TV: ‘Glee’ finds small success in its fifth season with its 100th episode

By Meryl Gottlieb| mg986611@ohiou.edu| @buzzlightmeryl
Glee airs Tuesdays at 8 p.m. on Fox
Rating: 3.5/ 5

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Glee celebrated its 100th birthday by retreating to its old ways, which were both good and bad. Next to “The Quarterback,” “100” is the best episode of the season so far. Well, it was the best of the worst. From twerking to puppets, this season has been atrocious; to the point where I’m not sure I can take any more episodes, let alone another whole season.

However, “100” worked because it didn’t lie about what it set out to do. The glee club is about to be disbanded forever, so everyone is back to celebrate the past five years, which means singing their favorite songs. Fans chose these favorite songs in a contest the show held months before the episode. Fans picked their top 10, and Ryan Murphy wrote around them — a process, I feel, isn’t too different from their normal writing process, except that they just look at the Top 10 of the week. It also didn’t hurt to see original glee club members back in the choir room. For some reason, I’m much more prone to accept random shenanigans if the original group is there.

And I’d like to take a moment to thank Harry Shum Jr. for knowing that he was brought back for this episode for no reason other than to dance in the background while other people take center stage.

April Rhodes (Kristin Chenoweth) — yep, she’s back — kicks off the night with “Raise Your Glass.” I could have done without the literal raising their glasses to glee club throughout the number, but overall it was a nice throwback to when I would accept them all just dancing in the choir room. Also, I love KChen as April; it’s may be ridiculous at times, but it’s usually always hilarious.

ToxicunholytrinityBrittany (Heather Morris) doesn’t enjoy dancing anymore because she thinks she’s now only good at algorithms. This joke still isn’t funny!! I do not accept Brittany going to MIT and being a mathematical prodigy. Cut it out and find something else for her to do. Santana (Naya Rivera) tries to renew her old spirit but reuniting the Unholy Trinity. I may have been the most excited about this reunion, but the show still found a way to kill it for me. The trio sang “Toxic,” one of my favorite Britney Spears songs and one of my favorite Glee covers, and slowed it down and added a salsa-esque style to it. I didn’t mind the changes, but I did mind the video they put to it. They have the girls in their Cherrio outfits and then in lingerie while they dance in glass cages. Who do you think your demographic is?! This was much more off-putting than appealing, and I think it ruined the whole scene.

But, the show did bring back my favorite Brittany segment in “Fondue For Two.” This week’s guests are Rachel (Lea Michele) and Mercedes (Amber Riley), who are feuding once again about who is the biggest star. I hate how they only feud when it’s right for a storyline; otherwise, they seem as if they are decent friends. Cut it out. As usual, Brittany asks the tough, hilarious questions about Rachel being irresponsible for leaving New York for a week when she’s a full-time student and waitress and also starring in a Broadway revival — possibly my favorite line of the night — and asking Mercedes why she hid her dancing talents  — a nod to Riley’s stint on Dancing with the Stars — and simply “parked and barked.” “Fondue For Two” never fails. That’s some hot dish!

They decide to have a diva off — an Idina off? that’s what I heard — and sing “Defying Gravity” once again. Rachel, Mercedes and Kurt (Chris Colfer) all sing it, and I loved it. At times it’s a bit choppy with three people to include, but it works. They all have impressive voices, and this song is meant for performers with impressive voices. On that note, I cannot believe none of them hit the last note. Mercedes ended the song on downplaying that note while everyone knows you are meant to belt that sucker out. It’s an episode meant to just let the fans relive their favorite moments, yet the show is still manages to ruin what should have been a cakewalk for them.

After she finds Brittany playing human chess with the chess club (UGH), Santana tries to reinvigorate her dancing spirit again by doing “Valerie.” I love this song, and I love the style of dancing it calls for. Finally, we had a solid performance all around.

Brittany then tells Santana she wants to get back together. While Dani (Demi Lovato) may be cool, she can’t recreate what the two had. She kisses Santana before telling her that she’ll be waiting for her answer.

Quinn (Diana Agron) is back, and she brought her boyfriend Biff McIntosh (Chace Crawford), much to Puck’s (Mark Salling) chagrin. Biff’s about as preppy and snobbish as one could be, and being with him has forced Quinn to dress like a 1950s housewife. Quinn also has yet to tell him about her past: about Beth, her tattoo and the time she died her hair pink.

cryingPuck is furious she’s hiding who she truly is from this guy for fear of judgment. He sings “Keeping Holding On” to her, as the original glee club members perform the old dance. I don’t think I have ever seen someone fake cry as badly as Agron does in this scene. It’s grotesque.

When Quinn finally tells Biff the truth, he rejects her, prompting Puck to throw him in a dumpster. The two then talk about Finn and “soulmates.” Puck finally tells Quinn that she’s the one for him and all she has to do is ask him to stay. Cut to the most cliché scene as Puck, in his Navy uniform and all, is walking down the hall when you see Quinn chasing after him. She jumps into his arms, kisses him and says, “Stay.”

I would have accepted this storyline three seasons ago. I have never forgiven the show for dropping the Puck-Quinn storyline after season one. That would have been the most logical place for these two characters to go, but the writers completely dropped it. After all this time, I don’t care as much and don’t see how these two are such soulmates anymore.

Rachel and Mercedes bond over how they take the bullying and let it motivate them to be the stars they are. I’m more than disappointed in their storyline. Was this really the best the writers could do?

April had been brought to McKinley because, if you remember, she had purchased the auditorium and been funding the glee club since. Well Sue (Jane Lynch) informs us she’s out of money and Will (Matthew Morrison) has spent all of her $2 million on extravagant sets and costumes, like when he recreated a jungle in the auditorium so they could sing “Roar” just for him. Sometimes Sue’s meta jokes really work. Will scorns April for giving him hope for the glee club surviving. Can he really be the one to put all the blame on April? He did spend $2 million on unnecessary sets and costumes.

For one last gesture of kindness, April brings in Holly Holiday (Gwyneth Paltrow) — the two communicate through the Facebook group of all the past glee guests. Holiday doesn’t want to reflect on the past, so instead she sings “Happy” because Glee can’t survive unless it covers the Top 10 songs. This performance still made me reminiscent about the old Glee days so I accept it. The song is also just too catchy to dislike.

The New Directions move Finn and Lillian Adler’s plagues to the auditorium permanently. Here the camera focuses in on Rachel crying, a shot that disgusted me. Let the grief be stated explicitly; don’t do these attempts to be subtle and to make it look like they caught Michele crying on set.

Will says he has no pep talk; he just wants to thank them. They all scatter as we see April and Holly sitting up in the rafters. Just before the episode ends, the two proclaim they’re going to save the glee club.

Here’s hoping their attempt fails, and this marks the show’s move to New York.

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