By Meryl Gottlieb| email@example.com| @buzzlightmeryl
Glee airs Tuesdays at 8 p.m. on Fox
Despite how snarky this review will probably sound, I do need to recognize how much more tolerable Glee has been since the permanent move to New York. It’s not that the storylines are making sense again; it’s just that I’m able to accept them and not vehemently detest the show every week. After the recent news about Ryan Murphy’s plans for the future of the show, I’m hoping Murphy can stick to his word. In an interview with E! Online, he discusses how the show was at its best when there were less than 10 main cast members and once the show had a flood of characters, things faltered. Well, I’m glad he sees it too. Season five will continue in New York and finish up the current storylines of Rachel’s Funny Girl run, Klaine’s relationship issues and Samcedes. Season six, however, will be in a different location, jump time and, as Murphy hopes, include more of the original glee club members. This latest news really peaks my hopes for a brighter end to the series that started out so strong. Everyone always asks me why I continue to watch this never-ending train wreck and that’s the answer: I’m waiting for it to rise from this terrible trough and possibly peak once again.
Tonight’s episode, “Tested,” featured a lot of issues, as is the Murphy way.
Artie (Kevin McHale) is somehow a ladies man at his New York film school and is sleeping with two girls but wants to actually have a relationship with Julie (Stephanie Hunt). He sings “Addicted to Love” to exemplify this and while there are great vocals and it was a fresh idea to do a split-screen format for the song, I don’t believe this idea. It’s not because Artie is physically handicapped, but it’s because that is not who his character is. He’s always been a little egotistical but never in the way a “ladies man” is supposed to be. Writers, please stop trying to make the Artie storylines work. They don’t, so please cut him out sooner rather than later. It takes up minutes of my life I will never get back. Just give me more of Darren Criss singing or being in his boxers or something. Anyway, Artie ends up getting chlamydia — I’m guessing the only reason for the episode’s title — and we get a nice visualization of how self-conscious he feels because he literally wears an STD suit. Again, make this end, please.
Blaine (Darren Criss) is all about the NYC food scene. He’s munching on international cuisine, ice cream and, most importantly, cronuts. Granted, that fad ended a few months ago, but you can’t deny the deliciousness of croissants and donuts in one pastry. While he’s been busy chomping away on Cheetos, Kurt (Chris Colfer) has been dieting and working out steadily, giving him that hot bod he’s been rocking since the beginning of the season. I have never connected with a character more than I did tonight as I watched Criss stuff his face with cronuts, gyros and more. Also this scene:
There are two kinds of people.
It just so happens they now have combat class together — what happen to miming? — and Kurt is consistently showing off his new confidence and muscles, making Blaine feel self-conscious. He’s so uncomfortable he turns to FratBoyPhysicals.com for sexual release instead of Kurt. The two battle duet in combat class to “Love is a Battlefield.” This was definitely the best performance of the night. The lyrics and meaning of the song is applicable to their situation and the fight choreography was really different and interesting to watch. Glad to see we are slowly but surely working ourselves out of that trough I was talking about earlier! Good for you, writers.
Ultimately, it’s the power shift that has mostly jolted Blaine. He’s used to having to protect Kurt and be the alpha male, and now he feels Kurt doesn’t need him. Obviously, his nerves are put to rest and two reconcile and decide to try to act more like equals.
I like that things aren’t simply peachy keen for Klaine and I like that these issues they’re dealing with are rational and relatable, however I’m starting to feel less love on Kurt’s end of the relationship. Struggling to like how you look is a problem most people face and it can be especially hard when your partner does not have those issues. I think this was a great topic for the show to focus on; however it was solved in one episode, so is it really that impactful? Furthermore, it feels like Kurt seems less and less in love. Colfer plays him much more straight-faced and cold nowadays, and I’m not sure if it’s just his performance coming off poorly or if this is the direction the writers are choosing. Klainers, what do you think will happen to your favorite couple?
Mercedes (Amber Riley) is still a virgin and isn’t ready to have sex yet and wants to wait until she’s married. Sam (Chord Overstreet) says he’s OK with this, but his performance says otherwise. I was quite annoyed with this. The whole time he said he accepted her feelings, but I never felt he truly understood or respected her decision. There’s a lot of back and forth with this storyline. Mercedes sings “I Want to Know What Love Is” in church — because now that Riley is back she’s probably obligated to belt out a number at least once per episode to make up for lost time. In the end, Sam creates a fire hazard by lighting a hundred candles in their apartment to say that he’s OK with waiting. I still don’t feel the chemistry here and have no reason to root for these two.
I think this was the least amount of screen time ever given to Lea Michele, but it was well used. Rachel is simply used to ease Mercedes nerves about her first time and to offer girl advice. Then comes the bigger question at hand: When will Rachel move on in her own love life? This is a question the show has to handle very carefully or else spark a riot. Finchel fans will never let go of the endgame that even Murphy said should and was going to happen. Unfortunately, Cory Monteith has passed and with him Finn and that ending. Rachel gracefully explains how she and Finn “were always dating” and they both “knew how it was supposed to end,” an all too realistic statement. She says she’ll draw that line between her past and her future when she’s ready.
With this short but poignant monologue, the writers managed to gracefully say how they aren’t confronting this issue at this moment. Right now, they are focusing on Rachel’s career, as she probably would do if she were real. Murphy said he would consult Michele about the future love life of her character. There was that random, idiotic flirtation between her and Sam earlier this season, but thankfully that was killed quickly. Personally, I don’t think there’s a need to make her love life the center of her character again. That worked when it was about her one true love, but now it would seem forced. I also don’t see the need for this to be urgently reintegrated into the show. Can’t we just continue talking about her life with her friends and her career? Are we not allowed to have female characters in the media unless they are discussing their love lives? Here’s hoping they don’t do something stupid.