May 3, 2011

Episode Review: GLEE, "Rumours"

For the first time in a long time I can actually say that I did not care for an episode of Glee from start to finish. I wouldn't say that "Rumours" was an awful episode of television, but it just didn't work for me. Plus, I got whiplash while watching it because it was ALL OVER THE PLACE.

The Quinchelam Quadrangle, Part Deux
Nationals are just around the corner, so this seems like a perfect time for everyone to start bickering with one another and letting their green-eyed monsters take over. Per usual, Sue was responsible for all of the drama as she turned the school newspaper into a gossip rag to tear New Directions apart. The Muckraker accused Quinn of cheating on Finn with Sam and Finn of cheating on Quinn with Rachel, so of course we had to spend the entire episode watching the four of them act all pissy and jealous. Finchel even played detective and caught Sam with both Quinn and Kurt outside of a motel room. As it turned out, they were there supporting Sam after his father lost his job. I bet Finn and Rachel felt like a-holes after that one.

At first, I could not stand this story line because I'm at my breaking point with all of the childish, love quadrangle stuff, and spending so much time on all of this drama felt like a giant waste of time. We're three episodes away from Nationals, but you would never know it since everyone was too busy dealing with silly relationship crap. That being said, I was surprised at how moved I was by Sam's story since the writers have forgotten that he was a character on their show. Much like "A Night of Neglect", I wish all of this was brought to light a few weeks ago when nothing was going on.

What was even more frustrating than the shipper nonsense was the fact that tonight's episode showed how the writers missed an opportunity with Sam. Since day one, the show has not known what to do with the character. During this entire season he's been a gay red herring, a sweet jock with a nerdy side, a cocky ass who was gunning for Finn, Quinn's boy toy, Santana's boy toy, a Bieber obsessed heart-throb, and now a down on his luck sob story. The thing is, if Ryan and Co. picked one of these versions and actually developed it, Sam could've been one of the most interesting characters on the show. Instead we have the Glee version of a utility infielder with zero direction, which is a damn shame.

Brittana...and Artie
Quinchelam were not the only gleeks having relationship trouble. After Brittany accidentally outed Santana on her web-series, "Fondue for Two", Artie became suspicious about Brittany's faithfulness and called her stupid during a fight. Brittany was understandably upset, and she was driven to the arms of Santana for comfort. After Brittany and Artie broke up (I think), Santana took a big step and sang a song just for Brittany, but she still wasn't ready to come out to everyone else, which added yet another layer of angst between the two former Cheerios.

First off, Brittany and Artie's fight did not make any sense what so ever because it came out of nowhere, and I was taken completely out of the story because of how fabricated it felt. While the couple never quite added up, we've always been given the impression that they were happy together, so Artie's sudden outburst was jarring. On a positive note, I am glad that their relationship seems to be done because the pairing never made much sense to me, and I really dislike Artie. Now that Brit might be single, I'd be pulling for her to be paired up with Finn, but that's not likely to happen which brings be to my second point...

I'm still not on board with Brittana at this point in the season. I'm glad that both characters are getting their time to shine, but I've never seen this pair as anything more than a well-timed joke that somehow got a life of its own, so sometimes their moments feel a bit forced. Again, I'm all for these two getting more screen time and development, and I like them together, but not as a couple. Unfortunately, I think these two are destined to be with one another, and I don't quite trust the writers to make this relationship believable.

Will Schuester and the Three Blondes
After a Sue-less episode last week, she made her triumphant (?) return with Honey Badger (aka Terri) in tow.  Terri decided that the way to destroy New Directions was to lure Will away from the group, so she enlisted the help of failed Broadway star, April Rhodes, to convince him to run off to New York to realize his dream. April had the idea of Will working with her on a new show that they could use to get one step closer to stardom, and it may have worked. Will may have been committed to New Directions at the end of the episode, but there was contemplation in his eyes during that final number.

It seems like it's been forever since Will was given a story that I could actually get behind. While I don't like the fact that his once again being manipulated by Terri and Sue, the idea of him really leaving Lima to make it on a bigger stage could be an interesting plot point, which could make their trip to NYC even more dramatic. I don't think he'll be going anywhere when it's all said and done, and we all know Emma will be the deciding factor, but the build up to his final decision could make things very interesting. I just wonder if the writers have squandered any goodwill the fans had for the character at this point.

On the Music Front
I have to admit that I'm not too familiar with Fleetwood Mac, so most of the songs didn't really have an impact on me one way or another, but some of the performances were good. I do think April and Will sound good when they sing together, so "Dreams" was decent. Artie's version of "Never Going Back Again" didn't quite win me over, but I think that has more to do with the fact that I don't care about his character. I did like his band of traveling troubadours though. Santana's "Songbirds" was nice, but she overdid it just a smidge. Finn and Quinn's performance of "I Don't Want to Know" was great from a storytelling aspect since their body language spoke volumes. "Go Your Own Way" was a classic Rachel solo, but the best song of the night was "Don't Stop" thanks to Sam.

Other Odds and Ends
  • I definitely see "Fondue for Two" webisodes in our immediate future.
  • Who doesn't like hot cheese and talking to people?
  • Lord Tubington was more interesting than Mercedes and Tina combined.
  • As much as it pains me to admit it, I think Sue has officially worn out her welcome after her pointless and implausible costume changes. They need to dial her back ASAP.
  • I was delightfully surprised that April did not dominate the episode like she did during her past visits to McKinley. I don't think she really added anything to "Rumours", but at least she wasn't distracting.
  • We need more Will and Brittany scenes.
  • Finn giving Sam his guitar back was one of the best scenes of the show, and another example of a wasted opportunity. Just imagine how that scene would've played if Sam was a fully realized character that we actually cared about.
  • At least they're keeping up the Santofsky charade.
  • "What prom queen candidate is spending a lot of time in her closet? That's garbage. Quinn's claustrophobic."
  • "Do you believe in that thing called karma?" "Yeah." "Can you explain it to me?"
  • "I'm a sad little panda."
  • "He's just furniture. Sorry, no offense."
  • "Oh how I've missed your insanity."
  • "Question 1: Do you think the Aristocats is an accurate portrayal of the feline relationship?"
  • "Don't cry Sammy."
"Rumours" was your typical Ryan Murphy penned episode of Glee. It was big and messy, adhered too closely to a singular theme (Fleetwood Mac, Madonna, Britney Spears), and it really didn't accomplish all that much. Again, if we had gotten it during the middle of the season, "Rumours" could've been a fun one-off episode, but having it in the middle of the home stretch made for a frustrating hour of television because it took up valuable time that could've been used to build up to the finale. Hopefully, American Horror Story is picked up by FX, so he can hand over the reigns to Ian Brennan once and for all. Maybe then we'll finally get some coherency.


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