February 14, 2012

Episode Review: GLEE, "Heart"

"Silly Love Songs" was one of the better episodes of Season 2, so "Heart" already had an up-hill climb ahead of it. While I will say that it was entertaining and a vast improvement over "The Spanish Teacher," this year's Valentine's Day themed extravaganza had me wondering whether or not it was necessary.

Regionals are just around the corner, and once again New Directions was not prepared for one of their biggest performances of the year. This time they needed to raise money for costumes and hairspray, so of course Schue thought it would be a good idea for them to run around school singing to people for donations. After some protests (and a reminder of what happened last time they sang for money), Sugar Motta fronted the cash and announced that she's throwing a big V-day party. She even invited her teammates but stipulated that they needed to bring dates since single people bum her out, and cue the insanity.

Even though Sugar herself was single, she knew that she would be asked out by someone, and it turned out that the someone was either going to be Rory or Artie. After a montage of scenes where Irish and Wheels tried to one-up the other with gifts, Artie took the lead by singing her a love song, but our favorite leprechaun was not out of it yet because he told everyone that his student visa was not renewed so he'd be heading back to Ireland at the end of the school year. Sugar was so upset by the news that she agreed to go to her party with Damian, but he might be hiding something from her and the rest of the glee club.

Initially, I thought that the brief feud between Rory and Artie over Sugar was worth a few laughs, but it quickly made an odd turn that took me out of the story. First, there's no way in the world that Artie would be able to date Tina, Brittany and Sugar. I can suspend disbelief while watching Glee, but that's something that I could not buy no matter how smooth Kevin McHale can sing. Not only was that a deal breaker, but it looks like Rory's going to be the next victim of Ryan Murphy's need to turn nice guys into complete assholes because it looks like he was only using his deportation as a way to convince Sugar to go out with him. I even saw this move coming when he sang "Home," but I was hoping that the writers wouldn't take it in that direction, but of course they did because this is Glee.

Since love was in the air, Finn and Rachel decided to announced their engagement to the entire glee club since it was no longer a secret because their parents found out thanks to Kurt. At first, it looked like Rachel's dads, Burt and Carol were supportive of the union, and they even suggested that they start the cohabitation process early. It was obvious that all of the understanding that was being shown was a ruse, and the adults thought that Finn and Rachel would quickly realize how hard it would be for them to live together, and they would call of the wedding. It was working at first because the happy couple got in a fight over the bathroom which led to a more heated argument about how they envisioned their lives in New York. The lovebirds were able to make up by the end of the episode much to the dismay of Mr. and Mr. Berry.

As soon as Jeff Goldblum and Brian Stokes Mitchell showed up on stage with a piano, it was clear that they were up to something which made this entire plot line kind of anti-climactic. The whole reverse psychology bit is so worn out that I was a little insulted that Glee went there. What was even worse was the fact that Rachel's dads even discussed how it was a bad idea but still went through with it, which is how I imagine the writers room is when they're breaking stories for this show. Oh well, let's just move on.

There were other crazy love stories going on in the halls of McKinley. Apparently, the idea of serenading students was not totally a bad idea because the God Squad (a Christian student group consisting of Mercedes, Quinn, Sam and new guy) ran with it. Everything was going along fine until Santana asked them to sing a love song to Brittany since she blamed Christians for being uncomfortable by their displays of affection and complaining to Principal Figgins. The God Squad wasn't sure if they should sing to a lesbian couple because it could offend new guy and the random choir that accompanied them, but by the end everything was right in the world because new guy figured that love was love.

Really, this storyline was introduced to push the Samcedes love triangle forward, which it did for the most part, and I was glad that it didn't end with a happy ending. Mercedes was right, what she and Sam did was not cool, and they ended up hurting someone else, so it would have been insensitive for them to pair up right then and there. I'm sure they're going to eventually end up together, but I'm OK with them cooling off for a bit, which I know contradicts what I said last week, but get over it.

The God Squad subplot was also just an excuse to introduce Samuel Larsen as Joe Hart AKA Teen Jesus. Anyone who watched The Glee Project pretty much knew that he was going to be the Christian character that Ryan Murphy's been talking about for a while now, so the way he was brought in to the show wasn't surprising, but I was a little let down by it all. This episode introduced some really interesting ideas about the beliefs of socially progressive Christians, and the double standards that exists between straight couples and gay couples, but they were pretty much ignored in favor of a silly pissing contest between Rory and Artie. I would have much rather watched Glee explore these subjects instead of Sugar getting increasingly lavish gifts, and I hope that they revisit them, but I've said that before about this show.

On the Music Front: The standout number of the night had to be Amber Riley's unintentional homage to the late Whitney Houston. "I Will Always Love You" is one of the few Whitney songs that I know, and I felt that Riley did an amazing job. Other highlights were Asian Fusion's version of "L-O-V-E" and Damian's take on Michael Buble's "Home." I even liked the God Squad's "Stereo Hearts," which was a song I hadn't heard of before tonight. "Love Shack" was fun, but it cut into crucial storytelling time that could've been used to flesh out the Brittana sub-plot

Other Odds and Ends:
  • Tina really is only kept around for information dumps.
  • Sugar was nuts this episode, and I loved every second of it. She's really started to grow on me.
  • Lying aside, I did kind of liked badass Rory.
  • And apparently chicks really do dig accents. I need to start working on one.
  • When are people going to stop taking it seriously when random gospel choirs and/or bands just show up out of nowhere? How else are they going to explain the music that's playing?
  • I'm so glad Chord Overstreet's back. His rap was dorkishly charming.
  • The conversation between the students about gays and God would have been so much better if it was given time to breathe and grow.
  • Did Glee just out the apostle Simon? I thought outing people is wrong!
  • Although the Leviticus argument's kind of played out.
  • Lube. Ha!
  • I almost forgot about Kurt's D-plot that was shoehorned in. It was decent enough, and it was clear that Karofsky was his secret admirer, but this one also ended way too soon. Maybe it's because I'm a fan of Kurtofsky, but I really hope they revisit this story somewhere along the way.
  • Quick side note: Greek's Aaron Hill (Beaver!) just showed up, and he was one of two CRU alums to pop up on Fox show's this week (Clarke Duke also guested on New Girl). Now, we just need for Cappie to pop in on Raising Hope.
  • $200 to Panda Express! Score!
  • "Teen lesbians!"
  • "Well, three of us are in glee club, so we pretty much sing to gay people all the time."
  • "How come we never do this?"
  • "Honesty, respect, dance. Those are the foundations of the Berry family."
I'm not going to say that "Heart" was a bad installment of Glee because it did have some genuinely entertaining moments, but I can't shake the feeling that it was just another wasted opportunity. Some of the most important parts of this episode were tossed aside for superficial moments and musical numbers. Maybe I should be used to this by now, but I've never been upset by this lack of focus until tonight. I just wonder what that means for the future of this show and my affection for it.


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