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Gleecap - Dream On

Neil-patrick-harris-glee  I actually squealed like a teenager when I heard "so here's what you missed on Glee" blare from my television. "IT'S HERE! NPH!!! JOSS!!! SQUEE!!!" I might want to consider getting a life. 



Last week a bunch of stuff happened, but since none of it is important this episode, let's just dive right in!

Figgins introduces Will to McKinley’s newest school board member, Bryan Ryan. Yes, that's really his name and, as it turns out, Bryan is no stranger to Will. Two years Will’s senior, Bryan was Will’s nemesis back in high school. We are made privy to that fact through a flashback to their mullety days of yore, wherein Bryan got all the solos, had all the moves, and got all the chicks. Well, not all the chicks, as we learn later. Anyway, Bryan lights some flash paper and produces a bouquet of flowers from thin air as he sings “Daydream Believer.” Will looks on meekly as Bryan asks him snidely, “What’s wrong, Shuester? Cat got your talent?”

NPH's mullet

Bryan Ryan wants to cut show choir from the arts program budget, I guess because the program must forever be in jeopardy for plot purposes. After high school, it seems Bryan Ryan chased that showbiz dream and ended up following a road that rivals even April Rhodes's boulevard of broken dreams. One day, while doing crack on the hard streets of Lima, Bryan found Jesus. No, not that one; a social worker. Bryan kicked the crack habit and now manages a Hummer dealership. By the way, wipe that look off your face—global warming’s a theory.  In his spare time, Bryan runs a show choir conversion group and when he find a few extram moments, it sounds like he likes to go around crushing the spirits of impressionable teenagers. 


Neil Patrick Harris on Glee
 

Will reluctantly introduces Bryan to the glee kids. Bryan instructs them to write down their dreams so that he can literally crumple them and throw them away while also figuratively crushing them by giving a demotivational speech about how unrealistic they are. Sue is nowhere in sight, which is a shame—she should be taking notes from Bryan on how to effectively break a youngster's spirit. Dude, he even made Tina cry. 

His hopes dashed, Artie struggles to get a book off the shelf in the library when Tina finds him and helps him take it down. Artie says he's studying Godard. He figures he may not be able to be a star, but he could work behind the camera like Chris Reeves did. When Tina asks if filmmaking was his dream, Artie says yes, and Tina calls BS. It turns out she went back to the choir room and saw what he wrote down before Bryan crumpled it and threw it away, and Artie’s paper had only one word written on it:  dancer. Tina says if they're a couple, Artie should share is dreams with her. Since Will forgot to give them all an assignment this week—oh, thank GOD—she wants to do a number with Artie. After all, he kicked ass dancing on "Proud Mary," right? 

Jesse, back from spring break, happens upon Rachel in the dance room, where she’s practicing the dream ballet from Oklahoma. Bryan Ryan clearly got to Rachel, too, but Jesse tells her that the idea of Rachel Berry singing “Don’t Cry For Me Argentina” for a crowd of thousands isn’t a fantasy—it’s an inevitability. Jesse's more interested in knowing about her other unfulfilled dreams. “When you lie awake at night, what’s missing?” “My mom,” Rachel says. She loves her dads, but she still wonders who her mother is. 

In the choir room, Tina and Artie practice a tap routine together, but rehearsal stops short when Artie is discouraged by his tapping skills. “I sound like someone put tap shoes on a horse and then shot it.” However, he borrowed braces from a kid with cerebral palsy and decides, if he’s going to realize his dreams of walking and dancing some day, he’s gotta make a big move. While he’s able to lift himself up to his feet, after a few attempts at taking a step, Artie falls on his face. Humiliated, he yells at Tina to go away, blaming her for pushing him. 

Tina-artie-glee
 

Meanwhile, Will hasn't given up on Bryan as just another Sue Sylvester, and decides to convince him to change his mind about glee club. He asks him out for a beer, and while Bryan says he’s wasting his time, he agrees to go along for "old times' sake." I smell a major frenemy dynamic coming on.

After some “research” in the library, Rachel tells Jesse she’s pretty certain she’s found out who her mom is: Patti LuPone. After giving her convoluted explanation of how that could possibly be, then offering to explain how her research also proves she could be the progeny of Bernadette Peters, Jesse asks her why she’s so scared to find out who her mom might actually, conceivably be. She doesn’t want her to be just some messed up teen like Quinn—ouch, Rachel, judgmental much?—or, worse, some cracked out whore just in it for the money. I hate to break it to you, Rach, but most women don't agree to be knocked up for nine months and give birth to a child that they'll never see just out of the goodness of their hearts.  

Rachel-jesse-pattie-lupone-glee
 
At the bar, Will and Bryan share brewskis as “Dream Weaver” plays on the juke box—OBVIOUS THEME IS OBVIOUS. Will finds out that Bryan Ryan always had a thing back in high school for Teri Delmonico—"do you know her?" Oh boy, do we ever, unfortunately. Will says he married her, but it didn’t work out. However, the one thing that helped give him the confidence to get out a marriage that wasn’t working anymore was working with the glee kids.  Bryan rolls his eyes a lot, but when Will cheesily tells him that glee isn’t just about expressing yourself to others but also about, “expressing yourself to yourself,” Bryan breaks down in tears. He’s miserable without performing arts in his life. In fact, three times a year he tells his wife he’s on a business trip, when really he’s sneaking off to New York to see Broadway shows. He keeps playbills hidden in his basement like porn. 

Will decides to bring performance back to Bryan’s life. They sing along with “Piano Man” on the juke box, and after they finish, Will says they’re going to try out—together—for the local production of Les Misérables. If there’s any small-town community theater with the talent to pull that one off, it’s in Lima. They have an inordinate number of deeply talented singers for such a podunk.

The next day at school, Artie apologizes for being a jerk to Tina. Tina accepts his apology and, furthermore, has done a whole bunch of research on recent developments in spinal chord therapies. She hands Artie all the research materials she found and tells him not to give up, then gives him a big ol’ smooch. If he could feel his knees, I’m sure Artie’s would feel pretty weak from the look on his face.

Jesse and Rachel, in search of clues to her mother’s identity, sift through boxes from the basement shrine where her dads keep memorabilia that includes a bag of baby teeth and, now, just the tiniest bit of vomit that discovery seemed to elicit from Jesse. As Rachel looks at her sonogram picture, Jesse plants a tape in the box, labeled, “from mother to daughter.” He pressures her to listen to it, but she says she’s not ready and asks Jesse to leave.

At the community theater, Will is waiting to audition as a lunch lady type sings “Big Spender.” She'll make a fantastic Madame Thénardier. Bryan arrives and—miraculously—he and will both have the same audition song. The director, who owns a dry cleaning company, says he can only close the shop for 30 minutes at a time, and tells them to sing it as a duet. They launch into a vocal pissing contest, leaping off barricades and risers. As they wail out the final falsetto shrieks of the song, I find myself wishing someone had warned me I’d need a napkin to mop up all the drool.

Neil Patrick Harris and Matthew Morrison sing "Dream On." HUMMINA HUMMINA.

Artie and Tina go to the mall to buy tap shoes—an investment in Artie’s dream. Tina offers to go upstairs to get a pretzel for Artie since Lima’s mall apparently doesn’t have an elevator. Um, WTF? This is the most ablist town ever, I swear. Before she leaves, Artie tells Tina he went to the doctor who started him on all those therapies, and they’re working! The plausibility meter, which hovers pretty close to the floor most of the time, goes through the basement and into the earth's core as Artie gets up out of his chair and does an awesome version of "Safety Dance" with all the mall patrons. Okay, so it's a dream sequence, clearly. Either that, or a miracle of modern science mixed with a spectacular flash mob. When Tina returns to Artie, he is sitting again, alone, in his chair.

Artie-safety-dance  

Sue has a tête à tête with Bryan in her office. He was supposed to get rid of glee, but instead he’s decided he’s going after Sue and her inflated Cheerio budget. After some verbal sparring as to the merits of arts programs versus phys ed, they go off to Sue’s Letterman-style love nest upstairs for some anger sex—the only kind Sue knows how to have. Bryan's still cutting her budget in half, but you win some, you lose some.

Out in the rain—the oh-so-dramatic, pouring rain—Jesse sits in Shelby’s car and tells her he planted the tape but that Rachel won’t listen to it. Shelby tells Jesse that Rachel MUST hear the tape, that if she hears it, she’ll come looking for her. Shelby can’t tell Rachel she’s her mommy dearest, because of the contract she signed. It’s up in the air with me for about 30 seconds as to whether she’s really Rachel’s mom or just super evil and making a play to steal her from New Directions. I’m still not going to rule it out as a potential plot twist, but if it’s so, Shelby never should have failed out of New York for acting. That said, I think it’s safe to say: OMG SHELBY IS RACHEL’S MOM! Not exactly a shocking turn, I know.

Artie goes to Emma’s office for the help he’ll need adapting to walking, what with all the miracles of modern science he’s just heard about.  Emma brings him back down to earth, or rather crushes all his tiny little dreams, but in that nice Emma way, with empathetic facial expressions and lots of antibacterial products nearby. Artie looks pretty crestfallen, as Emma tells him it’s perhaps a good idea for him to stop by weekly after all, since he’s clearly not “dealing” with the whole “paralysis” thing well.

Bryan, renewed by the experience of trying out for the part of Jean Valjean, announces he’s cut Sue’s budget and gives the glee kids sheet music, new jean jackets, and tear-away dance clothes—for the new mandatory striptease number, I guess? However, Bryan's Father Christmas act is quickly nipped in the bud when Sue comes in to announce that Will got the lead in Les Mis. Bryan got a part, too, of course—he’s "Townsperson," and has one line: Hooray!” Are you serious? Did that dry cleaner not hear Bryan wail out the falsetto on “Dream On” while Shuester took the lower register? I know whom I’d want belting out the "TWO FOUR SIX OH OOOOOOOOOOOOOOONNNNNNE!” in "Who Am I?" during Act II. God, at least give him the part of Marius! Ahem. Okay, done nerding out about musical theater (for now). Bryan, miffed at the way auditions played out, says he’s cutting the glee club program and storms out.

After the commersh, Bryan is practicing his, “Hooray,” and it sounds a bit like Dr. Horrible practicing his evil laugh of evil. Will tells him if he cuts the program, Bryan will only make the kids turn out bitter and jaded like Bryan. “I’ve grown weary of your insults, Will. They sting, and they make me want to punch your face.” You’re about to really want to punch his face, Bryan, because he’s gonna go all Stephen Hawking on your ass. Will essentially says Bryan is a black hole sucking the light out of the world and poised to make 13 more black holes. Then Will advances the fields of astronomy and physics by leaps and bounds when he reveals the secret to de-collapsing a dead star: the role of Jean Valjean! Will  gives Bryan his role so he can remember what it’s like to be a star, and Bryan doesn’t even pretend to put up a fight: “Cool! Deal.” He runs off to catch the director, in order to tell him that he has a lot of new exciting ideas for the role and, also, he doesn’t really take direction.

At Shelby’s behest, Jesse goes back and makes Rachel listen to the tape. It’s Shelby singing “I Dreamed a Dream” from Les Misérables, and it turns into a beautiful duet. My eyes? Vair, vair misty.

Shelby-rachel-i-dreamed-a-dream
 
And while my tear ducts were getting a workout, Artie tells Tina he can’t dance and never will, and convinces her to pick a new dance partner. She’s disappointed and asks if he’ll still sing. This leads to a very sad rendition of  “Dream a Little Dream of Me” as Tina dances with Mike Chang. Quinn puts her hand on Artie’s shoulder as he watches his girl trip the light fantastic; and scene.

Okay, so brief soapboxing: I really wish this show would stop focusing so much on the "dis" in disability, treating Artie like a broken, half-person. There are very accomplished and, frankly, awesome wheelchair dancers, and I'd much prefer this episode had taken that direction rather than treating wheelchair dancing as some inferior form of expression to conventional dancing. Come on, Glee; you can do better than this.

With that gripe out of the way, I can't wait for next week—the Lady Gaga episode! Seriously, Joss and NPH this week and Gaga next week? Is it my birthday?







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Comments

jennifer

I was sad we didn't hear from Brittany in this ep since she is by far the best character on television right now. HOWEVER, the flashmob dance scene? Tre Magnific! If Lady G makes an appearence next week I will pass out! Great recap!

mouthy_broad

i was squeeing all over the place of course. but i have a few questions:

-why is jesse doing this? what does that woman have over him? he was about to have sex with rachel (i know he is a man, but really?) but he didn't even like her? ouch dude.

-the whole why would shelby be a donor/surrogate for them question is a can of worms. i don't think rachel or you, amber, put out the only options/reasons and neither cast the woman in question in a very good light. there are plenty of people in the world willing to help another couple fulfill their dreams of parenthood. shelby was trying to make a better life for herself and "thought the two guys were nice people." i have never had a child but i am hurt as a woman by these portrayals.

-so did sue and bryan really have sex? is she going to blackmail him like she is doing the principal to get her funding back? room upstairs? wow. also? her responses to support for the cheerios by saying kids need phys ed just did not hold up. the cheerios are an exclusive after school activity, not daily exercise for the students.

Amy (Not Amalah)

I think the anger sex scene between NPH and Jane Lynch was a tongue in cheek nod to gay actors portraying straight characters. SO GOOD!

mouthy_broad

oh, i like amy's theory!

also, i LOVE molly shannon being added to the cast. it is so awesome.

Sarah Lena

Amy (not Amalah) wins with the best idea ever.

I'm not a Glee fan, like, AT ALL. But this episode convinced me to watch because it had so many great attributes to it and DAYUM if I didn't cry like a bazillion times. Artie's Safety Dance was such a great flash mob, and although I made the whole, "OMG, Susan Boyle is my mom!" joke at the beginning of "I Dreamed a Dream", I might have cried.

Also, it's eerie how much they look alike.

Snarky Amber

@mouthy_broad I'm sure there are "plenty" of women willing to make the sacrifices required of a surrogate out of the goodness of her heart. I also believe that the stress on your body is probably enough that you *must* have that motivation, in addition to compensation, to make it even worth whatever you would be paid to be a surrogate.

However, what I said was that MOST women wouldn't do a surrogacy JUST out of the goodness of their hearts. These are important qualifiers and, I believe, accurate. It's certainly more likely that someone like Shelby did than a Broadway actress put her life on hold to give birth to the next Liza Minelli. :)

Stephanie

I definitely agree with Amy's comment about gay actors playing straight actors which is pretty much what I said to my husband last night. By the way, thanks Amber for throwing in all those Les Mis references. My favorite musical ever!!

I thought it was a great episode, and the Dream On duet was awesome.

Susan

I didn't even hear the whole conversation between NPH and JL since I was joking to my husband "Oh, I can't even take this scene seriously since I know the actors are both gay!" - but I assume this episode was written and filmed long before the Newsweek article came out.

I also, two seconds before Shelby said it, gasped, "SHE'S her mom!!" - it's really remarkable how much they look alike, particularly in profile.

HOWEVER, it's obvious that's Rachel's worst nightmare is true - Shelby is a better singer, far and AWAY. Every time I hear her practically hork out the notes I just cringe cringe cringe (which pissed me off last night because I am a huge Les Mis fan).

The Piano Man duet hit close to home - my high school theater group would end each cast party by standing in a big circle, arms around each others' shoulders, swaying and singing along with Billy Joel in our best Broadway voices. *Sob*Choke*I'm okay...

Kati

I was a disabled actor. I'm still disabled, but have turned in my resumes for diapers. For me, this episode was most of my high school career. My drama teacher and chorus teacher both tried to find ways to work me in, but lack of creativity and a bigger picture often got in the way. When I was looking at colleges I thought I should interview as a directorial candidate, not an actor. I was told by several programs to continue with this train of thought. Honestly, the world of theater and film has a hard time using "real" disabled actors. I mean, even Glee, my favorite show, breaks one of my cardinal rules. They have an opportunity to utilize a talented disabled actor and chose not too.

jodifur

My husband, who hates Glee with a passion, watched this episode b/c of NPH. And he didn't complain. There is nothing NPH can't do.

I was not at all surprised by the Idina Menzel Rachel's mother thing. They look EXACTLY a like. And it was leaked a while ago I think.

I never trusted Jesse. He always seemed slimy to me.

Txtingmrdarcy

I love your "Les Mis" insider ideas. Two thumbs up for the Mme Thernardier suggestion (I thought the SAME THING), but why not Javert and Valjean? Just for dramatic effect, I suppose.

I am vair nerdy.

Snarky Amber

@txtingmrdarcy: I thought about that, but Javert is a baritone/bass, and both Will and Bryan are tenors. :)

Snarky Amber

@Txtingmydarcy: I thought about the Javert/Valjean, but Javert is a baritone, and both Bryan and Will are tenors. :)

mrschaos

I love how many Les Mis nerds are out there. (I include myself in such a statenmt, of course.)

Artie broke my heart a litte. (Alright, a lot.)

incognito

I don't understand why Shelby can't wait a year or two until Rachel turns 18 for the big reveal. It also strikes me as strange that she would subject her daughter to a potential broken heart (phony love affair with Jesse) and sleepless nights as a means to establishing her own relationship. Something ain't right.

Totally OT: Can I just register my disappointment that I sat through two whole seasons of V and NOBODY swallowed a live rat, not one??




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