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REVIEW: Glee “The Sue Sylvester Bowl Shuffle” S2 E11

07 Feb

I’ve come to the conclusion that when it comes to this show, I must not get it or I don’t see it.  I read a few reviews this morning talking about what a great episode this was last night.  Great musical numbers, genius writing to lure Superbowl viewers new to Glee, a few eye brow raising moments, but good plot development.  I must have been watching a COMPLETELY different show.  Great musical numbers…eh.  Great writing to lure post SB new viewers…I highly doubt it.  Good plot development….where?  Again, I must be missing something.  All season, Glee has been a mess.  Other than Kurt and his storylines, nothing seems to have a direction or focus and most times, it seemed the show cared more about selling songs than moving the characters and the story forward.   I know I have been very hard on Glee this year when last year I praised this show up and down for being fresh, different, and awesome.  But I’m really hard on things I think are great or have the potential to be great but are either getting lazy or complacent.  One thing I think makes Glee great is that it appeals to a myriad of viewers.  Gossip Girl typically is younger girls.  Blue Bloods attracts an older demographic.  Castle is right in the middle.  Glee is one of those rare shows that skews young, old, and in the middle.  It’s one of those shows that the family can watch together.  No offense to younger viewers but I don’t believe they are as driven by plot.  Not all of them, but most.  However the middle to older viewers, do care.  If you start having a show that is more about the musical numbers (to sell more songs to make more money) and showcasing the talent (to sell more concerts to make more money) than about the characters and the plot, you will lose those middle to older viewers because it will wear thin.

What worked:

Very little but I thought the best scene of the night was Katie Couric interviewing Sue for “Loser of the Year.” It was funny, it was witty, and it was a perfect way to use Katie Couric.  The women played very well off of each other and I thought this was highlight of the episode.   When Katie put into context what being “Loser of the Year” meant…”you beat out Dina Lohan, the economy, the housing market, Brett Favre’s cell phone, etc” it was fantastic.  The fact that Sue thought she was being interviewed for the 10 Most Fascinating People and Katie reminds her “that’s Barbara Walters.”  Ha!  Then she calls her Diane Sawyer at the end of the interview.  It was great.

Finn as a leader. We’ve always been told that Finn is a leader in football, in baseball, in Glee and in the school.  We’ve seen flashes of it (like Burt and his mom’s wedding) but we really got to see it full force in this episode.  Things are really falling apart quickly…half the football team hate each other and won’t play with one another, the Cheerios don’t like being Cheerios anymore but don’t want to quit for fear of public ridicule, the football team and Glee club have to perform together, the hockey team (and their mullets) want to take over the school from the football team.  Seriously guys, Flock of Seagulls called and they would like their hair back pronto!!!  It’s really a mess at McKinley.  However, Finn finds ways to get everything working (not the way it should considering girls like Rachel and Tina are actually PLAYING FOOTBALL in the championship game.)  But it shows that some people will go outside their comfort zone to do the right thing and do something for their friends.  It was great and I was glad to see Finn in that role because he does it very well.  By the way, I LOVED Rachel’s face when she was walking onto the field ready to play.  She had such a huge smile on her face and she was so proud to be helping out.  Her character can be so incredibly selfish most of the time, that you can forget how much she does care about Glee and the people in it and that she would do almost anything for them.  I like that Rachel vs. the other, nasty Rachel.  And how many of you were rooting for Tina to score a TD when she recovered that fumble?  I know I was!!  This was also one of my favorite moments…when she got tackled and didn’t get up, everyone rushed to her and was genuinely concerned for her, especially Mike.  When she turned over, all she said was “did we score?”  As someone who has played sports her entire life, I completely appreciate and love that comment from her.  Here is someone who has no business doing what she is doing but regardless of her health and risk of serious injury, she does it anyway.  And when she does get hurt, she could care less.  All she wants to know is did she help her team.  Tina just jumped to close to the top of my list of people I love on this show.

What was disappointing:

The Thriller Mash Up Halftime Show. I saw the pictures with the incredible makeup and costumes and thought this number is going to be outstanding.  I was a little disappointed.  Now, up until that point, the show was doing nothing for me.  So by the time they got to this number, I thought it was the best part of the show.  If they really wanted to attract new viewers, I would have led with this song vs. the epic fail that was “California Gurls.”  Maybe it was the editing of this number where several times they focused in on a single person over and over again.  Maybe it was the fact that I hoped they were going to incorporate more of the traditional Thriller video choreography.  Maybe it was the fact I was pissed that Karofsky joined them after shunning them but once he saw the crowd responding positively, THEN he joined them to do the show.  I’m trying to figure out how good (or bad) this number truly was.  Did I really enjoy it because it was actually great or because everything in the show up until that point wasn’t very good?  Or did I not enjoy it as much as I thought because it really wasn’t that good or the hype was so huge that it didn’t live up to it?  I’m not sure.   Let’ put it this way…it was the best musical number of the show but wasn’t nearly as good as it could have been.

What did NOT work:

The opening scene. I have heard people refer to this scene as the sexy scene with hot cheerleaders to attract the men from the Superbowl.  Now, this is where I am going to sound like an old fart, BUT, don’t you think it’s a little creepy using high school aged girls as the sex appeal?  I do.  I don’t think it’s really appropriate to use 14-17 year-old girls as the “sexy” reason to keep the guys tuned in.  Ew.  Not to mention, it wasn’t very sexy and the number was not very good.  If you want to use sex appeal to keep the guys watching, first, use an adult.  Second, this should be the bench mark moving forward:

Seriously, now that is sex appeal and hot!!!

Quinn and Finn Kissing.  This seemed to come out of nowhere.  They had been together before and I’m sure there will always be some feelings there.  But this seemed to come out of left field.  Isn’t Quinn seeing Sam?  Their relationship seemed to be just fine so I don’t know why she was making google eyes at Finn.  I get that he was being supportive to her and reminding her what a strong, confident woman she is and that she doesn’t need popularity to define her.  I get that.  But I still don’t understand how that all of sudden transfered to liking him (in that way) again.  And I certainly don’t know why she would kiss him.  It’s a little bizarre.  Although I’m curious to see where it goes but I don’t know if I understand it.

Finn and Puck Making Up. I don’t know how Finn would ever be friends with Puck again.  Not only did he impregnate his first girlfriend (while she was going out with Finn) but then he hooked up with his other girlfriend (while she was going out with Finn.)  What’s the expression?   Fool me once, shame on you.  Fool me twice, shame on me.  I don’t dislike Puck but I really don’t see how Finn would EVER trust this guy again.

Sue Going Ballistic. Not only would she have been fired on the spot for her vandalizing school property, but probably taken to a mental hospital.  This is when I hate Sue.  This is way too over-the-top.   I didn’t mind the way she manipulated the situation to force Quinn, Santana, and Brittany quit Glee Club because she moved the regional competition to their Thriller Show time.  Sue will do anything to win.  But the way she tried to manipulate Brittany into doing a stunt that would kill her!  That’s where I drew the not funny line.  We have seen the softer side of Sue and she isn’t this cruel.  That’s why I hate when the show does this to her character. Only a sociopath would do what she was doing to Brittany.   None of it was funny.  It was pathetic and awful and this is the Sue Sylvester I don’t like to see.  I know reading this, some of you probably think I have a stick up my ass and should lighten up.  I find Sue hilarious.  I personally don’t find out-of-control Sue funny.   I don’t mind characters that push the envelope or even cross the line sometimes.  But when it goes so overboard that it’s distracting and detrimental to the character, I don’t like it.  I’m sorry.  I like Sue better when she is being witty and somewhat conniving with the adults.  I even like Sue when she puts the students in their place with her snarky comments.  I don’t know.  Maybe I am being too hard on her.  I just don’t like crazy Sue.  Give me witty Sue.

The Warblers Tune Up Session. Another element that seemed to come completely out of nowhere.  There is the whole bullying storyline going on a McKinley but yet let’s stop everything because we need to see the Warblers tumbling around and practicing for regionals!  Was this just to showcase Darren Criss?  Wouldn’t surprise me since most of the season has gone down that way.  But it seemed very awkward and misplaced in this episode.  Having said that, it was a really good number!

Karofsky’s Story Arc. A huge opportunity wasted and a complete waste of an episode.  I understand that you have Karofsky, who is gay and is hiding from everyone, who is utterly terrified of his sexual preference coming out and not being part of the popular kids in school.  Although I think his pressing need to be popular is more driven off the fact that he would rather not have anyone find out that he’s gay more so than he wants to be popular.  I think Karofsky could be an empathetic character if written differently.  But he is shown as such a bully and a nasty guy, it’s hard to feel badly for him.  And I think a big opportunity was missed last night because there were some cracks of decency.  Karofsky had a great scene with Mr Schue after he was done practicing his part for the halftime show (all the football players had to participate as directed by Coach Beiste.)  Mr Schue told him how talented he was and that if he really put some effort behind it, he could be one of the most talented kids in the school.  Karofsky’s face seemed to light up.  Right after that, he had a great scene with Finn when he realized he wanted to be a part of the show and asked Finn to help him rehearse.  I thought he was starting to turn a corner.  And the football looked like they were having fun.  Then the Flock of Seagulls hockey team showed up and slushied them all.  I was thrilled because now they get a taste of what they do to other people.  But I think what set Karofsky over the edge was the fact that the lead hockey mullet head said Karofsky turned gay since he was now singing and dancing.  I wonder, if that one comment weren’t made, if things would have been different.  But Karofsky isn’t going to find out because he is quitting the Glee club and so are the other guys.  Coach tells him if he quits, he’s off the team.  Finn begs him not to so they will have the guys for the championship game but they quit anyway.  And he’s right back to where he was.  Later, with the game and the show falling apart, Puck is in charge of getting the guys back on the team and Finn has to get the Quinn, Santana, and Brittany to quit the Cherrios and join.  All agreed…except for Karofsky.  That is until he saw how jazzed the crowd was and then he joined in.  Again, I think Karofsky, if he could choose (which he can), he would join the Glee club.  I know it isn’t easy and he’s messed up because he is trying to hide who he really is.  But at the end of the show, I was hoping that we wouldn’t see a 100% reformed Karofsky but maybe a softer, more understanding and respectful Karofsky.  Nope.  After they won the game and everything was over, Finn wanted to see if he would be willing to make things right with Kurt before permanently joining Glee.  Karofsky laughed at him, told him forget it and that he doesn’t want to change anything.  He’s on top again after winning the game so forget it.  What I would have rather seen is Karofsky maybe confide in Finn and talk about his fears.  Finn knows having been there and Finn has a gay brother and friend that he is extremely supportive of.  I wish Karofsky would have opened up to Finn and maybe slowly started to feel more comfortable around people he knows wouldn’t judge him but really support him and be there for him.  And even if it didn’t go that far, he could have met Finn half way.  He could have said “look dude, I respect what you guys do and I promise I won’t give you crap anymore, but I am not joining and sticking with sports.  Hope you understand.”  How hard is that?  But the writers made him a pompous jerk again and showed no signs of any growth.  It just bugged me.

I was thoroughly disappointed in this episode I had heard so much about.  I have written about this before and I am going to write it again.  The show has some great potential but it falls short on so many levels and is becoming a one trick pony.  Glee is turning into a show about 2 things: the music and the gay storylines.  The music is what it is.  The gay storylines have been AWESOME and the best part of the show quite frankly.   But are we ever going to learn anything else about the other kids?  Am I not mistaken or does Karofsky have a bigger storyline this year than Mercedes, Tina, Artie, Mike, Santana, and Quinn put together?  Mercedes has been completely non-existent this year and it sucks.  Even Mr Schue has less to do than Karofsky.  I think the storylines are fascinating and well written but you would think Kurt and Karofsky are the only kids with interesting stories.  What about learning more about Rachel, Puck, Quinn, Mercedes, Emma, any of the other “main” characters?  I’m not sure I understand why they are being forgotten about.  There was a great plot development with Mercedes and Quinn’s growing friendship last year.  Where has that gone?

I’m obviously going to keep watching Glee but if this is what this show is going to be, I may stop after Season 2.

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Posted by on February 7, 2011 in FOX, Recaps and Reviews

 

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