Welp, Sue is timing us, so let’s get right to it and talk about Glee, shall we?
After the jump, the good and the bad. Warning: It’s mostly bad.
Good: Sue Sylvester. Whether she is making fun of Will’s hair (and man, does it need to be made fun of) or giving a young hippie an impromptu shearing, Sue is, in my mind, the hero of this series. I’m going to have “I am engorged with venom and triumph” engraved on my tombstone.
Good: Idina Menzel. First of all, I can’t believe how much Lea Michelle looks like her. Second, she’s great. I hope she and future guest star Neil Patrick Harris team up to ruin Schue’s Glee plans. I talk a lot of trash about this show, but they get awesome guest stars.
Bad: Seriously though, enough with having Schue awkwardly make out with women. AUGH, I can’t stand his character! And Sue is right about his hair. “Did you get a haircut, buddy? It looks terrible.” That was one of my favourite lines from last week.
Good: Mike Chang. FINALLY! Don’t just stand there, bust a move! I’m very happy to see Harry Shum shaking his fine, fine tail. What a tall drink of water! More from him in the back nine please!
Bad: I am super sad that the Changster was forced to dance to a shitty All American Rejects song.
Good: Brittany. Brittany. Brittany. It’s not easy to write dialogue for dumb characters, but Heather Morris’s sweetly sincere delivery makes every line a winner. Sending back her spaghetti after she’d eaten it because “there was a mouse in mine.” “Did you know dolphins are gay sharks?” That was an OK line, but the way she delivered it, like it was a thing she was just finding out and actually believed, was amazing. Particularly the slight pause with the little “yeah” at the end. I love her!
Bad: The way women are treated in general. Sorry ladies. It doesn’t matter what you want. Sometimes, men just have to get in touch with their inner rock star. They’re like Jagger. Or Morrison. Or… Neil Diamond? Something like that. It means they want to bone a lot of ladies who are not you. And look, I’m not above making jokes about people who watch Ghost Whisperer. It’s a very bad show that absolutely deserves to be skewered, but I hate when it’s used as a lazy punchline as it was in Sue’s “spinster” club. That whole scene was offside and offensive.
Bad: Ridiculous plot inconsistencies. For example, cheerio and gleek Santana has clearly expressed that she loves glee. In fact, she did so in the very last episode before the hiatus when they won sectionals. It is, she says, the best part of her day. Now, it’s like that never happened. We’re back at the beginning where she’s happily helping Sue try to take down her favourite club. I would buy Brittany being roped into these plans because the sectionals episode established that she’s easily manipulated by Sue. If you did that, it would be kind of surprising, because the girl you’d expect to be all hateful really loves it and the girl who is sweet and naive is bringing down the whole shebang. But that would be original and interesting.
Bad: I know Sue is all about winning at all costs. I get it, OK? But it seems like her plots are becoming a little too far-fetched. Like, am I really to believe that she’s going to roofie the principal and blackmail him in order to get her job back? Come on, show! You can’t congratulate yourself on the accurate portrayal of high school loserdom and then do something stupid like that. Also, if a girl as pretty and talented as Lea Michelle is playing a character who is made to feel bad about herself and her future because she doesn’t have a boyfriend, well, what hope do the rest of us sub-humans have?
Bad: It’s bad enough that the guidance counsellor has OCD, but now she’s a 30-something virgin? Really? Are you kidding me with this shit? I find it incredibly hard to believe that somebody with that many issues would manage to get hired in an arena where she spends her days helping children sort through problems she hasn’t even dealt with. I’m betting this plot nugget was developed after they realized they’d be doing a Madonna episode and could employ “Like a Virgin” in this manner. Too bad they shot their “Papa Don’t Preach” wad early. So to speak.
Good: I’m pretty sure it’s unintentional, but I think it’s hilarious that even in high school, Schue was totally weird. His and Terri’s song was “Hello Again.” From The Jazz Singer. That is totes gay. I’m just sayin’. I loved that Idina’s character flat-out asked him if he was gay. “Most choir directors I make out with are.” And his reply: “Hahahahaha! No!” (Translation: Yes.) But of course he’s also a huge douche who uses the same song for his new true love. Who he only loves until a different attractive woman is put in front of him. What a prince!
Bad: Trying to impose some sort of theme on all the songs. Hello songs? WTF? There aren’t a lot of well-known songs that have the word “Hello” in the title. As evidenced by Rachel’s choice of the All-American Rejects song “Gives You Hell.” Right. Because that’s a song Rachel would pick. Only Harry Shum’s fly moves could save that number. Almost as bad was when Vocal Adrenaline performed AC/DC’s “Highway to Hell.”
Knock it off, show! Leaving aside that they do not go to William McKinley and should, therefore, not be affected by Will’s stupid assignment, there is no way a show choir would pick that song to perform at sectionals. Not the way they were doin’ it, anyway. Brian Johnson’s distinctive growl is not one that lends itself to choral performances. Or Jonathan Groff’s vocal range. It was dumb. Especially when Todd Rundgren’s “Hello It’s Me” was just sitting there, ripe for the picking.
Final thoughts: OK. So. The MAIN thing I don’t like about Glee is that it so often tries to have its cake and eat it, too. They accept props for stuff like having an extremely multi-cultural cast and hiring a couple actresses with Down Syndrome, then either entirely forget about those characters or never let them shine when they really have a chance to do so. They claim to be tellin’ it like it is for all the loser freaks out there who are bullied because they take part in glee and drama and band and choir. Fine. OK. But then, when somebody calls them on stuff like, oh, I don’t know, gathering a group of girls who are clearly meant to be loser freaks and making them feel like even bigger loser freaks, they get all “Waaaah! It’s just a TV show!”
Of course, when you have so many characters, you can’t help that some of them are incredibly inconsistent and underdeveloped. Except for how you totally can help it! I mean, Jesus Christ! I’m sure people are sick of me bringing up The Wire all the time, but that show had, like, way more characters. And all of them, down to the lowliest corner boy, had more depth than this show’s main folk.
Can you compare Glee and The Wire? Well I just did, hoss. One’s a darkly funny drama about broken institutions that fail American children and the other is about drug dealers in Baltimore. Hotcha-cha-cha!
But seriously folks, when you examine it, Glee doesn’t hold up. When you REALLY examine it, it’s sort of poisonous and awful. I’m a little disappointed because there are some great ideas here and these kids are insanely talented. They elevate the material so it’s better than it has any right to be. So imagine what they could do if they had truly great writing instead of this slop.
The AV Club review of this return episode posits that most people are watching this show and waiting for it to fall apart. I doubt that. I watched their Oprah episode recently and the audience went insane. People genuinely love this show and think it is awesome. It’s been hyped so much that I don’t know how it can hope to hold up to continued scrutiny when it is, in all actuality, very bad.
I predict that critics are going to start turning on it (not much of a prediction since they already have), while fans (and there are no fans more strident and obsessive than musical theatre fans — combine them with the fervent fanfic writing weirdos and you’ve got yourself the perfect storm) will be in for the long haul.
This fucker is here to stay. Like Cats.