This review is a little tough for us to write, what with the matching neck braces and all. We think we have a pretty good shot at suing Ryan Murphy over it.
See, in the first minute of this episode, we got immediate whiplash with the show picking up right after Santana’s epic slap of Finn except Santana was oddly calm and Finn was oddly mature about the whole thing. Chalking it up to typical Glee writer sloppiness, we rubbed our sore necks and settled back into our chairs for the next 57 minutes. Except…
Burt won the election!
Brittany won the election!
Rachel was expelled!
Santana suddenly was okay with being gay!
Santana’s parents were okay with her being gay although we never saw this!
Sue and Bieste are in a love triangle!
Puck and Shelby!
Puck and Shelby!
By the end, we were crumpled on our TV room floor, whimpering, our necks bent at an ungodly angle. What made all this plotting whiplash all the worse was that, for everything that happened this episode, it was all a little on the boring side. And we’re sorry to say, Glee is right back to its old tricks of shifting characters around according to the plot, making them say and do things that make little sense in context with the rest of their actions. All season, we saw a Brittany that we wanted to vote for ourselves; a fun, empowering, uncomplicated candidate with a school message that resonated. This episode, Kurt had to feel bad about trailing in the polls, so suddenly Brittany is portrayed as a dumb blonde handing out pixie sticks. Puck has a fairly amazing moment of sensitivity and maturity with Quinn, noticing and mentioning things about her that no one else seemed to pick up on and having the grownup sense to realize that she needed a friend more than anything else. A truly mature and interesting development for the character. Then, after mentioning several times how fucked up and desperate she is, and knowing what she was willing to do to get her daughter back, he tells her that he slept with Shelby. No one is that stupid, writers. Rachel does something utterly out of character in order to help another character who is suddenly supposed to be her dearest friend whom she can’t live without and she’s willing to risk it all in order to help.
That last one doesn’t even remotely track.
And hey, remember when Sue was attacking arts in the schools and the glee club was threatened by her candidacy? All gone. No worries. Burt won. We didn’t actually see Burt win; we have no idea how a loser like Schu managed to secure Burt a win; and we really didn’t even get a sense of how Burt or Sue reacted to his win. This entire plotline was pretty much resolved off camera.
Also mostly resolved off-camera: Santana’s coming out process. We rocketed from being worried that people in the school knew about it to kissing Brittany and loudly singing a song about straight girls dabbling in light lesbianism (really confusing message with that one). Her parents never even figured into the story at all; only mentioned in passing. Oddly, the focus was put on her grandmother, and that scene, while well-written and played, had absolutely no tension to it. Since they skipped telling her parents, the second this scene opened, we knew exactly how it was going to end.
We’re torn about this. It would have seemed really odd and one-sided to give Kurt a multi-episode arc surrounding his coming out and not give Santana similar treatment, but we can’t help feeling this all felt sort of rushed and by-the-numbers. We wouldn’t have recommended another season-long coming out arc (and we’re glad they didn’t go that route), but this one got wrapped up a little too quickly and neatly, given all the buildup.
And can we just say? Staging an outing intervention, which is essentially what the glee club did, strikes us an incredibly bad idea when talking about troubled teenagers? You don’t force someone out of the closet in any situation, but its doubly worse when you’re dealing with someone so young and with so little in the way of resources to handle it. All that sincere singing at her to get her to accept herself was well-intentioned and worked out for the best, but it was a seriously bad idea. And there was Schu, teacher of the year, bobbing his head and smiling while his students forced an emotionally troubled girl to deal with her issues publicly and in front of all of them. Frankly, we were more on Santana’s side when she was making cracks about all the bad things in her life and how watching Kurt and Blaine sing was just one more. When she hugged Finn, we honestly waited for a couple of beats to see what bitchy thing she was going to say, but no. Hugs solve everything in the world of Glee.
It wasn’t a horrible episode all around, just a boring and preachy one with way too many plot developments shoved in, cast aside, or resolved off camera. We were happy to see they added more musical numbers this episode (because it feels like this season has been low on jaw-dropping numbers), but even then, we weren’t captivated. Finn’s “Girls Just Want to Have Fun” was the creepiest interpretation of that song we’ve ever heard. “I Kissed a Girl” was fun, but like we said, sent a very odd message, given the plot. Really, what stood out for us was Bieste’s “Jolene,” and here’s where we’re going to get in trouble. There was a time when the show would have played a moment like this – between the rough football coach and the maniacal cheerleading coach fighting over a man – as pure comedy, especially with the addition of a classic Dolly Parton song. Instead, the entire scene and number was played totally straight. It was like one of those earnestly acted musical numbers from a seventies variety show; like something you’d see on Carol Burnett or Donny & Marie. The fact that no one even thought to mine the moment for comedy and instead went straight for pathos is, to us, the most damning thing we can say about the state of Glee right now. It’s become preachy and takes itself too seriously. Can anyone say they laughed out loud last night? Do you laugh at this show the way you did in the first season and even in parts of the second?
[Photo Credit: fox.com]
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