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Glee

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?

 

Review

Editor Rating: 2.4 / 5.0
  • 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.

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    There was a kid in my high school class whose father not only beat her, he sexually abused her and her sister, and no one did a thing about it because he was a "pillar of the community" There was also a teacher/coach who had been abused by her ex-husband who came out as a lesbian and had an affair with one of her female students in my junior high school, and this was back in the stone age of the 1970s, so I would bet there is even more going of this going on today. Domestic violence rates always rise in times of economic turmoil, and during this recession, there have been many people in my community affected by it.
    I was glad that Glee tackled DV with Dot Marie, who is a wonderful actress, and that they showed, realistically, why so many women return to their abusers, because they lack self esteem, are afraid no one will ever love them again and they believe that their abusers are telling the truth when they say it will never happen again...they also think that they somehow deserve to be hit and hurt, which is totally wrong, of course, but fairly common, especially with larger women.

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    I'd like to point out to the reviewer that yes, we did know that Pucks father was and is a deadbeat, it was mentioned more than once in Season 1 and 2, so if you are going to review Glee, you might want to pay more attention to the actual show so you'd know these things. That said, I am glad that Matt didn't review this episode, because he would have hated it, as he seems to hate all episodes of Glee, and at least this time, we got a reviewer who only semi-hates the show and doesn't know as much about it as the fans, which is apparently an improvement.
    Still, the reviewer couldn't be more wrong about Glee taking on hard topics like domestic violence. I believe that it really adds to the show when they have a storyline that illuminates something that happens in real life to either teachers or students. I would be willing to bet that there isn't a person in that cast or a person in a real high school class, either teacher or student who doesn't have a connection with domestic violence/abuse. There was a kid in my high school class whose father not only beat her, he sexually abused her and her sister, and no one did a thing about it because he was a "pillar of the community" There was also a teacher/coach who had been abused by her ex-husband who came out as a lesbian and had an affair with one of her female students in my junior high school, and this was back in the stone age of the 1970s, so I would bet there is even more going of this going on today. Domestic violence rates always rise in times of economic turmoil, and during this recession, there have been many people in my community affected by it.

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    I appreciate the subject and the way it was handled. I had a feeling that this whole season would involve Rachel learning humility and she'd not make NYADA. I'm glad Puck got an F. I don't want everyone getting what they want this year and I hope Will and Emma have a crisis before the season ends.
    The one thing that needs to happen is for someone to shake Cooter to his senses, make him realize he has something good going and he shouldn't risk it over trivial matters. I want the boys to teach him a lesson next week.

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    I was offended by the way the domestic violence PSA was presented. Fail, Glee. The lines that made it seem like women should fear men in general, casually throwing Biest into the mix, and having the girls act so oblivious..... No. What world is this?

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    What a STRANNNNNNNNNNNNNNNGE episode. Forget the domestic violence PSA. Let's talk about: 1. Puck and company rockin' out to "School's Out" by Alice Cooper....followed by "The Rain in Spain" a la "Puck-malion"? WTF? 2. The conspicuous absence of Will and Emma; this week, the ladies handed out the Glee assignment. 3. I guess Quinn is only appearing in every other episode. Wish I could show up to work every other day and still get paid. 4. I SUPPOSE, for all her bravado, I could have predicted Rachel flubbing her audition, but I still fee badly for her. 5. I was disappointed that Whoopi didn't get more screen time. 6. It's time for NeNe to go-go. This isn't "Real Housewives of Lima, Ohio" tyvm.

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    I don't know about you guys, but it's not like the domestic violence story is just gone. It clearly was not resolved. In very realistic fashion, she went back to Cooter at the end, despite the support she had. I have seen this happen SO many times. I applaud Glee for handling this SO much better than any of their other so-called "PSA episodes". I think the fact of the matter is, these things happen and affect the lives of high school students. I think Glee is certainly very different from it's original premise, but they had absolutely nothing to model after. I like where Glee is now (though I could do without so many relationship-driven storylines) and I thank them for actually developing this storyline in a manner that rings very, very true to actual situations.

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    (Cntd) cold, cruel or at least flippant about the whole issue. If the coach was to thank anyone, it would be Sue and the swimming coach. Who also otherwise completely lack moral authority.
    Glee is simply the wrong venue for this sort of serious discussion.
    Many, most of us deal with sad, real-life situations every day. The reason many of us tune into light, silly fluff like Glee is to escape from reality for a spell. Just an hour maybe of song, dance, gaiety,humor is all we ask. This show lacks the time, seriousness, and authority to properly present and analyze big, serious topics. When it tries to, it comes off as an amateurish, immature and preachy pile of feel-good soundbites and bumper-sticker philosophy.
    Please, stick to fluff.

    Allison-berry-barbieri

    to this strange teacher-friend role. Now, there are so few songs in each episode as the PSA of the week is shown. Sure, there have been some worthwhile issues, but the stakes are rarely high, the consequences not significant enough to have an impact, and the stories (much of the time) are solved in one episode. I still keep watching for the musical moments, but I usually feel like Ryan Murphy is trying to shove some sort of agenda down my throat.

    Allison-berry-barbieri

    I think we all know that the problem here is Ryan Murphy. I think he originally planned to create a show that was more or less a musical that chronicled, through song, the lives of very different students and their teacher who brought them together. The, Kurt's character was introduced and it created a dialogue for gay teens. Well, this was so well-received and viewed as ground-breaking, Murphy decided he'd try to get that reaction from his show all the time by stuffing it full of hot-button issues like bullying, suicide, transgender equality, teen pregnancy, texting and driving, even abstinence....and, the occasional story line has been successful. But, along the way, Murphy forgot the show was supposed to be about singing and music. He forgot that the heart of the show was the characters and the bonds they were forming. He turned the teachers into creepy adults that can't seem to get along without their students...he started ignoring Matthew Morrison's talent and relegated him to this strange teacher-friend role. Now, there are so few songs in each episode as the PSA of the week is shown. Sure, there have been some worthwhile issues, but the stakes are rarely high, the consequences not significant enough to have an impact, and the stories (much of the time) are solved in one episode. I still keep watching for the musical moments, but I usually feel like Ryan Murphy is trying to shove some sort of agenda down my throat.

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    Okay, my take on the rampant PSA addiction on Recent GLEEs.
    Glee is a silly, cute and light-hearted musical romp. Every time it takes itself too seriously, it fails.
    The show's executives seem to have a political agenda, or a series of them. Fine, everyone's entitled. Most people want to make the world a better place, fine. Take out an ad, write an op-ed, make an actual independent PSA.
    But seeing the silly, goofy cast of Glee trying to take on serious issues in a one-hour episode is simply embarrassing. Just because somethings a 'good cause' does not mean that it is also entertaining.
    Besides, Glee lacks the moral authority, especially on the topic of domestic abuse.
    Case in point: This episode.
    At the end the coach thanks the girls for getting her to see the light. Which would not have happened had it not all started with the girls making fun of her and the situation. The 'healing songs' they performed were part of their punishment for being cold, cruel or at least flippant about the whole issue. If the coach was to thank anyone, it would be Sue and the swimming coach. Who also otherwise completely lack moral authority.
    Glee is simply the wrong venue for this sort of serious discussion. (cntd)