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May 18 2010

(SPOILER) Discuss tonight's highly anticipated episode of Glee. 'Dream On' is directed by Joss and guest stars Neil Patrick Harris.

If you find any interesting reviews etc, do post them in the comments section.

So extremely excited about this episode. I'm actually going to a Glee-K party in Chicago where they post the episode on a projector, have Glee-themed food and cocktails, and one of the staff members gets hit with a slushie at the end of the night. Very much ready to yay any Jossian moments.
Definitely in the minority here, but I can't stand Glee. Still, countin' down the hours to some quality Joss time. Quite the sacrifice.
Really, really excited for this episode.

BryGuy, curious as to what Glee-themed food is... and feel a bit sorry for the staff member who gets slushied. Hope you have fun, I think it will be great to watch on a big screen.
You aren't alone, pathsunbeaten. I also detest the show but I'm suffering through it one more time for Joss and NPH.
Gonna have to miss this tonight (like I have been with Glee for the past few weeks) what with Lost still being on and all. Shame, but I have *ahem* other *ahem* means of watching it and am so looking forward to it.
I'm with The Xan Man. Penultimate Lost 'n' stuff...
I'm not familiar with Glee. Did Joss write or choreograph the songs in tonight's episode? I will dvr it. Lost comes first.
I think that is a sign that having Joss direct glee was a good marketing decision... even glee haters are watching!
I'm excited about this episode... I totally agreed with Maureen Ryan that there is "good glee" and "bad glee" last week was good glee... hoping for more of the same :)
Ditto to what you said, witch_kat... And I would like to add that Maureen Ryan said she thought the episode was as good as the pilot, which I think bodes very well :-)
The tug of war between watching Glee and watching the last new episode of Lost before its finale is killing me. Almost literally.
Did Joss write or choreograph the songs in tonight's episode?

No, by all accounts I've read/watched, this is purely a directing gig.
This would be torturous if it wasn't for my DVR. Don't know how anyone lives without one. Well, I guess I do know. Just glad I don't have to choose.
I get the feeling that Fox letting Joss direct Glee is almost like a pity job for canceling Dollhouse, but it should be one hell of a pity job! But I'll be watching Lost tonight, and Glee on hulu tomorrow. Sorry, but I know if I don't watch Lost tonight, I'll see spoilers before I get to see the actual episode.
I don't get that feeling at all, DetectiveYelsew.
DetectiveYelsew, your name is awesome :)

I guess I will watch this. I really can't stand Glee though.
Just the thought of episode discussion time is filling me with glee. :)
"I've got a secret room upstairs, like Letterman."

Oh, that killed me.
Shoot, my self pity was missing from my initial comment - I shouldn't have marked it with HTML'y markers:

[/poor dollar-poor wretch, no Tivo, no DVR]

[ edited by Tonya J on 2010-05-19 02:41 ]
Two words: loving it.
Since I enjoy Glee a small part of me is glad it is only a directing gig for Joss because I spent a lot of time concerned one of the characters would be killed off tonight. They say children aren't learning from television. I've learnt to be afraid of unexpected deaths.
Lea and Idina singing together! So wonderful!
Well, the show definitely has it figured out. Awesome guest stars and a guest director like Joss completely make up for... the rest of it. NPH rocked "Dream On," and Idina Menzel broke my heart even if the rest of her plot didn't. (Though, really? They're trying to sell her as a failed actress? With that voice? Um, okay. Hehe.)
There goes Joss killing things again. This time it wasn't people, only dreams, but it's just as painful and lasts a helluva lot longer. But wasn't evil NPH awesome! Like he just stepped out of an Evil League of Evil meeting.
SO VERY ANGRY!!! My DVR failed to record "Glee" tonight!!! I watched all season for THIS episode, and now I have to wait to see it when it comes out on either Hulu or iTunes. %^#&%^#&!!!!!
I love the fact that all the Gleeks' musings about Idina's casting are finally true. (Now, if only they could NOT do Gaga next week... Autotune does not a career make.)
Joss still knows how to bring the pain. (I'm sad that I'm flying!)

Definitely the right episode for both NPH and Whedon - I was worried that it would be a stunt, but it felt very natural.
I wonder how Joss felt when he read the script and saw that he'd get to direct . I'm thinking he may have jumped up and down on his bed. (I sure would have.) The end product was beautiful. Must go download the song from iTunes.
I love Glee, and to me Glee episodes fall into two categories: "indescribably good & emotionally compelling", or "fun but disposable". Unfortunately to me tonight's episode fell into the second category. I enjoyed seeing Neil & watching Joss's direction, but the story & writing didn't have the emotional pull that Glee can have when it's in top form. That's no comment on Joss -- he was the director, not the writer. (And I'll certainly defer to folks who disagree!)
That was just perfect. I could tell by the camera work that it wasn't a typical episode. Although, the particular five Broadway-caliber people in this episode could have given me that vibe too. :)

I was loving every minute of the Les Miserables references, and then they go and throw in "I Dreamed A Dream" with Idina Menzel and Lea Michele holy cow.

I was one of the ones joking (during season one) how they should get Idina Menzel to be Rachel's mom. And then I hear they cast her in the show. So I figured they'd make Jesse the spy (which kinda happened) to get her to think Idina's her mom.

Just my dream-wishing here (ha ha, look what I did there) but they really do need to let NPH be Jean Valjean. He would rock it.
I love Idina Menzel so frickin much!

Seeing her in concert for the 3rd time next month :)

Don't care how fangirlish that makes me :p
My favourite part of the episode was probably the very last shot - loved it to death. Very Joss - reminded me of "Waiting in the Wings."
Ugh, my signal kept going "weak" for some reason, so I eventually gave up. Hulu for me, I guess.

What I did see made me squee, though! :)
One of the better Glee episodes, in my opinion. Often the episodes are a bit of a "hit or miss." I loved most of the first half of the season, but I thought for the second half that the overture over-emphasized the greatness of the returning episodes. There have been a few really good ones so far, but I think this is the best, if not one of the best, so far. Very nicely done, Joss. I am, indeed, very pleased. :)
Glee, as great as it can be, has something in common with, and yes, I hate to even type the name of this show here, Desperate Housewives. Though the former is far better in virtually all areas and a rare must watch for me and the latter an occasional desperate (Ha...) time filler, Glee can sometimes be and Housewives is virtually always more about small great (Glee) or great-adjacent (Housewives) moments than over all content.

Though I love Glee, it needs to recognize and change this. The article referenced here recently was quite on target, as is, I believe, the Gaga post above mine.

Madonna tribute, I get. One tribute per season, momentous. A second, seems like overkill. And to Lady Gaga, I fear the definition of pale by comparison, particularly a month or so after the first.

This is a show that seemed to come back from its hiatus knowing it had some changes to make. Suddenly giving Brittany a witty line or two per show instead of essentially wasting her, seemed exemplary of this.

Still, we know virtually nothing about any of the characters after a full season and the over all plotting is minimal.

Joss directing was a treat, but it didn't blow me away (Was the flash mob filmed before unsuspecting shoppers...or were we to think it? Isn't the former cheating?). What the show could use though, is tighter and more complex plotting and dialog (and therefore better defined characters) and well, no offense to its creators, but there's a job for Joss.
I thought it was the best episode of Glee so far. The pacing was wonderful, and the acting was amazing. I'm also really glad that it wasn't a Finn/Rachel heavy episode, as I really enjoy the other characters to them.

Did anyone else laugh when Puck said "Did he die?", in reference to Brian Ryan keeping the Glee club. I thought that was a total nod to Whedon and hoe he always likes to kill off their characters after the achieve some sort of happiness.
Woe is me, the cable went out... hopefully Glee will be up at iTunes first thing tomorrow morning (I can't believe that I missed this). :(
Um. Okay, first, way to fake me out, Mr. Whedon, saying your favorite character is Brittany and then directing an episode in which she does not have a line (that I caught).

Second - wow, effing wow. A show that has repeatedly tipped toward The Shark Zone, redeemed by just brilliant direction. Thank you!

Lea and Idina on "I Dreamed a Dream" was a high point - but NPH and Matthew Morrison came just as high, doing their Aerosmith duet. And the flash mob bit with Artie - brilliant! Not saccharine, therefore genuinely moving (sorry you had to handle the falling-down-on-crutches scene, that's just impossible for any director - it was as understated as possible, which is high praise).

Also, who cast the woman who was auditioning in Les Miz? Fabulous, for all 10 seconds she was on.

Also also, Sue Sylvester and Bryan Ryan getting it on? Wow. And a timely rebuke to that Newsweek writer.


[ edited by javelina on 2010-05-19 04:25 ]
The writing on Glee has been really spotty -- bordering on pretty bad -- of late, and this episode was no exception. Still, the flash mob number at the mall made sitting through NPH's and Mr. Shue's wooden dialogue worth it. It was fantastic!

On a side note, Joss really loves that light-through-blinds effect.
It was a great episode on all sorts of levels, especially Brian and Sue's scene in her office.

Good to see Tina and Artie taking centre stage.

Not a big fan of Idina though, but perhaps this plot will bring Rachel's dads to the series.

Can't wait for Gaga!!! She is the most incredible pop star to come about since Britney.
I majorly agree with spotty, and then some.

I found Bryan's instantaneous coming around totally unconvincing.

The flash mob crowd scenes were jarring against the staged footage of the mob itself.

The song choice of the first NPH/MM duet was uninspired to the point of trite and revealed nothing about the characters or their relationship. The second, though I love how the show covers all genres of music, felt almost embarrassing in the wannabeeness of it all, despite the excellent voices.

And Bryan only getting a townsperson's role? Seriously? Is this town on like a musical version of a hellmouth or something that there were so many better performers audtioning that he was relegated to chorus and a single line?

I noticed more I didn't love (and nothing so brillinatly Jossian to make me smile or cheer), but my short term memory = not great, and I wasn't expecting to comment.

The Letterman line = funny. 3some too. And Safety Dance the number if not the scene. All from the writers.

As I wrote before, a show of moments.

I'm really hoping it finds its way home.
Nice ep. 'Dream on' and 'I Dreamed a Dream' made it worth skipping 'Lost'. But I only wish Joss could have written the episode in addition to directing it. I would love to see some Jossian dialogue in a 'Glee' atmosphere.

And couldn't NPH have sung just one more song? I mean, 'Dream On' was great. But that's it?
Did anyone else expect Emma to die a sudden, violent death in this episode? Was that just me?

Kidding aside, I think Artie's Safety Dance was possibly my favorite Glee moment since Don't Stop Believin'.
I watched Lost, so I'll have to catch this elsewhere--just because of Joss and NPH. I've seen only one episode to date, and I'm not a fan, but it sounds from your reviews that it was a pretty special episode. As we all expected.
I don't mean this in a confrontational way but since there's not a lot being said yet and palehorse still infers from the comments that there was something special about this ep, as expected--meaning due to Joss--can someone please go over what that is?

[ edited by Brett on 2010-05-19 05:34 ]
Ok....maybe I'm imagining it, but...was that really Nathan Fillion in the background of the mall scene? I couldn't even really say when I noticed him (As in - what part of the Safety Dance number) but I definitely saw him, or someone who looks a helluva lot like him.

My first and last "Glee" episode. I can't find myself caring about the characters, the dialogue is unimaginative, and the acting phoned in. In my opinion. I watched this one purely for Joss, and to hear NPH sing for the first time.

Which. Wow. I'm gonna have "Dream On" stuck in my head for days now. Loved how the lyrics applied to both Schue and Ryan. (And....seriously? Bryan Ryan? Lame!) I don't know who the woman singing "I Dreamed a Dream" is, but she's pretty much fantastic.

I thought having Neil's character singing "Piano Man" was kinda funny. Especially how he kept seeming like he was going to take a drink of his beer, but then used the bottle as a mic. Although the scene did feel kind of staged.

Oh, and loved the "microphone showdown" when they were auditioning. Hilarious! I expected a riff on the "Good, the Bad & the Ugly" theme.

So. I was able to watch it w/out cringing too very much, even if a lot of the dream sequence stuff felt like getting an anvil dropped on my head. But I'm not a Gleek convert.
A poorly written episode that was pretty wonderfully directed. How fitting. The last 2 or 3 Glee episodes have been top notch. This was not one of them.
Emotionally (which is really all I care about from a show named "Glee") this episode was dead on. It hit all the highs and the lows. Loved how the "Glee" title came on sans chorus, it set the somber tone that (to me) played against the high, happy emotions of some of the season's greater moments and numbers. I loved that the actors were really giving it their all (especially Lea during the breath-taking duet with her mom...I see you, girl, trying to get on Joss's "it girl" list lol) and the amazing scene between Emma and Artie (Ms. Mays is underused as a serious actress and should really consider doing some dark dramas in the big screen). The quietness of the first half of the show really made me anticipate the musical moments more...(doesn't it seem that for the last few episodes the ratio of songs to dialogue has been 17:1?) so "hooray" for pacing. I only wish we would've heard from Brittany at least once (though she was in the flash mob scene) and Mercedes. Still, The Joss man did a fantastic job with another person's creative property...BRING ON THE AVENGERS!
Did you see the lens flare?? Through the bus windows!! The BUS WINDOWS!!! *twirls*

Also two perfect shots: The throwback to Artie in his chair after the big 'Safety Dance' number and the end shot of Artie in the forefront with his girl & some other guy dancing in the background. He visually brought Artie's pain tonight.

Only complaint is that you could tell he was setting up the steady cam one shots but the simplified editing couldn't pull them off effectively as they could have been.
I loved it!!!! I thing "Dream On" was great, but hands-down the best part of the night was "I Dreamed a Dream". Joss had to be giddy to direct Idina Menzel and Lea doing that number!!

NPH Awesome as always.

Glee still my FAVORITE hour on TV!
And a timely rebuke to that Newsweek writer.

What do you mean? Can you clarify? I have no idea what this is referencing.

Never mind, I found out from somebody else. Didn't remember the article was Newsweek.

[ edited by electricspacegirl on 2010-05-19 06:46 ]
That episode was uplifting and pissed me off both - incandescent singing, blissful underplaying from Idina and others, some *nice* lingering scenes (finally), the lovely shooting and cutting - and then the very uneven writing. From the sublime to the ridiculous. (See? A cliché like the ones tonight...)

That show makes me cry sometimes, they're so talented, young, and hopeful, and the singing is usually so amazing. Sue Sylvester's dialogue is usually good, and I try to remember that the rest of them (well, most of the rest of them) have to be written as 16-to-18-year-olds, so there will be naïvety and innocence that *sounds* trite and clichéd, but is just supposed to be young... but nonetheless, so often the writing is pat and predictable. It pisses me off, because I like so much else so much.

I know a guest director is supposed to slip in like teflon, but I think you could tell there was a new director in town, and that he knew what he was doing. Joss let emotions build (which was no mean feat, given the script at some points) and he got the camera up closer in on people; he let them take some time. (Sometimes the show's regular pace is so frenetic even good moments get lost...)

The Matthew Morrison & NPH duet - really something. I could watch and listen to Neil sing all day, even if he was just singing "Little Brown Jug."

And the Idina Menzel/Lea Michele duet was a knock-out - on a par with that miraculous cross-cut duet of "Maybe This time" Lea did with Kristin Chenoweth last season.

The flash mob scene was very cool - I can get kinda antsy during some of big group routines, but this one had me riveted.

And all of the scenes with Kevin McHale and Jenna Ushkowitz were handled beautifully - with enough restraint and sincerity to keep them from going all sacharine.

I liked it - I thought Joss did a great job - and I still wanted to scream. I know the show is supposed to move fast and a little surface-y - like a Broadway show - but the missed opportunities in the writing just make me nuts.

Oh, well. It's still my favorite network-TV-show-shot-like-a-musical-with-great-singing-Sue-Sylvester-and-awesome-guest-stars-like-Idina-Menzel. As directed by Joss Whedon. So what are ya gonna do?

Yeah, and townsperson my ass. That must be in one of the alternate universes - maybe the one without shrimp.
ShadowQuest- I thought the same thing so I kept rewinding until I could catch a good screen capture. Sadly, it was not Nathan. The man's hair was actually blonder than Nathan's as well. And the woman singing "I dreamed a Dream" is Idina Menzel, who played Elphaba in the Broadway play Wicked. Love her.

I found my self pausing all the crowd scenes to see if there was anyone I would recognize. And didn't.

[ edited by madmolly on 2010-05-19 07:26 ]
So what was NPH like as a guest star?
The duets where amazing and gave me chills. Idina was fantastic and the Aerosmith number was truly great. Loved loved loved this episode.

I know you all have high standards when it comes to writing and pacing and stuff, but Glee just isn't that show. You have to watch and love Glee with your reptilian brainstem (to borrow a phrase from Bradley Whitford). Getting all analytical and smart and shit on Glee is only going to lead to pain and complaining. It just isn't. that. show.

Glee tonight was my lovely lovely oh so sweet dessert after the awesome main entree of Lost. I enjoyed it with a few drinks and my non critical reptile GLEE brain.

Now to enjoy a little Timothy Olyphant in Justified before having very nice and probably naughty dreams.

Oh gods, I love television.

[ edited by TamaraC on 2010-05-19 07:47 ]

My stupid TimeWarner DVR filled itself up with crap, and didn't record GLEE!

I agree that there is "good glee" and "bad glee." There have been several episodes that I thought were not up to par (terrible). I mean... I love the cheesey parts of Glee, but they need to be balanced by humor, self-awareness, or dramatic weight. Sometimes they just feel heavy-handed or silly.

Here's hoping Joss was assigned to a superbly written script and he uses his abilities as a director to his highest standard! My god, JW and NPH together is practically a dream come true!
I thought it was great. And the directing was stellar.

I love the flash mob bits. It made me think of how Artie's dream wasn't quite as shiny as he'd like it to be, that it was bracketed by the expectations of others (Tina's especially) and that it lacked clarity of focus. The direction visually told the story for his dream.

Also, I've found in recent episodes that the random bursting into song didn't make sense with the story. Like, you'd expect everyone to notice they're all suddenly singing as they jump from scene to scene. But Joss kept the shifts clear so that the dream/fantasy POV for certain song numbers was not of "reality" but in the eyes of the singers. Artie's number--clearly a dream. Rachel and her mom's duet--a joint dream of shared and shattered expectations.

And that final shot of Artie's profile as Tina danced with Mike in the background, Artie looking on. What an emotionally powerful note to end on. Artie looking on, looking away from the dream he feels cannot be his. He's turned his cheek, but that dream is still a glimpse out of the corner of his eye. So all hope is not lost, but he soldiers on.

That final image is on the level of powerful visual art. It reminds me of Priya's shadow rising in front of her painting in Dollhouse's Belonging.

And I can buy Bryan as townsperson. Why? Because the guy running the play was presented as someone not having a clue. So it makes perfect sense.
I still can't believe we got to hear Idina Menzel sing "I Dreamed a Dream" with Lea Michele. What? For Real? I'm still just kind of freaking out about that. I can only imagine how Joss felt. His big musical theatre heart must have been racing. Artie brought me to tears twice. That parting shot, god. PAIN. And NPH was his brilliant self. He never makes a wrong step. Loved the big dance number in the mall. This might have been my favorite episode of the season. Loved it.
This is up there with my favorites alongside the Sectionals episode.

And TamaraC, YES. You've gotta watch it with your reptilian GLEE brain!

I'm curious. For all the people complaining about the writing, what specifically jarred?

has the episode up already! Definitely a life-saver :D

[Please don't link to sites like that here, thanks. It goes against our rules - Simon]

[ edited by Simon on 2010-05-19 09:19 ]
Thanks to all. The episode analysis provided is so insightful!
OH, and I'm just gonna say it: I love NPH but he's basically playing various degrees of "Barney" in whatever he plays in lately...or no? Also, yay for reptilian brains (who knew Lizards got to have all the fun?) So call me a "Glizzard"...("Gleek" just gets me nauseous).

[ edited by RachVG on 2010-05-19 15:29 ]
Ok wow. The shock of finding Idina's secret was such a Joss style moment, like the big Boyd reveal. Probably because places like Ausiello had said we wouldn't be seeing or hearing from Rachel's Mom any time soon... Kinda like the NPH twitter misdirect.

And loved the girls Les Mis duet, it's probably my 2nd favourite song in that musical
I only just recently got into Glee. Started watching it when the season came back. I've been enjoying it so far and agree that Brittany is the best character on the show (from moment one of me seeing her) and was horribly UNUSED in this ep. I've enjoyed every episode I've seen so far, but this one has sadly been the low point for me. I really saw the problems with the dialogue in this one. I was hoping maybe Joss would jazz it up. You'd think he'd read it and go "Ummm... I know this isn't my show but... this kinda sucks." His capturing of emotions onscreen are always going to be dead-on, that wasn't the issue. I just felt it was kind of a lackluster episode is all. Also, having lived in Lima, they need to own that town the way The Office owns Scranton. Thirdly, the Lima mall is only one story (except the department stores) haha. j/k bout that last one. Oh yeah, and how is it we've had Idina Menzel and Christen Chenowith, and yet we haven't thrown them together for a Wicked reunion (unless this happened before I started watching)?
That was ridiculously good. Almost too. Thought I was dreaming.
Hey kids I don't have time to read this whole thread right now to see if anyone already posted this... but since that "safety dance" flashmob sequence was like, BRILLIANT, I wanted to make sure the Glee fans here knew about the most likely inspiration for that scene - this video. It is my understanding that was something organized as part of the promotion of Glee airing in Italy.

Turning around and using that as inspiration for a new number on the show itself? Throwing in a bunch of "thriller" moves too? LOVE. IT. JOSSIR.

Oh and also: Great song choices... poor Arnie... poor Rachel... loved the "dream on" duet! Brad Falchuk+Joss=GOODNESS
"Also, who cast the woman who was auditioning in Les Miz? Fabulous, for all 10 seconds she was on."

My daughter was immediately sure it was Wendy Worthington, aka the lunch lady from Earshot. She immediately yelled "It's her. She's going to kill us all." (This is a normal sort of thing at my house.) If it was her, it isn't listed on IMDB.

[ edited by Sassafras on 2010-05-19 14:19 ]

[ edited by Sassafras on 2010-05-19 14:20 ]
NPH was awesome as always, and his duet of 'Dream On' with Will was amazing.
Really enjoyed the Safety Dance, reminded me of the Glee flashmob videos i've seen online.
And Idina and Lea? Wow. Loved their duet and so glad they used her as the mother. They really looked like mother and daughter.
My only complaint is how underused Brittany was.
I still can't believe we got to hear Idina Menzel sing "I Dreamed a Dream" with Lea Michele. What? For Real? I'm still just kind of freaking out about that. I can only imagine how Joss felt. His big musical theatre heart must have been racing.
Harmalicious | May 19, 08:21 CET

Hey, Harm--I thought the same thing when I was watching that. Joss must have had a total showgasm while directing...
My Aerosmith-fan-self and my Whedon-fan-self had quite an argument over this, but in the end my Aerosmith-fan-self won - I wasn't a fan of the Dream On cover, at all. Everything else in the episode though was really terrific.
@ProgGrrl, thanks for the link to the video. That was one of the better "spontaneous" mall performances I've seen, and it did place the Glee scene in an interesting context.

I wasn't blown away by this episode, and I, too, didn't think the Dream On duet was terribly special, despite my love for all things NPH. But the "I Dreamed a Dream" duet--despite the song's over-exposure lately due to the British woman's (forgotten her name) rise to fame--now that was fantastic.
I know you all have high standards when it comes to writing and pacing and stuff, but Glee just isn't that show. You have to watch and love Glee with your reptilian brainstem (to borrow a phrase from Bradley Whitford). Getting all analytical and smart and shit on Glee is only going to lead to pain and complaining. It just isn't. that. show.

Thank you for pointing this out, Tamara! I am tired of people putting down Glee by assuming it's something it's not.
Hee hee hee
Completely agree with you, Tamara C. I love Glee for the funny, the over the top, the celebrate geek-dom Fame school that it is. My husband will watch it with me (he's a huge Buffy and Joss fan too) but says 'he almost hates it but he loves it instead.'

And yes the duet with Idina Menzel was so perfect, so sad.

I don't watch 'How I Met Your Mother,' so I don't see Barney in NPH but I do see Dr. Horrible! And NPH's scene with Sue Sylvester was one of the things that made the episode absolutely not to be missed.
Dawning on me that the difference between a good episode of Glee and a bad one is Jane Lynch's best line. Everything else rings false.
I know you all have high standards when it comes to writing and pacing and stuff, but Glee just isn't that show. You have to watch and love Glee with your reptilian brainstem (to borrow a phrase from Bradley Whitford). Getting all analytical and smart and shit on Glee is only going to lead to pain and complaining. It just isn't. that. show.

Here here! ::applause::
Agree with TamaraC as well. Glee is not very deep, but why does every show have to be? It's ridiculous and over-the-top and has it's issues, but it's just so much fun! The wicked snark is what I love most about the show, besides the music. That and Jonathan Groff. :)
Snark and reptile brains to some; deep misanthropy and so stupid it hurts to me. At least Joss harnessed his talent with faces to some good effect in this episode.
The writing continues to be uneven, but the "Safety Dance" sequence was amazing. Really beautifully shot and that is all Joss. Best sequence in that show yet.
@Harmalicious, I still can't believe that Idina and Lea sang together too. I keep listening to it over and over. It was an incredible scene to watch. That scene and Joss' special directing touch made the episode for me. Thanks to him, there were so many scenes that had a visually emotional resonance that otherwise won't have been there.
Unless one has a background in television and film directing, I'm not sure how anyone could pick up on the Jossian touches.
Riker, I disagree. Compared to what we're usually shown every week on Glee and this episode, I noticed differences in how characters or scene were focused on and/or set up.
Okay, here's another great Jossian set-up. When Rachel's in the dance room twirling, the camera follows her spins until Jesse enters the room, then the camera focuses on Jesse, but captures Rachel in the mirror so they're both on frame together.

Now, the very same thing was done in Chosen during the scene upstairs in Buffy's bedroom. Buffy is explaining the plan to which Giles says, "I think it's bloody brilliant" and the camera focuses on Buffy, but a mirror inside the open door of her wardrobe captures Anya, Willow and Xander also in the frame. You can see it here in this icon.

Both episodes directed by Joss Whedon. Apparently, Joss likes mirrors.
One question: The tap dance between Tina and that other guy (not Artie) - wasn't the choreography pretty much the same choreography used for the street cleaners in the background in "Once More With Feeling?"
Sassafras, that actress auditioning was Wendy Worthington! She's mentioned in the end credits on Hulu.

I keep confusing her with Mary Pat Gleason, who played Ida on The Middleman!

[ edited by swanjun on 2010-05-19 20:49 ]
(wandering in to whedonesque after a long while b/c figured there'd be a whedon-ep-of-glee discussion)

ProgGrrl, your link let me make sense of some slight mixed feelings I was having about the "flashmob" film style of the Safety Dance...should've known there was something more going on there.

Ceribri, have you seen this before?:

(although admittedly NPH is doing Javert there. I'm sure it was this site that pointed me to that clip sometime in the past, and, as a result, I was really expecting a Valjean/Javert faceoff when they introduced the Les Mis subplot in this episode)

I'm in the camp of really liking this ep. Glee sometimes confuses my sense of judgement. In part, I think this is because it does seem to have about 12 different ideas of what it wants to be. I think the revier on the AV club site did a good job describing this. But I also think that, as a very knowing show about high school that wants to do something other than be campy, it is always a bit unconsciously suffering against my reptile brain's desire for another "Buffy," so I always feel like I have to factor out the automatic "it's not Buffy" downgrade said reptile brain inflicts on the show, whatever it's real merits or flaws are.

That said, I do not think it is a show that absolutely lacks a serious edge. I think there is something aggressively intentional about its stance on certain things. A favorite scene of mine tonight was the NPH/Jane Lynch face-off where the highly arch/ironic dialogue/confrontation is built entirely out of actual god's-honest-truth nuggest of research and statistics about the value of music, theater, and athletics in learning. The show doesn't just seem committed to rooting for the high school underdogs and geeks, but in obstinately insisting on the real value of some things that have been under harsh attack in the U.S. for a few decades as the "back to basics/we need to educate our kids to fulfill the demands of business" morons mis-handle budgets and mangle the best info we've got on how brains and personalities really grow. That's not all -- or even most -- of what the show is about, but it sure seems to be in the mix in a very purposeful way.

As for the Joss-ness of it all, perhaps this is the flip side of my usual problem judging the show...I don't wanna be overly willing to give credit for all the best stuff in this ep to the director whose stuff I already love. I do think the show, in its dialogue scenes, hallway walk-and-talks, etcetera, tended towards more tight framings, even when not explicitely in a close-up. This is something I associate with Buffy, both when Joss was directing and in general. Especially since the HDTV/widescreen shift on TV, I think people tend to go for more panoramic shots, which can be beautiful, but can occasionally be distancing. I'm pretty sure if I compared, say, the scenes in the choir room in this episode to those in the same room in another episode, there would be an obvious difference in how the space was used and framed. I agree with others that the final shot of Artie was very much a Whedon shot -- Once More with Feeling has a lot of those deep shots where a single person or face is suddenly dominant in the foreground. Also made sense, as this was so much an Artie episode. Speaking of which, here's a final minor detail I liked that I think has to be a Joss and Costume designer collaborative choice: When Artie has his dream ballet, they nicely got the detail of the pants that seemed a little too bulky/oversized for the character's presumably wasted limbs (clothing ain't really designed to flatter people in his situation), and this sorta gave a slightly (and intentionally, I think) uncomfortable undercurrent to his dance, even as the actor, who, I understand, was once in a boy band, clearly had real dance skills. That's the sort of detail that kills me.
Okay, I just watched the "Safety Dance" scene for the fourth time (thank you, Hulu) and got all sniffly again.
I loved your post, doubtful guest, full of insights which are well expressed. I just watched last night's 'Glee' through twice this morning, and I thought it was one of their best. Most of the time, when they try to touch on emotional issues, it seems soppy and lame to me... but I really found this episode touching (I'm giving Joss the credit instead of the writers, somehow Joss always knows how to make me cry). The show always makes me laugh, but this was the first time it made me cry.
Two things:

1) Artie falling on the floor was perfectly composed. Nailed it. That's why joss gets to do the cool directing gig and I got to watch it sat in my pants.

2) Hooray!
I'm going to start counting how many times you mention sitting in your pants, I think.
I'm all about the pants.
Pants & tuna. That's how I'd describe you if somebody asked me to do so in two words.
@Emmie: Mirrors are a classic motif which signal self-reflection (visual pun, apparently, intended). Then again, it could just be because they look really neat.
Question: if I've never seen a single episode of Glee, is it a good idea to check this one out on Hulu? Will I be confused? Spoiled (with respect to any great revelations that may have just happened and be referenced)? Not asking about the general quality of the show, mind, just whether I can step in (and, possibly, out) at this one spot . . .
Might as well dive right in. It's not all that complicated plotwise and they do a quick summary of the most relevant past storylines at the beginning.
My only complaint about this episode was that Terri wasn't in it (she's my favourite----so sue me). But I dug the way she was brought up in Will and Brian's conversation at the pub.
@SpendTheNightAlone, beyond self-reflection, it also signifies alternative modes of how the self is perceived. How others see you. A person looking at him or herself in the mirror is simply self-reflection. But a filmed shot showing Jesse directly, but showing Rachel indirectly while framed through the mirror suggests we are looking at Rachel as Jesse sees her.

Similarly, Buffy is shown filmed directly while Xander, Willow and Anya are reflected through the mirror and at a smaller scale which I think falls into the metaphor of the series that Buffy's friends are her link to humanity, symbolic of a part of herself.

[ edited by Emmie on 2010-05-19 22:57 ]
Question: if I've never seen a single episode of Glee, is it a good idea to check this one out on Hulu? Will I be confused? Spoiled (with respect to any great revelations that may have just happened and be referenced)? Not asking about the general quality of the show, mind, just whether I can step in (and, possibly, out) at this one spot . . .

SoddingNancyTribe | May 19, 22:11 CET

In a word, yes. I'd seen less than an episode coming in (cause I didn't really like what I saw), and I watched it with no problem. I'm glad I did, cause holy crap do I like NPH, and Joss is my god, but I'm back out. It left me with zero desire to watch another. *shrugs*
On second viewing, "I Dreamed a Dream" sucker-punched me. That song sux.
I haven't watched Glee enough to understand completely its formula or the ins and outs of all the characters, but casting Idina Menzel was a masterstroke. How wonderful that one of the biggest things about listening to the tape which worried Rachel was, (loved the quick shift in her expression as she realized...): "Or worse. What if she's better than me?" Egotism, fear and love in one sentence. I loved the emotion in this show, a Joss trademark if ever there was one.

I don't know if it was intentional but there were moments at the beginning and near the end where Neil as Brian Ryan was fooling around with his voice. I've forgotten now what it was at the beginning, but when he was pacing backstage and practicing, "Hooray" in different ways, he sounded a lot like like Dr. Horrible practicing his evil laugh.

Definitely going to rewatch on Hulu.
I'm so pleased that Whedon got to direct the Tina & Artie episode! They always felt particularly underutilized as cast members go so I sort of wondered why-- And I was especially curious when Whedon said he missed getting to direct the kids a bit more. (Granted that phrasing still makes me wonder if he wished he got to work with more of them or with the same set for more work.)

Lately Santana and Britney were totally overshadowing them (Santana's been getting featured roles in songs and Britney gets brilliant dialogue) despite how they're not even regulars. I actually like pretty much all the kids to some extent so I always found it a little weird when Finn (well mostly Rachel) gets several episodes in a row to shine which borders on overexposure. Lea was totally amazing this episode though!

Apparently I am rather into Les Miz more than I thought-- I was a little disappointed they went with Aerosmith rather than another Les Mis song even if that number was pretty hilarious-- but I'm still a little confused why neither of the two were more willing to be Javert.

And incidentally I sort of wished that Whedon would take a shot at Community, especially after Justin Lin got a pretty amazing/stylish post-apocalyptic paintball episode. It has that same large ensemble cast thing going on plus it seems like Whedon would be able to bring in even more of his stylistic quirks with a show that seems a bit more smugly witty/clever that I don't feel as frustrated with the writing.
Both Naya Rivera (Santana) and Heather Morris(Brittany) have been promoted to series regulars for season 2 which is extremely well deserved.

And I agree that Joss taking over an episode of Community would be brilliant. The paintball episode was pure brilliance. Best single half hour of anything I've seen all year. Without exception.

[ edited by TamaraC on 2010-05-20 05:23 ]
What you said, guidedby. Was trying to think of a way to express it throughout my reading of the thread, but you have nutshelled it. I'm in and now out again, still loving Joss and NPH. UTL reptilian brain, or using it for something else...
ETA the paintball episode of Community was epic. One of the best TV episodes I've ever seen. Laughed just as hard the second time.

[ edited by FloralBonnet on 2010-05-20 05:28 ]
I enjoyed the episode a lot, and feel it was very well acted and directed, but it suffered from a lot of the problems that I think Glee has had for a while now, possibly since the beginning.

I don't like how inconsistent the characters are for one thing. For example, Artie seemed to be really cool with his disability before, and I find it odd that he suddenly is feeling this way and we NEVER saw a hint of that before. Maybe it's just that he is rarely focused on, but I feel like we should know these characters by now, and I at least really don't. Maybe that's why I can't seem to care about them.

It feels almost as though the show is expecting the musical numbers (which are amazing) to carry it, and the story and characters are just something that happens in between. Call me selfish, but I want both amazing music and characters that I can understand and care about and a story that doesn't feel contrived.

I like Glee. I do. And I enjoy it a lot. But I don't know if I could ever say I love it, unless it changes a lot next season.

Joss did a great job directing (as we all knew he would) and Neil was great (as we knew he would be). The Aerosmith song was AMAZING, and I was really blown away by I Dreamed a Dream.
Loved this episode even though I'm not much of a GleeK. NPH and Joss is just magic and I guess I didn't notice the flaws so many others have mentioned. Great job to everyone who had a hand in that episode, especially our man Joss! :)
Oh cool, TamaraC, I'd heard rumors but thought it'd take awhile for them to make the decision. That said, I still wish the show did a better job of featuring the other regulars before adding even more.

Seriously, Artie is so baffling a character I can't help but be really intrigued by the fact he's their budding auteur apparently (the Madonna bit and his interest in this episode which incidentally coincides with their stunt-directing), sometimes street-savvy, can pull off hunky heartthrob even though for the sake of the story he's supposed to have weaker vocals than Finn, and most of the time he's the softer-side-of-Sears-styled nerd even though he conceivably could blend in and make his life easier.

Also, I do love those cheerleaders but I sort of wish they'd at least pretend that Mike Chang and Shaft have personal lives rather than just padding out the number of kids up to 12. Mike sometimes gets speaking lines and a ton of silent featured dance solos but we still don't know if he's meant to be related to Tina, and I really have no idea what Shaft's character's real name is since he only said one word in the hiatus finale. In two episodes of Community I felt like I had a better read on all the recurring/regular characters than I had in the entire first half season of Glee.

Incidentally though, I thought the writing this episode did step up a little bit with their guest director. The "bad guys" all had actual faceted motivations for one and even if some of the plot points were obvious they went about them in vaguely surprising ways. (Also I have to imagine the only reason NPH and Jane Lynch's characters went up to her secret room is a meta-joke about how they're both awesome LGBTIQIQA actors playing particularly promiscuous straight people.)
Also, way too much thought being put into Glee in this thread. Not a show to parse. Do not parse the blurb. No thought, backstory, or subtext required. Just enjoy. If you can't just enjoy, there are many other choices for you. I'll just enjoy Glee for the mindless fluff that it is for as long as I can. Pure joy with no critical thinking needed. Yay!
I am tired of people putting down Glee by assuming it's something it's not.

See, I keep making the same mistake over and over -- I assume Glee is good. And ... it's not.

Sure, the music is GREAT and fun ... uh ... that's about it. Simply put, the writing on these episodes just isn't up to the standards of other great shows currently on TV. Nor, for that matter, is it up to the standards of its own pilot episode... which actually WAS good, so I know the show's DNA does allow for it to be entertaining AND moving. But seriously - did ANY bit of the "Artie on the ground" sequence make sense? His character just whipped back and forth between so many emotional states - with no transitions - I thought that this scene must have been hacked down for time purposes. Maybe there's more on the edit room floor, but over and over again, this show disappoints.

Final thought: Just before I hit "play" on the DVR, I turned to my wife and said (facetiously), "Okay, so let's go over the checklist. First, the very existence of the glee club will be threatened. Then, Sue will carry out some kind of plot that ends with her getting the upper hand..." The wife laughed, and we then watched. Same stuff. Every week.

Final FINAL thought: The lesson of this episode? Sometimes, it's okay to give up on your dream, as long as you can trade it as a form of bribe to a corrupt school board member. Ugh.

And NPH's character was so lacking in REAL emotion, real motivations... just cartoonish "Yahoo"-ing (and stereotypical "diva actor" behavior) at the end when he gets the part? Really?? Really????

On top of all that -- and believe me, I was most surprised by this -- the directing was a little stale. (Sorry!) Nothing from this episode was, like, WOW!!! LOOK AT THAT! Not every episode can have those moments, I know... and yes, I did enjoy the Safety Dance dream sequence... but overall... Feh.

Spoiled by how good Joss's other TV projects have been? Perhaps I am... but this whole affair just left me flat.
To some extent I agree jenolen, the series did sort of set up a tone with the pilot that they didn't exactly follow through with even if that was exactly what drew me to the series.

I mean it's not really subtext when it rapidly became text? The pilot and/or promotional materials of the series suggested that it was going to be a show about a bunch of underdog losers/gLeeks/stereotypes performing catchy musical numbers that reflect their attempts to figure out their identity. I just sort of keep waiting for them to follow through on that premise even as they packed the club full of [once] cool kids, gimmicks, and guest stars.

Plus I thought I would either wait out the season to see if they fulfill the promise. (I mean if I had started Buffy with the first 19 episodes... I'm not sure I would have even lasted to the good parts of the first season.) Actually there's still the possibility that the occasional bits that I dig keep bringing me back for more even as the bad parts sort of infuriate me.

I don't know if it was Dream On or the Laryngitis episode where we finally figure out where Quinn ended up living? Either way that's basically a month and a half or half a year of wondering what the high school aged teenager was doing in terms of a living space. It seems like a pretty basic or reasonable lingering plot point considering what a big deal they made of her getting kicked out by her father in the first place and the second hissyfit of Finn's sense of betrayal. (There's the possibility she could have been accepted again after a cooling off period, that Finn's mother would allow the cheating girlfriend to keep staying in the house even if they don't invite her out for dinners, that she'd end up on the street, she secretly lives in the ceiling tiles of the school... Basically all of those options seem vaguely plausible given the rules the series established.)

Erm, I mean yeah, as bitter as I come across I do rather enjoy the show. However, it's bloody Emmy and Golden Globe-winning I think. It seems reasonable enough to expect/hope that it would aspire to be better.

As for Whedon's contributions... I thought he did a pretty good job of just trying to blend in like he wants, but there were still some stylistic choices I rather liked (which I imagine other directors would have probably pulled or liked to try too). There was the little western showdown element of Will and NPH's duet, or even how they seemed to shoot one of Artie and Tina's aspirational speeches/kisses at the magic hour so they could get lens flare through the school buses.

The Safety Dance thing still has me thrown since I didn't quite dig the handheld gimmick or the editing in between even if it did like that it was sort of a meta-gag about how they promoted the series through those flash-mob spontaneous dances in a public space. (In general Artie's mental fantasies seem a bit more stylistically creative now that I think about it? His Nouvelle Vague style cover of Dancing with Myself and slow-motion wheeling through a food fight reminded me of Buffy's training montage in OMWF...)
What I've been wondering about Glee is that is it sustainable? Or is it just going to be a show that has a a high praised first season and then declines in quality rather rapidly like Heroes or Veronica Mars.
You can ask that about any show. They just have to prove they can continue to tell fun, interesting stories with lots of good music. I see no reason to doubt that right now.
Given the choice, I'd rather be a Glee regular, than watch teenage angst via One Tree Hill or the revamped 90210. The only reason I wasn't more into Glee was that it was up against Lost so there was no contest what I would watch. I don't agree at all it's a bad show - I have fun watching it and the music is often spectacular.
Well I thought the highs of at least Veronica Mars sort of far exceeded that of Glee and then when it got less awesome it was still pretty decent and clever at times. Glee on the other hand started off wildly popular and I assume that cushy post American Idol spot might serve it pretty well so it doesn't need to fear imminent cancellation.

The only problem I foresee is that eventually the cast would have to turn over in however many years since it's not like they can really move on to a college version with a number of the same cast members. (Maybe spin-off but...) I suppose it also might burn out a little more quickly since the budget might be a problem but maybe there's an off chance they have a show bible in mind and actually would want to end the series after wrapping up with everyone's current storylines. Though some of them don't have any so that might be rather unlikely...

The OC was more or less built on the same sort of music buzz and that did crash and burn even as they did move on to a much more entertaining female lead, but nevertheless I thought that series had a pretty long run even if it seems to be a mere footnote in the network's history despite all the buzz it also started with.
Just now watched the episode. Definitely the good Glee and best episode since the show came back.

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