Friday 12 October 2012

Popular - It’s an ego thing.

Popular: 2x11 Fire in the Hole.

A short one this time: 

We are back to the good old topic of first times, except on slightly changed terms from Popular’s last year due to the fact that both Sam and Lily are now in a relationship, Josh is no longer with Brooke and someone failed to figure out how to fit Carmen into any of this, which is why she is sadly missing from most of what is happening. The hero of our story is one Harrison John, recently returned from “death’s doorstep” (Bobbi Glass) and despite beating cancer, still the prime candidate for the virginal main character in Bio Glass’ musical on STDs, That Burning Sensation: A Cautionary Tale (aka the greatest episode of Glee that never was). So it just happens that Sam (who Harrison supposedly wants to marry, remember?) has decided that she is ready for her first time with George, who wants to take it slowly, while Harrison just wants to lose “it” to anyone (no really, anyone – if Josh hadn’t come up with the idea of giving him a gift certificate for Candy Box – who George suggested, cue scandal – he’d have started to hand out flyers). They mainly do it out of a guilty conscience after torturing him about the fact that he “dials down the threat and travels under the radar” by befriending all the girls, and isn’t it great that being “friendzoned” (the specific concept of it being somehow terrible) is no longer pop culturally relevant twelve years later? 
There are two really great things that happen in the episode. One is a conversation between Brooke and Sam that perfectly showcased how far they’ve come as friends – and how much Brooke has grown over the past months. Sam sneakily sneaks up to Brooke to talk to her about sex because she is concerned that George wants to wait. 
Brooke: Maybe he just wants to wait? Look, Sam, I wish I had. I mean once you give it away, you can’t ever get it back.
Sam: I know that.
Brooke: Then why are you in such a hurry to lose it. Usually you’re so careful…
Sam: So prim? That is just the thing. I am tired of that rep. I just wanna be sexy.
Brooke: No. You just want him to think you’re sexy. It’s an ego thing.
So I don’t really agree with the first part here, because the whole concept of virginity being something that you lose is stupid (and biologically, it’s also bullshit), but Brooke calls Sam out (the whole superficiality thing that has come up in the past) in the nicest way possible, and one that is actually effective, and they come to the conclusion that they would prefer sex ed that teaches them about how sex works, and not just about STDs and “if you have sex you will get pregnant and die”. Brooke finds an alternative… in the garage… and they spend an evening watching one of Mike’s porn films together, as you do as quasi sisters, and it’s an awkward giggly mess, but very endearing. 
The other great thing is sort of revenge for last episode’s tragic disaster, and it’s the worst moment Harrison’s had in a long time. Sort-of freaked out by the prospect of actually accepting the “gift horse” Sugar and Josh have bought him, Harrison approaches Nic – who just saved his life with her bone marrow, overcoming her own fear of surgery, generally being the greatest – and asks her fairly bluntly for sex – which happens in the midst of Nicole trying to express how transformative the whole experience was for her and how they maybe have a genuine connection now. It’s kind of horrible to watch, a train wreck, because there is a moment after she realizes what he is asking her and right before she laughs in his face where she looks so absolutely heartbroken that despite everything, she is still in that category for Harrison, that he wouldn’t even have the respect for her to have one honest conversation in which they talk to each other like friends would. And of course it keeps getting worse because he starts giving her some actually nice reason and then just trails off into complete awfulness.
Nicole: Are you actually asking me to break you out of the… the friends of the hand club?
Harrison: Yeah, that’s what I am asking.
Nicole: Well, I have to say that I appreciate your honesty, but answer me this. Why choose moi for the special honor?
Harrison: Well, because you’re beautiful, and sexy. I’ve already mentioned the thing about the bone marrow so in a way we’ve already exchanged bodily fluids.
Nicole: That’s sweet. Go on. You know if this is your version of foreplay, it’s working.
Harrison: Plus, it’s not like you’re so discriminating, and I’ve heard you do it with a lot of guys. That came out wrong
Nicole: You know, Harrison, I’d love to help you out.
Harrison: You would?
Nicole: Yeah, but you know I’m booked for weeks. I don’t even have the 2.5 seconds that it would take you when you do it for the first time and it’s a pity really because I’d love to be there when that first time lucky lady gets a load of your underprivileged ?? and then laughs right in your red-cheeked little face.
Nicole Out. 

Later Lily, shocked that Harrison would go to a prostitute, feeling weirdly responsible for his dilemma because she didn’t go through with their little project last year (the whole thing was really uncomfortable to watch, I don’t know) offers herself up, but Harrison tells her that “This is so not about you. I’m tired of hearing, I don’t think of you that way, or, you’re too nice. This is my decision. And I’ve decided that I need this experience.” and goes off to meet Cherry Box, who is amazing and reads him like an open book, and they just end up eating pie and Chinese food and playing games. 

Sam finds out in a rather unpleasant way that George has never been with anyone he was in love with, but once woke up beside a complete stranger after a drunken night out, and so Josh and George get tested for STDs while their significant others wait for the results and Sam specifically considers if George’s “linguistic backflips” have ruined their relationship. It gets worse when Sam finds out that George was the one who knew Cherry Box, so she awkwardly stumbles into Harrison’s session with her (he makes it into the closet in time) to inquire under false pretences whether George slept with her, except Cherry also sees right through her and ends up sending both of them home, and again, remember last week’s horror? This feels like Ari Posner making up for someone else’s fuck-ups. 

Finally, Harrison comes to his senses and makes a grand speech during the musical. And also Sammy decides she wants to wait, and George stumbles into his first “I love you”. 
Harrison: I used to be all about the act, and how it would like instantly make me into a man, but going to a joy therapist taught me that sex isn’t something to hurry up and get through, it’s something to cherish and celebrate. With extreme caution, of course. The point is not to wait just for the sake of waiting, but waiting for the right person. What I learned this week is that when it comes to sex, honesty is everything. You gotta be honest with yourself, and with others. The biggest epidemic out there is dishonesty. This moment, this rite of passage, and passion, is one of the greatest gift we’re given. Save it for someone you honestly love.
Random notes: 

I enjoyed the episode for the most part but sometimes it’s hard to not make fun of Harrison, recent escapee of the Grim Reaper or not (guys I do like him and he is probably the character most like me in the show so it’s okay). 

Mary Cherry gets really invested in her character, studying actual crab “for movement” (which you can’t get from unprotected sex, “unless you have some weird pirate fetish” – oh Nic). 

Bobbi: If you wanna play it with conviction, you must become the affliction.
Lily, about Josh: Honesty is sexy and I think that getting sexy is the most noble and respectful thing that a guy with a chequered past full of cheap irresponsible mistakes and casual negligence can make.  
There’s an understated moment between Lily and Josh after she finds out that he bought Harrison a night with a sex worker – and it’s the first time that I totally sided with Josh in an argument, because Lily pulled the “poor misguided soul” card that is gross and arrogant and also one of my few issues with Parks and Recreation
Lily: Can’t you see how degrading that is?
Josh: It’s not my place to tell any woman what she can and can’t do with her body? That’s a Republican’s job!
Third best thing about the episode: The Chicago-style musical including much appreciated costumes, actual singing from Carly Pope (I think? I haven’t researched this but I’m pretty sure they were dubbed in the last musical, but this sounds like it’s actually her). 

No wait Carmen totally has a storyline she’s yellow discharge. 

The whole show is the greatest thing because it’s supposed to be for a kindergarten, except of course there’s only three kids there and a group (a school? A pride?) of nuns, randomly.  

2 comments: said...

You should totally review Parks and Rec too. At least I would read your comments religiously.

cathy leaves said...

I'd love to but most of the times it would just be a gif of a unicorn puking sunshine and rainbows... but I'm really tempted to try once it comes back!!