Glee: Bipolar Like Mary Todd

Truth be told I’m almost afraid to review this episode of Glee, not because it was awful, but because it wasn’t!  I’m afraid you all just read this to “hear” me rant about the show.  Sensationalists!  Also I’m upset I couldn’t find a quality image of Gwyn as Mary Todd Lincoln, because that would have been perfect.

So, this episode had an awful lot going on – in some ways way too much.  But you can essentially boil the A-Story to Will getting sick and being replaced by Holly Holiday (Gwyneth Paltrow) – the cool teacher who has fun and listens to the kids.  The B-Story, meanwhile, centers (mostly) around Mercedes’ substituting (GET IT???) tater tots for friendship with Kurt who is pulling away as he falls for Blaine.  But it turns out Kurt is actually a substitute (GET IT???) for a boyfriend.  More on that later.

I definitely really enjoyed the A-story.  To be honest I was nervous about Gwyn singing a watered-down version of Cee Lo Green’s “Fuck You.”  See how I’m not watering it down?!  Uncensored baby!  Life without compromise!  So I was pleasantly surprised when it turned out pretty awesome.  It was contemporary, it was fun, and it was well-choreographed, exactly what the show is supposed to be.  I enjoyed Will’s tension as he worried about being replaced by someone cool, and seeing how Holly really uses fun to hide from anything serious.

Where the A-story fell flat for me was how it kept growing.  There was Rachel drama that seemed largely contrived to give the lead actress something to do, and then suddenly vanished.  There was Sue firing and re-hiring Will.  There was Terri drama.  There were fever dreams.  It was just too much for me.  I think it would have been better to cut out the Sue part and leave her to deal purely with her nutrition crusade.  I also could have done without Terri – not because she’s an obnoxious character, but because she confuses me.  At this point in the show, we all know she’s completely crazy and amoral.  But isn’t Will?  Over the course of the show he’s gone from poor schmuck trapped in a loveless marriage with a harpy of a wife, to a pretty crappy person himself.  I legitimately found myself thinking they were perfect for each other, especially if she could stay reasonably sane with pills.  But alas Will grew a conscience (for this episode at least) and Terri went back to being nuts.  So all-in-all it was unnecessary.

The B-story, while entertaining, had more issues for me.  I actually enjoyed seeing Kurt and Blaine build a friendship before they hop into a relationship, and I must admit I find them kind of adorable.  And I really enjoyed Mercedes’ populist revolt against the fascist regime.  That was a lot of fun.  And while I understand that thematically the tots had to be a substitute (GET IT???) for something, it felt kind of cheap that it all boils down to “You’re alone and you need a man to complete you.”  I would have really liked to see the A-story shortened a bit, the preachy parts of this storyline cut out, and more focus devoted to a more ridiculous revolution.  Like a student sit-in or hunger strike (although that would have been counter-intuitive) that featured a great Vietnam-era “down with the Man” musical number.  Or something.

But overall this episode was actually a lot of fun.  Some of the plot points (mostly Sue getting appointed Principal) were totally far-fetched, but the episode really embraced that rather than trying to rationalize it.  I can actually go with things that are acknowledged as outrageous.  It’s when ridiculous things are supposed to be logical and believable that I get offended.

So, this episode has extended my Glee trial period.  If it had been as bad as the last two, I would have stopped watching forever.  But I’ll give it another week.  I won’t say that this episode gave me hope however, because one solid episode doesn’t mean the show is turning around.  If anything, it proves that this show is completely different depending on who is writing it and who is directing it.  Give us some consistency Glee!

Highlights of the ep:

Personally I enjoyed every song.  I love Singin’ in the Rain.  I love Rihanna.  I love Chicago.  And I love Cee Lo Green.  I’ve heard some reviewers don’t like the frame-by-frame remakes of iconic numbers, and I admit that they’re unoriginal and should be done sparingly, but I enjoyed both of them this episode.

Pretty much every Brittany quote.

Gwyn as Mary Todd Lincoln, and her Spanish Lindsay Lohan comments

Mercedes’ vision of Kurt literally vomiting “gay.”

And of course, the Glee babies were adorable.

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One Response to Glee: Bipolar Like Mary Todd

  1. wcl says:

    I found the bi-polar comments very distasteful. The poor representation and addressing of the disorder at the hands of the show is really kind of a slap in the face for those of us who suffer from it.

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