'Glee': I dreamed a dream
Ever since news leaked that Joss Whedon would direct an episode of “Glee” I was both excited and anxious.
It's not that I have any doubts in Whedon - at all, the guy can do great TV (even if I hate the fact that “Buffy” is in re-run hell). I just worried how this particular episode would stand amongst the crowd. There have been some fantastic moments as is, and maybe I just wasn't ready for such a big guest director. Once I knew Whedon would be reteaming with his “Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog,” star, Neil Patrick Harris, I figured the episode easily had the potential to be one of the best of an already stellar freshman season.
Boy, was I right.
The show in many ways is a dream. Dream guest stars, dream songbook, though there have been some nightmare song selections at times ("Ice, Ice Baby" this means you). As if any Gleek ever needed a dream come true, you all should be content with Madonna and Gaga, another wish came true (more on that later). This week was all about holding onto those dreams – gosh how I love these simple, yet spot-on even if it’s often cheesy, weekly themes. Now make a wish, and read on.
Shue sorta kinda meets his match
Will’s perfectly coiffed world is turned a little upside when an old show choir rival, NPH’s Bryan Ryan (yes, really), has become a member of the school board on a mission to destroy the glee club. Of course, like Will’s other former classmate Bryan has become jaded and a bit washed up. He thought his name would be in big flashing lights – and why would they not, he headlined at Kings Island thank you very much (as a native Cincinnatian, it could be worse, trust me). Bryan’s world is one full of sorrow, including sneaking off and seeing Broadway shows and hiding the evidence like porn. Now he runs an AA-style glee recovery group (umm, nice try Molly Shannon, you’re still kinda pointless for the show and her random scene was further proof they still don’t know what to do with her quite yet).
We were treated to two duets from the guys, which I had secretly wished for. I live for NPH’s voice - despite the corniness his award show live offerings have been fantastic - and his pipes added to Shue’s soulful bravado. I wanted a great show down between the two and both “Piano Man” and “Dream On” gave me everything I needed, though by the end of “Dream On” I was having a Gleek-attack at the insane high notes both were doing. Soundtrack please.
Wait, did Bri-ry (which I prayed someone would tease, so I’m doing it) actually engage in a little sweet nany-nany with Sue? Just asking.
Okay guys, I didn’t think I had the strength to write about anything else. I was so moved by Artie's storyline that I broke down in tears, twice! When Tina learns that his dream is to dance she works out a new routine for the two to rehearse on during the week. All Tina wants to do is encourage him to dream big and keep hope alive. She even does exhaustive research on his condition and the forms of treatments that are being worked on. Unfortunately Artie gets a bit too worked up, and loses sight on reality. In one scene that sent me into a tear-filled sob he tries to walk using arm braces, but falls. I just couldn’t take it when he demanded Tina leave him alone on the floor.
Then for what had to be one of the most incredibly uplifting scenes this show has pulled off we see Artie living out his dream, sans wheelchair. While at the mall with Tina he tells her the research she looked into is working, and he takes his first steps. This turns into a high energy performance of “Safety Dance,” including an updated, reworked take on Micheal Jackson’s iconic zombie dance in “Thriller.” Loved that the scene offered a nice nod to the numerous flash mobs this show has inspired.
Sadly it was all a dream, which of course you knew already, but it was a dream you didn’t want to wake up from. And Kevin McHale’s voice and dance moves? I melted inside.
From Mother to Daughter
Jesse returns in time to make Rachel (and someone else’s hint, hint) dream come true. While Rachel dreams of music domination, she longs to know her mother. Gosh, you know where this is going already. I was an early member of the Idina Menzel/Lea Michelle resemblance club. It is very, scary. Very uncanny and very awesome. Jesse pressures Rachel into rummaging through the Rachel Berry museum and he slips a cassette tape (remember those) into one of the boxes. The tape labeled “From Mother to Daughter” is the missing piece of the puzzle, and the answer Rachel had always wanted to hear. But because we already knew Menzel’s Shelby would eventually turn out to be her mom, all that was left was the much needed explanation. She explained that she saw an ad in the paper to become a surrogate mother that would give her enough money to move to New York City, only catch is after birth she signed a contract not to contact Rachel until she is 18, and who wants to wait another few years when there is no better time than now – especially after expressing it as her biggest regret?
My only question that I’ve yet to have the smarts to figure out is what exactly does Jesse stand to gain from being Shelby’s little puppet? Despite agreeing to the task as an acting exercise he told her that he might actually like Rachel, duh the two do have undeniable chemistry despite that joke of an article floating around. So help me out guys, Jesse was already the star of Vocal Adrenaline so it’s not like he’s desperate for a solo. Things that make me go “hmmm.” As an unashamed theater geek can I just say, Menzel and Michelle together? Singing? Die with me. Again, soundtrack please.
Gleeks, write in and comment. Did I miss something? Favorite moments of the episode? How did you think NPH fared? Should Joss Whedon direct another “Glee” episode in the future? What was your favorite performance?
-- Gerrick D. Kennedy
Photo: Neil Patrick Harris guest stars on "Glee." Credit: Fox.
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