Monday, September 27, 2010

Farewell, Internet... for now

Today's good news: Oprah is reuniting the entire cast of The Sound of Music on her talk show. Can I get a HELL YES for that?! Nerds, I now know where you all are. And I am one of you. For serious, "The Sound of Music" was the first DVD in my collection, and Charmian Carr's autobiography Forever Liesl sits proudly on my bookshelf. I'm excited, y'all.

The bad news: I am vacationing for the next week, in a land without internet. This means, among many things, that I will be on a brief hiatus from DR SHE BLOGGO.

The true trauma of this hiatus is that I will be in transit at the time of Glee on Tuesday night, so I will be missing "Britney/Brittany." And I can only echo Sue Sylvester when I say, "HORROR!" I am not happy about missing an episode of Glee, let alone one as epically cracky as the Britney episode. But hopefully I can somehow rig together two tin cans, a marble, and a radio antennae to download the ep and project it onto a tree trunk or something. That's how science works, right?

Regardless, expect the RBI Report a bit later than usual. I'll have plenty of treats when I get back, including a plea for Kristen Bell and surely lots of explosive thoughts about "Britney/Brittany."

Until then...

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Amy Poehler's Return to SNL

Last night, SNL kicked off its 36th (!) season with the return of one of its alumni, the ever-popular-and-hilarious Amy Poehler.

I always find it interesting when former cast members return to host. Will the dynamics be the same? Will they dust off some of their recurring characters? Will other old friends show up too? Amy's episode delivered on all these things, and was an excellent begin to what is hopefully a solid season for SNL.

The show's best moment, for fans of Amy and her dear-departed-cohorts, would have to be her monologue, where she detailed a nightmare about hosting. Um, Amy's nightmare looks a lot like my dreams come true - she got to kiss Justin Timberlake, and Jimmy and Tina came back to take over Update. Sure, somebody else hijacked her "Kaitlyn" character, and Rachel Dratch needed avenging, but the rest was a-okay with me. Truthfully, I was too busy trying not to audibly squeal with delight to notice what was going on. My SNL-in-the-00s brain was on overload - only one Maya Rudolph away from achieving true SNL Nirvana.

But I didn't have to wait long for Maya Rudolph to check herself off my wish list - the first sketch of the night was "Bronx Beat," which, in addition to being predictably amusing, also offered us these bon mots about libraries: "The kids come for the boobs and stay for the books. Everybody wins." Excellent.

Other highlights include Amy returning to the Update desk for a session of "Really?! With Seth and Amy," the dusting-off of Amy's parrot 911 calls, and my new favorite joke about "Kim Jong Not-Ill." There's also the most ridiculous advertisement you'll ever see about the mosque at Ground Zero.

Overall, the episode was solid, and Amy was hilarious as usual. She was so at home it was almost like watching an episode of SNL without a host.

I do wonder, though, if the episode felt like "Classic Amy." Back in April, I reviewed Tina Fey's return to host SNL, and came to the conclusion that Tina's weird brand of self-deprecating feminism was all over the episode. Consequently, I think I was prepared for Amy to take the wheel and imprint everything with her own signature - for it to feel like her "Best Of" DVD, but it didn't really happen.

I actually felt like the episode could have used more Amy at the forefront - there were times when she was a cast member where she was just as ubiquitous as the host. She could go from playing an old lady to a little kid to a middle-aged man, and give you Hillary Clinton, Sharon Osbourne, and Michael Jackson peppered in between. And I think that's why there's no such thing as "Classic Amy." Her presence on SNL underwent a lot of changes.

Let's compare her to Tina for a second. Tina's journey on SNL started as a writer, off-camera. Then, she got the head writer job and came onscreen to do Weekend Update. And that's the way it stayed for six years: Update, writing, and the occasional participation in a sketch. Her persona on SNL has always been the same - authoritative and feministic, her own distinct voice of reason. The Boss Lady. And now she's on her own show, where she writes and plays basically a version of herself - The Boss Lady.

But look at Amy. She started in 2001 as a featured player, and was quickly upgraded to a repertory player as she created her own cast of zany characters and able impressions. She started out as the kid sister, the energetic, kooky, sketch character actress. Then she got Update, donned the blue jacket (actually, her '04 jacket was gray... but that's beside the point) and added the Tina Fey dimension to her portfolio - she played herself and delivered fake news. And even though Seth Meyers officially took over Fey's head writer and Update positions when Fey left in '06, Amy inherited the SNL throne. She settled into a den mother role as she truly became an SNL veteran.

So what were we to expect from last night's episode, then? There have been so many incarnations of the same talented performer, there's not really a box to put her in. And in the end, it doesn't really matter. She played every part in last night's episode with ease and humor, "signature" be damned. She reprised some kind of each of her personas on the show and didn't seem to worry too much about it. Because that's what Amy Poehler does. And she didn't steal the spotlight, because that's not what Amy Poehler does. She just puts on a little hat and lets Kristen Wiig be the one to act like a lunatic, if that's what's funniest.

But even at the end of it, you think, "Wow, Amy Poehler was still the funniest part of that sketch." And maybe that's Amy Poehler's signature. She's just the funniest, in any situation, and in any incarnation. I think that means you're gonna go far, kid.

Friday, September 24, 2010

A Little (Late) Night Music

Y'know, when I started this blog, if somebody had told me, "SHE-BLOGGO, I have a secret for you. You're going to be posting a lot of videos from Jimmy Fallon's new talk show," I would have said, "Ha! I doubt it, fool."

Well, whichever fool would have hypothetically let me in on that hypothetical secret... they would have been not-so-hypothetically right.

I've loved Jimmy Fallon since he was on SNL, but I know that not everybody does and I also can see why people figured his Late Night would be a flop. I honestly thought they weren't too misguided in their predictions. But Jimmy has etched himself a little niche in the talk show world, and I couldn't be happier that he's getting rewarded for it.

He's kind of like the Ellen of late night, and I'm sure Jimmy would appreciate me comparing him to a gay lady. But it's true. Both hosts are extremely well-liked with other celebrities, and so the goodwill is there for Jimmy to call in favors. They both approach their segments with creativity and an earnest sense of fun that's hard not to find endearing. And Jimmy in particular gets his guests to participate in awesome activities, like beer pong, charades, and an occasional dance off. ALSO HE AND BRIAN WILLIAMS SLOW-JAM THE NEWS. I mean, that's awesome.

The point of this post, before I swerved into a tangent, was to bring you this video of Amy Poehler, Rashida Jones, Jimmy Fallon, and ?uestlove singing a beautifully amorous quartet (or duetting duets, if you will) on Late Night last night. I giggled madly through the whole thing, and it's worth sharing. And I guess, to summarize, I'd be singing this song to Mr. Fallon himself lately. But not in a creepy way.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

The RBI Report: "Audition"

I thought I'd try something new here at Dr. She-Bloggo, after putting my nose to the grind for the Great Glee Countdown. I am introducing the RBI Report, to be unveiled after each new episode of Glee, where I break down the episode in terms of the writing and direction. Comparing and contrasting Ryan, Brad, and Ian is now something I compulsively do when I watch the show, so I might as well make use of it! The R(yan)/B(rad)/I(an) Report commences!

Audition (written by Ian Brennan; directed by Brad Falchuk)

Overall, I thought this was one of Ian's best episodes. Remember, he's usually the one that inundates every bit of dialogue with the theme of the episode (the word "funk" is used approximately 29 times in - you guessed it - "Funk"). But "Audition" was surprisingly "audition"-lite, and I must commend Ian for the welcome change.

A theme was still apparent, though, through the presence of Rachel's closing number. "What I Did For Love" highlighted Rachel's (lack of?) regret for getting Sunshine sent to Vocal Adrenaline, and underscored both Quinn's betrayal of Santana to get the Head Cheerio spot back and Artie's impending plan to get Tina back from Mike - the things we do for love, people! Whether it be for the love of ourselves, the love of our status, or the actual love for our loved ones. Well done, Ian (and Brad).

Brennan also did a good job giving attention to each of the characters and cluing the audience in to what changes have occurred over the summer. Nothing felt like we were getting hit with a punch we weren't prepared for, and overall, that was a good thing. His opening with Jacob Ben Israel was the perfect way to re-introduce everyone to our Gleeks, all the while poking fun at some of the complaints about the show during the hiatus. Very clever.

What's great about Ian's episodes is that they're very larger than life - but sometimes it can go too far. I didn't love the implication that Sue was trying to frame Coach Beiste for child molestation, and I also didn't believe that Rachel would purposefully put Sunshine in actual danger by sending her to a Lima crackhouse (active or not). Each writer excels in writing different characters, and I would not say that Rachel Berry is in Ian Brennan's wheelhouse (Brittany, Santana, and Sue? Definitely). But, these are minor quibbles. Sue's line about the Indians selling Manhattan to George Washington for an upskirt photo of Betsy Ross is enough to make me overlook the episode's very few faults.

In terms of the direction, I just have this to say:


Rachel crazy


Quinn HBIC


Artie heartbreak

Seriously, the episode was beautifully directed. This is doing nothing for my crush on Brad Falchuk. Expect more fangirling in future RBI Reports, guys. Just sayin'.

Also, if you have a more clever name for this other than "The RBI Report," I'm all ears.

All gifs come from fight_the_sky over at LiveJournal. An awesome resource!

Tina on Fallon: Partying at the Emmys

Remember how Tina Fey got super drunk with Jon Hamm and Amy Poehler after the Emmys?

Well, she talked about it with Jimmy Fallon on his show the other night. Points for the Weekend Update reunion, hilarity, Tina making a crack about "Poehler working her temporary rack" (and then saying she was going to get in trouble), an impromptu dance party, and Jimmy getting all big-brother-cranky when the audience cat calls Tina's drunkenness.


She's totally not kidding about the New York and Ray J quotes, either. She actually said that.

Get ready, nerds.

Who's ready for Amy Poehler to host SNL this weekend?

That would be me. I am definitely very ready.

And not only is Amy hosting the premiere, she's followed by Bryan Cranston, Jane Lynch, Emma Stone, and Jon Hamm. Are we trying to out-do ourselves this year, SNL? I approve.

Monday, September 20, 2010

GC#7 of 7: 10 Best S1 Episodes, in Photos

I got all creative for this and it took up all my time. Now I know why I don't have a tumblr. But, I give to you, visuals for Glee's Top 10 Best Episodes! Feel free to share, just credit, please.

I am now ready to kick back, relax, and enjoy Season 2's offerings. Hope you enjoyed the Countdown!


Vitamin D






Rhodes Not Taken


Dream On











Sunday, September 19, 2010

GC#6 of 7: Ships That Should Never Sail

This penultimate edition of the Glee Countdown epic is brought to you LIVE from the Great Glee Rewatch! 16 hours is a lot of Glee, but somebody's gotta watch it.

Anywho, for this post, I gave complete and utter topic control to my one and only BFF, who suggested "Ships That Should Not Sail."

Now, this is Glee. If you haven't seen the fandom, I'll just tell you now: ALL SHIPS SAIL. People ship everyone and everything, from Puck/Kurt to Will/Rachel to Quinn/Bacon. Seriously. It's called BacQuinn, and hopefully isn't sexual.

Despite these obstacles, I have managed to scrounge up 10 Glee Ships That Would Be Absolutely Horrendous for Various Reasons, detailed below.

10. Mercedes/Jacob Ben Israel - He is limitlessly annoying, and she has limited patience. I can't imagine this relationship ending in anything other than bodily harm for him. Also, Mercedes deserves better than the independent polling company in his Dockers.

9. Finn/Shelby - The birth mother of your on-and-off girlfriend and the adopted mother of the baby you thought was yours for six months? Maybe stay away from that one, Finn.

8. Schue/Artie - Firstly, their shipper name would be "Schartie," and that is atrocious. Secondly, it's all kinds of student-teacher inappropriate. Thirdly, they would fight over rap solos and sweaters.

7. Terri/Burt - Oh, what kind of havoc could Terri Schuester wreak on the Hummel family. It's almost worth it just to see. But, Terri's crazy and I wouldn't wish that on anyone. Plus, Burt has a low tolerance for that sort of thing, so I can imagine him literally picking her up, putting her outside on his doorstep, and shutting the door.

6. April/Brittany - So very, very blond. The 9-inch height difference would also be amusing. And think of the conversations they'd have... okay, this ship is actually kind of awesome. I'm going to stop now before I have to remove it from the list.

5. Jesse/Kurt - There is only so much that two people can look at their own reflections in the mirror. The thing about superiority complexes is that they don't co-habit well. But, they'd always have perfect hair, so there's that.

4. Sue/Santana - Oh, geez. This ship would implode with backstabbing faster than you can say "Cheerio." The amount of sabotage here would be epic. It could easily start a world war.

3. Rachel/Emma - So much crazy. They would be impossibly too high maintenance for each other.

2. Tina/Figgins - He legitimately thinks she's a vampire. It would never work.

1. Sandy/Josh Groban - Any relationship with a restraining order is doomed to fail. Also, everybody knows that Josh Groban loves a blousy alcoholic. And no one wants to live in a cocoon of horror.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

GC#5 of 7: On Brittana

"Sex is not dating."
"If it was, Santana and I would be dating."
- Santana and Brittany, "Sectionals"

And with that simple admission, a ship was launched. Brittany and Santana's popularity has sky-rocketed since their debut on the show, with the two characters promoted to full-time cast and featured heavily in the Back 9.

It's hard not to love them, even individually. Brittany is delightfully stupid, and Santana is hilariously bitchy. But together? They're magic.

"Heather's character and then Naya Rivera's character, Santana, they're like this kind of weird, wonderful, brilliant, comedic duo that we stumbled upon, which was totally unintentional. It's such a gift to have them; they're both really good and really funny. They're absolutely my favorite stuff to write now."
- Ian Brennan

What makes their dynamic work is that they are so dysfunctionally... functional. The show reassures the viewers that the cheerleaders are constant companions - they walk around the school holding pinkies and go on dates as a single unit, which is so absurdly awesome. Yet the storylines tell us that they still both sleep with other people and, much like Santana and Brittany themselves, they shrug it off as completely normal. The dichotomy is fantastic, and the fact that information about their relationship is parceled out in the background makes it even better.

It's not entirely a surprise, then, that "Brittana" has a rather prominent fanbase now. Heather Morris and Naya Rivera, the two halves of this duo, are best friends in real life and get constantly bombarded with questions about if their characters were ever going to get a makeout scene. At first, the reaction was, "[Ryan said] no way. He said that since we’re a prime-time television show, he didn’t want to do that."

Cue millions of outraged gay cries.

Now, I don't really want to dissect the differences between "storyline" and "makeout scene," but it does seem like a copout to just say "never" before you've really gotten yourself into anything. And I guess the support for Brittana has pulled through, because now Ryan is singing a different tune. At this year's Comic-Con, they were asked extensively about the couple and Murphy said they were debating having them kiss in an upcoming episode.

("Santittany" is the worst ship name ever. Brittana, plz.)

So it seems like all systems are go, now. Of course, with it comes all this pressure about how this development is going to be executed. And all I have to say is this: Please, Ryan, I implore you; don't screw it up.

The genius of their dynamic is that it's insane and that it unfolds in this little sidecar to Glee itself. If they make this big schmoopy love story out of them, I will be mad. I will also be mad if they fill it out with any kind of angst. They clearly have no problems being exactly how they are now, so I'm curious to see what will change that. It's a delicate line to walk with those characters and I say GOOD LUCK TO YOU Ryan because I think it will be difficult to please everybody. That being said, it is refreshing to see an LGBT relationship developing on a show in a way that's not completely contrived - a la every other show that brings in a gay character to "turn" an established character. That's getting old.

Anywho, I leave you with a final quote.

"We definitely always hint at it, but I don’t know what will happen with that. Maybe they’ll fall in love. I do think they’re soul mates. Brittany just gets Santana, even though a lot of people don’t like her."
- Naya Rivera

Friday, September 17, 2010

GC#4 of 7: Ryan v. Brad v. Ian

While most TV shows have about a dozen writers on staff, Glee has three: Ryan Murphy, Ian Brennan, and Brad Falchuk. They created the show, co-wrote the Pilot and "Showmance," and since have written episodes individually. They really keep it all in the family.

What I've discovered is that this small writing environment makes it very easy to tell who wrote which episode. There are clues. I'll break it down for you.


  • Profile: God of Glee. Does some directing. Looks fierce in a suit.
  • Wrote: Acafellas, Vitamin D, Wheels, Mattress, The Power of Madonna, Laryngitis, Theatricality
  • Dead Giveaways it's an RM ep: Feels like an after-school special, but you don't seem to mind (Wheels, Laryngitis). Ryan's always seem to have a "message," usually about equality. All banner episodes, like Gaga or Madonna, have been RM. The connection between dialogue and theme often comes off a bit on-the-nose (how many times do characters say "confidence" or "guts" in Acafellas?), but the man wields a barbed quip like no other.
  • Specialty: The moments that come to define Glee - snark plus heart plus underdog - are usually straight from Ryan. He's also king of song choices.
  • Choice dialogue: "Who's Josh Groban?! KILL YOURSELF!"
  • Choice scenes: Finn standing up for Kurt in a red shower curtain (Theatricality), Rachel and Sean singing "One" (Laryngitis), Kurt singing "Defying Gravity" (Wheels), Burt kicking Finn out of his house (Theatricality)
  • Best ep: The Power of Madonna


  • Profile: More reserved of the three. Married. Kind of a dreamboat. Also directs.
  • Wrote: Preggers, Throwdown, Ballad, Sectionals, Home, Dream On, Journey
  • Dead Giveaways it's a BF ep: Falchuk specializes in the more serious drama - the trials of Quinn's pregnancy, Artie's dream to dance, Kurt's heartbreak in "Home," the dissolution of the Glee club in "Journey." Generally more subtle than his co-writers - he tends to embed the theme a little better than the other two. Wrote both finales. Doesn't write as many standout wisecracks - only one quote from SHE BLOGGO's Top 15 is from Brad.
  • Specialty: Raw emotional scenes. Slower pace. Scenes sparse in dialogue. Quinn crying.
  • Choice dialogue: "People will tear you down, tell you you shouldn't have bothered in the first place. But let me tell you something: there's not much of a difference between a stadium full of cheering fans and an angry crowd screaming abuse at you. They're both just making a lot of noise. How you take it is up to you. Convince yourself they're cheering for you. You do that, and someday, they will."
  • Choice scenes: the Glee kids sing their support to Quinn (Throwdown, Ballad), Mr. Schue tells Rachel there's a guy who will love her for all her faults (Ballad), Rachel apologizes to Quinn (Sectionals), the Glee kids sing to Mr. Schuester (Journey)
  • Best ep: Sectionals


  • Profile: Self-described Shetland Pony lookalike. Incredibly charming and witty. Goofy and fun.
  • Wrote: The Rhodes Not Taken, Mash-Up, Hairography, Hell-O, Bad Reputation, Funk
  • Dead Giveaways it's an IB ep: The title or theme of the episode will be used no less than 20 times in dialogue. Sue often has a big storyline. Frequent secondhand embarrassment. Things tend to get a bit cracky when IB's at the wheel - there's usually at least one disorienting WTF? moment and characters often act out of what we'd expect of them in order to achieve a desired effect. But the dialogue is almost always sublimely absurd and hilarious - he pens all of Sue's lines.
  • Specialty: Sue Sylvester, period. "Quotable" moments - note that seven of SHE BLOGGO's 15 Funniest Glee quotes are from Brennan eps.
  • Choice dialogue: "That's what they said about a young man in Chicago in 1871, who thought he'd play a harmless prank on a dairy cow of one Mrs. O'Leary. He successfully ignited its flatulence and the city burned, William. And that gay terrorist went on to become the first gay president of the United States, Abraham Lincoln."
  • Choice scenes: Kurt ralphs on Miss Pillsbury (The Rhodes Not Taken), Mr. Schuester tries to have a conversation with the half-deaf Haverford coach (Hairography), Brittany and Santana take Finn on a date (Hell-O).
  • Best ep: The Rhodes Not Taken
I tend to put my faith in Brad Falchuk episodes - he has the best track record with me. I'm a sucker for the dramaz that he does, and I like the way he gives attention to the characters and their interactions. Ian Brennan's episodes always make me wary because they're all over the place and he exhausts the theme. And Ryan's just make me feel like a sap for crying at them. All of them have their merits, though, and without them Glee wouldn't be what it is. Maybe they could just co-write each episode.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Glee Countdown 3/7: Funniest Glee Quotes

This was difficult. I tried not to skew too Sue or Brittany, but frankly, it's hard. Credit where credit is due, people!

Oh, Bambi. I cried so hard when the hunters shot your mommy.
- Kurt (Vitamin D)

Every time I try to destroy that club, it comes back stronger than some sexually ambiguous horror movie villain.
Sue (Vitamin D)

My mom won't even let me watch Twilight. She says she thinks Kristen Stewart seems like a bitch.
Tina (Theatricality)

When I pulled my hamstring, I went to a misogynist.
Brittany (The Power of Madonna)

We're planning on smacking them down like the hand of God.
Artie (Vitamin D)

Oh, hey William. I thought I smelled cookies wafting from the ovens of the little elves who live in your hair.
Sue (The Power of Madonna)

Get ready, Black-Girl-from-Glee-Club-whose-name-I-can't-remember-right-now. The Puckster is about to make you his.
Puck (Laryngitis)

Your hair looks like a briar patch. I keep expecting racist, animated Disney characters to pop up and start singing about living on the bayou.
Sue (Journey)

I don't think any one decision makes your life. Unless you invent some sort of zombie virus or something.
Finn (Mash-Up)

So you like show tunes. It doesn't mean you're gay. It just means you're awful.
Sue (Laryngitis)

That's what they said about a young man in Chicago in 1871, who thought he'd play a harmless prank on a dairy cow of one Mrs. O'Leary. He successfully ignited its flatulence and the city burned, William. And that gay terrorist went on to become the first gay president of the United States, Abraham Lincoln.
Sue (Funk)

Bake sales are kind of bougie.
Santana (Wheels)

I'm like Tinkerbell, Finn. I need applause to live!
Rachel (Laryngitis)

Did you know that dolphins are just gay sharks?
Brittany (Hell-O)

I will go to the animal shelter and get you a kitty cat. I will let you fall in love with that kitty cat. And then on some dark, cold night, I will steal away into your home and punch you in the face.
Sue (Mash-Up)

Happy Birthday, Amy Poehler!

It's Amy Poehler's 39th birthday! Time to celebrate her existence. She's hysterically funny, notoriously fearless, and yet displays a certain thoughtfulness in her interviews that you wouldn't expect from someone with such zany characters. She can do impressions, deliver the fake news, play a farting one-legged reality show contestant, and run the parks department of Pawnee, Indiana. She can play both a "Bert" and an "Ernie," and still be hilarious. But I'm pretty sure she'll always be able to make me laugh just by being herself, and well, that's a pretty amazing thing, isn't it?

"I do feel like the improv rules are ways you should live your life. You should say yes when someone offers you something. You should give something back in return. You should listen to what someone’s saying rather than what you want to say. You should respect somebody you’re working with, and you can’t ever bail. Those are life lessons, certainly."
Funny, intelligent, and a good person. This is why she has her own tag here at She-Bloggo. Happy 39th, Amy!

ANTM, Cycle 15: Return to the Glory Days?

Every time a new cycle of America's Next Top Model begins, I brace myself for Tyra's self-serving antics, bad special effects, and girls who scream at each other because they're not "real" or "respectful." Ever since Cycle 8 or so, the show's felt a little empty, like it needed to be put out to pasture. There were Wal-Mart challenges, guys. It was serious.

But I'm starting to think Cycle 15 may be singing a different tune. Has Tyra listened to fan feedback (aka common sense) and restructured the show to be more like cycles of yore and yesteryear? Gasp! It certainly seems like it.

This all seems to have stemmed from the fact that this is the "high fashion cycle." (Sorry, Wal-Mart.) The winner gets a cover of Italian Vogue, and Tyra's name is on the line. She can't deliver a half-assed winner like she could for Ann Shoket at Seventeen! Italian Vogue is legit. The girl can't be chosen because of her personality or because Tyra thinks she'd be a good "Cover Girl," whatever that means. Girl's gotta take flawless photos, consistently, and be intelligent about the business. This is serious pressure. And because of it, Tyra appears to be making sensible decisions again.

For example, Ms. Banks seems to have spent her budget on luring in actual icons of the fashion industry and not on superfluous CGI for worn-out gimmicks. Diane Von Furstenberg was there, y'all! And she didn't even seem bored out of her mind - because she's technically too good for this show. It's amazing! I was tired of seeing the same rotation of people involved because Tyra didn't want to add anyone on payroll.

Furthermore, the girls seem well-cast, personality-wise, which is hugely important. There's only so much needless bitchiness I can take, and last cycle I about had my fill. (How was it that no one was likeable?!) This cycle has its teen mom, its awkward swan, its biracial butterfly, its resident lesbian, and its girl-with-an-eating-disorder, but these tropes are playing out in compelling ways thus far. Last night's episode tactfully touched on homosexuality and anorexia, letting Tyra indulge in her therapist role without playing dress-up and overacting. Seeing Tyra sit down with the girls so early on was actually a treat. She had previously stepped away from the "I'm your cool aunt Tyra!" role adopted in the early cycles. But last night, she was refreshingly present. I guess when you're footing a model for Italian Vogue you better spend some time with her and make sure she's not going to destroy your reputation.

In short, this bit of added pressure is doing the show some good. So far we've witnessed a mini renaissance of the things that made us like this show in the first place: Tyra being silly but taking it seriously, interesting personalities interacting (sans temper tantrums), and focus on the modeling itself. And the best part? Tyra doesn't seem to be attempting to coin any new phrases! It's gonna be a good cycle.

I look forward to seeing the rest of you, 15! Don't prove me wrong here.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

GC#2: How Quinn Fabray Could Be the Best Character on Glee (And Why She Isn't)

Let's be very clear about something: Quinn Fabray is not the best character on Glee. What's unfortunate about this fact is that she could be.

A quick rundown of Quinn's development: She started out as the bitchy Queen Bee cheerleader, the arch nemesis for Rachel Berry. Perfect boyfriend, perfect life. Cruel and conniving, she insisted on making the protagonist's life hell. In short: her life was a stereotype. Then she got pregnant.


Yes, the pregnancy itself was still a stereotype. Now she was the bitchy, knocked-up cheerleader, who slept with the bad boy and paid the price. But then the writers introduced something a little more three-dimensional.

Quinn Fabray started showing a little heart. Maybe it was pregnancy hormones, or a big fat helping of humble pie (getting kicked off the Cheerio squad and out of your own household certainly brings you down a peg or two), but everything about Quinn's character changed. The tight ponytail transformed into softer styles and braids, and the harsh Cheerio uniform turned into baby doll dresses and cardigans. And she was downright... nice.

This development was certainly promising. Ryan Murphy has said that Dianna Agron, Quinn's portrayer, accidentally ruined the awful character he was originally envisioning. It's interesting to ponder this thought. Agron was the last of the original kids to be cast, and literally gave two whirlwind auditions that were taped and shown to Murphy, who gave the okay the day before filming started. I do wonder if the whole process happened so quickly that they didn't stop to consider the impact that casting this girl had on Quinn's character. Agron's off-camera persona (and wardrobe) is much more aligned to the post-Cheerio Quinn, and it's clear that if she weren't the one wearing Quinn Fabray's skin, Quinn Fabray would probably still be a bitch. This is not to say, of course, that Agron is incapable of portraying a character different from herself. She's got chops. But I'm getting off point.

Even if casting Dianna Agron fundamentally changed the character of Quinn, Ryan Murphy rolled with it, and it paid off. The first 13 episodes of Glee were created in a bubble. This is supremely interesting in that you can glean a lot of the writers' original intent, unaffected by fan and critic feedback. For Quinn, these episodes explored her pregnancy, her rapidly eroding lie about the baby's father, and her plummeting social status. Not only that, but we got a sympathetic glimpse into her home life, a rarity for this show. It was interesting! There was depth! She was treated like a main character! Hell, she was a main character! In the fall of 2009, while the show was still fairly fresh, Glee had the opportunity to send some actors to Comic-Con. Who did they send? Rachel, Finn, Quinn, and Mr. Schue. It's clear who they intended their main characters to be.


So what happened? If the first 13 episodes embody the potential for Quinn Fabray to be the best character on the show, then the "Back 9" completely undo it. The writers decided to listen to fans, and pulled focus from the plotlines involving pregnancy/lying. Well, Terri Schuester's sinking ship took Quinn's character arc down with it. Quinn got virtually no screentime in the Back 9, and the scenes she had reeked of inconsistency. When we last saw Quinn in "Sectionals," she was emotionally raw, having had the truth about her baby's paternity exposed to the world and her relationship implode right in front of her. She'd had a rather zen-like conversation with Rachel Berry, and told Puck she didn't want to be with him. Promising, right? But when Ms. Fabray showed back up on my screen months later, she came with hardly a line of dialogue, and background actions insinuating she and Puck were together. Needless to say, I was more than a little outraged.

There's a huge disconnect between the first 13 episodes and the last 9, and frankly, it's frustrating, especially where Quinn's character is concerned. I'm under the impression that if you have a pregnant teenager bitch who's deciding to change her ways, well, then that character arc needs to be on screen. Instead, Quinn was relegated to the background, where she remained until her water broke. We didn't even know where she was living for six episodes! Yes, the writers tried to keep the delicate balance between Head Bitch Quinn and Old Softie Quinn, but instead she just came off as wildly inconsistent. One episode she was perfectly content being in the Glee club, the next she was scheming to get her popularity back, and the next she was wielding a charming but clunky friendship with Mercedes. Characterization whiplash is not becoming, Glee writers. (And truthfully, Quinn is not the only character that suffers from it!)

The most frustrating conclusion of all this is the woulda, coulda, shoulda. The fleeting glimpses we've seen into Quinn's personality have been compelling - she's sarcastic, strong-willed, insecure, stoic, caring, angry, feministic, and intelligent - in short, a well-rounded female character. The execution is just not employing all of these characteristics. What happened to the Quinn Fabray that blackmailed Sue Sylvester to get the Glee Club their page in the yearbook? It bears repeating: she blackmailed Sue Sylvester! And without all the ridiculata (and hair gel) that Schuester brings when he tries to do it! Seriously, let's hear it for the girl.


So what's the future of Quinn Fabray, post-neglect and post-baby? It's hard to say. It seems as though she'll be back up to her old tricks in the new season, and as long as that brings her character development back to the forefront, I'll be content. But if it undoes every inch of her character arc, I will have to cut a bitch. Fabray-style.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Glee Countdown, #1: Top 10 Back 9 Songs

I did a Top 10 for the first 13, so it's only fair I do a Top 10 for the Back 9. Plus it's an easy way to kick of the She-Bloggo Glee Countdown! ...except it was totally hard to choose.

NUMBER 10. TOTAL ECLIPSE OF THE HEART, Lea Michele and Jonathan Groff.

Oh, the drama! This song is genuinely a great song, despite its inclusion in the "bad reputation" episode, and Lea Michele and Jon Groff sing the crap out of it. That's all I ever really want.

NUMBER 9. FAITHFULLY, Lea Michele and Cory Monteith.

This is perhaps my favorite of the Finn/Rachel duets. The way they sing this song tugs at my heartstrings, and the backup vocals from the rest of the Glee club is chills-inducing, every time. Plus Lea's high notes at the end? Good Lord. It's an excellent showing for their Regionals performance, and a song that I gets endless play on my iTunes. It also must be noted that I actually prefer the arrangement on the Glee cover to the arrangement in Journey's original. Gasp!


This list would not be complete without an appearance by the lovely Jon Groff, who graced us with his both his character's evils and also his beautiful voice. He gets massive points for this version of "Another One Bites the Dust," where he spits out every lyric with venom and bitterness as he sets his sights on taking down the New Directions, and his ex-girlfriend. This song is actually well-suited for show choir, and it fits rather nicely in both the Vocal Adrenaline songbook and the plot arcs of the show itself.


This song is sung simply, but effectively. I appreciate how small the song seems, because even though the club is comprised of losers on the verge of being broken apart, their ode to Mr. Schuester is a large and rather heartfelt gesture. It also represents a shift in the distribution of vocals, featuring mini-solos of nearly all the Glee kids. A lovely rendition, and makes me teary-eyed every time.


The energy from this song jolted the ode to Madonna into the stratosphere, where it stayed for the rest of the episode.
Fun, dancing, girl-power sass and happiness every time. What more do you want?

NUMBER 5. ONE LESS BELL TO ANSWER/A HOUSE IS NOT A HOME, Matthew Morrison and Kristin Chenoweth.

Cheno has stated that hers and Matt Morrison's voices go together "like butter on a biscuit" and I couldn't agree with her more. This duet is a beautiful marriage of two songs and two voices, blending both seamlessly. Some say it's too long and too schmaltzy, but I say it's damn near perfect.

NUMBER 4. DREAM ON, Matthew Morrison and Neil Patrick Harris.

Neil Patrick Harris hits the most insane high notes in this song, and it's amazing. Matt Morrison has never sounded better, either. Together, they do Aerosmith a whole lotta justice.


Full-body goosebumps, PARTY OF THE ENTIRE NATION. "Like a Prayer" is a huge song, and Glee tackles it easily. It divides the song between Lea Michele's divine notes, Amber Riley's God-given vocal runs, Chris Colfer's voice of an angel, and an entire gospel choir. I don't see where they could go wrong. This is THE ensemble number of the Back 9.

2. ROSE'S TURN, Chris Colfer.

This episode got little Chris Colfer an Emmy nomination, and I'm pretty sure that "Rose's Turn" was the clincher. I love how vulnerable he is during this performance, and he turns from a broken little boy into a fabulous entertainer in a single note, and keeps the audience hanging on every syllable. Fantastic.

NUMBER 1. I DREAMED A DREAM, Lea Michele and Idina Menzel.

Remember when I said that "Maybe This Time" was amazing simply because it was a duet by Cheno and Lea Michele? Well, "I Dreamed A Dream" is a similar breed. I mean, it's amazing enough because it's Idina Menzel and Lea Michele singing together. But on top of that, it's the two of them doing what they do best: giving so much emotion through their voices, as they pour their souls into their tragic mother-daughter relationship. The harmonies in this song are enough to tear my heart into little pieces, and it's breathtaking the way that each woman's voice gathers power as the notes are held longer. It's simply a master class, and unlike anything you could ever expect from a television musical.

Glee Countdown!

Today, Glee: Season 1 comes out on DVD. One week from today, Glee: Season 2 premieres on FOX. In honor of the seven days sandwiched between these exciting events, I will be doing a seven-day countdown of Glee-related posts which, if I didn't announce, would probably just look like a regular seven days on the blog.

I plan on a variety of topics, from the usual "10 Things" that I love to do, to an analysis of the writers, to a retrospective of one Ms. Quinn Fabray. I'm looking forward to it. How else can I get these seven days to pass any quicker?

Friday, September 10, 2010

Your Daily Dose of Holy Shit

Last night, I was discussing Inception with a dear friend who, like every other human being on this planet, saw it ages ago and was waiting for me to catch up with the rest of the world. We went through the requisite "What the hell is this ending?!" rant, and wound up still agreeing that despite its hairline faults, the movie is still ingeniously constructed.

Especially when he directed me to this video.

I swear, I had the most visceral reaction listening to that. That series of notes makes me seriously feel like someone is RIGHT behind me waiting to attack me, and knowing where it comes from now makes me feel like my attacker was someone I trusted all along. It freaked me the hell out.

Still genius though.

Also, no one is allowed to make fun of me for only seeing Inception last weekend.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

It's Britney, Bitch: What Glee Should Cover

In case you hadn't heard (aka, you've been living under a rock), Glee is doing a Britney Spears episode. This is something that has been talked about for months and months, and I won't lie, when it first flew through the gossip mill I scoffed a bit. Britney Spears? Really? Like her contributions to the music industry are worth a whole tribute episode?

But, as time has worn on, so has my resistance to this concept, and I am unashamed to admit that I am getting stupidly excited to see the episode. I mean, regardless of Britney Spears' musical talent, her place in music history is pretty much inarguable, for better or worse. She's had good songs, bad songs, good times, bald times. I'm not gonna hate.

So, in accepting the existence of this homage to Ms. Spears, I started sorting out her discography in my head to see which songs I would like to see on Glee and which Ryan Murphy should stay far, far away from.

1. Toxic. Perhaps the most-preferred Britney song to non-Britney fans. Win!
2. Me Against the Music. Catchy, plus it's a duet!
3. Stronger. Bonus points if sung by Quinn.
4. ...Baby One More Time. It's not my favorite, but it's her breakout song. It can be there. *sigh*
5. Gimme More. This could be paired with some excellent dancing, and would be awesome if it was a group number.
6. Womanizer. Who better to sing about than Puck?
7. Everytime. The ONLY ballad that I would allow them to do. Because if Lea Michele or Amber Riley sang it, I think it'd actually be a strong song.
8. You Drive Me Crazy. Harmless late '90s fun. Allowed.

1. Lucky. I swear to God, if Glee goes near this song, I might have to stab something.
2. Oops! ... I Did it Again. This song is insipid. Didn't like it when it first came out, and now it's honestly just laughable. "But I thought that old lady threw it into the ocean at the end!"
3. I'm a Slave 4 U. I have a hard time embracing songs that replace actual words with numbers and letters. (Kelly Clarkson songs get a free pass.)
4. I'm Not a Girl, Not Yet a Woman. JUST NO.
5. Sometimes. I forgot this one existed, and I think it can stay that way.
6. Don't Let Me Be the Last to Know. Ballads really weren't her strong point, anyways.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Heebie Jeebies Case #3920: The Black Swan Trailer

You've probably already started to catch wind of the buzz surrounding Darren Aronofsky's new film "Black Swan." Y'know, Natalie Portman, Mila Kunis, insanity, and ballet? Those are definitely the buzz words for this movie, just looking at the trailer. (And YES, Portman and Kunis kiss in it, blah blah blah let's get that out of the way.)

What I'm more interested in is the fact that it looks freaky as hell. Is she growing wings? Are she and Mila Kunis the same person? What the hell is that demon thing? And what, pray, is Winona Ryder doing there?

I've over-analyzed the trailer like mad, and once I got over my initial case of the heebie jeebies, there were two little things that made me go "hmm."

1. 1:17 - the two figures passing in the hallway. Are they both meant to be Natalie Portman? Because the reverse-shot figure in black definitely does not look like her, after seeing in fact that it IS NP in the shot previous. Yet, I think we are meant to believe that the girl in white with the chignon is supposed to be Portman's character. But, we never see her face in the trailer. Is this a bad stand-in issue, or are we on to something here?

2. 1:24 - The brief three shots of the makeout confuse me. They must be filming in mirrors or something, because it starts with NP moving screen right to kiss Mila Kunis, but in the next shot she's approaching from the opposite direction. Then they cut into a closeup where NP is on the left again. What is this trickery?

Oh, and the part when Natalie Portman's reflection turns to stare at her? Consider me traumatized.

But I'm totally going to see this, despite the scary, and also in spite of the fact that I find both Natalie Portman's and Mila Kunis' voices somewhat irksome.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Haiku Wednesday: the Borrowed Edition

It's that sometimes-celebrated time of the week again, gang! Haiku Wednesday! And to make this much easier on my syllable-counting brain, Entertainment Weekly just happened to post 12 haikus today, submitted by fans who wished to wax poetic about our dear departed friend, Lost. Here are my favorites:

Oh, squirrel baby
Button eyes and random bones
Claire will miss your smile

- submitted by Brian Cavanagh

I love Hurley like
Han Solo loves Chewbacca
He'd get what I mean.
- submitted by Rebecca Parker

Daniel Faraday
Time is always on his side
'Til his mom shot him.
- submitted by Lindsey Washburn

Wrap it carefully.
Use a damp piece of clothing.
Whither Leslie Arzt.

- submitted by Brett Taylor

These delightful people made this installment of Haiku Wednesday fantastically easy. Thanks, guys!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...