Now that we have assessed the Glee finale in the sober light of morning, we are happy to report that it was a near-perfect masterpiece. Let us recount its many memorable moments together. And maybe cry all over again.
That's right, I was tearier than Michael Landon in a sweeps week episode of Little House on the Prairie last night. I will not hear any dissing of the episode, even if it comes in sonnet form. From the first moments when our merry band of musical misfits was having a funeral for the club right up through their triumphant return (of sorts) at the end, I cried. We were happy, we were sad, we were touched, we were outraged, and then we laughed through the tears. So many trite platitudes, so many misshapen kids. There were flashes of absolute perfection: the Journey medley, the sprawling "Bohemian Rhapsody," Sue Motherfucking Sylvester's speech to Will, Olivia Newton-John as a judge so cunty Simon Cowell wouldn't even like her. They were all genius. Let's take a closer look.
Journey Medley: We're not sure what the rules for regionals are, but it seems that one group can perform three songs instead of just one, because this wasn't so much a medley but three songs (one of which was also a mash-up of two songs) with full stops between them. Isn't a medley supposed to be all the songs combined together into one pile? Vegetable medley is carrots and peas and green beans all in the same Styrofoam compartment of your school lunch tray. Isn't it supposed to be like that?
The transcendent moment for me was when Finn and Rachel finished their duet of "Faithfully" and they stood before the curtain side by side and as it raised up, all the voices of the choir joined them in perfect harmony while Rachael wailed above them. This is what you see when the pearly gates open (if you're, you know, gay or a band geek). The choreography was a bit disjointed and the camera work a little wonky, but the number was solid. The changes to incorporate more of the cast members (especially Puck and Santana) into "Don't Stop Believin'"—the song they made a hit all over again in the pilot so many months ago—were welcomed. This isn't a show about just Finn and Rachel anymore.
But boy did they make it about them. Sure, the group's number might have been a little heavy on their male and female leads, but I feel they earned the distinction. They also lived the lyrics to all these songs in their storyline. When the group was in full despair mode, Finn tells Rachel that she is their leader and she needs to do something to rally her troops. As soon as he says it, thereby acknowledging her superiority, she is over Jesse St. James and kissing Finn. That's the way to get our Rachel, appeal to her ego. Right before they bust into the back door of the auditorium to start the show (after "Don't Rain on My Parade" at sectionals, is this the only trick they have?), Finn confesses his love. We're not quite sure why, but it's the finale and we're going with it.
It wasn't Rachel who got everyone into the spirit to kick ass at regionals. After a pep talk from Emma (who is dating her dentist, Carl, who will be played by John Stamos next season), Will went to the kids and told them that it wasn't about winning, it was about doing their best. That's one of those things that people always tell you—like "it's what's on the inside that counts," "size doesn't matter," and "all the other kids probably wet their beds too"—that you want to believe but deep down you just don't buy. But given the journey (ugh) we've taken with these underdogs this year, it was just the right thing to say.
I don't know what it is, but I am so emotionally invested in the success of this group. Maybe it's because I always root for the underdog or I just want the group of outcasts to finally have a taste of success. I don't know. But when they were in the throes of joy delivering their big number, I was like a proud poppa watching his son kick his first football or some butch shit like that. I was so happy I cried. What is wrong with me?
"Bohemian Rhapsody": Of course this is the song Vocal Adrenaline would select to win another regional title. It's classic, theatrical, and offers a range of styles from opera to rock. If the emotion we were supposed to be feeling during New Directions' song and dance was joy, then this Queen rendition was meant to evoke awe—pure unadulterated awe. This well-sung, beautifully-choreographed, over-the-top extravaganza can only be described as, well, awesome. Let it be known now and through all eternity that Jonathan Groff is the human embodiment of all that is good on earth. Amen.
But with its themes of life and death, the Quinn-giving-birth scene fit right in. It might have been a little bit contrived, but I was under the thrall of the thing. Also a little much was Quinn's mother arriving for a last-moment reprieve from being a horrible cold bitch who threw her pregnant daughter out on the street. Couldn't we save that reunion for the beginning of season two?
Still Quinn gave birth to little baby Drizzle (which Puck named Beth after a KISS song, which is equally stupid, so we're going with Drizzle) and decided to give it up for adoption and this made me very happy. I hate on TV when the kid wants to give up the baby for adoption and then she holds it in her arms and she decides that she just can't part with her baby and has to raise it on her own. Every time this happens, an abortion doctor dies. Not really, but it does make teens have unprotected sex. That's documented science.
Selfish, selfish Rachel was the only person who didn't go to the hospital with Quinn. No, she had to stay and watch the competition and see her ex-boyfriend Jesse St. James absolutely school her. She even had the hubris to go tell her mother Shelby that Vocal Adrenaline was over even though they had just mopped the floor with her Streisand-wannabe ass. Shelby said she was over and wanted a family, more specifically Drizzle. I'd want that baby too, because Quinn and Puck are both super hot and if you're raising someone else's baby, you don't want that baby to be ugly, do you? Hell no! Good on you Shelby. We hope that your baby has a rare blood disorder and needs a bone marrow transplant from her father, not because we wish babies to be sick, but because we want you to come back on the show.
Of course Vocal Adrenaline won, because they were the superior squad by far. We didn't get to see Oral Intensity (can their performance be a DVD extra, please?) but we know Olivia Newton-John voted for them to win. The judging panel was just excellent. Along with ONJ we had Josh Groban, news anchor Rod Rivington, and Sue Motherfucking Sylvester. Last time Groban was on the show, he turned us out with his ironic performance. Last time we saw ONJ, her role was a little bit silly but she really brought the darkness this time, playing a spoiled celebrity like she was guest starring on Absolutely Fabulous. We think it's some of the finest work she's done since singing and rollerskating at the same time in Xanadu. They all gave Sue a really hard time for not being a celebrity and being stuck in Ohio. Don't be sad for Sue, she can handle herself.
Yes, everyone rushed back from the hospital to the auditorium to find out they lost to the other two teams. That is so like Glee. The cheap thing to do would have let them win and it would be happy but you know it would be like hearing "it's what's on the inside that counts." This show is better for making them lose, even if we have to endure a whole year of (said in my best Principal Figgins impersonation) "if you don't win, we're going to shut glee club down!"
"To Sir with Love": I never heard this 1967 number-one hit by Lulu from the Sidney Poitier movie of the same name (thanks Wikipedia) before last night, but I really dig it. When they start in with, "If you wanted the sky I would write across the sky in letters..." it's such a wonderfully catchy melody that captures the song's message of honoring a teacher who has done right by a group of shitty kids. Yes, the meaning is a bit literal for the situation, but since it's a good song we're going to choose to overlook it. Damn, we're doing a lot of overlooking, aren't we?
Since we're overlooking, let's skip our feelings about the contrived "Before this started, we were all horrible nerdy messes and now songs and Mr. Schue have made us awesome" bullshit that came before the song. Sure, it made me cry (especially when that Babygay Kurt mentioned that he was in the closet, but then I looked at his sailor cap and rolled my eyes a little) but it was cheesey. Still, it was a good funeral march for the kids to sing to their mentor before their little club was disbanded.
Emma was also fighting for glee, and Will correctly interpreted that she was fighting to keep him too. They kissed in the hallway and he said that he loved her and knows she loves him. It was all so out of the blue. There is one thing this show doesn't do well, and that is the confessions of love. Now that she's kissed another man, what is dentist John Stamos going to do? Please tell us he's going to do the evil dentist number from Little Shop of Horrors. Ryan Murphy, make that happen!
"Over the Rainbow": Here is the rule on Judy Garland songs: do not mess with them unless you do them exactly like Judy did and can do it at least as well as she did. I'm sorry but this arrangement of the ubiquitous Wizard of Oz ditty sounds like Bobby McFerrin is singing it for a Glade commercial (I think he did, didn't he?). Anyway, it sucks, and I don't like it.
The song is about escaping a difficult life to be in a magical realm where dreams come true and great things do happen. Last night, that place was McKinley High and Sue Motherfucking Sylvester, of all people, saved the glee club. She did vote for New Directions (as we knew she would), but I don't think it's because her heart grew three sizes that day, but because she wanted to spite all the other judges for calling her a nobody. That is just the sort of petty vengeance Sue would seek. I'm also choosing to take her words at face value that she wants Will and his club around to ridicule for another year. I prefer my SMFS as a cartoon of hatred instead of a person with a real heart. Don't go humanizing the Sue!
Her speech to Will, as I said before, was absolutely spectacular. It was funny, cruel, original, and full of quotable bon mots. There's the razor-tongued harridan that we all love to love (seriously, who hates Sue Motherfucking Sylvester?). And if Jane Lynch doesn't win an Emmy for that speech alone then we might as well resign ourselves to a life full of Two and a Half Men taking home trophies.
Sue gets glee reinstated, Finn and Rachel are together, BG Kurt is friends with Mercedes and Quinn, Britanny and Santana are going to go have a hot bisexual romp, and Artie is going to take Tina for a ride in his wheelchair. Yay, Glee! The team sure went out on a high note—a ratings high note as well with about 11 million tuning in, up 21% from the average and the most that have watched without an American Idol lead in. This is the episode that all others will be judged against. You didn't quite win, kids, but you sure put on quite a show.