Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Oh Lord, won't you buy me a Mercedes Benz...

Last night's long-awaited Joan Osborne themed episode was one of the better overall episodes of Glee in a long time.  (Just kidding about the Joan Osborne thing.)  If you're already on board for the cheesiness, the often awkward placement of musical numbers, and the forced theme, then this episode tackling the question of faith was a high point in quality given how tacked-together this show has been feeling lately.

When Kurt's dad suffers from a heart attack and is hospitalized with a coma, some members of New Directions feel it is their duty to pray for him, but Kurt feels uncomfortable about being asked to participate in this as he is an atheist.  While Schue is happy to let Kurt dictate his own terms, most of the glee clubbers, and guidance counselor Emma, feel that Kurt is being harmed by not having religion in his life.  Only Sue Sylvester is on board with Kurt's "God is just Santa Claus for adults" perspective, and wants everyone to back off.  Her conversation with Emma is a great portrayal of the condescension that I think a lot of people on both sides of the issue have encountered, and it was a refreshingly honest moment for this show.

The episode's musical numbers emerged more organically than they usually do, with the exception of Finn's "Losing My Religion" fantasy.  I got the impression that the whole reason they contrived the whole Grilled Cheesus storyline was to facilitate this number, and I hope they never work that hard ever again to give this kid a solo to shout at us.  Mercedes got two wonderful solos which showed a lot of her range, and Rachel's "Papa Can You Hear Me" was very pretty, if awkward.  Kurt's slowed-down "I Wanna Hold Your Hand" was a wonderful way to show flashbacks of Kurt's childhood moments with his father, though I liked this arrangement better when T.V. Carpio sang it in Across the Universe.

It is refreshing to have a gay atheist character on television go through something relatable and be portrayed in a positive and honest light.  I was worried that in the end he would accept religion unnaturally and that alone would be shown to bring his dad out of the coma, but instead it seemed like everyone came to respect each other's beliefs just a little.  I also loved this exchange:
          Kurt: "You can't prove there isn't a magic teapot floating around on the dark side of the moon with a dwarf inside of it that reads romance novels and shoots lightning out of its boobs, but it seems pretty unlikely, doesn't it?"
          Brittany: "Is God an evil dwarf?"

On to the more superficial treasures of this episode, I am happy any time Mark Salling is shown crooning with his guitar, but I do miss Puck's mohawk so much.  Without it, Salling looks too much like the 28-year-old that he is (television actors looking too old to believably be in high school shockah).  When the glee clubbers complained that they are being criticized for being too sexy one week and too religious the next, Brittany's "Now I know what Miley feels like" made me laugh.  It was also great that Kurt gave a shout-out to the "great spaghetti monster in the sky."

Rachel is still being written as an impossible-to-like character, and I don't know why they're doing that.  Finn praying to Grilled Cheesus to get to 2nd base with her felt really out of place in this otherwise more weighty episode.  Then again, touching Rachel's sideboob over her clothes is probably the 2nd hottest thing Finn's ever done after ejaculating in the hot tub next to Quinn, and sharing a harem den with Kurt.  I don't think anything he ever did with Brittany and Santana really registered for him.

So what's next for Glee?  More silliness and stunts?  Or more earnest storytelling.  Let's hope for the latter.

Glee, Tuesdays at 8pm on Fox

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