“Glee” Favorite Moments

It is time to get back on this horse. Sorry (to all two of you). I’ve been very busy with my other writing. And then I’ve had that trigger-shy feeling of, “But I haven’t blogged in a week/two weeks/a month! What should I even say? It has to be awesome! Except it doesn’t matter if it’s awesome or not because no one reads my blog. Sad mopeyness. Well, of course no one reads your blog – you haven’t written in weeks! Get back on the horse, you whiney baby! Other aggressive words of encouragement such as you might hear from a curmudgeonly but ultimately lovable high school football coach in a movie! But you really should be doing the writing that you hope is going to make you money/laundry/minding the child. Especially since no one reads your blog. More sad mopeyness.” Then my Facebook status updates went from “Zoe did a thing!” to “I must rant for several paragraphs about something vaguely political and/or woman-related!” and I realized that seriously, I need to get back to blogging.

So what am I starting with? “Glee”! Sorry. It was in the hopper.

So I’d been doing this thing where I’d been posting “Lessons to Unlearn from Glee” every week. It was my little bit of hateful loving on the show, back when I still used to have some love for the show, but felt the need to poke gentle fun at their preachy total wrongness. You know, the times when they were all, “Never deny your art!” and I as a thirty-year-old person was like, “Uh, but your art might never support you financially, so, you know, be guided accordingly.” Or the times when they were all, “Finn’s random self-righteousness about x is totally warranted!” and I was all, “Finn’s a douchebag!” Fun times.

But then this happened and I could not take it any more. I ignored the show. It was easy because they were on break for, like, a month and a half, but then I continued to ignore it. Then I caught up, half-attentively, putting the show on while doing dishes or folding laundry or what have you. And you know what? I was completely right to drop it. With the possible exception of the moderately amusing punk rock version of “The Rain in Spain” from My Fair Lady, nothing worthwhile musically or story-wise has happened since February. (I haven’t watched the season finale yet. It’s two hours long. That’s a lot of time to invest in a show I no longer care about.) And they’ve been up to their usual preachiness shenanigans. Really, show? You needed to have a domestic violence-themed episode?

(And on that front, and I really can’t help myself here, I’m sorry, I have to point out that they tried to make this point, this “Every girl thinks it’ll never be her boyfriend point,” but no one ever explains that really well so it always comes across like “Your boyfriend could Hulk out on you at any moment! All boys have a secret Mr. Hyde hiding in them! You are never safe!” That’s not really the point. The point is, don’t be dismissive of women going through this by saying things like, “I would never put up with that from any man.” I made this point in my “Real Housewives” post, but I’ll repeat it here – when you say that, you’re not thinking of your actual partner. You’re not thinking of the person you love, the person who melted your heart by playing so sweetly with your puppy or made you that really meaningful mix CD or maybe even helped you out of a serious jam without judging or complaining. You’re not thinking of the person with whom you share a child, a pet, a home. You’re not thinking of that person who gives you toe-tingling kisses. You’re thinking of that Mythic Guy Who Hits and Does Nothing Else. That guy is easy to leave. Your actual partner is usually not that guy. Even when s/he hits you. Okay, PSA over.)

So this is the last thing I’m going to write about “Glee,” and it’s going to be nice. I did watch it for a few years; I must have liked things. Like:

1. The Pilot – The pilot was so promising. It was sarcastic, it was funny, and it let you know the show was not to be taken seriously. And Lea Michele sang “On My Own,” and Amber Riley belted out “Respect,” and while those are both extremely obvious choices of songs – the misunderstood, unpopular girl sings a song about the one she loves not noticing her, and the sassy black girl sings the sassy black girl anthem – but as we know, these two are so phenomenal who cares that they’re stereotypes? There was stuff like Miss Pillsbury’s ridiculously inappropriate pamphlets, which were just skimmed over on camera instead of given a whole episode and reason for existence. Oh, and Jane Lynch existed.

2. Zoe shaking her butt to “Gold Digger” – Y’all know the only reason I even watch the show is because Zoe and I dance to the musical numbers together and she is so freakin’ cute, right? “Gold Digger” was in the second episode. Zoe was just a little over a year. She heard the song and started bopping her butt up and down. The memory of it is enough to make all the head-bangingly stupid plot points worth it. Oh, and the way she memorized “Bad Romance” and used to sing it all the time. You have not lived until you’ve heard a child who is not yet two singing, “I want your ugly, I want your disease.”

3. Kurt and Rachel doing “For Good” – I mean, when Lea Michele sang anything, it was awesome. And when Chris Colfer sang anything, it was awesome. And when the two of them sang Wicked songs together? Holy moly.

4. The Madonna episode – The episode packed in the musical numbers and skimmed over the plot, which was perfect. The dancing was spectacular. Remember the Cheerios on stilts? Holy hell. Remember Mercedes and Kurt rocking it with the Cheerios and the marching band on “4 Minutes to Save the World”? Kick ass. Remember the whole team on “Like a Prayer”? Niiiiice.

A personal anecdote: The summer that song came out, my sister (Lauren, not Kate) played it over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over again. And this was in the days before we had a CD player – she learned how long it took to rewind the tape over that particular song. And you know what? I never got sick of it. Say what you want about La Madge, but that’s a good song.

They followed this up with an all-Britney Spears episode the following year. Britney is no Madonna but the episode was still awesome, not in the least because it showcased Heather Morris’s dancing. Damn, that girl can move.

5. Rumours – The episode they dedicated to the Fleetwood Mac album was really pretty good, musically, and it was basically because the kids, and Kristen Chenoweth, who guest-starred, can really sing, and they basically just sang Fleetwood Mac’s songs straight. And here’s the stupid thing – I kind of didn’t know I liked Fleetwood Mac. I mean, obviously, having lived in the English-speaking world for thirty years, I knew their music. I’ve had more than one experience where I turn off my car as the radio is playing “Landslide,” then get back in my car to find “Landslide” starting up again. On regular FM radio. And, you know, I liked it fine. But I never really thought to myself, “Oh, I like Fleetwood Mac.” They were just there, in the background of my life. This episode made me think about it. And program a Pandora station. (Music fans should know, that’s pretty much my height for liking a band these days. I know other people actually, like, buy albums and go to concerts and shit. Not so much me.)

6. The alcohol episode – As a musical episode, this one was a lot of fun. “Blame it on the Alcohol” showcased some great staging and dancing, plus Artie and Mercedes are always awesome on hip-hop. “One Bourbon, One Scotch, and One Beer” was hella fun. And Heather Morris got to show off her dance moves on Ke$ha’s “Tik Tok”. I always like it when Heather Morris gets to show off her dance moves. And, as far as preachy episodes go, this one handled things pretty well. Kids, drinking is not the best idea in the world, but you’re probably going to do it, as do we all, so do it responsibly, and do not under any circumstances drink and dial, ’cause that shit’s embarrassing.

7. The Adele mash-up – So maybe this season wasn’t totally useless. It brought us Santana and Mercedes and the other girls doing a mash-up of Adele’s “Someone Like You” and “Rumour Has It.” They rocked it. First of all, those are two really good songs. Second of all, Amber Riley and Naya Rivera can sing. Mash-ups on this show are generally a mixed bag. Their first mash-up episode, featuring the girls doing “Halo” and “Walking on Sunshine” and the boys doing “It’s My Life” and “Confessions II” was good, as was their Journey mash-up. Their second year of gender-specific mash-ups was a hot mess, particularly the boys’ “Stop in the Name of Love” with “Free Your Mind.” But this Adele one was a keeper.

8. The (Junior?) Prom – I know “Friday, Friday” is the worst thing to ever happen in the world – but Puck, Artie, and Sam kind of killed it. I know “Dancing Queen” used to be the worst thing to ever happen in the world – but Mercedes, Santana and Quinn kind of killed it.  Lea Michele and Jonathan Groff doing Adele’s “Rolling in the Deep” was pretty kick-ass, and Lea Michele doing “Jar of Hearts” was spectacular. The whole episode was super-fun and what else does a prom episode need to be?

9. Kurt and Blaine singing “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” – “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” is already my favorite song about date rape. (“Say, what’s in this drink?”) Kurt and Blaine singing it together? Oh, my God, my heart melted. Although the sound of sqeeing when they kissed (!) was much higher. You know, Chris Colfer is gay but as far as I know Darren Criss isn’t. And he still kissed passionately and intensely and like it was no big thing. Hear that, Jack from “Dawson’s Creek” over a decade ago? It’s called acting. And being awesome.

10. Mike Chang – I have mentioned Heather Morris’s dancing but not Harry Shum, Jr.’s, and I should, because my God, he is amazing. The best number that showcased this was when he and Finn did “I Gotta Be Me,” with Mike acting like he was showing oafish Finn how to do his awesome dance moves. It was a number that had a logical place in the plot, responded to their established characters, and was performed beautifully. Too bad they couldn’t just keep doing that.

10 1/2. The Hotness – As long as I’m giving personal shout-outs, I’ve gotta mention Naya Rivera and Mark Salling. Hot, hot, hot. So much with the smoking. I heard rumors during the first season that these two were steaming up their dressing rooms with each other. I think that makes perfect sense, since if I looked like either of these people, I’d be getting with the other one.

I mean, they were talented, too, with the singing and the dancing and, at least in Naya’s case, the acting. But seriously? The hotness.

Okay, show. It’s been lovely. See you again in Seasons One and Two when Zoe and I do our dance parties.

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Lessons to Unlearn from Glee – Season 3, Episode 14

You know what, show? Fuck you.

This episode is making me unaccountably angry and I’m not sure I have a full handle on why.

When I saw where things were going with Karofsky, my first instinct was to be angry because this show simply hasn’t been written well enough to ask for my emotional buy-in to that plot line. And what was especially angering is that the show got it anyway, because, what, I’m not going to feel for the kid who’s being tormented; I’m not going to get choked up when a good actor does the things he needs to do to convince you he’s in the kind of emotional pain that would lead to a suicide attempt? No, obviously, I’m going to buy in, but it’s cheap and dirty, show, because you’ve done nothing to earn my fucking tears, alright?

Yes, by the way, I got this mad crying while watching The Notebook because it’s a stupid fucking movie with a stupid fucking premise and it pulls out all the little tricks to jerk tears from one’s eyes without doing a thing to earn them. But I digress.

The problem is bigger than just this plot line. The problem is that you’ve got an incredibly talented cast. Chris Colfer, Lea Michele, Jane Lynch, and even underused Max Adler (Karofsky) are phenomenal actors, and at least three of them are amazing singers as well. My love and adoration of Naya Rivera is pretty well-established. Heather Morris and Harry Shum, Jr. – goddamn can they dance. Amber Riley? Holy hell, Amber Riley. You’re amazing. Darren Criss, my husband has a little bit of a crush on you. Which is completely justified. Mark Salling? Uh . . . call me. I could go on, because the cast is just terrific, but I think I’ll stop there. My point is that this is a collection of incredibly talented people, being backed up by some great production design, and they have you people for writers. It’s a shonda, is what it is.

You didn’t even do a good job. You brought this topic – teen depression and suicide and the bullying that often triggers it, especially as it relates to homosexuality in teens – and you fucking dropped the ball. Because you had to get in Regionals. And Finn and Rachel’s wedding. And Sue’s f-ing pregnancy, not to mention her 47th complete character turnaround. Characterization. Plot Structure. Pacing. These are Fiction Writing 101 topics. Try to learn something about them.

Oh, and maybe Quinn dies at the end but probably not? That’s the cheapest storytelling ploy in the book. Class up your fucking act.

And that little tease? That little “. . . how are we going to tell the students . . . that David Karofsky attempted suicide . . .” Just fuck you. That’s not a place to tease. Especially since why would they need to make an announcement to the student body that David Karofsky didn’t die? Wouldn’t his thankfully unsuccessful attempt at suicide be a pretty fucking private matter?! Wouldn’t his parents be involved in that discussion? I mean, this kind of thing, this total lack of connect to the fabric of reality is fine when you’re making up some fictive “tenure slot” which somehow propels a half-assed plot about Ricky Martin, but suicide? You don’t half-ass a script about fucking suicide.

Maybe I’m just emotional today. I haven’t read how this episode is being received by others; maybe I’ll read something that will change my mind. But as it stands now, I might be done with this show. I’ve got “Smash” now; I don’t need you.

Lessons to Unlearn from Glee – Season 3, Episode 13

The lesson: There’s this character on the show named Sugar and I’m supposed to care about her.

The truth: No, I’m pretty sure that’s not true.

The lesson: Brian Stokes Mitchell should guest star on a musical show and not really sing all that much.

The truth: What the what? I mean, I love “You’re the Top,” but they didn’t do much of a production of it, and isn’t Brian Stokes Mitchell kind of a big deal? Why didn’t he . . . sing?

The lesson: Ryan Murphy is totally reasonable about homophobia!

The truth: This episode tried to do that “Let’s hear from both sides of the issue” thing by having the new member of the brand-new God Squad – I mean, the God Squad that’s always existed, of which at least three members of the cast have been prominent members, but of which we’ve heard not one word – consider maybe not singing a love song from Santana (who continues to be hella gorgeous) to her girlfriend Brittany (because that’s apparently public now even though last time we checked – which was forever ago – Santana was struggling with that) because, you know, God hates fags or some shit. Then the new member decided to be fine with that – without really talking about why he can reconcile his loving Jesus with his accepting Sappho – and sing to the girls.

And, okay, fine. I kind of hate giving any quarter to the “It’s okay to be homophobic” crowd but I can see what Ryan Murphy is trying to do.

He’s trying to recover from that time he called Kings of Leon homophobic because they didn’t want “Glee” to cover their songs.

The lesson: Holy hell, Mercedes can sing.

The truth: Dude, totally.

I mean, no, no, no, Amber Riley can sing.

Seriously, this was actually a decent musical episode. And one of the best things was Mercedes singing “I Will Always Love You” in tribute to the dear departed Whitney Houston.

But please, next week, can Blaine lead the group in a rousing and joyous “I Wanna Dance With Somebody”?

Lessons to Unlearn from Glee – Season 3, Episode 12

This was such a grab-bag of an episode. We’re going to do a bunch of mini-lessons. They may or may not dip back into last week’s episode as well.

The lesson: Santana Lopez is ssssssssmokin’.

The truth: No, no, no. Naya Rivera is ssssssssssmokin’.

The lesson: Kids still know who Ricky Martin is.

The truth: I don’t know; do they? He did just come out relatively recently; I suppose it’s possible that they know that.

The lesson: You can be a high school Spanish teacher for many years without speaking any Spanish.

The truth: I sincerely hope not.

The lesson: You should stop communicating with one of the two possible loves of your life to determine if he really is the one.

The truth: (snore) 

Okay, fine. Probably constant texting and e-mailing and tweeting and Facebooking is bad for your teenage relationships. But who the fuck cares? They’re teenage relationships. They’re already going pretty stupidly.

The lesson: It’s important to decide right now whether you’re going to marry your high school sweetheart.

The truth: No, it’s not. Y’all are what, 17, 18? Life is long. You’ve got time to think about what a terrible idea this is before committing to it.

The lesson: Turning in someone for assaulting your boyfriend is somehow less noble than not turning them in.

The truth: Okay, this is something I didn’t cover last week. That Warbler kid Sebastian through a slushy in the face of Blaine – even though last time we saw him, he had a crush on Blaine, but that’s okay, because last time we saw Will Schuester speak Spanish, he seemed to have a handle on it – and (because this show depends on the premise that just slushy-throwing is peachy-keen with any and all authorities) Sebastian added rock salt, which got in Blaine’s eye, which caused him to need some sort of surgery.

Santana then got Sebastian to admit what he did on tape so that they could turn him in to the police for assault. Now, admittedly, that tape could be severely compromised. It was taped to her “underboob” and she had clothes on and Sebastian was turned away from her when he said it (I think) and it was immediately slushied and it was just a dictation recorder from OfficeMax or some such so who knows if it would even be reliable enough to present as evidence? But the show doesn’t bring up that possibility, so let’s say it is usable. At the very least, such a tape would be useful if, say, Blaine’s parents, who don’t exist, wanted to sue the little shit for medical expenses. But Kurt – who is not Blaine and is not paying for Blaine’s medical expenses – decided that defeating Sebastian at Regionals would be the more noble thing to do.

Whatevs, people. Someone assaults you to the point where you need medical treatment, their “punishment” should not come in “sing-off” form.

 

Lesson to Unlearn from Glee – Season 3, Episode 11

So the first thing I have to slug through here is my feelings about Michael Jackson, and how he was a(n alleged) child molester but now that he’s dead it’s become, like, blasphemy to say that and he’s all sainted now, to the point where we’re pretending that in a clutch of 12-ish high school students in 2011, 11 people revere him and one doesn’t have strong feelings either way. And maybe that’s not pretense; I haven’t talked to a lot of teenagers about how they feel about Michael Jackson. But it bugs me and I’m trying not to let it bug me because I’m not really sure that the (alleged) activities of an artist in his/her personal life should affect how we view their work but . . .

So yeah, that kind of messed up this episode for me.

Plus, are they saving “Billie Jean” for the Warblers to do at Sectionals/Regionals/Nationals/Whatever competition they haven’t already done this year? And if not, why wasn’t it in this episode?

Anyway, on to the important things.

The lesson: Quinn got into Yale. Like all American teenagers on TV, Quinn and gang have only heard of a very select number of colleges – an Ivy league and a fictional one – and Quinn got into the Ivy League one! After having the ambition to do so for about five minutes! Go her!

The truth: No fucking way.

Look, I could go into all the ways Quinn in no way got into Yale. In fact, I just did, and then deleted it, because it’s pointless. Y’all know. Yale is f-ing hard. Quinn had not at any point seemed like a Yale candidate. And Yale? F-ing hard.

But there’s a deeper point to be made here, and it also speaks to Kurt and Rachel freaking out about Fictional NYC Drama School. (Finalists? What school has finalists? This is just so you can go back to this conflict in May, isn’t it?)* Kids – real kids – are freaked the fuck out about their futures. Colleges are harder and harder to get into every year. The future is bleak, and many kids feel that a school with a big name is the only route to success, and that there are only two options – phenomenal success, or sucky loserdom.

Actually, we reviewed this in my first Lessons, where we talked about how kids shouldn’t be given the impression that they are either Prom Queen or Nobody?

Anyway, real kids really do feel this way, and shows like this normalize that feeling by having, say, Kurt and Rachel respond to NYADA the way they are, which is realistic for them since they are both a) teenagers and b) drama queens, but with no “rational” voice to check them. No Kurt’s dad saying, “Even if you don’t make it, there are other schools, or you can go to New York and look for work acting and if that doesn’t work out, in a few years, go to school.” No Finn saying, “Hey, let’s look for public venues for you to sing now instead of waiting until graduation/New York.”

And of course it would be blasphemy for anyone on this show to say, “You know, a career in the performing arts is pretty much a crap shoot. Maybe we should look at pathways to an actual paying job.” And hey, I don’t blame them, entirely. Because on the one hand, Lea Michele and Chris Colfer are undeniably talented, and obviously they “made it”, so why not Rachel and Kurt? And on the other hand, there are millions of Rachels and Kurts in the world. So I don’t know what I would do if I were one of their parents. Probably encourage them to go after their performing arts dreams as long as they could live on waitstaff’s salaries, and then support them while they went back to school.  But I digress.

But then to have a character like Quinn – a character who spent her junior year determined to become prom queen, marry Finn, and remain Queen of Lima, Ohio – get into Yale, really affirms the idea that there are only super-dooper winners and utter losers, because they can’t even contemplate for Quinn, say, Ohio State. Okay, I have no idea how hard Ohio State is to get into. But I know there are tons of colleges in Ohio of varying degrees of academic rigor. In fact, there are hundreds, nay, thousands of schools around the country with varying degrees of academic rigor, and frankly, your odds of having a successful life don’t increase that greatly, all other factors being equal, with or without a degree from an Ivy. (All other factors are rarely equal. That’s what skews the statistics.)

So anyway, kids, here are your lessons:

1. Making it in the performing arts is roughly as likely – and as related to your level of talent – as getting hit by lightning. 

2. Making it into an Ivy League has only a slightly higher probability rating, and is somewhat more related to your actual talent, although the relation and probability are still slim.

3. Getting accepted to a particular school – or not – will not make or break your future. 

Oh, and finally . . .

4. Don’t get engaged in high school.

*I stand corrected. Apparently this is a thing some schools for performing arts do.


Lesson to Unlearn from Glee – Season 3, Episode 10

And we’re back!

You guys, it’s hard for me to tell if this was a good episode or not. Because during it, Zoe said, more than once, “Mom, it’s a fast song! Let’s dance! Let’s dance together! Let’s shake our butts!” And then she shook her butt. In her little pink fleece footie pajamas with the horsies on them. And then, “It’s a slow song! Let’s do hit-ups, Mom! Let’s do these hit-ups!” And then she lay on the floor and starting lifting her hips up, which is the kind of sit-ups I do where she can lay on my stomach if she wants. So I did, and she did, and she hugged me and said “I love you,” so I really, really enjoyed this episode of Glee.

Anyway.

The lesson: You and your teacher are really supposed to be close. So close that he tells you, a seventeen-year-old kid who just a few weeks ago forcibly outed one of your classmates and then patronizingly told her why she should be fine with that, that you’re the “best man” he knows, and he wants you to be his best man. Also, the teacher should consider you to be family, to the degree that he will tell you he’s planning to get engaged before he tells his fiancé-to-be, his actual parents, or even his grown-up friends, like Coach Bieste, whom we’ve seen him confide in and talk to before.

The truth: Your teachers are not your friends. They’re your teachers. They should support your educational efforts, even your character growth. But their personal lives should not be your concern, and you sure as hell shouldn’t be the person they tap as their best man. Nor should you be probing into their relationships. Super-inappropriate.

And apparently, this is an actual problem in school, at least for teenage girls. They want to perceive teachers as friends and then, when they get a bad grade, they interpret this as the teacher not “liking” them. So now the teacher is an enemy and the girl does not get the scholastic help she needs because she’s not going to talk about her weaknesses with her enemy.

So it’s actually really, incredibly important for middle and high school teachers to maintain appropriate professional relationships with their students. Yes, you should be a person to them, a person who is accessible and relatable if possible. Yes, they can know that you are dating. But they should under no circumstances be the people you entrust with your proposal plans, nor should they be best man at your wedding. They actually need you to be teachers, not friends.

Also, Finn is no great shakes. He walks around publicly outing people, condescending to less privileged friends, prioritizing football over protecting his gay stepbrother, and so on. Let’s be serious here.

Lessons to Unlearn from Glee – Season 3, Episode 9

I’m going off-form for this one. Because this is my blog and I can.

This episode of “Glee” had the exact opposite effect on me that a Christmas special is supposed to have, and I think quite unintentionally. See, a Christmas special – be it the Christmas episode, a made-for-TV movie, or a regular movie with a Christmas theme – is supposed to start with the idea that the world sucks, or it sucks for our lead character, or something specifically sucky is happening, but then we learn the true meaning of Christmas and are uplifted and feel very warm in our hearts and generous to our fellow man and like maybe the world is not so crappy after all.

This episode started me off all heart-warmy. I’m embarrassed to admit this, but I f-ing love “All I Want for Christmas Is You.” So I started the episode on a happy note. And then I didn’t really pay attention to anything until the Artie-directed Christmas special, which I thought was adorable. I mean, really. That’s what those kids do best, that tongue-in-cheek overacting thing. So friggin’ cute. And so many good songs. “Let it Snow” as performed by Kurt and Blaine? Adorable! “Favorite Things” with Mercedes and Rachel? Love it! “Santa Claus is Coming to Town,” the Bruce Springsteen arrangement, with Finn and Puck? Okay, so they’re not The Boss, but still, ! “Christmas Wrapping” with Brittany and the Cheerios? I love that song! Heart? Warmed!

And then it all went to shit.

First, Irish (what, like I’m supposed to remember this character’s name?) has to go all Jesus on us for the meaning of Christmas. See, he was supposed to enter the Christmas special with an edited version of Frosty the Snowman, in which Frosty doesn’t melt (which, yes, would have been dumb) but instead he reads a passage from something New Testament-related about the prediction of Jesus’s birth. To an audience of one atheist (Kurt), three Jews (Rachel, Puck, and Artie the director), several people whose religious leanings we know nothing about (Blaine, Brittany, Santana, Finn, the Cheerios), and one actual Christian (Mercedes). All of whom look rapt and rueful and full of Christmas spirit.

Blech.

I mean, sure, it’s great to focus Christmas messages on giving and love and selflessness – but why did a secular show for secular audiences with plenty of non-Christian characters have to go straight to Jesus? Aren’t there about a billion Christmas stories and songs about giving and love and selflessness that aren’t about Jesus?

(And don’t give me that shit about “But Christmas is a celebration of the birth of Jesus!” Bullshit. Santa. Reindeer. Elves. Fucking evergreen trees. Do these strike you as symbols that came out of ancient Israel?)

But look, if that had been all, I’d have let it pass. I am not the straw man Fox news believes exists who’s waging a war on Christmas.

It’s just that then, the gang went to a homeless shelter to serve dinner and sing. And they sang “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” And the thing is, I don’t think I’ve ever listened to that song. I mean, obviously, I’ve heard it. I am a person whose hearing works who lives in the English-speaking world. But I’ve never listened. And I was only half-listening this time, because I was also doing dishes, because, hey, listen up, all you bitches of Altanta and Beverly Hills and what have you, I am a real housewife. But what I was half-listening to was disturbing. “Thank God it’s them instead of you”?! That’s a Christmas message?! A message of love and giving and Jesus-ness?! No! The message of love and giving is, “Share what you have with them; make a commitment to work on eradicating the differences between you and them; actively work to not contribute to their misery.” Not “Remember how other people don’t have it so good and thank God you do.” Fuck that noise. That is not okay.

I mean, yeah, the other lyrics are “Feed the world,” and I know sales of the song raised a whole lot of money. But because of lyrics like that, it’s still the kind of song you can listen to and think you’re a better person because you went, “Yeah, man, those poor people over in Africa,” but you’re not because you didn’t fucking do anything.

And on that note, who wants to help me buy a sheep?

Lessons To Unlearn From Glee – Season 3, Episode 8

Well, this was quite the hot mess of an episode. Does anyone remember Sectionals performances being so damn boring before?

The lesson: Hold on to sixteen as long as you can. The inexplicably hotter and more charismatic Sam – who’s been moonlighting as a stripper – gives this advice to Quinn, directly quoting John Cougar Mellencamp’s “Jack and Diane.” Because Quinn seems determined to become a mommy, two years after having had her child. Remember?

The truth: I wake up every day and thank God I never have to be sixteen again.

I’d take nineteen, though.

This was the most muddled message of the episode, really. I mean, Sam’s delivery was supposed to be taken seriously, but then Rachel, also seriously, exhorts Quinn to “grow up” regarding her desire to out Shelby and Puck’s relationship, and then New Directions sings Jane Jackson’s “Control,” about how much it sucks to be young and listening to everyone else tell you what to do, and then . . . oh, forget it. I don’t give a shit. Too much of a muddled mess.

Although it’s worth mentioning that Sam, who delivers the line, is working as a stripper to help support his family. So it seems “sixteen” is less an age than a position of privilege.

Also? Hearing the kids sing “Jack and Diane,” while somewhat predictable a choice, would have been a lot more entertaining than most of this episode.

The lesson: It’s immature to turn a teacher in for having sex with a student. Rachel strongly advises Quinn not to do it because after all, Puck is eighteen and it would ruin Baby Beth’s life.

The truth: Even if a student is eighteen, it’s gross to sleep with them. Because you’re still their teacher. Most colleges have rules against professors hooking up with undergrads, even though almost all undergrads are over eighteen, because it’s gross and wrong to have that much of a real-world power differential between lovers.

I know whole communities exist around getting off on power differentials between lovers but usually, they’re creating those power differentials where they don’t actually exist and that’s why it’s fun and not squicky. (Well, sometimes there’s also squickiness, but you know what I mean.)

And yeah, Quinn was being immature about her reasons for turning Shelby in. But that doesn’t mean Shelby is right to have had sex with Puck.

The lesson: You can just transfer in and out of schools at will, regardless of where your parents live or what school you’re in now, just to perform in singing competitions.

The truth: I am pretty sure you can’t, actually.

The lesson: As a privileged middle-class kid, you can totally look down your nose at what your less fortunate classmate is doing to earn money and still have that person love and be loyal to and follow you.

The truth: No, you can’t. Finn remains a jackass, and Rachel is occasionally one, too.

The lesson: A song that is an ode to the red Solo cup exists.

The truth: Well, alright, then.

And finally,

The lesson: Follow your dream of a career in the performing arts no matter what.

The truth: It’s really, really hard to make a living as a dancer, or an actress, or a singer. Many, many, many talented people exist, and maybe one in a hundred of them – maybe one in a thousand – will ever be able to support themselves doing what they love.

Look, Harry Shum, Jr. is a-freakin’-mazing, and it’s easy to say that if a kid could dance like that he’d surely make it. But if you saw who else auditioned for that role, you’d see a whole bunch of amazing dancers. Most of whom will never be able to support themselves exclusively through performing. Because them’s the brakes.

I think Mike Chang should pursue dance, and I think his father should let him. But I also think he should take him to see a production of A Chorus Line, and then remind him that the stories he’s hearing of what dancers have gone through – those were all dancers who got the job.

ETA: Kate’s is up.

Lesson to Unlearn from Glee – Season 3, Episode 7

Look at how timely I’m being!

The lesson: By “we want you to be yourself,” we mean “we want to decide who you are and how you express it, and if you don’t like our definitions or methods, it’s because you hate yourself.” Look, this was a Glee classic in terms of presenting a totally bonehead, asshole, ridiculous notion as if it were The One True Path. So last week, Finn announced to a crowded hallway that Santana was into the ladies, and then there was going to be a political ad about it for some asinine reason, and Santana was so righteously angry at Finn’s careless public outing and the lack of control she now had on a major part of her life, so she smacked him hard across the face and the audience cheered because seriously, Finn? Seriously?

Only this week it seems that Santana was wrong to smack him and she’s going to get suspended (even as she quite rightly points out that no one who’s slushied the Glee club has gotten suspended) until Saint Finn rides in to her rescue on one condition – that she listen to everyone else tell her who she should be and how she should express it and then pretend she thinks it’s empowering. So they all sing lady-songs at Santana for some strange-ass reason and Finn blubbers at Santana about how he’ll never forgive himself if Santana kills herself, and then Santana finally breaks down and realizes that all this public outing and pressure to fit into the Glee club’s definition of how she should express her sexuality is right, and she spends the rest of the episode outing her own damn self, mostly off-stage, and once to her abuela, in actually a well-acted and affecting scene, although, Ryan Murphy, dude, not everyone who hates the gays is themselves gay. (What, you didn’t think her abuela was clearly implying that she herself was a closeted homosexual? Come on.)

The truth: Finn was a jack-hole. Nothing he did or said was in any way right. He is totally the Dawson of this show, in that the creator of the show clearly has a major hard-on for him and believes that the things he does are saintly and “nice” and perfect, whereas the rest of see an self-involved, egotistical jackass. So, listen, kids of America – people get to come out on their own schedules. They get to decide who they are, who they want to tell about who they are, and when. You don’t know their lives, their feelings, their needs, their fears, and their preferences better than they do. This is actually true of anything your friends say or think or feel, whether it’s “I think I’m gay,” or “I think this poem I wrote is really good.” But obviously publicizing a poem, while scary, does not have nearly the social consequences or life-altering effects that telling people you’re gay does. So while you should not force your friends to express any part of themselves publicly that they don’t want to, you should really, really, really not publicly out someone. I don’t care why; if you do, you’re an asshole, even if the creator of your show loves you.

As long as we’re all here, I must address the music in this episode, because it was very mixed for me. I love to hear Kurt and Blaine singing together, so that was nice. I liked hearing from Coach Bieste. And I think hearing Mark Salling sing Melissa Etheridge’s “I’m the Only One” got me spontaneously pregnant with his babies. But when I see “I Kissed A Girl,” my first thought is always of Jill Sobule’s “I Kissed a Girl,” and I like that song so much better. Not in the least because it’s a lot less insulting to actual lesbians. I mean, it’s still about two heretofore heterosexual girls getting it on, but, unlike the Katie Perry song, they don’t have an audience, they’re not drunk, and instead of expressing the hope every six seconds that their boyfriends are enjoying the spectacle, they are instead expressing dissatisfaction with their boyfriends. I mean, the girls were adorable in this number, and the encounter  with the doofy jock that starts off the song – the one who’s all, “Lesbianism is hot because it just means you need a dick like mine to straighten you out” – that’s real life. I have a friend who came out our freshman year of college. I think she encountered that guy, like, at least ten times in the process. But still. I hate that song, and I hate it more for not being the “I Kissed a Girl” I do want to hear.

And the less said about Finn’s execrable, ballad-y rendition of “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun,” the better.

Lesson to Unlearn from Glee – Season 3, Episode 4

Okay, people, it’s the moment you’ve all been waiting for. The first of my backlog of Lessons to Unlearn from Glee!

Lesson: Leprechauns don’t exist and don’t grant wishes. Some random dude who is apparently the winner (or one of the winners) of some random reality show and who is Irish and has no chin to speak of at all is apparently pretending to be a leprechaun to get Britney’s Pot o’ Gold, which I guess we’re supposed to think is her . . . uh . . . they’re supposed to have sex, is what I’m getting at, but I was thinking the whole episode that we’d find out that she meant something totally different, like she’d been collecting arcade coins in an actual pot or something. But instead she came to the realization that leprechauns don’t exist and don’t grant wishes.

The truth: Shirtless Puck? Cute Blaine song? Crazy cute outfits? Well, I guess I got my three wishes.

Oh, wait a second. I mean, sure, I wished for those things, especially shirtless Puck (and man, did I get him tonight) but they were way down on my list. I had “sensical plot developments,” “consistent characterization,” and “funny, punchy writing” at the top.

Instead I got Finn acting randomly douche-tastic and weird, the new girl I refuse to acknowledge changing personality completely in the face of Santana’s bitchiness, another new guy who just seemed to have “twinkle” as his only character direction/motivation, two characters making random mean faces during group numbers for no apparent reason, Jane Lynch phoning it in (and who could blame her, really?), and a whole series of other nonsense I want nothing to do with.

Oh, and there was a thing with the baby and Quinn and maybe Idina and Puck getting it on. I will not acknowledge. Except to say one thing – Show, just because Dianna Agron is a pretty girl and a decent actress does not mean everything Quinn says and does is reasonable and/or sympathetic. Stop that. You’re making me not only suspect that Quinn is in fact a sociopath, but that you people are as well.

So I guess leprechauns aren’t real and wishes don’t come true. Oh, well. I’ll get the next one up ASAP.

One random thought – the song where the twinkly Irish guy is singing “It’s Not Easy Being Green” and he’s in the cafeteria singing sort of slow and wistful while all around him random extras bump into him and carry on with their jovial lives – that was supposed to look like that similar scene in Grease 2, right?

Kate?