Does An “Old Dog” Learn “New Tricks” On This Chris Colfer Penned Episode Of ‘Glee’?

Photo courtesy of Fox
Photo courtesy of Fox

Let me say this once: I am a huge fan of Christopher Paul Colfer.

Ever since Kurt Hummel appeared on my screen many a year ago, I’ve liked the actor who played him. Outside of a few select actors beforehand, Chris is one of the few whose career I follow very closely. Not in a creepy way, I just like him as an actor and as a writer.

So needless to say, I am beyond excited for “Old Dog, New Tricks” the Glee episode that Chris was announced to pen months ago. Hey I’ll support to guy as a fan no matter what.

That being said, I will try to judge this as I would any other episode of the show. Although from the compliments that Chris has gotten from cast and crew that it felt like “season one Glee”. I don’t think that I’ll have much to pick apart. Also you know we get a Kurt focused plot that doesn’t involve him getting beaten and Rachel gets a bit of a comeuppance for the diva behavior.

I’ll take what I can get at this point.

Plus it’s puppies and the elderly. Also June Squibb is guest starring! Why are we not freaking out about this? We rolled out the red carpet for June Dolloway and I think all of the fandom hates her. June Squibb is by definition a Cool Old Lady. Hell yeah I’m excited for her. And we have Billy Dee Williams and Tim Conway.

I am totally excited for this episode. Let’s do this thing!

Plots

Life Passing Me By (Neverland Rising): Kurt is feeling kind of down this week. All of his friends have found success (apparently Santana got a recording deal?). Rachel is on Broadway and has the TV pilot. Sam’s modeling career is taking off. Blaine has June opening all sorts of doors for him. Mercedes is preparing for her tour. While he loves NYADA, Kurt doesn’t feel like he measures up compared with his friends. He also feels unappreciated because while they come to him for comfort, he isn’t receiving any in return. So when an old lady comes into the Spotlight Diner and asks to hang a poster up for her retirement homes production of Peter Pan. She asks why he is down. Kurt finds himself confiding in her. The woman, Broadway legend Maggie Banks, listens to him until the orderlies find her to take her back to the home for retired performers. She invites Kurt to stop by sometime. When Kurt returns home later, he finds Rachel and Santana plotting for them and Mercedes to perform at Rachel’s benefit. Kurt asks to join in because One Three Hill is on hiatus and he wants to perform outside of school (apparently Elliott is at a “yoga retreat” and Dani’s doing something with her roller derby team). Yet he finds himself shut down by the girls and is tired of being frozen out. So he goes to visit Maggie at the home where she welcomes him warmly and tells him to watch rehearsal. Except the woman playing Peter Pan has died while waiting for her cue. Kurt volunteers to take over the part as he has the whole musical memorize. He wows the senior citizens with a rendition of “Memory” and is offered the role. Excited, he goes back to the loft to see his friends and invite them to come. The show is earlier in the day of Rachel’s big Broadway Bitches (more on that later) charity event. So both Rachel and Santana beg off of coming. Kurt is tired of this. He calls both of them out, especially Rachel, on being bad friends. He has always supported them and been the shoulder to cry on. Yet, now he has a part in something that he is excited about doing and they won’t take time out to come and support him? He tells Rachel that she is only his friend when it is convenient for her and storms out. At rehearsal, Kurt is having problems in the harness and Lando says that this isn’t working out. They want to show their families that they are still young and able. So Kurt suggests that they update the some of the songs in the show. Maggie gets flowers from her daughter, Clara (a lawyer), who can’t make it to the show. Kurt tells a nurse that Maggie talks about Clara constantly and that the flowers are a sweet gesture. The nurse tells Kurt that Clara hasn’t been by in years and Maggie sends the flowers to herself.

Starlight (Straight On Til Morning): Kurt, feeling bad for his friend, makes up a legal reason why he needs to see Clara. He comes in to talk with her and she is not having it. While Maggie is a sweet old lady now, she wasn’t a very good mother growing up. She was always chasing her dreams and got too wrapped up to do things that were important to Clara (forgot school pick-up, missed graduation). Clara would rather not think of her mother. Kurt begs her to not hold onto her resentment. Maggie is an old lady and it’s better to make their peace now. When Clara opens the door for him to leave, Kurt tells her that his mother died when he was eight. He spent his whole life trying to hang onto her in some way. Clara should do something before she regrets it. The night of the performance Blaine is there and helping Kurt get ready. He tells Kurt that there was nowhere else he would rather be than here (even turning down a dinner with June and Annie Lebowitz for it). Before the curtain rises, Kurt comes over to Maggie. He tells her that since his friends are emotionally distant and her daughter is busy that they should be each other’s family. Maggie agrees to it and they hug. Right before Kurt goes onstage he calls Rachel. He tells her that no matter how tense things get between them he still loves her and is proud of her. Rachel tells him that she knows and she feels the same. Plus he should look in the audience. Rachel, Artie, Sam, Blaine are there to cheer him on. During the performance, Clara comes in and Maggie is delighted to see her daughter. The two reconcile with each other. Maggie tells Clara that she is sorry for all those years and Clara realizes that she does want to know her mother.

Pound Starlets: Someone found out about Rachel running off to LA to audition for Song of Solomon. It’s making its round on the gossip blogs. Rachel, despite quietly developing a pilot with Fox behind her Sidney’s back, is shocked at this turn of events. She cannot have a reputation of being a problem child this early in her career. Santana tells her to chill out and that Auntie Snixx will take care of it. Appointing herself as Rachel’s publicist, she helps Rachel get a charity “Broadway Bitches” off the ground to help rescue dogs find good homes. Santana plans staged encounters with the paparazzi. She also gets Rachel a designer dress to be photographed in as she is walking a group of dogs. Naturally this was not the best idea in the world as the dogs catch a sniff of someone’s hotdog and go after the guy. Some get off their leashes and chase the hot dog guy. One of them goes right to humping a paps leg. The rest of them drag Rachel through four blocks of New York city on the ground and ruin her dress. (She needs to pay for it now.) After getting told off by Kurt, Rachel focuses more on her charity. Santana has organized a photo op and has picked out a perfect three-legged dog for it. Except, before the photo op happens, some kid wants to adopt the dog. Rachel and Santana tell him no he can’t have the dog. The mother, recognizing Rachel, tells her off. She calls her a fraud and that even though she is doing all these things it doesn’t make her any less of a fake. Rachel, realizing that the woman and Kurt were right, goes to see Kurt’s performance and has all the retired performers come and do a special number at the diner. 

Puppies of New York: Sam falls in love with a cute little doggie at the pound. Without asking Mercedes, he adopts him. Naming the dog McConaughey, he takes him home. Except McConaughey gets a little bit nuts over the place. While Sam and Artie play video games, he tears apart Mercedes faux-wha-wha and gets into her weaves. Mercedes is, understandably, less than pleased and tells Sam he has to go back because he can’t take care of a dog. Sam and Artie, instead, work on training McConaughey who seems to be a quick learner. When Mercedes comes back though she remains firm and practical. She tells Sam that between her touring and his schedule that they can’t do this to him. She also picks apart any solution that he puts out to her. Sam kind of loses it and reminds her that when his family had nothing that he took care of them. He may be a dim pretty boy but dammit he’s still a man. He took care of people and made sure that his family had food and his little siblings went to school on time. And also maybe he was thinking that he was going to be lonely when he goes on tour. That he wants to prove to her that maybe they can make this permanent. Mercedes says that she doesn’t doubt that but that they need to think of McConaughey here. Sam agrees to find someone to take him in. Eventually, at the diner, they find a sweet old couple who agree to adopt the little guy.

Where Bec Comes To Squee

You are kind of a problem child, Rachel.

Oh Santana got a recording deal? Huh. Hey Snixx is back!

JUNE SQUIBB!!!

Oh Kurt honey. You need a hug and success of your own.

I love you, Maggie. Biggest Broadway flop in history? That’s amusing.

AWWW! Puppies! Adopt them all. I want to adopt them all!

Sam is a big puppy dog. I don’t blame Mercedes at all for thinking that at all.

YES! “written by Chris Colfer” Eeee! I’m so happy.

Is that safe to let them out all at once? Sam got into the cage to cuddle! SOMEONE GET THAT RUNAWAY DOG!

Is that where Elliott and Dani disappeared? Yoga retreat and roller derby team huh?

OhmyGod that is so funny and kind of dark. “Debbie hearing aids on!” “Peter’s dead folks.” Kurt’s jaw dropped shock is killing me.

Tim Conway is making me giggle. And Kurt’s look at realizing Mary Martin is his childhood hero making sense makes me giggle.

This is making me tear up a bit. Damn I really liked this number.

“It’s like watching Goofy teach tricks to Pluto.” Welcome to coupledom.

Well that’s strategic. This acting is so false. This is going to end badly. Yeah I saw that happening.  Santana with her head over her mouth and looking at one fallen shoe is making me crack up.

God I love Kurt this episode. He is saying everything I have been saying about this.  Have you been on Tumblr Chris? Or just have a connection in my brain.

Sam and this dog together are the cutest thing ever! Clara is a bitch. Poor Maggie.

Yay! More real adult conversations between Mercedes and Sam! Also thank you Chris for remembering that Sam had to help his family when they had nothing.

Wow. Yeah major bitch. And I don’t mean dog. Kurt mentioned his mom!

And now Rachel is being a major bitch. God I love that woman who told her off. Congrats on not getting that sweet dog adopted.

I’ll drink to that Kurt. Maggie is better than June.

AWWW! THEY CAME! AW! SHE CAME!

This is awesome. I bet Chris has a blast with that harness. Aw that little girl appearing to show Maggie.

Seriously can Chris star in the Peter Pan live show on NBC? I would watch that.

How did Rachel find that woman again?

That was a sweet ending. I hope they bring Maggie back. And let Chris write another episode.

Songs 

“I’ll Melt With You” sung by Rachel Berry, Mercedes Jones, and Sam Evans: Um compared to the rest of the episode this was kind of lackluster. It was a fun song. I loved seeing the dogs and the actors dance around the pound. It just seemed a bit like fluff. It was fun fluff though. B

“Memory” sung by Kurt Hummel and Maggie Banks: Oh June Squibb. You are marvelous. Chris Colfer sang the majority of this song and it was perfect. Aching and pure, the young voice overlapping the actors clearly lost in the memories of their successful days (their younger headshots overlapping with their older faces was perfect). When June Squibb joined in, it was the right moment. Her wizened voice mixed with Chris’ perfectly. Adding in to the senior citizens joining in? I loved it. It made me tear up a bit. A+

“Werewolves of London” sung by Artie Abrams and Sam Evans: I love Warren Zevon. I’m surprised we got this to happen. The song was fun watching the boys train McConaughey. I liked the perspective shots from Artie’s wheelchair. It was a genuinely fun song and I like watching McConaughey because he is so cute. B+

“Lucky Star” sung by Kurt Hummel and Maggie Banks: HOLY SHIT THE THINGS CHRIS DID IN THAT HARNESS! That was amazing! I loved watching his twist and tumble through the air. It was amazing. Plus he and June sounded great together. It was combination of excellent stunts and having a bit of fun that I love. The older actors looked like they were having a ball. I just liked seeing the joy. A

“Take Me Home Tonight” sung by Artie Abrams, Blaine Anderson, Kurt Hummel, Maggie Banks, Mercedes Jones, Rachel Berry, Sam Evans, and Santana Lopez: Jesus Christ I miss using New Directions because that is a lot of names I just typed. Anyway, this was a stellar song. I loved the dancing waiters and waitresses. I loved the actors holding the puppies and dancing with them. It was also a true group song. Everyone had a moment to shine here, everyone. I also liked seeing the puppies getting good homes. A

Next week, Klaine relationship drama is happening. Brittany is back. Rachel is going to get her own television show with no work whatsoever on her part (let’s not drag out the dramatic tension we know this is happening). It’s the season finale. Let’s see if we can get an idea where we’ll land in season six.

Bec Heim
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