Wednesday, April 18, 2012

The RBI Report: "Saturday Night Glee-ver"

Finally, a Glee episode devoted to these kids and their dreams!  It's high time we've learned what mental doors have opened for these scrappy kids thanks to the power of music, theatre, dance, and acting!  And what better way to explore the nature of dreaming and success than with the seminal American music genre that best understands what it means to dream: disco.  Because, as they say: the higher your falsetto, the bigger your dreams.

"Saturday Night Glee-ver," written by Matthew Hodgson, directed by Brad Buecker.

Okay, so perhaps I'm being a bit harsh.  The idea of kids in a small town dreaming of something bigger is a central tenet of this show, and I don't mean to knock it.  But it does get re-tread an awful lot, and I honestly don't know how disco is the best vehicle for the theme.  Frankly, it felt more like the last musical genre left to get the Glee treatment - especially since the show's pilot condemned it outright.  So what better way to prove its relevance by shoehorning it into Glee's main themes?  But disco, to me, is simply fun.  If you want to do disco this close to graduation, make it so that the seniors are stressed out by their college decisions, and Will suggests they just take a break and have fun - with disco.  The kids can protest, because it's disco, but eventually learn that disco's not so bad, and reach their own conclusions about their futures with or without the help of polyester.  And while Saturday Night Fever could be summarized as a guy pursuing his dreams, the same can be said for countless other movies, and the reduction ignores a lot of Saturday Night Fever's focus on the angst of growing up and finding an outlet from harsh "grown-up" realities.  (In other words, Will could have used disco to encourage the kids to let off steam while they deal with their grown-up choices.)

The premise of disco was even more bewildering in that Glee just busted out "You Should Be Dancing," right from the top, without any explanation whatsoever.  Blaine thought it'd be a good mix of vintage and fun (which it is; I'll give him) - but only when Will worries for the futures of three of his Glee students does disco become the perfect vehicle for self-discovery.  Um, I don't think that's what Blaine meant, Mr. Schue.  What did help sell this concept was the spoonful of self-referential sugar that Sue sent with it - claiming that Will Schuester hasn't had a good teaching idea since Madonna Week.  Burn!  (And true.  Also, Madonna was Sue's idea.  Awkward.)  In other words, Glee hasn't logically assembled an artist's tribute that's both fitting and story-driven in quite some time.  We even got a further nod to that suggestion with the claim that "Rumours" was great, but had no lasting effect on the narrative.  Maybe this was Matt Hodgson's way of warning us that we were about to endure another madcap hour of themed music that would stretch the bounds of human logic and character development to facilitate its song choices, and that we should all just forget about it at curtain's fall.

Oh, how I wish we could.

Okay, okay, I'm being overdramatic again.  Of the four storylines threading through "Saturday Night Glee-ver," two were trainwrecks, one was passable, and one was downright excellent.  And guess what?  The downright excellent one had nothing to do with the episode's frame: the idea that Will Schuester is using disco to encourage three of his students to figure out what they want to do with their futures.  What does that tell you about the framework, then? 

Trainwreck #1: Finn Hudson searches for his dream, fails to realize his girlfriend has been replaced by a robot.

"Saturday Night Glee-ver" finally confronted the uncomfortable issue that's been conveniently undeveloped yet annoyingly present since the dawn of this season: what does Finn Hudson want from his future?  This is a 100% valid question to be asking, given his past confusion on the topic.  And frankly, that confusion transcends into the narrative itself.  Do the writers want him to be proto-Will Schuester, or a kid destined to take the scene by storm because he's a straight guy who can sing and dance?  Is he supposed to be a mechanic, a soldier, or a football player?  Is he going to be a pool-cleaning mogul with Puck, or is he a gifted stage performer?  He knows not.  We know not.  The writers know not.

But Finn was allowed this full episode to discover his own dreams for the future - not the ones that Puck or Rachel want for him.  Will, Emma, and Rachel all bombard him with pamphlets and brochures for college, but Finn promptly dumps them in the trash.  And finally, Will gets him to break down and confess that he's scared of being a loser, and even more terrified that Rachel will realize he has no potential.  The only thing he knows he wants is the feeling of being on the football field or on the stage, and Will tells him that deep down, he knows his dream.  He just has to watch Saturday Night Fever to discover it and embrace it.  (Yes, I laughed.  It's a ridiculous notion.)

So, Finn tells Rachel he wants to go to New York and be like Tony Manero in the Big City and take on the world.  Of course, this comes after Rachel tells Finn that they don't have to go to New York if his dream isn't there.  Because her home isn't a place - it's him.  (Yes, I gagged.  It's overly saccharine.)  She encourages Finn to have his own dreams, because what if they're bigger than hers?  They deserve to be focused on.

Here is the thing.  I'm quite tired of talking about Finn and Rachel's relationship, so I'll make this brief.  Yes, Finn deserves to have a dream.  But I dislike that the narrative and the other characters in it are so insistent that he have one now.  It is 100% okay to not know exactly what you want to do when you graduate high school.  Most people don't end up where they thought they'd be, even just one or two years down the line.  If Finn is struggling to find a fulfilled future, then why not let him find it at his own pace?  The other characters may as well be turning him upside down and shaking him, as though a wayward dream might fall out of one of his pockets.  It's okay to be unsure!  And while I love that this show positively portrays young people with big dreams, I dislike that anything other than that standard is treated like a "problem."  It's not a problem; it's simply an obstacle to overcome at one's own pace and patience.

Unfortunately, this storyline for Finn is playing out in conjunction with Rachel, to whom he is tethered via engagement band.  And here is where it gets particularly troubling.  What do you do when your couple might have to put one person's dreams before the other's?  It's unfair for Finn to tagalong with Rachel to New York if he doesn't have a dream there.  But it's also unfair for Rachel to redirect or postpone her dream simply so that Finn can find out what his is.  On any other show, this is a recipe for a healthy and amicable breakup, with the promise that perhaps their timing will realign in the future.  On Glee, this is a chance to "develop" Rachel Berry and prove that she's not the same selfish loner she was in the Pilot.  She is willing to put Finn before her dreams now!  She's grown!  She even tells Finn that she used to feel so alienated at McKinley that New York seemed the only way to go home, but now that role is fulfilled by Finn.  The writers seem to be wielding this as some sort of character development for Rachel with regards to her personal relationships, but frankly it's just upsetting that they would strip her of all her other identifiers just to make her feel loved.

This all wouldn't be so bad if Finn's dreams didn't amount to "I like it when people cheer for me," or if Rachel didn't seem so insecure about losing Finn that she offered to sacrifice everything that's defined her character for three seasons.  It also wouldn't be so bad if Finn didn't match Rachel's insecurity with his own need to fuel his own self-esteem with Rachel's approval.  The idea that he wants to be Rachel's Man, that he wants to be exactly how she sees him - capable of anything - reeks of low self-esteem and the need for someone else to fulfill that emotional void.  It's unhealthy!  This is a terribly unhealthy relationship, if one half of it is so insecure about being alone that she'll desperately set aside her own previously-unchangeable plans, and the other half of it has so little self-worth that he's banking on the validation from his loved one to make sense of his life.  Any way you spin this, it's a mess, and the writers have consistently found the messiest aspects each time they spin Finchel storylines.  This is not a healthy romance; it's just not.

Honestly, the most compelling person for Finn to interact with on this "dreamer" arc is Quinn Fabray, who spent two and a half seasons stuck in circles when it came to figuring out what she truly wanted.  It would be incredibly rewarding for them, as the erstwhile head cheerleader and star quarterback, to have a conversation about the futures that they've been forced to redirect for themselves after everything they thought they wanted whisked away on the wind.  But for whatever reason, Quinn was hardly anywhere to be seen in "Saturday Night Glee-ver," which is maddening even without the expectation that she might have an interesting interaction with Finn about self-discovery.  Apparently the writers think we have little invested in Quinn's onscreen presence, let alone her recovery storyline. 

Trainwreck #2: Santana Lopez searches for her dream; fails to realize she can't win for losing when it comes to her private life.

We all remember Matthew Hodgson, right?  He penned a little sojourn called "I Kissed a Girl," wherein Santana Lopez had details from her private life wrenched from her control and displayed for all to see - and then just had to learn to deal with it.  Does this sound familiar?  Because this is the basic description of Santana's part in "Saturday Night Glee-ver" as well.  Santana, according to Schue, is ambitious but has no focus.  She crows left and right that she wants to be famous in whatever way she can, without any real merit if necessary, and she's 1000% sure it'll happen for her.  Well, Brittany decides to take matters into her own hands and puts hers and Santana's sex tape on the internet.  Of course, Santana gets all kinds of (negative) attention for this, and is duly horrified at the consequences.  Brittany is hellbent on making Santana's dream come true, and tries to set her up on a series of reality TV shows.  In the end, Santana is embarrassed about her original plan, having seen the fallout of being publicly shameless, and decides to go to college.  Which is good, because Sue Sylvester got her into a cheerleading program in Louisville, Kentucky, with an option for majoring in business.  (Because if there's one state in the union that screams Santana Lopez, it's Kentucky.)

This storyline was a downright mess.  Firstly, the sex tape part was completely glossed over for the purpose of Santana learning her Big Lesson.  Where was Holly Holliday to swoop in and discourage another possible sex tape leak?  Has Glee decided to not mention child pornography, or are we supposed to believe that Santana and Brittany are 18 and can therefore make all sex-related decisions as though they're mini-adults?  All I know is that a sex tape was casually dropped in as a plot device in a high school comedy, and nary an eyebrow was raised.

Secondly, Santana was actively portrayed as having the wrong dream.  She wished to get famous for the sake of being famous, and gets royal comeuppance when she realizes fame is on her doorstep... because her girlfriend exploited their private life for her dream.  Which leads me to the third bad part of this storyline: why is it that Santana can't be written in control of her own storylines?  Is it because she's a bitch?  Because watching Santana completely powerless in her own existence is not rewarding "punishment" for her past transgressions as one of Glee's quasi-villains.  It's upsetting.  In both "I Kissed a Girl" and "Saturday Night Glee-ver," Santana had her privacy violated with the expressed idea that it was out of love - and in the end, Santana's completely fine with it.  Not only that, but it was in her best interests.  In IKAG, she's forced out of the closet to show her how awesome she is, no matter that she isn't ready for it.  And in SNG, her sex life is displayed for all to see, so that she can discover that she doesn't want to be a fame whore.  To boot, she has her college picked out for her and handed to her in one fell swoop, and she thanks them for it.  

I call foul!  This is not okay!  Why does no one ever ask Santana what she wants, and respect that anymore?  It's terrible construction for this character, who may as well have her hands tied behind her back so that she can keep shooting off at the mouth until someone "nicer" comes along to show her that she's wrong.  It'd be one thing if Santana reacted like Finn, who is no stranger to a temper tantrum when he feels he's being walked on.  But the writers love to shove someone else's wishes down Santana's throat, and make her simply say thank you in return.  As a result, a character with incredible depth as a result of her flaws is reduced to being a body in orbit, to be yelled at or lectured, or wielded thinly to prove a point.  Hell, even Will put words in her mouth when she finished singing "If I Can't Have You."  And while she corrected his interpretation with her own intent, she was ultimately shown to be invalid in her opinions after she had the lesson shoved down her throat.  Ultimately, she wasn't in charge of her own self-discovery storyline, and what makes matters worse is the idea that Brittany, her supposed "soulmate," was involved in the denial of Santana's agency.  Sue and Brittany knew what was best for Santana, without asking her, and that's all there was to it.  Party foul on healthy relationships, Glee, and double foul on portraying Brittany as too dumb to know any better.  I really shouldn't be surprised at this point.

But let's move on to the more palatable material, shall we?

Passable Storyline: Mercedes already knows her dreams; is reaffirmed that she has the ability to achieve them.

So, Finn doesn't have a dream, Santana has the wrong dream, and Mercedes doesn't know how to go about getting her dream.  She wants to be like Mariah, Whitney, and Aretha: women who have #1 hits that inspire people.  But how does she get there?  She apparently has little parental support from her dentist father, and underneath all of this lies the nagging insecurity: what if she's only good by Lima standards?  Cream rises to the top, but what if she's only skim milk?  This notion is certainly compelling, and realistic to the situation at hand, so while I'm not usually a fan of bogging Mercedes down with debilitating and self-imposed insecurities, I was more willing to let this one through.

And of course, since this is Glee, her affirmation came in the form of a love interest.  Sam filmed her rendition of "Disco Inferno," uploaded it to YouTube sans permission, and garnered enough positive comments to help Mercedes realize that she ain't no skim milk.  It was a pretty standard way to wrap up the emotional mini-arc, and while it was cute, I can't help but wish there were something more to it.  What if Sam immediately assured Mercedes that she had nothing to worry about in the talent department, and then they set about researching the music industry?  That way, Mercedes could get an added boost of self-confidence in the fact that she's studied up and acquired some business savvy.  As they say, you can learn tips and tricks, but you can't learn talent.  Mercedes already has talent - she just might need to gain some savvy to really capitalize on it.

Of course, I also can't help but wonder why these three storylines never intersected.  Why did Mercedes, Finn, and Santana all have to receive help from their significant others, but never once did the writers purposefully cross their paths?  After all, they were scripted as having the same general problem: a lack of preparation for the future - so why not team them up and let them work through their issues together?  Mercedes and Santana could drop some (productive, not cruel) truth bombs on Mr. Hudson about his aimlessness, Santana and Finn could both easily reassure Mercedes that she's amazing (Santana in a backwards way, of course), and Mercedes and Santana could realize that they inadvertently push each other to be better simply through competition, and make a pact to keep pushing one another in the future.  Hell, both Kurt and Rachel dealt with the same insecurities as Mercedes fifteen episodes ago, and no one knows about the nagging possibility of being destined to loser status quite as well as Noah Puckerman or Quinn Fabray.  So why boomerang the wayward dreamers into their significant others only - especially when two of those relationships suffered in the execution?

Finally, excellence: Wade is Unique.

At long last, we were treated to the fourth and final winner of The Glee Project: Alex Newell.  He played Wade, a Vocal Adrenaline student who seeks out Kurt and Mercedes for a piece of advice.  He confesses to them that he's their number one fan, and that he wants to know if they think he should perform at VA's Regionals dressed as a woman.  See, Wade only feels like he's his real self when he's "Unique" - a female alter-ego.  Kurt and Mercedes tell him that Ohio isn't really ready for the likes of Unique, but ultimately Sue Sylvester urges them to encourage Wade so that VA will tank.  But when Kurt and Mercedes attend Regionals to save Wade from the pending disaster of introducing drag to Ohio, he tells them he has to go through with it.  Then he gets up on stage, in wig, dress, heels, and makeup, and performs the hell out of "Boogie Shoes" to thunderous applause.   

It is not often that mainstream television tackles the "T" in LGBT.  Truthfully, we're still trying to get the "L," "G," and "B" represented fairly and frequently.  So transgender issues are rarely scripted, and usually cross-dressing is seen as comedic device or throwaway joke, and it's almost always separated from any actual gender dissociation.  So to see Glee, a television show marketed to the mainstream, putting forth a young character who expresses his true identity without any ounce of shame or confusion - even when his true identity is a girl - is a huge deal.  They even went so far as to point out that Kurt, while being "effeminate" as a gay man, still identifies as just that: a man.  It's implied, however, that Wade identifies as a woman, and in embracing that identity, he shoneGlee made good on a promise that most television shows don't even go near, and I applaud them.

In all, disco served as a mostly random backdrop to the usual business of the glee kids figuring out their dreams and discovering their potential.  Unfortunately, the individual storylines involved some poor choices in terms of agency and character relationships, and at the end of the day I'm still not sure I feel any better about these kids' futures.  Truly, the most enjoyable part of the episode was seeing each of the kids deliver their own dance moves during "Night Fever," and I wish the episode had been more in keeping with the gang having fun and coming to conclusions more naturally than forcibly adopting the lessons of a disco film from the '70s. 

The RBI Report Card...
Musical Numbers: B+
Dance Numbers: A-
Dialogue: C+
Plot: C+
Characterization: D
Episode MVP: Wade


  1. On the Santana front, I thought it was a weird story choice, but you should note that they didn't actually pick out the school she's going to for her. She explicitly said that she wasn't sure whether that specific school was the right choice for her, but she thanked them for the general idea.

    Which, since Naya is returning next year and the show is unlikely to be set in Kentucky, is clearly them keeping open the question of wherever she's going to be next year.

    1. I agree, I don't think she's gonna end up in Kentucky. I thought that Will's line about her being a lawyer was foreshadowing. I would love if Santana, the former bully, decided to study to become a lawyer. She loves to argue with people and tearing them down, she would be perfect for the job and it would be great character development everything considered.

    2. With the chaotic, inconsistent treatment of Glee's characters, do you really think foreshadowing even occurs to the writers and show runners? Um, would they know what it was or how to use the technique?


    3. I thought the lawyer thing was another rude dig at the fans, Santana's written as a lawyer in a lot of the Faberry fics, and the way Will blurted it out all ridiculous, I get that every now and then they joke about the fandom, but that one felt like "OMG, you guys are ridiculous!! Santana as a lawyer, ha ha ha, NO!" LITERALLY FOUR EPISODES AGO SHE WAS REALLY CONCERNED ABOUT HER EDUCATION AND HER FUTURE. FOUR. FUCKING. EPISODES. AGO. This show is like trying to watch a show written by Tara, except her alters are always popping out while she's writing, so fuck knows what you're going to get, and they only remember their own stuff, except even Gimli would pee on the amount of misogyny and unhealthy dependency woven through this season!!

  2. Dr. She Bloggo your review was like been stuck in traffic... "insufferable".

    1. Just because you dislike the content, doesn't mean you should call this review "insufferable". It was actually spot on - this episode sucked. Especially from a writer's standpoint.

      But hey, A+ for grammar and vocabulary. "...your review was like been stuck in traffic."

  3. As always your review is spot on. The only thing that I wanted to point out is in regards to Santana's storyline, which as you I didn't like or fully understand the point of.
    But what I did understand, is that Brittany in this episode wasn't too dumb to know any better, if anything hers behavior was her way to show Santana that being famous for the sake of it isn't worth loosing your dignity for. Granted, how she did it, by leaking their sex tape, was wrong but I don't think it was done out of stupidity.
    Her line "Just let me know how far you are willing to go for fame" was a clear hint at that, especially since we later on find out that she thinks Santana's future deserves better.
    It doesn't justify her, but at least Brittany in this episode didn't come off as dumb, her plan to push Santana's boundaries actually worked, even tho it was wrong of her to act like that.

    The storyline was still a mess, but I just wanted to paint that out.

  4. Loved this review and I agree fully with you on pretty much everything.

    I didn't understand why Brittany's future isn't talked about. She's obviously a senior since she's Senior Class President, but no one seems to care about her future.
    Are we suppose to take it for granted that she knows she's going to fail? Because if that's the case, the Glee writing stuff needs to learn the basic of how america high schools work, other than take a writing 101 class.

  5. Excellent review, thank you.

    As the above poster pointed out, we can figure now that Brittany knew exactly what she was doing. She redacted the racy parts, and pushed Santana until she learned her lesson. But it doesn't matter--everything else was right on. It's a mess.

    I dislike the pandering. It's great that Brittany was unmuted, and is a loving and supportive partner. And even smart, in her own way. But the lesbian cheerleader sex trope is unforgivable. IKAG was someone's fantasy about teen lesbians (or, dare I say it, Naya Rivera)--it felt less like a ratings ploy. This one feels exactly like that: an attempt to bring in queer Brittana fans as well as everyone else who watches porn. It's inexcusable, and I'm not sure many reviewers get it.

    I hate that Santana was actually shamed for wanting what she wanted, and that Glee was so arrogant as to use that trope to shame her! A shocking case of pot kettle black.

    Hodgson writes Santana so OOC, it's embarrassing. Seriously, I can't believe the other writers let him (or themselves, depending on how collaborative it was) get away with this. I can't believe Rivera does, given how close she is to him. Or do they honestly not see this? Or is Murphy that dictatorial and mean-spirited? In the context of other other female characters in the show, she's just one more example of how poorly they're treated, but to queer female fans, there are the added insults of co-opting and misrepresentation.

    Glee continues to mystify me. They make so many bad decisions where the right ones seem so easy to make, I can't come up with a plausible scenario as to how they work. I think as long as starving queer teen fans bow down in gratefulness and GLAAD continues to do their PR for them--instead of calling them on the offensive outing in IKAG and the relentless misogyny--they'll continue to pat themselves on the back as their ratings plunge.

    1. Well, based on some of the rumors that have been reported that I've come across on ontd_glee, particularly in relation to Dianna (the ongoing hatchet job on Quinn since mid-S2 payback for her 'temerity' in offering suggestions for what they could do with Quinn's character) & Chris (marginalizing him & firing Ashley Fink [his buddy among the cast] as payback for the graduation/spinoff debacle last summer, for which RM blames Chris for the embarrassment he suffered) RM most likely is that vindictive & mean-spirited, & is creating such BS, misogynistic garbage to punish Naya & Santana for daring to take some of the spotlight away from the Finchel/Klaine/'white guys rule' narrative he's hell-bent on.

  6. Can I just say, thank you so much for writing these, I love reading your thoughts. And also, critique is necessary. A lot of people say "why don't you stop watching the show if all you do is point out its faults" - but that's just it; this kind of commentary is necessary. It's dangerous to portray certain storylines as if they're completely healthy (Finchel for example), certainly if your show is geared towards a younger audience. Are those young Glee fans supposed to think you have to find your one true love in high school? To have sex before high school ends? To figure out their dream and future before high school ends? It's just plain ridiculous, and for a show that's so "concerned" with messages, these are bad messages to send out. The writing is so severely flawed, and plotlines are getting strangled by fanservice and fucked-up ideas about romance and the entertainment industry. I feel like Glee is more some kind of fantasy of some middle-aged bad writer who had dreams for showbizz and love that didn't come true.
    So yes, it's very important that some people point out the damaging dynamics of this show, certainly if the show profiles itself to "send good messages for kids". So thank you. :3

    1. Can I just say that the fact you point finchel out is irrelevant!! You should put emphasis on ALL of the character of Glee. Rachel knowing what she has wanted to do since she was 5 and unwilling to change her dream even though people change and grow up!! I can tell you now that I don't think I know anyone who has had the same dream from the time they were 5 to the time they hit adulthood.

      Also the whole sex thing was promoting SAFE SEX not to have sex in high school...Also some people do find true love in high school! I know of MANY people, some who are close friends who married their high school sweethearts and have been together for more then 10yrs now. My parents being one of those people, heck even Lea's parents met when they were 14.....

    2. LMAO what are you talking about? Promoting safe sex?
      Please explain to me how it was about safe sex because I seriously don't get it.
      The sex tape was part of the storyline because sex sells, and sex between two beautiful cheerleaders is every straight dude fantasy. I found it gross how they even put it in the promo when in the episode it was just used as something silly, using again lesbians being intimate as titillation.

    3. I presume the first comment was a response to my original comment? In that case - I pointed out Finchel as an example, because that relationship was the main focus in this episode, as well as, apparently, the cathartic message of the entire show (according to the creators). Apparently, that relationship, that "true love", has to symbolize the celebration of acceptance (y'know - because the geeky girl and jock get together in the end) and "coming together throughout high school with the healing powers of music and dance".
      As for it being unhealthy, I think Dr. She Bloggo has repeatedly and excellently explained this. But in addition, in my opinion it is extremely unhealthy to put such an all-important focus on exhausting and suffocating romances in tv shows and popular culture - especially in case of high school teenagers. While Glee does promote a message of dreams, and making something of yourself and what-not, it is somehow always entangled with some romantic relation.
      In case of Finchel - we are clearly to believe, that their (high school!) romance is superior to ANYTHING - even if that is a dream you build your life around. The message seems to be, that nothing is worth anything, if you don't have that kind of super-love romance whatever. So no, that is not Rachel growing up, that is Rachel growing into a possibly suffocating idea of romance. She is willing to build her life around her romance, instead of those life-long dreams she has for her own. I'm not saying it doesn't happen that people find "true love" in high school. But I'm saying that on tv (and Glee takes the cake), it is apparently their motor of being, to be involved in some kind of epic love story.
      Now, I don't mean to suggest that romantic ideas are bad, I'm not anti-romantic. But Glee has this annoying thing going on, called fanservice. What I mean is, they are aware of the fervent shippers that make up their audience, they profile certain couples (high school couples!) as "endgame". Finchel is endgame, Klaine is endgame (or beware), Brittana is endgame (OR BEWARE). And the writing in Glee seems to force itself into really strange and damaging dynamics to fit the idea of these couples - as if that is the most important aspect of their character. A young audience is deluded into thinking that APPARENTLY (because everyone on tv thinks so) that having a relationship while you're a friggin' teenager - is so damn important.
      Meanwhile in the real world, it is perfectly ok to have never had/wanted a relationship while you're in high school. Or, god forbid, never had sexual relations in high school (that doesn't mean you're asexual, god forbid!). But that is a message that Glee neglects to send.

      And now that I've mentioned it, no, that "whole sex thing", the First Time episode, WASN'T promoting safe sex. They did their best to promote a "sex until you're ready" campaign, but they kinda failed. They kinda failed, when Artie was reacting like Rachel and Blaine couldn't possibly portray romantic/sexual tension on stage without actually having done the deed. They kinda failed, when "virginity" is portrayed as some kind of issue that needs to be resolved, something you "need to lose". They kinda failed, when they showed that whole drunk-Klaine debacle (and sudden resolve), and pity (“no really I’m suddenly ready now”) sex. They kinda failed, when they neglect to show that it is ok to never have had sex in high school (we don’t know about Mercedes – she wasn't mentioned, of course). Meanwhile, sexual assault (Brittany), celibacy club, and a (involuntarily released) sex tape get treated like comic relief.
      Glee rarely carries through their messages in one coherent message, and that is one FLAWED message to send towards a young audience.

      So yeah, that's my problem with the things you mentioned. It's an opinion, though. (Sorry for the length of this message, I kinda kept typing.)

  7. I don't agree with what you are saying about Finn and Rachel at all. Finn told Rachel in this episode not to give up her dreams because of him. He didn't want to stand in the way of her and New York. Finn is the type of guy, should his dreams lead him else where he would have told Rachel to go to New York without him.

    Also the whole "unhealthy" aspect of this relationship is what good relationships are made of too!!! Don't be so quick to judge that just because Finn wants Rachel's approval (vice versa) and they want to make each other happy means that they are in a bad relationship.

  8. No. Unhealthy aspects in relationships do not translate into good relationships. It'd be one thing if Finn and Rachel were just a couple that had some flaws here and there, but they're completely detrimental to each other's character growth. Their relationship does not grow and only gets worse over time. And no one is being quick to judge them. This show is three seasons in and they're still horrible for each other. They've never been developed in a positive way. It's time for them to end, like yesterday.

    1. couldn't have said better myself.

  9. Let's not forget that the promos also showed what had to be the creepiest shots in Glee history: an obviously uneasy Santana walking down the hall followed by leering football players. It made me really uncomfortable.

    See how she's to blame for that unwanted attention? I'm floored at their gall. Yet another off-the-mark PSA from Glee. At this point, I wish they'd just get canceled and stop doing harm.

  10. Whoops, that was supposed to be a reply to LMAO, sorry.

  11. Umm. Ok. I'm a frequent reader of the blog, mainly because I want to get other peoples p.o.v. Hopefully sometime in the future you will take another crack at reviewing this episode and I look forward to reading thar.

  12. I have to say I really enjoyed this episode. The performances were great, and I've already re-watched it a couple of times. Going in, my expectations were low because I remember IKAG, and I still cringe when I think about it. Btw, I love your blog.

    Finchel didn't really bother me that much last night, and I too have been pretty sick of them lately. They actually reminded me of a few couples from my hometown, also small and conservative. Three couples from my class got married right out of high school, and as predicted, divorced shortly after. But, I remember being young and everything being now or never or life or death and I also remember that nagging/pressure coming from all directions to pick a path. And, being a female in a small, conservative town, it was usually assumed that that path included a husband and a child. So, I can excuse the finchel writing sometimes if I keep in mind that they are supposed to be teens. And, for me, it's believable that Rachel, determined and Broadway bound, but socially poor for most of her life, would make some stupid decisions and let a boy derail her plans. I don't like it, but it happens. But, I agree that their relationship is unhealthy, and in reality, a relationship like theirs is doomed. Sooner or later.

    I thought Brittana were adorable in this ep. And, I think Santana, Finn and Mercedes didn't cross paths because MH knew better than putting Finn anywhere near Santana after the hell he got after IKAG. Even if it made more sense to some, the fandom would've erupted. Plus, I think ppl were dying for some Brit and Santana interaction. Maybe it was just me, but I got the sense that Brittany was using a pretty hilarious form of reverse psychology on Santana with the releasing of the sex tape, which I'm assuming was the PG/PG-13 version considering she spliced it with LT. She uploaded it knowing she had already set up the cheer leading scholarship thing. I mean we know Santana is a pro at handling situations regarding the innocent, beautiful Brittany, but now we got to see that Brittany is no slouch when it comes to her gf and also knows how to handle her. Santana has always been portrayed as shallow in some sense so that wasn't a giant leap, and Brit's always known who Santana really is in spite of what the others think. She even brings it out. So, maybe it wasn't Brittany knowing what's right for Santana a la Finn, but more like knowing what Santana really wants despite the persona. In IKAG, Finn was the last person to guide Santana because he knows nothing about her, and Brittany's like the Santana whisperer. I think in Santana's case it's believable that this girl, who has basically been living a lie until recently, may need help realizing things about herself. Some people do. But not from Finn or anybody else, but from the one who knows her best. So I think in spite of the bitchy, superficial image Santana upholds, Brittany knows that she really is a substantial person and just gave her a push to realize it on her own. And, in the scene with sue, it just showed that Brittany knew that she would. It was really sweet.

    1. I don't think anyone doubts Brittany's position in this episode atp. I'm just pissed off at the entire contrivance of fame and the sex tape. So many other ways to show what they wanted to show, and instead they stooped to lesbian cheerleader sex = porn, and portrayed Santana as... I don't know, that was not so much the girl who told Shue her education mattered to her, or the girl who got outed very recently to the entire state of Ohio. Nope, not that one.

      I never saw Santana as shallow. I saw her as acting shallow as a defence at times, but never shallow. In fact, I don't think it's hard to see that she's perhaps the most complex character in the show. I think they show it all the time.

      I like what they were trying to do for Santana and Brittany, but they threw continuity and consistency out the window, as usual (in many ways in this episode). The way they did it was appalling.

      Regarding friends... I'm guessing you're right about keeping Finn away from her, but Glee's kids barely have friends, especially the girls. I would have been shocked to see Mercedes and Finn have an adult conversation.

      I also don't think people are saying teenagers never stay together. The odds are against them, though, and for reasons just liked this. Paths diverge. More often, they agree to physically part but stay together, if they want to try at all. Finn's dreams are nebulous at best. Rachel is the most driven character on the show. She gave her dream up for her dreamless man. You can say Finn woke up and saw that was wrong, and turned around to support her--and that's what partners do, they put the other first. But that's not where these kids are in their lives. And for Finn to basically demand that, and then turn around and say, okay... Yet AGAIN, Finn is insisting on making the decisions for people other than himself. He accuses Rachel of doing that, but he's really the one who did it here.

      If the roles were reversed, I think the girl would have been portrayed as a selfish bitch. But Finn is again portrayed as a hero, in the wrongheaded views of the Glee writers (and I mean all of them.

      These writers should not be in the position of preaching to young people at all. The message they send to girls, consistently, is that it's a man's world, your concerns will never be put first, you have no agency, so get with the program.

  13. I'm really shocked that there are people that liked this episode plot-wise (although, judging from the ratings, there weren't many). I agree with everything you said She Bloggo. As cute as Brittana was this ep, I'm really tired of Santana not having a say in any of her storylines. Also, the Finn/Rachel dynamic was interesting to me at first, but now it's bordering on damaging. This is just the Rachel-lover in me talking, but I'm incredibly disappointed that AGAIN she's meant to feel bad for having dreams. She promised Patti Lupone that she'd never give up on her dreams, and yet months later here we are. She's more than happy to throw it away to keep a high school romance going. I'm afraid this is going to be the last episode of Glee I watch, will continue to read your reviews as well as other bloggers just to make sure Quinn and the others make it out with they're characters intact. But since Rachel Barbra Berry is long gone to me at this point, I don't think this is the show for me anymore.

  14. I'm a Brittana fan and I actually liked Santana and Brittany's storyline in this episode. But that's probably entirely because I've always contended that Brittany is crazy manipulative and very people-savvy and this episode totally justified that POV. You're right when you say that Santana's characterization was a bit of a train wreck. I suspect a more IC Santana would have applied to college herself, maybe not knowing exactly what she wanted to do but knowing that she wanted to get the hell out of Lima, Ohio. Where Santana ended the episode is where she should have begun and they could have taken it from there. They have consistently been empowering Brittany all season (when they remember she exists) so it would be nice if they'd do the same for Santana.

  15. I am so disappointed with what they've done with Rachel. And now she's willing to give up NY to let Finn to try to figure out what he wants. And Finn, in just a few months he's wanted to be a football player, run the garage, be a soldier, start a pool business and now be an actor. Since when did he ever want to be an actor - he wasn't even in West Side Story.

    I just wish someone will give some attention to Puck who really needs someone to give him a little bit of support.

    Oh and the writer, Matthew Hodgson, he's been dating Naya Rivera for a while now. Makes you wonder what he really things of Naya/Santana.

  16. It honestly baffles me that some people cannot see the toxicity of the Finchel relationship. I challenge anyone to find a single marriage/relationship counselor who would analyze that relationship and not only deem it healthy, but a positive model of a teen relationship. Seriously, if someone can find one who does, please share so I can look into where they got their degree and avoid that college like the plague.

    As for Santana...poor poor Santana. We were all so worried about the writers completely shitting over logic and common sense by not allowing Britt to graduate, we didn't even think to brace ourselves for the complete shitting on of Santana's graduation plans. I mean, even before we got into the whole sex tape scenario, Santana being written as fame-hungry and disinterested in college is completely out of character. I mean, not 4 episodes ago she called Schue out for his lackadaisical teaching, because her "education [was] important to [her]." She's a private person who never opened up to anyone (but Britt), was horrified when a commercial outed her to Ohio, and invested quite a bit of her high school life creating and protecting a facade of popularity. There are zero canon indicators, spanning all 3 seasons, that Santana wants fame at any cost, or that she has no plans for a higher education. So character assassination has now spread from Quinn to Rachel to Santana (and Britt, imo), and it's really unbelievable that this was not only "professionally" written, but proofed, edited, and approved by other "professional" writers.

    As for the sex tape, yeah, a bad concept will yield bad results. But I do agree with most of the other commentators - this was an example of Britt "handling" Santana. I honestly don't think Britt released the actual sex tape in it's entirety. Considering the splicing in of Lord Tubbington scenes, and her (canon) respect for Santana's privacy, it would be extremely out of character for her to turn around and violate Santana's trust when she went out of her way to let Santana deal with her publicity issues on her own. Britt knows Santana best, and in the end, left Santana with the choice of pursuing her fame no matter what, or seeking higher education, and supporting her all the way.

    Really, the horrible handling of Brittana can once again be contributed solely to the terrible writing. Except this time not only was it just offensive, it was completely and totally out of character, and outright wrong in terms of canon continuity. Seriously, someone needs to fire Hodgson. He plain just cannot write. Sexism and bigotry and homophobia aside, he can't write. He has no grasp of the characters he's writing for.

    But at least Glee did one thing right. Big props for U'nique, but it still doesn't exonerate them for the shitfest that was Santana's storyline. Again.

  17. Whoops. I'm the anon from above and misquoted. Santana actually says, "This is my education and it's not a joke to me." I should be fired. Also, I'm sorry that Santana as a character is apparently a joke to Hodgson. At least I'll admit my mistake. Would he? If IKAG is any indication, then no. Really, sorry for all this bashing, but seriously, WHY HASN'T HE BEEN FIRED?


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