Friday, May 21, 2010

Tag Team: Danielle and Steve get very Glee-ful and Glee-ky

To rip-off the disclaimer for Bill Simmons' BS Report, Tag Team is a free flowing discussion between two adults that sometimes touches on mature subjects. due to popular demand, and by that I mean web page hits, my friend Danielle Membrino is back for a third Tag Team entry! She is currently employed as a photographer and nanny in Boston.

Want to do your own Tag Team with me? Send me an e-mail ( or leave a comment. You can find the past Tag Team entries I did with Danielle here and here.


Steve said at 1:43 a.m. on Monday, May 10:

Dear Danielle,

How are things? I hope you are doing well. Hey, did you realize that YOUR name is Danielle, like Danielle Steele? Have you ever read any of her books? If so, then how was it? If not, then why not?

But, pressing on to more important things - Glee is back with new episodes! Yay! Although I am a bit annoyed that they essentially rebooted all of the story lines in the very first episode back, the show is just so cheesy and different from everything else on television that I can't help but smile when I'm watching it.

I think the minor characters are what make me enjoy it so much, similar to some of my other favorite shows, Community and Modern Family. Every episode, I can count on a silly little contribution from Brittany, or a slutty and funny throwaway line from Santana, or a snide remark from Quinn. Sure, Sue Sylvester is always good, but outside of her, the minor characters are the most consistent
of the cast.

Speaking of the cast, I must say that Rachel and Mr. Schuester are getting on my nerves slightly. Rachel's character has shown pretty much no development in the course of the series - she is still incredibly neurotic and goody goody, excluding the "knife in the back" moment of this week's final song. And I thought that Emma rightly called Will out for all of his horrible behavior, even if she was doing it based on the evil intentions of Sue.


Danielle said at 11:30 p.m. on Monday, May 10:

So I thought her last name was spelled Steele too, but apparently it's Steel. I had no idea my name was Danielle, so I'm glad you've brought this to my attention. It explains why I didn't get those 200 points on the SATs. And no, I have never read Danielle Steel's books. I have better things to read than over dramatic love stories.

Speaking of over dramatic stories, how awesome is Glee? I'm glad they've continued so strong with the second half of their first season. I do wish there would be some growth with Rachel, but it's also only the first season. If they do too much at once they'll burn out too quickly. My roommate, who finally got into Glee recently, brought up the point that Will ALWAYS seems annoyed by Rachel. He never seems happy with her and always has a grimace on his face when she's doing anything. He should be nicer to her. I'm sure she's obnoxious, but I still like her. That's something I really like about Lea Michele, she makes an annoying character likable.

I love how in the world of Glee they've made it such their own thing they even have their own slang like "lime-a-loser" and "Cheerios." It's things like that, that always draw me in. The cheesiness factor is awesome too. Sometimes I think it can get too cheesy in some serious moments and i roll my eyes, but I love the funny cheesy stuff. It's what really makes this show work. Like you know they aren't taking themselves too seriously.

I don't really mind that they haven't come up with many new plot lines, like I said, I don't want them to burn out too quickly. Teen drama shows that have too many different plot lines threading through one season often don't last past a third of fourth season. Buffy the Vampire Slayer lasted for seven seasons because it was so good at pacing itself out. While there were few subplots and different small monsters/demons in each season, there was generally one big bad guy that had to be defeated in the end. So I am hoping things do move forward more with Jesse being at the school, Kurt & Mercedes joining Cheerios and Will & Emma working out their relationship, but I hope nothing happens too fast. If that makes any sense.

I don't trust Jesse St. James at all. He is definitely up to something. I have a feeling he's going to switch back to Vocal Adrenaline soon, his plan being to leave Rachel heartbroken and not wanting to go on with Glee Club. But I could also see that backfiring because she'd be so upset with him she'd want to get on stage and defeat him at regionals. I also want her and Finn to get together, so Jesse can just leave. Although I do love his singing voice. I listen to his and Rachel's version of "Hello" a lot on my iTunes.

On the topic of songs, I personally love this show and what its been doing with music. It has taken A LOT of billboard hit songs and brought them to a new generation. I'll even admit I don't always know all the songs in an episode, but I'm not a huge music person, so it's not that surprising. On the opposing side though, I listen to this one podcast and they happened to be talking about Glee in their latest episode and one of the guys on it HATES it. He considers it an abomination to music. He hates that they're taking all these classic songs and just making them pop-y. And then all these 15 year old girls only download the Glee versions of them and don't even know the originals.

But a couple of other people on the podcast stood up for Glee and made good points that I agreed with. Like yes, they have changed a lot of good songs into these bubblegum pop-y songs, but there's still some really amazing ones like when Rachel sings "Defying Gravity" from Wicked. Also, yes a lot of teen girls will only listen to the Glee versions of these songs, but at least it's giving them the chance to learn about these past musicians. It's not like Glee ever claims that they're their own songs. They often mention the artist in the show. After the Madonna show, her record sales went way up like they haven't been in a long time.

So I'll leave it at that for now since this is getting pretty long.


Steve said at 10:17 p.m. on Thursday, May 13:

Dear Danielle,

Please don't pretend like you have more important things to do than to read Danielle Steel novels! I mean, after all, you now have a league-leading THIRD Tag Team blog, so obviously, you must either prioritize me, or you do have lots of free time. A-ha! I have backed you into a corner, like Inigo Montoya did to Count Rugen! (Or, if you prefer the funny, like how Vizzini "outwits" the man in black.)

And wait, by "roommate" do you mean Maggie Sullivan? It is hard for me to picture her being into Glee - it just doesn't seem like her kind of show! I mean, there is barely any inappropriate humor, and no vomiting, so it's not like Family Guy at all. Man... she's changed, man... Maybe I'm just staying the same in my country bumpkin world while you both mature in the Big City.

I definitely agree with Maggie - I think Will reluctantly accepts Rachel's help. Tapping into my limited experience as a substitute and college teaching assistant, an overenthusiastic student who constantly tries to "help" generally just gets in the way and detracts from your authority. While they're never as disruptive as class clowns or outright criminals, they aren't as easy to have in class as the kids who just do their own thing, or who work quietly.

I understand your concerns about the show moving too fast. I think the first half of the first season was on fast forward a bit, simply because the creators probably wanted to show off a big wallop to ensure the show's survival. I think the rest of the first season, and the subsequent seasons, will feature more gradual storylines and plot twists. For example, it wouldn't surprise me to see more made out of the relationship between the parents of Finn and Kurt. (And thus, more plots involving Mike O'Malley! Do do do you have it? GUTS!)

Jesse is definitely up to no good. He is just TOO slick for the show's general tone - There has to be something shady going on with him. Like, it wouldn't surprise me if he is some mid-20s ringer, like that Kristen Chenawumba lady was supposed to be for Will.

As far as the effect of Glee on popular music, I mostly say meh. For the most part, they stick to pop music - How are they killing songs like freakin' Madonna with their commercialism when the originals have sold about 50 million copies? I have a bit of a knee-jerk reaction to people who automatically criticize something just because it is a remake of an original. Then again, I love cover songs and cheesy music, so Glee is right up my alley in the first place.


Danielle said at 4:19 p.m. on Friday, May 14:

haha Well, Maggie doesn't love it like I do. She thinks it's funny and likes it well enough. She mocks it a quite a bit for being so cheesy, but that's understandable, cause it is. That is what makes the show so awesome though. I just watched a sneak peak clip on the Glee Facebook page about Joss Whedon and how much of a Gleek he is. He talks about how much he loves the show and he was so excited to direct an episode. Brittany is his favorite character. I am SO excited for next week's episode since he's directing it AND it also has Neil Patrick Harris in it. I love Joss Whedon so much, so this should be epic.

I do hope they build more with the relationship between Finn's mom and Kurt's dad. I think it could be really good for both the families. I also really liked the scene at the end of last weeks episode between Kurt & his dad after Kurt finished singing "Rose's Song." I felt that it was a pretty genuine scene without being cheesy. How a lot of parents would feel when they first find out their kid is gay. He doesn't hate him, isn't disgusted by it, his dad just needs time to come to terms with things that won't be happening that he thought would be happening with his kid. I was actually at my friend Kris' apartment watching it with his girlfriend and when that scene happened, Kris made fun of us because we both at the same time sat forward on the couch.

I wonder when the Vocal Adrenaline coach is going to come back into play. That actress has starred in Wicked before, so I'm sure she'll be singing at some point. Wasn't she also the girlfriend of Patrick Dempsey's character in Enchanted? I think she was. I could IMDB it but I'm too lazy.

I'd also like to take back what I said in the first e-mail about how I don't think Rachel's changed at all. She is definitely more of a team player, though still considers herself better and more important than anyone else. She's also more caring. But she is still insane and over dramatic. I can't wait to see what more songs they use for the 5 remaining episodes. My iTunes is so full of Glee. I think the only thing I have more of is Christmas music, haha.

Well I'm about to go see Iron Man 2, so I must be off for now.


Steve said at 11:21 a.m. on Wednesday, May 19:

(Note: I'll let you have the last word, so do a reply to this, and then I'll post it. Thanks!)

Well, the Whedon episode has aired now, and I must say - I was a little disappointed. Especially if he said Brittany is his favorite character, since she had no speaking lines and only a minor part in the episode, during the group dance numbers. Don't get me wrong, the episode was still good, but outside of the always-excellent Neil Patrick Harris, this could have been any other episode of the season.

At first, when they teased that Artie had regained the use of his legs, I honestly thought the show was jumping the shark right there. I was watching and thinking, "Seriously, Glee, this is how you're going out? Like a punk in your first season? You're doing this Heroes-style?" Luckily though, it was just a daydream. I thought it was then a little bit harsh to then have Emma Pillsbury shatter his dreams a bit more; I think the scene in the mall was enough to hammer down the point that Artie's life sucks a bit.

I did like the payoff with Rachel's mom being the coach of Vocal Adrenaline though. Even if the reveal was a bit telegraphed with how freakishly similar they look, I thought it was a really effective bit of casting there. I still don't like Jesse though, and I bet their end game is to eventually recruit Rachel to the Vocal Adrenaline team. I still don't think Rachel has changed that much - She has become more a team player, true, but that's damning with faint praise.

Regarding the actress herself, I haven't seen Wicked or Enchanted. While I watch Glee and loved Serenity and Firefly, I was never into Buffy or Angel, so there is a limit to my cheese factor.

How was Iron Man 2? I still haven't seen it, just because the reviews and response from my friends has been pretty lukewarm. Almost everyone I've asked about it has had the, "Eh, it's okay" reaction. It sounds like it is more like a conventional sequel as opposed to something that really expands the series, like The Dark Knight or Spiderman 2.


Danielle said at 9:27 a.m. on Thursday, May 20:

I too was at first a little underwhelmed by the episode. I watched it a second time last night though and really liked it. I've noticed when I'm kind of indifferent toward a Glee episode, once I watch it again I like it more. I also don't hold the episode against Joss Whedon though, you have to remember he didn't write it, he only directed it. So I'm sure he gets to change some things on the script, he can't do whatever he wants. I was a little disappointed to not even hear Brittany say anything, but I guess it's good that they're not relying on her to be the humor for every episode.

If Jesse & the coach do try to bring Rachel over to Vocal Adrenaline, I'm sure it won't work. I'm sure she'll think about it though. I'm glad Jesse actually likes her though. The coach being her mom was something I didn't expect. Should be interesting.

I laughed so hard when I realized Artie was going to sing Safety Dance. I knew it wasn't real once he did more than stand up. I was like, therapy doesn't work in a day. I feel bad for him though and hope he starts feeling better about himself soon. I didn't think they were going to jump the shark, not in the first season before it's even over.

HOW EXCITED are you for the Lady Gaga epiosde next week??? I think it'll be awesome.
As for Iron MAN 2, I liked it. I thought it was just a fun super hero movie. It wasn't as deep or amazing as The Dark Knight, but I didn't expect it to be. I think they built it up for possibly a third one, but definitely to lead into The Avengers [two Easter eggs for Captain America and Thor]. Which by the way, is ALSO supposed to be directed by Joss Whedon :D


Want to do your own Tag Team? Feel free to e-mail me at Danielle's picture comes from her Facebook photos. The picture of Finn and Rachel is from this site. The picture of Inigo is from this site. The picture of Joss Whedon is from here. The picture of Neil Patrick Harris is from this site that has several scantily clad pictures of him, which I could have done without seeing. And the picture of Rachel and her new mom is from this site, which is actually pretty entertaining to me.

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