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Glee Review: We Are The Champions

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Glee is the champion, my friends. The show kept on fighting until the almost-end. Glee is the... okay. Enough of that. You get the picture, right?

While I didn't love every single minute of tonight's two-hour smorgasbord of song, season 3 is certainly attempting to finish stronger than it started.

Puck as Blaine

Let's talk about what I didn't like from each of tonight's two episodes and go ahead and get that nastiness out of the way, shall we?

First, from "Props," I really wanted Tina's dream to last longer. It had the potential to be silly and fun and to liven the show up a bit. Imagine how funny it would be to see Puck-as-Blaine belting out a show tune. Instead, we got a literal "sing a solo in someone else's shoes" from Tina-as-Rachel and then Tina woke up and suddenly understood what it must be like to be Rachel Berry. Really? That's the best you can do?

I liked Tina challenging Rachel because Tina's right. She's an original member of Glee and she's been relegated to back-up dancer. Perhaps she'll have her time to shine next season, but I couldn't help but feel for the girl just a little bit. She deserves a standing ovation, too.

I was also a bit put-off with her pleading with Carmen Tibideaux on Rachel's behalf, and that's an irritation that carried over into Jesse St. James doing the same thing during "Nationals." We all know Rachel will get into NYADA, but the begging and the muffins and the voicemails and the downright stalker-like behavior was too much. Tibideaux was right. Every second she spends on Rachel's craziness is time she has to take away from another student who didn't choke at the audition. Rachel needed to hear and understand that, and while I think she did, it was still over-the-top annoying instead of over-the-top funny.

"Props" also helped me define what it was about Coach Beiste's domestic violence PSA that was so out of place, and I come at this from the place of someone who is a high school teacher and not only a casual viewer of the show. Mercedes, Santana and Brittany did not in any way, either now or two episodes ago, need to be involved as the impetus that made Beiste leave Cooter. Puck was enough for that.

Which is what happened to be my favorite part of tonight's first hour.

The Puck/Coach Beiste scenes tonight were amazing. Mark Salling and Dot Marie Jones nailed their performances and had me near tears. What worked about Puck's story line is that he didn't even know he was helping her. In reality, while a teacher may share parts of his or her personal life with the students in his or her classroom, he or she would almost never do so in the manner in which the domestic violence story line was carried out on Glee. To do so would border on a violation of professional ethics.

And yes, I realize that this is the same show where the Spanish teacher who speaks no Spanish wants to move his wedding up six months so that high school students can attend, but still.

It's not unlikely that in the course of helping a student like Puck, one who feels defeated and alone, realize his worth and value as a person, the teacher would also realize that the message she's sharing with him applies to herself. That's what happened tonight and that's what redeemed that story line for me. THAT was good story telling. And it gave us the short, sweet, masterfully delivered line:

Beiste: You are loved, punkin. You are not alone. | permalink

Perfect for the two of them, right? Listen up, writers. I need more Dot Marie next season, okay?

Other things I loved: The New Directions finally won Nationals!

Nationals or Bust!

I knew it would happen. I knew it had to happen. The progression of their competitions over the past three seasons has pointed toward this moment. And their set had been flawless, right? While judges Lindsay Lohan and Perez Hilton, as themselves, were debating which show choir would win, I'll admit there was a part of me, maybe the former choir member who now only sings in her car, who thought "Oh no! What if they don't win!? What if Wade "Unique" Adams and Vocal Adrenaline out-shined them up there." (Be sure to check out the Glee quotes page for LiLo's verbal gems.)

I may have held my breath while waiting for the announcement.

But, the New Directions were victorious, and they received a hero's welcome of streamers and confetti instead of slushee facials, even from the hockey players who'd beaten Puck up just a few days before.

The New Directions aren't the only ones who were victorious.

Sue got her Cheerios back and Will got Emma.

She was finally ready to have sex with him and told him so through a pamphlet left strategically on a desk where she knew he'd find it. How very quirky. And yet somehow perfect for the pair.

To make Will's year even better, he was crowned Teacher of the Year in a ceremony that finally gave us the gang singing "We Are the Champions." (Check out more songs on the Glee music page.)

But the best part of tonight was that it was a continuation of the circular trip the show has been taking over the course of the past few weeks. Rachel Berry said it best:

I mean, in a sea full of kids who are just desperately clinging to their own kind, we're different. We took the time to get to know each other and reach out and accept one another. That's our unique factor. And that's what I love about us.

Tonight, once again, the show reminded us that this is a series about misfits, underdogs who find their places with each other in the murky waters of high school. Once again, we were reminded of what it felt like to be in high school, maybe on the fringe of the mainstream, but swimming along with everyone else. We found our places, right? I know I did. And our characters did, too.

In these final episodes of the season, we've seen a return to the stories of the characters we fell in love with in season one. We've also seen how, when done well, new characters can be sewn into the fabric of this show in a way that makes us root for them, too. Something tells me we may be seeing more Unique next season.

Cheers, writers, for giving me characters I still want to see go from underdog to top dog, even after that messy middle of the season.

What did you think of "Props" and "Nationals"? Which musical performance was your favorite?

Review

Editor Rating: 4.0 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.4 / 5.0 (35 Votes)

Miranda Wicker is a Staff Writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.

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Allison-berry-barbieri

I agree with you that Tina's dream had more potential! It could have been a riot. And, while I felt that some of the episode was cliche and cheesy (the winning, the being greeted with confetti)...I still loved the cliches and cheesiness. There was a brief moment I thought they might lose, but I knew they would have to win for the show to have it's feel-good moment. Even though everything seemed to tie up just a little too neatly, I still felt satisfied with the story and was so glad to have some of it circle back to Season 1. And, bonus: Another episode without feeling like a PSA was being shoved down my throat! MVPs of the episode? Mark Salling and Dot Jones. Excellent! I LOVED the Puck/Bieste storyline as well. Believable (though, I still think Cooter being abusive seemed to come out of nowhere) and well told. And Mark Salling really got a chance to shine!

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Sorry but Glee didn't originally sell the show as being only about Finchel. They made the show about a band of misfits and forgot about it when Rachel and Finn became fan favors. Fan pandering and sloppy writing ruined this show. A lot of people are invested in other characters other then Finchel. Sorry but we are.
I'm not even sure what message Glee is sending out. "If you whine enough you will get your way?" Well only if you are Rachel Berry. Mercedes had to take a backseat to her and Tina has too. All the show's contradictions and glaring mistakes are more and more evident as this season wraps. I really hope the talented singers/actors on the show move on. Jenna, Amber, Mark, and Kevin need to take their talent elsewhere.

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I feel like a proud parent watching these from episode 1 season 1 to now... had to shed a tear :)

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Okay i loved this episode...but all of nationals annoyed me...first of all...it was inconsistent with last year... we only saw three performers perform, and the three of them were onstage, as opposed to finding out from a list like they did last year, also..its kinda dumb when they have the three of them onstage cause you know for sure that they are gonna at least be in the top three...who decided they were top three and when? It didnt make much sense....

Soapjunk

I thought it was amazing, from the hilarious switching bodies in Tina's dream {cracked me up real good} too puck in a dress { Freakin hilarious XD!} Wasn't trying to be very optimistic about the outcome off nationals, see there record at previous competitions. But they won, and it was AWESOME. I will look forward too season 4. Does anyone know if they are all coming back?

Miranda-wicker

@Adam--No, sharing your personal life with your students isn't discouraged where I teach, and in fact, I do share a great deal of my personal life with my students. However, I don't know many teachers who would share that they are victims of domestic violence WHILE they are victims. After the fact? Sure. But not in the middle of it. The girls going to find her in the teacher's lounge to confront her isn't how things would occur in most scenarios. Puck helping her while she's helping him and him being unaware of it is far more likely.

Miranda-wicker

I'm annoyed with myself for not remembering that Shue is no longer teaching Spanish. However, if he's teaching history/geography, I'm freaking more annoyed that he's not helping Puck study. @carda--I think the thing w/ Cooter is that we don't really know WHAT Cooter was like before they got married. Perhaps the signs that he had an anger problem were there. Plus, she did give him a second chance when she didn't leave the first time. The fact that he specifically asked for a "second chance" last night is semantics.

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Telling the children every week to sing a song to express how they feel (to the point now that none of them seem capable of expressing anything unless through song!) and them eventually winning nationals does not justify being given some award for best teacher.
Look at how supportive Beiste is being towards Puck (actually trying to help him pass, when's Will ever done anything like that? Look at Brittany for example, no-one's helping her!), stuff like that is far more inspiring and valuable (I was hoping they'd not be so cheesy and give her the award, was sorely disappointed).
Who decided who got the award anyway? If it was the kids then fine, they're all daft but if it was Figgins and staff then they are clearly deluded with very short memories of Will's achievements.

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I hate the whole Beiste story
it simplifies the matter so much it hurts I have a few cases of domestic violence within my circle of friends and there, the abusive asshole WAS an abhusive asshole who did what he did repeatedly (and basically never was really nice) --> there you have clear cut distinctions like the one Glee tried to make but in Cooters case: he seemed a nice guy who had new-found problem with anger management and he was sorry for it and he wanted to change it and work on the relationship and Glee teaches its viewers that this is exactly the kind of guy who does not deserve a 2nd chance? seriously?

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They FINALLY did Taylor Swift!!! I have been waiting since season 1 for this!