Friday, 30 September 2011

Glee 3.2 'I Am Unicorn'


“You look like a real housewife of Reno.” – Puck

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After seemingly realising the mistakes made throughout season two, the season three premiere of Glee last week looked to have a renewed focus and dedication to the core characters, however the third season’s second episode ‘I Am Unicorn’ abandoned that and instead spent much of its running time featuring Idina Menzel’s returning Shelby.

There was no need to bring Shelby back, but I’ve got to give credit to them for not completely ignoring the fact that she adopted Puck & Quinn’s baby – which I wouldn’t have put past them.

Shelby’s return at least gives Quinn and more importantly Puck something meaningful to do on a show they’ve both drifted to the periphery of recently, but the way in which she returned felt convoluted and wholly unnecessary, at least at such an early juncture in the season.

Shelby’s return served as a means of getting Quinn to revert back to being in New Directions again, though it does seem slightly at odds with the message of the show that just because she dyed her hair back to blonde, removed her piercings and put on her virginal white clothes rather than her skank black outfit that she was suddenly back to her old self.

You’d have thought that Mr. Schuester especially would have paid more attention to how she was feeling on the inside, because whichever way you dress it up, she’s clearly very unhappy.

If Shelby, and baby Beth’s return had contributed to Quinn finding the error of her ways after a season of going off the rails it would have been quite emotional, but to have it happen after all of two episodes of this new Quinn meant that there was no emotional reward for her change of heart.

Whether she’s actually had a change of heart though is another story as she indicated to Puck at the end of the episode that she would try to gain custody of the baby, much to Puckerman’s dismay.

I still can’t imagine why Shelby would return to Lima when there was so much history there, she did say something to Will about making amends, but surely having finally got the baby she always wanted why would you return and tempt fate by parading her in front of the emotionally immature parents – at least in Quinn’s case anyway.

Puck on the other hand displayed more maturity than we’ve ever seen from him on the show and gave Mark Salling more dialogue than he’s had in as long as I can remember.

When there was that knock at Shelby’s door I hoped it would be Puck rather than Quinn (it was obvious it was one of them) and the scene that followed didn’t disappoint.

It was both sweet and funny – exhibit a. being Puck’s drawing of a “clown pig” with ‘to Beth’ spelt wrong as well as having some memorable lines - “I have friends in law enforcement”. It was probably one of my all time favourite Glee scenes and this scene alone almost lifted the rating for this episode.

However, the reason that the rating didn’t improve is that in addition to the unnecessary Shelby return which felt like a step backwards from last week’s strong premiere, there was also too much time spent on Kurt feeling sorry for himself because this sense of entitlement he has and his inflated opinion of himself had set him up for a fall.

Throughout The Glee Project Ryan Murphy commented about knowing “how to write” for people, but the way that Kurt, and Rachel, are portrayed on Glee makes me wonder whether he does know how to write for people.

Because in those two characters, arguably the show’s two most heavily-featured, Glee has two of the most unlikeable characters on television. Rachel in particular is thoroughly self-centred and unreasonable – I had to laugh when Finn referred to her as “the best girlfriend ever” because I can’t think of a worse person to date than a self-obsessed ego-maniac like Rachel.

And Kurt, no matter how much of a victim they made him last year, I find extremely hard to feel sorry for. He has no divine right to the lead role in the school musical or to be class President, yet the way the show played it was almost as if we were supposed to feel like Blaine and Brittany were betraying him by opposing him. Brittany in particular had every right to go up against him after he treated her efforts to help him with complete disregard.

There’s no excuse for how selfish Kurt was painted in this episode but I can forgive the return of Shelby for that lovely scene with Puck and the baby and should her return actually lead to good things down the road, then looking back I may feel I’ve been a little harsh on ‘I Am Unicorn’. If that does transpire to be the case then I’ll hold my hands up, but if we’re in for weeks of Quinn battling for custody, then although Dianna Agron is a good actress who is mostly wasted on Glee, I may feel I was actually overly generous.

A Hail of Bullets:

- Was that look Will had on his face when it was suggested they need someone who was the “Anti-Sue” to run against her because he knew someone who could run against her or because he was thinking of running himself? I really hope it’s the former…

- I’d be really interested to see how the download figures were looking for Glee this season now the show seems to be focussing on show tunes more than chart hits. I don’t know whether it’s a conscious decision, or whether the first two episodes have just been show tune heavy but one would think that show tunes would be far less popular downloads than chart music.

Personally I don’t mind this change as the show tunes feel more organic within the show, too many times last year it felt like the show was written around covers they wanted to do, so having the music take a step back can only improve the overall quality of the show.

- There were further references to the prior to this season non-existent clarifications of who’s a junior and who’s a senior in this episode. Given what we already know, one now must assume that a large proportion of the original cast will be graduating at the end of the season, hopefully shaking up the show for the better.

- The idea of two rival show choirs in the same school is ridiculous, but at least makes the whole subplot with tone deaf Sugar from last week not a complete waste of time. I’m guessing that we’ll now be in line for some future drama with people defecting between the two clubs, which will no doubt be as void of tension as any of the show’s other dramas.

- Brittany was once again in sparkling form in ‘I Am Unicorn’ first answering that the capital of Ohio was “O” and then offering “Will.I.Am” as her answer for who is President.

Those two one-liners were the sort of scatter-brained genius we’ve come to expect from Brittany but her finest moment in this episode was her “I hate you” to Rachel as the egomaniacal Rachel wrongly assumed Mr. Schuester was asking her to direct the musical.

Later in the episode she also got another great line in telling Kurt “the poster that you wanted gave me crippling depression”.

Brittany’s partner in crime Santana also got a great line off in that scene as well, when Kurt said he wanted it toned down, Santana replied “this is toned down, in the original the unicorn was riding you”, which I thought was brilliant.

It was nice seeing Brittany and Santana interacting closely again, albeit briefly, as there has been zero follow up on their potential romance from last season thus far. I’m really hoping that Santana being out of glee, at least for the time being, doesn’t mean that this storyline is being ditched after we spent so much time with it last season.

Naya Rivera and Heather Morris are great together and the seeds, for once, have been planted that should they end up in an open relationship it would be one hell of a reward for long-term fans of the show.

Glee Season 3 continues Tuesday @ 8pm on FOX in the US and Thursday @ 9pm on Sky1 in the UK


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