ellydash: (wary emma)
[personal profile] ellydash




Well, damn.

It's probably not the best idea for me to write these entries right after I've seen the episode, especially an episode like that one, because I have absolutely no sense of perspective about any of this, and also it is super late at night. FULL SPEED AHEAD, regardless.

I didn't unequivocally love "Asian F," but I feel like there’s a million and one things to talk about, which is almost as good. There were parts of it I actively didn't like, actually, mostly in terms of Mercedes's characterization – even so, it hit me really hard in a lot of different ways. Pretty much everything that happened tonight gave me a lot of feelings, though, which is a big part of why I watch this show in the first place. Even that hallway Kurt/Blaine scene got to me - actually made me tear up! - thanks to Kurt doing his damndest to be supportive and Blaine obviously wanting to kiss Kurt but Kurt recoiling because they weren't in a safe space. That was painful and really, really well done.

I was prepared to actively hate the Will/Emma stuff, because it's Will/Emma, and I've hated just about everything they've done with those two since "Sectionals," to be honest. The ginger supremacist parents, though. Wow. That was a dark, fucked-up scene, all the more disturbing because I figured they'd play that storyline in typical Glee "lol racism" fashion, but they really went there. If it wasn't obvious what they were doing at first, it was pretty clear by the time we saw the flashback of Emma's mother wiping off the glass the Latina waitress touched, and Emma mimicking that behavior. Then the hand-rubbing/praying scene. I can't pretend to have any objectivity about that part at all, because (TMI alert, apologies) I've been in something very similar to Emma's position before, in terms of being sick and struggling, while in a relationship with someone who wants to help but can't, and the whole thing just socked me in the stomach and put tears on the side of my face. And am I straying close to Will apologism if I say that I kind of liked that he told Emma's parents to go fuck themselves? And that I really sympathized with his position in that scene with Emma next to the bed? Ugh, I'm not kidding when I say I have zero objectivity here. Curious to hear what you all thought about it.

([livejournal.com profile] kitsune13, if you're reading this, as someone who I know is not the biggest Emma fan, I'd really love to hear your reaction to Emma in this episode. I know it's not like any of her history nullifies or absolves her actions, but I thought it went a ways towards explaining why she's so judgmental and critical.)

Mercedes. Oh, boy. So curious to hear all of your opinions about this plot. On the one hand, I really like that Mercedes is getting some focus, and that we're seeing her struggle with what I think is one of the most interesting parts of her character, that gap between the talent she knows she has and the reassurance she isn't getting from her friends. And holy shit, was it satisfying to see her tell off Will. I've been wanting to see her call him out for about a season now, and I never thought we'd see her do it. The way they set up "Spotlight" was fantastic, too, having Rachel talking to Will while Mercedes circles around them, because the framing of that shot it implicated Will just as much as it did Rachel.

But on the other hand, I hate that they’re showing her as lazy when we haven’t seen anything, until now, besides Jesse’s comments in “Funeral” (WHICH NEVER HAPPENED LA LA LA) to indicate that she is. I don’t like that her boyfriend’s support comes in the form of driving a wedge between her and Rachel. I don’t like that she doesn’t have any support from anyone in New Directions, or at the very least, anyone to check in with her and say, “What’s going on with you, Mercedes?” – what about Quinn, or Kurt? Fandom seems to be reacting to it with this intense Mercedes hatred for her selfishness - which frustrates me, because it seems a lot more complicated than just Mercedes having a diva flare-up. Man, I just want a Mercedes plotline where she isn’t fulfilling problematic stereotypes and she’s got non-destructive support from her friends and an actual competition solo or two.

And, then, of course, Mike Chang, who I think I’m officially stanning for now. Besides the icky “Asian F” stuff (which, yeah, is an actual thing, but it felt forced and awkward and really unnecessary), I loved everything about that whole plotline. It’s great to see another parent besides Burt and Carole who’s supportive of their kid, and not gonna lie, I teared up when he was dancing with his mom. Harry Shum Jr. knocked this episode out of the park, triple-threat style, and Mike and Tina continue to be absolutely adorable. Love how supportive she was, even in his imagination.

Other things:

- Brittany S. Pierce needs a dance number every single damn episode.

- I did think it was kind of interesting that last week, Kurt was “too feminine” according to Artie and Beiste, and this week, Brittany seemed to be basing her campaign around the fact that she’s a girl and Kurt isn’t. Poor guy can't catch a break.

- Yeah, that Dreamgirls-staged number was hokey as hell, but I still ate it up with a spoon. Except for Kurt’s lines. Why do they keep forcing him into that high register?

- Loving all the Beiste we’re getting. Although it’d be really nice if they cut way, way down on the food jokes.

- Quinn’s awkward dancing. And her serial killer smiles. ♥

And let me just close by saying: Sam would never tell Mercedes not to hug Rachel.

Date: 2011-10-05 09:35 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] the-seaward.livejournal.com
And let me just close by saying: Sam would never tell Mercedes not to hug Rachel.

;_;

Date: 2011-10-05 09:58 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] the-seaward.livejournal.com
I still can't seem to choose a cut-and-dry "I liked it" or "I hated it" or even a "it was okay" sentiment for any of this season's episodes. Like, I think they're actually trying to turn Glee into a real, honest-to-God television show, with story arcs, character development, and consistency, and it's battling with the random mish-mash we've gotten in the past. I don't know if I like it. I kind of miss the mish-mash awfulness. Anyway, on to the episode!

I have literally the exact same feelings on Emma's storyline and the Will/Emma stuff, so I won't re-state that here. My only gripe is that "Fix You" sounded baaaaaad, which sucks because it was used perfectly. I had a legit ugly cry situation going, and Glee never does that to me. It was weird. Also, I've never been so glad to be watching Glee in an empty apartment.

Unrelated, but What is up with Matthew Morrison's acting? Not everything needs to be YELLED WITH CRAZYMAN EYES RIGHT INTO SOMEONE'S FACE. Especially when that someone is supposed to be your student. I get that they're trying to address a very real criticism of the show—that ND is a sham of a show choir and they wouldn't win a sing-off at the state fair, much less a national competition—but the hard-broiled, tough-as-nails New Schue is throwing me for a loop. Calm down, New Schue! Grab your porn box and work it out!

Date: 2011-10-05 09:59 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] the-seaward.livejournal.com
But okay, so, what I really want to talk about is the Mercedes storyline in the longest of TL;DR ways. I only know the reactions of a few people (not fandom at large), so I can't speak to that. I also think my interpretation of what is going on with her is reading further into it than the writers ever intentioned, but I love the character and so therefore I have all the feelings and no one can stop me. No one!

First of all, I'm just glad the girl is getting some attention. I think the relationship Mercedes has with her talent and how it's been featured (or not featured) in glee club is definitely worth exploring, and I think we can all agree that her talent has been criminally underused. Remember that whole 'insulting the audience' thing? The fact that Mercedes hasn't had a competition solo is nonsense. NONSENSE. I mean, don't get me wrong, I had the Quam of my life, and I loved Valerie," but really, Glee? REALLY? Do you expect Mercedes to just sway back there (with Tina), like a prop?

The thing is, we've been shown that for all her attitude and ~sassiness, Mercedes definitely has a vulnerable side. We saw her body issues in 'Home,' her prom-related insecurities and her struggle with ambition in ANON. We saw her immediately defer to Rachel in Sectionals when her solo was stolen, and (this is a bit of a reach) we saw her hiding her relationship with Sam from Kurt. Kurt, who is one of her best friends and who's had first-hand experience in a relationship that might raise eyebrows in a small-town setting. Obviously we'll never know what the writers intended, or where they were going with the whole clandestine relationship thing, but Mercedes being shy/uneasy about being with Sam (to Kurt of all people) supports my headcanon sooooo moving on.

I definitely don't like that it took a boyfriend to push her towards the spotlight, but it's fitting if you buy the whole "Mercedes is insecure" spiel I've got going above. Mercedes knows she's talented, but she's never really known how to go about putting that talent out there. While Rachel is a ball of ambition and has no problem grabbing the reins, it's taken others nudging Mercedes to the forefront before she's willing to go for it. However, the execution of Shane's encouragement was a little off (the 'don't hug your competition' thing really boiled my blood). I will be interested to see this part of her character development play out; there's a lot of potential here, I think.

The laziness thing, on the other hand—yeesh. I feel like the writers had a goal in mind: have Mercedes secede from ND and head over to Shelby's greener pastures (this is not a euphemism, you perverts). But the means they used to reach that goal were just strange. Mercedes is all of a sudden lazy? Uhhhhhhh, okay? Like you mentioned, there have been a few times she's been presented that way in canon, but the laziness felt a little like deus ex machina to me.

And the way they tried to illustrate her newfound "laziness?" With stomach aches and false twisted ankles? To me, it seemed a lot more like someone who was made uneasy about being singled out than someone who simply didn't want to be there. We've all been there: you're worked up about something, so you make up an excuse to get out of it.

Bottom line: Was Mercedes 100% in the right? No. You're part of a team—a team whose job it is to perform—and at some point, you've either got to power through or talk to someone (your coach, a friend, the ~guidance counselor) about your issues with the situation. Now, was she acting the way she was out of laziness? No. Should Will have said "did you even practice?" when she was attempting the dance move? Hell no.

TL;DR -- SHIT'S GETTING COMPLICATED, MAN.

Date: 2011-10-06 06:20 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ellydash.livejournal.com
All of this is just spot-on analysis and the best kind of tl;dr (and can I just say, I'm so glad I'm not the only one who tl;drs about this show, because sometimes I'm like, fuck, I just wrote like 2000 really, really earnest words about fucking Glee, and it's good to not be alone). ♥ At least, like you said, this show is actually giving us things to talk about. I'm still kind of in shock about that.

I love Mercedes exactly because of that mix of attitude and vulnerability you noted. Bear with me here, because this is sort of loosely connected (and I need to stop typing up headcanon when I'm exhausted and a little not sober), but during Jane's talk last weekend she had some really interesting stuff to say about how Sue lashes out at everyone as hard as she does because she's trying to protect a really vulnerable, scared self. And I think that applies to Mercedes, too - her willingness to follow Shane's prompting, her rage in general - all that kicks into high gear because it's all been building, the last two years, all her rage and frustration, and now that she's put all her cards down she's scared and kicking wherever she can in self-defense.

To me, it seemed a lot more like someone who was made uneasy about being singled out than someone who simply didn't want to be there. We've all been there: you're worked up about something, so you make up an excuse to get out of it.

YES. A thousand times, yes. To be the last one to get tapped out? That's pretty nervewracking. I don't blame her for getting upset, especially with all the pressure she was under.

Fix You was horrendous. Man, that could've been another Keep Holding On, but it just really, really wasn't.

New trivia team name: Will Schuester's Porn Box. Guaranteed to make your opponents cower in terror and run for the nearest chemical wash station.

Date: 2011-10-06 06:03 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ellydash.livejournal.com
Sam's solution would be a three-way hug, ofc.

Date: 2011-10-08 01:20 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] sceptick.livejournal.com
;___________; why you gotta do this to my heart, gurl?

Date: 2011-10-05 02:30 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] milk-and-glass.livejournal.com
I agree with just about everything here, especially the Will/Emma scene. As one of the biggest stans for that ship who has now faded disappointedly into the background because of all the fucked up crap they have made them go through, this sorta kinda (mehhh, well, a littttttttle) redeemed them for me. It was a dark, very fucked up scene. Especially since they did start out with the typical "hahaha we're gonna be racist" schtick. I really liked the way they played that in the end. There may be fic from me coming . . . may be. :)

I loved the way they set up Will/Rachel and Mercedes circling around them. Only because I am the hugest Will/Rachel fan, lol, and I had all sorts of lovely thinky headcanon thoughts about them as the scene played out.

Good episode. Now we have to wait three weeks :P

Date: 2011-10-06 06:26 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ellydash.livejournal.com
Oh, wow, I can't imagine how frustrating the last season and a half of Will/Emma's been for you. I was never really invested in them, but if I had been, I'd be so mad at how badly they destroyed that pairing. And ooh, I would read the hell out of any Will/Emma fic that took on the events of this episode. You've got one reader here for sure!

"Spotlight" really did sound like a Will/Rachel/Mercedes song, the way they framed it! There's been a surprising amount of small Will/Rachel moments this season. \o/

Date: 2011-10-05 02:45 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] xenachakram12.livejournal.com
Hello, there! I'm relatively new to your flist, but I had a bit of a different perspective on the ep, and you said you wanted to hear it, so here it goes!

I don't like the show making it seem like Mercedes is lazy, either. You don't have to be lazy to be unable to do the Widowmaker. That shit is hard! And her not feeling well doesn't mean she's lazy either! The show handled that in a really strange way, imo.

I didn't feel like the bf (Shawn? Shaun? Sean?) was driving a wedge b/w Merc and Rachel. Mercedes is so sweet and loyal, I think she needed to hear someone telling her that Rachel, at least in this moment, is competition and that if Mercedes wants to win, she's going to have to treat her as such. Lord knows Rachel never forgets who her competition is, friendly face or not.

Loved the Dreamgirls number, too, but I loved Kurt's super high register. He's the only boy in the club who can pull that off, so I'm glad to see him do it.

I love the amount of Beiste, too, but they def could cut down on food jokes. I was NOT a fan of her treatment of gender themes in last week's ep either, tbh.

RIP, Chord.

Date: 2011-10-06 06:33 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ellydash.livejournal.com
I'm glad you commented! And absolutely, I'm always happy to hear different perspectives - it's a good thing, keeps me reconsidering my own. :)

Making Mercedes lazy was, well, lazy. It's like they needed an excuse to make her into something of a villain for the purposes of the storyline, and so they grabbed at Jesse's criticism from last season and went with it as a personality trait. Seriously, we haven't seen anything out of Mercedes to indicate that she's actually lazy!

For me, that scene with Shane (I think it's Shane! Too tired to look it up right now) was frustrating because I don't know that being friends with Rachel and being her competition are mutually exclusive things. You can compete, stay in that competitive mind, and still love and care about the person you're competing with. I think the ideal happy medium would've been Mercedes being able to go full out for what she wanted without having to cut down Rachel to do it - but then again, the circumstances and Mercedes's history with coming in second to Rachel so often makes that difficult.

Kurt really can hit those notes, but I'm just not a big fan of the way his voice sounds in that register. I feel like it worked better for him in S1, but now it sounds like he's forcing it a bit.

Ugh, Beiste's gender stuff last week. That was super problematic - but in a weird way, I'm almost glad she's got a recognizable, human flaw now.

CHORD. Still in mourning, tbh.

Date: 2011-10-06 02:22 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] xenachakram12.livejournal.com
Making Mercedes lazy was, well, lazy. It's like they needed an excuse to make her into something of a villain for the purposes of the storyline, and so they grabbed at Jesse's criticism from last season and went with it as a personality trait. Seriously, we haven't seen anything out of Mercedes to indicate that she's actually lazy!

YES TO ALL OF THIS. It feels like the writers often take the easy way out, repurposing characterizations to suit their current needs. (*coughBeistecough*) And don't get me started on the retconning! This is all weird and new to me, because the show writers in my other fandoms (Buffy, Supernatural) were SO careful to make sure continuity/characterization was maintained because they themselves were fans of the show!

You're right; his name is Shane. I read it somewhere after posting this and was like, "D'oh!"

I think the ideal happy medium would've been Mercedes being able to go full out for what she wanted without having to cut down Rachel to do it

*sigh*, yes. Unfortunately RIB like to create drama where there need not be any. It's what all the cools kids like! K, I'll stop complaining about the writers now. ;-)

Icon!Blaine misses Chord, too.

Date: 2011-10-05 04:07 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] pee-wee-2005.livejournal.com
I don't ship Klaine, but their scene got to me too. When Kurt pulled back from the kiss that Blaine wanted to give him, UGH.

I thought the Will/Emma stuff was going to suck, too. As the adults storylines usually do. But oh my jesus, poor Emma. Just, wow. As sad as that was to see, I am so glad we got that insight into her character. When Will got down on his knees but told her he had no idea what he was doing I started crying for both of them. This is the best Will has been in...a long time. I want him to stick around. Because I didn't think he'd be the man, or person period, that would be able to love her and help her. Because he always whined like a child about how Carl was making her better. Like, he never had any intention of changing her, he liked her being all doe-eyed and dependent on him. It was almost like a bass-ackwards version of Will/Terri, where Terri said, "this marriage works because you don't feel good about yourself."

I'm still trying to figure out how I feel about the Mercedes stuff. I've watched it twice, and I can't quite seem to dig up a lot of sympathy for her. Like NON, a Mercedes-centric episode just seems to ruin her. Ian and Co. aren't very good at these episodes where the minorities get the brunt of the focus. Anyways...Rachel gets everything because she wants everything and show's why she thinks she's be the best for this role or that solo. Mercedes et all., act like spoiled brats when they've never (at least shown) worked as hard to be as good as her or wanting it as much. Crying favoritism. Which, yeah, I guess if Will was a better show choir teacher he would evenly disperse stuff among the others, like he tried to do in Preggers, but I really don't think he favors Rachel. He just see's a student who has always been determined because she actively wants what she knows she can do. She gets shit on, show and fandom, for being determined, and that has always annoyed me. They're threatened.

Crying buckets when Mike started dancing with his mom. Oh my God. Burt and Mrs. Chang just need to adopt everyone in that club.

Love, love, LOVED that Dreamgirls number. I thought it was awesome and perfect. A tad annoying that everyone kept their names but Mercedes was referred to as "Effy," they could have just said, "'cedes," or "sugar," or "darling" but whatever. Also annoying? A couple for Naya, a couple for Matthew, a couple lines for Chris, a line for Cory, a line for Mark...AND NONE FOR JENNA AND DIANNA BYE. I hate when they do songs that are tailor made to be TRUE ensemble pieces and those obvious members are left out.

And yeah, eh oh el, good fucking luck at getting president, Kurt. You're going to need it. All the votes to Brittany.

Date: 2011-10-06 06:54 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ellydash.livejournal.com
It's weird, I absolutely ship Kurt/Blaine when I'm watching the show. Like, I get really invested in them and think they're adorable and want them to be happy? And then I go online and the Klaine fandom terrifies me with its intensity so I run away and hide in my nice little rarepair haven. But oh, wow, was that scene good.

Ooh, I hadn't thought about Will/Emma being a second Will/Terri, but I think you're right (and [livejournal.com profile] kitsune13 makes the same point below! Clearly you guys are onto something). I don't know that that scene means their relationship will be any better or fundamentally healthier, going forward, but I do think it means that at least the writers have decided to do something different from Will the Savior and Emma the Damsel - at least for one episode. Which is really heartening.

The thing with Rachel wanting it more is Rachel will always want it more. I can't imagine anyone who could. She's just a big ball of need, that girl! (And I do love her for it, tbh.) What it comes down to, for me, is that Mercedes wants to be featured at a competition (we've seen her wanting that repeatedly), absolutely has the voice and ability for it, but at the same time her life doesn't revolve around glee club in the same way Rachel's does, which is the major difference. She isn't starving, like Rachel is. And I think Mercedes gets penalized unfairly for that.

Isn't Brittany supposed to be the most popular girl in school? I laughed when Kurt said he was 11 points ahead.

Date: 2011-10-06 03:04 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] pee-wee-2005.livejournal.com
I can't ship them because of their/his fandom. Whatever was supposed to make me fall at his feet by the time the credits rolled on NBK went right over my head. Nope, I became a Pirate instead. That, and to now find out he's younger makes me dislike them/him even more because they wasted half a season's worth of screen time and songs and made Kurt chase and try to comply for a younger guy. So much hate that he's a Jr. So much.

I read [profile] kitsune13 comments. Man...I had never looked at the Rachel/Will relationship that way. But when you sit back and think, aside from Rachel and Finn, that his how he views, treats, and interacts with his students.

And yeah, everything she said about Will/Emma is what I started to noticed in the RHGS. Who knows what would have happened to them if they didn't royally fuck them over during S1's B9 and kept them together, but in Hell-O the writers briefly had Emma realize and tell Will that the only relationship structure he knows of is what Terri did to him and the cycle was obvious. You kind of have to give it up for Terri though, semi-intentionally warning Emma of what was going to happen. And then by RHGS it was obvious that Will would never tried to better her, only good enough so she would finally have sex with him, but everything else would have stayed the same and he would get to "be there," for her.

Date: 2011-10-05 06:17 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] haispecialhell.livejournal.com
The Mercedes story worked and didn't work for me. I think there was quite a bit of truth to her statements that she is just as talented as Rachel but that no one is willing to hurt Rachel's feelings, at least regarding casting. And there is numerous support of that because Will only cast another female in a spot Rachel wanted twice, Rachel made a humongous deal about it, it was never Mercedes, and Will apologized to Rachel. I do not like Mercedes' boyfriend and think that she and Rachel could have a friendship in which they compete with each other, but Glee had to take the shallow, already traipsed down path. "Spotlight" was awesome and shows that Amber is an amazing singer and performer. Plus, she's just gorgeous and I'm glad the writers are beginning to notice that.

My biggest problem with the season 3 story line they have set up for Mercedes is that it portrays her as lazy. Mercedes is not lazy. Outside of the "Park and Bark" comment and Jesse's comment in season 2 for ANON, she has always worked just as hard as everyone else. Perhaps it would bother me less if the "big girl" was the one who is made out to be lazy.

This week's transitions were a little off to me. Both the Dreamgirls sequence and Run the World had "Holy costume change Batman!" moments for me.

Emma's OCD issues and Will's support of her were on the whole pretty impressive considering the clusterfuck of douche that is usually Will's character. That porn stash tho - really?

Kurt/Blaine. This season is actually making me like the couple because it's causing Kurt to grow and it's nice to see that.

Figgins is Asian so having to explain the Asian F concept to him seemed dumb to me. However, the vampire!tina continuity made me lol. Also, Mike Change appreciation is where it is at. That scene with his mom ♥__♥

That Sam/Mercedes reminder stomped on my heart a little. Sam Evans is definitely missed.

Date: 2011-10-06 09:39 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ellydash.livejournal.com
Amber really is beautiful - I loved the dress they put her in for "Spotlight." And I really, really want to like Mercedes's boyfriend, because she likes him and he clearly thinks she's the greatest thing since sliced bread, which she deserves, but I'm just not feeling him so far.

Mercedes is definitely not lazy, at least not how she's been portrayed for the last two seasons - and yeah, it's the combination of the fact that she's the big girl and that she's black that make the lazy label immensely unfortunate. RIB never met a stereotype they didn't like, though, so I'm not surprised. Just frustrated.

Oh, the porn stash. Every week they manage to give us some new TMI about Will's sex life, don't they?

Date: 2011-10-07 03:20 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] haispecialhell.livejournal.com
I wish more people recognized how pretty Amber is and that dress was divine. I think I would like him more if he was supporting her in a way that didn't tear down relationships that were important to her. He's supportive, but he's not nurturing. (Oh Sammy, I miss you and your Navi speaking ways.)

I know, and frankly I don't want to. That whole "milestones" comment kind of squicked me too. I also feel like part of the reason he wants to fix Emma is so he can have sex, which is sort of gross.

Date: 2011-10-05 10:45 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] kitsune13.livejournal.com
MIKE CHANG IS ALL THAT IS PERFECT AND GOOD IN THE WORLD, THE END. I am happy to stan for him unironically. ♥

Mercedes is amazing. I love her so much, and I am furious that she's being painted as the bad guy in fandom, and that RIB have decided that the issues she faces are because she -- the black girl! -- is LAZY. That is gross on so many levels, I can't even. I am going to build on my headcanon for her right this second and declare that Mercedes, like many teenagers, likes to downplay the amount of effort she puts into things because she wants her achievements to appear effortless. That's my story and I'm sticking to it, and RIB can go fuck themselves.

The whole Will/Mercedes tension really drove home some crucial stuff about both of their characters, for me. Will is a neediness junkie. He's turned on by vulnerability and people who want him to make everything better. That, more than anything else, is why he favors Rachel so much: right from the beginning, Rachel reacted to him emotionally and personally -- she treats him like he's is important to her. Even when Rachel fights with him, she never accuses him of neglect, but of active SABOTAGE. Rachel has cast him at the center of her own personal psychodrama: whether she's making him into the Beloved Mentor or the Arch-Nemesis, it's always a central role, and she treats him accordingly. And Will, who wants desperately to feel needed and powerful, eats it up with a spoon. It's not just that Rachel demands his attention, it's that she demands HIS attention. Rachel treats him like he matters to her, which is why he lets her get away with things (diva fits, challenging his authority, personal insults, sabotaging the team) that get people like Kurt, Mercedes, and Santana sent to the office or kicked out. Will and Rachel are very similar to each other, but especially in the "no sense of boundaries" and "taking everything personally" ways, which is why they gravitate to each other

Will neglects Mercedes and Kurt because they both cope by making a big display of confidence. They don't invite him in emotionally -- they don't give him his fix -- so he tells himself they don't need his attention as much as Rachel does. Will only starts sticking up for Kurt when he catches Kurt right after Karofsky threatened him, because now Kurt is one of his Vulnerable Students Who Needs His Help. Obviously Will's straight white guy privilege blinders are a big part of this too, but I think his need to feel needed is the major factor -- Kurt always presented himself as aloof and above-it-all, which doesn't feed Will's desires.

The saddest thing in that episode for me was that it revealed that Mercedes ALSO sees Will as central and important to her life, but because she doesn't make a big production of her emotional vulnerability the way Rachel does, he ignores her. A lot of the lines Mercedes gets in the show are supportive or even complimentary (she likes his chin!) of Will; that, along with the Dreamgirls sequence, seems to indicate that she wants his personal approval as much as Rachel does, but doesn't know how to get it. So she blames herself or Rachel, the safer targets. I was so glad to see her finally take it to the source of it all, and tell Will off. It was wonderfully satisfying, and I want to see how that conflict is going to play out over the rest of the season. If it doesn't end with him crawling to her and begging forgiveness, I may throw something.

Date: 2011-10-05 10:46 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] kitsune13.livejournal.com
(fucking comment limits! Or actually, fuck my tl;dr tendencies. :D)

For your Emma question, I was actually wondering how you would react to that! I agree wholeheartedly with the way you put it -- it doesn't excuse the way she treats people, but it explains so much. I'm never going to fully like Emma -- I overidentify with Santana, it's a natural antipathy :D -- but that made her a million times more sympathetic to me. It also shed some interesting light on her relationship with Ken Tanaka; she went out with him in the first place because he basically emotionally blackmailed her into it, but now that we've met her parents, the fact that sticking with him was a big "fuck you" to her upbringing made a lot of sense. Jayma acted the whole thing just beautifully, and I was tearing up at the end.

My god, that bedroom scene hurt. It was so real and honest and they connected beautifully, but it also reinforced for me that they should not be together. It's Will's neediness-junkie thing again -- he wants to take care of her, and I loved it when he told off her parents. But for someone like him, it really isn't in his best interests if she gets better. If she gets to the point where she can tell off her own parents, she won't need him, and then what will he do? He wants her to be well enough to love him and fuck him and commit to him, but not so well that she could leave him and take care of herself. I'm not saying he's, like, consciously and maliciously gaslighting her, and she obviously values his support. But in the long run, I think it's going to turn into Will/Terri 2.0. And that makes me sad, because they both deserve better to be trapped in a loveless marriage of passive-aggressive guilt and neediness.

Date: 2011-10-06 10:10 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ellydash.livejournal.com
(Your tl;dr tendencies are the best! Seriously, getting to headcanon with other people who care about Will Schuester's massive emotional issues is so much fun.)

Mercedes, like many teenagers, likes to downplay the amount of effort she puts into things because she wants her achievements to appear effortless.

I really like this, and it makes complete sense for her, especially given her obvious and understandable insecurities about how other people value her. [livejournal.com profile] the_seaward had an observation above about Mercedes trying to get out of booty camp that feels dead on to me: "It seemed a lot more like someone who was made uneasy about being singled out than someone who simply didn't want to be there. We've all been there: you're worked up about something, so you make up an excuse to get out of it." Her anger at Will in that scene seemed like a combination of two-plus years of built-up frustration over being overlooked, and her need to lash out at someone who was pushing her in a way she wasn't comfortable with, and who wasn't listening to her when she was very clearly indicating her boundaries. Will seems to think the same method that works so well with Finn ("Just keep pushing through it!") works with all the kids, when it clearly doesn't.

I honestly never thought we'd get a scene where Mercedes called Will on his shit, especially because, as you said, it's a lot easier and safer for Mercedes to pin her anger on Rachel rather than Will. So immensely satisfying, although I wonder to what extent we were supposed to be cheering her on, vs. gasping at her "audacity."

That Ken Tanaka part didn't occur to me at all until you mentioned it, and wow, that makes so much retroactive sense. (I never want to credit RIB for these things, because there's no way in hell they thought that far ahead, but I really, really love when characterization and character choices accidentally make sense on this show.) Carl, too - I'm not sure what his racial/ethnic background was supposed to be, but I know Stamos is Greek. And didn't her parents mention how much they didn't like him?

Ditto on the bedroom scene reinforcing how much Will and Emma's issues clash. I thought Will admitting that he was completely helpless (was it the first time we've seen him do this?) might, just might, be a good opening to admit that he himself needs some help - but I'm sure that's not going to happen. It's reassuring, though, that we're actually seeing the show tackle Emma's issues - and, a little bit, Will's too - without dismissing them as cute or harmless. If they keep that up, I might actually be interested in a Will and Emma storyline.

I'm never going to fully like Emma -- I overidentify with Santana, it's a natural antipathy :D

And this is why I want all the fic where Emma and Santana interact! I think that'd be a fascinating dynamic.

Date: 2011-10-06 02:09 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lennoxave.livejournal.com
I still don't know what to think about this episode. I think I might settle on "I thought it was a good episode, but I didn't really like it because I wanted to hit almost every single character upside the head."

I was totally prepared to hate the Will/Emma stuff, but I actually think it was handled a lot better than it could have been. I certainly think it's possible to sympathize with the position Will is in and still think he's not handling it very well. (Although thank god they had him admit that he didn't know what he was doing. The fact that he's just stumbling around in the dark at this and trying, even if he's not doing it well and knows he's not doing it well, makes him so much more palatable.) Honestly, can we get therapist lady back from last season and have her have joint session with Will and Emma that turn into single sessions with Will to get him over all of his issues? That would be swell, thanks.

Oh, man, the Mercedes plot. I have lots of things I think about this but they all sort of contradict each other so I don't even think I can form an opinion. I'm sort of withholding judgment (on this and on Shane) until the story plays itself out some more, since it seems like Glee's actually doing *gasp* STORY ARCS so maybe my opinion will change once I see where they're going?

What I will say is that this is why I actually liked the fact that Glee took place in a magical world where musical numbers came together in five minutes and no one prepared for anything: all of these performers are good. That's why they have jobs on a TV show. (Shh, just ignore the exceptions for now.) And that impacts these storylines. Because, like, maybe Mercedes doesn't work as hard as Rachel does? But she's Amber Fucking Riley, and in the context of the show she busts the hell out of songs on the first try, so why does it matter? I think the storyline is interesting, but I'm having some trouble with how they're getting there.

Other thoughts: Mike Chang might be my favorite human being ever, I continue to ship Mike/Tina and Kurt/Blaine like I'm getting paid for it (heart-breaking stair scene and all), and when I read your LJ cut text, my first thought was "Why, yes, I do fall in love with Heather Morris every time she dances on this show." I don't even like that song, but I have watched "Run the World" a zillion times. That and "Cool" were my "brb, rewatching forever" performances of the night.

Date: 2011-10-06 10:55 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ellydash.livejournal.com
I think I might settle on "I thought it was a good episode, but I didn't really like it because I wanted to hit almost every single character upside the head."

I wanted to hug all of them, pretty much, and also sit them down and give them a "oh, honey, no" talk. Especially Mercedes and Rachel.

The idea of Glee doing STORY ARCS with actual CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT is still so shocking to me - I agree that it's probably best to keep judgement at bay a little bit until we see where this is going. If it ends with Mercedes coming back to glee club and apologizing to everyone, though, I'm going to rage.

Because, like, maybe Mercedes doesn't work as hard as Rachel does?

I feel like nobody works as hard as Rachel does! But also that Rachel both works too hard, and weirdly not hard enough (as evidenced by the fact that she's woefully underprepared for NYADA with extracurriculars). And that Mercedes shouldn't be penalized for not wanting to give ND everything she has - the fact that she participates just as much as the rest of them do, and the fact that she has a fabulous voice, seems to indicate to me that she should be rewarded with at least one competition solo.

Heather Morris's dancing is my favorite. I'm not a huge Brittany fan (I do really like her in small doses, though) but I could watch HeMo dance all day, erryday.

Date: 2011-10-06 03:45 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] nonsensesqrd.livejournal.com
Other things first.

And let me just close by saying: Sam would never tell Mercedes not to hug Rachel.

OMG I totally thought this. I was like Sam would be rooting for his girl but like not cut down other members of the club.

Quinn icantgif I think in the gym scene she was distracting because she didn't match the color scheme.

I hate the food jokes, but NGL I laughed at Beiste being excited about Breadstix delivering. BRB shipping Beiste/Breadstix/Santana. There needs to be fic in which they bond over their shared love and Beiste teaches Santana how to be a dopper person.

The number was hokey but dammit it was delicious. It made me feel so many feelings. First and Foremost Mercedes knows that Puck has her back and Mike is always cool and neutral. It also made me want Matt to sing more songs that were not Cold Play.

Kurt, I just can't get a handle on Kurt this season. It doesn't help that he is one of my least favorites. I also wish we would hear more of his range and not just the high part.

When Brittany was singing I died. My favorite part was when she sings "work my 9 to 5 and I cut my check"


Mike Chang is Mike Chang. I feel like I can say to people who doubted in season 1 that I was right. Mike Chang is amazing and deserves all the stanning. My face may have gotten damp when he danced with his mom and he expressed how dancing made him feel special. (It took me like 30 minutes to write this much because I kept going to listen to "Cool" and "Run the World".)

Oh Man. Mercedes. I just hate how this is all playing out. To quote someone from a comm: All the conflicts are so cheaply laid out I feel no excitement or dread at all.

I know there have been times with Mercedes getting the raw deal, that were valid and should bring conflict between Rachel, Will, and herself, but what they have given us this season doesn't show it. If Mercedes says she is sick than Will should have been concerned and not been such a jerk.

I have a lot of Mercedes and Rachel feelings but I just cannot get them in order to express them to other people in a way that makes sense.

I was on the edge of my seat during the end Will/Emma scene. It broke my heart and I loved how they handled it. I just loved Emma for that whole scene as she talks about praying and thinking God could hear her better on her knees because of acoustics. The desperation in her voice and actions was just wonderful. Will being helpless and praying next to her was alight too. Although "Fix You" was a disaster.

Date: 2011-10-06 03:48 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] nonsensesqrd.livejournal.com
Also on a shallow note, am I the only bothered by Mercedes' middle part and Emma's combover flat bangs?

Date: 2011-10-07 07:20 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ellydash.livejournal.com
(I had a whole response typed out yesterday and LJ ate it! Grrr.)

If it didn't break my heart to think about it, I think I'd totally write an AU where Sam never left and how his presence changes what happens with Mercedes, because I feel like it would, and I just miss that guy so much. ;_____; I know what you mean about having all the Mercedes and Rachel feelings but not being able to express them coherently - I feel the same way. Honestly, I really feel for Rachel, too (my Rachel stanning coming out, probably) - she still doesn't know how to manage her friendships in a way that's consistently healthy, and she very clearly knew that Mercedes deserved the part based on their auditions, which for Rachel must be a real kick to the stomach.

BRB shipping Beiste/Breadstix/Santana. There needs to be fic in which they bond over their shared love and Beiste teaches Santana how to be a dopper person.

YES. THIS NEEDS TO HAPPEN. I seriously had no idea how much I wanted this until right now.

HeMo was just flawless, wasn't she? I go back and forth on Brittany - I think I like her best in small doses - but I could watch HeMo dancing for hours. That number was so much fun.

Date: 2011-10-06 11:33 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] arishako.livejournal.com
The Wemma stuff was... weird. Like, they went through the whole spectrum of feelings for me. I thought they were actually adorable (despite myself) in the beginning of the episode where will was showing Emma his porn stash ~secrets; I wanted to punch Will in the face when he just invited her parents over without permission (and I am actually glad the show had that backfire terribly tbh. that was not okay); when the scene started, I was prepared to be majorly creeped out and possibly offended by the ginger supremacist thing, but that scene actually wound up being really powerful to me; but then the final scene wound up being particularly cringe-worthy for me for personal reasons.

I thought Kurt was being so weird in this episode. He seemed to completely let his desire for the role of Tony go (which is good for Blaine and a super nice thing of him to do, but I really wasn't expecting it after all the set-up). And then his insults toward Mercedes were completely out of left-field to me (though I thought they technically sounded awesome. I don't always like his high register, but he pulled that little bit off imo). What happened to them? :( And then he turned on Rachel, too, just like that. I mean, of course he wouldn't be like thrilled that she was running against him or anything, but they compete in Glee Club all the time; I don't think he should have gone so far as to end their friendship over it (not to mention that telling her she wouldn't be a good president was unnecessary ;_;).

I know I probably shouldn't have, but I loved Hemo's solo. She's not the greatest singer or anything, but that song was just great for her voice (and I won't even get into my thoughts on the dance number or all my brittana feelings or LOL QUINN YOUR DANCING ~~~~~~~~~~~~SKILLS because I will run out of room in this comment).

I'm especially conflicted about Mercedes though. Because, really, what she was saying was true: if people were judging just based on talent, she would be sharing the spotlight with Rachel, rather than hanging off in the background and occasionally getting a "glory-note." But, on the other hand (and I suspect the writers were intentionally writing her this way, tho that doesn't make me happy) she was being a bit of a jerk in this episode. I was totally for her when she spoke out against Will (although, again, I think the writers were trying to make her less sympathetic with that), but her comments to Rachel were a bit much. In my opinion, Rachel can definitely be an egotistical jerk, but, idk, is it her fault that Will favors her voice? (that's not like a rhetorical question or anything. i'd love to discuss how much rachel is at fault for this.)

But, most of all, I despised the fact that the show didn't quite confirm but definitely hinted at a bunch more stereotypes being true for Mercedes's character (as they did the last time she actually got screentime, as well); the really gross ones about how she's ~looking to be offended or ~looking for racism in innocent actions (which is what I've seen a lot of people say she's doing in the final casting scene or during her rant to Will (not to say i agree with that interpretation, but it's what i've seen a lot of people using as their excuse to insult her)).

And, yeah, I'm not liking newboyfriendguy. Sam would have been so much awesomer, w/e.

also

lol

look at quinn

and her fucking face wtf

Date: 2011-10-07 07:40 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ellydash.livejournal.com
That final Wemma scene in the bedroom was such an intimate one in so many ways. I completely get how it could be incredibly moving for one person or incredibly offensive for another, just because it was so personal, in a way this show (which obvs is not afraid to ~go there~ with extreme emotions on a regular basis) doesn't usually do. It really surprises me that so many people seemed to be massively offended by the ginger supremacist thing, in that they thought the show was making light of it. And yeah, if they'd played it for laughs I would've been raging, but the progression of the reveals into darker and darker moments (holy fuck they tied Emma's thumbs together) and the fact that Will got legitimately angry makes it pretty obvious we were supposed to see it as the immensely fucked-up situation it is/was. For once, Glee actually pulled off something serious by being serious.

I miss Kurt and Mercedes's friendship so, so much. I'm willing to explain away the Dreamgirls stuff as Glee never being really good with translating lyrics into character-appropriate lines (my jaw is still on the floor from "bluffin with my muffin"). But at the same time, I would've loved to have seen him support her. Or Quinn. This would've been a PERFECT opportunity to do something with Quinn and Mercedes.

In my opinion, Rachel can definitely be an egotistical jerk, but, idk, is it her fault that Will favors her voice? (that's not like a rhetorical question or anything. i'd love to discuss how much rachel is at fault for this.)

This is a really good point. I'm much more willing and ready to lay the blame at Will's feet for a lot of Mercedes's angst, even most of it; it's his responsibility to give solos according to talent, not favoritism or what's easier. And after all, he's the adult, even if it's easy to forget that! I think where Rachel's responsibility comes in is learning to have some peripheral vision, (slightly!) less entitlement and greater empathy for others' positions before the shit hits the fan. Sure, Will's providing the context in which Rachel's favored and coddled, but she's happily accepting it and feeding off it because, well, she's Rachel Berry and that's what she does.

Side note: it's weird to me that fandom is castigating Mercedes for being "lazy," when Rachel's just now realizing, in her senior year (!) that she needs to get some extra-curriculars. Which isn't really laziness, but it does show that Rachel, despite her hunger for stardom, is woefully underprepared to achieve what she wants, in some ways.

omg Quinn just what even are you doing it's like she's thinking STEP BALL CHANGE ONE TWO THREE so hard it's projected all over her dumb face ♥____♥

see I told you I'd tl;dr right back and I did! also, ~shit, I still need a Quinn icon

Date: 2011-10-07 09:20 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] kitsune13.livejournal.com
OMG Quinn. So adorable and hilarious, I can't. ♥

Re Rachel and responsibility, I agree that most of it belongs with Will -- he's the adult, and he's supposed to be in charge. But I don't think Rachel was just passively reacting to his unprovoked favoritism; Rachel set the tone of their interactions very early on, when she flipped her shit if Will paid attention to anyone besides herself and Finn. One of the things I love most about Rachel as that she very much sees herself as the co-director ("Mr. Schue, STOP SPEAKING" is one of my favorite Rachel moments ever), and Will lets her -- she's got him very well-trained at this point.

It works out to the benefit of both of them: Rachel doesn't freak out as much, and Will gets Rachel to play bad cop so that he can be the nice, inspirational leader instead of the hardass. Since the other students usually confine themselves to grumbling, Will can tell himself it's not that much of a problem, and he's just keeping the peace. Of course, that just intensifies Rachel's sense of entitlement and smugness. Rachel is, and always has been, a far more active character than Will -- she makes things happen, for better or for worse. Will is not entirely passive by any means, but Rachel is by far the stronger personality. So that, I think, is where Rachel's part in this lies -- because favoring her solves some problems for him, problems that she created in the first place, he lets it happen. And he justifies it by believing that they need her to win, something that Rachel encourages. And she makes herself into his ally and friend, in order to get him to keep favoring her. Rachel is smarter and tougher than Will, and while I don't think it's cold manipulation on her part -- she clearly adores him -- she definitely works to get and keep her advantage with him.

This kind of stuff is why I love meta-ing about this show; there's such an unholy tangle of personalities in that choir room. Basically, Mercedes gets penalized for not displaying her insecurity to Will (either negatively or positively), which is all kinds of sad and fucked up. Weirdly enough, I think the anti-Mercedes fan rhetoric mirrors what Will does -- favoring Rachel because they've seen more of her vulnerability than Mercedes has ever been allowed to show.

And dude, I don't even get the ret-conning of Rachel being unprepared for college applications. She's the one who joined EVERY CLUB EVER!

Date: 2011-10-07 09:33 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] arishako.livejournal.com
Yeah, the last scene wasn't so much offensive for me, but it was just something that I couldn't really get through, since it bothered me (and not in a good way that can sometimes happen with really personal moments like that). But, again, that was more for personal things; I am about as objective as you are in that lol. Back before the show aired and there were just spoilers going around, I was really worried, since I thought it would be handled in a ~*~lol racism~*~ way (that the show has admittedly done before lol) or something else kind of awkward. But that scene actually wound up being wonderful and powerful imo, and in a really subtle way that Glee doesn't usually go for. I loved the way that the parents were so light and casual about everything, like laughing off the fact that Emma was uncomfortable with the 'nick name' for example, rather than immediately and blatantly just starting off the scene by being exaggeratedly evil or something.

Yeah, I still haven't quite given up on some Mercedes friendships (lol @ me) yet. I'm hoping that during the next ep, more people will come talk to her once they realize that she's actually left the show choir. Like, even if it just winds up being Santana (btw, still lolling at the fact that her conflict was resolved in one throwaway line) who comes over and grudgingly says Mercedes is a good singer or something. It sucked that nobody was there for her when it seemed like she really needed someone to be this ep. :(

Yeah, I'm just a little upset by the people who are furious at Rachel, as well (frankly, I'm pissed at anyone who is trying to force people to take sides, declaring they are on 'team' rachel or mercedes, saying that one of the girls needs to step down while the other deserves more praise (news flash: they're both acting the same way; one of them is just getting more attention from the teachers than the other) and everything like that. i really dislike the whole ~fandom war thing). Maybe I'm just too big of a stan to be impartial, but I actually thought Rachel was being fine this episode (well, not perfect, obvs, but I don't think she was acting any worse than she usually does, so I was a bit surprised by the sudden Rachel hate on g_a after that ep).

Imo, Rachel can be an asshole. And she can be selfish. But I don't think it's her doing that she does get the lion's share of the solos in glee club (I'd mostly blame Will for that). I think it's def true that Rachel would have a bit of influence, being a co-captain, to willingly give up the solos that Will is giving her and offer then to others (rather than what she currently does, which is hoard her solos during competitions and instead goes along with Will's plans to honor the others during non-competition time). But, while I think that that would be the right and selfless thing to do, Idk how much Rachel could really be faulted for going along with Will's decisions that benefit her rather than trying to look out for everyone possibly at cost to her (or so she believes). If that makes sense lol. So while I def agree that Rachel is selfish and could be giving up some of her solos, it would be better on everybody if Will would distribute them more evenly in the first place, so that the students aren't sort of put into that bad position.

lol rachel ♥_♥ idk why, but I sort of love that she's so stupid this season. But, other than that, IA that the "mercedes is laaazy" thing really came out of nowhere. And, yeah, while I would totally love for Rachel to be president, it was really short-sighted on her part to try running just so that she's have something that would make her stand out (tho, whatever happened to her being like a member/president of all the clubs? lol).

you should just make a discussion post about quinnifer's face tbh tbh <333

lol part 1

Date: 2011-10-08 01:56 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] sceptick.livejournal.com
Finally got around to watching this ep, and wow do I ever have a lot of feelings. There's gon' be some tl;dr up in this bitch, fair warning.

First off: Will and Emma. I think, in this case, (and mind you I'm speaking as someone who hasn't been in this position so I may be completely off-base) he was in the right to speak up. The way I read it (both off the way it was shot and off of Emma's characterization in the past), at the dinner scene, Emma wasn't going to speak up. I think the fact that she never mentioned this situation to Will shows some pretty strong denial/residual pain, and I don't think she would have said anything. I think, as someone who 'loves' Emma (and I'm using apostrophes there because I don't really believe that Will loves Emma so much as what she represents to him, for the most part, but he does care very deeply for her, imo), in that place it was okay for him to say it and to support her. The difference between this and, say, Jean's funeral in The Episode Which Shall Not Be Named, for me, is who is involved and how they react. I could buy Will thinking it was fine for him to step up and take over for Sue in the eulogy, because he's got a hero complex a mile wide and he's oblivious as fuck to boundaries and what's acceptable and what ain't, but I absolutely could not buy Sue's reaction at school afterwards. That's what cheapened that one for me: they played it off like it was an appropriate thing to do, when Sue was being wildly OOC. At the dinner scene, with it being Will and Emma, I could accept that he would see it as his place to step in, but I can also buy that Emma wouldn't tell him to back off or that he was out of line, and that she would appreciate it. Does that make sense? I'm running on next to no sleep right now so it might not.

The dinner scene was incredibly, incredibly dark, and I'm impressed that they went there, in a way. I, like you, expected this to turn into a "lol ginger supremacy" thing, kind of like the "GINGER" BTW t-shirt. But I think it explained a lot about Emma's character up to this point, a lot about the way she's reacted to things (sort of like the Lucy reveal for Quinn, although more so). Up until now, I've been pretty pissed with the way Emma was written because her motivations were pretty unclear, imo. I mean, we knew she was struggling with OCD and she was in love with Will and she gave bad advice to kids, but there wasn't any backstory or depth, iykwim. I wouldn't say I like her any better as a person, but I think she's become a very interesting character over the course of this episode, and I'm actually interested to see where the writers will take her from here.

The last thing Imma say about Will/Emma, and I can't believe I've written this much about them, holy shit, is that IA that the prayer scene was well handled. It was nice to see Will acknowledge that he can't "fix" Emma, and that he can't be her saviour because he doesn't know what to do. Can we call that character development? I think we can, tbh. Shocking, I know!

OKAY SO MERCEDES. This storyline hit me hella hard, negl, and so my take on it is gonna be really subjective and maybe totally different from how you read it. I'll start off with some personal shit: I've been really into theatre, specifically musical theatre, for a very, very long time. I've been singing since I was in elementary school and, although I'm by no means very good, compared to the kids at my high school I was. I wasn't a terrible dancer (I didn't have any formal training, but I had decent muscle memory and physicality because of taekwondo/soccer/etc), and I was a decent actor. For my high school, that was pretty good. But despite it all, I never once got the part I auditioned for -- I was pushed into the background, smaller parts with fewer songs, to make way for kids who couldn't keep on-key or who couldn't play any emotion other than happily in love (and when you're doing Sweeney Todd that just doesn't cut it, tbh.) And it killed me. This was the one thing I did for myself. Everything else was academics and sports, but this was all for me. Singing was one of the few things I enjoyed and took pride in.

lol part 2

Date: 2011-10-08 01:58 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] sceptick.livejournal.com
Thing was, every time I got passed over, it felt like I was being told I wasn't good enough, I wasn't thin enough, I wasn't pretty enough. So yeah, long story short, I took some severe hits to my self-esteem and I started 'not feeling well'. And it's not laziness -- it's being so tired and so sad that the smallest things (a twisted ankle, a stomach ache) are enough to knock you out of commission. Worst part, you feel guilty about it afterwards because it was minor, you know? It was just a twisted ankle. If you'd been feeling better, you could have pushed through, but you're just so down and empty that you feel like you can't, and then afterwards all you can think is that you must be too lazy. Not good enough. Not committed enough.

So that's how I read Mercedes. The hesitation on the line in "it's all over" about 'not feeling good' or w/e, I interpreted that as the kind of guilt and shame that I felt over not doing enough, when in reality I just couldn't. So I didn't see Mercedes as being lazy -- I saw that whole scene as a manifestation of her insecurities and her doubts and her anger. Will tells her she's not doing enough, that she's been slacking off, because that's how she thinks he feels about her. Santana brings her down, rips at all the insecurities we've seen Mercedes fight and the things she feels ashamed of, and even if I personally don't believe they're true (I don't think Mercedes has become meaner, I don't think she's lazy), if we follow the whole headcanon/mentality I laid out above it follows that a part of Mercedes worries that they are.

I think that one of the most interesting parts of that number was Kurt's part. Kurt says he's tired of her drama. It doesn't mean Kurt actually is -- this is all happening in Mercedes' head. Mercedes is afraid that that's how he feels. I really hope that this is going to tie into some kind of arc about Kurt has been shifting from Mercedes to Rachel (which happens all the time in high schools, honestly). At least dealing with the consequences, because I think it's bizarre that they haven't broached that yet given how BFF-y Kurt and Mercedes used to be.

Obviously it's possible that I'm reading into this/relating to this way too much, and the writers really do mean to show that Mercedes is lazy and bad. But there was something about the way the episode was filmed, how sad she looked in the shots of her walking down the hallways, that didn't make her into a villain, and that's why I think we're going to go more in depth on what's going on in Mercedes' head in later episodes this season. I think this might be the first time they've approached the way the teachers favour Rachel on the show honestly, and showed it in a negative light with the way it affects Mercedes. They're doing the whole "Rachel needs to think of others" again, but I thought doing it with Kurt and Finn and Mercedes was a lot more effective than Sunshine, etc. For all that I love Rachel (and you know I love Rachel), I think they really do show her ugly side a lot, and I appreciate that they acknowledge it since they so rarely do for other characters (although that last shot of Rachel looking sad and lonely was clearly trying to generate sympathy for her, imo, so idk? I found that kind of jarring, to go from 'Rachel needs to think of others' to 'Rachel is so neglected poor bb.')

I think my least favourite part of this episode is fandom's reaction to it. It's all "gtfo Mercedes because you hurt poor Rachel/Kurt/Will/New Directions/etc etc etc" and seriously? After the way she's been neglected for the past two years, I don't blame her, and I don't think she's done anything much wrong in this particular episode. (Ask me about Grilled Cheesus and you'll get a very different answer, lol.)

OKAY SO THAT WAS A FUCKTON OF TLDR. Briefly, then:

-Mike Chang is beautiful.

-Mrs. Chang should be Burt's running mate (does that happen in the states? If not then she should be his campaign manager or something, idk.)

-Brittany is flawfree, and I'm starting to ship Brittany/Santana again.

-Yeah, I'm really missing Sam. I'm not much liking this new guy at all.

(ET C'EST LA FIN DU TL;DR. VOUS POUVEZ MAINTENANT PARTIR.)

Re: lol part 2

Date: 2011-10-09 06:32 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ellydash.livejournal.com
First off, I'm sorry it's taken me this long to get back to you! It's the first time I've been at a computer for more than five minutes since Friday, and I wanted to make sure to give your comments the time and attention it deserves. ♥)

The difference between this and, say, Jean's funeral in The Episode Which Shall Not Be Named, for me, is who is involved and how they react. I could buy Will thinking it was fine for him to step up and take over for Sue in the eulogy, because he's got a hero complex a mile wide and he's oblivious as fuck to boundaries and what's acceptable and what ain't, but I absolutely could not buy Sue's reaction at school afterwards. That's what cheapened that one for me: they played it off like it was an appropriate thing to do, when Sue was being wildly OOC.

This, this, a million times this. I was actually thinking a bit about the contrast between The Episode Which Shall Not Be Named and Asian F, and a lot of it really comes down to the choices they did or didn't make for the characters' reactions to some pretty dark, disturbing moments. Funeral took the (offensively) easy way out, Asian F didn’t. One of the things I really appreciated about the Will/Emma stuff in Asian F - I won't say 'love,' because that doesn't feel like the right word, exactly - was that they actually gave some space to the implications of what they were showing us, rather than smoothing it over or moving on right away. (Remember Sue's line to Kurt and Finn in Funeral, asking them why Jean was the one dead, when she herself was the meanest person she knew and should've been the one who died? That's some dark, dark, disturbing (and interesting!) stuff, especially that Sue was voicing those thoughts to students, but they never followed up on it, and quickly moved on to Pure-Hearted Savior Will.)

I, like you, expected this to turn into a "lol ginger supremacy" thing, kind of like the "GINGER" BTW t-shirt.

I’d totally forgotten the BTW shirt, but the fact that Emma wore that is now way more interesting – wasn’t Will’s criticism that she was avoiding the difficult label by using GINGER instead of OCD? And now it looks like that label GINGER is bound up in what her illness means to her – that her parents’ racism and pathology is at least partly responsible for giving her an environment that encourages her OCD to develop. Not like RIB planned that out, but it’s retroactively fascinating, imo.

Mercedes. I was really looking forward to hearing your thoughts on this, actually, because I know she’s one of your favorites – and what you said about your own experiences really makes so much sense for her character. Internalizing that intense pressure and having it translate into physical pain is almost a coping mechanism, I think – the body’s way of saying it can’t handle the emotional intensity without interpreting it physically. And for Mercedes, it’s two whole years of that pressure building. It makes complete sense she'd react this way.

I’m still not exactly sure how the show wants us to see Mercedes. I’m almost positive we’re not supposed to see her as an outright villain, or completely lazy, judging (as you said) by some of those reaction shots. But I’m also not sure we’re supposed to wholly sympathize or empathize with her, either. (Gray areas? In Glee? Nope, can't be!) I wonder to what extent fandom’s almost univocal anti-Mercedes reaction is being prompted by the way they’re framing her in-show (as lazy, etc.), or if it’s more about siding with Rachel. The amount of Mercedes hate out there right now is really disturbing, imo.

Mrs. Chang should be Burt's running mate (does that happen in the states? If not then she should be his campaign manager or something, idk.)

No running mates for congressional seats, sadly! But yes, she should totally be part of his campaign.

Re: lol part 2

Date: 2011-10-09 10:26 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] sceptick.livejournal.com
You know, part of me wonders if the whole "ginger supremacists" storyline was written to deal with some of the criticism I've heard of that shirt in the episode. Like, correct me if i'm wrong, but I remember people saying that the portrayal of Emma's denial and the fact that Will had to "make her face up to her disability" was really offensive. (that could be, btw, not a memory so much as my opinion from the time and i'm just getting confused, lol.) I really like how it ties in, regardless; like I said, I think what happened in this episode explains a lot about who Emma is and why she acts the way she does.

As far as Mercedes goes, I highly doubt that's what it'll actually be. I don't think RIB would delve into teenage depression like that, tbh, because it seems so trivial from the outside: a girl going under because she doesn't get the recognition she wants. This is just my headcanon until the show proves me wrong, honestly. I'm glad you think it makes sense tho, I wasn't sure it'd come across as anything more than biased, over-projecting stanning, lol.

I just can't side with either of them. Rachel's ruthlessness is one of the most interesting parts of her, so as much as I wish it didn't affect Mercedes (because ~stan stan stan~,) I can't be unhappy with the storyline on that front. On the other hand, I have been pissed off with the way Will ignores Mercedes since Sectionals, when it took Emma taking over as director to buy Mercedes the chance to even try for a competition solo. I can't even begin to express how angry and upset I was when Mercedes dropped out of the running, altho I understand why she did. (Sidenote: I really, really loved that moment when Emma and Beiste and Artie were called out on only giving Rachel the part because they felt sorry for her or w/e when Mercedes' audition was better. Not because "haha rachel sux" or anything, but because there was this delicious awkwardness and it's the first time the favoritism has really been adressed, iirc, and i thought it was really effective.)

LOL POLITICS HOW DO THEY WORK but srsly I just want them to be frands and start a club or take over the Bully Whips or something.

damn but i just can't keep from tl;dring all over your journal, bb, sorry :/

Re: lol part 2

Date: 2011-10-11 06:26 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ellydash.livejournal.com
seriously, don't apologize. I've been hearteying like crazy reading everyone's brilliant comments, including yours

I definitely don't want to side with either Rachel or Mercedes - I love both of them, and I get where both of them are coming from - [livejournal.com profile] arishako has some great points in defense of Rachel above that I definitely agree with. For me, it really comes down to Will, in the end, and the fact that these are two 16-year-olds who aren't and shouldn't be accountable in the way that Will, as the presumed adult, is in this situation. Even if, as [livejournal.com profile] kitsune13 points out, Rachel isn't at all powerless in the dynamic between her and Will. It's a delicate balance with Rachel - yes, she's ostracized and bullied in a lot of ways that are unfair and troubling, but she also benefits quite a bit in ways that aren't fair to others. She and Mercedes, I think, are so interesting in part because they each have what the other lacks - Mercedes is personable in ways Rachel isn't, while Rachel gets the recognition Mercedes craves.

Re: lol part 1

Date: 2011-10-08 03:43 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] kitsune13.livejournal.com
I don't really believe that Will loves Emma so much as what she represents to him, for the most part, but he does care very deeply for her, imo

This perfectly sums up Wemma for me. ♥ ♥ ♥ It also suits Finn/Rachel as well -- and THESE are the relationships that are presented as the big exciting central romances of the show. Blergh.

I would only add that I think it goes both ways -- Emma is, and always has been, presented as being way more into the *idea* of a relationship than with the reality. This is why she agreed to marry two guys and moved in with a third while having no intention of sleeping with any of them. She's actively dishonest about her own willingness to commit, but she still wants it from others. (And oh wow, I'm furious with RIB all over again for their sexist "women want weddings, men want teh sex" crap. Can we please have some more focus on "Tina is hot for Mike" and "Brittany is happily pansexual" storylines? Then this grossness, which is exactly the same as the Finchel grossness, wouldn't stand out so much.)

Re: lol part 1

Date: 2011-10-08 05:45 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] sceptick.livejournal.com
Yeah, that's defs Finn/Rachel too, for sure. I just -- I think it could be so interesting if it were a different kind of show, if Glee were the kind of show that could actually examine these fucked up dynamics and play with them and acknowledge their flaws and whatnot. Like, imagine a show where Finn/Rachel happened, but emphasis was put on the consequences of the unhealthiness of their expectations for each other, and other characters reacted realistically to it. But because it's Glee, I'm not sure that kind of darkness would fit tbh. Even the scene on this week's episode with Emma's parents, while I thought it was fantastic, didn't quite mesh with the usual Glee shtick, iykwim.

It definitely goes two ways. One thing Will and Emma have in common is that they're both dreamers, imo. It's the only reason they're still obsessed with each other after everything, it has to be. They each have an idealised view of the other person that they can't let go of no matter what happens. The other thing they have in common is their shared lack of self-awareness, and it irritates the hell out of me (mostly because the show never acknowledges it. If it did, I'd be totally down.) Emma is painted as this kind, caring soul, but then she treats Carl foully. Will is presented as the protector, the mentor, but he lacks the maturity to fill that role.

The thing is, while Emma's problems regarding relationships fascinate me, I wouldn't really want RIB to go indepth into them for fear of them retreating into that sexist bullshit you mention. That's one of the most irritating things about Glee: I want more storylines about the female characters, because they're grossly underused, but I just know that RIB would screw them up. The girl-centric storylines thus far have been full of double standards, stereotypes, and sexism. For all that I want the girls to get more screentime, I definitely don't want any more of that.

Woops, seems I've gone and written like a million words again, lol. What is it about Glee that makes me rant like this? Anyway, thanks for reading it through :D You have pretty flawless opinions, jsyk ♥

Date: 2011-10-10 01:42 am (UTC)
pleonasm: (Default)
From: [personal profile] pleonasm
...I just watched this episode, because I am behind, but I really enjoyed reading through your post and all of the comments here. I think most people have said what I would have said (I think that Mercedes was completely justified in telling off Will and the musical team, and when she told them she quit I was cheering, etc.). But the one thing that no one seemed to mention was the Kurt/Rachel scene where she says she's running for class president and she won't back down. That scene killed me. I'm not sure if Rachel is supposed to be read this way, but I can only see her now as someone who values her own ego over everyone else's. This is usually handled in a humorous way (even in this episode, where she assumed she would do the weeknights and Mercedes could play the matinees), but that scene was just a punch and could lead in such a dark direction. I felt really bad for Kurt -- I mean, as he explained, he wants to improve the school, and Rachel just wants to fill out her resume. How selfish is this?

I get really tired of Rachel being the butt monkey for silly things, but I really hope she sees some kind of consequences for that action.

fffff I wrote this whole comment about Rachel, but seriously, omg, Mercedes. I had so many feelings.

Date: 2011-10-11 06:15 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ellydash.livejournal.com
(True story: I read your comment when I was supposed to be working this afternoon at a coffee shop, and just as I finished, my friend, sitting across from me, said, "So I know we're working, but we have to talk about what happened with Mercedes on Glee." I had this moment of oh god how does she know what I'm doing right now but it was just a total coincidence, turns out.)

That Kurt/Rachel scene killed me too. I saw it as her reaching out in desperation for something to give her the validation she so badly wants, after coming in second to Mercedes (or, at least, she perceives it as coming in second, which is just as important). It's definitely selfish and painful, but very in-character, imo - I'm interested to see if they continue to pursue what came across as a major fracture in their relationship.

All the feelings about Mercedes in the world. I'm still not done parsing the episode and what happened with her, but everyone's brillant thoughts above have given me so much to think about. I think I need to give it another watch, but I'm not sure if I want to, you know? It was really well done, but painful, too.

Date: 2011-10-11 11:32 am (UTC)
pleonasm: (Default)
From: [personal profile] pleonasm
(That is completely hilarious.)

Yes, yes, validation. I'm shocked that she was able to admit that Mercedes out-performed her, honestly, but to immediately find some way to feel better about it was a very Rachel thing. And during the K/R scene I kinda laughed and said to my girlfriend, "Yeah, I've been expecting that friendship to break up for ages. They're just too competitive." (Completely true, although it was kinda cute to see at first. Maybe I'm still bitter that Kurt/Mercedes friendship seems to hvae died.)

I know exactly what you mean. I want to rewatch, but the first half of this episode made me so mad that I almost didn't watch the second half! (Plus, I thought most of the fantasy musical numbers were jarring.) It may be worth trying to see what it feels like after a second viewing, though.

Date: 2011-10-13 12:36 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ashmole.livejournal.com
I’ve been trying to think how to do this in an organised fashion but it isn’t really shaping together so instead I’ll just splurge. I really loved the first two episodes of the season but was less enamoured with this one. I’m not exactly sure why and it might just come down to me being more invested in Mercedes’ character than I realised, I don’t know. Also I was forced to realise how rusty I’ve gotten at gathering my thoughts together neatly.

There are certain words that the show always attaches to itself like ‘underdog’ and even contradictory formulations like ‘underdog in everybody.’ I think that one’s courtesy of Darren but it’s symptomatic of a mass pop TV show of beautiful successful people extolling itself as a rallying point for losers and outcasts etc. I don’t take issue with that at all, it’s par for the course, but I think it gets to a tension that is at the heart of the show and one that has been on full display so far this season on the question of ‘losing’ and ‘winning’ at things and how the audience feels about who does and doesn’t, or should and shouldn’t in Glee’s universe.

When I see Kurt, Mercedes or even Quinn’s storylines these past few episodes it makes me interested to watch, I enjoy drama and the lack of resolution that’s been provided because I find it narratively engaging. At the same time it really sucks to be Kurt, Mercedes or Quinn right now and I don’t really think there’s any way around that. The show has become obsessed with giving certain characters ‘reality checks’ all of a sudden with Will shouting at Quinn and Mercedes, Rachel and Kurt being told they aren’t necessarily special or suitable for their dreams, Santana being read the riot act for actions of far less severity than ones which in the past had been overlooked etc. It’s a really odd thing to suddenly be saying after two seasons of increasingly hokey ‘believe in yourself and triumph’ storylines. You can compare Kurt in season 1 excelling in football exactly because of his theatrical flamboyance to a storyline now where it suddenly is a barrier to success in actually succeeding in theatre.
To me what that says is something that the fandom has actually known for a long time which is that the Gleeverse is in many ways a capricious and random place, it is more heightened and melodramatic than our world but not necessarily more planned or teleological. For a while I think this fact became all tangled up with the terribleness of the writing, i.e. Glee is giving out bad Aesops and making random twists in storylines because it is terribly written. Obviously that’s kinda true but I don’t think it has to be the only reason the show is like that.

From the early days there was this thing where critics were struggling with whether to label it as High School Musical (A Disney talisman of happy endings and wholesomely embracing your uniqueness) or as Election (A satire about what a farce it is to believe in anything more than people being assholes) and as things became more and more commercial and afterschool special-like that sort of fell by the wayside as people dismissed the amoral characters like Sue or Terri as somehow not actually integral to the ‘point’ of the show. One became fun window dressing increasingly showing a heart of gold and singing ukulele songs to sick children and the other was sidelined entirely because of backlash at her not being a very nice person (you don’t say) before finally being shipped off the island with a moral band aid applied to what a glorious and awful figure she was. The nihilistic parts of the storytelling were excised during the second season and now a sudden return to them seriously doesn’t sit easy in a fandom being made to watch a show that is different than the one they’ve been made to expect.

The strangest thing about Glee right now and I think the cause of a lot of fan anger is that it’s now simultaneously giving some characters ‘reality checks’ while remaining a wish fulfilment fantasy for others. For example Mike is caught and coddled (awesomely by an awesome mom) by the show universe for ‘being himself’ which is a message that Glee has pushed for a long time (It’s Kurt’s storyline from Preggers) while Kurt is currently learning a harsh life lesson in what being yourself gets you.

Date: 2011-10-13 12:37 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ashmole.livejournal.com
The message of ‘I am Unicorn’ was ‘it’s impossible to be anyone but yourself and it can get you punished’ while the message of Mike’s storyline is ‘believe in yourself and what you want to be and be rewarded.’ I guess you could gloss both more broadly as ‘be yourself because you have to be,’ if you needed to extract a moral though it’s not exactly cuddly. Mercedes’ storyline is ‘sometimes the world is unfair, doesn’t that suck?’ while Brittany’s is ‘for some people the world always comes up roses and choreographed hot red headed cheerleaders’. It’s really dissonant but it’s not baseline unacceptable as a thing to say unless you believe that the show should act as an Aesop (which in fairness the show runners have emphasised it should be multiple times). Taking an afterschool special structure, which Glee has, and then not telling moral fables or even worse occasionally telling moral fables and occasionally not is a really screwy thing to do. I love it personally because it’s weird and obnoxious and interesting and it creates an odd tension in expectation between the fandom and the show runners but it’s not likely to feel natural or be easily palatable. At the same time I think I’d be willing to call it that that’s what is going on, I simply don’t believe from what we’ve seen and from Ryan Murphy’s previous work that he is very interested in telling parables like that.
It’s easy to see why that would cause outrage about bad messaging as well as seeming confusion over whether the correct storyline is to have Kurt get the part to prove that effemiphobia is nonsense or whether he should not get the part to prove that effemiphobia exists and isn’t fair. Characters like Blaine, Brittany and arguably Finn live charmed lives while Kurt, Mercedes and Emma suffer and don’t have things work out. In a moralistic universe that means the gods are punishing them for some failure and if it seems like that failure is precisely being an ‘underdog’ or ‘loser’ then it creates a rightly creates cognitive dissonance. There’s a problem in that Glee has a tension between the caprice and randomness of King Lear or something (like flies to wanton boys are we to the gods etc.) and a comic storyline which attends the obsession with happy endings and endgames. In a comedy people want to know the pairings at the end because they are the capstone on a moral arc in the universe, it isn’t silly for people to be so obsessed with that idea because there are a whole lot of genre cues that tell you it’s the important thing that you should care about. Glee is obviously unreal but it’s also frustratingly/intriguingly amoral depending on your outlook.

I think it’s also worth pointing out that I think the show hurts the ones it loves. Kurt and Rachel being dumped on early in the season can have no outcome except later triumph as far as I can see. I think it’s likely to be romantic though, we’ll see. I’m interested in whether Mercedes being given an angsty plot means a rise in her status in the eyes of the writers.

Disconnected from anything else I agree that the storyline would have been so fascinating to me if Sam were still around and dating Mercedes. If anything, although he wasn’t a massive character, he built up a fair bit of momentum as a moral anchor and it would make things a lot more balanced in my eyes in comparison to Shane who we don’t yet know. I miss him ;________;

It’s also interesting that in this episode where people are dealing with ‘reality checks’ we suddenly have the most dream sequences and hallucinations we’ve ever had on glee. Instead of Tina we have imaginary angel Tina guiding Mike’s feet when he is lost and confused (then being replaced by his mother lolol), Mercedes gets a condemnation chorus (the chorus turning against you is not a thing you want in a musical imo, it means you’re not in happy ending mode) and Emma is confronted with a girl in the mirror which I agree is effective in adding some depth and explanation into why she’s been weirdly infantilised in the past but it does also cement it to the audience’s external eye.

Date: 2011-10-13 12:38 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ashmole.livejournal.com
Um actual storylines! Let’s see – I feel bad to say after the heartfelt nature of some of the things said here but Will/Emma remains more in the compelling trainwreck category for me right now rather than the deeply moving. I think it’s the sudden intrusion of big big themes (God, mental illness and Aryan supremicism) into the confines of an up until now quite restricted side story, it all feels a bit like a rampaging elephant to me as of right now. I am interested though.

I continue to love Kurt and Blaine and their storyline so far though I was a little disappointed at not getting a little more follow through on their issues last week carrying over apart from the heartbreaking shot of Kurt hugging Blaine as the list of roles went up. I’d also really like for Kurt’s support network to kick in a bit and for Blaine to develop one because at the moment they both have things that I think they need to articulate to people other than one another.

Quinn is a mess and, again I find it interesting. I love her and Puck right now but nothing that they are actually doing.

I’ll just cut this off because it is way long and I can’t remember all the other things I meant to squeeze in but there it is.

----

Holy crap tldr.

Date: 2011-10-13 01:36 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ellydash.livejournal.com
I don't have hearts big enough for how well thought-out this is, bb. ♥ ♥ ♥

First off, I don't think you should feel bad about not being moved by the Will/Emma stuff - those of us who had strong reactions to it had them for immensely subjective and personal reasons, and I think there's room for a good critique of the way the show very quickly shoehorned some of the more intensely serious stuff into their dynamic.

The strangest thing about Glee right now and I think the cause of a lot of fan anger is that it’s now simultaneously giving some characters ‘reality checks’ while remaining a wish fulfilment fantasy for others.

Maybe the only consistent thing about Glee over the last two-plus seasons is that it's never exactly sure what kind of show it wants to be. And sometimes that confusion creates really interesting hybrids, style-wise and content-wise, and sometimes it just makes a big 'ol mess. I think the show's more interested in "reality" than it's been since S1 (and by "reality" I mean interactions and outcomes that aren't hyper-stylized or easily swept under the rug), which is seriously interesting to me, because the future is a far scarier bad guy, in some ways, than Sue Sylvester could ever be. (Which is a whole other meta topic I could tl;dr about and probably will at some point, tbh.) Any time you have a show that integrates musical numbers and actively expects you, as the viewer, to suspend your logic on a regular basis, you've got a fantasy of some sort - and then to actively dilute that fantasy gets tricky in terms of keeping your audience happy. Kind of like L. Frank Baum constantly interrupting the Oz narrative to remind us of how shitty Kansas is.

I love it personally because it’s weird and obnoxious and interesting and it creates an odd tension in expectation between the fandom and the show runners but it’s not likely to feel natural or be easily palatable.

That's the show's strength and weakness, imo, and why fandom for me, personally, is so much fun - because there are these massive gaps between what the show's reaching for, or what we think it should be reaching for and isn't, and what it's actually achieving. That's the sweet spot for fandom - all those spaces where we can scratch out different motivations and plotlines and AUs and address the million and one things canon can't be bothered to spend time addressing. And the fact that, as you say, those tensions don't feel natural or palatable, is fertile ground for all of us who like to spend our free time thinking about and writing about this silly show. :D

Disconnected from anything else I agree that the storyline would have been so fascinating to me if Sam were still around and dating Mercedes. If anything, although he wasn’t a massive character, he built up a fair bit of momentum as a moral anchor and it would make things a lot more balanced in my eyes in comparison to Shane who we don’t yet know. I miss him ;________;

Oh, man, I miss Sam sfm. ;_______; Although I wonder if he were still with Mercedes and on the show, if the writers would've just had him do the same thing Shane did. For my part I'd love to believe that Sam would be supportive of Mercedes without encouraging her to shun Rachel, and I think that'd be in character for him, but who knows, they might've forced him into that role to push the plot forward.

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