Glee Review-Recap Season 5 Episode 16 ‘Tested’: Addicted to Love

April 16, 2014

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I may be a huge Lea Michele/Rachel fan who was denied a single song by her on this week’s Glee, but Episode 16, Tested, passed for me anyway.

Again, stronger stories held sway with more adult themes: Sam and Mercedes’ commitment over casual dating, Kurt’s new manliness stripping Blaine of his confidence, Artie’s sexual indiscretions costing him with an STD and a lost GF.

But I also appreciate how Glee, from its start, has been about art imitating life, with characters and actors’ lives often overlapping. And being a Rachel fan, the most meaningful moment for me was, in fact, a scene with her, as she and Mercedes shared girl talk.

When asked if she was ready to date again, Rachel sadly yet composedly observed that she and Finn always were dating, even when they weren’t, since they seemed destined to be together in the end.

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Glee Recap-Review Episode 15 ‘Bash’: Broadway Adults

April 9, 2014

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Well, I’d wanted Glee and its characters to grow up — to shed juvenile high school hijinks and embrace maturity in New York. And it has — but with a price.

This week’s Episode 15, Bash, was about as hard to take as last season’s Shooting Star. Ostensibly, hate-violence vs. gays is rampant in the otherwise wide-open melting pot of NYC, and Kurt — rushing to rescue a kid getting beat up — gets beaten up himself.

But the message here went beyond hate crimes vs. tolerance. The message was about Kurt’s embrace of becoming a man, despite dad Burt’s protective misgivings. And in that regard, Bash helped elevate Glee even farther from the infantilized high schoolers back in Lima.

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Glee Recap-Review Episode 14 ‘New New York’: Start Spreading the News

April 2, 2014


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Just as Glee’s Episode 14 New New York ended, it hit me.

No McKinley. Not any.

And did I miss it? Not any.

This is where Glee belongs — and has belonged ever since the ensemble’s two top characters, Rachel and Kurt, moved to New York in Season 4. Now it’s where the core cast congregates even more, with Blaine, Sam, Artie and Mercedes all drawn to the Big Apple to live out their big dreams.

And it’s where Glee will stay through this season’s end — and should stay through series’ end next year.

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CD Review Cyndi Lauper ‘She’s So Unusual’ 30th Anniversary: She Bops

April 1, 2014

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Cyndi Lauper’s debut disc as a solo artist, 1983′s She’s So Unusual, is testament to the rigors and rewards of the music business. No overnight sensation, she’d been singing around New York for a decade when she finally broke through — at age 30 — with her solo debut, which sold five million copies, yielded several hit singles and made Lauper an early MTV fixture.

But she was slow to respond with new recordings, she made movie misfires and she stalled as an artist after that.

Does that change anything about She’s So Unusual? Not a bit. It’s still a classic ’80s pop album. And its new 30th Anniversary Celebration is a welcome treat from Sony Legacy, with the remastered album joined by new remixes of its songs and an entire nine-track second disc of demos, rehearsals, a live track and a B-side.

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Glee Recap/Review Season 5 Episode 13 ‘New Directions’: Best Glee Ever?

March 26, 2014

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Best Glee ever? This week’s Episode 13, New Directions, is certainly among the best of its now 101 shows. It was both a heartfelt ending and a soaring beginning, empowered by characters invested in each other and music with a special conviction. And if that’s not worth saluting, I don’t know what is.

Sure, the creators were as busy as sweat-shop seamstresses tying up every loose end — while creating some new ones. But after last week’s plot-challenged show as an excuse for (albeit great) songs, I’ll take the twists, turns and slew of happy narrative resolutions in this week’s aptly named New Directions.

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DVD Review: “Mystery Science Theater 3000: XXIX”: The Show That Couldn’t Die

March 22, 2014


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OK, I’m no grouse. I’m grateful — grateful to have an entire featurette on Mystery Science Theater 3000: XXIX devoted to some of my favorite characters: tiny talk-back titans the Nanites. But these small bio-engineered creatures deserve more than small screen time, and for me, four minutes wasn’t nearly enough.

Still, I’ll take it, along with the usual array of generous extras on Shout! Factory’s latest MST3K boxed set, due Tuesday, whose movies are The Pumaman (show #903), The Thing That Couldn’t Die (another favorite and from my personal favorite season, #805), Hercules and the Captive Women (#412) and Untamed Youth (a wayback machine oldie, #112).

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Glee Recap/Review Season 5 Episode 12 “100″: Merry Milestone

March 19, 2014

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Have any of Glee’s 100 episodes had as little story as this week’s “100″? But have many episodes been as fun?

I’ve always embraced Glee as a musical fantasy, meaning I forgive (even while bemoaning) its inconsistent characters and far-fetched plots, especially when the all-important music delivers. Heck, Glee’s very artifice even can be its own reward: as wry amusement for its preposterousness.

This episode embraced that with a denting-the-fourth-wall comment by Brittany (Fondue For Two returns!)  about the absurdity of workaholic Rachel often traipsing from New York to Lima at a moment’s notice (not that everyone else doesn’t make cross-country trips at the drop of a Bob Fosse hat).

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Glee Recap/Review Season 5 Episode 11 ‘City of Angels’: Transition Explosion

March 12, 2014

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Among many challenges of Glee in this reoriented season after the death of Cory Monteith and his character, Finn, has been acknowledging it without milking it — doing it justice without exploiting a real-life tragedy.

With its tasteful Episode 3, The Quarterback, and now its melancholy yet celebratory Episode 11, City of Angels, Glee has done that. Half-way through Season 5, clips of Monteith/Finn had not been used — until now. And when they first appeared, woven into a passionate New Directions performance of U2′s I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For at Nationals in LA, the footage of Monteith/Finn made my jaw drop, much as did Lea Michele/Rachel’s sudden first appearance in The Quarterback episode.

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Glee Recap/Review Episode 10 “Trio”: Three Cheers!

March 5, 2014


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Elliott, I hear ya. After last weeks’ rancorous Frenemies and the first part of this week’s Episode 10: Trio, I’d had enough of rants and rages. Is this show not titled Glee? I was ready for some defiantly upbeat music in its place, and that’s what we got.

For the most entertaining show of its season to date, Glee delivered seven songs comprising close to half the episode’s running time. And even though the week’s theme largely delivered (where was Mr. Schue to write “Trio” on the blackboard?), it was the music, not the story, that made this show special.

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Glee Recap/Review Season 5 Episode 9 ‘Frenemies’: Why the “Fr”?

February 26, 2014


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After an almost three-month wait, was I stoked to see Glee again? Of course. But did my anticipation quickly turn to dismay? Yes it did.

Though Glee always has used snarky edge if not in-your-face conflict to offset the sweet affections at its heart, Episode 9: Frenemies took such conflict to new — and unpleasant — extremes.

Rachel and Santana hatefully butting heads over Rachel’s big Broadway role — and even getting violent (Rachel can slap too). Tina and Artie hatefully butting heads over being valedictorian, before unaccountably reversing with the insufferable cornball trifle Whenever I Call You Friend.

Even competitive Kurt and Elliott had a passive-aggressive face-off of sorts. I mean, bitter conflict reined on my parade.

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