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 Episodes have been replaced by Public Service Announcements, and sloppy ones at that.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+.


Glee had this coming all by itself. The whole episode looked like Cooter beat up Beiste in order to bring in domestic violence just so they can sing Chicago cell block tango. And Rachel.... they also had to trash Rachel's dream just so she can sing that sad song in the end. Glee is putting songs ahead of its story and doing terrible jobs creating reasonable plots. I hope Fox will do a clean up and fire all the current writers including the producers after this season.


Maybe. MAYBE, in the middle of the season the PSA eps can keep things interesting but at the pointy end who needs them. We have Prom, we have Nationals, we have Will&Emma's wedding, we have Rachel choking on her big Nyada audition. Surely that is more than enough to be going on with?


I am not surprised at all Glee has become what it is. Nip/Tuck everyone? At least Nip/Tuck managed to stay cool for three seasons, and one in the middle, but it became a joke of what it was about in the beggining. And same with Glee. The show is about kids singing? THey'll sing anything, especially popular. They need romance? They'll do anything, even if it doesn't make sense? Glee teaches something at times? Let's shove the teachings in their throats. Nip/Tuck was sick and wrong, but it became just stupid later on. Glee is no different. I'm glad American Horror Story's story was closed. Now at least they won't ruin any character.


Ryan Murphy tries to shove his beliefs down our throat. Who does he think he is to make everyone make light of cross dressers and lesbian sex tapes and gay love scenes, and then make it like joe shouldn't need to withstand from sex bc of his beliefs, he believes in abstinence, let him be! He clearly has issues and needs us all to have them as well. Screw him


I agree with ur reviews week after week this show is horrible. I was a huge fan in season one and this show isn't even a light spark of the show it used to be. The characters are not recognizable and the plots make me want to rip my skin off. It's hard to even discuss it because it's truly terrible. I can't even enjoy the music bc of how awful it's become. Will Schuster is a tool- and did him and Emma still never do it? All of a sudden no one cares? I hate it!!!!


Why can't Glee stay away from PSAs? RM needs to stop preaching to its audience. I'm growing extremely tired of watching these kids talk about issues that they normally don't deal with and I do know that it does happen in real life. But for the love of god, don't tackle serious issues if you can't write about them seriously. It's bad enough that these PSAs aren't incorporated into ANY s/l, now their just coming out of the wood work. This show needs to get back to its original format of HIGH SCHOOL DRAMA, having dreams and how to follow them and then sing the RIGHT SONGS about it. NO MORE TRIBUTES, PSAs and GUEST STARS. ENOUGH ALREADY!!!


I dont understand why they dont just stay away from topics like these. They just seem to brush past them thinking it will make a difference. I started watching glee as it was fun and light hearted. Keep it that way. Make some character developments instead of not giving puck a song since season 1 then 2 seasons later he sings again. i want to see these characters develop. i want to care when quinn gets hit by a car. I want to care when puck fails but i cant keep up with it all when the writers arnt even keeping up with it!


He's a violent patriot?


Why was the Cooder (sp?) wearing an American Flag pin?


They should be consistent though. The domestic violence and Beiste's behaviour following it is a sad but true reality that occurs a lot (returning to the abuse), but the girl's behaviour was repulsive and they certainly didn't deserve to be credited for Beiste facing up to what happened to her or helping in any way (they did NOTHING except look like pathetic, nasty idiots). Role models or not they have never come across as heartless or cruel as in this episode. I adore Mercedes usually but this was another occasion where the writers failed her, she's been much smarter and sensitive about tough issues before. Very sad they wrote the girls so badly, they may not be the smartest people but I never had them pegged as so stupid, insensitive or cruel.

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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