Glee: Season 1, Episode 11
I was asked by a friend recently why I review Glee on Wednesday nights instead of Modern Family, which I think is a very funny show that is much more consistent than Glee. Which is the largest reason why I'm sticking it out with this show, which can do some pretty solid character work last week in "Ballad" only to trash most of the good will I had toward it again in "Hairography." I'm fascinated by the show's ups and downs, and what drives them. When Glee is good (and it really is a shame I must keep referencing the pilot as the true stand out episode) it can be very good, and has the potential to even be great. Yet when Glee fails, it also swings for the fences, coming up with some gloriously stupid plotlines, unfathomable character twists and occasionally, really offensive stereotyping.

The basic premise of this episode revolves around scrimmages held with the club's rivals for sectionals. When they mentioned in passing several episodes back that the competition was a halfway house and a school for the deaf, it got a big laugh out of me. Unfortunately, in execution it fell largely flat. Glee does a pretty bad job of not offending me on a weekly basis, and this is especially true when it wades into the waters of stereotypes. See, the deaf teacher can't hear Will, and that's funny! Except instead its totally expected and more than a little stupid. Will's experience with the halfway house (led by guest star Eve) leads him to up the showmanship of his club by making them wear wigs. This is also stupid, as is the idea that several of the kids seem to be having trouble shaking their head. It does lead to a nice Brittany moment when she tells them to think of it "like cool epilepsy." Her character is pretty useless, but at least they've decided over the last few weeks that she's so painfully stupid they can make jokes out of it (I also laughed when her defense for taping practice was "Coach Sylvester didn't tell me to do this.")

At home, Will's wife is, guess what? Still faking her pregnancy in the most insultingly dumb plotline I can think of. This story eats of screen time and spits out my dreams of what Glee could be in the process, giving me nothing for the amount of time I'm forced to invest in it except a death wish toward a fictional charater (and her even more angering fictional sister). I liked the idea of Puck and Quinn babysitting, but the sow fell back on its damaging tendency to need everythin back at square one plotwise when the episode ends. Quinn and Puck make a good couple, and Puck has been fighting for her for weeks now. There is no way he would do anything to screw that up unless a contrivance in the plot needed to keep he and Quinn apart.

The more believable subplot tonight focused on Kurt's makeover of Rachel, which he of course sabotaged to get her out of competition for Finn's affections. That plotline sounds promising as I type it, yet it mostly just makes Kurt inexplicably into a villain, and over-stereotypes his sexuality yet again. See, he's gay, so of course he loves makeovers! The show can't seem to decide what to do with Kurt and Rachel. Are they friends? Rivals? Fellow divas? They can't just shift into whatever roles the plot needs on a weekly basis or they sacrifice any meaningful character growth. This is true of every character on the show though. This week, Will is totally into fixing up an old car when we've never seen him even glance at a car before (Also, how did the reference to Grease lead to an aborted number from the finale instead of to "Grease Lightning" which would have both made sense in the plot, and been pretty awesome). Also, Sue is back to her anti-Glee ways with a veracity and interest level she hasn't shown in months. If these characters keep ricocheting, they will never make any progress.

This episode failed not only because it pulled characters into some unbelievably stupid plotlines, but also because this is a show that doesn't know how to use its plots yet. Worse than even a standard run of the mill sitcom, Glee uses its characters to fit its plots instead of the other way around, making me often question whether we're even supposed to be watching the same show every week, or whether there are alternate universes at play that explain the shifts in characters and tone (in actuality I believe its the three creators vying for control, but they need to get their shit together at this point). Additionally, I long for the days where, if nothing else, the show made me laugh for a solid hour a week. This week all it gave me were sporatic chuckles. Glee has a long road to hoe before it can sashay down it to success.

Grade: C


-"Not interested? I'm the fine arts administrator, or something."

-"One, I'm a sucker for makeovers, and two you need something to distract from your horrible personality." I love Rachel to death (As is evidenced by me constantly saying that), but even more I love how much even characters who like her sort of hate her.

-"Do you think I'm rolling around in deaf choir money?"

-"You look like a sad clown hooker."

-Quinn handles the older pop songs very well. Her "Papa Don't Preach" was solid, but since Madonna donated her entire discography to the show, I fear its the first in a very long line of Madonna songs that I don't really want to see.

-"Asking someone to babysit with you is super 90's." It is, but this line showed why background cheerleader should stay that way. Also, does anyone ever really say "sexting"?

-"Imagine" is a phenomenal song that fits in well with major Glee themes. Why did they waste it here when it felt contrived as opposed to saving it for when it fits with the plot?

-I hope they never, ever, ever sing anything touched by Phil Collins on Glee again.
Tags: Glee
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