October 27, 2010

My Problem with Glee: Will Schuester

As you can see from my blog, I'm a big fan of Glee, and in many ways I'm an apologist. I will forgive the show runners for a bad episode and will even make excuses for why it wasn't as bad as everyone thought. The thing is, I'm not a blind follower, and I can admit when the show messes up. The one area where Glee has completely botched things up involves one of the main characters: Will Schuester.

Season 2 Will even looks like a jerk
Last night's, not 100% horrible but far from great, Rocky Horror episode worked on some levels, but it was just further proof that Ryan Murphy and Co. are determined to turn Will into the most unlikable character on television. After "RHGS", it was hard to rationalize or excuse Will's actions where he used his own students to put on an inappropriate musical just to impress Emma. Not cool Will.

If this had been Will's first major faux pas, it would be easy to forgive him, but his character has become more and more objectionable since Season 1's "Hell-O". As a fan, it's been extremely frustrating watching him go from a decent, caring, a little naive teacher to a complete d-bag. Let's just take a look at some of Will's lowest moments:

Will made out with Shelby from Vocal Adrenaline while he was dating Emma even though he was still technically married to Terri. His motivation for cheating on his mistress: she's a virgin. His reasoning: he doesn't know how to be single. This is also the episode where Will became a buzzkill and pretty much crapped on every idea/performance his students came up with that he didn't like. Yes, the guy who sang "Gold Digger" to a bunch of high schoolers has standards.

"The Power of Madonna"
Will let Emma throw herself at him when she decided to take ownership of her body and make love to him. Rather than talking it out, he was all giddy and let things get too serious too fast. After Emma ran off prior to doing the deed, Will suggested that she get counseling to help with her problems. What about his problems?

Despite spurning advances from the banana magnet known as April Rhodes, he somehow thought it'd be OK to let her sleep in the same bed as him. Mixed messages much?

"Bad Reputation"
Will really didn't do any deplorable during this episode, but Emma finally called him out for his bad behavior. You'd think her chewing him out in the teacher's lounge would be a wake up call, but unfortunately he's not the brightest person in Ohio. To his credit, his moment with Quinn about the Glist was touching.

"Dream On"
This episode reminded us what a good guy he used to be. He put the hopes and dreams of his students in front of his own. Where's this guy been?

In order to get back at Sue, Will decided to seduce her, then asked her out on a date just to stand her up.  Yes, he realized how his actions hurt others, but it wasn't until he noticed how his students were affected. Douchey Will at his finest! Let's not forget how he over shared about his divorce and suggested that New Directions get revenge on Vocal Adrenaline. Not the best teaching moment.

So, Will was upset that his budget got cut so he thought it'd be OK to humiliate and make Coach Beiste feel like a complete outsider. The director of the glee club, which consists of underdogs and outcasts, wanted to make someone else feel bad about herself because of money. Doesn't make much sense, right?

Will's continued downward spiral was kicked into high gear once he made it a goal to win Emma back. After being all high and mighty the entire episode, he finally gave in and allowed New Directions to perform a Britney Spears number...just to hog the spotlight and perform with his students. While Will's performance was actually good, watching him dance around with Brittany and Rachel was not OK.

Mr. Nice Guy: Early Season 1
I'm not even saying that pre-"Hell-O" Will was a perfect character. He was just as flawed as the others, and was dealing with his own set of issues, but you could relate to him. He wasn't the world's greatest teacher (some of his song choices were inappropriate), but his passion for his profession and the fact that he genuinely cared about his students made it easy to overlook his foibles. Now, he's using New Directions to achieve his own selfish and unseemly goals. Not cool Will.

The only saving grace at this point is the fact that Will seems to be somewhat aware of his bad behavior. He apologized to Sue after standing her up because he cared more about Santana and Brittany's well-being than his vendetta. He decided to befriend Beiste rather than torture her even if it meant he was back on Sue's bad side. After the "Toxic" debacle he admitted to Emma that he made a mistake and that performing the routine with his students was inappropriate. Last night, he realized why he was putting on Rocky Horror and put an end to it rather than letting his club suffer. Will learns his lesson at the end of each episode, but unfortunately he'll just make another huge mistake the following week.

One of my pet peeves when it comes to TV shows is turning the nice guy into a complete tool, especially when he's one of the main characters. In my opinion shows like Scrubs and How I Met Mother went down hill when J.D. and Ted became too needy or too douchey. It looks like Will's about to join them, and Glee's fate might be intertwined with him. Like it or not, he's the guiding force of the show.

Will can be a damaged character and still be likable, but for some reason the show runners cannot find that balance. At the end of "Rocky Horror", it felt like Will knew that he'd hit rock bottom, and I hope Will's road to redemption is on its way.


Kristal said...

It also bothers me that he has to keep learning his lesson! Glee suffers from amnesia week to week and the characters never seem to grow. That's a major flaw.

But, I still watch and (mostly) enjoy every week.

Marcos said...

The weekly amnesia is spot on, and proof of why the whole 3 Glees Theory could be problematic. Some consistency would be nice every once in a while.

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