1
Jun
2010
Glee: Season 1, Episode 21
Funk.
Jordan
So tonight, based on my previous writings and observations, I decided to count the number of times in one episode of Glee the title of the episode was stated. Fans of drinking games out there, this is a great one. Tonight, the word funk was uttered 21 times at my count (disregarding song lyrics and the reference to Marky Mark and the Funky Boys), and in my living room, the word "Fuck" was uttered quite a lot more. As in "This fucking sucks" and "Why does this show make no fucking sense?" And "Why is this show so fucking terrible?" The most important (and least crude) question I kept asking myself though was, "Is Glee getting worse by the week or does it just have diminishing marginal returns?" I'm not sure if the show has been getting steadily worse since it returned from hiatus, or if I am just getting progressively angrier when it fails to get better and continues making the same mistakes, trading off between offending me and just making me furious.

This week, the group got depressed (or something) because Vocal Adrenaline showed up and sang really well (because they've never seen them do that before) and in literally one line of dialogue undid one of the few continuing stories they had going. I know that Jesse had to betray Rachel, hurt her, and return to Voal Adrenaline, but did it have to happen over the span of one scene and with almost no visible consequences (except Rachel looking sad in the two scenes where Jesse is there)? Did the writers just forget that they were going to have to force that plotline before the finale? Or did it just come to Ian Brennan (the writer of tonight's travesty, and a few of Glee's better episodes) via the other writers in the 15 seconds their allowed to talk to each other before writing the next episode (or maybe its like that Top Chef challenge where the contestants have to wear blindfolds and then they're brought out to continue the dish the chef before them was making with absolutely no instructions)? I picture Ryan Murphy just doing a line of awful off the broken dreams of a good show and yelling, "Fuck it! Just put songs in it and people will like it! Oh, and by the way, you have to break up Jesse and Rachel. Just shove that shit in the cold open!"

While we're on a rant, how terrible has Will become? Conducting the orchestra last week, douching his way through a million contrived "assignments" that are really just an excuse for fill-in-the-blank script-writing ("I need to find my...theatricality." "I feel like I'm in a...funk." "I wish I had a...bad reputation."). Also, remember how Glee just pulls character names out of a hat and then finds a second hat and pulls out a piece of paper that says "friends" or "enemies" or "frenemies" or "fuck it, why not? They're dating this week." So this time out, Finn and Puck are apparently friends again (or at least friendly enough to thoughtlessly team up and slash tires) even though Puck stealing and impregnating Finn's girlfriend is pretty much a friendship killer. And Mercedes and Quinn, who flip flop between being besties and hating each other like they're heiresses (or characters in a terribly written television show).

Let's look at another issue with each of those pairings. The Puck-Finn pairing wreaks the horror of Terri on us again, but it also delivers the consistent flaw of stories that randomly appear out of nowhere and are then forgotten mid-episode. What purpose, in the scheme of things, did Terri's coming back serve except that the divorce is finalized (something that actually could have been dealt with in one line of exposition)? I guess she and Finn were bonding, but then the show forgot it was telling that story (or another writer was tagged in, took off his blindfold, and decided he wanted a Mercedes and Quinn story instead)? I'm tired of this show just picking up and dropping characters and storyline at random for no reason at all.

Over on the Mercedes and Quinn side, the show decided this week that being pregnant was the same as being a minority. I understand that being a pregnant teenager does put you in the minority, but it is not the same thing as being in any sort of actual minority. And I promise you the white head cheerleader isn't getting anything approximating actual discrimination in her Mid-Western high school (teen pregnancy levels are much too high for her to be unique in being pregnant, which is further evident when an army of preggos walk in to back her up in facing her problem. When was the last time Mercedes had an army of african american woman at her side?). I find it slightly offensive that Glee gives more screen time to the discrimination suffered by a middle class white girl than to any of its characters that are actual minorities. That's not to say how hypocritical it is for the show to give a speech on the struggle against discrimination and stereotyping in one scene and introduce a stereotypical hispanic maid who doesn't speak English in THE VERY NEXT SCENE.

This episode was terrible, plain and simple. The show can't even count on the former comedic cards up their sleeve of Stephen Tobolowsky or a Sue Sylvester journal entry (or god, at this point even subplot) for any real laughs. Glee has never been a great show. At its best it was flawed with promise. But at this point I've pretty much lost faith that these writers even care to fix the mistakes that plague their show every week. It tried to come out with a high concept, but it quickly retreated from its initial promise into a sea of terrible, nonsensical plotlines, cliche, inconsistencies, and lack of development. Its not even fun to watch for me at this point. Any good musical numbers are overshadowed by the terrible, terrible everything between them.

Grade: D

Notes:

-Fuck it. I don't care anymore. I don't even watn to watch next week. But I will for you, dear reader...
Tags: Glee
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