Glee-cap S3E22: Goodbyes
By Chris Saccaro
Mr. Schuester said it best when he said the only thing left to do was say goodbye. With Nationals behind them, the Glee Club spends this episode completing one of Mr. Schue’s more appropriate weekly assignments–“goodbyes.”
One of the things that “Glee” did really well in this episode, aptly titled “Goodbye,” was bringing back clips from Season 1. Not only did this remind the audience of some understandably forgotten plot points (remember when Schuester planted pot in Finn’s locker?), it also showed us how much these characters changed and grew over the course of three years. When watching “Glee,” it’s easy to get caught up in the drama of the episode and forget that these characters are growing (for the most part). While “Glee” is still guilty of inconsistent character arcs (Quinn’s complete change of character for “Prom-asaurus”), when the writers pull back and give us a full view of the past three seasons, we are forced to see that there has been some character growth.
Glee-Cap: S3E20 & 21 “Props” / “Nationals”
By Chris Saccaro
An aspect of “Glee” that is very rarely spoken about, but usually as entertaining as the actual episode is the “previously on Glee” segment. These moments before the episodes are witty and full of meta-commentary on the show, and this is especially true for the segment preceding “Props.” In this week’s catch-up, the writers shed light on something that everyone has realized for the past three years–Tina is underused and underappreciated in Glee.
This gives Tina’s outburst during practice and ensuing “Glee-ky Friday” dream a lot more weight. The character swapping was a great addition to the episode. It was humorous and allowed the show to make fun of itself via the characters’ quirks. It becomes clear by the end of the episode that the writers were priming us for a Rachel Berry-less Glee Club for next season, with Tina as the lead female vocalist. And if her duet performance of “What a Feeling” is any indication of her singing ability, New Directions will have no problem without Rachel.
And things are looking slightly more hopeful for Rachel, as Tina helps her meet with Whoopi Goldberg. Rachel begs her to come to Nationals for a third chance at “auditioning” for NYADA. Of course she is going to show up, and of course Rachel is going to get in. As tiring as the storyline is, the emotional backlash of her failed audition in “Choke” makes it worth it.
Glee-Cap S3E18- “Choke”
By Chris Saccaro
Now, I may be biased about the quality of this episode based solely on the fact that it’s not a theme episode. But this week’s episode was a breath of fresh air. Finally, “Glee” goes back to being about the characters and the narrative, and not reliant on gimmicks and tributes to the long list of celebrities that Ryan Murphy admires. The only theme of this episode is the heartbreaking reality of failure. However, comparing the varying degrees of failure does an injustice to the more serious topics covered.
The main storyline deals with Kurt and Rachel’s NYADA auditions. This was handled extremely well by Glee standards. Kurt ends up nailing his audition after correctly assuming that the Judge (played by Whoopi Goldberg) would be bored of the “safe song choice” that Rachel suggested. Instead, Kurt takes a chance on a flamboyant song and nails it. It’s great to see Kurt thinking for himself, and taking his life in his hands. Rachel on the other hand…provided for the saddest and most heartbreaking moment of her character arc. This moment was three seasons in the making, and it was devastating to see everything Rachel worked for crumble in front of her.
Glee-Cap: S3E16, Saturday Night Glee-ver
By Chris Saccaro
“Glee” is finally returning to a complacent normalcy after the drama of the winter finale has died down. And by normalcy, I mean it’s back to themed episodes! However, unlike the dozen or so past “theme” episodes, this one actually manages to bridge the gap between the narrative and the source material. The movie “Saturday Night Fever” reflects the un-ambitious seniors of the Glee Club, or at least that’s what the Mr. Schuester tells us. By contrasting the character of Tony Manero with the seniors–specifically Finn, Santana, and Mercedes–the writers of Glee give reason behind the otherwise random decision to devote an entire episode to disco.
This decision also allows the focus to shift from Quinn’s accident to some of the other characters. As a matter of fact, Quinn didn’t show up in this episode at all. As terrible as it sounds, they probably didn’t want to have more than one wheel-chaired character on a dance themed episode—although there’s no reason they couldn’t have. This absence left room for characters like Santana and Mercedes to shine, but while “Glee” should be applauded for showcasing more of the cast, there is still a good portion of the original cast that continues to fade into the background (Tina, is that you?).
The main premise of this episode involves Will Schuester (yawn) trying to help some of the seniors figure out what they’re going to do after graduation. Putting aside the fact that this is something that should’ve been tackled at the beginning of the year, and the fact that it should be Emma Pillsbury’s job to do this (especially now that she has tenure), it’s still a relevant storyline for these characters. For some, it was just about finding their dream and choosing to follow it. Corny stuff, but if there’s something “Glee” does really well, it’s overly saccharine moments (and Katy Perry covers). Some of these dreams are more in line with the characters than others. It’s clear that Santana would want to be famous without caring about how she got there. But Finn’s interest in acting? That seems more like a convenient story arc to get him to New York with Rachel, and less like something that has been planned.
Glee-Cap: S3E15- Big Brother
By Chris Saccaro
After a slightly melodramatic winter finale, “Glee” is finally back to address some of the major points that it brought up at the end of the last episode–the biggest cliffhanger being Quinn’s texting and driving accident. And let us all let out a collective sigh as we watch what could have been an intriguing storyline turn into a walking (scratch that, a rolling) public service announcement against texting and driving. One can only hope that Quinn’s complete denial of the ramifications of her accident are part of a grander scheme that will reveal that Quinn was actually dead the whole time. Coming from the same guy who created “American Horror Story,” this isn’t too far off.
The main draw of this episode was introducing the world to Blaine’s older brother, played by special guest star Matt Bomer, who happens to be famous for car insurance commercials in the world of “Glee.” This gives us an interesting peak inside the psyche of Blaine. Growing up with a talented attractive older brother who always criticizes you is bound to make you slightly attention starved. While it’s great to see why Blaine acts the way that he does (and let’s be honest, Blaine can get very annoying), it’s slightly disappointing that this was the main plot of the episode as opposed to focusing on Quinn’s accident.
Glee-cap: S3E14 “On My Way”
By Chris Saccaro
No matter what the show is, there is always an inherent problem with “competition” storylines. Whether it’s a state championship in football a la “Friday Night Lights,” or a singing competition as is the case with “Glee,” there will always be two possible outcomes–the team wins or the team loses. Therefore, in order to make the episode truly interesting, the show must supplement the competition storyline with high stakes for the characters, and, if possible, alternative storylines to keep the viewer interested. This week, “Glee” took that idea and pumped it full of Sue Sylvester’s muscle building protein powder.
A few months back, news reports broke that “Glee” would be tackling an episode dealing with the recent number of gay teen suicides, and in a strange misdirection, many thought that episode had come and gone. However, “Glee’s” winter finale, “On My Way,” was likely the episode that the actors were hinting at. The drama of regionals took a back seat to Dave Karofsky’s suicide attempt, forcing many of the characters to deal with the fact that they felt responsible in one way or another.
“Glee” handled this storyline brilliantly. After Kurt’s torment took over Season 2, it would have been gimmicky and slightly less poignant for him to once again deal with the difficulties of bullying. Likewise, Santana would never succumb to suicidal tendencies. Yet, there’s something poetic about Dave Karofsky–Kurt’s former bully, trying to off himself after struggling with his own homosexuality.
Glee-Cap: S3E13 “Heart”
By Chris Saccaro
This week, “Glee” had the utmost privilege of being able to air its Valentines Day episode, “Heart”, on Valentine’s Day. And how does it repay the world? By mixing in religion, homophobia, and Whitney Houston covers!
Sometimes it seems like the writers of Glee are just filling in a “gay/religious storyline” quota. A perfectly normal episode will be plagued with seemingly random storylines dealing with gay bullying or religious dilemmas. And these plotlines are great in small doses. In fact, one should applaud “Glee” for shedding light on these issues when most shows don’t make mention of homosexuality or religion at all, unless it’s for a punch line. But it just happens so much on “Glee” that what would normally be a poignant commentary on our society, becomes an eye-roll inducing lecture.
This was especially true of Glee’s “Heart”. Thankfully though, all of this week’s homophobia stemmed from Santana and Brittany’s public displays of affection, and not something Kurt related. Anyone who has seen even a tiny fragment of “Glee“ knows that there has been enough “Anti-Gay” storylines for Kurt to last a whole series.