Posts Tagged ‘Glee


2 in 1 Showcase Episode 270: San Diego Comic-Commentary

Comic-Con weekend is here, and although Blake and Erin aren’t in San Diego, that’s not going to stop them from pontificating about all the news from the con. The aftermath of Avengers Vs. X-MenNeil Gaiman returns to Sandman! A slew of new Image comics, the titles and release dates for Marvel Cinematic Universe’s “Phase 2…” and is it possible the greatest Marvel villain of them all could be… Dr. Heinz Doofenshmirtz? Contact us with comments, suggestions, or anything else at!
Music provided by Music Alley from Mevio.

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What I’m Watching: Community-Regional Holiday Music

As much as I love the regular episodes of Community, the Christmas episodes are really something special. Season one was a nice parody of overreaction to the holidays by both the extreme secularists and the extremely ecumenical. Season two was a stop-motion extravaganza that, at its heart, was about the loneliness of the holidays. And this year, we got Regional Holiday Music, a full-blown Christmas musical episode, a joyful romp diminished only by the knowledge that this is the last episode of the show for the foreseeable future.

In “Regional Holiday Music,” Jeff gets his hated nemesis — the Glee Club — busted for singing copyrighted music in preparation for its Christmas pageant. The Glee director asks Jeff’s study group to step in and take over, as they did once before (it’s very much not what you think). Although the rest of the group blows it off, Abed sees an opportunity to keep his surrogate family together over the holidays and begins a quest to win them over one at a time. In doing so, though, he begins to change his friends into something they’re not… mindless Christmas zombies.

Again, the inherent genius of this show shines through. How many other television shows would make their Christmas show half a parody of Glee, half a parody of Invasion of the Body Snatchers, while still making room to write, record and choreograph musical numbers for almost the entire cast, geared specifically to each character? It was a magnificent episode and a great Christmas special, and it was just what this show needed as it goes “into hiatus.”

Ah, “hiatus.” How TV fans hate that word, because far too many times in the past that’s been Network Code for “Cancelled.” Community, at least, still has a full-season order from NBC, which means we should still get the rest of this season even if the episodes are burned off at odd times during the summer. (Which, by the way, would be a disaster, as one of the show’s many gimmicks is the “realtime” nature — each episode takes place in the week that it originally airs.)

The reason, of course, for the hiatus is that the show isn’t pulling in the ratings it deserves. It’s never been a blockbuster, and now in its third season it has reached the point of a TV show’s natural lifespan where the stories and jokes can be more character-specific, trusting that the audience (and writers) know the characters well enough to make the sort of self-referential jokes the fans love, but that the casual viewer may not understand. The Orphan Gospel Choir that was used to seduce Shirley into the Glee club, for example is something that would largely have been lost if you don’t know what kind of woman Shirley is. And the way Britta kinda sorta saves the day at the end is funny regardless, but a hell of a lot funnier if you know what it means to “Britta” something.

So if you’ve never watched Community –– and I know there are a lot of you, else the show wouldn’t be in trouble — you owe it to yourself to give it a try from the beginning. You’ve got time now, so do it however you can. NetFlix (discs only — this really should be streaming). Hulu (the entire series is there, and in HD via Hulu+.) Hell, come to my house and I’ll loan you the DVDs for the first two seasons.

And if you’re already watching, good. Keep it up. And tell your friends. Be vocal (but polite) to NBC. And do whatever it takes to get more students to Greendale Community College.

Six seasons and a movie, peeps. Six seasons and a movie.


Santa, Baby, it’s Cold Outside

I’ve been doing this “Christmas Party” here on the blog for years now, and so every so often I decide to revisit old topics. Back in ’08, I took the time to pick through my gargantuan iPod album of Christmas music and identify every version of The Twelve Days of Christmas I had on the computer. Needless to say, there were many of them. And although that list has only grown since then, I’m not getting back into it today. Instead, I’m going to look at two of the most vaguely inappropriate — yet somehow alluring — Christmas songs on my list: the unusually sultry “Santa Baby” and the “Wow, this guy might get a little too aggressive” classic, “Baby, It’s Cold Outside.”

Santa Baby, that old favorite, was written by Joan Javits and Philip Springer and first released in 1953. In this song, a grown woman sings to Santa — usually in a very breathy and alluring tone of voice — about all of the extravagant gifts she hopes to get this year while simultaneously assuring him that “I’m an awfully good girl.” The song would basically be the original Cougar’s Christmas Carol except that Santa is older than the women intended to sing this song by approximately 1700 years.

Still, I love the song, and I’ve got several versions of it, including…

  • Eartha Kitt. This version was the original recording of the song and still, probably, the greatest of all time. Maybe it’s just because I best know her as Catwoman, but somehow Eartha Kitt totally gets a pass on the potential creepiness that infests some of the other ladies who’ve recorded this song, such as…
  • Madonna. I don’t know how this version got in my iTunes, I honestly don’t. It looks like it was on some massive Christmas compilation CD, where I just saved every song indiscriminately because 1TB external hard drives are now relatively cheap. Let’s see if I can find something a little less embarassing…
  • The Glee cast. Okay, I can live with this. Granted, Glee took a sharp downward turn midway through the second season, from a storytelling standpoint, but the voices are still strong. Who else is on my list?
  • Kellie Pickler. How in the world did she get into my iTunes? I don’t listen to country music at all.
  • Kylie Minogue. Okay, seriously, is somebody Punking my iTunes? I know I didn’t download her song deliberately. Two left, let’s see…
  • The Pussycat Dolls. ACK! ABORT! ABORT! AAAAACK!
  • Miss Piggy. Oh thank God, finally a version of the song I can be proud to have in my collection. Eartha Kitt made this song famous, but if she has a spiritual successor anywhere in the universe, it’s Miss Piggy.

Let’s move on.

Baby, It’s Cold Outiside was written in 1936 by songwriter Frank Loesser, who recorded the song with his wife, Lynn Garland, who was subsequently royally pissed at him when he sold the rights to the song to MGM. In this duet, two people sing about how cold it is outside, with the timid one (usually — but not always — sung by a woman) commenting on how she needs to get home, while the aggressive one (usually — but not always — sung by a man) trying to use the blizzard as an excuse to get her to stick around for another drink, another cigarette, and although he never comes out and says it, probably a roofie or two. Oddly, the song never specifically references Christmas or anything actually related to Christmas, but people think of it as a Christmas song because it’s all about snow. Because, y’know, we all know there’s never been a blizzard in March.

This song has been recorded by friggin’ everybody. Including…

  • Dean Martin. Remember, this is a duet, but my track listing doesn’t tell me who Deano sang this with. Technically, I suppose it was whoever the hell he wanted to sing it with, because he was DEAN MARTIN.
  • Al Hirt and Ann-Margaret. A classic version, and perfectly acceptable.
  • Hot Lips Paige and Pearl Bailey. Back then those cats really knew how to swing.
  • Doris Day and Bing Crosby. The only way this recording could be any more Christmasy is if the speakers dribbled egg nog while you listened.
  • Cerys Matthews and Tom Jones. Eh — not bad. The classic versions aren’t too embarassing at all, really. Let’s see what I have in the more modern recordings…
  • The Brian Setzer Orchestra. Well, why not? It’s easy enough to turn this into a swing number.
  • Leigh Nash. I actually really like this version — I’m a big fan of Leigh Nash’s voice, with its earthy, breathy tone. Why the hell hasn’t she recorded “Santa Baby?”
  • Lady Antebellum. Again with the country? This must have snuck in on the same compilation album as Kellie Pickler.
  • The cast of Glee. Ahem. Moving on.
  • Vanessa Williams and Bobby Caldwell. I don’t actually know who Bobby Caldwell is. I could look him up, but I suspect his Wikipedia page will consist simply of the sentence “that dude what sang ‘Baby, It’s Cold Outside’ with Vanessa Williams that one time.”
  • Leon Redbone and Zooey Deschanel. This is actually from the soundtrack from the movie Elf, which officially makes this 3-minute 32-second track the best thing ever to happen as a result of Will Ferrell’s career. And speaking of Zooey…
  • She & Him. This is a singing group, with a brand-new Christmas album this year. The group members are Zooey Deschanel and that guy that sings with Zooey Deschanel.
  • Cynthia Robins and Billy Philadelphia on the album “Stranger Than Fiction.” I love this album — it’s a compilation of songs by writers, including Stephen King, Amy Tan, and Dave Barry, and is typically characterized by being hysterically terrible (check out Leonard Maltin’s “Act Naturally” if you don’t believe me.) This one, actually, is pretty good, though.

Ten Things I Learned From Watching GLEE

I’m not ashamed to admit it. I watch Glee. Being an old-school musical theatre nerd, I find it to be as vital a part of my heritage as my love for Green Lantern, Star Trek, and Harry Potter. Yes, I’m aware that it’s basically a musical high school soap opera, but dammit, any show that can get Neil Patrick Harris and Kristin Chenoweth to be guest-stars must have something on the ball.

That said, I am not so in love with the show that I can’t recognize a few flaws in logic. Fortunately, the show makes up for it by being tremendously educational – even to an educator such as myself. You’d think, teaching in a high school, I would be more or less familiar with the high school setting of the show, but it seems like every week I discover something I never would have suspected.

That in mind, tonight I present to you the following examination of the lessons we can learn from television: Ten Things I Learned From Glee.

  1. Just because a school cannot afford federally-mandated wheelchair ramps or a bus with a wheelchair lift doesn’t mean it won’t blow cash on weekly elaborately-staged musical numbers with dazzling sets, pyrotechnics, and more costumes than a Vegas lounge show.
  2. High school cheerleaders wear their uniforms to school every day, regardless of whether any sport is currently in season.
  3. A teacher who discovers a pregnant 10th grade girl has been thrown out of her house by her parents is under no obligation to report the situation to social services.
  4. Teenagers can sight read sheet music perfectly the first time, every time, regardless of whether they’ve ever even heard the song before.
  5. Everyone in a school, students and faculty alike, are ridiculously attractive people, except for the one dumpy male coach who is responsible for every sport.
  6. Students are under no obligation to take any tests, or for that matter, attend any classes except for physical education and glee club.
  7. Contrary to popular belief, a 40-year-old alcoholic dropout will be allowed to re-enroll, no questions asked, rather than be given information on pursuing her GED.
  8. Jocks are allowed to roam the halls, carrying open-topped Slushies, with impunity. Regardless of the number of witnesses to the incident and any school security cameras that can positively identify them, there will be no consequences for attacking fellow students.
  9. The school board is under no obligation to perform any background check, including an examination of medical qualifications, on any applicants for the position of school nurse.
  10. Band members never talk.

May 2023

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