"I just feel like every time we go home just makes me sad and like we're not moving forward, you know?"
Yeah, I know, Rachel. Because that's how I feel watching anything on "Glee" involving the current McKinley High crew. Sure, there are new faces, but the spectacle of bland characters dominating episodes with their bad storylines is certainly sad and definitely not moving forward.
Bringing all the "Glee" graduates back for a badly timed Thanksgiving episode didn't make it any better. Seeing Mark Salling, Dianna Agron and Naya Rivera return to McKinley didn't make me feel all mushy and nostalgic and happy to see old friends (and good actors) again. It just makes me upset we're not seeing them on a regular basis, or that the show hasn't found any remotely worthy substitutes to take their place.
Buried somewhere inside this new, nightmarish version of "Glee" is a glimpse of what could have been a far more interesting way of moving forward. I don't know what the hell was going on during that insane mashup of Scissor Sisters' "Let's Have a Kiki" and "Turkey Lurkey Time" from the Broadway musical "Promises, Promises" at Kurt and Rachel's Bushwick apartment, but I want a show that's that nutty, that wonderful/terrible, that audacious every week. (Guest stars -- like Sarah Jessica Parker -- who actually look like they're having fun and bring energy and freshness to the show are also a plus.)
I don't want the seven thousandth showdown between New Directions and the Warblers, especially when it almost exclusively involves characters I don't care about. But that's pretty much all we get from "Glee" now, with very few exceptions.
There was the great phone call/reconciliation between Kurt and Blaine, where Darren Criss once again proved how impressive he is at conveying Blaine's vulnerability and sensitivity.
There was the great frenemy fight between Quinn and Santana, where Quinn reveals she's having an affair with a married professor (because, come on, that's exactly what perpetually screwed-up Quinn would do, like it or not) and Santana is forced to confront the fact that she's not pursuing her dreams (seriously Santana, it's time to move to New York already). Agron and Rivera nailed it, of course.
And there was the strange but comforting mashup of Simon and Garfunkel's "Homeward Bound" and Phillip Phillips' "Home" performed by Agron, Rivera, Salling, Cory Monteith, Harry Shum Jr. and Amber Riley. (Which has to be the first use of an "American Idol" coronation song on "Glee," right? And just over six months after its debut on "Idol" at that.)
I could complain about the terrible use of Matthew Morrison, Jayma Mays and Jane Lynch (hey, remember Sue has a baby!?); the nonsensical decision that Rachel and Kurt would stay in New York for Thanksgiving instead of visiting their parents (poor Burt!), when they flew out for freakin' "Glease"; the unexpected decision to give Tina the lead vocals on the big Sectionals number only to have the song be... "Gangnam Style" (Tina is Chinese, Ushkowitz is Korean-American, but with the way "Glee" treats its Asian characters, I wouldn't trust the writers to know the difference or bother addressing it on screen).
But those are all old "Glee" problems. The kind of silly stuff that might drag the show down a bit, while other strengths (lively production numbers, witty or at least amusing dialogue, charismatic performances, ballsy storylines, characters worth caring about) would lift it back up.
Now "Glee" has much bigger problems. It's so boring it's not even worth hate-watching.
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