Thursday, April 29, 2010

I haven't had a drink in almost 45 minutes

WARNING: Minor Glee spoilers ahead. If you haven't seen this week's episode, consider coming back tomorrow.

After last season ended with lots of temporally ambiguous episodes, this season has come out swinging, with two straight episodes of references to days and recaps of the past and just the generally casual treatment of the space-time continuum that you know I love, because ever since I asked where we were in the semester, I haven't been able to let this go. Last time, we were getting close to the end of January. Where are we this week?

We begin with the revelation that there's someone coming to interview Sue in seven days. That gives us the standard one-week timeframe for this episode, so we just need to figure out what day the show begins. The last episode ended on Wednesday, so this week's episode could plausibly start that day, or Thursday, or Friday, and still only advance "show-time" by a single week. There are two clues:

  1. After a weigh-in, Sue informs Mercedes that she has four days left to lose her weight before the pep rally. If said rally was on a Wednesday, that would place this scene some time during the weekend. Thus, Wednesday is out. Thursday is possible; the weigh-in could be Monday, and Sue could then have included Monday in the four days. More plausibly, the opening and pep rally could take place on Friday.
  2. The pep rally happens, and the reporter offers to finish the interview the next day. This day includes a Glee club rehearsal, so one assumes it was a school day, which would end the show on a Friday. However, I lean towards the pep rally being Friday, and the interview being on Saturday; there are no hallway conversations to indicate that it's a school day, and there's no reason to think that a dedicated show choir wouldn't practice on Saturday. Either way, we're at the end of the first week of February, either the 5th or the 6th.

Two other temporal clues of note:

  1. Kurt states that Parent-Teacher Conferences took place "about a month ago," but then states that he expects the Hudsons to be moving in with to the Hummel residence "before mid-terms." The first statement would put conferences smack at the beginning of January, but the second would make me wonder when else those conferences could have been. Thinking back to my own high school's schedule, January basically starts with first-semester final exams, so I guess right before finals is as good a time as any for conferences. Right?
  2. April mentions that, right after her last appearance (yes, I've linked to the same post twice, so save your emails), she spent "a couple of months" in a bar. This, excitingly, lines up with the estimate that that episode ended in late October.

Finally, let's talk a bit about poor Quinn. It's lovely that she actually got a few lines in this show, but she's largely a forgotten plotline so far. She's seven months pregnant (she's due during Spring Break, which is the end of March/beginning of April) and barely showing, which has me concerned about the health of her child. Worse, she's no longer living with Finn, and there's been no word of her parents taking her back, so one assumes the poor girl is living on the street. This would, come to think of it, explain her sad-but-defiant stare in almost every scene, but the pregnant girl shouldn't be shunted aside like Ross and Rachel's baby. Free Quinn Fabray!

And that's what you missed on Glee. Next week... well, I forget what's happening next week. Maybe T-Pain shows up, and the show won't have to pretend it isn't using autotune for a week.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Tick Tock Tick Tock

WARNING: As usual, minor Glee spoilers ahead. If you haven't seen this week's episode, consider coming back tomorrow. It's okay, we'll still be here.

Sometimes, this whole chronology-of-Glee business can be a grind. Most of the episodes take place over the course of a week, and no amount of minute analysis (not that I'd ever be guilty of that) will move things more than a day, so it's easy enough to just move the date ahead six or seven days and say that's where we are and golly shouldn't they be talking about [insert holiday] here?

They shouldn't be talking about [insert holiday], of course. It is a goal of the show, at least implicitly, to be "timeless;" we rarely hear about actual dates, only days of the week. That way, it can be any time of year. More to the point, it can be any year; the show doesn't have to take place during the 2009-2010 school year. It does, however, take place during a school year, and that's the sort of thing that has schedules and rules, and that's what makes these posts worth doing to me. But I digress.

This week's episode, far from being a grind, is chock-full of juicy temporal clues. We begin with a reference to a Rachel-Jesse date, which took place on a weekend, and had to have happened after last week's episode. That gives us a starting point. If we assume that the opening conversation, and first Cheerios' routine, take place on Monday, then Will hands out the Madonna assignment on Tuesday. The Rachel/Finn duet and Will/Sue hair-joke-off take place on Wednesday. The "Vogue" video could be Thursday, or maybe Friday. None of this matters, of course, because we know that everyone has sex (or possibly not) on Friday night. We know this, of course, because Finn asks Rachel directly about her date with Jesse on Friday. This conversation, takes place on Monday, at which point New Directions gets a new member (snicker). Kurt and Mercedes see Sue on Monday, and presumably join the Cheerios then, but the "4 Minutes" number would then have to take place on Tuesday, which makes it Wednesday when the boys sing about being girls. That moves the show through almost two full weeks. If we allow the Wiggles concert to be on the first weekend after the last episode (i.e., January 15th or 16th), we are now at least at January 27. They really do have to start talking about Regionals soon, or Nationals won't happen until next Christmas.

And that's what you missed on Glee. I promise not to harp on the fact that they're not talking about Valentines Day next week.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

It's Date Night!

Previously on Glee: The team won Sectionals the weekend before Christmas, then came to school that Monday (which we assumed was due to having to make up snow days), then took a long and well-deserved break. Will broke up with Terri, then made out with Emma, who, presumably, un-resigned. What shenanigans will we get into in 2010?

It's a new year and a new season as we head towards Regionals, but that doesn't mean we can't circle some dates on Glee's Crazy Calendar, now, does it? Let's review the chronology:

Actually, let's start with an aside, in which I point this out to the watchers, the writers, and most especially, the wardrobe personnel of this show: There are way too many outfit changes for the characters. This, in and of itself, provides fodder for this particular batch of posts. I can accept that people might change clothes when they get home from school, but, other than Rachel (who, I assume, keeps several lockers full of clothes around the school), if someone is wearing a different outfit, it is a different day. I get that it's TV, but even on TV there are rules to the non-cartoon world, and one of those rules is that time keeps moving forward, and there are only so many days that people actually spend in school. Suspension of disbelief can cover Rachel telepathically telling the backup band that she's about to sing "Hope it Gives You Hell," and the fact that everyone else in the already knows the words and has thought out the choreography. It cannot cover saying "Sectionals are in two weeks," and then having 30 days' worth of plot before Sectionals. If Regionals takes place in July, and then next season is an interminable march to Nationals, then... I suppose I'll have to write a very stern letter to... someone.

Anyway, thanks to the aforementioned outfit changes, and the fact that people can't be in two places at once and don't live at the school, we go through no fewer than six, and possibly seven, different days:

1) Sue's back! She'd have brought you coffee, but she doesn't like you. Will finds out that he has to place at Regionals.

2) Will hands out the week's assignment, Finn sings his Hello song. Brittany and Santana ask him out.

3) Finn goes on a date with Brittany and Santana. Meanwhile, Rachel meets Jesse.

4) The rest of the gang tell Rachel she can't date Jesse. Will goes to the VA performance and makes out with Idina Menzel. I cannot blame him for this.

5) Emma fixes Will dinner and runs into Terri. (This cannot happen on the same day as 4, by the way, because Will and Idina are clearly at his apartment.)

5ish) Sue brings Rachel to the "Old Maids' Club," Rachel sees Jesse and we find out he's playing her. These could be the same day, or they could be the same day that the Glee Club threatens Rachel, but in three scenes, she has—see previous rant—three different outfits. Not that it really matters, because they don't really have to bleed into a sixth day.

6) Emma confronts Will with a yearbook.

6ish) Final "Hello" sequence. Is it a fantasy sequence, or a rehearsal? I'll go with fantasy, because if it's an actual rehearsal, then this is day 7, because—you guessed it!—Will and Emma are in different outfits.

So, we've gone through at least a week of school days. However, we have a further temporal cue, because the scene with Terri and Emma takes place on Wednesday. Thus, we are at least at the second Thursday of the school year. In Ohio, that means it's January 14.

A few more temporal items of note:

  • Jesse mentions having watched McKinley at Sectionals, which immediately struck me as odd, though I suppose it's not out of the question that their own competition would have been on a different day.
  • By pointedly telling Finn that she's met "a senior," Rachel implies that Finn is not one. Thus, we have to assume that he is a junior, and by extension, so are Quinn and Puck. This makes little sense to me from the standpoint of high school social hierarchy, but at least they've figured out how to keep them around an extra season without going 90210 on us.

And that's what you missed on Glee. Next week: Madonna!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

TWIFB Notes - April 11

Transaction Report:

On Thursday, red-hot shortstops Cliff Pennington and Edgar Renteria finally made it to rosters. Other pickups of note include St. Louis rookie hurler Jamie Garcia (6 IP, 1 ER and a win in his first start), and Joel Zumaya (notable mostly because Ryan Perry, who actually got the Tigers' first non-Valverde save, was dropped on the same day).

Sunday, though, saw the first closer replacement of the season, and the Athl3tics won the bidding war for Jim Johnson at a whopping $4. A month from now, they may wish they'd just used that money on a year-old Happy Meal, but maybe Johnson is this year's Ryan Franklin. We also saw the second closer replacement of the season, but because Neftali Feliz was (rightly) drafted, no bidding ensued.

Meanwhile, the league played Musical Middle Infielders, as Clint Barmes spent three days on waivers, and Jerry Hairston spent three days on a roster. The other Hairston (Scott) slipped on to Duke Silver's roster for $0, which will look good as the Padres' other outfield options continue to struggle. Also of note is Mouse Rat's acquisition of Jeff Mathis, as popular sleeper catcher Miguel Montero gets an early DL stint.


Jeff Clement Report:

I have proclaimed Pittsburgh 1B Jeff Clement "this year's Brandon Inge." Like Inge last year, Clement is a catcher-eligible player who is playing another position. In theory, the extra playing time garnered from playing a non-catcher position allows these players to be more valuable than your average catcher, because they can accumulate more counting stats. I'll be tracking this proclamation throughout the season.

Through week one, Jeff has accumulated one home run, two runs, and three RBI. While this does put him among the top 15 catchers in all three categories, he's a bit behind Brandon, who homered in his first three games last year, and had 7 runs and RBI by the end of the first week. The .294 OBP, though, is quite Inge-like.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

This Week In Fake Baseball

The Preschool returns from our latest two-month hiatus with what I hope will be a weekly feature here (mainly, because it would give us some regular content). I am participating in ALOTT5MA's absurd 16-team, 400-player head-to-head baseball league.

Draft Recap

The major story of the draft is the drink I came up with: fresh-squeezed tangelo juice with bourbon and a splash of club soda. Serve it on the rocks. I call it a John McLaughlin, because I can't hear the word tangelo without thinking of a Saturday Night Live "McLaughlin Group" parody (the linked transcript is not the one with the tangelo reference).
The other story was the fact that this league uses on-base percentage as a scoring category instead of batting average, and a couple of teams didn't adjust to that (or, they planned to punt OBP in favor of other offensive categories). In a batting average league, Ichiro is usually goes by about the 25th pick, even though he's only a plus contributor in three categories. This is because he not only gives you a high batting average, his contact-heavy style means he does it over 50-60 more at-bats than the Pujolses of the world, which can more than cancel out a low-BA slugger later in your draft. In an OBP league, he still gives you runs and steals, but his OBP is much closer to average, and he doesn't give you the weight of a lot of extra plate appearances. There's nothing wrong with speedy leadoff guys, but they don't carry as much cachet in this setup. Carlos Peña, on the other hand, goes from a late-round utility player to just outside the top 10 first basemen (depending on what you do with guys who are eligible elsewhere).

I was all set to hand the "best pick" prize to Duke Silver's Moustache for snagging OBP-machine Jack Cust in round 19, until the A's went and designated him for assignment on Saturday. No one really wants to read 25 rounds of draft highlights, anyway, so let's move on.

Transaction Report

Most of this league hasn't played with an acquisition budget (each team has a mythical $100 to bid for free agents twice a week) before, and we're all getting used to it.

With Jose Reyes due to miss the first week, and Freddy Sanchez out longer than that, the Chicago American Giants needed some help at middle infield. Fifteen dollars on Juan Uribe, though, was probably not what they had in mind. Only two teams bid for John Bowker, so the Pawnee Possum Tacklers overspent a bit at $5. However, given the number of fourth outfielders (hello, Seth Smith!) on starting rosters, more teams should probably have been bidding for Bowker's services. Similarly, $2 for C.J. Wilson was $2 more than the Athl3tics needed to spend, but with only four healthy starters, this team was a rainout away from missing the starts minimum for the week.

Among the $0 bids, Vicente Padilla's two-start week makes him worth the pickup. Ziegler will be a nice add if Andrew Bailey steps awkwardly off a mound again. Kudos to the Bowling Alley Lawyers for snagging Chris Getz after teams with better bids or higher priority had already filled their rosters.

Coming Soon

Rather than continuing to fill up inches with the season preview, we'll save that for the next couple of posts. If you're not into the fake sports, there should be a new post about Scat this week.