love with this show, simply ceases to exist.
And yes, I do feel that the change is that dramatic. It’s fucking Skins 6 dramatic, you guys. If this girl were being played by someone other than Lea Michele, I would have no idea she was supposed to be Rachel Berry. She could be, like, Marley, the college years – you wouldn’t be able to tell the difference based on the writing.
Scratch that – you wouldn’t even be able to tell the difference based on the acting. It seems plain to me that somebody has told Lea to stop playing Rachel so Rachel. There is no other explanation for the change in all of her body language and even the tone of her voice. It’s all different. Down to the cute, helpless, girly-girl whining noises she was making when her pan caught fire.
Speaking of which, why am I watching Clueless? Why is Lea Michele playing Cher Horowitz? I seriously expected Brody to come out with “Aw, honey, you baked.” But I guess then he would have missed another golden opportunity to tell Rachel how sexy she is via double entendres about the smoke.
Insert MASSIVE Quinn eyeroll here.
Quite apart from how gross it was that Rachel wanted to cook him dinner in the first place, if she had decided to do it she would have damn well done it well. Rachel is not an adorably incompetent sexpot who wears shorts when she cooks and sets fire to things and laughs at herself later. She’s an over-achieving, over-zealous, pint-sized perfectionist. She would have had an apron on for sure. And she would have had a table set with candles and cutlery. And she would have produced a decent meal, come hell or high water. And if everything really did go wrong? She would certainly struggle to find it funny.
She’s just not the kind of girl who shakes failure off and drinks wine and teases men effortlessly and laughs at herself.
SHE’S JUST NOT.
And I think that was the kicker for me. The bit where Rachel shared something secret about herself and it was a scene from her childhood that was so gloriously Rachel… and she looked back on it and laughed and said how embarrassing it was.
That’s the character this season, in a nutshell.
‘I used to be Rachel Berry. Now I’m someone new and improved.’
One of my biggest Glee No’s has always been the intermittent implication that Rachel Berry needed to change in order to be awesome. When Finn made all those vomitty comments at the last prom about how amazing it was that she was so new and improved, I told myself It’s okay. The show doesn’t endorse that point of view. It could never, it would never. I’m caaaaaaalm, I’m caaaaaalm.
And then in the very first episode of this season, we had Rachel’s new love interest telling her pretty much the same thing. Embrace the new you, Rachel! My penis likes her! A change would do you good, get it? GET IT?
Get out. GET OUT GET OUT GET OUT.
The biggest problem for me is that Brody doesn’t even know Rachel. For a start the Rachel he met this season is the new one, you know, now with less actual Rachel! And beyond that, he sexualized their relationship the first time they met, and has continued to sexualize it wherever possible since then. Brody might be a less revolting character if he’d actually made some attempt to be a friend to Rachel without pushing his romantic agenda. But he hasn’t. We’ve barely seen them have a single conversation that didn’t include how sexually attractive he finds her or how she needs to change boyfriends to find her place in New York.
And really, that’s what it all boils down to. That’s the bit that really stings. Brody is Rachel’s place in New York. Brody is NYADA. Have we even seen Rachel in a class other than Crotch Grabbing 101? Have we even seen her practicing till all hours at the loft, or heard her telling Kurt every detail of her curriculum? Has Rachel even met a single other student than Brody? Has she even made a single attempt to make an actual friend?
The only interaction we’ve seen her have with another student was that time those two mean ballet girls provided the segway into the makeover. And even that interaction was idiotic. Those girls treated Rachel like she was, well, the Rachel we all know and love. The one who alienates people with her eagerness. The one who sometimes makes questionable (BUT ADORABLE) fashion choices. That’s the girl who used to get bullied. The new Rachel doesn’t stand out enough to get bullied. And the weirdness of that whole scene was driven home by the fact that I kept waiting for them to pan down to the lower half of Rachel’s body to reveal, like, I don’t know, bunny-print tights or something. But, they didn’t! They expected us to believe that an ordinary and in fact rather attractive leotard is the object of those girls’ derision.
Please. That whole sequence, coupled with the way Brody is all over Rachel… it screamed fanfic. You know, where the protagonist is really pretty and sweet and humourless? And gets attacked by the mean girls for no good reason? But it’s okay because the hottest boy in school likes her?
And does anyone remember what happened last time Rachel drank alcohol? She jumped around in a green dress that looked like a nightie screaming about pink and made out messily with a gay man. Am I really supposed to swallow that in the space of a year, with no practice in between, Rachel has become a grown woman who can hold her liquor? The kind of grown woman who can sip sparkling wine all evening and remain appropriate, charming, and above all, completely normal? Please.
But, you know, this Rachel isn’t even vegan anymore, so I guess all bets are off. The moment the word ‘duck’ came out of her mouth I facepalmed. I had been beginning to wonder whether I was wrong to be pedantic about the cake and the pizza last week – whether it was in fact reasonable to expect your audience to just assume it was vegan cake and vegan pizza… but no. I was on the money, unfortunately. They’ve simply forgotten Rachel’s a vegan. And that really grates, when meanwhile I’m spending the better part of an hour educating myself on veganism just to write fanfiction, for the love of god.
And please, don’t anyone try to tell me the writers didn’t make a mistake – that she’s still a vegan and was just cooking the duck for Brody to eat. Because that might be the grossest thing I’ve ever heard.
Okay, I’m just going to say it. I hate Brody/Rachel in ways you wouldn’t believe. I actually find them appalling on every possible level. To the point where if you come on here and tell me they’re kind of cute together though, and Brody is super hot, and remember that time Rachel licked her cone like a 2 dollar whore on vacation, and Brody put icecream on his nose because he wishes she was licking his cone, and it’s okay because actually he really respects her because of how he’s always saying he respects her, and as long as it’s not Finn you’ll settle for any fifth-rate, pot-boiler, tacky-ass love interest for Rachel, I will probably have some kind of hissy fit at you. And then Rin will have to smooth things over.
Or just close the blog.
Rin says: How do these keep getting longer and longer? SCROLLLLL… SCROLLLLLLLL….
I fucking hate Brody. I don’t know how I can express my disgust for him any better. He is perhaps up there with my most hated characters of all time. But I can deal with characters I hate, I can. I survived Juliet Burke and Lisa Cuddy, didn’t I? What I can’t survive, and what I fear for my future relationship with Glee, is what they’re doing to Rachel Berry. MY LOVE. My reason for falling in love with Glee in the first place. It’s times like this where I just want to welcome wedding-crazed Rachel back into my arms and rock her gently to sleep, telling her in hushed tones that I’ll still love her, even as a Hudson.
BUT THIS RACHEL/BRODY BUSINESS IS THREATENING TO DESTROY IT ALL.
It’s not that it’s even the new love interest for Rachel aspect. Yes, I wanted her to spend at least a little time on her own trying to rediscover who she is as a person that isn’t all about Finn, and that there was no better time for her to do it than when she starts her new life in New York at NYADA. Wasn’t that the entire point of the S3 finale? ROOTS BEFORE BRANCHES, anyone? ANYONE?!?!?! BUELLER?!?@!?$!?#$!@?
I just. It makes me so fucking angry you guys. Because we’ve just gone through all of this malarkey with Rachel’s character being dragged through the mud in the second half of s3, but somehow we’ve learned absolutely nothing. And now it seems like they’re just changing Rachel completely, and all of the aspects of Rachel that made us love her? Yeah. They’re gone. None of those qualities are actually something to be proud of, and none of them even made Rachel who she is. In fact, they were embarrassing, is what I’m getting from Glee this season.
So the whole makeover thing? Yeah, like I said, I’m not some kind of ‘NO! MAKEOVERS ARE HORRIBLE, EVERYONE SHOULD EMBRACE WHO THEY AREEEEEE,’ person. I’m not. I get the idea of makeovers, and understand why some people feel the need to have them.
What I don’t understand is why Glee thinks Rachel needed one, because she didn’t. It’s not like the Rachel today is the same girl from season 1 who made some, maybe, unfashionable choices. Especially in s3 when suddenly Rachel was wearing a new vintage dress every episode, and looking plenty confident whilst doing so. Even in the previous 2 episodes she was really fashionable! I JUST DON’T GET IT. I understand Kurt wanting to give Rachel a makeover when Rachel was in that blue pan… WAIT, LET ME REPHRASE. I understand Kurt agreeing with Quinn that Rachel needed a makeover because of that blue pant-suit. I don’t understand Kurt wanting to give Rachel one now, because please stop trying to pretend that she’s unfashionable and wouldn’t fit in, in New York.
Oh god Rachel, stop. You’re hideous. My eyes, my eyes.
All of it just reads as some ridiculous ploy to try and get us onboard with this new glam-sex-kitten Rachel, which I hate. I hate it.
Lea Michele, yes, you are a sex kitten. No one is denying that you are.
But Rachel, is not a sex kitten.
Rachel is this.
AND I REFUSE TO TAKE ANY SUBSTITUTES. Because more and more Rachel Berry is just becoming Lea Michele, and I love Lea and adore everything that she does, but it’s really disheartening to feel like you can’t even recognise Rachel anymore. Which is why I agree with Sophy when she says that someone must have told Lea to approach Rachel in a different way. Lea is a great actress who knows Rachel inside out, and we often say that she deserves all the awards in the world. But there’s a very noticeable change in her demeanour as Rachel, in fact when they had that amazingly lame montage of Rachel/Brody prancing about New York (ALTHOUGH I LOVE THE CHELSEA HIGH LINE AND WANT TO GO BACK) and there’s that shot of Rachel eating ice cream? I actually thought it felt like I was watching a commercial with Lea Michele in it. IT WAS ABSURD.
And we really fucking love lame, okay? It’s almost a theme with us. But that seriously was one of the worst montages I’ve ever seen in my life. When Brody did the ice cream on the nose thing I wanted to trash my monitor. I couldn’t even bring myself to cap it because I never want that shit anywhere near our blog. There’s only one person in the history of the world who has successfully done that ice cream nose thing, and it’s Willow Rosenberg. Everyone else can go to hell.
The worst part of all? The whole idea that Rachel needs to be more normal, or sexy, or whatthefuckever, anything but what she is at the moment. Pretty much anything that makes her an interesting character and human being? Take it away! SHE DOESN’T NEED IT! She just needs to look hot, and giggle, and she’ll be fine! LOOK AT THE HOT GUY WHO IS CONSTANTLY ALL OVER HER! IT’S ALL GOOD!
I just don’t understand why they’re trying to sex Rachel up. It’s kind of disturbing actually. Are they trying to make Glee into Gossip Girl in order to get more viewers? Was Glee not sexy enough before? It honestly feels like some kind of ratings grab, when they could have easily fixed that by just having Brittana make out some more. WHAT. YOU KNOW IT WOULD WORK. I DON’T EVEN CARE. WHORE OUT THE LESBIANS INSTEAD OF MAKING RACHEL INTO A NOT-RACHEL. It’d make everyone feel a lot better.
Before this season aired, I always thought of this new Brody guy as a way to get Finchel back together. I saw SOOO many people being all over Brochel because they had the ‘anyone but Finn’ mentality, and I’m honestly worried if people still feel the same way. Brody is disgusting you guys, he is not someone you should wish Rachel to be with. What kind of guy keeps claiming to be a really good guy who respects your boundaries, and knows you have a boyfriend (who he’s never met), and still makes a pass at Rachel at every chance he gets? He’s a DOUCHE who doesn’t respect Rachel at all, and continually encourages her to keep changing and embrace the new her, when he doesn’t even KNOW her. He literally went from a 5 second meeting in the bathroom, to telling her that she should create new memories and taking pictures of himself with her on her phone. Who the fuck. What the fuck. Why the fuck.
The only hope I have left is that they’re playing for this sleazy character who only wants to get Rachel into his pants. But it honestly doesn’t read that way. They’re portraying Brody as a really good alternative for Finn, when he really isn’t.
You’ve read our recaps, you know we’ve been anti-Finchel for most of season 3, but I’m really starting to prefer them over this trainwreck of a story. And maybe that’s Brody’s not so secret purpose, to make us like Finchel again. But I don’t know. It’s all a mess and I don’t know how to make sense of it all. It just BAFFLES me that Glee can literally get everything else so right, and this so wrong. That they could get RACHEL so wrong. When thinking about the worst that Glee could do, I never imagined that we would have to worry about what they would do to Rachel, because even through all of that wedding-drama… it was still Rachel. You know? Not once did I think, “THAT’S LEA MICHELE! IMPOSTOR!!!!!!’
I don’t know you guys. It’s hard. I guess all we can do is see what happens.
Sophy says: You’re so right about Rachel really not needing a makeover. Her outfits have been within the range of normal for a long time now. And that one on the bench? Like? How in God’s name is that anything but sophisticated-yet-youthful and completely gorgeous?
BENCH RACHEL > SHORTS AND BOOTS RACHEL.
RUBBER GLOVES RACHEL > ALL THE RACHELS?
But more than anything I want her personality to come back. She can wear whatever the hell she likes okay?
SHE JUST NEEDS TO BE. RACHEL. BERRY.
Congratulations! We didn’t hate you?
We’re just as confused as you are.
Sophy says: I don’t even know what the fuck is happening here. I didn’t mind Sarah Jessica Parker. No, wait, let’s call a spade a spade. I liked Sarah Jessica Parker.
Something about me that’s been true as long as Sex and the City has been on the air: I hate Sex and the City. I think it is trite and vapid and pretty much represents everything that is wrong with the places the feminist movement went in the noughties. On the occasions that I’ve happened to be watching it I’ve consistently wanted to punch all of those women in the face, except for the redhead, who was mysteriously bearable. Years ago, when Sarah Michelle Gellar guested on the show, I had a tantrum about it. Months ago, when I heard that SJP was going to guest on Glee, I had a similar tantrum.
And yet. And yet.
She was just kind of lovely?
I mean, I wasn’t even angry when she sang. What.
I think SJP did a really nice job with the character, especially in that she didn’t try to hard to make her funny – the exact problem Gwyneth had with Holly – and that’s kind of what made her funny. And adorable.
And hey, how refreshing is it that the big awe-inspiring fashion boss… is a sweetie? It’s such a fucking cliche to have a preening bitch as a dance teacher. It’s even more of a cliche to have a preening bitch as a vogue boss. That’s part of why I objected so vigorously to Kurt/Fashion – because I was so sure that it would be a painfully dull rehashing of The Devil Wears Prada. Well kudos to Glee for bucking the stereotype, and giving us Isabelle, who is insecure and down to earth and warm and thinks Rachel is super pretty and is totally enamored of Kurt’s hippo brooch, as she should be.
“It should come with a warning.” “Oh, it did!”
So, in conclusion, I loved this… even though I’m still saying no to Kurt/Fashion, because it just feels a little bit like he’s too gay for show-business but just gay enough for fashion. Erg. Stereotypes are damaging, sure, but more importantly they’re effing boring.
Rin says: We were not expecting this. WE WENT IN WITH OUR ARMS FOLDED STERNLY ACROSS OUR CHEST, AND BY THE END WE WERE ALMOST HUGGING HER?
Who are we?
When did we become people who like SJP?
Okay, let’s not carried away. We’re still never ever going to have anything to do with Sex and the City, and we will go down as being strongly against that show and everything it stands for, but it’s like she won us over? And created a little compartment for herself in her minds that is separate from that show? How?
WE VERY RARELY LET THAT HAPPEN TO US.
What I liked about her character is that it was a really refreshing role to see. Kate Hudson and Whoopi both play the stereotype of the cold, hardass, New Yorker-types.. and now we have this charming character who admits to not fitting in and being unable to live that way? That she can’t even say no to people’s terrible ideas in the workroom? It really was a nice change of pace, and I like that it’s Kurt’s character who she will be interacting the most with. It’s a nice fit.
I dare say I’m even looking forward to more of them? BUT NO SO MUCH WHERE KURT CHANGES HIS DREAM.
Because stop Glee. There is no way that Kurt Hummel, Mister Cellophane, is going to pursue fashion over Broadway. Fuck off.
Sophy says: MISTER CELLOPHANE :(((((((((
I might be able to cope if he combined his talents. And like, got into costume design, alongside pursing performing.
Head In Hands
Sophy says: This whole montage. I just. Wow. Blaine is one of the lamest things the world has ever lamed. And he would sign up for every group, THAT LITTLE RACHEL.
AND I LOVED THIS SO MUCH. BECAUSE TEARS FOR FEARS. AND WIZARDS. AND SEWING CLUB. AND THAT SYNCHRONIZED POPCORN MOMENT WAS THE BEST AND CUTEST THING I HAVE EVER SEEN.
Rin says: The popcorn moment was so completely adorable that I cannot. It was one of those insights into Klaine, like the Halloween costumes, that I so very much appreciate and love.
AND THEN HE JOINED ALL THE CLUBS. ALL THE CLUBS.
And then he was Robin. With cat ears.
Sophy says: CATMAN. Best.
Sam & Brittany – Make Me Over
Sophy says: Okay, we couldn’t make this best song, because the actual song is just horrible, but we really, really loved the way the sequence was put together. And Brittany’s patriotic dress is the best. And the handshake. Love, love, love.
Also, did anyone else get the impression that Brittany purposely foisted Sam on Blaine because she knew he’d balance her out in the debate? This is the Britt I love. Smart-stupid. And kind of ruthless. And also, I totally melted when she botched her campaign by promising she’d find a way to keep everyone at school forever even on weekends, because she just seemed so dreamy about her idea, and it made me sad that everyone else had to be so sane about it.
I’D STAY IN SCHOOL FOREVER WITH YOU BRITTANY.
Rin says: This whole thing was AMAZING. THE DOUBLES OF THEM? I loved it so much. And the flag waving and the campaign choreography was the best. We don’t have quite the same political campaign culture as that of America, but I could definitely appreciate the way they used that to their advantage in this song. It was really well done. THERE WAS DRAMATIC POINTING, FFS!!!
And that red/white/blue outfit on Brittany might be one of my favourites she’s worn.
“I am gonna print that and frame it!”
Sophy says: I would send it to Ned and get him to make us a book of it. Like, at least 30 copies. In book form. I would read it proudly on buses.
Rin says: There have been numerous times we’ve actually said this.
Sure most of the time it applies to hate-mail, and framing that up on our walls and reading them at Christmas time, but still.
Quinn Glory Shot
That’ll do, Quinn. That’ll do.
Sophy says: She hit him with her glory shot.
Rin says: FIRE AWAY!!!!!!!!!!!