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Glee Review: "Grilled Cheesus"

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It's safe to say that Glee is the only show on television that could depict a character dressed like Britney Spears one week, replete with a snake wrapped around her scantily-clad body, and tackle the topic of religion the following week.

But while I thought the show paid disservice to its characters and any sense of storytelling on "Brittany/Britney," I was blown away by the mature way it broached God, atheism and spirituality on "Grilled Cheesus."

Praying to a Sandwich

Let's start with the performance of Chris Colfer and hand this actor an Emmy nomination for next year already. He was simply incredible.

Throughout the hour, I was assuming Burt Hummel would awaken from his coma and Kurt would acknowledge that God played a role in his dad's recovery. But the show resisted such an obvious, politically correct resolution.

I don't wish to start a debate on religion (and I ask readers to be courteous and respectable in their comments below), but it was refreshing to see Glee not espouse any one message or points of view on the episode - aside from the overall idea of tolerance.

We were treated to a number of various takes on God, some humorous (Finn wants his kids to "totally go to Jew church and wear those hats and eat that salty orange stuff with their bagels."), others serious (Why should Kurt believe, he asks, when God "makes me gay and then makes His followers go around saying it's a choice, as if I'd choose to be mocked every day of my life?"), but all treated with respect and all realistic.

There are people out there who really do believe they've seen Jesus Christ is something mundane as a sandwich, and those that thank God every time they touch a boob. There are also those that take Emma's practical approach, leaving the big questions as a mystery and blaming everyday occurrences of the non-supernatural, and those that don't believe... but clearly want to. Like Sue Sylvester.

In the end, this was the most serious episode Glee has ever aired (though Brittany was still around to tell us that whenever she prays, she falls asleep; and to ask if God was an evil dwarf) and it could have been the most predictable and cheesy.

Instead, it provided the best showcase yet for Colfer and also for Mercedes as a singer (I LOVED "Bridge Over Troubled Water"), while giving viewers a chance to laugh, cry and simply think about how an issue such as religion can touch so many people in so many different ways. Bravo.

What did you think?

Review

Editor Rating: 4.7 / 5.0
  • 4.7 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.6 / 5.0 (274 Votes)

Matt Richenthal is the Editor in Chief of TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter and on Google+.

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@Oh really
I think you're missing the point here. Yes, acoording to the bible gay people can be christian, but I can't imagine they would want to. You list being gay together with other "sins". So you can be a good Christian if you admit that being gay is a sin?!

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I am gay an an atheist so this episode really had an effect on me. I totally agree with Kurt's statement "God makes me gay and then makes His followers go around saying it's a choice, as if I'd choose to be mocked every day of my life?" I do suffer some discrimination in my school (although thankfully not that much) and i just cant comprehend why God would make me gay then people who believe in God use Him to condemn me. I was told before that "You will burn in hell for your choice to be gay" and that "God doesn't want me to be gay." Stuff like that really gets to me even though I try to not let it. I just don't understand why God would do this to me.( I'm not saying that I'm ashamed or angry about being gay, in fact I love it and I am very grateful to whoever is responsible). I have learnt to accept who I am as an individual and I wish that people would just let me be who I am and who I want to be. I'm a gay atheist (or gaytheist to use my own word). I am happy, I am never going to change, and I'm not asking people to understand it or become like me, I just want people to accept me for who I am, move on, don't condemn me for it and especially, do NOT try to change who I am.

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I really loved this episode for covering the different sides about religion in such a respectful way. overall my favorite scenes were:
-kurt's line about following a God that would make him gay and then have His follower's mock him. it reminded me of a similar painful convo that i had w/ a friend once. i'm glad it was included because that line definitely makes you pause and evaluate your opinion.
-sue talking about her disappointment from praying for her sister to be "fixed." that was the moment in the ep where i finally cried a little bit because i've been there too. my one negative comment is that i wish they had handled the prayer situation for kurt's dad a little differently. kurt's beliefs shouldn't have mattered when it came to praying for his dad. ppl should've been asking about his dad's beliefs. if his dad believed in prayer, then sure go to the hospital and pray and if his dad didn't believe in prayer, i say pray anyway just from the privacy of your own home. no one likes to feel backed into a corner so i think kurt was justified in being upset.

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@rh: I'm agnostic, but I have studied the Bible. Like Oh Really said, it is definitely possible to be gay and Christian, partially because of Grace, but also because of the historical context of the Bible. Leviticus says that for a man to lie with another man is an "abomination." The Hebrew word this was translated from literally means "against Jewish tradition." Other things listed as "abominations" in that book include eating pig or shellfish, wearing clothing of different fabrics, and harvesting fruit from a tree before five years have passed. These rules were included in the Bible primarily because they allowed the Israelite population to grow and prosper more easily.

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@Oh Really - Well said. I've never heard the argument you made, but I will be repeating/passing on your point in conversations/discussions in the future.

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@rh I have to disagree... you can be gay and Christian at the same time...Jesus died for our sins, meaning the sins do not mean anything anymore once one has accepted Jesus as Lord and savior... The salvation that Jesus died for is a gift, it is by grace, meaning no one deserves it but it is still given to you. In the Bible, yes being Gay is a sin, but so is Lying, Stealing Murdering (this could simply mean thinking of bad things to others) and many others. So if gay people can't be Christian, then so can't those who have and will lie, steal, murder or whatever. No body can be a Christian since everyone has sinned and will sin in their life. This is what's good about Christianity... only God will know if your relationship is true or not. Lastly, If one has to be sinless to go to heaven, then what's the use of Jesus dying on the cross? Jesus loves his people no matte what they have done and what they will do.

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I am an atheist and I really liked this episode. I think it showed how atheists feel about other people when they are in a hard time, and you feel like every one around is being crazy and talking to an invisible man who you know isn't real and doesn't talk back. Like they said at the end, It would probably be better if atheists just let people pray for family members in a situation like this, because your friends want to help and it will make them feel better, regardless of the fact that it does nothing. They mean well by it and aren't trying to make you mad. I thought it was odd that the people were shocked when someone came out as a Christian, then shocked when someone came out as an atheist. In you are a white American, then more than likely you are one or the other. People don't seem to realize if you don't have a religion then you are an atheist. The Christian that quit watching this show because of this episode is crazy. This episode was not biased. I felt it was very neutral. If you see someone take a neutral stance, and you take it as someone dissing Christianity, then it's because you are seeing the ridiculous things in religion show through with an unbiased eye. Also to the people saying that you can be gay and a Christian, you must not have read the Bible. I have read the Bible, and it explicitly says that homosexuals are a perversion in both the Old and the New Testament. You need to read your own book before you blindly follow it. If you haven't read the whole thing and you are a Christian, then you have no basis in saying how wrong I am about your religion or that I should open my eyes to it.
haha I guess I am an atheist advocation reading the Bible, that sounds a little weird
anyway, have a nice day!

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If you liked Kurt's version of "I Want to Hold Your Hand," it was the same arrangement as done in "Across the Universe" by a character named Prudence, a lesbian cheerleader in Ohio, who sang the song on a practice break while she mooned at a distance over another cheerleader who didn't know she existed, so to speak ... right before Prudence heads off to New York where she eventually comes in through the bathroom window of the apartment where the main characters are staying. "Across the Universe" is worth seeing. If you like Glee, I suspect you'll like it. From an Amazon review by Tami Horiuchi: "Set in America during the Vietnam War, Across the Universe is a powerful love story set against a backdrop of political and social unrest: it's a story of soul-searching, self-doubt, and individual powerlessness cleverly conveyed through a multitude of Beatles songs. Like young adults all across America during the 1960's, Jude (Jim Sturgess), Lucy (Evan Rachel Wood), Max (Joe Anderson), Sadie (Dana Fuchs), Prudence (T.V. Carpio), and JoJo (Martin Luther) are in turmoil over the war; questioning their individual roles in the war effort and struggling to find a way to hold true to their beliefs while making a difference in the world."

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This episode was way better than I expected. The one thing that it did that made it work was that it acknowledged western culture as existing (when current thought seems to be, as stated by the President that IF America ever was a Christian nation, it isn't now). That (that we all know about the prodigal son or casting the first stone or giving to Caesar what is Caesar's and the golden rule and all of that) allowed the different points of view, and raise questions (that are more easily raised than answered -- or maybe never answered except by how one lives) like Finn's about praying to be the QB again and someone getting hurt and what did one really wish or mean. In fact, it was probably a little too tolerant where unwanted prayers were concerned (would you ignore a family's faith, even if it was non-faith, to barge into their hospital room and essentially pray to what you "know" better than them is the "right" God, or at least is the right thing to do in spite of their ... what? -- ignorance). Those who do are the ones who give their particular faith whatever bad there is in its reputation.

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To be honest, I adored this episode. Finn's side storyline was a bit...erm...idiotic, but it was lighthearted compared to the rest of the episode. There have been claims of Jesus' face appearing in various items around the world: Why not introduce the grilled cheese sighting? It was bound to happen eventually, and to be honest, I'm glad it was on Glee. To the people thinking that Chris Colfer deserves an Emmy, I am right behind you. He's one of the main reasons I watch Glee. The way that the various Glee members were trying to force their religion down Kurt's throat was a bit annoying. His reasoning for not believing in God was reasonable, to him, and you can't please everyone. And there is the forever issue: Which Christian denomination is accurate? You've got the Catholics, Baptists, Methodists, Moravians...the list goes on and on. For all we know, the Bible may not be accurate. So all of you people 'offended' by the episode, think about that the next time you go to rant at a homosexual. Think about them. Like Kurt said, 'I don't choose to be ridiculed every day.' Lea Michele's rendition of 'Papa Can You Hear Me' was beautiful. Amber Riley blew me away with her solo, and as always, Chris Colfer had me astonished with his cover of 'I Want To Hold Your Hand'. When I was watching all three songs, I had tears running down my face. I remember watching Yentl with my granny before she passed away, and that just brought back memories. So this week, my score is 5/5!