‘Glee’ Recap: 4×01 ‘The New Rachel’

1:30 pm EDT, September 14, 2012

It’s time, people. Filling us with equal parts excitement and trepidation, Glee premiered its fourth season last night, dividing focus, as promised, between Lima, Ohio and New York City. We’ve got a full recap for you below.

We drop straight in – no “here’s what you missed” – to Rachel’s first dance class at NYADA, where she’s being taught by the stern and ballsy Cassandra July (Kate Hudson.) Cassandra tells the class straight up that approximately two of them will actually make it in the entertainment business and that if they don’t all have body dysmorphia developing they’re not trying hard enough. Rachel – who’s about two feet shorter than ever other dancer in the class – rolls her eyes, unimpressed as Cassandra tells another girl that she needs to lose weight. When Rachel is singled out and criticised by the dance instructor, our little star tries to stay positive and takes what Cassandra dishes out to her, but is left with an overwhelming belief of Cassandra’s words to her – “You suck.”

Meanwhile, back in Lima, Jacob Ben-Israel films a video filling us in on the McKinley scoop – since winning Nationals, New Directions are a hot commodity. Artie’s been sitting with the Cheerios – “Well, I’m usually seen sitting,” (this joke the first of many that show quite a return to the absurdist, ‘should I laugh at this’ dark humour that made season one stand out to so many viewers) Sam’s signing autographs and doing impressions for a gaggle of fangirls, and Tina – after breaking up with Mike Chang because the distance was too hard – is confident, bitchy, and has a freshman as a personal assistant. “Wow! C U Next Tina!” Jacob exclaims, as Tina throws an unsatisfactory, non-organic banana at her terrified freshman’s feet. He approaches Blaine, Brittany, Artie and Tina admiring their Nationals trophy, and when he asks which one of them is going to be the new lead – the new Rachel, they all confidently reply “I am.”

Rachel finishes watching the McKinley vlog from her New York dorm as her room-mate has sex behind a curtain. Her inner monologue is upbeat and positive, but more introspective – the assumptive, arrogant girl has gone for now, and this Rachel is gentle, sweet, and a little lost, making the best of things as she misses Finn, Kurt and her dads. We learn that she hasn’t heard from Finn in two months, as she assumes he is giving her space. We see her going to take a 3am shower – she’d grown tired of people judging her extensive moisturizing routines – and in the co-ed bathrooms she meets Brody Weston (Dean Geyer), who seems to be a very nice, sensible naked young man with similar skincare habits. Brody, a junior in the musical theater course, discusses Cassandra’s teaching style and mentions without inflation, his time in a (failed) Broadway show. He gives Rachel a blunt and kind confidence boost and the way they talk to each other is brilliant – Rachel is truly without affectation and she’s so much more likable this way. Oh, and by the way – skincare and Broadway don’t maketh the sexuality. Brody’s straight.

Rachel recounts the interaction in a phone call to Kurt, and – despite the fact she’s been calling Kurt every three hours – makes out that she’s happy and doing brilliantly in all other aspects, including the dance class. Kurt himself is entering McKinley as he talks to Rachel, visiting Sue and her new baby daughter, Robin. He also meets Kitty (Becca Tobin), Sue’s new little Cheerio assistant, who is a nasty piece of work, but who somewhat truthfully points out the patheticness of Kurt’s situation – stuck in Ohio, about to start at Allen County Community College, lurking the halls of his old high school. Sue agrees with the sentiment, though with nowhere near the amount of venom she would have in the old days – I don’t think she has it in her to be mean to Kurt any more, however it seems that his life choices are kind of letting everyone who believes in him down.

At the first Glee rehearsal of the school year, Mr Schuester is sporting a very short and slick new haircut. This, combined with the fact he doesn’t say anything idiotic or offensive, make him instantly more tolerable. He assures his remaining members that, as Glee is the most popular club currently, they will soon build up the group again and that he believes in the talent of the current group and the new recruits to come. We see a quick flashback of Schuester posting an audition sheet and being caught in a mob of young students rushing to sign up. He then introduces the club to their newest member – Wade ‘Unique’ Adams, who – after the unsubtle hint at the end of last season – has transferred because he wanted to be somewhere where difference was celebrated. It’s actually quite sweet – Wade when he’s Wade has a really endearing insecurity – but New Directions, particularly Blaine and Tina, don’t look too impressed. They explain to Mr Schuester the dilemma over one of them becoming the New Rachel and he rightfully shuts the entire idea of competing amongst themselves down. You guys, it has been so long since I’ve been on Mr Schue’s side in an argument, but seriously. Blaine reluctantly allows Wade to sit next to him, and Wade goes into full Unique mode, saying confidently behind Schuester’s back that she would take the New Rachel role herself. The contenders – Blaine, Tina, Brittany and Unique – agree to duke it out, “Thunderdome style.” The group meets in the auditorium after school where they agree to a sing-off which Artie – despite him being one of the few stating he thought he was the new Rachel, in Jacob’s video – will judge. The number is to be “the song of the summer:” ‘Call Me Maybe.’

A moment really has to be taken here to address the insanity of this situation, and Blaine Anderson being involved in it. Yes, New Directions has been an incredibly competitive internal environment in the past. Rachel, Kurt, Mercedes and Santana particularly all had many moments of screwing each other over in order to get the spotlight. Artie and Brittany have both shown immense assumption and arrogance in the past as well. Tina has always silently seethed in her back row seat over Rachel taking the spotlight, and we had an entire episode, ‘Props,’ devoted to this. This is, on a whole, a group of people who, despite being underdogs, all think incredibly highly of themselves and have often viewed the Glee club as a place for themselves to get ahead individually. This acceptance of their newfound popularity isn’t shocking. This competitiveness isn’t shocking. These people have always loved themselves and now they’re just satisfied that others are loving them by shallow objective standards too. However – though he may be strong performer and a strong leader – it is a direct, written character trait of Blaine that he is NOT competitive, that he is very joyful about performing and very driven about doing a good job, but that he doesn’t have much ego as a diva. You saw it when he was accused of being ‘Blaine and the Pips.’ You saw it when Finn accused him of ‘ball-hogging.’ You saw it when he was planning on auditioning for West Side Story. And this is still a new school for him, he’s somewhat alone, and he’s so polite and so repressed, that what looks reasonable for all the others looks like complete backpedaling or disregard of canon character writing when it comes to him. Look, when the actual actor who plays the role mentions the inconsistency with not-very-well-hidden disdain in not one but two interviews – you know something’s a bit weird. Thankfully, this doesn’t appear to be something that will be ongoing, but if there was anything wrong with this episode – which was, on a whole, much better than Glee’s been in a while – it was this glaring Blaine issue.


The number was fun, but absolutely terrible for judging individual talent. Barely any lines were sung individually – there was mostly just harmonizing and the four of them physically pushing each other out of the way. Blaine asks Artie for his decision, which is not given. We then see Brittany and Blaine having coffee at the Lima Bean, where Kurt is their server. There appear to be no hard feelings between the McKinley pair as they discuss Santana – by the way, Heather Morris was intensely watchable in the number, in this scene, and later in the episode: we have high hopes for her as a main player this season – but they are less enthused when Kurt expresses his excitement for the Glee club auditions. He asks if it is pathetic that he’s more thrilled than them: Blaine kindly says ‘no,’ Brittany truthfully says ‘yes.’ Kurt is then called back to work by the demeaning Kitty, who wants a less-cold iced latte. It will be very interesting to see if that character ever gets any redemption – she’s no Quinn or Santana, that’s for sure. She’s worse.

Back in New York City, Cassandra is approached by her TA – her former TA, as the boy has just landed his first Broadway role in the flying monkey chorus of Wicked. Cassandra seems genuinely happy and proud of her ex-student, and recounts her first role – a dancing spoon, presumably Beauty and The Beast, at 17. As the boy leaves, though, Cassandra becomes thoughtful, dark and disheartened and adds some alcohol to the smoothie she’d been constructing while blasting some heavy music.

During lunch, Tina – her hair becoming more and more Rachel-like – demands Artie’s answer about the competition. He requests that she let him be, as his ‘genius needs its dream time.’ The group are then approached by a new face, Marley (Melissa Benoist), a young, awkward girl hoping to audition for the club. Marley is adorable and wears flat sneakers and flat caps with loose skirts and moves like a baby giraffe. I love her. Tina facetiously dismisses her, but Marley still seems hopeful. Wade joins the table, and Sam immediately warns him about wearing make-up at school, and he and Artie delve into a Game of Thrones metaphor in regards to the weak status of their popularity – they’re the Starks, the truly popular kids are Lannisters, and winter is coming. Wade – knocked instantly down from Unique levels of confidence to his sad, young state, goes to remove the makeup as the table is joined by Kitty and some jocks. The newcomers immediately start mocking the new lunch lady, who is overweight. They laugh at their own hilarity but all of Glee look very uncomfortable with the situation. Brittany says “maybe she has a medical condition… or swallowed someone with a medical condition.” She’s serious, but of course the jocks take this as her contributing to the joke, and she is at her sweetest and most likeable when she looks upset and confused by the jocks’ burst of laughter. One of the boys encourages Artie to join in, and unfortunately he does. Marley, at the next table, looks over sadly at this, and we immediately discover that the lunch lady is Marley’s mother as the pair meet after school in the kitchens. Marley’s mom is sewing a J. Crew label to a Goodwill cardigan in an attempt to give her daughter chances to fit in, and makes several other allowances such as suggesting that she meets Marley a couple of blocks away to drive home. This is somewhat heartbreaking as it all seems to be the mom’s idea – it isn’t Marley being like ‘don’t be seen with me,’ her mom is trying to protect her and offer her success and lack of stigma, and Marley doesn’t seem to be too comfortable with it.

NYADA dance class again, where Cassandra is casually insulting Rachel. Rachel does her best to genuinely answer Cassandra’s questions, but eventually demands to know why Cassandra is picking on her. When they’re in each other’s faces and Cassandra tiredly and loosely insists that she’s not – she’s just motivating Rachel – Rachel steps back. When Cassandra asks what is wrong, Rachel, somewhat shocked, says that Cassandra has alcohol on her breath. The whole class stops and hears this, and Cassandra gives Rachel a withering look, explaining that it’s Listerine. (pro tip, Rachel: it’s not Listerine.) Cassandra takes the opportunity to address the whole class, stating that though she’s no ingenue any more, that she can still dance better than anyone there, and proceeds to impress the class with a high energy song and dance number – a mash-up of Gaga’s ‘Americano’ and J.Lo’s ‘Dance Again.’ Rachel looks confronted, especially when, as the teacher finishes the number, she announces that Rachel is not only on Cassandra’s list – she IS her list – and walks out.

Auditions for New Directions begin in the auditorium, with the whole club in attendance and Kurt eagerly videotaping the proceedings. We begin with Brett – of ‘you smell homeless, Brett, homeless’ fame, though apparently due to the new 9pm timeslot we’re allowed to call him Stoner Brett now – does some terrible rapping, and a girl called D’wanda dances around to some dubstep. “Are there words to this song?” Blaine asks the group quietly. Everyone’s losing hope a bit when a young man who’s signed up only as Jake – no last name – takes the stage. Jake (Jacob Artist) looks like a cross between Taylor Lautner and Matt Who Never Spoke From Season 1, and he sings a beautiful piano ballad – ‘Never Say Never’ by The Fray. Sugar comments on how sexy he is, and Sam is annoyed at her claim – so it looks like Sam/Sugar may be in the works – but Unique backs up Sugar’s assessment. Schuester stops Jake about a verse and a chorus in – he’s obviously seen enough to make a positive decision – but Jake takes being cut off badly. He thinks he’s being insulted, and knocks over a music stand. Kurt calls him out, but Schuester more patiently asks him to simply pick up the equipment. Jake scoffs, does a little bow, and walks out.

In a beautiful set called the Round Room – a venue with perfect acoustics – Carmen Tibideaux (Whoopi Goldberg) is teaching her first vocal workshop of the year. She invites the freshmen to sing here – once today, and once if they’re invited to the winter showcase. The first student begins Ave Maria, but in the Round Room her vocal flaws are exposed and Carmen immediately cuts her from the course, asking her to reapply next semester. Rachel looks taken aback and Brody – the older students are there to see what they call the ‘freshman reaping,’ – advises her that it happens, sometimes. It’s then Rachel’s turn to sing in the Round Room.

She begins to sing ‘New York State Of Mind,’ written by Billy Joel and popularized, as she mentions, by Barbra Streisand. Marley begins to sing the same song in parallel for her Glee audition, and it’s interesting because everything about the girls is so different, stylistically and vocally. It’s like Rachel is singing Barbra’s version and Marley is singing Billy’s. Both audiences are impressed with their respective girls – Brody stands up to applaud Rachel awkwardly, but sits as Carmen stares at him judgmentally. She deems the performance ‘nice,’ and has no complaints with Rachel’s quality. At McKinley, Schuester is absolutely thrilled with Marley and the rest of the club are so threatened by her talent that they’re silent and dismissive.

The weekend passes, and on Monday Schuester posts the audition results. Marley’s in, and her joy is just so pure. She and Jake clock each other hovering around the list, and seem to take interest in one another. Jake checks the list after Marley departs. He’s not in, and he crumples the list in his fist. Apparently no one else – out of the pages and pages of sign-ups – gets in. In the choir room, Kurt is obsessively organising sheet music because he has no purpose in life and Tina is trying to bribe Artie into naming her the new Rachel. Wade comes in in full drag as Unique and Joe lightly reminds him that they’d agreed he would only wear drag onstage. Kurt interrupts them all, reminding them that this club used to be about diversity – fair enough – and then laughably, asks “since when was it all about who’s the biggest star?” Thankfully, Tina retorts to this: “since day one – you and Rachel fought over solos for three years” before I can pick my jaw up off of the floor and start yelling at the television, because holy hypocrisy, Batman. The group once again demands that Artie announce his New Rachel choice, and it’s Blaine. (A very odd choice based off of the ‘Call Me Maybe’ performance, where Blaine mostly performed tenor harmonies to Unique’s full melody, but Artie mentioned an online poll, perhaps lampshading the enormous sector of fandom living a Darren Criss Appreciation Life. Darren Criss: “I don’t particularly remember doing a great job in that number.”) This choice-making is even more questionable considering that Artie’s second choice was Brittany – since when has the vocal hierarchy in that club gone 1) Rachel, 2) Blaine, 3) Brittany? Anyway, that’s Artie’s pick as Schuester comes in with Marley, and Blaine – the de facto leader – welcomes her kindly on behalf of everyone. The socially awkward Marley recounts the experience to her mom as she helps out in the kitchen, sharing her disbeliving happiness. However, Marley is troubled about the students making fun of her mother, and doesn’t want to lie about their relationship. Mrs Rose encourages her to continue not acknowledging it, reminding her daughter that at their last school, Marley had had no friends due to the situation.

Kurt sits with Blaine in the outdoor courtyard, discussing Blaine’s appointment as the new Rachel. He offers his boyfriend some advice about making everyone feel included, which Blaine takes in stride, and then comes the crux of the conversation – Blaine’s advice to Kurt, which is that Kurt can’t be here – at the school, in Lima – any more. Blaine can’t stand to see Kurt holding himself back, and performs Imagine Dragons’ ‘It’s Time’ complete with jump rope routines and a sort of cup-drumming percussion bit. It’s quite cute, but far and away the best bit is at the start, when Kurt realises that Blaine had set the whole thing up, and he kind of puts his face in his hands as Blaine screws up his face and points to the hidden band, silently saying “yeah, this is happening again, sorry.” It’s all very nice, and bizarrely light, rational and calm – Kurt and Blaine both have a lot of acceptance of this situation, as opposed to the last time they hugged goodbye in the same courtyard, during ‘Somewhere Only We Know.’

Another lunch – presumably the next day, I can never work out how many days a Glee episode goes for, but Blaine is wearing a new shirt and trying to convince Brittany that she needs to sing in the club even if she’s not the lead. “I had a song in my heart, Blaine Warbler, and you killed it.” This back-and-forth goes on awhile until new lunchmate Kitty gets bored and starts discussing homecoming floats. Aside from including the nastiest, most casual bit of intense racism from a character on this show, the jokes turn to the new lunch lady again, this time with Sugar joining in. Marley snaps and calls out their behaviour, and when Kitty asks why Marley cares, she admits that the lunch lady is her mother. The whole club looks taken aback and guilty – the ones who hadn’t been involved, including Sam, look outright angry at the others as Marley leaves the group.

Rachel sits the beautiful, instantly recognizable Washington Square Park as she looks at photos of Finn on her phone. Brody finds her there and asks some questions about Finn and her old life, before congratulating her on her success in the Round Room performance. Rachel begins to open up about how she hadn’t felt anything was going right except at the moment she was singing that song, and Brody advises her about what it’s like to feel uncomfortable while going through change – that it’s why she came to NYC, to become this new Rachel – look at that, duality in the episode title! He tells her not to fight it, and to make new memories to go with the old. The new friends take a picture together in the park and Brody walks Rachel to Cassandra’s class. Despite Cassandra’s disdain that the class is not yet at Black Swan levels of psychosis – they’ve had a whole week, after all – Rachel seems to do better in the class today. Cassandra has her repeat some movements and comments on the improvement, and Rachel summons some courage and tells her teacher that she will keep improving until she’s the best Cassandra has ever seen. Cassandra seems to like Rachel’s attitude, but twists the compliment around to say that Rachel’s spirit will make it all the more fun when Cassandra makes Rachel’s life hell.

Kurt, meanwhile, is being dropped at the airport by his father. He’s sold his car, so he has enough money to set up in a motel in New York until he finds a job and living situation. Look, it’s a Kurt and Burt scene – you probably know roughly what to expect. But Burt makes a particularly brilliant point – that Kurt will do better in NYC than in Lima because all the crap that happened to Kurt in Lima is likely to be much worse than anything that could happen to him in New York. In New York, differences are embraced and people like Kurt feel at home. So Kurt, apparently only taking one hand-satchel in luggage, enters the airport to board his flight while his father starts to cry.

Back at school, Sam approaches Marley to apologise on behalf of the New Directions, commiserating with her about having things at home being rough, and as they start to connect, the whole club comes up and joins in the apology for their behaviour. They convince her to stay in the club and sing lead vocals on a number they’re working on, and Marley expresses that she’s still uncomfortable about sitting with Kitty and her jock friends. Kitty conveniently overhears this and says that won’t be a problem – they’d lowered themselves enough to sit with the Glee club – doling out some of the worst and most offensive insults this show has ever seen, about individual members – but that the invitation was not extended to “pre-op Precious, based on the novel Barf by Sapphire” (Unique) and to Marley herself. Blaine states on behalf of everyone that they are not in Kitty’s crew, and the jocks welcome Marley and Unique to the Glee club ranks with a slushie to the face each.

Schuester calls Just Jake into his office to discuss his audition. Jake breaks into a rant about how he’d spent three nights perfecting his work on the song and how Schuester didn’t even let him finish. Schue explains that when performing infront of people, the audience may react certain ways – was Jake going to throw things at those people? Jake says he has a right to be angry – that Schuester doesn’t know his life – and Schue reveals that he knew Jake’s brother – his surname, Schue reads from Jake’s file, is Puckerman. Jake reveals that they’re half brothers (doesn’t take a genius – Jake is mixed race and Noah is not) and that Puck doesn’t know of Jake’s existance. Jake now assumes that since Schue knows the connection, he’s deemed Jake good enough for the club, which angers him further. Schuester explains that no, he’d wanted Jake in ND as soon as he got out a couple of lines of the song – that’s why he stopped him. Schuester does go on to say how much Glee helped Noah and how it could help Jake if he made an effort to lose the attitude. Jake genuinely touched and vulnerable when Will tells him how good his performance was, but shows stubbornness and says he won’t lose the chip on his shoulder to sing for Will. He leaves the office.

In the auditorium the nine members of New Directions 2012-2013 rehearse (actually rehearse, like with Will showing them movements and formations etc – oh my god, REVOLUNTIONARY) Adele’s Chasing Pavements, with Marley singing lead vocals. Jake watches from the back of the auditorium with some longing, but steels his resolve and leaves again. As the song continues, we cut to Rachel, back in Washington Square Park as she calls Kurt, crying. She reveals to him that her positivity had been a lie and that she isn’t coping. He tells her to turn around, and she sees him across the other side of the fountain from her, looking insecure himself. They run to each other and re-unite in tearful joy, the actual best OTP on this show. Welcome back, new and improved Glee!

New Directions Headcount: Tina, Artie, Brittany, Sam, Sugar, Blaine, Joe, Unique, Marley.

Absent Regulars: Finn, Santana, Puck, Quinn, Mercedes, Mike, Emma, Beiste

What did you think of last night’s Glee?

‘Hamilton’s America’ documentary on PBS will make you cry tears of joy

Trust us, you're gonna cry so hard

11:30 am EDT, October 21, 2016

PBS airs their long-awaited special Hamilton’s America to millions of eager Hamilton fans around the world on Friday, October 21. We at Hypable were among the lucky few to see it early. And boy did we cry.

Earlier this year, Hamilton creator Lin Manuel Miranda set the world on fire when he revealed that the show with the original Broadway cast had been recorded on film and was being held under lock and key. For what reason? Miranda said he didn’t know, but it wasn’t long before PBS announced that it was in part for this documentary, which features the first extended video glimpse into the show, its creation, and the geniuses behind it.

To make things absolutely clear, Hamilton’s America can be enjoyed by just about everyone, including (and especially) people who are unfamiliar with the show. The universal appeal of this story will make it easy to gather your mom, your dad, your overly political uncle and your aunt that already loves the show around the TV tonight. I mean, who wouldn’t want to watch our founding fathers sing, dance, and rap American history right into your brains?

Read full article

PBS airs their long-awaited special Hamilton’s America to millions of eager Hamilton fans around the world on Friday, October 21. We at Hypable were among the lucky few to see it early. And boy did we cry.

Earlier this year, Hamilton creator Lin Manuel Miranda set the world on fire when he revealed that the show with the original Broadway cast had been recorded on film and was being held under lock and key. For what reason? Miranda said he didn’t know, but it wasn’t long before PBS announced that it was in part for this documentary, which features the first extended video glimpse into the show, its creation, and the geniuses behind it.

To make things absolutely clear, Hamilton’s America can be enjoyed by just about everyone, including (and especially) people who are unfamiliar with the show. The universal appeal of this story will make it easy to gather your mom, your dad, your overly political uncle and your aunt that already loves the show around the TV tonight. I mean, who wouldn’t want to watch our founding fathers sing, dance, and rap American history right into your brains?

Let me put it another way: This documentary is absolutely essential viewing if you’re a fan of Hamilton, history, or anything in general. It airs tonight at 9/8c on PBS.

In case you need any more convincing, Hypable Hamilton experts James Bean and Brittany Lovely have logged in to tell you all just how lucky we are to be alive right now.

Hamilton doc review

‘Hamilton’ documentary review: Why you should watch this documentary

JB: Oh boy. So if you’re reading this, you’re anticipating getting as close to Hamilton as you possibly can without flying to New York, and this documentary goes much further than any fan would expect. In addition to what everyone is here to see (filmed moments from the show that we found out about months ago), this outstanding documentary gives a historical lesson on Hamilton as a figure, an inside look at Lin-Manuel Miranda’s writing process, the cast’s perspective on their characters, as well as little Easter eggs about the show that you may have missed, even after listening to the Original Broadway Cast album over three thousand times (and I’m sure that’s no exaggeration for many of us). For any fan of Hamilton, this documentary is sure to fan your spark into a flame.

BL: Listening to Lin talk through the creation of Hamilton is only one small feature that you are going to experience with this documentary. The beauty of this behind-the-scenes film is the conversations Lin has with other artists about their craft. It is in the moments where you witness the actors meet their characters and see something deeper in there. It’s not Lin’s Hamilton; it is truly is America’s Hamilton. Luckily for us, Lin is willing to share.

On how the documentary captures Hamilton before it was a hit


JB: The most fascinating moments of the documentary for me were when we get to see Lin on his laptop, hammering away at lyrics that are now repeated flawlessly around the world, but at the time were just scratches on a notepad. Although it may have been clear to many (including those that made this documentary) that Miranda was bound to make another qualified hit, no one knew exactly how much of a phenomenon it would become.

The entire doc really kicks off with Miranda addressing the audience one year before opening night. Before rehearsals have even begun. He’s in a self-described “holding pattern” as he awaits the birth of his son Sebastian. Then two weeks after that, he’ll start rehearsals for Hamilton. “And then that becomes whatever it becomes,” says Miranda.

Suffice to say that Miranda excels at passionately smashing every expectation, even those of his own.

BL: Lin stands in an unfinished apartment with two songs in his pocket and a new deadline to hit. From an out of tune piano to “cabinet” meetings to writing Burr’s introduction in Burr’s actual bedroom, the documentary leaves very few stones in the Hamilton creation process unturned.

Telling stories is in Lin’s blood. One moment with his father and you will see that is true. And thus the heart of this story is in the details of seeing the creation. You feel every bit of the pressure mounting from the show’s early conception at the White House straight through the Broadway transfer announcement.

Related: Lin Manuel Miranda is the Perfect Human

On the historical facts

JB: At one point during the documentary, Miranda notes that Hamilton is very much a New York story. As images of street signs bearing the names “Washington,” “Lafayette,” and “Jefferson” flash across the screen, Miranda hammers home the idea that the founding fathers walked these very streets that have gained their names. Throughout the hour and a half running time, we’re treated to several moments where the camera lingers on artifacts at museums dedicated to Hamilton and his legacy. Guides even describe possessions of Hamilton’s, such as his portable writing desk. According to one of the many historians featured in the doc, it was this desk that enabled Alexander to write like he was running out of time.

BL: “Don’t be shocked when your history books mention me.” I’m honestly surprised U.S. 1 in high school did not mention Hamilton more. Then again, you are only permitted such a small scope of history in a short period of time that it would be impossible to cover every single piece of American history that Hamilton, Jefferson, and Washington touched. The historical field trips, especially the one to Valley Forge, were my favorite pieces of Hamilton’s America. You could feel the cast ground themselves in the reality of the pressure on those men living in the Revolution, and that a retreat could mean dozens of miles and crossing state lines.

On the political involvement


JB: I was sincerely not expecting to hear former President George W. Bush talk about my favorite musical today, nor was I prepared to hear Elizabeth Warren and Paul Ryan agree on anything, especially not a figure as divisive as Alexander Hamilton. Frankly, it’s a refreshing move for bipartisanship to see these political representatives giving props to their forebearers and their accomplishments. As fellow fighters for American law, I’m sure they’re relishing in the political interest that Hamilton may very well have encouraged.

BL: “The Room Where It Happened” where two “diametrically opposed foes” enter and create a comprise is the place in Hamilton where bipartisanship happens. The incorporation of political figures from the farthest possible sides of the aisles sitting down to discuss political movements that shaped this country without agenda was a breath of fresh air. They are talking about both sides of the human — the hero and the villain. Maybe all it takes is 240 years for a person to earn respectful discourse on their service to America.

On the new footage

JB: What can I say? The performances from the original broadway cast are, to put it simply, priceless. We don’t get to see the whole thing, unfortunately, but we see way more than I would have expected. We even see a few scenes that I thought they would skip for fear of spoiling history for millions of Americans. In any case, we get snippets of most of the major songs, and each of them are a feast. It’s at least enough to give fans a better idea of how the show moves and feels so that they can more accurately recreate it in their minds as they drive to work in the morning.

BL: The extended look into “Hurricane” and “Yorktown” really highlighted an element of the show that is not addressed — the choreography. Without Hamilton’s America, how else could the nation appreciate the choreography of Andy Blankenbuehler? Each move is just as important as hitting each word in Lin’s rhymes.

On new facts about the show


JB: Did you know that Thomas Jefferson’s Act II opener “What’d I Miss?” is written as a jazz tune to show that he’s been away for so long that the rest of the country has moved on to hip hop and rap without him? I didn’t, but that’s awesome.

BL: When Lin was drowning in research he took a helpful piece of advice from John Weidman: “Write the parts you know are a musical.” Those bits just happened to be King George’s songs.

On why you’ll cry when you watch this doc

JB: By the time the documentary ended, the Jimmy Cried Count had reached six. Whether it’s because of the beauty of the musical, the tragedy of the historical events, or even just a shot of the incredible Virginia landscape, Hamilton’s America will find ways to get tears out of your eyes. Those wanting to tell us what moment of the documentary broke the dam for them can let us know in the comments.

BL: Early in the documentary, the camera pulls back and you see Lin sitting across from Stephen Sondheim, a giant in the Broadway world. But in that moment, once the joy of seeing Mr. Sondheim talk about history in his work, you begin to realize that Lin no longer needs to look at the stars. He is quite literally seated at the right-hand of the father and damn does he deserve to be there.

Final thoughts

JB: Hamilton is one of the most incredible pieces of art in the 21st century. My reaction to things are typically hyperbolic (I write for a website called “Hypable” after all), but I am not the only one to acknowledge the tremendous impact that this musical has had on our culture, and will have for decades to come. Those already planning to catch the show on tour will probably already have this set on their DVR, but the rest of you now have no excuse to catch up on what this multi-award-winning musical is all about. As Lin’s Hamilton says in the show: “What are you waiting for? What do you stall for?”

Just watch this show. That would be enough.

BL: Hindsight is 20/20. It is easy to say Alexander Hamilton was a genius in 2016 with a musical making sure you know his name. History and appreciating where our country came from, the people who made this place happen, can bridge gaps no one thought possible. Imagine what else is hiding in the past that could help us today?

Hamilton’s America will air Friday, October 21, 2016, at 9/8c on PBS

Don’t want to watch on TV? It’ll be streaming on PBS’ Facebook page as well.

A reboot of The Rocky Horror Picture Show just aired on Fox, where everyone was antici…pating whether or not it would be worth a watch.

More so than a lot of musicals, Rocky Horror has a particularly special place in the hearts of its fans. It’s a celebration of sexuality, taboo subjects, and general weirdness. The film has become a cult classic, to be watched around Halloween and, frankly, anytime it pleases you.

Rebooting such a beloved film was always going to have its risks. If it was too similar to the original, it would feel like a ripoff, like there was no point in doing a remake. If it was too dissimilar, the creators would run the risk of taking away everything fans love about the original.

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A reboot of The Rocky Horror Picture Show just aired on Fox, where everyone was antici…pating whether or not it would be worth a watch.

More so than a lot of musicals, Rocky Horror has a particularly special place in the hearts of its fans. It’s a celebration of sexuality, taboo subjects, and general weirdness. The film has become a cult classic, to be watched around Halloween and, frankly, anytime it pleases you.

Rebooting such a beloved film was always going to have its risks. If it was too similar to the original, it would feel like a ripoff, like there was no point in doing a remake. If it was too dissimilar, the creators would run the risk of taking away everything fans love about the original.

As a huge fan of the movie, I have to admit that I was not looking forward to the reboot. For a film that is so iconic in its lines, its songs, and even the little mannerisms each actor brings to their character, any change in the remake would feel too great.

Nonetheless, I did try to keep an open mind. I knew this would be different, and I tried to accept that the actors who were taking on such well-known roles had as much love for them as we do, and that they were just trying to bring a part of themselves into a world we all enjoy.

rocky horror picture show fox laverne cox

But it’s how iconic this movie is that causes the most issues with the remake. I’d catch myself grinning when certain shots lined up exactly as they were in the original, but I’d also be disappointed when parts were changed.

Fundamentally, the fact that Frank-N-Furter isn’t wearing a green surgeon’s gown with a pearl necklace doesn’t matter one bit. But at the same time, I can’t help but notice that Laverne Cox is wearing a totally different outfit. As a purist, as stickler for detail, I couldn’t help but find myself annoyed. It was clear that the remake was trying to pay homage while also updating the style and modernizing the outfits just a bit. In some places it worked (Laverne Cox was gorgeous in all of her outfits), while in other places it did not (the new ’80s-era punk rock Transylvanians just didn’t work for me).

Another way the show paid homage to the original was by incorporating the live element into the actual movie. Every once in a while, the cameras would pull back and we’d see the movie playing on a large screen where a “live” audience could interact with the film as fans today do with the original.

It was a nice effort on the remake’s part to include the fan culture in this movie, but it also takes you out of the movie you’re watching. It reminds you this is a remake and pauses the drama you’re experiencing on screen. Part of me likes that they did this — acknowledging the devotion of the fans — but another part of me just found myself annoyed that the “audience” was reacting to the film like they would the original.

No offense to Fox or any of the actors, but I doubt anyone is going to be putting this up on the big screen and centering shows around it.

rocky horror picture show fox columbia

On the other hand, when Tim Curry came on screen and the audience gave him a standing ovation, it was sort of magical.

But let’s talk about the music because every song from this movie is iconic in its own right, and I felt as though the remake made too many changes. They would never be able to get them to be exactly as they were in the original, but I often found myself wondering if they decided to completely change the genre of some of the songs as well.

“Science Fiction — Double Feature” was beautifully sung by Ivy Levan, and yet it didn’t pack the same punch. In fact, that’s how I felt about most of the songs, particularly “Time Warp” and “Eddie.” They lacked the same raw oomph and fun bounce we’ve gotten so used to over the years.

That said, there were some songs that I thought did a great job at either recreating the original as close as possible or putting a spin on it that I actually liked. “Dammit, Janet” and “Hot Patootie — Bless My Soul” were both great additions. The former was particularly helped along by Ryan McCartan as Brad Majors, while the latter was all Adam Lambert’s doing.

But I think one of the main reasons why I liked these songs was that they felt the same. “Dammit, Janet,” is a silly, light, fun song enhanced by the antics on screen. “Hot Patootie,” is a rock-n-roll melody that makes you want to jump out of your seat and dance. Nothing about that changed in the remake, and I was reminded why I liked those songs in the first place, rather than wondering why unnecessary runs or high notes were thrown into the mix.

rocky horror picture show fox brad janet

To make it clear, I think most of the actors did a great job taking on the mantle of their characters. Laverne Cox stepped into some pretty big heels for this role, and I’m sure critics will enjoy taking her down a notch or two. I thought she captured Frank-N-Furter’s character quite nicely, a mix between sweet, sexual, and quick to anger.

Most of the characters were all close enough in tone to the originals that it didn’t bother me, including Staz Hair as Rocky, who was hilarious, and McCartan as Brad, who really came into his own during “Rose Tint My World.” The only exception here was Annaleigh Ashford as Columbia, who seemed flat in comparison to Little Nell’s original characterization.

At the end of the day, I didn’t hate The Rocky Horror Picture Show remake, despite being admittedly biased toward the original. I found myself laughing and enjoying some of the scenes I always laugh at and enjoy in Tim Curry’s version, and it was nice to see some actors I’m familiar with try their hand at a show like this.

But I won’t be watching this one again. There was nothing in here that did anything better than the original, so why would I rewatch this one, when I can just pop the old one into my DVD and sing along to my heart’s content?

I applaud everyone for trying to recreate the strangely compelling story that was told with the original, but the remake seemed like a toned down version. This one felt a little smoother, a little more coordinated. It felt less taboo and less raw. It was still weird and still carried the same message about accepting your strangeness, but in a watered-down way that felt less honest and natural.

Rocky Horror Laverne Cox

What did you think about the ‘Rocky Horror Picture Show’ 2016 Fox remake?

Nintendo just unveiled the Nintendo Switch, a new gaming system that offers high-definition gaming on the go!

Here’s the trailer, which gives us our first look:

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Nintendo just unveiled the Nintendo Switch, a new gaming system that offers high-definition gaming on the go!

Here’s the trailer, which gives us our first look:

The most revolutionary thing about Switch seems to be the, well, switch. Instead of only being able to play console games on your console, you can continue the same game on your portable device, and neglect playing with your poor dog in favor of playing the brand new Zelda game. Hey, the struggle is real.

What is the Nintendo Switch?

Building on the Wii U concept (and the good old-fashioned GameBoy), the detached Switch appears — at least that’s the promise — to offer high-resolution gameplay on a screen slightly bigger than an iPhone 6 Plus.

Nintendo Switch

The Nintendo Switch comes with removable DS-like controls called “Joy-Cons,” that look cool but a) are sure to get lost and b) will be hard to handle for people with big hands! But if they fail, you can always resort to the built-in button controls.

Aside from Zelda: Breath of the Wild, we also see footage from Mario Kart, which you can play on a tiny, tiny split screen while on the road with your indie rock band. You can also pause your actual basketball game to play fake basketball on connecting Switch devices.

Related: Nintendo releases gorgeous trailer for The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

Honestly, it’s not as revolutionary as I’d hoped, but I do like the new Switch controller for TV gaming, which is back to the GameCube (or dare I say Xbox?) model, and much easier to handle than the Wiimote.

What I do love about this, as a long-time Nintendo fan, is the commitment to everything that makes Nintendo great: The GameBoy, obviously, and the story-based games like Zelda and Super Mario (did you catch the footage from the new game?), that you can now bring with you wherever you go.

While I do think the detachable Switch is a bit fickle (but then, I never took to the DS either), I like the idea that you can plug it into another TV. For traveling gamers, the Switch is ideal.

As a bonus announcement, IGN has some new footage from the highly anticipated Zelda: Breath of the Wild:

Nintendo Switch arrives in March 2017

Read the full press release for more info!