Monday, May 10, 2010

Glee 1.16: "Home"

“Divorce? So you’re free to date? And by date I mean sleep with people. And by sleep with I mean have have sex with people. People like me. Kidding. Not really.”


Somebody somewhere on my Internet travels called this episode of “Glee” a “schmoopfest,” and I have to say that I agree. Although I loved the fact that Kristin Chenoweth reprised her role as April Rhodes, the whole episode overall was a bit saccharine for my taste. Not surprisingly, the episode centered around the concept of home, from Will and April feeling lost after losing home to Finn and Kurt gaining a home to Mercedes not feeling “at home” in her body. Yeah. They really stretched to fit in the word “home” as often as possible, and it was slightly irritating. Even the musical performances didn’t quite do it for me in this episode, despite the fact that I’m a huge fan of Kristin Chenoweth. Ah well. Better luck next time, “Glee.” Seriously. I’d really like for this show to maintain its edge and remain quality television worth my time.

Sue’s got a big magazine cover story coming up (she’s being named cheerleading coach of the last 2000 years), so her reign of terror is even more intense than usual. First of all, she’s not please with Mercedes’ look, to put it mildly. Sue decrees that Mercedes must lose ten pounds and start wearing Cheerios skirts instead of track pants, or she’s going to be kicked off the Cheerios. Sue has also completely taken over the auditorium. She’s padlocked the door so New Directions can’t use it. I’m thinking it’s more about sticking it to Will than it is about being concerned for the Cheerios’ welfare if they rehearse outside in the cold. Will goes looking for “a new home” for the glee club and finds it at a roller skating rink.

The rink in question is owned by none other than April Rhodes. She’s still a drunk, but a rich drunk. She’s rich because she’s the mistress of an elderly strip mall tycoon. It’s certainly not the entertainment career she had been planning to start, and it feels empty. When Will tells April that he has to move to a smaller apartment because he’s getting divorced, April offers to consider subletting his current apartment. April arrives at Will’s apartment later that evening carrying an overnight bag and demanding an overnight visit to test out the apartment. She and Will end up sleeping in the same bed out of loneliness. Memo to Glee producers: a few of the actors on your show may need the Autotune, but Matthew Morrison and Kristin Chenoweth aren’t them. They’ve both starred on Broadway, and Kristin Chenoweth has a Tony for her trouble. I’d like to actually be able to enjoy their work without being annoyed by how processed it is. Anyway, by the end of the episode, April has split from the tycoon and came into a bunch of money when the tycoon dropped dead from shock at April wanting to break up with him. She's determined to use the money to go stage a production on Broadway. I think it would be hilarious if April keeps coming back throughout the series, always having failed at her latest "get out of Ohio" campaign.

Near the beginning of the episode, Kurt asks a very confused Finn to choose between swatches for Kurt’s new room. Finn arrives at home to see that his mom, who has a sleeker haircut and outfit than the last time we saw her, is selling some of their furniture. Finn’s just kind of mildly upset until his mom tries to sell the recliner in which Finn’s dad was sitting in the only photograph of the whole family Finn has. He still considers it his dad’s recliner, and he’s not about to allow his mom to give it up. Finn soon finds the explanation for all of these strange happenings- his mom is dating Kurt’s dad. It turns out Kurt set them up at parent-teacher conference night, likely seeing it as a way to get closer to Finn.

Finn’s pretty pissed and confused about the whole thing, then at a glee club practice, Kurt sings a rendition of “A House is Not a Home,” and Finn somehow changes his mind. It’s hard to say what’s going through Finn’s mind at that moment. It looks like he might be attracted to Kurt on some level, but I think that for Finn, it’s more likely that his fondness for Kurt is more platonic. He’s always been very kind to Kurt, even when he thought Kurt was going to ask him to prom. After Finn gets over the initial shock, he and Kurt go out to dinner with their parents. Finn starts to warm to Burt when he and Burt start talking sports. Burt understands why Finn likes football more than basketball. This turns out to be more than Kurt bargained for. He feels like his father has found in Finn the son he wished he had. Burt tries to tell him that isn’t true, but Kurt continues to brood about it for the rest of the episode.

Kurt convinces Finn that they should try to break their parents up. Finn’s still upset at the idea of his mom replacing his dad, so he goes with it. He throws a tantrum where he threatens to flush his dad’s ashes down the toilet. Finn’s mom calls him on being selfish, which I thought was completely justified. I like to see Finn be fallible sometimes- it makes him a more interesting character. Finn experiences a change of heart when Burt stops by to have a man to man. Finn took what his mom said seriously, and he agrees to watch a basketball game with Burt, even letting Burt sit in the recliner. Kurt is not happy about this development and looks on sadly through the sliding glass door at the back of the house.

Mercedes’ plot was probably my least favorite of the episode. As I mentioned, Sue’s being extra nutty thanks to the upcoming magazine story, and she demands that Mercedes start wearing a Cheerios skirt instead of track pants and that Mercedes lose ten pounds. Mercedes takes the criticism to heart. She wants to remain a Cheerio and feel like she’s popular and fits in, which is kind of sad, really. In the past, Mercedes seemed to be perfectly happy with who she was, and that’s actually pointed out at one point in the episode. Now, however, she’s asking Santana and Brittany for weight loss advice.

Sue’s cleansing formula, which sounds absolutely disgusting, was mildly amusing and edgy, but it wasn’t enough to save this plot. Mercedes is so hungry that she starts imagining all her friends look like food. When she passes out, she ends up in the nurse’s office, where she has a heart-to-heart with Quinn. Quinn and Mercedes had never really talked before, but Quinn saw who she used to be in what Mercedes was going through, and she thought she could help Mercedes. The schmoopiest bit of the schmoop fest is when Mercedes, clad once again in track pants, sings Christina Aguilera’s “Beautiful” to a packed pep rally. I appreciate “Glee’s” overall message of tolerance and acceptance of everyone, but I thought this was quite the anvil. And to top it all off, the reporter writing the cover story ate it up. Despite my misgivings about this particular episode, I’m still in it for the long haul. After all, one week from tomorrow is the combination of two of my very favorite TV-related things all wrapped up in one episode of “Glee”-an episode directed by Joss Whedon guest starring Neil Patrick Harris.

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