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Glee Review: With A Little Help From My Friends

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As much as I love Glee - and I do love Glee - I'm ready for season 4 to end so we can hopefully move on to bigger and better for seasons 5 and 6. And hopefully more consistent story lines, too. Though maybe I'm asking for too much.

While there were some excellent moments tonight, for the most part "Wonder-ful" was anything but.

Mercedes Returns

Because I'm a fan of ending on a good note, we'll start with all the ways tonight's episode went wrong, starting with a tribute to Stevie Wonder.

Here's the thing about tribute episodes. Only a couple of them in the history of Glee have actually worked well. This one certainly didn't. In fact, I think the entire tribute was set up so that Will could tell Mercedes to take the "higher ground" and point to the band. 

Tonight's tribute felt like something American Idol would pull. Probably because they do this same theme every season to varying degrees of success. What's terrible is when I actually feel like American Idol is doing something better than Glee when my usual response while watching American Idol is to think about how much better Glee does things. (Did you follow that?)

Despite the fact that some of the numbers were fantastic, Stevie Wonder as a tribute episode didn't work and felt forced. Completely forced. 

You know what else felt forced? The fact that we're supposed to care about Mercedes after having not seen her since before Sectionals. We've barely heard a peep about her and now she's having this crisis because at 18 years old she's got a record deal but can't get the album released.

It's not that I don't care about Mercedes at all. It's that I haven't been given enough of her story this season to care. 

Tonight she was paraded in as a vocal coach to whack Marley in the stomach with some maracas before the girl flailed about awkwardly in the middle of a big group number. Marley's not Mercedes. She's not even Rachel. And that's okay because she's Marley. Mercedes telling her to add in vocal runs was laughable.

What was completely not laughable and actually amazing? Baby Puckerman dancing with Mike. 

If the entire episode had consisted of the two of them dancing, it would've been awesome and a vast improvement over what we were just given. Jake has some skills! And unlike his songs in previous weeks, "I Wish" was actually suited to his voice making it one of the better performances of the night.

"Signed Sealed Delivered I'm Yours" was another great number if for no other reason than 1) Jake danced again and 2) it's just a fun song. I appreciate what Kitty did for Artie, and it was great to see Katey Sagal as Artie's mom.

Kitty's definitely this weird, love-to-hate-her character who is growing on me. I can't figure out why she cared so much about Artie seeming depressed, but I'm glad she did. Artie's an underused character, so any chance to put him in the forefront is fine by me. I like the idea that he's going to Brooklyn Film Academy because it's another glee clubber who will end up in New York City with Rachel, Kurt, and Santana.

Now that we've finally arrived at the New York portion of this review, Rachel's endurance of Cassie July's unprofessional and unethical bullying paid off in a way that redeemed the character and actually has me wanting her to stick around beyond this season. 

Cassie got wind of Rachel's callback audition for Fanny Brice and planned to ruin her audition by showing up. She moved Rachel's midterm to an earlier date and assigned her the hardest ballet piece possible only to punk her and have the class there to throw a celebration. She shrugged it off as just something NYADA does for all of its students when one of them gets a Broadway callback, but there was actual happiness in her face that said she was proud of Rachel. 

Cassie was relentless because she saw Rachel's potential. And Rachel's potential is limitless. I'm actually nervous for her because, remembering the New Directions' first trip to Regionals, Murphy does love to have his leads lose. 

Even though Kurt was in Lima to find out his dad's cancer is gone, (Three cheers, Burt!) his story feels like part of New York and not Ohio. I'm truly not sure how I feel about Blaine wanting to propose to him. I understand what Blaine means when he says he needs to go bold, but I'm not sure why we're revisiting a teen proposal again. I'm sure it's Ryan Murphy's way of showing his support for gay marriage, but he could've done that without having Blaine want to propose, I'm sure. I'll be interested to see where that goes on the season finale next week.

What did you think of "Wonder-ful?" Did you think this tribute to Stevie Wonder worked? Do you think Rachel will get the role?

Review

Editor Rating: 3.0 / 5.0
  • 3.0 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 3.0 / 5.0 (83 Votes)

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

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The problem with this season's Glee is that they are focusing more on the SONGS rather than the actual PLOT of the show. If you look back on the first couple of seasons, you see that it actually told a good story filled with many controversial topics. However, this season is all about the music which removes any emotional investment fans have for the show.

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This show is dead and not having Mercedes is why. I was much more interested in her storyline than anyone else left on this show.

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Personally, I think The Glee Project is better than Glee. I hope it comes back for another season.

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Really??? You think there should be a season 5 and 6???? My God! This show is dead. It was a one season wonder and should have ended after that.

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I agree with Sandy. An OK episode. I love Stevie's music but this eps musical performances were ok. Blaine has no business trying to sing Stevie. So Pat Boone. Same with Marley a female Pat Boone. Very over rated talent. I agree with much of the reviewers take on this ep. The writer and I are ready for this bleek and suck awful season to be over.

Deann

Oh, and I adored that Kitty, who is also a witch, actually cared enough to help Artie get to go to film school, and I was glad to meet his mom, played well by Katie Segal. Oh, and YAY for Burt being cancer-free! Hurrah! I LOVED that Kurt sang to him, "You are the Sunshine of My Life" because my mom used to sing that to me when I was a preteen, and it made me feel loved and cared for.
But I do wonder what happened to Joe, the guy with dredlocks from the Glee Project? Why has Unique/Wade gotten to stay in the cast and Joe hasn't? That guy had some serious talent, I thought he'd be doing great things on the show, but when Quinn faded away, so did Joe. Oh, and one last thing, Mike's dancing has been missed! I was so glad that he and Puckerman jr did some moves this ep!

Deann

I disagree with the reviewer, except for Mercedes as vocal coach feeling forced, and trying to help Marley become a "belter" when she's not got enough vocal power to do that. Those parts felt a bit pushed, but the rest of the episode was a delight. I love Stevie Wonders music, and in fact my family brought home the album Songs in the Key of Life and played it nearly every day for a year (so I got to know a lot of those songs by heart!) Also, we'd listen to some of his other songs on 45 records and dance like crazy around the livingroom on the orange shag carpet. So Glees interpretation of Wonders songs were great, at least to my ears. I also loved that evil witch Cassie was supportive of Rachel and that Rachel gave her the FAME baton! Such a cool gift!

Soapjunk

This wasn't one of my favorite's but i didn't hate it. The tribute thing didn't really work out but Mike's dance moves GOD BLESS THEM! They need to bring him back, make him go to NYADA or something I don't care I WANT MIKE

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Miranda your reviews lately have been exactly on point. It is like you took the words right out of my mouth. The writers have been forcing story lines all season and this episode was another example; it was awful. I would probably have given it 1.5 or 2 stars at the most. All season the writers have created ridiculous reasons for the graduated members to come back. Why was Mike there? What colleges are these people in that they can just take off a week? Rachel was suppose to have her dance midterm, yet Kurt was gone all week and apparently longer. How is that possible?
And I agree about forcing songs/tribute. It seems lately that Glee is writing plot around specific songs instead of finding songs that fit the plot like in Season 1. Once again, great review. I read many TV blog and you are the only truthful one out there about everything that is wrong with Glee.

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I very much enjoyed the episode, particularly with Mercedes & Mike being back in, as well as with Kurt snarking back at Kitty's comments about Mercedes, defending "his girl". I also don't think Mercedes' SL was totally out of the blue, if you REMEMBER that (little as we've seen her) the mentions through the season of the album. Kurt's OCD was a bit OOC, considering how far he's held things in in order to keep problems from his dad. Rather than contributing to Burt's stress, I'd more likely expect him to further internalize, but it was the last check-up, so we'll let that go. I'm just glad RPM kept his promise NOT to have Burt die of prostate cancer, as his own father had done. I liked almost all of the the songs (love Stevie Wonder) very much, though I would have had Kurt doing "Uptight" (esp with the Dr stress), instead of "You Are The Sunshine Of My Life". That being said, it was nice to hear him sing in his lower register and I love the song. VERY happy about Artie heading to NYC - now, I'd like Mercedes & Mike to make it over there, with maybe Tina bopping over to visit the boys & Quinn up from New Haven. Loved the Rachel/Cassie bit. I wonder if the Evil Bobbsey Twins knew Cassie was going to actually SUPPORT Rachel?

Glee Season 4 Episode 21 Quotes

Kitty: Hey Crippy Longstocking, wait up!
Artie: That's offensive.
Kitty: Aw, boo hoo.

Will: Brittany's at M.I.T. touring the campus because she's got an early acceptance.
Kitty: That can't be true.

Glee Season 4 Episode 21 Music

  Song Artist
Glee cast signed sealed delivered im yours Signed, Sealed, Delivered I'm Yours Glee Cast iTunes
Glee cast superstition Superstition Glee Cast iTunes
Glee cast you are the sunshine of my life You Are The Sunshine of My Life Glee Cast iTunes