In recent weeks Fox’s ‘Glee‘ has been alternately story-light (see: “Britney/Brittany”) and heavy-handed (can I get an amen, “Cheesus“?). What is it that you the viewers really want? How about some fresh pairings and simple, charming performances?
This week’s episode, “Duets,” didn’t have the sudsiest of storylines, nor did it have plot-driven songs-within-scenes. Rather, the members of New Directions were handed an assignment – sing a duet – and with the exception of one misguided number, the songs were performed in the choir room with minimal staging and choreography.
OK, fine. It was a little boring.
The only real plot point concerned who would sing what with whom. Sure, there were basic conundrums thrown in, like how could Kurt (Chris Colfer) convince the not-gay new guy to sing with him, and how could Finn (Cory Monteith) and Rachel (Lea Michele) not win with their doe-eyed awesomeness.
The most glorious yet cringe-inducing plot twistlet revolved around how jealous Santana (Naya Rivera) got of Artie when Brittany (Heather Morris) chose to couple with him. “The only thing you can give Brittany that she can’t get from someone else is super choice parking.” Ouch. Guess someone is really attached to her sweet lady kisses.
“Duets” was basically manipulated so that we could have some interesting singers partner up. Although not exactly innovative, Rachel and Finn’s purposely “really rude” rendition of “With You I’m Born Again” was snicker-worthy. (And yes, that’s a real song.)
Slightly more compelling were Tina (Jenna Ushkowitz) and Mike “Everyone Knows I’m Here To Do One Thing: Dance” Chang. Apparently Mike has an “amazing voice” (o-kay, Schue), but I’m cool if we don’t hear it again for a while. But hey, Tina, it was nice to see you for the first time this season. I hope you someday get your normal salad without chicken feet in it.
Mercedes (Amber Riley) and Santana rocked it with “River Deep, Mountain High.” Was it good? I got hypnotized by the booty shaking and stopped listening. Did Tina Turner have such problems?
Speaking of zoning out, did anyone else feel slightly traumatized when Brittany uttered, “If we’re going to duet, we’re gonna do it”? Artie (Kevin McHale) and Brittany were supposed to sing together, but after a bittersweet deflowering, Artie elected to drop out. And thank goodness – that’s one pair I can live without seeing.
Sam and Quinn (Dianna Agron) won the club’s vote for best duet for flirt-singing a Jason Mraz song. It was great to see Quinn get to, like, talk and stuff this week, but she gave in way too easy on that whole “This is my year” spiel. She didn’t have to cave to the first guy who shows her how to finger a guitar.
Let’s forget Kurt’s solo and skip right to the episode-ending duet. After deciding to show her rarely seen human side, Rachel asks Kurt to do a song just for them. Their blending of “Get Happy” and “Happy Days Are Here Again” was beautiful. That’s what music – and what this show – can be at its best.
This week’s accolades:
• Best number: Kurt and Rachel brought the best of Judy Garland and Barbra Streisand to your living room. The words you’re looking for are “thank you.”
• Best Ryan Murphy throwback: Breadstix, as opposed to ‘Popular’s Croutons
• No Sue-ism, so best Santana line: “Look, Weezie, I know I’ve tried to punch you a few times…” – trying to convince Mercedes to sing with her.
• Best Brittany bit: “I’ve been practicing nudging a meatball across the table with my nose.” Best because she followed through by doing it. Runner-up: “A blanket.”
And the biggest mishaps:
• Most notable absence: Dear Ryan Murphy, please don’t ever give Emmy-winner Jane Lynch any more time off, ‘k thanks.
• Most out-of-place number: Kurt’s over-staged ‘Victor/Victoria’ hoopla. The costuming was to die for, but the feel of the performance was surprisingly cold.
• Most squicky moment: Brittany and Artie getting it on. Seriously? This glee club is more incestuous than a clarinet section.