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Glee Review: Turning Tables

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It's so strange to me that a show can be so good and so...not good at the same time, but sometimes Glee is capable of being just that. Take "Sadie Hawkins."

It was an interesting enough and as-yet undone idea for the series, and certainly part of the high school experiences of many, but this was so poorly written and executed that the whole thing fell flat. And that's without even mentioning the New York scenes.

You're killing me, Glee.

Tina Makes a Pitch

Since tonight was a case of two separate shows in the same hour, let's talk about New York first.

Kurt is at NYADA. As he points out in his monologue, it's just like high school.

Kurt: My first week at NYADA and the most surprising thing about college is it's just like high school. It's all about the cliques. The stage combat majors are the jocks. The classical acting majors are the preps. The ballerinas are the mean girls. And if they're at the top of the social pyramid, then once again I'm at the bottom. | permalink

He wants to join a show choir and Rachel says that's social and career suicide. He's probably going to do it anyway, especially since Adam is so appealing and Rachel is spending all of her time with Brody. Kurt is lonely and looking for his place in this brave new world of his. 

Rachel's indignation when Brody showed up late was bratty. And then to go and ask him to move in? Girl, please. I really hope Kurt puts her in her place when he finds out what she's done. I know this is only her second relationship and she's not the grown up she wants the world to think she is, so some of this immaturity could be purposeful on the part of the writers. But it's annoying.

Adam is an interesting new character, far better already than Sarah Jessica Parker's Isabel. I like the idea that Kurt is doing something he wants to do and not what someone else tells him he has to do or not do. He's a semester behind Rachel and already years ahead of her in terms of maturity. Way to go, Kurt!

And that brings us to McKinley, starting with the worst and moving toward the best. 

Tina has a crush on Blaine who has a crush on Sam who is dating Brittany. Yep. It's as out of nowhere as that. 

I can maybe understand Blaine developing a crush on Sam. Maybe. Sam convinced him to stay at McKinley after Kurt moved to New York. They were running-mates during the class election. Sam has that adorable trouty mouth. I get it. Blaine gets it. 

He understands the futility of having a crush on Sam who will never reciprocate those feelings.

Tina does not get it and this feels like a rehash of Mercedes and Kurt from Glee season 1. She knows Blaine is gay. She asks him out anyway and he, of course, declines. Because he doesn't date girls. But they agree to go to the dance together as friends and they have a good time. Except Blaine's good time and Tina's good time are very different and she thinks there's more going on between them than just being friends, going so far as to call him "the love of her life" at the end of the episode. 

Ridiculous. Completely, utterly ridiculous and I actually threw up my hands in a big old "are you kidding me right now??"

Having Tina develop a crush on someone she used to dislike is one thing. Sure, that happens in high school, as commenters pointed out below. But having her develop a crush on Blaine is another thing entirely because it opens the door for the writers to have her try to change Blaine's sexuality, and that's not okay. Mercedes was at least blind to the fact that Kurt was gay, but Tina doesn't have that excuse. She'll think she can change his orientation and there are so many other paths the writers could have chosen. 

Tina finally gets a story line and it's this? Again, it's ridiculous.

Moving on.

Unique Solo

I have to admit there's part of me that loves the idea of Puck and Kitty, even if it undoes a great deal of his character development over the past three seasons. Maybe it was their interactions, several of which are on the Glee quotes page, that kept me intrigued, but something about the two of them is just fun.

Puck the character is only 18, just a few months out of high school. It's not as unbelievable a relationship as some we're supposed to buy. At the very least, Puck can handle her insults and throw them back. On the dance floor, she seemed genuine, which of course leads me to wonder what game she's running.

But the relationship I'm most invested in is Marley and Jake.

Marley screws up the courage to ask Jake to the dance and I find that I really like these two together. I'm interested to see if Jake can be the guy she's looking for or if he's going to try to seduce her using his Puckerman wiles. I find that I want him to be that guy who stops playing the field because he found a girl he's genuinely interested in and not someone he sees as a conquest. 

Marley's not often very confident, but tonight she was strong enough to tell Jake what she needed and that if he wasn't okay with that then he wasn't the guy for her. I mentally high-fived her and only hope that the writers stay true to that as part of her character. 

Here's a technical complaint: Was it just me or did the sound guys forget to turn up the music during their dance scene? I know that those are filmed with no music, usually, and the actors just dance like there's music playing and then the music is added later. While there was music playing in the background, that dance was awfully silent when they were talking and everyone was flapping around like a school of beached fish. Whatever music they chose wasn't the right tempo and it showed during Jake and Marley's scenes. 

The best part of McKinley tonight goes to Blam. Suddenly the superhero episode fits back into the narrative.

Sam is on a mission to prove that the Warblers cheated at Sectionals. He believes their acrobatics were impossible unless the Warblers were using steroids. (Or Four Loko.) He and Blaine find the proof they need in an ousted Warbler who refused Hunter's drugs and now things are looking up for McKinley. After they prove to the Show Choir Committee that the Warblers cheated, the New Directions will be the de facto winners and will move on to Regionals.

Convenient, yes. Fun to watch Sam prove his point? Also, yes.

What's so bizarre to me about episodes like this is that there are parts that I really, really love and I almost forget what I'm watching and then there are parts that I really, really hate and I want to turn the channel. And those emotions change as rapidly as one scene to the next, which is the only justification I have for rating tonight a 3, solidly in the middle.

It wasn't great. It wasn't terrible. It just was. The Glee music was good though, even if one song in particular is shrouded in controversy.

What did you think of tonight's return of Glee? Are you as flabbergasted by the "relationship" development as I am? What do you think about the Warblers' cheating scandal?

Review

Editor Rating: 3.0 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 2.9 / 5.0 (150 Votes)

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

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Sam was the best part of the episode. He was hilarious as he tried to figure out how the Warblers cheated. I was back and forth on this episode too. Tina finally gets a story and it's this. I think I'd like to see her with Ryder, maybe? I liked Kurt's NYC story more than Rachel's, although I don't blame her for being mad. I've been in that situation. But the best part of the episode? Darren Criss' fellow Starkid Joey Richter making an apearance as one of the show choir members!

Miranda-wicker

@xandrew--yes, but maybe that'll be written as they all needed to be on Rumspringa at the same time to go? Crazier things have happened with this show. @Jim--I'm not sure what you're trying to say about Kurt in this episode. In my viewing, he didn't do anything wrong? Or right for that matter. @diana--Thanks. :)

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Miranda, I completely agree with your review... you put into words what I was feeling. Half the time, watching Glee, i think I LOVE this and the other half I spend thinking WTF?

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But Kurt always gets to be right while most of the other are wrong especially Rachel in some way. That isn't new.
Rachel gets the wins in term of her talents but Kurt always gets take the moral high gerund and come of smelling like a rose.

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shouldn't the amish glee club advanced, since they were in second place as new directions was completely disqualified for leaving. You know, the whole reason why they lost (even though the Warblers songs were leagues above the crap new directions chose, from a music only perspective)

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@RT: so you've never hated someone in High school and then had a crush on them? I did and I think that's how teen crushes work. As for the NYC parts (not enough Rachel centric for me), Rachel asking Brody to move in is maybe rushed but she is determined to make things work out with him, so it makes sense that she asked that: it is gonna be easier for them is they are together

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Ugh. Crush or not, Tina is smarter than that. The sweet, logical, advice-giving Tina wouldn't fall for Blaine, but no one's characters are anything like they used to be. After Sam came back, he and Blaine almost got into a fist fight because Blaine didn't approve of Sam's stripping lifestyle, even though he was supporting his homeless family. Now he's in love? And don't even get me started on Brittany. It's okay that she and Santana broke up, but it's like Santana never existed. The Rachel/Brody scene was ridiculous and just seemed like an extra scene to get Lea more airtime. She's throwing food over him being 45 minutes late in NYC? The only believable scenario in terms of these characters was Kurt's. You're right that he showed some growth instead of backsliding into infancy like everyone else.

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You completlly overreacted! This episode was great. Funny til tears. And I don't finde crushes too much. Even Tina's "Love Of My Life". It's like you don't know what is a crush in High School. :-\

Bethemockingjay

am i the only one completely confused about kurt and blaine? i thought they were still together? after glee actually everything seemed fine?

Glee Season 4 Episode 11 Quotes

My first week at NYADA and the most surprising thing about college is it's just like high school. It's all about the cliques. The stage combat majors are the jocks. The classical acting majors are the preps. The ballerinas are the mean girls. And if they're at the top of the social pyramid, then once again I'm at the bottom.

Kurt

Sam: Do you have any lip balm I can use?
Blaine: What?
Sam: Conspiracy theories make my lips get all chapped. Come on dude, it's not weird. We're like brothers.

Glee Season 4 Episode 11 Music

  Song Artist
Glee-cast-tell-him Tell Him Glee Cast iTunes
Glee-cast-i-dont-know-how-to-love-him I Don't Know How To Love Him Glee Cast iTunes
Glee-cast-baby-got-back Baby Got Back Glee Cast iTunes
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