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Glee Review: "Grilled Cheesus"

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It's safe to say that Glee is the only show on television that could depict a character dressed like Britney Spears one week, replete with a snake wrapped around her scantily-clad body, and tackle the topic of religion the following week.

But while I thought the show paid disservice to its characters and any sense of storytelling on "Brittany/Britney," I was blown away by the mature way it broached God, atheism and spirituality on "Grilled Cheesus."

Praying to a Sandwich

Let's start with the performance of Chris Colfer and hand this actor an Emmy nomination for next year already. He was simply incredible.

Throughout the hour, I was assuming Burt Hummel would awaken from his coma and Kurt would acknowledge that God played a role in his dad's recovery. But the show resisted such an obvious, politically correct resolution.

I don't wish to start a debate on religion (and I ask readers to be courteous and respectable in their comments below), but it was refreshing to see Glee not espouse any one message or points of view on the episode - aside from the overall idea of tolerance.

We were treated to a number of various takes on God, some humorous (Finn wants his kids to "totally go to Jew church and wear those hats and eat that salty orange stuff with their bagels."), others serious (Why should Kurt believe, he asks, when God "makes me gay and then makes His followers go around saying it's a choice, as if I'd choose to be mocked every day of my life?"), but all treated with respect and all realistic.

There are people out there who really do believe they've seen Jesus Christ is something mundane as a sandwich, and those that thank God every time they touch a boob. There are also those that take Emma's practical approach, leaving the big questions as a mystery and blaming everyday occurrences of the non-supernatural, and those that don't believe... but clearly want to. Like Sue Sylvester.

In the end, this was the most serious episode Glee has ever aired (though Brittany was still around to tell us that whenever she prays, she falls asleep; and to ask if God was an evil dwarf) and it could have been the most predictable and cheesy.

Instead, it provided the best showcase yet for Colfer and also for Mercedes as a singer (I LOVED "Bridge Over Troubled Water"), while giving viewers a chance to laugh, cry and simply think about how an issue such as religion can touch so many people in so many different ways. Bravo.

What did you think?

Review

Editor Rating: 4.7 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.6 / 5.0 (274 Votes)

Matt Richenthal is the Editor in Chief of TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter and on Google+.

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Further to my comment, I've just started reading all of your comments and ditto to what Maggie Smith said. As Artie would say, Preach. Also, I just realised, did Artie have ANY lines today?

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For me this episode was a bit hit and miss. Firstly I only recognised a few of the songs and Losing My Religion was the only one I really knew, so on the basis of music it was a bit poor. Secondly, I felt that the option of not believing in God was frowned upon, shunted to the side and only really developed in the last part of the episode. Tina's reaction to Kurt not believing in God was fairly ridiculous, I know Glee is set in America, but come on, there has to be some atheists around somewhere? Atheists in the episode were depicted as people having a "lack" of faith, or a "lack" of belief and Mercedes' preach about people needing something to hold on to was purely subjective on her part. I'm glad Kurt didn't have some trite revelation about God at the end but I'm disappointed that the only atheists that were depicted were atheists because they suffered some sort of tragedy in their lives. What I was waiting for someone to say, ok you can believe in God and you can not believe in God but we can all talk about in the same classroom and respect each other without preaching either way. Didn't happen. Also, just Jews and Christians? Would it have hurt to make Mike a Buddhist? Or have some other kind of religion represented? Nonetheless, let's hand Chris that Emmy already. Cheesus.

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A man struggling with his faith while needing to honor his father by using the most moving version of a Beatles song that I have ever heard, wow!

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Okay so i understand trying to get everyones point of view in a 45 minute segment...so i will give Glee people props for that one. But in the end I felt like the end resolution was pretty much everyone beliving what Kurt wanted them to, and that they should not speak for what they believe in. I'm sorry but if I'm in a fight with one of my gay friends about religion, we both stand our ground (then we go shopping) but still, i felt like in this episode Kurt was the only one who was allowed to have an opinion, and everyone elses were shot to hell because it was something he didint want to hear. I also didnt like the comment he made about God's followers. I am a follower of Jesus Christ, and I have many gay friends, but i definatley dont mock them. Anyone who says they are a follower of Christ but is mocking a child of God, is not a true follwer of Christ. Love the sinner, hate the sin!

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I hate to say, for me, it was an uneven episode. Chris Colfer's performance, both acting and singing, was, as usual, incredibly beautiful and moving, and Jane Lynch once again brought amazing depth to her character; but many other performances felt flat and uninspired. Although I can appreciate the difficulty of bringing the subject matter of religion and spirituality to a program such as this, I feel this is where the episode truly lost it's way. For me, it felt too preachy and focused on the "traditional and mainstream", while displaying only a thin veneer of diversity and tolerance. What we basically wound up with was the traditional Judeo-Christian juggernaut of (for the most part) normalcy, versus Atheism espoused by two troubled individuals who disavow the existence of "god" because of emotional pain and cruelty suffered at the hands of supposed believers. Really? That's it? That's all we get to represent and explore the amazingly complicated, beautiful, and diverse subject of religion and spirituality? What about perfectly happy and well adjusted individuals who happen to be Atheist because exploration into religion has them convinced that this path is the most logical? How about Taoist or Buddhist (for heavens sakes, there are two Asians present) who do not believe in an anthropomorphic view of the creative force? The Hindu polytheist? The Pagan who sees the divine force as female? Hello?? Showing diversity and tolerance....I think not. For someone who adores this show(and believe me, I do),I was felt deeply let down. If not for the amazing performances of Jane Lynch and Chris Colfer, I hate to say I wouldn't have had much reason to even watch this episode. What a shame. Another opportunity missed, another ball dropped.

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This episode was so amazing & your right it didn't try to push any certain view point which was great. Kurt's solo was absolutely fabulous & emotional, i loved this whole episode!

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The segment of Kurt singing "I want to hold your hand" intertwined with images of him and his father was absolutely spectacular -- one of the great TV moments.

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I cried soooooo hard at the end.
I was wondering when One of Us came by, and the timing was so perfect!

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I loved this episode. Insanely emotional, and even with the...somewhat stupid plotline from Finn, I like that it got serious with Sam's injury. Also, yeah, there were only about 3 religious views presented (Judaism, Christianity, and Atheism) I still feel they handled it fairly well. Was I sad there weren't any Wiccans? A bit. Did I expect any? Not really. :P They couldn't have covered ALL religions in America. Well, they could, but it would have been STUPID. Also some excellent song selections. "One of Us" and "Only the good die young" were my favorites of the episode, and I'm fairly sure "I wanna hold your hand" is going to be one of my favorites of the season.

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The only religious beliefs presented were 2/3 of the abrahamic faiths and atheism.

Glee Season 2 Episode 3 Quotes

When I pulled the sandwich out, I saw the face of God. Literally.

Finn

I sort of worship Eric Clapton and Ochocinco.

Finn
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