Tuesday, June 8, 2010

That Sue Sylvester - She's a Marshmallow

This year's crop of finales has had quite the mix: crazy twists (Gossip Girl), emotional but puzzling (Lost), out-of-nowhere action (Grey's Anatomy), and business as usual (24, The Office, Modern Family). So while the TV season may have actually ended a few weeks ago, I'm still naming Glee as the one that was overall most satisfying. As tough an act as Sectionals was to follow, Regionals more than rose to the task, reminding everyone all over again why we fell in love with this show over a year ago when they first sang "Don't Stop Believing."

Glee may generally call itself a comedy, but this finale had far more moments to make some hypothetical person (totally not me) tear up than laugh. From Tina breaking down in that super depressing pizza "party" to Mr. Shu pumping everyone back up with his Journey idea, there was plenty of emotion on display well before everyone said how far they had come this year. To casual fans it may have come off as cheesy, but to us true Gleeks it was heart-warming.

While we all knew "Don't Stop Believing" would be sung to bring the season full-circle, the Regionals performance was a whole lot more than that: a medley that also included "Faithfully," "Anyway You Want It," and "Lovin', Touchin', Squeezin'." And as was the case in Sectionals, they showed who brought the fun, getting everyone up on their feet to clap along (except Sue, of course). And everyone got a chance to sing - not just all Rachel and Finn.

While the Journey made for the musical highpoint, there was still plenty of music to go, starting with Vocal Adrenaline's ambitious cover of "Bohemian Rhapsody," which further proved Jesse's assessment of the group as "soulless automatons." Still, that was some of the craziest fill-every-inch-of-the-stage-with-super-speedy-people dancing I've seen. And all the more amusing for being set against Quinn's delivery. Quinn shouting out lines from the song was definitely too much, but otherwise I thought the juxtaposition worked. And I love that Quinn and Mercedes are now bffs.

As for the judging, as soon as celebrity came up you knew Sue was going to show the heart beneath her steel tracksuited shell and save the day. Josh Groban and Olivia Newton-John's cameos were kind of lame last time around, but ON-J was pretty awesome dressing down Sue, being offended only one group chose one of her songs, and insulting just about everyone. Groban still not so much. And though Sue couldn't get New Directions to place, she was able to make a jab at the hilariously named Oral Intensity.

So while I knew Sue would be the one to convince Figgins to keep Glee Club alive, that didn't diminish the super moving "To Sir with Love" performance the club gave to Mr. Shu (though still not as good as "My Life Would Suck Without You"), the series of insults Sue had to get out before she could give him the good news, or how great it was to hear him tell the club "One more year!" Oh, and the twist that Shelby adopted Quinn and Puck's baby? Brilliant.

So to me, the finale had everything we want in a Glee episode: great musical numbers, involvement of all of the characters, classic Sue Sylvester moments, and for it to leave you feeling good. Still one of the most satisfying hours on TV, and I can't wait to watch Will go up against John Stamos' dentist next season.

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