A Black Eye for Glee: Series Hits New Low

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It looks like I got out just in time.

After nearly three seasons of reviewing Glee, I handed the job over to staff writer Miranda Wicker for last night's new episode, "Choke." How come? Readers had, understandably, grown tired of my repetitive criticism of the show I once loved - and, to be honest, I had grown tired of writing the same thing on a weekly basis.

Storylines come out of nowhere. Characters are underdeveloped. Episodes have been replaced by Public Service Announcements, and sloppy ones at that. Blah. Blah. Blah.

Tina Goes Goth

What does this photo have to do with domestic violence? Nothing. Exactly.

Now, after watching the episode and reading various opinions online, it's clear nothing has changed.. except the depths to which Glee has now plummeted as the result of a domestic violence storyline that was given woefully, insultingly short shrift.

Topics don't get much more serious than this, yet Glee treated Coach Beiste's black eye as nothing more than a C-plot, pompously thinking that merely touching on the issue should earn the series credit, a theme we've witnessed throughout season three, as Glee has dedicated bits of time to suicide (Karofsky), intolerance (Santana's grandmother) religion (Joe) and texting while driving (Quinn).

At best, the handling of these storylines is tone deaf. At worst, it's incomprehensibly degrading to those who have suffered through these situations.

I am far from alone in this assessment. Critics around the Internet have come down harder on this episode than any in recent memory:

You can’t demand we take seriously the issue of domestic violence then crack dubious jokes about its burly victim in the same breath. Especially just because she’s burly, writes Michael Slezak of TV Line.

Choke is a morally reprehensible hour of television, one from which the show may never fully recover. Glee can’t have it every which way when the subject matter is this serious. It just can’t. The show did a serious disservice to an important cause... Instead of patting itself on the back for daring to bring up the issue at all, Glee needed to think long and hard about what it wanted to accomplish long before it ever made it onscreen, writes Ryan McGee of HitFix.

The problem is that Glee has bought into the myth of its own importance so thoroughly that it thinks raising an issue, then explaining what you should do in that situation, then going off to have Puck draw awesome rocker demons on his history final, is an adequate way to discuss serious topics… You can’t just unlock Pandora’s Box and pretend it’s all good. You have to be prepared to deal with what you unleash, writes Todd VanDerWerff of AV Club.

These are just a few of the critical takes. What is YOUR take? Did Glee mishandle the topic of domestic violence?

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


Maybe you should have waited for the storyline to wrap up?
Was it a PSA Lifetime Victim of the week movie...no.
Did it probably inform more people than most shows about a serious issue...yes. Did it give a great chance for an adult and student to grow together...yes.


*Round of applause for Sam* Simply put and TOTALLY accurate. I salute you! ;D


Glee, you had it coming. It was once a dark comedy, and now it's a 24/7 PSA with horrible writing. They only want praise and say they save lives, but then when they get the tiniest criticism, they tell you it's just a tv show.


Storylines come out of nowhere. Characters are underdeveloped. Episodes have been replaced by Public Service Announcements, and sloppy ones at that. Blah. Blah. Blah. ^^^That is spot on. And I can't believe people dislike you for pointing out actual problems in the show. Most of Glee's fandom has tunnel vision anyways. As long as Kurt/Blaie/Rachel/anything pretty is on the screen they are okay with the randomness. And they wonder why the rating are dropping.


I agree that they mixed too many random thoughts/plots/storylines in this one episodes. It should've focused on the passing school and NYADA auditions and saved the domestic abuse storyline (which is one that deserves proper set up and follow through as it is such a serious concept) for another episode. I disagree that it shouldn't have been touched on at all by the show as I think any kind of awareness brought to light of these kinds of situations is better than no awareness at all. It needs to be talked about, regardless of whether or not people think it's tactful or not. It's not exactly a tactful situation. At least it got put out there.
That being said, I think Black Eyes, Blue Tears by Shania Twain would have been a much better song for the assignment that was given even though I absolutely loved their version of Shake It Out.


Keep the cast, fire the writers!


It's come to the point where i cannot respect anyone who likes glee.


Hmmm. Perhaps I alone will be the voice that disagrees with everyone else on this page. I loved the episode, and personally, I got a much different sense of what was going on at the end. I really thought that Marti Noxon was setting us up for a longer Beiste storyline... The fact that Beiste gave Cooter a second chance clearly (to me) suggested that she was caving and I suspect that we haven't seen the end of this conflict. The message from Sue was clear... get out. Beiste chose not to, and as far as I can tell, she hasn't revealed the fact that she is still living at home. Hmmmm...another thought. All the haters of the show, who are so disappointed with it... Why are you so vested if you no longer care to keep watching the show? If you truly don't enjoy the show, and you've STOPPED watching it, why does it matter? I loved the Glee-ver tribute. And aside from the lackluster inclusion of new characters like Rory ands Sugar (overall), I still adore this show. :-)


I stopped watching Glee after the first season. I was already angry with the storytelling. The whole Jess and Rachel thing was sooo bad writing. And Rachel annoyed me sooo much in the end(always her singing) etc etc. (Also isnt it creepy that Will has no friends in his age so all the kids come over for christmas) just silly stuff like that. It didnt seem like episodes belong together. But i watched a few more episodes this season - and its even worse! And now they think they have to talk about really serious stuff in a silly way? stupid show...


I agree, from the 2nd half of the first season the writers got very complacent and started churning out crap episodes after crap episodes. I finally watched the spanish teacher and was like WTF? When did Santana become the champion of quashing latin stereotypes? Who knew she knew what stereotypes mean. All she ever cared about was who she was sleeping with and being head cheerio. Or when did she get clarity to give shcuester advice. seriously. Ryan Murphy really thinks that the audience is dumb.
This ep was blegh like most eps, and the ratings proove it. 5.9 mill from 8-9 mill when it began...

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Glee Season 3 Episode 18 Quotes

I vowed not to speak with you unless William and Kate got pregnant, Liza passed, or unless one of us was in grave danger.


I spent the weekend sending your photo to ivory poachers who could make an absolute fortune selling your enormous white teeth on the black market.


Glee Season 3 Episode 18 Music

  Song Artist
Glee cast cell block tango Cell Block Tango Glee Cast iTunes
Glee cast not the boy next door Not the Boy Next Door Glee Cast iTunes
Glee cast the rain in spain The Rain in Spain Glee Cast iTunes