Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Should I be Gleeful?

There has been much love and then much backlash doled out towards Fox’s “Glee.” I can understand where most people are coming from when they criticize the show as I hold the same sentiments: the characters are inconsistent; the songs are overproduced and auto-tuned to death; the tone veers wildly; etc. Despite my better judgment, I have continued to watch this show, hoping for a glimpse of the series I fell in love with during the first half of its first season.

So, going into last night’s “Original Song” episode, I was very skeptical. The show has taken a lot of criticism over their ubiquitous cover songs (they’ve even managed to steal the record for most number one singles away from The Beatles), so I was interested to see what they would come up with. All in all, the originals weren’t half bad. I thought Santana’s “Trouty Mouth” about her boyfriend/beard’s gigantic pie-hole was hilariously written and pretty well-sung (though, most people around the blogosphere seemed to dislike it); Puck’s “Big Ass Heart” was a charming love song about his overweight paramour; and Mercedes’ “Hell to the No” was one of the night’s weaker offerings which was saved by Amber Riley’s huge, yet underused voice (like most of the characters on the show, the writers don’t really know what to do with her).

But for the night’s biggest numbers, Lea Michelle belted out “Get it Right” and dueted with Corey Monteith on “Loser like Me” which were clearly the originals we were meant to pay attention to (I’m really hoping that people prove me wrong and make “Trouty Mouth” number one on iTunes). Personally, I don’t think these songs are going to be smash hits as the writers played it pretty safe – nothing really set these originals apart from the generic pop songs that this show chooses to cover from week to week (in all honesty, half the time I have no fucking clue what songs rival glee club, The Warblers are singing).

Anyway, this episode could have been pretty great – we had some emotional pay-offs with the Rachel, Finn, Quinn love triangle and the much awaited romantic pairing of Kurt and Blaine; however, between the original songs and the covers, the episode felt overstuffed. More importantly, as Todd VanDerWerff of the A.V.Club notes, the whole original songwriting plot could have been stretched out over three episodes instead of crammed into one (for the record, he is much more eloquent than I am and you should check out his review of the episode here). But possibly the worst part of this episode was the bizarre Kathy Griffin cameo as a Sarah Palin/Christine O’Donnell type character. The impression wasn’t very funny and pretty much resorted to saying offensive things explained away by the fact that the character was a Republican. As you guys know, I’m a fan of structure, but the writers of this episode failed to construct a single joke for Griffin (who as a comedienne should have done something about this). The final act of the show threw me off so completely that I ended up hating what should have been a pretty good episode, proving that one bad apple does in fact spoil the bunch.

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