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.

Charmed jenna

@DCB, actually Brittanny also didn't sing in "Shake it off", I think they just showed there support, but I too am disappointed at the lack of Sugar and her story/purpose. She actually does have a solo part in the Cell Block Tango but for some reason they decided not to include that, sadness :(

Charmed jenna

@Matt, again, I get where you're coming from. Let me ask this, just because one of three storylines was disappointing and not handled well or with ample screentime, does that mean the entire episode gets a low rating? It seems that too much attention is given to these bad parts of the show in reviews. Glee will always have PSA episodes and most of the time people here will be displeased with that, so why would you/Miranda continually nitpick at those points and spend half of the article writing about that every single time?

Allison berry barbieri

I didn't think it was that bad, I guess. But the show is, as I have said all season, one PSA after another. In fact, I concur completely with the reviewer's comment:
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? I thought the Puck storyline was good, and I think it may have been mentioned that his dad is a deadbeat at some point.. The domestic violence thing, while an important issue, was out of left field for sure. At least they showed the real situation in which victims return to their abusers much of the time...


I'm going to pick a nit here... the whole PSA train wreck of the week thing has been covered well already.
It's about Sugar. What's up with her? I know she's the daughter of a rich piano tycoon, or whatever, and I know in her first appearance she sang terribly after a lot of bravado. She keeps popping up in the background, chorus lines, etc. Fine.
So in this episode the girls sit and sing the coach a beautiful multi-part harmony song and there sits Sugar on the end, like a bump on a log, not even faking it, just sitting there. WTF?
They taught Brittany and Mike Chang to sing (or so it appears) Even Sue gets tune-time (ugh!)
Why have Sugar in the clutch of concerned girls if she does not sing, and barely even says anything for the whole episode?


Kurt and Rachel shined through out the whole episode. Loved them! Kurt hadn't a lot of solos through out the season. so this was a great performance. Domestic Violence! They didn't get the whole story! Beist isn't such a strong performer I din't believed her! the onlz good stuff was the shake it off performance!
Puck's Dad and the whole story was bad done!


I disagree wholeheartedly with this article. The DV topic was on point, and an important topic for young girls leaving high school and finding their way in the real world. The biggest complaint I have about this ep is that MORE attention should have been paid to the DV topic and less to Puck's story line. It felt disjointed. I'm hoping this topic will continue into the next ep seeing as how despite the lesson, Beiste went back to her husband.


I LOVE Glee and am another fan that will watch to the show until it dies a rating related death. The problem (for me at least) is that I fell in love with this show because of the amazing music, great acting, and solid story lines that made me anticipate each new episode. I knew that some plots would get a resolution, some story lines would be moved farther along, and new plot twists would be introduced. Now it seems like every other episode has some unnecessary after school special plot moment that comes out of left field. This episode could have been unfreakinbelievable. The auditions and Pucks situations were both major plot points that anyone who is graduating soon (or like me graduated some time ago) can relate to. Throwing the domestic violence story line into the mix completely threw me for a loop. The actors did an amazing job considering the heavy handed way the writers introduced the story (you'd think I'd be used to being beat over the head with the latest hot button issue), but I was shocked that something so serious was crammed into the already packed episode. I think it is great that Glee is trying to educate viewers, but sometimes it seems as though the issue is being addressed because it is what the writers feel is relevant rather than because the issue is something anyone writing the script is passionate about.

Matt richenthal

@Charmed-Jenna: But that's the entire problem: Puck's failing his test had the same screen time as a storyline about DOMESTIC VIOLENCE. You can't just casually touch on such a monumental topic such as that and write it off as the C-plot of an episode. Talk about tone deaf. Talk about showing utter disrespect to anyone who has actually gone through this horrible situation. IF you are going to bring up this sort of storyline - and does anyone understand why Glee feels a need to do so? - then, my goodness, you need to give it the attention it deserves.


As for Puck's storyline and the NYADA auditions, it makes me wonder if this is the route the writers are planning on going to justify characters like Rachel/Puck/Finn for sticking around through next season. If that's the case, they have no faith in the remaining cast members who aren't "graduating" this season. In my opinion, this feels like a contrived way to keep the audience interested beyond an abysmal season 3 into season 4 in hopes that Glee will not turn into another "OC" and fall into oblivion after next season. As a side note, though Kurt's audition was very good, it was too convenient and ridiculous to make us believe that he would "change his mind" at the last second to take that risk and have his background dancers, different costume under his first one, and band ready to perform that song. Another example of hypocrisy by the Glee writers wanting the audience to take them serious by putting out serious subjects, then throwing out that ridiculous "improvisation" by Kurt.


I actually felt bad for rachel as soon as she messed up I was like aww she should be the one to go to new york and I also like the two song santana,mercedes,tina,brittany,and sugar was singing mostly santan,mercedes,and tina on the second one and I knew that the coach was going to go back to him its sad but that is reality.

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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