Stars: Dianna Agron, Chris Colfer, Jessalyn Gilsig, Jane Lynch, Jayma Mays, Kevin McHale, Lea Michele, Cory Monteith, Matthew Morrison, Amber Riley, Mark Salling, Jenna Ushkowitz
Writer: Ryan Murphy
Director: Tim Hunter
Network: Fox, airs Tuesday nights
Original Telecast: May 3, 2011
I’m really not sure where GLEE is heading. I think that’s the one statement that best sums up my feelings of season two. Season One was a really strong start to a very promising series, but once all of the hype died down a bit, and the second season started I kept getting the feeling that the storylines were meandering all over the map. It’s tough to write for an ensemble cast. It’s difficult to figure out which characters should be given more prominent storylines, and which ones work as just basically supporting cast. GLEE still hasn’t quite figured out the right dynamic.
Kurt (Chris Colfer) has had a really nice journey this season with the bullying issues, his move to a new school, finding a boyfriend, and ultimately returning to his first school and the glee club. Then on the other hand we have the Rachel (Lea Michele), Finn (Cory Monteith), and Quinn (Dianna Agron) love triangle. It was tired by the end of last season and it’s REALLY tired this season. I couldn’t care less about which of those characters end up with each other. Rachel is a self-absorbed narcissist that occasionally has good moments of charity towards others, Finn is a jock who never seems happy with who he is with, and Quinn is all over the map the way the writers have changed her from teen mother, back to demure virginal beauty, and then on the sidelines of uber-manipulative (and way too bitchy) prom queen contestant.
This week’s episode “Rumours” dealt with yet another preachy morality tale that GLEE has become synonymous with this season. The show still hasn’t figured out how to get a message across without being needlessly blunt and dumbing everything down to a first grade level. So this week dealt with the idea of not spreading and not believing rumors about your friends and classmates. The whole gist is to use Fleetwood Mac’s landmark 1977 album “Rumours” to tell their feelings to each other and express what rumors are doing to them in song. The Mac album was written when the various couples in the band were breaking up, and used their working relationship with music to keep them together.
Writer Ryan Murphy finds similar parables with his own inter-personal group of characters. It’s an interesting concept but again one that oversimplifies what the show should be more subtle with. The ultimate consequence of everything is that we find out Sam (Chord Overstreet) is living in a hotel with his mom, dad, and two adorable siblings. All of this comes to light because through a series of rumors, everyone thinks Kurt and Quinn are both sleeping with him. It’s odd that Sam has been ignored for a lot of episodes, and now suddenly has this “heartstrings” twist to his story. It just seems like an ineffective plot device to give them something to do with the character. And let’s not even start on why Quinn couldn’t tell her boyfriend Finn why she was actually visiting Sam at the hotel room or even Kurt for that matter, since they are step-brothers. It would be very easy to tell the truth, especially to Finn, because out of every kid at this high school, he’s the only one who wouldn’t blab it to everyone else.
April Rhodes (Kristen Chenoweth) returns again randomly in this episode, summoned back to try to whisk Mr. Schuester (Matthew Morrison) off to Broadway. The only real thing that this accomplishes is a fantastic duet between the two on the Stevie Nicks-penned “Dreams”.
Sue Sylvester (Jane Lynch) is back this week and once again up to one dimensional no good. She is re-starting the MUCKRAKER school paper for the sole purpose of spreading rumors and gossip meant to hurt and destroy the glee club. I remember when Sue had depth of character last season in dealing with some more sensitive situations like her handi-capable sister in the home, but they have lost all of the parts of Sue that made her interesting and are instead writing her as a one-dimensional Snidely Whiplash character that is boring and un-interesting to watch.
The Fleetowod Mac songs used off the album in this episode were OK. We had covers of “Songbird”, “I Don’t Want to Know”, “Don’t Stop”, and “Never Going Back Again” – some were more charming than others. Santana (Naya Rivera) singing “Songbird” was a touching moment between her and Brittany (Heather Morris), but then it was squashed later when Santana refused to come on Brittany’s video blog and announce their status as a couple.
“I Don’t Want To Know” was a pretty solid duet between Finn and Quinn, while Artie (Kevin McHale) takes on Lindsey Buckingham’s “Never Going Back Again” with multiple guitar accompaniment (while expressing the pain of his break-up with Brittany).
The best of them, “Go Your Own Way” was sung by Rachel, and I liked the fact that it’s a traditionally male song sung by a woman.
I do still like GLEE, I just don’t love GLEE the way I did when the storylines were more solid, the characters more believable, and the whole show had a more cohesive feeling than it does right now. I’m hoping season three will pull everything together and make it as good as it was in the first season.
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