Saturday, November 21, 2009

Glee 1.10: "Ballad"

“I could totally sing this song with Finn. But screw him if he thinks he’s taking the Diana Ross part from me.”


I think “Ballad” is my favorite episode of “Glee” thus far, although I was quite worried going into it. I was anticipating that Rachel getting a schoolgirl crush on Will would be quite squicky, but actually, it was absolutely hilarious. It was so entertaining that it overcame any irritation I felt from the still sort-of stalled Finn, Quinn, Puck, and the baby plot. There were some important developments in that plot this week, but the most important thing, Finn finding out that he’s not the father, still hasn’t happened. I came close to feeling sympathy for Quinn because things keep getting worse for her, but it still irritates me that she’s putting Finn through so much when he’s not even the father. It’s incredibly selfish on Quinn’s part, and I hate that others (cough…Mercedes…cough) encourage it instead of being horrified.

Will, who is actually up on his Show Choir rules for once, announces that each team is required to perform a ballad in competition this year. He wants the kids to draw names to determine their pairs for ballad practice. One student is out sick, so Will decides to put his own name in the hat as well. He ends up regretting that decision, as it’s Rachel who draws his name. Rachel’s pretty gung ho about it, and she wants them to sing a ballad right then and there to show the rest of the class how it’s done. Her choice? Endless love. Yeah, bad idea, Will. He starts to go with it, but then gets a hilarious horrified look on his face when he sees Rachel start to look at him adoringly. He’s been down this road before, and it wasn’t pretty.

The wacky hijinks continue throughout the episode, and the situation just keeps getting funnier and funnier. Will goes to Emma for advice, and she suggests that if he’s afraid to tell Rachel she needs to back off, he should sing it to her. Will decides to sing a mash-up of “Young Girl” and “Don’t Stand So Close to Me,” and the result is again hilarious. Both Emma and Rachel have identical smitten looks on their faces as he performs, and they both applaud giddily at the end. The plan has backfired in a big way. This plot also is responsible for perhaps the one moment in the entirety of Glee where I actually liked Terri. We get a flash back to the most intense schoolgirl crush Will has faced- Suzy Pepper. When Suzy calls the Schuster home at 3AM, Terri angrily tells her that she needs proper sleep or else her antidepressants won’t work and she’ll kill Suzy. Way to go, Terri! Terri also has Rachel doing chores around the Schuster apartment, which is pretty funny in its own right. It’s a confrontation with Suzy Pepper, where Suzy tells Rachel that Rachel should look to her as a cautionary tale that finally gets Rachel to see the light. Rachel apologizes to Will, and Will responds by actually being human to her at once- encouraging her that she’ll find the right guy eventually.

The actual A story of the episode was lighter on humor and heavier on heart, although I couldn’t really feel the full effect of the more emotional moment due to my continuing dislike of Quinn and now Mercedes, too. Finn is feeling especially torn up about the baby- he’s devastated that he loves her already, and because she’s going to be adopted, she’ll never know. Kurt, his ballad partner, encourages him to work through his feelings in song. I love Kurt/Finn scenes, by the way. Kurt’s crush is cute, and the way Finn always makes sure to let him down gently is very sweet. Finn decides to sing “I’ll Stand By You,” and his mom catches him singing the song to the sonogram DVD playing on his computer. Finn breaks down in tears, and his mother just holds him.

Finn and Kurt then make the mistake of thinking that the same thing will make Finn feel better about Quinn’s parents being out of the loop about the baby situation. Finn has been invited to dinner at the Fabray house, and before you know it, he’s singing “(You’re) Having My Baby.” The reception of the news by the Fabray parents, especially Quinn’s dad, is not nearly as supportive, to say the least. Quinn’s dad kicks her out, but Finn’s mom lets her stay at their place for a while. I almost felt sorry for Quinn when all of this was going down, but then I remembered that she’s needlessly ruining Finn’s life, and I got over it quick.

Mercedes has taken it upon herself to try to cheer Finn and Quinn up, mostly so New Directions can move past the baby drama and get back to singing. She thinks a group song to the not-so-happy couple would be perfect, and she tells Puck, her ballad partner, her idea. Puck is irate. He doesn’t understand why Finn gets everything. Mercedes is taken aback at Pucks response, and he tells her that he’s the father of Quinn’s baby. Mercedes is taken aback for a second, but soon responds with venom. She basically tells Puck that since Quinn has chosen Finn, Puck better just suck it up so he doesn’t make Quinn’s life any worse than he already has. Just typing this out mad. “Flames on the side of my face” mad, to quote the cult classic movie “Clue.”

What’s almost worse is that Puck buys it. There’s a cutesy group sing of “Lean on Me” to Finn and Quinn, and Puck is right in the middle of it, dancing his heart out and mouthing “call me” to Quinn (which Kurt does to Finn also, which is kind of adorable). I was hoping he wouldn’t be able to take it anymore and burst out with the truth for the whole Glee Club to hear, but alas, he didn’t. I’m hoping he will soon. I’m ready for some truth!

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