October 26, 2010

Episode Review: GLEE, "The Rocky Horror Glee Show"

Anyone familiar with the "3 Glees" Theory knows that Ryan Murphy's version of the show relies heavily on big production numbers and uneven plots, which unfortunately meant that he would ultimately be responsible for writing the Rocky Horror episode. It's pretty much in his wheelhouse. Since I'm not a fan of the movie, I was a little unsure about this week's Glee. Luckily, "The Rocky Horror Glee Show" was decent, although it did have Murphy's frantic fingerprints all over it.

In a nutshell, New Directions adaptation of The Rocky Horror Picture Show all stemmed from Will's insecurities and jealousy because of Emma's relationship with Carl. Apparently, checking out a midnight showing of the cult classic with her new beau led to Emma being less obsessive compulsive, and Will couldn't handle the fact that she's happy. In order to impress her, he came up with the crazy idea of the glee club putting on a RHPS production. Having Will's obsession with winning Emma back as the catalyst for the story started things off on the wrong foot, but there was enough amusing elements that kept me from hating this episode.

I was initially hesitant about "RHGS" because I was afraid that the majority of the episode would only focus on the musical numbers, which it did, but Murphy was able to incorporate a decent little story about how guy's can also have body image issues and a well structured debate about the arts. The plot was by no means intricate or mind-blowing like Inception, but it was a nice complement to all of the Rocky Horror campiness. To be honest, it was way more than I was expecting.

Another reason why I was doubtful about this week's episode had to do with the risqué nature of Rocky Horror, which could have combined with the GQ controversy to create the perfect firestorm of backlash. Fortunately, Murphy was able to come up with believable ways to avoid some of the naughtier bits while staying true to the source material. Oddly enough, the debate between Sue and Will about art that pushes the boundaries of good taste was timely, and better thought out than anything the PTC could come up with. New Directions' version of RHPS may have been too sterile for hardcore fans, but the spirit was still there. Then again, I didn't really care for or get the appeal of the original, so I might be off with that assertion.

My only issue with "RHGS" had to do with the same complaint I've had since the latter part of Season 1, which was how the creators have turned Will into one of the most unlikable characters ever. Since "Hell-O" he's been nothing more than a whiny, douchey jackhole who has put his students in awkward situations to benefit himself. We all get that Terri really messed with his head and confidence, but the way he's been acting out has not made him sympathetic...only pathetic. What really sucks is how he started out as a genuinely nice guy who cared about teaching, and to watch him devolve has been beyond frustrating. He actually makes J.D. and Ted Mosby seem like well adjusted studs.

The musical numbers were better than I had hoped for, and while I'm sure some purists weren't happy with the changes, I felt they worked as an homage rather than a straight up recreation. "Touch-a, Touch-a, Touch-a, Touch Me" and "Dammit Janet" were definitely the highlights (although the thought of Shue performing the former on stage with Rachel is kind of icky), while "Sweet Transvestite" and "Over at the Frankenstein Place" could've been better. It's too bad Mark Salling was in Glee Detention because he would've been a natural Frank N. Furter, but we got Mercedes instead. You really can't blame Amber Riley, but her in the role just didn't feel right.

Other Odds and Ends:
  • Cory Monteith got his in the end as he had to walk down the halls in his boxers. Let's see the PTC get all riled up about that one. If they don't, then they're beyond hypocrites and will burn in the special section of Hell.
  • Would that many high schoolers in this day and age really be that familiar with RHPS?
  • Is it wrong that I'm irked about the fact that Becky gets more screen time and lines than most of the members of New Directions? I'm all for diversity on the show, but I'm pretty sure she had more to do than Tina, Kurt, and Quinn (yes, I know they all had singing parts).
  • Was the GQ photo shoot just a ploy to generate buzz for this episode? It seems like a lot of the issues brought up by the pics were plot points tonight. Hmm...
  • I'm glad Brittany and Santana had parts in the "Touch-A" scene, which kinda worked.
  • Rachel and Finn are actually a cute couple when they're not fighting.
  • Artie needs to be written out of the show ASAP. Too bad Kevin McHale is the most talented male cast member.
  • Shum and Stamos for the win!
On the Ryan Murphy Version of Glee spectrum, "The Rocky Horror Glee Show" wasn't on the bad end where "Brittany/Britney" resides, and it comes nowhere near early Season 1 greats like "Vitamin D", "Wheels" and "Mattress". It's somewhere in the middle with "Theatricality" and "Laryngitis", which means it had some entertaining moments but was not one of the show's best. Let's hope "Never Been Kissed" gets things back on track, but knowing this show we'll have no idea which track that is or where it will lead.


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