Glee Review: When Good Shows Go Bad

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Oh, Glee. You've gone and done it. You've thrown yourself head-first into the territory of Tuesday Night Special and you don't even care. I was willing to cut you some slack with the bullying and Don't Text and Drive PSAs. I was. I was willing to just look the other way and acknowledge that as your attempt to be relevant to modern teens.

But this? This week's PSA? It was straight from another planet. And I'm not talking about Brittany's suggestion that alien abductions should be the prom theme.

Play It, Puck!

"Choke" started off right. The girls are hanging around a locker talking in the hall about prom and the future and the things high school students talk about. Then Coach Beiste walks by and suddenly we've launched into a public service announcement about... domestic violence?

Excuse me, what?

Domestic violence, while a real issue, and one of which I am not making light, had - has - no place in this show and especially not with the sloppiest set-up known to man. We haven't seen Coach Beiste in weeks and suddenly she's here and being used to teach the girls a lesson that none of them seemed not to understand in the first place. And humanize Sue.

The ONLY good thing to come out of this story line - aside from getting Dot Marie Jones back on my screen - was "Shake It Out." That was awesome.

But I still want to know who in the writer's room decided we needed a weekly message? What happened to cohesive story lines and build-up that made sense? What happened to good story telling?

Now that my frustration over that is (sort of) out of the way, let's move on to the relevant scenes from the episode.

Puck needs to graduate. In true Noah Puckerman fashion, he plans to put the moves on the teacher in order to coax a passing grade out of her. And when that doesn't work, he'll just quit school and head to the West Coast a few weeks early. Until his dad shows up out of nowhere asking to borrow rent money and Puck sees himself in the future doing the same with Beth and decides that cannot happen to him.

Did we even know Puck's dad was a deadbeat?

The scenes with the guys rallying to help Puck and Finn's "No Man Left Behind" attitude were fun and a nice distraction from the PSA of the week. This is a show about a ragtag group of students who found themselves brought together through their mutual appreciation for glee club and the sometimes awkward friendships that formed as a result. Seeing them come together to try to help Puck pass, even if he still made an F, felt a little like the good ol' days of Glee.

And speaking of the good ol' days, Kurt and Rachel's NYADA auditions helped to bring this show full circle back to the beginning of Season 1. Kurt and Rachel (and Mercedes and Finn) were, and are, the heart of this show. Kurt and Rachel, from the beginning, have been the two with the big dreams. (That's part of the reason that "Saturday Night Glee-ver" made a little sense to me.)

This show has always been about Kurt and Rachel making it to New York after graduation. Now that Rachel has flubbed her audition and may not see her Broadway dreams come true, we're where we were in Season 1 - except this time Kurt's the winner that Rachel always was. He's the one coming out on top. As much as I love Rachel, as the song goes "you can't always get what you want."

I don't know what Ryan Murphy and Co. plan to DO with this "twist," but I do like that someone else is getting a chance to shine. And not just because he's wearing gold lame' pants.

What did you think of "Choke"? Do you think Rachel will miraculously make it into NYADA?


Editor Rating: 2.4 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 3.4 / 5.0 (252 Votes)

Miranda Wicker is a Staff Writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.


@ Jason - Couldn't stop laughing reading your comment! Good point. I'm relatively confused still how American schooling works. Glee doesn't help clarify my confusion! So is it really bad then that I find Sam absolutely, hot?


Whoopi is in 2 more episodes. Either way, Rachel is going to get into NYADA. I'm sure they are going to make Whoopi's character catch Rachel singing and then change her mind. Glee's writers don't care about making things realistic. If they did, they would of explored Quinn's accident and Dave's attempted suicide aftermath instead of brushing it aside. The one thing they care about is Rachel/Fin/Kurt/Blaine. There's so many characters we know little about and Ryan Murphy already stated the last episodes are about Rachel.


part time job. Anyone pursuing a career on Broadway is going to hear a lot of Nos and I think the writers could address this relatable situation (of being denied from a job/program/university) in a positive way. I hope they take advantage of it and don't just let Rachel get in on a technicality or some random benevolence on the part of Whoopi's character.


The storyline with Rachel and Kurt was a good one as well. For once I actually felt something for the characters. I felt worried for Kurt when he decided to make the change to a more risky song. I think he preformed it well. And I felt a bit devastated for Rachel because I've been in that exact position before. After I had performed my senior recital in college I had to perform it again a week later for administrators and after months and months of practicing, I simply forgot it. I choked in the exact same way she did. Sometimes you do everything you can to prepare, but it just doesn't work out. It's a devastating experience for Rachel but I hope the writers will take this opportunity to show viewers who may have not gained admission to a college/program that there are other ways to achieve their dreams. Whether it be Rachel taking a position as a volunteer ticket sales person for the shows at NYADA and working her way up or gaining notoriety at a local theater while working a part-time job to support herself. Not everyone will get into the programs they want, and especially in the pursuit of a career in Broadway, there will be tons of "No"s. The writers could address this issue in a very positive way.


Turrentgunner makes a very good point. Why address domestic violence as being abhorrent but let sexual harassment/coming onto a teacher be a punchline in the very same episode? I enjoyed the storyline of the guys teaming up to help Puck pass his exam. And I even appreciated that it wasn't magically solved with Puck getting an "A" and passing the class. I imagine that this is partially a tactic to get one of the seniors to be present for the following season, but it also serves as an uncharacteristically less in-your-face PSA about staying in school and working hard. Unfortunately, I didn't care for the whole Puck's dad coming out of nowhere and making him change his mind. After all we've heard extremely little about his dad. And it seemed a bit peculiar to me that Puck's dad knew to find him at one of the houses that Puck cleans the pool at. Was that weird to anyone else? How did he even know he was there?


They are not setting anyone to fail. Everyone is going to pass and Lea already let out a spoiler that Rachel is getting into to NYADA. She said on the red carpet yesterday that she hopes Whoopi comes back as her NYADA teacher next season. And Ryan Murphy said we are going to spend the last episodes seeing how Rachel copes (until she gets into NYADA that is). Such a waste. The Rachel Berry show right till the end. Say hello to another season of Finchel and Klaine.


Can't you see they're setting everyone up to fail graduation this season so they'll all miraculously have to repeat their final year? Worst "Glee" eva and I have been defending it against the former reviewer 4eva. Except when Rachel tried to crowbar her way back into the audition using her *star* power 'cept she ain't got none. Not that Kurt's turn was any better - just showed what a weak range he has. Peter Allen would have thrown his maracas away in despair if he had heard it. And what was with Whoopi being some sort of opera Diva ("Medea" jokes wtf?) who nonethless was running the auditions for the Musical Theatre program at NaanaaNada? Unless you are doing Bernstein (or maybe Sondheim) never the twain shall meet.


cake wrote: "...Ryan Murphy's agenda is clear." Conspiracy theorize much? What agenda would that be? The always maligned yet never proven GAY agenda?


I didn't really have that much of a problem with the PSA on domestic violence, although I though the reaction to the joke the girls told was a little over the top. In no way did I get the impression that they were condoning doemstic violence or that they believed it was no big deal. But at the risk of sounding like a prude, I thought it was strange how they went from the PSA on DV right to Puck making sexual advances to his teacher to get her to give him a passing grade and then tells her "screw you" when she refuses. I have a sister-in-law who has taught at the high school level for many years and she has told me many times that teachers are constantly threatened and harassed by their students and are treated with little respect. Yet, the attitude on Glee seems to be that just about anything goes between teachers and students who are 18 or older. Puck slept with one of his teachers ealier this season and it was looked on as almost nothing because he was 18. Treating something like that so lightly only serves to blur the line even further between teacher and student. Yet the crusading Ryan Murphy doesn't seem to have a problem with that.


be hurt/abused, especially if the victim is a larger woman. As a larger woman myself, I know this first hand.
That said, I'd also like to mention that I LOVED the boys banding together to help Puck, and I thought Kurt's audition was hilarious and wonderful. I was not surprised that Rachel choked, as she put so much importance on this one day, this one song, that the pressure to perform must have been intense. When I had a lead role in a very serious play my senior year of college, I had difficulty remembering my lines right up to opening night, and even then I had the playbook secreted nearby on the stage so I could glance at it during my final monologue. When you want something too bad, it can cripple you. I still hope Rachel goes to NY and finds a great performing arts college and becomes a star anyway. Sometimes your dreams take a detour.

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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