Glee: 105, “The Rhodes Not Taken”, Sep 30, 2009

Whoa this episode features a prominent Broadway star who actually gets to sing.

Haha. Anyway I can’t remember if I mentioned it in the last post, but apparently Fox is considering cutting the last season of Glee to a half-season order rather than a full 22 episodes, and they’ll probably push it so it doesn’t air until January 2015 at the earliest. The season 5 finale of Glee was the 4th-least watched thing on network television from 8 pm to 11, beating out only two shows on the CW – one of which is not coming back for a season 2 and one of which is in its 9th season so it’s understandable that its ratings are terrible – and beating out the series premiere of Riot, which Glee was supposed to be the lead-in and ratings-drawer for. Haha oops. That Riot show was pretty bad, though. I’d rather Fox buy the rights to rerun old episodes of Whose Line Is It Anyway. The games they played were all right, but the improv-ers weren’t.

But anyway, I don’t really understand how the whole ratings thing works, but even though Glee had more viewers than the CW, the CW actually got better ratings that night. I believe this means that The Originals and Supernatural had more viewers aged 18-49 per household, which is the primary demographic. I can believe this, since it seems like it’s mostly whiny middle schoolers who still enjoy Glee. Everyone else is like me and just so disappointed.

This has actually been a terribly disappointing year in television for me. Glee gets somehow even more terrible, How I Met Your Mother was terrible, Community got cancelled, the one new show that premiered in fall that I kind of liked got cancelled after three episodes, and even Downton Abbey was kind of meh. And the Doctor Who 50th anniversary was great and all, but sure didn’t feel like a celebration of the 50 years the show has been in existence, more like a neat little movie to follow up the last 8 years of the show. I’m at the point now where I basically don’t even want to watch any new shows anymore. What’s the point? They all either get cancelled when they don’t deserve it, or stay on so long that they make everyone really sad and angry.

On another note, the CW shows actually got pre-empted for a baseball game in one region, so who knows how much better those shows’ ratings might have been if that hadn’t happened?

Well anyway, the review.

It starts with a recap, the first time a “that’s what you missed on Glee” has come up in-show.

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After that, we start with the glee club performing an extremely obviously autotuned version of “Don’t Stop Believin'”. Or else it was natural and Finn has actually been a cyborg this whole time. Actually that would explain a lot if he was. You know this really crazy part of me half-believes that Cory Monteith isn’t actually dead, but Ryan Murphy has him locked in some room somewhere and orchestrated this whole death thing in order to get Cory out of the way of Lea Michele’s career or something? Like I said, really crazy.

Anyway Quinn runs out partway through to vomit.

Kurt says they totes need Rachel to be any good. UGH. I hate this. They’re always either complaining about how Rachel’s such a glory hog and they never get a chance to do anything, or else they’re all “ehhnnn we can’t win without herrrr”. Just wait til season 2, eesh.

Schue says they can just layer Mercedes and Santana’s voices over Quinn. Artie says that’ll work for Invitationals but not Sectionals and certainly not Regionals. Invitationals?? What the heck are Invitationals??

Seriously, what? The show choir performance system on this show doesn’t make any sense and just makes less sense as it goes on. This is literally the only time they mention Invitationals in the entire series. They haven’t even mentioned it before this. Did they mention Sectionals before, actually? They’ve mentioned Regionals and called Vocal Adrenaline National champions. Invitationals?? I can’t even figure out what that would mean. Uggh.

Oh god this food looks good.

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Oh right I forgot to also mention that Finn asks Schue to go easy on Quinn so she doesn’t mess up the baby or something. Oh and Finn hasn’t told his mom about the baby yet. Neither of these things are important to this episode. Thanks, Finn.

Anyway Terri’s eating a lot. Schue asks her why she hasn’t had any morning sickness, because Quinn has some a lot. Terri says that’s good because it means the baby won’t be a mongoloid. Good old offense Terri. Anyway the real answer is of course because Terri’s not actually pregnant, or else it could be because all women experience pregnancy differently. Some women don’t really show any systems other than weight gain. You know some women even still get periods, or else blood spotting which is similar, while pregnant? Eh, but Terri makes a reference to The Exorcist to explain that she gets really sick at work every day.

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This guy shows up to take their order even though they’ve clearly already ordered. Maybe their first water’s shift ended. Schue recognizes him. Apparently he was in Schue’s Spanish class 6 years ago, but now he ages to Carmel High (home of Vocal Adrenaline.) Schue is confused as to how he’s attending a different high school even though he should have graduated. Turns out they actually pay for their best performers to intentionally fail so they can stay as part of Vocal Adrenaline. Why didn’t the writers of Glee pull that for the McKinley kids instead of erupting the show into the crazy mess they turned it into?

Emma encourages Finn to stay with Glee and go after a music scholarship, since it’s easier than getting a sports scholarship. I don’t know if either of that’s true, I played clarinet for 7 years and got an academic scholarship because I’m smart or something idk. [For fun I almost left all my typos in that sentence but I thought it might look like I was trying too hard]. Finn’s worried, anyway, because they totes can’t win without Rachel, which they know because they’ve performed as a group like twice so far and neither time was in a competition setting. There’s definitely something terrible wrong with this show choir if their victory is hinging on the presence of one person. If this was a solo/ensemble show, sure. We were like threatened with death in our clarinet ensemble if we didn’t show up because there was only like 7 of us. But if we were at a band competition and someone was missing, sure we had to make up for that, but it wasn’t like “OH NO WE’RE GOING TO LOSE BECAUSE THAT ONE PERSON IS MISSING”.

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Jacob ben Israel is interviewing Rachel for the school paper and he tells her to give him his bra, or at least a peek at her boobs, or “sweater puppies”. She tells him to get lost, adding that no one reads the school paper anyway – which was definitely true in my school. Everyone always took a paper but no one ever read it. Jacob tells her that she should reconsider her stance because all the great actresses took their tops off. Did Meryl Streep ever go topless in a movie? Man, Meryl Streep would make this show awesome. Although not even Whoopi Goldberg could improve it, so maybe not.

Schue has asked Emma to look up the file of a former student: April Rhodes. She was a senior when he was a freshman, and he had a crush on her. It turns out she never graduated. I don’t remember if they’ve explained this yet, but Will is hoping to recruit her to New Directions, to fill up the vacant Rachel spot. She was in the glee club as well and I guess was good or something. I wonder what untalented bozo they got to play her? Haha, I’m pretending like I don’t already know so I can be surprised when they show it’s Kristin Chenoweth.

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Lady’s got some range. April’s a boozer. Also she’s a squatter, meaning she lives in empty houses that are not owned by her. She explains that she and her boyfriend Vinny were convinced they were going to be big stars, so they dropped out of school and headed to Broadway. Vinny dumped her and she had a set of mixed-race twins, then came back to Ohio to be a loser. Schue invites her to join the glee club.

At the glee club, everyone’s all “No schue, we still totes can’t win with Rachel!” and Finn’s all “so old people can join glee club now?” Wtf Finn, rude.

April shows her stuff by singing “Maybe This Time” from Cabaret, which is intercut with Rachel singing the same song as she rehearses for the show.

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Hey wait, why does the choir room have a spotlight in it?
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But the auditorium ISN’T using a spotlight?

I like the the jazz band is all ladies. And has an accordion and clarinet. As you may have guessed from me mentioning it several times, I used to play clarinet.

Haha, I have the DVD player going 1.2x speed so it takes a little less time to review, and April’s last note on “win” sounds hilarious sped up like that.

Kurt was moved to tears by the performance.

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No joke, his actor, Chris Colfer, actually was moved to tears in real life because he’s such a big fan of Ms. Chenoweth.

So I guess April got officially re-enrolled in school even though I think technically as a 40 year old dropout they wouldn’t let her do that and she’d instead need to just work on a GED. In Spanish class, she answers a question wrong – it’s if you’re supposed to use “por” or “para” to say you’re going out for the day. She says “para”, the answer is “por”, and she says she’ll just pour another cup of her cranberry martini. Then she says it’s a joke and it’s really just hot chocolate.

Anyway, remember this scene for season 3 for when Schue suddenly doesn’t know the correct usage of “de”.

Schue tells April the glee kids still aren’t totally sure about letting her join. She draws too much attention to herself and no one likes her. Just like no one likes Rachel! April figures out how to resolve this, by:

1) Getting Kurt drunk and giving him magazines containing muscular male nudes.

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2) Teaching Tina and Mercedes how to shoplift by carrying stuff between their thighs.

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3) Let’s not go there with Matt and Puck.

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Now everyone loves her except Artie and the cheerleaders I guess.

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Rachel rehearses the song “Cabaret” from the musical “Cabaret”. Sandy says she’s not mature enough for the role. Yeah I don’t know why he’d think that, Cabaret is only a musical about a risque dance club in Germany on the eve of World War II that that deals with subjects such as German nationalism and abortion in some versions ends with the club’s host getting marked with the pink triangle and presumably getting sent to a concentration camp, I don’t know why this wouldn’t be the perfect show for 15 and 16 year olds to perform at school.

Later Rachel runs lines from the play. Actually the specific lines were apparently written specifically for the movie, but I guess some revivals of the show use the scene so that’s not super ridiculous.

Rachel commends Finn’s ability to read one line of dialog and tells him he should audition for the play. Considering the entire cast seems to be Rachel and some random other girls, that might not be such a terrible idea, if only Finn was actually good at acting.

Finn says he could be convinced to join if Rachel agreed to come back to the Glee club. Then he invites her to go bowling. Schue and April come in. They’re going to practice Don’t Stop Believin’. Finn’s all “but that’s Rachel’s part” even though 1) Rachel quit the glee club, and 2) Schue already gave the solo part to Quinn in episode 2 so it’s not Rachel’s part even if she was still in the club.

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Kurt barfs on Emma’s shoes. Emma thinks he got the alcohol from April. He did, so… okay.

Emma tells Schue to rethink having April on the glee club, since the club is for kids to find their talents or something, and April is boozed out of her mind and taking chances away from other kids or something. She also tells him she thinks he’s got her on the club for the wrong reasons. Will? Interested in another woman who isn’t his wife? Ha ha, that’s silly.

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April talks about hot high school boys. Rachel basically calls April a loser. April says she was the biggest star in the school back in the day, and now that she has the spotlight again, she’s never letting it go. Secretly – or not, since I’m typing it right now – I’m hoping something like this ends up happening to Rachel in the end. She just fails miserably even though she has talent and becomes a alcoholic ephebophile squatting in foreclosed homes in Ohio.

Finn and Rachel go bowling. Meanwhile, coincidentally, Will and April are bowling at the same time. Schue tells April he’s concerned she’s a bad influence on the glee club. She says he’s right and immediately resolves to never drink again. Well that was easy.

Schue then mentions he’s got a preview showcase lined up for her to show off her talents. He confesses he used to have a crush on her and wanted to sing with her, and she pulls him away to a karaoke bar.

PIC I didn’t mean to take this cap, but I’m leaving it in because look at this guy!

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They sing Heart’s “Alone”. The sad middle-aged people all love it.

Meanwhile Rachel and Finn eat pepperoni pizza even though Rachel says she’s a vegan in a later episode. Rachel won’t put her fingers in the bowling balls because gross, but then she kisses her last ball before launching it which is WAY grosser. I mean don’t they like oil the bowling lanes?

Anyway the first part of this scene has a Huey Lewis song in the background so that’s cool.

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The glee club debates what’s making Quinn sick. Kurt theorizes lactose intolerance, but Artie says that doesn’t explain the crying and mood swings. Speaking as a lactose intolerant person myself, I have to say, maybe the crying is related? I know I get sad sometimes when I remember that I can’t eat pasta with jarred alfredo sauce on it because it makes me violently ill.

Haha, one of these days I have to start really going overboard with the “Speaking as one who knows a little about the issue myself” stuff. Like, “Speaking as someone who used to be a one-handed pitcher for the Yankees, I feel qualified to explain…” “As a former matador, I can tell you…”

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Anyway Puck says Quinn’s pregnant, so they’re all shocked. Who is the father?! For a second Puck looks like he’s going to say it’s him, but then he says it’s Finn of course.

Rachel comes in just then and announces herself. Everyone ignores her and gossips about Finn and Quinn. I wish I still had it in me to feel bad for Rachel, but I just can’t anymore. Not after season 5.

Meanwhile Finn has submitted a scholarship application for music, even though it’s only October or so at this point and he’s only a sophomore in high school. Looking back at these episodes, I wonder if Finn and Quinn were meant to be seniors or at least juniors while Rachel was supposed to be a sophomore, rather than having ALL the characters except Tina and Artie be in the same grade.

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Rachel punches Finn for lying to her. What does he think he’s doing, kissing her and leading her on when he knew Quinn was pregnant with his baby? …Good point, Rachel. No complaints from me. Finn’s an awful person.

He says he only did it so he could get a scholarship, go to college, and take care of his baby, which he couldn’t do without Rachel. He acknowledges what he did was wrong. …Yeah, it was. Again, I don’t really feel I have anything to add to this conversation. I get where he’s coming from and why he did it, but that’s a pretty crappy thing to do, leading a girl on like that so you don’t look like a loser.

Rachel quits the glee club for like the fourth time after this. Yawn.

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The glee club is about to perform in front of their first real audience. April strolls in wearing a non-matching costume. Also she’s drunk. When Will confronts her on this, she says when she agreed to stop drinking last night, well, she was drunk, so he can’t hold her to that. April 1, Will 0.

This is only kind of relevant.
This is only kind of relevant.

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They perform “Last Name” while doing a great line-dancing routine. April sings the solo over everyone else. Just like Rachel would.

Also, notably, the audience for an entirely New Directions show is packed for the literally the only time in the show’s history.

After the first half of the show (or the one song?? I don’t know their set list), April says she’s quitting the club. It felt great performing out there, but it’s not fair to the other kids that she’s stealing their spotlight like that. It’s too late for her, but not for them. Schue tells her there’s always Branson*, and she walks down the hall saying “Branson, eh?” as some cues from “Maybe This Time” play.

*Branson, Missouri is called the “Live Entertainment Capital of the World”.

The glee kids are all buzzed on how well their performance was. Schue tells them April’s not coming back, and they’re like “oh no we totes can’t win without April” or something.

And then…

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AAAAH OH MY GOD WHAT IS THAT??

I am not kidding when I say when I looked up at the screen and saw her in the doorway I jumped partway out of my seat like I was watching Paranormal Activity or something.

It turns out it’s actually Rachel and not the angry ghost of a murdered student. Rachel is there to announce that she can fill in for April. Everyone’s like “You’re suddenly okay with being an understudy” and she says she is, since she quit the play because helping people is more important than… starring in a play or something. Did… did Rachel learn something?

…That doesn’t make sense. Did Rachel just feel more bad for Finn than she felt mad at him? I mean earlier Sue was saying she agreed that Sandy was getting over-the-top in directing (apparently he wrote himself into the play as Cleopatra), so it can’t just be because being in the play was too awful.

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Well whatever. They sing Queen’s “Somebody to Love” and Mercedes wails on a long note at the end, like always. And we’ve all learned a valuable lesson about something or something.

Best/Worst song: Uggh I can’t even remember. Umm well they only sang Don’t Stop Believin for like 20 seconds so that barely counts, but I’ll say that’s Worst. For Best, Maybe This Time. Kristin nail it and Lea Michele’s voice actually worked pretty well with hers despite Kristin being more experienced and, well, talented.

Song count: I remembered I was planning on keeping a count of how many song performances there actually was in the show so I can angrily contradict the show’s count later on. First some guidelines: Only songs that actually were in the episode count (so songs that were recorded by cut from the episode do not count), and only songs that were sung by at least one of the characters count. So none of the background music sung by the Swingles or music that just comes out of stereos like Single Ladies in the last episode.

I’m also keeping a count that doesn’t include the “partials” – that’ll be stuff like the Don’t Stop Believin that was in this episode or the audition songs from the pilot, where someone sang but the song was really short. Because I don’t know if the Official Glee Count includes stuff like when Emma sang “All By Myself” with the radio because a) the radio was also playing it, and b) she only sang like two lines of it.

32/24

Meaning there have been 32 songs total sung by the cast on the show, but only 24 were like “real” ones that took up significant screentime and/or were sung beginning, middle, and end.

Also apparently in Acafellas, one of the background songs was actually sung by Puck. Huh.

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