1. Gay teens kissing! Gay teens kissing! Okay... finally! It was super cute. I watched the episode tonight and had seen headlines as well as heard people talk about it so I knew that it was going to happen, but it was still really exciting and adorable! Also, Kurt totally had a Rachel Berry moment using Pavoratti's death as an excuse to sing a song. I think that part was supposed to be serious, but I was hardcore giggling.
2. Rachel Berry: songwriter extraordinaire. So... I was a little suspicious about this "original song" thing since I mean... duh. Half the fun of Glee is watching them perform songs that I know. (And I tend to like songs less if I don't know them. Usually the songs I don't know are like, indie or something so I wouldn't like them anyway, but still, knowing the song is part of the fun factor and likability factor.) Rachel's crazy "Headband" song last week had me practically weeping from laughing so hard (and I loved that Brittany said that was her favorite song), and I also enjoyed her emotionally self-absorbed anthem, "Only Child" at the beginning of the episode. Perhaps this is the angry feminist in me wondering this, but could she really only find the inspiration to write something good when she was thinking about Finn? (Also: while I'm sure no one believed her "I'm done with boys until professional success"-schtick from the past few episodes, it was slightly annoying that all of a sudden she's mooning over Finn again. Teen stereotypes!) "Get it Right" was the sort of typical New Directions ballad that is old hat on Glee. I honestly didn't pay that much attention to it. (Don't know the song! It's not registering!) There were a lot of furtive glances backstage at Finn which he returned with his trademark smirk-smile.
3. Which brings me to... What the EFF, Quinn? Since when are you like Sarah Michelle Gellar in Cruel Intentions? She was a little terrifying in this episode, as in I was worried that she'd pull a Stephen King's Carrie and KILL EVERYONE WITH HER SCARY STARES! Jezebel's recap sums up my feelings about Quinn in this episode. Poor writing!
4. Santana was great in this episode. Her "awesome heterosexual song," "Trouty Mouth" was really funny. And I like the way that they're handling Santana's and Brittany's friendship post fallout in the last episode.
5. The judges at the competition made me uncomfortable, as they usually do in the competition episodes. I don't know why this is a theme. And I was unsure about Kathy Griffin's tea party politician role... I thought it was interesting that she voiced her bias against the Dalton Warblers and definitely for the Glee viewer, this is going to be seen as wrong and problematic, and wondering if her prejudice cost the Warblers' a win is I'm sure an intentional part of that detail, but at the same time, it made me feel icky and I hate ickyness in my happy TV shows. That's the best way I can describe it right now.
6. Just as a side note point, while Kurt was singing "Blackbird" and all the guys started joining in doing backup, I was dying of laughter. Perhaps this is because I went to private school and was involved in the a'cappella/choir/musical theater scene and sometimes some of the really seemingly bizarre aspects of show choir culture on Glee is also really familiar for me because... I mean, that was my high school experience. I mean, not the slushie thing, doing a'cappella was cool. (Or at least I told myself that.) But there is this definite weird, join-in-and-harmonize-everything-phenomena that occurs when a bunch of singing freaks are together, so even though it seems weird, that is a point I can give Glee for its realism.
7. Ultimately, "Loser like Me" made sense as far as New Direction's repertoire of competition songs goes, as well as the standard line up (ironically... not a New Direction) of Rachel singing lead, people doing bit parts, we're-all-in-this-together-theme, and then Mercedes belts some stuff out at the end. Um... where has Mercedes been this season? She is now the only New Directions member not in a relationship (besides Rachel, who is basically in a relationship with her ego JK --not really-- but she does have a romantic story arc) and I feel like this is marginalizing her character. She's never gotten a lot of air time, and when she has been a focus of the episode in the past has proven that she has acting chops as well as rocking singing chops... so I have no idea why the writers keep her in this "sassy black girl" trope who only exists to make comments and every once in a while sing a really great song to prove that she's a diva. The diva-off a few episodes ago was great... but I mean her character appeared from relative obscurity and then left again after the episode was done. Again, the Glee writers have not mastered writing for an ensemble cast yet. There are a few characters they focus on, some secondary characters that get attention, and then there are a few (mostly minority) characters who don't get much attention at all. Even Mr. Schu's allusion to his relationship with Holly seemed like it was tossed in at the end when he was on the phone with her. I barfed a little in my mouth. (Metaphorically.)
I think in general, this half of the second season is a lot better than the first half, which was sporadically awesome (think the Britney Spears and Duets episodes) and absurdly terrible (think basically every other episode). They've stabilized the quality a little more, probably in response to the blog world's and entertainment media's criticism of their weaknesses, but at times I can't help but long for the feeling of the first season, when many of the characters were so much more fresh, interesting, and genuine. While the shift in foci have led to these great explorations of new characters, I just want the writers to be a little more consistent! Ensemble cast! C'mon!
But I'm looking forward to New Directions at Nationals. (Perhaps the Tufts Beelzebubs--backup vocals for the Dalton Warblers-- can make a guest appearance?? Probably not.) That will be exciting and will hopefully push the show to more creativity!