TV Fanatic Mid-Season Report Card: Glee 12/23/2010

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With our favorite prime time shows on hiatus, TV Fanatic is taking a look back at some buzzed-about programs and grading their performance this fall, with a look toward 2011.

Earlier, we examined House. Up now: Glee.

Best episode: "The Substitute." Gwyneth Paltrow simply radiated excitement and energy throughout this hour. The one drawback? It made me wish Holly Holiday was the leader of New Directions instead of Will. But it also showcased Glee at its best: great songs, funny lines and sheer fun.

Sectionals Song

Worst episode: "Britney/Brittany." This wasn't a showcase for storylines or characters. It just served as an excuse to feature a few Britney Spears songs. It came across like a shallow, paid advertisement for the pop star.

Best character: Brittany. She's done the impossible, out Sue Sylvestering Sue Sylvester in terms of the best one-liners from the season. Aside from cracking us up with her belief that "adultery" means acting like "a dolt," though, Brittany also caused us to tear up with her adorable sensitivity, as best evidenced in the Christmas episode.

Worst character: Will Schuester. It's hard to see where they're really going with Will. He creeped us out with his quasi stalking of Emma and he spends every episode lecturing the students. But can you blame them for not always listening to someone whose own life is such a mess?

Best performance: It's too difficult to choose between so many incredibly-sung renditions ("Teenage Dream" and "Le Jazz" would likely top that list), so gonna go with "Valerie" from Sectionals here. Seriously, I could watch Brittany and Asia Mike dance around on stage for hours.

Best cast addition: Sam and Blaine (tie). Sorry, can't choose between these stud muffins. All I can say is that their presence makes me hopeful that all will be okay when various characters graduate in 2012.

Hopes for 2011: Fewer societal messages, more focus on relationship developments. When Glee tackles an issue such as religion or homosexuality within the context of well-written, planned-out storylines, it can have an affect like no show on television.

But when it tries too hard to hammer certain points home (e.g. bullying), it comes across like a PSA that doesn't ever treat characters as human beings, but just as message-delivering props.

Overall grade: B.

Agree or disagree with our assessment? Sound off now in our Glee forum!

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

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Glee Quotes

Thank you so much, it really is a pleasure. While the boys chose a selection of songs that casts an eye inward on the irresponsible life choices and sexual hunger of today's modern teens we have chosen a selection of songs that speaks of the nation as a whole during these troubling times filled with economic uncertainty and unbridled social woes, because if there's two things America needs right now, that is sunshine and optimism! Also angels.

Rachel

She may be difficult, but boy can she sing. Bravo!

Kurt