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Glee Review: Hopelessly Devoted to Glee

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There's nothing I love more than to watch a good hour of Glee on Thursday nights. Tonight's episode, however, was more than just good.

"The Role You Were Born to Play" was excellent! Fantastic! Stellar! Outstanding! And a million other exclamations I'm probably forgetting! Seriously, Glee, that's how you do it.

Praise for Mercedes

I hope I'm not alone when I say that I really, really loved it all. If I seem to swing like a pendulum in my Glee reviews, it's because the show kind of does the same thing. I'm happy to report that the pendulum swung its way back to the positive side tonight. Now how do we get it to just stay put?

The episode centered around casting for the upcoming McKinley High production of Grease with Finn at the helm as director. Artie, who sensed Finn's hesitation, called in Mike and Mercedes to help with vocals and choreography.

Watching those two walk down the hallway was thrilling. I don't think I knew quite how much I'd missed them until they appeared!

But even as much of the old cast came back together, tonight still allowed the newbies to shine. In fact, the newest members of the glee club were thrust into the spotlight in a way that helped us get to know them better and root for their success.

And Ryder Lynn? Totally nice to meet you!

Sue's attempts to block Wade/Unique from playing the role of Rizzo were classic Sue. She's mean and hyper-critical, but she's expressing the concern she expects everyone to have. That is, will the town riot when they find that a boy, one who happens to identify as female, might play the role of Rizzo, a female character?

Finn, however, after going toe-to-toe with Sue Sylvester and having a moving conversation with Wade/Unique, cast him in the role anyway. Sue will likely be right regarding the backlash of this decision, and I'm interested to see how Glee will handle this.

This is a real concern for some teens these days, gender roles and fitting in, and Wade/Unique, summarized the issue for his character well.

I don't feel right in the men's locker room, but I can't go into the girls'. And I don't feel right in men's clothing, but I can't wear dresses every day. It sucks to never know your place. It's just nice, for once, to feel like I've found one. | permalink

While we often castigate Glee for its "lesson of the week," this is one that's timely and relevant. My hope is that going forward it's treated with the same level of poignancy as it was tonight.

The Jake/Ryder/Marley/Kitty square was even interesting to me. Marley is the quiet, unassuming girl next door. Will she choose the bad boy or the seemingly nice one? Will Kitty constantly get in Marley's way? These are but a smattering of the questions I found myself asking...um, myself....while watching. For the first time, I feel genuinely invested in these new characters we've been getting to know over the past five episodes.

It's always a good night when Coach Beiste is on my TV, even if her role tonight was to serve as Will and Emma's relationship therapist when last season proved that she has issues of her own to work through. One couple from "The Break Up" is safe:

Will and Emma are still together.

After agreeing to go to Washington, Emma finally explained to Will why she doesn't want to. (To read what Emma had to say to Will, and more, check out the Glee quotes page!)

If the writers didn't feel compelled to make Will such a thick-headed nincompoop sometimes, then they could've just had this conversation in the previous episode. Seriously, is it too much to ask that Will just be written as evenly reasonable all the time instead of just when there's a resolution at stake?

And speaking of break-ups, we learned that Kurt and Blaine have definitely broken up, though Kurt is refusing all of Blaine's attempts at communication. Seeing Blaine so emotional was both sad and humorous, as it was intended to be, I'm sure.

Do you know what I think facilitated the relative ease with which I was able to engage with tonight's story lines?

There was no New York in tonight's episode.

If I'm being completely honest, it was really refreshing. Dare I say it, but this might have been the best episode thus far this season because it felt like each character was given adequate screen time without rushing from one plot to the next and then back again like some kind of storytelling tennis match.

I love Kurt and Rachel as much as everyone else, but tonight proved that while they may have been the heart and soul of Glee in the beginning, it's possible for the show to evolve without them. Or rather, beyond them.

And that's the thing about high school that makes high school shows work. There will always be the mean girls, the jocks, the socially awkward ones and the weird kids who just want to fit in. That's what makes a show like Glee the kind of show people want to watch. There's something, or someone, in it for everybody.

What did you think of "The Role You Were Born to Play"? Did you miss Kurt and Rachel in New York or did you find that the entire hour passed before you realized you hadn't seen them? What do you think of the new characters after this episode?

And remember to visit our updated section of Glee music to download your new favorites!

Review

Editor Rating: 4.0 / 5.0
  • 4.0 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.0 / 5.0 (186 Votes)

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

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@DCB I can't believe you haven't seen the movie a million times! You need to rent that ASAP!Grease was one of my faves growing up, I even had the soundtrack on cassette. I loved the songs and hope they have some more grease classics next week!

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I Loved it. Enough said!

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Worst episode thus far. Rachel & Kurt are the show and, without them, it's just not worth watching.

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I didn't like the episode. First, I didn't recognize any of the songs, I guess I'm just not hip and up to date on a musical I last watched (maybe once) back in the 80's.
The power ballad by Finn and Ryder was Glee-typical in that they simply don't know how to get guys to sing power ballads, they treat them like snappy show tunes and they come off as weak-voiced and timid. If you want to highlight male voices, then these metal-power-solos are not the way to do it. In most heavy-rock the voice is a single instrument amidst a wall of sound. Take away or tone down that wall of sound and you no longer have the real driving impact of the song. To highlight a male voice, stick to smooth harmonies and softer, single spotlight ballads.
The Unique/Marley Duet was musically about as good as it got and it was only mediocre. Marley's sweet, and cute and can certainly sing, but she, as has been pointed out, just lacks that certain star-quality spark.
Sue's rants were precious as always, and a few quips by Arty and Sam were funny, but were kind of lost in the torrent of laborious, new-character development.
As it stands now, there are way too many characters. The writing is thinned down to cover them all.
As has been proven in TV time and again, more than seven or so primary characters in an ensemble cast is simply too much to follow and effectively carry story lines for. I appreciate the desire to retain the old favorites, but sometimes you just have to let go of your babies for the sake of the rest of the family.

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I'm sorry but this episode sucked! To be quite honest I'd rather see more Kitty than Marley and Unique because at least she's more interesting.

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I hated this episode. WORST so far this season!! Bring back New York!!! it's the only exciting thing going on on Glee.

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I missed them. Like really, really missed them. I´m happy to have Finn back, I´m sorta impressed with the Blaine storyline (the writing here is so clever!), I finally know where Unique stands (and hope they develop it. Does Glee have the balls for an actual sex change?), I see the atempts for story development with Marley and eating disorders, I... I´m happy with all those things. But Rachel IS the heart of this, and I missed roliing my eyes at her and disliking her almost as much as I miss the reaindeer sweathers. And Kurt is magic, no matter how many tearful sceens Blaine, Unique or Marley get, no-one makes me care as much. So I missed them. Not because it was bad without them, it was actually great. But it wasn´t really Glee. It´s not about the place, it never was.

Fatin

AND I MISSED SANTANA AND BRITTANY TOO!

Fatin

Actually really enjoyed this episode. I screamed out "HI GUYS" when Mike and Mercedes walked in.
I still hate Kitty's character but I can see they're fleshing her out. I missed Kurt so much. Happy to see Will go.

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Great episode. Love Grease and liked the way they wove in some of the Grease numbers. Kitty's character is a bit OTT for me but I love Unique, and Alex Newell is great in the role. Poor Blaine, but...c'est la vie. I LOVED seeing Mercedes and Mike!! Hope they'll stick around to continue helping Finn and Artie with the musical and kudos to the writers for giving Artie more of a role in this ep and being so supportive of Finn who I am glad is taking over Glee for a while. I agree with the reviewer that its refreshing not to be bombarded with NY and Kurt & Rachel. There's so much other stuff going on to watch with the other characters and its nice we get to focus on them.