Glee Review/Recap Season 4 Episode 8 ‘Thanksgiving’: Home At Last

Has there ever been a more eventful — almost to a fault — Glee episode than Thanksgiving?

From Quinn vs. Santana’s bitch-fest to Klaine’s tenderly tearful phone call, from the soaring, fervently emotional opening mashup of Homeward Bound and Home to the crazed guilty-pleasure fun of Gangnam Style, from the exasperation of an ugly subplot’s overly telegraphed faint at the finish to the elation of seeing glee clubbers old and new shine in new ways, Thanksgiving made me thankful, all right — for a show that still can reach creative crescendos, rather than settling into the dubious comforts of fourth-season familiarity.

Yes, some “shippers” will just have to move on — just as the characters are. How many people stay together permanently starting in high school? That’s not to say romantic reunions won’t occur, but for now, it rings true.

But please, Glee — ditch this skinny-girl-feeling-fat subplot, stat. Consider the facts: Marley’s mother is morbidly obese, so Marley’s sudden fat fears (with her body!) are a grating insult. It’s also troubling that girl viewers who lack self-esteem over weight issues are presented a slender Marley as in any way fat. And btw, Kitty re-sewing Marley’s Grease outfits to suggest weight gain doesn’t fly, not when there are these things called scales and when Marley’s own clothes would fit her just fine. Besides, what happened to that “don’t gag yourself” pep talk from Ryder?

Of course, the fat fantasy did lead to a dramatic finish, with Marley fainting at the end of  the club’s Gangnam Style for Sectionals, a fiercely energized performance more about frenetic flash than true musicality and the kind of harmonies a glee club rightfully should brandish in competition.

More solid, in a way, were the Dalton Academy Warblers, whose two numbers — the infectious Whistle and exuberant Live While We’re Young — stole the show. But their face-off against New Directions in Sectionals now only reminds me of the glaring illogic of having the same clubs complete all the way at Nationals last season. Gerrymandering, anyone?

Will ND retake the stage next week to win at Sectionals anyway (even after Marley’s cliffhanger faint)? And if not, how will this season proceed with no Regionals and no Nationals as goals?

I know one thing: It can do nicely enough with just a “kiki,” and by that I mean the drag-queen fueled zest of yet another absurdly fluid impromptu musical number on Glee, this time in Kurt and Rachel’s Brooklyn loft, where Isabelle (Sarah Jessica Parker) brought holiday cheer in the form of club-going party boys and girls (or guys posing as girls). Like Gangnam Style, the Scissor Sisters’ ’70s-disco-ish Let’s Have a Kiki — wierdly mashed up with Turkey Lurkey Time from Broadway’s Promises, Promises — was foolish yet oddly endearing.

At any rate, I’ll take it. Glee has been heavier this season — more emotional, in meaningful yet  wrenching ways — and sometimes we just need a lift.

We need a kiki.

Yet the number of the night, for me, was the first: the awesomely beautiful and soulful Homeward Bound (from Simon & Garfunkel in the ’60s) entwined with Idol winner Phillip Phillips’ Home (its tempo aptly slowed), and sung by McKinley grads reuniting  for Thanksgiving. Awesome — just awesome.

Less momentous yet still entertaining was Dianna Agron’s Quinn (so great to see her again!) playing Diana Ross to Santana and Brittany’s Supremes for that trio’s Come See About Me, recalling the same girls’ You Keep Me Hanging On  — also a ’60s Supremes song — ‘way back in Season One.

Great music. Often a great story. Lots going on. And, unlike many awkward instances, characters who should have been there (Sue, Emma, Will, etc.) were there (well, except for glee clubber parents, who almost never show at competitions where, in reality, they’d be helicoptering and cheering like mad).

I did also like the Lima/New York split-focus working as well as it did, though ultimately this Glee was  more about high school than Big Apple careers down the line  — perhaps as it always should be.

Hey, at least there was something for everyone — or seemed to be. And previews for Episode 9, Swan Song, look almost as plot-packed.

So keep things happening, Glee, and keep us hopping. Then you’ll keep me hoping that this transcendent little show that’s broken so much new ground can keep doing so as it boldly approaches next week’s 75th episode — and beyond.

— Bruce Westbrook

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2 Responses to “Glee Review/Recap Season 4 Episode 8 ‘Thanksgiving’: Home At Last”

  1. jessica Says:

    They’re not presenting Marley as fat, it’s very clear that she’s not. They’re presenting her as someone who is insecure about the prospect of being fat, which is actually very realistic. She’s basically turning into a bulimic.

  2. farsider Says:

    Dear Jessica:

    Well, obviously Marley isn’t fat. But she goes beyond the insecurity you mention that she MIGHT become fat and truly believes that she IS overweight and must LOSE pounds. Check the dialogue.

    I could see this working as a warped but credible subplot if she weren’t so thin. But for many girls who are a bit overweight, unlike Marley, it seems offensive to suggest that Marley could be perceived by anyone–including herself–as overweight. What does that make the truly overweight girls?

    It also bothers me that Marley — a good, well-adjusted girl who’s leery of Kitty in the first place — could be so easily maneuvered into bulimia.

    Thanks for your comment.

    Bruce

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