Glee Review: Rock Salt with You

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I liked Glee's Michael Jackson tribute episode a lot more than I thought I would. A backward compliment? Sure. But, hey, it's still a compliment.

Unlike past tribute episodes - to Britney Spears, to Christmas - this one managed to weave in a few key developments, mostly basing its MJ covers around ongoing storylines and legitimate character realizations...

... with the exception of Artie's totally random moment of anger, which resulted in an imagined "Scream" performance and an imagined few minutes of Artie walking around that served as an example of everything Glee can do so wrong: ignoring all logic and continuity for the sake of a song it can sell on iTunes.


But I'll ignore that - and also ignore the fact that these kids are 16-18 years old, and Jackson last released an album in 2001, and, as harsh as it sounds, until he died, his music was NOT what most people talked about any time the icon came up, making it hard to believe today's high school kids would really worship the guy and constantly talk about "WWMJD?" - in order to focus on the positive aspects of the episode. They include:

Sebastian. Give it up for a true villain! We all love Sue Sylvester, but she's really just a quote machine at this point. Viewers can't take her seriously. Certainly not when compared to a guy that fills a slushee with rock salt.

There's been talk of making Grant Gustin a series regular on season four and I'd be all for it. Just don't even try to soften him up, Glee. There's nothing wrong with having a sincere antagonist for the group to rally against, especially when it leads to Santana threatening to go "all Danny LaRusso" on his ass. That was awesome.

Finchel. They clearly should not get married, not when each of them is essentially saying they need the other person in their life because, well, they don't have much else in their life. That's not a healthy outlook on love.

But I definitely appreciated the extra attention given to the proposal here; the duet they sang; Finn's commitment to making the most important question he'll ever ask more memorable than a quick, unexpected speech in the auditorium; and what can only be described as a hesitant yes from Rachel, at least once she realized how she shared the huge NYADA news with someone else prior to her fiance. Heck, what she even thinking of Finn at the time?

Quinn's negative advice to Rachel - you don't want an anchor from the past holding you back from the bright lights of the future - is pretty much magazine-spewing nonsense. If you love someone, you love someone. Period. But is this true love? Or is it high school love? Would Finn complete her, or hold her back?

The performances. They were great. That's never my issue with Glee. We all know how talented the cast is; I just often take exception when Glee comes across more like a concert (or, even worse, a PDA-inspired concert) than a television show and I vehemently disagree with those who somehow claim we shouldn't expect strong storytelling just because the characters sing.

(Watch Smash on Monday. Trust me, you can have both.)

So I'm happy to give props to my favorite covers here, which were led by Santana and Sebastian's simple, cello-accompanied "Smooth Criminal" and which concluded with the whole group nailing "Black or White," including a version of the face morphing MJ made famous in that video.

What didn't work for me? Anything involving Quinn. Sorry, the show ruined her forever in my book when she went all nutso in an attempt to get her daughter back.

Similarly, I feel no emotional attachment to Sam and Mercedes. As I said in my last review, we saw these two holding hands once, and we've barely seen more of Mercedes and Shane. It's times like these when my irritation grows because it wouldn't have been challenging to have built up an actual love triangle, or to actually have given Mercedes something to do outside of New Directions. That way, a duet such as the one here would have felt earned, not contrived.

Also: Did the group really choose to perform a number instead of go to the police with evidence of the rock salting? (And wouldn't remnants of the slushee also be pretty good evidence? Wouldn't doctors have picked up on the substance in Blaine's eyes?) That might be the most Glee-ish storyline ever. I don't mean that as a compliment.

But there I go being negative again. So I'll turn this over to the readers. What was your favorite cover? Is it believable that kids born in 1995 would be this into Michael Jackson? Will Rachel eventually turn Finn down? Should she?


Editor Rating: 3.8 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.0 / 5.0 (281 Votes)

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


Serious question: how many teens can name more than three Michael Jackson songs?


The fact that this reviewer doesn't think teens would know or appreciate Michael Jackson says much more about the reviewer than it does the current teen generation. Obviously, he thinks in very narrow terms. Don't believe him.


Continued... Things I hated:
- Sam and Mercedes. Not enough of an overall storyline. Plus I somehow find it hard to believe that these two would be in love.
- Quinn getting into Yale. Its funny, she's completely realistic when it comes to her advice for Rachel, however her getting into Yale, a smalltown girl who has had a baby and a bad rep in the beginning of the season, seems hardly likely.
- And finally, the New Directions choosing NOT to go to the police with evidence after and ENTIRE EPISODE of build-up! I mean C'MON!!!!!! I wanted to see the police smack-down on pretty boy Sebastian. Anyways, sorry this is so long, but this is my honest opinion, as a FORMER Glee fan.


Continued... Things I loved:
- I loved the Smooth Criminal cover, however I deeply wish that Santana and Sebatian weren't gay, because the sexual tension/chemistry between them was incredible! Yowza!
- I also loved Kurt and Rachel becoming finalists for NYADA. FINALLY!
- But I have to say the hting I loved most about this episode was Quinn's advice to Rachel. It may have been harsh, but it was realistic. And honestly I don't know why Finchel was even considering wedlock. More in another comment...


This episode was better than recent episodes, providing somewhat of a plot-line that isn't TOO screwed up and mashed together. More in another comment...


Oh and as always, I loved Burt and Kurt :)


I liked Quinn's exit. I have been saying she needs to leave for a while now but I never would have expected it to be done so well. I liked her last number with her saying goodbye to all of her old loves, it was sweet as well as necessary. I also liked that she pointed out that you don't need to find your true love in high school. She finally grew up and matured, it made sense and it was well done. I liked that they had Artie dance but I wish they had shown less enraged close ups and more actual choreography, he and Mike are great together. I loved Rachel's break down and not getting a NYADA letter. It was moving as well as a bit heart breaking. What's Mercedes' college plan? Like the Reviewer I could give a crap about her romance with Sam but I want to know what this Diva has planned for grad. Unless she's not a grad...Im not even sure whose a senior at this point.


As for the rest of the episode, there are things I liked and things I HATED. Like for one thing, not telling the police or your school that someone ASSAULTED your friend on purpose to win a fucking singing contest is NOT taking the high road. Its promoting the idea that high school kids should keep serious matters to themselves instead of seeking the help of an adult or the law in this case. Sebastian is clearly psycho, slushies are one thing but to put rock salt in it? That's nuts. Usually I praise Glee for dealing with tough subjects but this was a seriously bad move on their part. Violence of any kind should always be reported and dealt with properly. It completely ruins their bullying message with Kurt.


This episode was better than the one just before it but it was still lacking in some areas. The Jackson numbers were decent but I have to agree with the Reviewer. To the younger generation Micheal Jackson is not known as a pop star but rather a child molester or that creepy plastic surgery guy. I'm a bit older than the glee kids in the show so I can say with absolute certainty that we never appreciated his music but he was more of a joke, at least until his death, which is when the world remembered they loved him after hating him for years and years. It may seem disrespectful for me to speak of the dead this way but its the truth that everyone seems to have forgotten. The media was brutal to Jackson and then he died, that's when they saw dollar signs with all of their "loving" tributes. It seems to me that Michael Jackson lived a sad life in the end and I hope his children aren't exposed to anymore crap.


Urgh. And stop promoting Smash. It just airs its pilot and somehow you can already know it will have great storylines? I'm tired of this negative aura on Glee review.

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Glee Season 3 Episode 11 Quotes

I'd throw this mocha in your face, but it's not nearly scalding enough.


I don't want to see the spectacle that is Michael. I want to be the spectacle that is Michael.