Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Glee: Finding salvation through Grilled Chees-us

Last night's Glee was a bit of a rarity for the show, in that almost the entire episode was super-serious. The only funny parts of the episode, excluding Brittany quotes, involved Finn. He used his George Foreman grill to make a grilled cheese, and when he finished it, he noted that he had created... Grilled Chees-us. As in, a grilled cheese with the face of Jesus [right].

Throughout the episode, Finn prayed to Grilled Chees-us, and each time, it seemed to grant his prayer. The funniest of these was when he prayed to get to second base (boobs!) with Rachel, and it worked swimmingly [above].

However, he then felt remorse when he prayed to be the starting quarterback again - Much like the curse of the monkey's paw, his prayer was granted when the new starter got his shoulder separated. He confessed all of this to Ms. Pillsbury, and in a rarity for her, she got a funny line: "God works in a lot of mysterious ways. But I'm pretty sure he doesn't spend a lot of time talking to us through sandwiches."

Likewise, let me share the funny Brittany lines before moving on to the serious parts of the episode: "Whenever I pray I fall asleep." "I did a book report on heart attacks. You can give it to the doctor. It got marked down a grade because it was in crayon."

Both were regarding the main plot of the episode, which saw Kurt's dad have a heart attack at work and slip into a coma. This was stark, life-and-death drama, which Glee doesn't really concern itself with often. Their usual subject matter is more social life-and-death, like the melodrama of hierarchy and castes in a high school.

While it was very heady stuff for Glee, I think it was handled well. First, it helps that it was Kurt's dad (Mike O'Malley) who was affected. I say this every time he's on the show, but given that he's mostly known for GUTS and a string of unsuccessful sitcoms, it's shocking how good of an actor he is. He gives the part just the right touch of emotional understanding with its gruff gravitas. I don't think the heart attack would work on any other character on the show - He's one of the few that you really care about and respect.

Second, while there was plenty of melodrama in the episode, it's entirely appropriate considering the stakes. Kurt's dad being on his deathbed is something appropriate for the rest of the Glee club to bond about. This obviously wouldn't be the case if they were involved in their usual shenanigans.

I will caution though, I REALLY hope they don't do this sort of episode more than twice a season. I'm fine with an occasional curveball episode like this; I think it helps balance out the sheer fun of things like the Brittany episode. But in a show that's already overdramatic and full of emotion in practically every scene, episodes like this should be kept in the back pocket for special occasions.


Danielle says: I wasn't sure if this would be an episode I would love because I knew it was about religion, but I actually liked it a whole lot. It was a lower-key episode, which drew me more into it. There were a couple cliche moments - Kurt and his dad fighting right before he has the heart attack and when Kurt tells his unconscious dad, "I don't believe in God. But I believe in you." I knew that second line was coming. But considering entertainment has been around since the Greek tragedies, cliches happen.

This episode actually hit the right spot for me because last month my dad got hospitalized - it ended up being his defibrillator had a faulty wire, so it wasn't him luckily - and it is scary in the beginning when you know nothing and people are trying to tell you and you're just like I DON'T UNDERSTAND YOU. So I actually cried a couple times this episode. Kurt's rendition of "I Want to Hold Your Hand" was really good. Rachel's song was almost haunting and I liked it.

Like most subjects it touches upon, the show portrayed tolerance. There were struggles between the people who aren't religious and ones who are, but in the end they got to the right point - "to each his own."

Finn was too funny with his whole Grilled Chees-us thing. I always love how like into being Jewish Puck can be, and when they show him he's not always a jerk, like when he said he went to temple with his nana and prayed for Kurt's dad.

I also like when they give Sue some humanity - her whole lack of faith because of her older sister was touching. But she also kept to her usual abrasive self - "I know you're only part orangutan, but I'm still highly allergic to your ginger mane."

Brittany as usual was the perfect comedy relief. "I gave him a card that says heart attacks are just from loving too much." Santana's also focusing her bitchiness toward someone besides Rachel, finally - taking it out on Quinn. That makes sense, since Quinn took back her head cheerleader spot, but serves Santana right for getting a boob job.

I guess my only grievance with the episode would be that the only people they portrayed not following a faith were adamantly against religion and had these big reasons for not being - Kurt because of the lack of tolerance towards gays / women / science and Sue because of her sister. I know it's only an hour episode so they can't get every angle, but not everyone who doesn't believe in God is so against religion like Kurt was in the beginning, or they don't always have some tragic reason behind it. Some people just choose not to and they just didn't really show that.

They were fair in showing extremes on both sides - Finn thinking he had a direct line to God and Kurt comparing God to Santa Claus - and they showed calmer religious people - Mercedes - but they didn't show anyone who was just like no, sorry, don't believe. I mean, Kurt did say believe what you want, I don't, but then he went off about the dwarf in teacup on the other side of the moon and getting angry at people for praying.

In the end it was all fine though because both Kurt and Sue showed more tolerance toward the expression of faith and it was Mercedes in church who said, "It's okay if you don't believe, to each his own." So to end this, I'll just say that I'm excited for next week's episode after seeing the preview and to see that Sam is back. :)


  1. So last night was my first Glee experience but no worries, I will give it another try and perhaps look up some highly recommended shows from earlier in the season because I was just not into this episode, at all. It actually had nothing to do with the subject as it did technical aspects that may be normal for this show, but I couldn't get over. It bothered me that there was a pianist and a harpist "playing" but once you heard drums, no drummer! The music isn't aligned with the movements of their mouths AT ALL and it almost hurt me to watch. I love musical theatre, and I like the idea of combing it with a sitcom/drama but these details, no matter how clever, or how good the music is - will keep me at bay :/

  2. Gotta disagree completely here. I absolutely hated this episode for several reasons that I'll enumerate when I get around to posting my "TV shows thoughts" post this week, but for now let me just say that I thought the religious characters in this show were not at all tolerant of Kurt's and Sue's not being religious, which is just not okay to me. And I do believe in God, Jesus, etc. But this episode still offended me to no end.

  3. @ Picosita - You might want to check out last week's episode with Britney Spears. Even if you're not a huge fan of hers, the episode is a lot more accessible, and it has a lot of funny lines from Brittany (a conveniently-named character on the show).

  4. @ Sierra - I'm an atheist, and I thought that while the religious characters weren't initially respectful of Kurt, they came around to not forcing themselves on him, and he realized they were just trying to help. Whereas with Sue, well, she is evil to everyone except people with learning disabilities. I wouldn't expect most of them to have sympathy toward her anyway.

  5. Dah, I missed it and I have yet had time to dust off the ol' Tivo! Thanks for the recap/preview.

    P.S. There are few words for how much I love Brittany.

  6. a man that likes glee? is this possible... im not its biggest fan just cause i hate lip singing but there is some good writing in there.

  7. Whenever Brittany has a line, I have to rewind and rewatch the scene at least once. And I probably laugh louder the second time!

    This ep was a little heavy for my liking, but still fabulous. And sorry for the shallow comment that follows: when Puck has a solo, I happily float through the rest of the episode. :)

  8. @ Hawk - I would do horrible, awful things to Brittany that would make it hard for me to look her in the eye after. It would be so worth it though.

  9. @ Paige - Hey, I'm secure enough to admit it, haha. Glee is just so different from everything else on television that I can't resist.

  10. @ Jen - Brittany is my favorite part of every episode. She's awesome. And I regularly make comments on Rachel and Brittany and Santana and Quinn and Emma, so I suppose you can have some latitude on Puck ;)


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