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Glee Review: Let's Hear It for Love!

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As you might expect on a Valentine's Day-themed episode titled "Heart," Glee sent a message to viewers this week: Love conquers all.

Even eye injuries. Even scheming parents. Even long-held religious beliefs.

The only problem with the installment? We never actually saw what love had to conquer. Indeed, Glee skipped over every possible tense moment or conversation and just cut right to the sweet stuff, eventually concluding, appropriately enough, in The Sugar Shack.

Rachel's Dads

Rachel and Finn get into a legitimate argument over cohabitating and possibly rushing into marriage before knowing important traits about each other? Eh, why bother showing us how this couple actually moved past the disagreement and cut to them in bed. It's Valentine's Day after all!

Mercedes breaks the heart of her boyfriend, to the point that she can't even be with the person she loves so dearly and it forces her to sing the world's saddest, most emotional ballad? Eh, why actually depict her chat with Shane? There's a song to sell on iTunes!

Joe - a character we're introduced to and who instantly anchors the heavy, profound topic of Christianity versus homosexuality - is initially hesitant to sing for a gay couple? Eh, why depict any kind of struggle or realization? Let's just have him get over it and croon!

As it so often does, Glee tossed out a number of potentially intriguing storylines here... only to simply skip past any kind of build-up or earned resolution in lieu of as many songs as it could squeeze into an hour. These people aren't characters any more; they're just a set of vocal chords and limbs, uttering a few lines of dialogue to try and set a tone before jumping into their next cover.

I really do not want this to turn into a biblical debate - please be respectful in the Comments - but allow me to say/ask this: Almost everyone who still loves Glee tells me the same thing: Relax. Lighten up. It's frickin Glee! It's not meant to be taken seriously!!! Now... I have never bought into that because Ryan Murphy has made it clear he DOES intend for Glee to have an impact on society (see Kurt, bullying storyline).

But let's say one accepts the premise that Glee is meant to be taken as nothing but mindless entertainment -- in that case, is it really appropriate to actually delve into Christianity and homosexuality? To throw around bible quotes and interpretations? That goes to the heart of my constant issue with the show; it's anything BUT mindless entertainment. It brings up MAJOR issues, yet doesn't take them seriously, or doesn't follow through on them, or wraps them up in a corny, unrealistic, obvious way (hey, let's make the high school bully gay, and then let's make him fall for Kurt!).

The response from Gleeks to my criticism should not be for me to relax; it should be for the series itself to relax and actually air light, fluffy, meaningless episodes, not ones that tackle religion, sex, marriage and monogamy. Glee wants to come across like its profound by touching on various buzzwords and topics - but then it just gives up and solves everything with a song.

Were there aspects of this episode I enjoyed? Absolutely.

I'll take as much Jeff Goldblum as I can get and I hope this isn't the last we see of Rachel's dads. Forget couple's nicknames, they formed the first ever family nickname in television history: HudsonHummelBerry. (Sounds like a Ben & Jerry's flavor I'd totally eat.) They also sort of stole Ellen DeGeneres' motto with Honesty. Respect. Dance. But I'll let it slide.

I laughed at Kurt asking if all Irish people carry around four-leaf clovers, and at Puck asking Rachel when the baby was due. Figgins made me chuckle with his "Finchel" reference and Sugar was also funny here and there, but like the food item after which she's named, this character is much better in doses.

There was far too much of her here, as well as far too much of many characters we barely know. Sugar. Joe. Karofsky. They all received a lot more screen time than Puck, Mike, Tina and Will, not to mention Emma, Sue and Beiste, who didn't even make an appearance, even though one of them is engaged, another is trying to have a baby and another just got married.

You'd think those facts would warrant some Valentine's Day love, wouldn't you?

But that would only be true if Glee was interested in any kind of continuity. When do you think we'll see Karofsky or Joe again? These guys pop in, dominate an hour because the writers conjure up some love theme for their characters and then just disappear for weeks.

And, yes, us viewers know Darren Criss was sidelined so he could briefly appear on How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying. But Blaine wasn't actually on Broadway. Is there a reason Kurt acted SO shocked at his appearance? Do they not text and/or talk on the phone? Is he not allowed to visit? Why wouldn't Kurt have been aware of his well-being all along?

Is this a small complaint? Of course. But it goes along with the way Glee just insults its viewers by abandoning all semblances of logic.

So, yes, Gleeks, this is another negative review. I loved the performances, especially "Stereo Hearts" and "Cherish," but I fail to see why they can't be combined with consistent storytelling. If you're going to set up conflicts - such as Rachel and Finn's fight, and the God Squad's take on Santana/Brittany - is it really asking too much to depict how those conflicts are overcome?

What did everyone else think? Do you care about conflict resolution or merely about fun songs? Did you feel Mercedes' heartbreak or feel unattached to relationships (with Sam and with Shane) with which we've scarcely spent any time? And do phrases uttered tonight - such as Let's hear it for love! (Will) and That's what being Christian is really about. (Quinn, not long after she tried to set up her baby's adopted mother in a drug sting) - make you want to smile or vomit?

Review

Editor Rating: 2.7 / 5.0
  • 2.7 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.0 / 5.0 (303 Votes)

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

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Why not just cut out the unresolved, ridiculous story lines and just make it a songfest? The way it is written now, the speed and sappiness of the solutions are an insult to any thinking viewer.
Speaking of song fests, the tribute to Whitney was spectacular.

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Hard to believe that as good an actor Goldblum is he would have to take a job on this silly show. Know it is a success but just not for me. I would like to see him in a true drama again as lead.

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What I want to know is what was cut out of the show to add the Witney Houston tribute. There seemed like there was somethig missing.

Blu

They teased a story,kicked the actor to the curb,then cleared it up later so they had to address it.wrote themselves into a corner&now trying to clean up but it's never going to be good enough.They just wrote themselves into a corner in gen.the frustration is this show isn't how it used to be so if u still hold onto that and still hold the high expectations u used to,you'll kind of always be disappointed.I myself learn not to have expectations anymore.Sad but true.So I'll take the Mercy luv triangle if it means 1 of the least used characters gets an actual storyline,&I'll take Sugar if it means I get 2 c Artie do more.now it's just fillers til graduation.Now I watch for funny quips,a decent song,& my need to see where the characters and the actors I've come to like go from here.ur still passionate enough to be mad Matt, kudos.I'm just defeated,resigned and willing 2 take anything.I'll save my continuity rants 4 TVD. Kudos to Amber 4 that fantastic rendition of Whitney.

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"because Ryan Murphy has made it clear he DOES intend for Glee to have an impact on society."
What he intends is not necessarily what happens. The only real impact I see on society from the series is the number of downloads the songs get.
Yes they referenced the bible, but only barely. Were they actually going to make an impact they would have to have tried much harder than that. Not all Christians think Homosexuality is a sin, or at least not as bad of one as the more extreme fundamentalists make it out to be. The God Squad proved to be more like Joel Osteen Christians than Westboro Baptist Christians.
Lightly or vapidly touching a topic does not mean AGENDA.
You said it yourself: "It brings up MAJOR issues, yet doesn't take them seriously. . ." Exactly. So dude, try to relax, it's just eye/ear candy.

Blu

epi was solid compared to most. this show started off satirical.The moment it blew up and took itself too seriously the writing got all screwed up.Ryan deliberately tried to send messages rather than just letting the show be.I didn't get how drudging up the christianity v homosexuality bit was necessary.The God Squad (which is what the Celibacy club revamped?)all of a sudden pondering if it was ok to deliver a lesbian valentine.It was another forced attempt to insert another message about tolerating gays,which was redundant.I like the Mercedes triangle and the problem with it isn't the people involved so much as the writing that's been put into place from the beginnning.cedes isn'tKurt,Rachel,or Finn therefore they'll NEVER spend enough time on her to properly map out a love triangle (just like they don't spend enough time on Tina,Artie, Puck etc.)and it would have been believable if they hadn't had that major screwup with the casting and fired "sam" before rehiring him again.

Blu

Matt definitely got shredded last week and it was so unjustified and insane, because he was giving an HONEST review.I agreed with it...just as I see your points in most of this review as well.I can't help but think this review you really unleashed some things in retaliation to the copious amounts of commenter bashing last week.While I totally got where you came from (still do)this time in addressing the naysayers it did take away from the actual reviewing of the episode.It's hard to ignore people, I get that,but feeding into the bs doesn't help matters either. I love that you have the balls to be brutally honest...stick with that, minus the addressing the fellow Gleeks who criticize you bit. : )

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I HATED this episode. You've counted a lot of the reasons, so I won't repeat. Let me just say: Sugar = worst character EVER. And to give her a whole episode. I think this is the "jump the shark"episode for me, and I won't watch any more Glee.

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That really is weird how the have this song in the episode and Whitney Houston passes away. While Amber Riley is probably the 2nd best singer on this show it's amazing when you hear other people sing Whitney songs just how much better she was than everyone. She truly might have had the best voice of all time. The power, the pitch, the tone, incredible range. She just had everything

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@ BrittanaLover
Thank you for clearing that up for me. Unreal that they had recorded that prior to her passing. It was a lovely performance by Amber.