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:  Tate Donovan
Network: Fox, airs Tuesday nights
Original Telecast: February 8, 2011

After the uneven mess of the Super Bowl episode,  GLEE gets back to focusing on the personal lives of its main characters without any gimmicks or Sue Sylvester trickery and it’s a winner .

In fact, I have to admit, the episodes where Sue is missing in action, have actually proven to be the stronger episodes this season.

Valentine’s Day is the theme of “Silly Love Songs” which deals with the hormonally overload of almost all the characters.

There’s the characters with stable relationships, others in none, some in dysfunctional ones and others merely pining for love.

It’s a solidly written hour, and one that really showcases the interesting dynamics each character brings to the show overall.

Finn (Corey Monteith) is somewhat front and center – the star quarterback who managed to win the football championship for the team. Solid. Though, someone please tell me any school whose football season extends into February (I guess this is just another one of those illogical time gaps that exist in the fantasy alterna-world of GLEE).

Now Finn wants to set a kissing booth to raise money for the Glee club, but he’s doing it to coerce Quinn (Dianna Agron) into kissing him again.

Eventually this happens and fireworks occur, but now Finn is guilty of what he hated. Namely, Quinn and Rachel (Lea Michele) cheating on him, except now Quinn is cheating on her current boyfriend Sam (Chord Overstreet).

I love the Finn and Quinn pairing – and I love their chemistry, which makes for some great scenes between the two of them. Finn and Rachel also get some choice time – allowing that relationship to be officially severed when Finn admits he never felt fireworks when he kissed her.

One of the funnier detours this episode involves Puck (Mark Salling) who has taken a liking to new, curvy and self-sufficient glee club member Lauren (Ashley Fink). He even sings her a love song – Queen’s “Fat Bottomed Girls” which offends her and shocks many of the Glee club members for his audacity (any normal school would have had him kicked out for insensitivity, but this is GLEE after all).

Their courting is one of the episode’s highlights, as is the continued evolution of the Blaine (Darren Criss) and Kurt (Chris Colfer) romance. This is a great episode for their flirtation – and also shows Blaine to be completely oblivious when he courts a Gap employee he has a crush on with a performance by the Warblers. Both he and Kurt have a moment toward the end of the episode where Kurt lets his feelings be known – and now the door has been open wide.

Once again, Colfer gets some great moments to play and he and Criss work incredibly well together.

There’s also some more development on the Santana (Naya Rivera) front. She’s called out as a bitch by her fellow Glee club members, and it hurts her feelings, but there’s something about her that loves being the manipulator. Santana is a great villain, but I sense Murphy is hinting there’s more underneath her surface. I hope there’s a greater character arc at play here that’s slowly developing with her which I hope it gets a little more airtime in the weeks to come.

Songwise, the show is another solid. We get Michael Jackson’s “P.Y.T.” (good), Katy Perry’s “Fireworks” (outstanding) and the Warblers performing an excellent rendition of Paul McCartney’s “Silly Love Songs.”

What’s been fascinating this year is watching how the show has developed New Directions into one type of group and the Warblers as a completely different group. Their song selections and stylings are unique – and actually make for interesting counter-points, particularly since they’ll be going head-to-head in the Nationals.

I’ll say it again – when the show sticks with the character stuff, and avoids the sometimes overly slapsticky material and overly complex storylines, the show is actually quite good. I understand mixing things up and being ambitious, but the show is always its best when it delves squarely into the personal lives of ALL the characters. The show has such an excellent main and supporting cast, there’s storylines galore to still be mined (and which continues to separate from other high school series) and “Silly Love Songs” proves that in spades.


CLICK HERE for AX’s exclusive interview with CORY MONTEITH


CLICK HERE for more of ASSIGNMENT X’s GLEE reviews and interviews

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