Last night was another one of those episodes of “Glee” that makes it difficult to continue watching. In the beginning, it felt like the show was very playful about stereotypes. Now, it feels like it’s essentiating them. Really? Straight boys like sports, and gay guys like to moisturize their face? “Glee” once felt fresh; it was like nothing else on television. Now, it feels like a magical realist after-school special with show tunes. And in order to cram its after-school specialness down your throat in 42 minutes, “Glee” grabs those stereotypes by the testicles and squeezes the life out of them. If it weren’t for Sue Sylvester, there’d be little reason to watch the show anymore.
Kristin Chenoweth returned again to last night’s show, if only to give Rachel Berry a week off. I like Chenoweth, but her lovable souse has quickly grown tiresome. And in last night’s episode, she dominated with four excruciatingly long, overly-sappy numbers. She, along with Will, took every last little bit of life out of Springsteen’s “Fire,” on a roller-rink, no less, and then subjected us to Burt Bacharach, who hasn’t been relevant in 30 years, save for a brief resurgence early last decade thanks to Elvis Costello (it was an eight-minute number and I doubt there were many who didn’t DVR there way past most of it). By the end of the episode, Chenowith’s character had gained $2 million of hush money after the death of her lover, which she used in part to buy the school auditorium.
“Glee,” is not a fairy tale set in high school; it’s Ryan Murphy’s wet dream.
Meanwhile, because Ryan Murphy is hellbent on pairing up everyone in this show with everyone else in his plotting-by-musical-chairs fashion, Kurt’s dad ended up with Finn’s mom, which ultimately caused lot of friction for both Finn, who didn’t want his dead father replaced, and Kurt, who didn’t want his own father’s attention diverted to Finn, who could bond with Mr. Hummel over sports. The gambit payed off for Finn, who may get a father figure in his life, but for Kurt — who also subjected us to an over-long, insipid Burt Bacharach number — he’s losing his gay crush to his own father over some “guy talk.” Seriously, Ryan Murphy: What kind of world did you grow up in where the colors were so black-and-white? Take some colors off your rainbow flag and put them into the show. It’s called nuance. Look into it.
Lastly, in the Disney channel message of the week subplot, Mercedes had to contend with her body issues, needing to lose 10 pounds in a week to keep her position on the Cheerios. How do you lose that much weight in such a short period of time? Why, the Sue Sylvester cleansing method, of course: Water, maple syrup, lemon juice, cayenne pepper, and a dash of ipecac. But after fantasizing that her classmates were food and having a nice little pep talk with the pregnant girl, Mercedes went all self-empowerment at the Cheerio performance with the only contemporary song of the episode, Christina Aguilera’s “Beautiful,” which aimed for the jugular and punctured it like a can of spray cheese.
But I think what annoyed me most about the episode, and especially the reaction shots of Will Schuester during the “Beautiful” number, is that in “Glee,” Will doesn’t even pretend to act straight. If Neil Patrick Harris’ Barney Stinson is the straightest gay man on television, Matthew Morrison’s Will Schuester is the gayest straight man (a role I happen to own in the online world). Obviously, I wouldn’t have a problem with it if it suited the character, but unless Ryan Murphy plans to pull that rabbit out of his hat of lame plot devices and eventually settle him up with Mr. Hummel, Schuester needs to dial down the sensitive guy thing a notch or six. The eyelash batting, the teddy-bear eyes, and the constant heart-melt is beginning to grate.
Thankfully, we still have Sue, who gave us the line of the night asking Mercedes and Kurt: “How do you two not have a show on Bravo?”