At the time of this writing, there have been five all New York episodes: “New New York” (season five episode fourteen), “Bash” (season five episode fifteen), “Tested” (season five episode sixteen), “Opening Night” (season five episode seventeen), and “The Back-Up Plan” (season five episode eighteen). Now I won’t really be talking about “Opening Night” or “The Back-Up Plan,” those episodes will be dealt with in another piece I plan to write dealing with Rachel.
Why? Because as always I have a lot of complex feelings toward this character. It’s a pain in the ass and often leaves me cursing at my television.
So for now we’re going to talk about the first three episodes of the all Glee New York episodes: “New New York”, “Bash”, and “Tested”.
Let’s get a general bit out of the way. Are they good? Now, as always, “good” is subjective on my personal taste that said the episodes are better. I’ve given a lot of slack with Glee‘s fifth season because the first half was a scramble for purchase after Cory Monteith’s tragic passing. While a three-week production delay sounds like a lot of time, it’s really not. The first half of season five is basically trying to plug a dam with a Band-Aid and hoping for the best. Luckily though, while the first half is really not great, it has great aspects such as Adam Lambert’s Elliott Gilbert.
Glee, due to just bad writing and planning, will never really be truly great again. Still the second half of season five has become much better then previous seasons. I’m not saying there isn’t stupid moments. Oh. There are stupid moments such as Santana becoming and subsequently dropping her role as the understudy to Fanny Brice. Santana, presumably, breaking up with Dani off screen. Everything done with Tina has been…there.
Still with “Frenemies” (season five episode nine) there has been a marked improvement within the show. The writing seems a bit tighter and a bit more focused. It’s a good thing. In fact, I applaud less crap writing in general.
So with “New New York” how has the show been?
“New New York” was okay. It didn’t set the world on fire, but it was okay. “Bash” was much better than “New New York.” “Tested” was not as good as “Bash” but better than “New New York.”
Now I think a lot of fans were hoping that a shift to New York full time would revitalize the show and make everything magically better. That wasn’t going to happen. People have admitted that this didn’t happen. Glee still has its flaws in the Big Apple. I will always maintain that the main problem within Glee is the lack of focus within the writing. Now I won’t say all the shows I watch have perfect writing or continuity errors. They do but they’re not as obvious as they are in Glee. Characters shift wildly. Plotlines are hinted at and then disappear. If they want season six to be a good season, then someone needs to sit the writers in a room together. They need to look at everything that has happened and figure out how to make sense of the nonsense.
This, however, isn’t about that. This is about all New York Glee.
All New York Glee is a shrewder creature then Lima-New York Glee. Someone, a producer or a writer or even an assistant, pointed out that they need to focus. They need to pick characters to move to the city and focus in on them. They need to be more adult. Lima, the safety and familiarity, will be there no longer. Do not talk about “twerking” or choir competitions. Talk about something honest and real.
So did they accomplish this?
Yes and no. New York Glee is more adult. A song, unlike in Lima, doesn’t make everything okay. The characters talk with each other and fight. It’s honest and ugly and realistic. The world is there to steal your laptop and hobble away on crutches. You will get jealous about your boyfriend’s self confidence growing. You need to interact with people and see them and be around them instead of hiding yourself away. And sometimes life doesn’t work out the way you want it to or hope it would.
One of my favorite parts regarding this more adult Glee is the fact that there are actual discussions about relationships.
Kurt and Blaine, Sam and Mercedes, Mercedes and Rachel…they all have real and honest discussion about their relationships.
I may not be the biggest Klaine fan in the world, but I can like it when they have legitimate discussions. They realize that they didn’t really talk in “New New York” about what Blaine moving in would mean for them as individuals. They’re both still teenagers and naive enough to believe that moving in together would be wonderful. It’s hard to do that when you also want to be your own individual person. Being define as “Klaine” is perfectly fine in high school, but in the world there needs to be separation of the couple and the individuals.
In “Tested,” Kurt made it clear to Blaine that if this relationship will work then there can be no power imbalance. He wants a relationship of equal ground, a partnership. Blaine cannot be jealous of Kurt branching out and making new friends and embracing his body. It leads to an unhealthy relationship. Also sometimes, there needs to be silence before the discussion. Both parties need to be ready to talk when they come to the table in the end. I like seeing the struggle because it shows a more mature relationship between characters that can have…immature ideas about love.
Honestly, though, I’m still not the biggest Klaine fan. I still think that they should break up and explore other romantic interests. I just felt the whole engagement storyline for the couple was not that well-handled. I’m also one of those people who don’t believe that first love is the only love, too. Still I was at least to glad to see something happen there and that it was talking, and not singing, that made stuff slightly better.
Samcedes is just as fascinating to watch develop. They never really got a chance in seasons two or three. I, surprisingly, kind of like it. Although my favorite part of it is in “Tested,” where Mercedes says that she wants to wait having sex. Sam does two mature things here. First, he makes sure to get tested so if they have sex they know that he’s clean. Second, he treats her right because he wants to treat her right and doesn’t expect anything out of it when the night is over. Then when she tells him that he wants to wait until marriage, Sam takes his own step back to think about things. In the end, he agrees because a) he cares about her and b) there are different kinds of intimacy then physical intimacy.
Now is it perfect? No. But these talks and plots are scores better above what was previously given to us. So dear God I will take them. I will take them all.
Now Mercedes and Rachel also had relationship talks. The Rachel in these talks is quiet, kind, compassionate, and gives nonjudgmental advice to her friend. I like this Rachel. I want to see more of this Rachel. She and Mercedes have honest discussions that I have had with my friends regarding relationships. It feels natural and rather sweet.
Basically it shows two girls being friends on the show without the snark and backstabbing. Do I like the snark? Yes. Of course I do. But that doesn’t take the place of genuine friendliness between two people. I like seeing that. I like seeing gentleness and kindness.
The majority of people are growing up in Glee now. For one, I think it’s a good sign hopefully. If they keep an intimate class, even with a location change in season six, then they may be able to create something really solid here for the end.
Because now? Now it’s about the beginning of an ending. So let’s make the end better the iffy middle bits yeah?
Now let’s get Kurt to sing us out!
NEXT ON THE GLEE REWATCH PROJECT: We talk about Rachel’s behavior in “Opening Night” and “The Back-Up Plan”. Or rather examine the following question: “What’s your deal, Rachel Berry?”
Follow Me: @GleeRewatch for the latest updates. If you want there is always my personal account if you want to hear my daily dose of random babbling! I also write for PopMythology. I no longer write for PopWrapped. If you want my glee-caps or to see anything else I write then check out 4YE (4 Your Excitement) where I am a Senior Editor. I’ll be writing glee-caps there. You can check out the recaps for “New New York”, “Bash”, “Tested”, “Opening Night” and “The Back-Up Plan” there!
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Credits: Glee Wikia