Monthly Archives: August 2011

I’ve never been more sure I was a Ravenclaw…

Hogwarts House Psychoanalysis

Gryffindor
True Gryffindors have a very strong sense of what is right and what is wrong, and this is a part of what gives them such strong opinions. Depending on the person, this may be taken to a Borderline degree, and they may see people as either good or evil, not in between and no chance of redemption for those on the darker sides of things. Alternately, Gryffindors may see all people as being initially good, and only making the wrong choices take the down the wrong road. Both of these behaviours are why Gryffindors and Slytherins can easily clash. Gryffindors are usually incredibly intelligent, but they tend to be slackers, more focused on getting a taste of something new than sticking to responsibility. This can be their downfall from success, or quite the opposite, bringing them a rise up into something they love. Once they find their true place in the world, Gryffindors will often use their accomplishments to the benefit of others in some form or fashion. Actors, singers and athletes can often be classified as Gryffindors. Despite their good intentions, they can also quite often be ill-tempered and overly emotional, which is their Achilles’ Heel in most instances. A darker Gryffindor may become out of control because of this, hurting those they love or holding a grudge for many years.

Hufflepuff
Essentially, Hufflepuffs see the world and their people as ultimately good, and only the darkness of the inevitable turning them away from what they think is right. Because of this, they tend to treat everyone fairly and with sympathy, trying to put themselves in the other person’s shoes before judging them, if they judge them at all. Hufflepuffs are almost always maternal or paternal types, ready to take care of anyone who may come to them. They are dedicated to what they do, and are very focused on making sure everything is done properly, leaving no room for error. Mostly, Hufflepuffs think what they do is right, and Ravenclaws who doubt them may annoy them, but Hufflepuffs hate conflict, so they tend to ignore their irritation. Hufflepuffs are very passive aggressive, doing little things subconsciously when someone makes them angry. This is usually the farthest they will go so far as revenge, as they rarely want to participate in any form of violence. Hufflepuffs are healers in nature, wishing to care to the needs of others. Many nurses, cooks, teachers or counselors are Hufflepuffs.

Ravenclaw
Intelligent and insightful, Ravenclaws are not ones to classify people under any certain category. Instead they often ponder on humanity, what is good, what is evil and why we should classify people as one or the other. Ravenclaws are very philosophical, and often you may see them simply staring off into space, but this is not in some brainless manner, in fact they are exploring the gears of their mind and trying to figure out how the world works. Ravenclaws are focused on their work, but they often don’t need effort. They tend to pick up on every detail and remember it without even trying, something that others may be skeptical of or be jealous of. This can give some a sense of superiority and the idea they should tell everyone the right way to do something, which can easily make others, especially nervous Hufflepuffs or emotional Gryffindors, very irritated. Ravenclaws are very analytic, and this can be very good or very bad. For the kind-hearted this will be a way to help others, for the dark they can use this to twist and manipulate. Ravenclaws are not every emotional, instead they tend to put up a wall and not let anyone in except for perhaps their closest friends or family. Instead they pick at the minds of others, trying to figure out how they work and to see if they themselves are different, or just the same as everyone else. Psychologists, professors and investigators are often Ravenclaws. 

Slytherin
Slytherins have a more cynical view on the world, and believe that there is darkness in the hearts of all, some are just unwilling to accept it. They think anyone who doesn’t realize this is naive or perhaps even stupid, and because of this they can easily clash with Gryffindors or laugh at Hufflepuffs. This said, Slytherins are absolutely in no way evil, some are actually very good. They simply have a drive that carries their life, and if you get in their way you better watch out. Slytherins have an almost bloodthirsty craving for success, and if they don’t think they can achieve this then they can easily fall into a darker place of  self-loathing and take this out on others. Love and accomplishment are the two things that mean the most to them, and they do not understand that the need for the latter can drive away the former, and when the feeling of pride fades or they fail at something, their possible lack of something dear and close to them can hit, and when it hits it hits hard. Slytherins are very emotional, however unlike Gryffindors they very rarely show it. Instead they bottle it up, using it in other ways, some of which may be artistic. Slytherins can very easily connect to art or music. Slytherins usually pick one subject they feel for and stick with it, rather than focusing on them all. This can be an issue academically, and some Slytherins may even drop out of school, but despite this their ambition will drive them to doing something they love, or they will have a downward spiral into depression. Lawyers, doctors and artists are often Slytherins.

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Why I dislike Glee Part 2: The Music

My last post was the first in what is most likely to be a three-part series to why I have come to dislike Glee. [Be sure to check out the first post; I covered a lot of ground.] I stated that if it weren’t for the music I would have left Glee a long time ago. That being said, I still do have problems with the music which will be addressed now! Since there is soooo much music I’ve decided to break it down by talking about the general good and bad songs of season one and two, with final comments, then touching base on the mashups and how other characters receive the music. [I’m saving guest stars for my next post, just an fyi.]

Season One

The good:

The most obviously recognizable song from not only season one, but I’m sure the entire series (however long it runs) is “Don’t Stop Believin“. And it is a very well done song– I love their cover of it. That aside, there was a lot of good music in season one. And I do mean A LOT. About 136 songs. Granted, not all of those were full out numbers, but enough bars were sung to include them in the final song count. I think there was a nice enough mixture of pop music, oldies (though there could have been more), rock, rap, etc. Looking at a list of all the songs performed, season one seems a bit more Broadway heavy than I realized, but I will never complain about that.

A few (there are too many to list) of my favorite performances from season one are: “I Wanna Sex You Up” (I LOVE the Acafellas), “Taking Chances”, “Push It”, “Maybe This Time”, “Jump”, “Don’t Rain on My Parade”, “Hello”, “Like a Prayer”, “Run Joey Run”, “Total Eclipse of the Heart”, “I Dreamed a Dream”, “Dream a Little Dream of Me”, “Beth”, “Bohemian Rhapsody” and “To Sir with Love”.

The bad:

With the good comes the bad, and by bad I mean two words: kidz bop. When Glee music is off, it is really off. There is no middle ground. Either it rocks your socks off, or you feel like you are listening to a bunch of kids who think they are better than they actually are sing along to a badly covered song. Case in point: “My Life Would Suck Without You” from the finale of the first half of the season. I simply can’t listen to that song anymore!

Also, may I just say that while Amber (Mercedes) has an incredible voice, they just let her go on and on and on and on and fifteen minutes later you realize she is still screeching out the same four notes. I can never listen to most/if not all of her songs to the end because it just gets so noisy and my ears begin to bleed. Case in point: “Proud Mary”.

And in season one I know Madonna gave them her whole catalogue to use and yay! Wooohoo! But there was no point to the Madonna-themed episode, and I feel like the majority of the themed episodes are written simply to show off their newly acquired music rights. I like when there is a variety of songs in each episode because the themed episodes feel like they are written around the songs, hence the plot makes no actual sense. [Although, to be fair to yesterday’s post, when does it ever?]

Some of my least favorite performances are: “Hate on Me”, “My Life Would Suck Without You”, “You Keep Me Hanging On”, “Crazy in Love/Hair”, “Express Yourself”, and “One Less Bell to Answer/A House is Not a Home”.

Final comments:

Overall, I like the music in season one. As said before, there seems to be a nice balance across all genres and it really does carry the show along. If I were grading this I would say somewhere in the high B+ range.

Season Two [**Note– I have not seen the following episodes: Rumors, Sexy, and New York so I’m not including those songs into this post.]

The good:

I think the music in season two is much stronger than season one. Maybe it is the introduction of the Warblers? I’m not sure. I think they picked some great songs to cover, and a lot of the cast’s voices have become much more polished and refined. As before there was a nice blend of genres and while there were themed episodes, it didn’t bother me as much as the Madonna one did. [Well, the Rocky Horror one didn’t bother me as much. I still do not understand the Brittney Spears episode other than to show off Heather Morrison, but whatever.] I actually really, really enjoyed all of the Rocky Horror songs and listen to the soundtrack all of the time (just ask my sister).

I really enjoyed the introduction and constant music from the Warblers. They always did a fantastic job and always picked such good songs! As for New Direction’s songs– I liked the original songs well enough, but I like when they cover songs. I don’t know why, but I just feel like that is what being in show choir is all about. Then again, I’ve never been in a show choir so maybe someone who actually has can offer their opinion.

Some of the songs I like from season two are: “Empire State of Mind”, “Telephone”, “What I Did for Love”, “Toxic”, “River Deep- Mountain High”, All of the “Rocky Horror” songs, “Nowadays/Hot Honey Rag”, “Singin in the Rain/Umbrella”, “Valerie”, “When I Get You Alone”, “Silly Love Songs”, “Don’t You Want Me”, “Headband”, “Trouty Mouth”, “I Feel Pretty/Unpretty”, “Somewhere Only We Know”, and “Friday” (I can’t help that one).

The bad:

Season two’s music was bad in the sense that the majority of plot lines were so inappropriate that the songs just added to it. Take, for example, “Toxic”. Even though I liked the cover, there is no, and I mean NO reason 1) they should have sung that song at the assembly and 2) Will should have performed it with them. And again, as much as I loved the Rocky Horror songs, what on earth was Will thinking? (Oh yeah, he was thinking with his *other* head, all to make Emma jealous.) So while I think there was far fewer kidz bop songs than season one, the majority of the bad comes from the inappropriateness of song selection.

Songs I do not like from season are: “Le Jazz Hot”, “Sing!”, “Need You Now”, “I Know What Boys Like”, and “Candles”.

Final comments:

As you can see, there are far fewer songs I disliked from season two compared with season one. The music was stronger to me, the song selections were better, and the music really helped carry a non-existent plot.

Mashups:

Glee is not the first to do mashed versions of songs, but darn it all they know how to do them right. I think out of all the mashups they’ve done, I have disliked….two? However, I do think that if they would do them less often, they would be even more enjoyable. But I just like them so much! Sooooo basically keep on keepin on with the mashups.

Favorite mashups: “I Feel Pretty/Unpretty” (not only my fave mashup but probably one of my favorite Glee songs), “Thriller/Heads Will Roll”, “Don’t Stand So Close to Me/Young Girl”, “Any Way You Want It/Lovin’ Touchin’ Squeezin'”, and “Singin in the Rain/Umbrella”.

Least favorite mashups: “One Less Bell to Answer/A House is not a Home”, and “Crazy in Love/Hair”.

Reception from McKinley High:

And here is my biggest problem with Glee music, which really goes back to plot. Because all of the problems in Glee go back to the FREAKING PLOT. [I digress…]

So they sang “Push It” in front of the entire school. And the other kids loved it. I mean, they just went crazy. And then they sang “Toxic” and there was a freaking “sex riot” and the kids just went crazy. And then they sang “Thriller/Heads Will Roll” and not only the kids, but the parents went crazy. YET EVERYONE STILL SEEMS TO HATE THE GLEE CLUB. I do not understand it!!!! I mean, I understand that they are the underdogs…………in season one. But I think it is high time for them to become something more than that. Going into the third season with everyone in the school still hating them? It just doesn’t make sense. They get fantastic reception from everyone when they are at assemblies and whatnot, but then they forget all of that and go back to hating them. If it was just the football team who continuously bullied them or mocked them then I would be okay with that. Well, not the actually bullying, but you know what I mean. I just find it so hard to believe that they are still hated by everyone in the school (with the exception of Jacob Ben Israel) even after the “cool kids” joined the club.

I don’t know….is it just me? Don’t you think SOMEONE else would like them by now?

Final thoughts:

Overall I enjoy the music. There is more good than bad which actually made this post harder to write than the first one. I can’t (and won’t) deny that I have a lot, if not most, of the music downloaded to my computer and I must admit that it is predominately what we play in the car when traveling to long distance places like NYC, or Florida. I will give Glee another chance for season three and come back for the music, though I read in an article (I don’t know where, so I can’t link it, sorry) that they were considering cutting down on how much music was used in each episode. If this helps develop an actual plot line- I’m okay with it. However, if it cuts down on music and the plot still sucks as badly as it does right now, then I will have no problem walking away.

Thoughts? Comments? Leave them below!

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Why I dislike Glee Part 1: Character Arcs and Character/Plot Development

Back in September 2009 I was being tested for a sleeping disorder (I have sleep apnea! fun!) and while the nurse was plugging me up to a million wires and putting this disgusting stuff in my hair I was watching this relatively unknown show called Glee. And it was amazing and fun and SINGING! ALL OF THE SINGING! The first episode had premiered back in May, and my sister was telling me about it because Matthew Morrison stars in it, and we were obsessed with him– he was the original Link Larkin in Broadway’s Hairspray. I was also a huge Lea Michelle fan from her days in Spring Awakening. Needless to say, this show was going to be good. And it was……until it wasn’t.

The first half of the season had spunk and heart and relatively good story lines. Yeah, the writing was a bit shaky and there was no real depth to the characters. But we had the rest of the season! It could only get better from there. OR SO I THOUGHT. I’ve been avoiding writing this post because I can’t really pinpoint what it is exactly that I dislike about the show; it is mainly just a lot of smaller things. But let’s begin with, to me, the biggest disappointment of the show in what I call Why I dislike Glee, Part 1: Character arcs and character/plot development.

I completely understand how the Glee kids find Rachel annoying. But, I mean, COME ON. We are going into the third season and they are still major hating on her. At the beginning it was because she was shallow and stole/hogged the spotlight and was a diva, but in my mind her character has changed…somewhat. She is still an attention hog (she sent a girl to a fracking crack house because she was jealous) but she has become less selfish, even if it is minor. And they still treat her like crap. Finn throws her emotions around, always pitting her against Quinn. I could understand them hating her for the entire first season but seriously, they like her for about ten minutes at the end of an episode and then are back to hating her. Ryan and Marissa’s relationships lasted longer than the Glee club’s friendship with Rachel, and that’s saying something.

Along with that, the other characters are just as shallow as they make Rachel out to be. I would even argue that Mercedes is more of a diva than Rachel. I see that she is upset Rachel gets a lot/the majority of the solos in the first season, but that has changed. Mercedes has been given a lot more spotlight recently and 1) does not seem appreciative at all and 2) still whines about Rachel getting everything. What about Tina? What about Quinn? What have they gotten in terms of solos? Why not give them more than a few bars in a group song? (I really, really dislike Mercedes.)

But even more than Mercedes, I hate, loath, and despise everything that Lauren Zizes is. If I could actually kill a television character, I would choose her- no thought about it no questions asked. She is a horrible, horrible character. I know she is supposed to be on the “evil” side, maybe even a softer villain than Sue. But that does not excuse what she really is: a bully. There is no other way to describe her. She is a bully. And for a group of kids who are constantly being picked on by others, being called losers, etc. they sure are quick to let someone in that continuously feeds into the hate, gossip, and bullying of the Glee club. She starts fights and disagreements, she enables Mercedes to be a diva (and charges her for it), and completely humiliates Quinn. I teach high school students and sadly, I have come across bullying in my own classroom. It was terrible and I saw my own student cry and shut down in class, which only propelled the teasing. Everything Lauren does, I have seen a small form of and the fact that she is supposed to be…helping Puck? Yeah. Right. [And I believe that most of this applies to Santana as well.]

I think most of the adult characters are simply astonishing, and not in a good or positive way. As previously stated, I am a teacher. I’ve been training for the past five years about what to and what not to do in the classroom. We would actually have discussions in my seminar classes about how terrible Will is, and how he would have been fired (if not taken away by the cops) by now. Yes, he does some redeeming things like helping Emma start to recognize/treat her disorder but I just don’t think he is right to be the Glee club sponsor/teacher. For as much “good” as he does, he does far more bad. And Sue is the villain of the show, I get it, and while she has quite a few funny moments, I just don’t even understand how she gets away with saying over half the stuff she says. Yes, I know, this is a television show and there are going to be unrealistic elements and I should just get over it, but Sue is mean. Although she does pleasantly surprise me through her relationship with her sister, and she has shown moments of sincerity and general niceness, so I am definitely willing to give her that.

The other characters who have not been mentioned here I don’t really have too much trouble liking. I’m on the fence about Kurt (please stop screaming at me) because yes, he has had difficulties with people accepting his sexuality, but Kurt is relatively mean to a large majority of people. I’m not saying you should change who you are to please others, and I’m not saying that Kurt should stop being who he is [though what I’m about to say is going to be misinterpreted/attacked by someone I’m sure] but Kurt throws his sexuality in people’s faces, and then gets mad when they don’t immediately love him regardless. Take the prom episode. I was pretty shocked at the results of prom king/queen, and yes, that was horrible. But when getting ready, Kurt wore an outfit that clearly made Blain uncomfortable. He didn’t care- he wanted shock, he wanted wow, and he wanted to be bold. Again, you shouldn’t change who you are to please others, but for Kurt getting mad about others apparently shoving God or religion in his face (like when his father was in the hospital) the same can be said about Kurt shoving issues such as homosexuality and whatnot in other characters’ faces.

As far as plot development, let’s first look at Quinn. She spends the whole first season pregnant and then gives away the baby and then acts like nothing ever happened. Yeah, she references the pregnancy thing here and there, but for building up such a huge story line, even bringing in Idina Menzel (don’t worry- we will come back to her in a later post) to actually adopt the baby, it kind of just fizzled out. Rather upsetting really. There is no way Quinn is that fine after being ridiculed and teased so much whilst pregnant.

Quite a few plot lines last for four or five episodes, but everything sort of drops off. I don’t feel like there has been much continuity. (If you disagree, compare plot lines, continuity, and character development of season one of The O.C. to season one of Glee.) Actually, the only story to have any sort of arc and continuity would be Kurt’s story line and honestly, that has been done to death. I mean, the poor kid cried in almost every episode. Rightfully so, but they’ve focused on one story arc so much that it has lost its luster for me. Time for something new and fresh. My Twitter friend Heather (find her here) agrees with me. She said, “I think the idea of Glee is cool–following a HS glee club that nobody thought could make it as they defied odds, etc. However, there is SUCH a huge focus on the music that there’s not much time left for character development, which does little for plot development as well. If characters can’t grow, neither can the story. What’s left is a flat image of flat characters that sing. And it’s good singing, but if there were no songs, the show would tank.” And I completely agree with her. If there was no music, I would not watch Glee. At all. In fact, that is really the only reason I’ve stuck around (though, to be honest, I’ve never finished the last two episodes of season two).

Overall, Heather has done a nice job at summarizing part one of my posts about Glee. I do really, really like the music which makes it hard to stop watching Glee (therefore making me feel like a hypocrite for watching it). But like I said, without the music I would have stopped watching a long time ago.

I look forward to your comments, but please keep it civil. We may have differing opinions but that is no need to be nasty. And keep a lookout for post two coming soon!

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the great white way

This past weekend I went to see Catch Me if You Can, and it was seriously one of the best musicals I’ve seen. Definitely in my top three. That got me thinking about all of the musicals and plays I’ve seen– both on and off Broadway. Not nearly as many as I would like, but I’ve put together a list of everything I have ever seen (that I can remember). I think sometime soon I will go through and state my favorite song and whatnot, but for now…a simple list.

Let’s start with the musicals:

On Broadway

Catch Me if You Can

Dirty Rotten Scoundrels

Chicago

Beauty and the Beast

The Lion King

Mary Poppins

The Producers

.

West End

Hairspray

Spamalot (x2)

The Sound of Music

Wicked

.

Toronto

The Phantom of the Opera

.

National Tours

Wicked (x2)

The Phantom of the Opera (x4)

Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (x2)

Rent

Fiddler on the Roof

Evita

Cats

Oliver

.

High school/University Performances

The Last Five Years

Urinetown

Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat

And then we have the plays:

NYC—Broadway/Off Broadway

Is He Dead (Broadway)

Through a Glass Darkly (Off Broadway)

.

West End

Hamlet

Rain Man

.

The Globe Theater

Midsummer’s Night Dream

Timon of Athens

.

National Tours/Festivals/Etc.

Peter Pan

Romeo and Juliet (x2)

A Christmas Carol

Hamlet

Two Gentlemen of Verona OR Merchant of Venice  [I can’t remember which one]

.

High school/University Performances

The Importance of Being Earnest

Arsenic and Old Lace

Much Ado about Nothing

Little Women

And lastly, miscellaneous performances:

Broadway

The Rockettes

Blue Man Group

.

National Tours

Blue Man Group

The Nutcracker

Hercules

.

University Performances

Cosi fan Tutte (Opera)

.

I have many on my wish list so hopefully I can update this quite soon!

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