Review of Glee ‘Girls (and Boys) On Film’

Sophie Warnes

glee boys and girls 300x225 Review of Glee Girls (and Boys) On FilmSPOILERS: Do not read this if you have not seen episode 14 series 4 of ‘Glee’

This series blog is following the Sky 1 broadcast schedule of ‘Glee’ in the UK.

This week’s theme for the Glee club is ‘movies’. I thought we had covered this quite extensively over the past four seasons, but there’s never been an episode dedicated to this particularly. There are so many film references in this one that it’s hard to keep track of.

It starts off with a song sung by Will (Matthew Morrison) and Emma (Jayma Mays) – given last week’s events it was pretty obvious that this was a dream, but the way the scene has been shot is great. We see Will and Emma dance across the floor, both walls and the ceiling, as they sing Fred Astaire’s You’re All The World To Me. It’s cute, but also a reminder for Will of what he and Emma had that he’s now lost.

Once again the boys are pitted against the girls in a sing-off, and they have to perform mash-ups of songs from movies. It gets a little tiring, actually, knowing that anytime there’s a competition it will be the boys against the girls. I wish Will was more creative than that. Why not mix it up and use couples against couples, or force rivals to work together? This has happened a couple of times before and yet… here we are with another girls versus boys competition. Boring.

First off, the New Directions sing Shout around the school – starting off in the hallway, then picking up extra members from their classes and finishing by dancing on the tables in the canteen. This is a pretty good scene visually – and it’s significant because it’s the 500th song in the show – but it felt really anticlimactic and like a bit of a disappointment. I wanted more from it, but Glee is nothing if not inconsistent; being amazing one week and terrible the next. However, visually it was great and I loved the dancing and the way it felt like the whole school was somehow involved.

In New York, Kurt (Chris Colfer), Adam (Oliver Kieran-Jones), Rachel (Lea Michele) and Santana (Naya Rivera) are snowed in so choose a film to watch – they pick Moulin Rouge – and there’s a brilliant dream scene where Kurt and Blaine are singing the key song, Come What May. The scenery is wonderful and reminiscent of Baz Luhrmann’s 2001 masterpiece, and the song is just utterly perfect for them. I can’t help but feel sad that they’re not together anymore, purely because most of the duets between them are so wonderful – but I think their separation was right for the characters and quite timely. A long-distance relationship is hard to keep up and I feel like Blaine and Kurt being together would have made them both quite stale characters when Kurt particularly is very dynamic and has a lot of potential in the show.

Santana ruins the mood a little bit by revealing to Adam that Come What May was Kurt and Blaine’s ‘song’, and Adam responds later by suggesting that they find their own song now that they’re dating. So although she doesn’t ruin their relationship she does, however, put a spanner in Rachel and Brody’s (Dean Geyer) relationship. Her revelation about Brody’s cash and pager makes Rachel uncomfortable, and the fact that Santana does it with such panache – rifling through the whole apartment – just demonstrates why we loved her in the first place. She just does not care what people think of her. It’s refreshing and funny at times, even if her lack of self-awareness may have a negative impact on her relationships with others and even her education and job prospects. However, when it comes down to it, she’s quite a good friend – when Rachel breaks down about the pregnancy test, she’s reassuring and provides a shoulder to cry on (literally).

At the sing-off in Lima, the boys sing Old Time Rock & Roll/Danger Zone. The first is from Risky Business, and Danger Zone is from Top Gun, naturally. The boys give it their best, and their outfits are great but again it’s a bit of a letdown. The girls perform Diamonds Are A Girl’s Best Friend/Material Girl, which – although it’s a better performance – is disappointing, primarily because this mash-up is not original in any way. It’s taken directly from Moulin Rouge. And with references to Moulin Rouge earlier, you would think the writers would have realised that this stolen Marilyn Monroe/Madonna mash-up is horribly obvious to viewers. This is a shame as some of the mash-ups in the past have been so inventive and unexpected – It’s My Life/Confessions and Thriller/Heads Will Roll are two of my favourite mash-ups from the show.

Finn (Corey Monteith) finds out where Emma is through her parents. (What is Finn even doing there anyway now that Will is back? Hasn’t he got a job to find?) Will and the New Directions turn up at her sister’s house to sing Peter Gabriel’s In Your Eyes. It’s exactly the same set-up as the famous scene in great 80s love movie Say Anything, where John Cusack turns up at Ione Skye’s house with a boombox blaring out that song. It’s horribly, stupidly cheesy and I physically cringed at Will’s ending statement, but Glee is no stranger to cheese really. Emma is shocked and perhaps a bit flattered by his dramatic display of love and they then both decide that they should get to know each other again. Is there anything so frustrating as spending three and a half years watching two characters get to a point where they’re about to get married, only for them to then be effectively reset, back to the beginning? ARGH.

If you thought that was cheesy, the Ghost scene with Marley (Melissa Benoist) and Jake (Jacob Artist) is even worse. They actually recreate the famous scene in Ghost with Demi Moore and Patrick Swayze. And Jake sings Unchained Melody. While Marley is imagining that she’s with Ryder (Blake Jenner). I find it hard to believe that Jake is ‘new’ to ‘trust and monogamy’ – in the beginning we saw that he liked chatting up the ladies, but I’ve never got the same Puckerman vibe from him as his older brother Noah. Marley tells Jake about Ryder’s kiss, and the love triangle goes on. Just dump him already, Marley.

The episode ends, as always, on a group performance. It’s another Kenny Loggins song, Footloose, from the film of the same name. It’s a good song to end on but really, this episode should have been about 80s films rather than films in general. Most of the songs chosen are from the 80s and I can’t help but wonder if the kids in New Directions would actually know any of these songs or be familiar with these films, given that they must have been born in the 90s.

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