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Glee Review: From Past to Prologue

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Glee went back to 1977 on "Saturday Night Glee-ver," paying homage to the film that made John Travola, white suits and spinning disco balls famous.

But the episode really used the past to pen a prologue for three key seniors, as Finn, Santana and Mercedes made major decisions regarding their future. Each has a much clearer idea now of what it will bring.

Dancing in the Hall

When season three started, it appeared as if Glee would tackle the daunting challenge of senior year, of truly figuring out what one wants to do with one's life. But somewhere between tribute episodes, Christmas specials and car accidents, that theme got lost. Until tonight.

I was mostly pleased with how it was handled, with the exception of the same complaint I make every week in this space: the random nature of storylines and the lack of character development. Take Mercedes, for example.

As she delivered her inner monologue, along with a great version of "Disco Inferno," I put on my Carrie Bradshow hat and couldn't help but wonder...

What do we know about her outside the choir room? What hobbies does she possess? What class does she excel in? Were you aware her father was a dentist (what an arbitrary throw-in, too: why wouldn't a dentist support a singing career?) before that nugget was dropped?

I also thought back to how Mr. Schuester described the trio of seniors featured - Finn as talented, but lacking self-esteem; Mercedes as lacking vision; Santana as lacking focus - and thought: really? Are those descriptions truly apt? Or did the writers toss them in just to fit this episode, this motif.

I'm sorry, but Finn doesn't really possess talent, not when compared with other club members. Going to acting school is perfect for him, Rachel believes? Does anyone else believe this? How does that, in any way, jibe with what we know about Finn Hudson? Except to give the writers material for season four?

And Mercedes without vision? She seemed to lack confidence more than vision here, and even that didn't seem consistent: since when does Mercedes Jones need an ego boost?!? This is one strong young diva who has always asked for more time in the spotlight.

That video Sam made was nice and all, but it only seemed necessary because Glee chose to shape Mercedes in a certain manner, for one week only, to make this storyline work.

And Santana received a full cheerleading scholarship? I mean, did she even apply to Louisville?!? Where did that come from? And what the heck have you been doing, Emma Pillsbury? Please spend less time cleaning grapes and more time acting like an actual guidance counselor for next year's class. These kids need you more than three weeks prior to graduation!

(Or not, I suppose, when magic scholarships and acting studio acceptances appear out of nowhere. For shame, James Lipton.)

The sad truth is that most of these characters - Mercedes, Brittany, Santana, Quinn (who, ummm, I guess was taking wheelchair lessons somewhere else?), Artie, Mike, Tina, Puck - stopped being human beings ages ago. They were turned into mechanisms through which the show could sell tracks on iTunes - there was A LOT of Glee music this week - or deliver Public Service Announcements.

And that's depressing, isn't it? It's almost anger-inducing. We've sat and watched the show for nearly three seasons and, just as many students are about to graduate and we're asked to feel something about them, we're left asking: wait, who are these people?!? What can we say about them outside of the nauseating assignments Will doles out each week?

(Perform a song from Saturday Night Fever and then share your hopes for the future. He actually said that. He also said: It's not the broken dreams that break us. It's the ones we don't dare to dream. I really hope Matthew Morrison at least had trouble getting these words out.)

Yes, I know: it's a musical. What am I doing asking for less music? But that's my point: I wish the show had strived for more as a whole. I wish it had used music as a way to more fully develop well-rounded characters (or just to be fun!), not as the sole way in which we know the characters.

And not just as their sole hope for the future. I'd love to have seen Mercedes acknowledge that she loves singing, she'll always include it in her life... but you know what? She's gonna strive to be an architect! Or perhaps a nurse or an interior designer. The arts are great, but making a career out of them is next to impossible and also - as much as it would pain Glee to admit - it's perfectly okay to plan on a more realistic, attainable major or profession.

That doesn't mean you don't have dreams. It just means you're growing up.

All that said, the episode in and of itself was fine overall. But it simply served to remind me of all Glee could have been if it dedicated an entire season to the journey of these seniors, not slapped most of it together faster than Will and Sue slapped together the concept of a Saturday Night Fever tribute.

I will, however, leave you with a few of the best Glee quotes from the week, as Sue and Brittany were especially on fire. I'll also ask: What did everyone else think? Do you feel like you know these seniors well?

Sue: Her chagrin is limited only by the fact that she has a brain the size of a toddler's fist.
Brittany: I can show you the MRI. | permalink
Brittany [on a bull's testicle]: It tastes just like a chicken testicle. | permalink
Puck: Two dudes in one bed is, like, confirmed gay. | permalink
Sue: Let's be honest, William. You've been out of ideas since Madonna week. | permalink
Rachel: While we applaud your proper use of the terminology, but we told Mr. Schue: we do not support disco. | permalink

Review

Editor Rating: 3.4 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 3.4 / 5.0 (196 Votes)

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

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@cliff I have to agree with u on that.

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@tootz you and Bobby have entertained me more than glee, Thanks

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Just drop it.

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If you were telling ANYONE (be they positive OR negative about the show) how they should express themselves (or not) I would have said EXACTLY the same thing. Yours was the first response on this thread that said that (whether you meant it intentionally or not), that's why I mentioned you.
Whether you love the show or think it's not as good any more you should be entitled to write things here without other people telling you otherwise.
If you didn't mean to tell people they shouldn't be negative about the show and were trying to say something else then fine, I'll leave the subject alone.
I apologise if you think I'm focussing merely on you, I'm more aggrieved with the sentiment of some telling others they are not entitled to say anything negative (you are certainly NOT the only one doing this).

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This was the first time since a started watching the show back to season 1 that I was bored as hell. Don`t get me wrong, I’m referring to THIS episode in particular (BIG BROTHER was great). I’m one of the few here who defends the show; because I love it, but the disco theme was lame and old fashion, they didn’t even care to give a modern twist to the songs. I know is a tribute episode, but Jesus it was so boring. Every time they burst into songs in the hallway I was wishing for someone to throw them a slushy. The acting felt rush and unemotional in general, it´s like the don´t fell anything anymore, they just throw out lines before they burst into songs. I love Blaine, I really do, and I know he is the best performer of the guys, I get it, but I´m getting sick of him, the show should change the name to "Blaine and the others". I mean, the last episode was focused around him, and it was great and all, but give me a rest of him to at least remind me that Tina is alive. As soon as the episode started in the classroom and I saw Blaine, I was like "Are you kidding me? Another Blaine song? (Eye rolling)". I never though I would be tired of Blaine, and he is my favorite. Every time I see Rachel and Finn I roll my eyes, damn I´m getting sick of them too, please graduate already and go. They should try to make new friendships to refresh things, how about Kurt and Puck, it would be a nice change, Blaine getting jealous of it or vice versa, Kurt getting jealous of a friendship between Blaine and Puck. I fast forwarded to Alex´s (Wade) sequences because I was expecting his appearance in the show since The Glee Project ended (He was and still is amazing!!! He should have won; his story was WAY more interesting than Samuel´s and Damian´s). And he didn´t disappoint one bit! He was fierce as the lead singer of Vocal adrenaline. In overall the episode was disposable, just a filler I guess, Wade was the only thing worthy to watch.

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Do you know how many comments are on here and u are only commenting on mine I'm sure that I am not the only one who have nothing bad to say about the show..and by the way u are the one who should have express your thoughts, opinion better I bet if I had something NAGATIVE to say about the show u would not be commenting on what I write now comment on somebody else stuff because I am really getting sick and tired of u.

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I won't mention your name (you know who you are) I was only doing it so there was no mistake who I was talking to, just providing more proof of what I was suggesting. If visiting forums and people responding to things you've said gets you so upset why do you visit them? When you write something on a forum, comments page etc. that's what happens.
You were the one who first suggested people shouldn't express negative opinions of the show, that's why I responded to you directly. Don't take it so personally, it was the sentiment I objected to, if you didn't mean it that way you could have expressed it better.
If that's not what you meant to do then be careful how you word comments you leave, especially if you get so angry if anyone merely responds to you.
I was never rude or horrible (didn't call you any names etc.), just honest. Chill out.

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Wow - even by your usual "totally missing the point" analysis you failed to comment on the major alternative storyline of the week. You remind me of the character in Smash who wants to get rid of all those pesky songs and turn it into a bona fide drama.

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@tootz and my comments was not meant to shut people or I will do it directly who was the one that commented about who first I am done arguing with u just stop mentioning my name to make your...point or whatever the hell u are doing goodbye.

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@bobby And incidently what you quoted of me was ADVICE not 'ordering' people to shut up (whereas your post stated people who have a negative view on things shouldn't as YOU enjoyed the episode, so basically telling people what their tastes should be!). Also I ALWAYS stated such people should "maybe rethink" contributing to forums etc. not definitely stop entirely.
If someone else's opinion hurt/upset me so much I'd either ignore it (why should you care what anyone else thinks if you enjoyed it so much anyway?) or remove myself from where I would be exposed to it.
If you think that's not good advice then you're entitled to your opinion, but don't twist it like I told anyone to actually shut up.
I don't mind people enjoying Glee, good for them it doesn't bother me, I just don't want anyone telling me or anyone else that if someone disagrees they are wrong or not entitled to express that. Taste is subjective, deal with it.

Glee Season 3 Episode 16 Quotes

Santana: Blaine's handsome brother said it best: college is a waste of time. I just wanna be famous, plain and simple.

Let's be honest, William. You've been out of ideas since Madonna week.

Sue

Glee Season 3 Episode 16 Music

  Song Artist
Glee cast if i cant have you If I Can't Have You Glee Cast iTunes
Glee cast more than a woman More Than a Woman Glee Cast iTunes
Glee cast you should be dancing You Should Be Dancing Glee Cast iTunes
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