So, for the last couple of years, we’ve watched a glee club that chose its competition numbers (or wrote them) right before the big competitions and still managed to finish either 1st or respectably anyway.
And in “Asian F” we’re seeing a lot of storylines (continue) about hard work and success. Glee is growing up, but some of the characters aren’t.
Amber Riley has an incredible voice. It’s different from Lea Michele’s, but there’s no reason their two characters don’t compete on equal footing. Except there is. Rachel Berry works her ass off. She always has. From the pilot episode, we are aware of how hard she works to keep herself motivated and focused. Mercedes has no such drive. She’s a great singer, and while she occasionally complains about not getting all the attention, we never ever see her work for it.
Hate to say it, but it’s possible Jesse St James was Jesse St Right when he insisted that Mercedes just doesn’t give it her all. If I was going to be casting between the two of them, I’d cast Rachel before Mercedes in a heartbeat. Mercedes self-sabotages. And if one thing is going to ruin a production, it’s a lead who thinks she doesn’t have to do any work. Or is so fucked up in her head that she can’t give it her all because she’s so afraid it’s not enough.
This is the first time since the first few episodes of the first season where we’ve seen actual practice happen. And now Mike’s in a practice room and the New Directions are working hard at learning their moves. Mike is learning to sing. Sugar, of course, refuses to work hard too.
This is the second time Mercedes has tried to demand attention and success. It’s the bazillionth time that Rachel Berry has worked hard. In “Night of Neglect” it’s made very clear that Rachel wants fame and recognition more than anything else. Mercedes doesn’t. Mercedes would have to be a lot more talented than Rachel to compete with that attitude. Think back to “Original Song” (yes, that was a whole episode, not just a kiss) and Hell to the No. Mercedes creates a persona out of doing the wrong thing everytime, with pride.
I can’t say I found either character particularly charming in this episode. Both were selfish, beligerent and unpleasant. But, at the end of the day, I’ve worked with people who make excuses and I’ve worked with people who make the effort. And to be honest, when they’re as equally matched as these two, it’s very obvious who you want to work with.
Mercedes was also given the lead — for an entire week’s run. And she turned it down. Was her pride hurt? Sure. Was she upset that even when she believes in herself that she still can’t win? Sure. Was she terrified that she didn’t have what it took to either precede or follow Rachel Berry’s Maria? Almost certainly. Self-sabotage.
Kurt, too, believes (however briefly) that he can succeed without doing any real work. Brittany, of course, has been doing all the work from the beginning of the campaign, first for Kurt’s campaign and then for her own.
Rachel is so sure she wants success that she is willing to risk her friends and boyfriend. Mike risks the disappointment of his parents to follow his dream. Mercedes is willing to risk absolutely nothing.
- Kurt’s tail is back. Also, can we talk about the genius of his sequined suit in that Dreamgirls number? Canon is placing Kurt “in between”.
- Beiste wins every single time. Chicken for lunch? No, gigantic bowl of pasta. Also, why is Shelby such an asshole? Who describes someone else’s lunch as disgusting while they are eating it? I want to create a parallel world where Quinn does get Beth back from Shelby.
- Will and Emma are going to make it. Of everyone working in this show, they are doing the hardest work of all.
- I’m really excited about the casting for West Side Story. Rachel and Blaine opposite each other? Yes. Blaine and Mike as Tony and Riff… oh God yes! Santana as Anita… genius fuckery. And, well, Kurt as Krupke. What is there to say?
- Magical poop-stealing waterchair. That is all.
- Kurt and Blaine and affection and risk. That scene was absolutely stunning. So honest and briefly tense. I feel like sending the writers a muffin basket.