‘Glee’: ‘Home’ is where the heart -- and Kristin Chenoweth -- are
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If you find that place within, you’ll get that happy ending…
For the last week I’ve received a great deal of tweets, comments and e-mails regarding the now legendary all-Madonna episode.
While some readers commented that the show seems on the verge of becoming a self-parody, others blasted the episode for appearing as a sort of tribute commercial. Still others thought it was just simply the “Best. Episode. Ever.”
No doubt the debate is sure to rage on until the show confirms its next sure to be uber-spectacular all-artist episode. Could it be Britney (rhymes with snitch)? Until that happens, the kids went back to their usual selves and were busy finding their own personal “home” and their own happy ending in what has to be the most emotional episode out of the bunch, and my personal favorite next to “Wheels.”
After making a grand introduction to the Cheerios squad with their rendition of “4 Minutes,” Mercedes and Kurt are now bona fide members of the popular kids. Problem solved right? Wrong. Sadly they are brought back to the cold, cruel reality of the price so many have to pay to be a part of the “in” crowd. Sue informs Mercedes she has to either drop 10 pounds or she is off the team, sending our favorite diva into a tailspin of self-consciousness and starvation.
Although there were some light-hearted moments in her storyline -- including students as life-sized delicious treats and Sue’s extreme diet plan (which I’ve tried in the past, minus the ipecac ... lost nearly 30 pounds in a week plus and gained it right back in two) -- just like last week when they explored the topic of teen sex, the issue of body image and eating disorders was presented with heart and soul.
The beauty of Mercedes (played brilliantly by Amber Riley) is that she is confident and sexy in her own skin and the fact that she isn’t a size zero has always been more of a “so-what” factor than a topic of discussion. That’s why I believe her storyline is so great. Sue also informed Kurt he could stand to lose a few pounds as well, and we saw other girls on the team hoping to lose weight -- which, as ridiculous as it was, hit on the extremes of what is happening in high school life. No matter how confident and beautiful you are, you can fall victim to the pressure. Having Quinn, a former star Cheerio before the whole preggers deal, come to Mercedes’ rescue and talk some sense into her gave me my first Kleenex moment of the night -- though the blistering rendition of Christina Aguilera’s “Beautiful” (perfect song choice) that was soon to follow turned me into a weeping mess. Though her plot ranks as one of the riskiest that they’ve done, like Quinn’s pregnancy (minus the Terri factor), Artie’s physical disability and Kurt’s sexuality, it was grounded in a sense of reality.
With Mercedes struggling to find a home in her own body, Kurt wrangled with being comfortable in his own home. After setting up his dad with Finn’s mom, he quickly regretted playing matchmaker once he saw his father had instantly sparked a connection with his crush over a little “guy talk.” Finn in turn struggled with his mother getting her groove back with Kurt’s father because he didn’t want to replace the only home he knew. Again, incredibly touching. Thankfully the writers eased up on Kurt’s lust for Finn, which is cute and all but kinda creepy now that their parents are bumping uglies.
The dynamic of Chris Colfer and Mike O’Malley as father and son can’t get any better. O’Malley continues to be nothing short of perfection in the role, though it pains me to see him during commercials hawking cable. And with a second week of Kurt having a solo, this time completely stealing Rachel’s thunder with his take on “A House Is Not a Home,” this seems to be a welcome suggestion that the supporting characters will not only have deeper storylines but additional time to shine vocally, and I doubt there is one Gleek that will turn that down. Who else loved Finn chiming in during “A House Is Not a Home,” and singing to the father he never knew?
But I must say the best part about “Home” was undoubtedly the return of Kristen Chenoweth as April. The last time we saw April was the same way we are reintroduced to her: bigger than life, drop-dead gorgeous and boozed-up. This time she has a little money by playing the role of mistress to some old geezer, who oddly owns a skating rink. I continue my love affair with Chenoweth that started in college and while I don’t need to defend her brilliance, I will. From her spunky duet of “Fire” with Schue, to the heart-achingly lonely coo of ‘One Less Bell to Answer” which segued into a fantastic reprise of “A House Is Not a Home” and of course her bone-chilling take on “Home,” where I’m sure Stephanie Mills is somewhere applauding, I fell in love with her again. I spent a fair share of time shouting ‘Do it already’ to my TV screen during her scenes with Will -- inappropriate, yes, but they make one heck of a hot couple even if they wound up as one big hot mess. Is it in bad taste to predict an Emmy nomination in her future?
Was I the only one surprised by the absence of Rachel from the action? I guess even a diva such as Rachel Berry has to take a seat in the back from time to time to recharge.
-- Gerrick D. Kennedy (Follow me on Twitter @GerrickKennedy) Photos: (top) Kristin Chenoweth guest stars on ‘Glee.’ Credit: Fox
(bottom) Artie is transformed into cake during Mercedes’ food-starved hallucination. Credit: Fox