Glee Review: A Non-Asian F

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If an "Asian F" is the equivalent of an American A minus, what do I give this episode of Glee? An Asian Q? I really didn't care for it.

There were pieces here that made me smile on their own - Brittany leading a flash mob, Coach Beiste dropping one hilarious line after another, the mere fact that Emma has an autographed head shot of Vera Wang - but the show tried to jam way too much into a single hour.

Glee Flash Mob

Was it Mike's episode? The Asian dancing sensation was front and center for a welcome change, practicing on his own, teaching the group complicated moves, auditioning for the school play. He wasn't the kidding: the guy does have a lot on his well-toned plate!

Or was it Emma's episode? We met her racist Ginger Supremacist parents this week, a significant storyline that explained everything about Emma's OCD over the course of one meal. Heck, over the course of one course. Tremendous work here by Jayma Mays, as she made it clear why Emma earlier pretended her parents were ghosts. But I wanted even more, especially because I was distracted by the mention of Carl. Who the heck is that?!?

Was that the dude Emma randomly married and then the show ignored for about 12 consecutive weeks? I would have preferred more than a few scenes devoted to Emma's backstory. (*UPDATE: This was a joke, readers. I'm pointing out how poorly handled that marriage and the use of John Stamos was.)

Or perhaps this episode belonged to Mercedes? She was involved in The Ultimate Maria-Off, after all. Unfortunately, while the conclusion of Mercedes signing on for Shelby's rival choir holds intrigue, getting to that point felt a lot like season two. The bad parts of season two, that is, with a lack of character development and seemingly slapped-together storytelling.

Santana is simply back in the club?!? With no explanation?!? And Mercedes believes Mr. Schuester favors Rachel. Since when? Hasn't he clashed with her more than any other club member? By far? Moreover... why would the judges split the Maria role? Talk about a cop-out. When even Rachel and her ego can admit that Mercedes was better, there's no explanation for Beiste, Emma and Artie's decision except that it was a plot device to move Mercedes along. That's pretty weak.

There was simply too much going on this week, too many heavy-handed moments - from Mike's talk with his mom to Emma and Will's prayer to Kurt confronting Rachel to Mercedes making her prideful decision - that, by the end, I was more exasperated that emotional. A show can only ask its audience to well up so many times per hour before it turns more eye-rolling than tear-inducing.

Other thoughts:

  • This negative critique takes nothing away from the outstanding covers. We've collected them all in our Glee video section.
  • I did enjoy the nicknames bestowed on various characters. Mike is the Fleet-Footed Dance Ninja. Mercedes is Stealth Attack Jones. Rachel is the Garanimal-Wearing Ass Kisser.
  • Kurt believes if he wins school president, he can enact many changes that will "people like him." What could he possibly be talking about? This just played out like another chance to mention that Kurt is gay and there are issues involved with that. We know, Glee. We support the overall message. We wouldn't be watching the show otherwise... but chill with it.
  • Are they hinting that Mercedes is pregnant?!?
  • HA! Jacob Ben Israel held a straw poll. It was probably as meaningful as the actual ones in Iowa and Florida.
  • Due to the MLB playoffs, Glee will go on hiatus until November 1. Watch scenes from that new episode NOW.

What did everyone else think? Were you properly moved by Mike's story, Emma's background and the clash of the divas? Or is your head still spinning from all the storylines shoved into one episode?

And vote now: Who deserved the role of Maria?


Editor Rating: 2.9 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.0 / 5.0 (299 Votes)

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


@Amy -- What you said about the show intending all of the viewers to know that Mercedes outperformed Rachel has stuck with me because I couldn't imagine that they did and couldn't rule it out and the straight forward way you say it makes me think that, yeah, you're right! What bothers me then is that if Murphy and company did mean for us to get that, then wouldn't it follow that every nasty comment and action of Mercedes that stemmed from that horrible injustice be proper and appropriate (at least in the eyes of Murphy and company)? Has anybody seen anything anywhere on this? Please ...?


glee has gotten so bad lately i can barely watch it the writers can barely locate good storylines.


@GG - They showed Mercedes doing the best parts of the song because otherwise there's no way we would believe the absurdity of Mercedes giving a hands-down better performance than Rachel. In my opinion, Rachel can out-sing Mercedes, and Mercedes can arguably match Rachel, but Mercedes cannot out-sing Rachel. The editing was semi-cleverly done so that the viewer would theoretically come to that conclusion on their own, not having seen Rachel do anything particularly skillful, but I still didn't buy it. I don't doubt that, within the world of the show, Mercedes was supposed to have done better - nor do I doubt that Rachel truly believed that. I just think it was a poorly written part of the show that wasn't executed particularly well.


I liked this episode but i have to admit that I ended up hating Artie, Emma and Beiste for their splitting the Maria role into 2.
they were showing how well Mercedes did in her call backs which is why they showed her doing the best parts of the song! Why else would Rachel willingly say that Mercedes was better? She would never say that in a million years especially if Mercedes wasn't better!!
@Matt Richenthal
Will DEFINITELY favors Rachel over Mercedes! He's never once let her be the lead of a solo for sectionals or anything when Mercedes has the most soul in her voice!
I do hate how they always make Rachel the highlight, Mercedes is just as good if not better! This isn't "The Rachel Show" it's "Glee"!


It drives me crazy that Mercedes did not get her comeupance by the end of the show. She is lazy. Simple. People that are lazy ARE NOT SUCCESSFUL IN REAL LIFE. Being fat and black does not a star make I'm afraid. You have to actually work hard and practise no matter your size or colour. There is NO WAY that Mercedes should be getting roles over Rachel. End of story. Get your shit together writers.

Matt richenthal

@clarkson_fan: Why the "eff" else would Kurt be running for president? His exact, only reason - stated numerous times - is that it will help boost his college resume.


I have no use for people who stopped watching Glee -their opinions mean nothing to me. They will continue to hate no matter how Glee fares. So why they continue to badger the show is beyond me. But "Asian F" was a fantastic episode and got me feeling the old Glee has come back. I don't think those who have already given up on Glee are going to change their minds -because it is now their mission to bring it down. Most critics enjoyed it and my family did -and THAT's what I care about.


Elizabeth Marie, Fox doesn't think that baseball is more important, it just gets better ratings. I'm a gleek but I think I would rather watch the world series which is unscripted than the scripted tv show you are talking about. There are also many more cable networks dedicated to tv shows than of sporting events.


It's a small thing but I really loved Finn cheering on Rachel, I thought it was super cute and reminded me a little bit why I used to love Finchel.


Didn't care for this episode, but I haven't cared for a new episode of Glee in a while. I thought the Mercedes plot line was ridiculous. Rachel should obviously be Maria, on talent alone. Mercedes shouldn't even be auditioning for that part, since she should be aware of her friend's college plans. And for those of you who keep saying that Mercedes was better in her callback, you can thank the editing department for that. All of the parts that would have highlighted Rachel's talents were given to Mercedes. For the record, I didn't even find that editing job effective; I still thought Rachel was better, even without filling in the blanks. Rachel is, simply, a stronger singer. Mercedes has passion, which is why she would make a much better Anita. Also, you would think that Will would have confided in Emma that Mercedes was being completely irresponsible and counterproductive in rehearsals, leading to the (correct) casting of Rachel as Maria. It's not just about singing when you're casting a musical; Mercedes wants all of the glory without any of the effort. The fact that all of these thoughts were running through my head on a constant loop just points to how tedious and unsatisfying this episode felt. In terms of the other plot lines - contrary to what appears to be popular belief (based on the outpouring of positive reviews on this episode), making something melodramatic does not automatically mean it's better. It all felt very contrived, from the cookie cutter cues into musical numbers to the ridiculous costumes - and the, frankly, over-the-top acting. I hate that people seem to think that this show only has heart when it's trying to yank out our heartstrings. The true strength - and soul - of this show obviously lies in its cuteness and frivolity. Show me more of that!

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Glee Season 3 Episode 3 Quotes

It's not about doing your best anymore. It's about doing better.


My alarm clock went off 30 minutes late. Sort of reshifted by whole schedule.