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Glee: Comeback

Did the Glee writers just dump lots of plot ideas together, cross their fingers and hope a coherent episode would emerge? Sorry writers, it doesn’t work that way.

Comeback or Cutbacks?

The individual plotlines may have been compelling if properly supported by other plots. For example, the trend-setting plot might have worked better in an episode devoted to Gaga, known for her crazy fashion, rather than Bieber, known for his bad haircut. Alas, this episode was a mish-mash of disparate threads that, rather than being woven into a pair of attractive arm-warmers remained a messy tangle of disparate threads.

Whilst I initially thought this episode was going to be about Justin Bieber and suicide (I can see how those would be closely linked in many people’s minds), we got trend-setting, diva-offs, heartwarming cancer ward camp fires and Lauren’s first song thrown into the mix. Maybe they should have stuck with Bieber and self-harm? Speaking of which, what is the big deal with Bieber anyway? I am glad they didn’t devote the whole episode to him but they focused on him just as much as Gaga. Unlike Gaga, there wasn’t much fun to be had with Bieber – after mocking, parodying, and finally exaggerating his ability to make girls turn into screaming Bieber-zombies, the only things to focus on were the Bieber hair (Mark Salling, you should have refused to wear that wig) and his songs, which I admittedly don’t mind. Perhaps this part of the episode works better if you actually are a Bieber-phile, but I just found the girls (even pull-no-punches Lauren) turning into melted butter watching The Justin Bieber Experience a little unbelievable and slightly degrading.
Oh dear, this review seems to be becoming a rant. Let’s press on!

Sue-icide, or Character Assassination?

Were those gummy vitamins ever meant to work, Sue? Whilst I am glad she lives to scheme another day, I thought it was a) ridiculous that Sue would ever resort to such measures to end her suffering/cry for help, and b) unlikely that she wouldn’t go to the healthy supply of much more potent and dangerous substances that I’m sure she has tucked away somewhere.
Apparently, what Emma thought Sue needed was a shot of┣▇g̅l̲e̲̅e̲̅▇▇═─ to bring her out of her funk. Did Sue agree to it because it was her plan all along, or did she see the opportunity to destroy them from within and take it? Doesn’t matter too much, since she went about it in a pretty lacklustre way, causing only a minor rift between Rachel and Mercedes; at least they are firm friends now.

The trip to the hospital was a bit cringeworthy. Sometimes Glee gets very self-aware – it seemed we were being told that Sue needed to sing with cancer patient kids to see her problems in perspective, in that scene in the hallway – she denied it and Will said that was not the point of the visit, but it was, wasn’t it? The trip to the ‘house of sad’ did inspire her, to magically become the director of a rival glee club. Oh well. Let’s ignore the fairly large question of ‘How?’ and move straight on to the glorious future when Sue’s and Will’s rival glee clubs will clash on the streets with high notes making car windows shatter and Molotov-slushies being lobbed back and forth.


- Sue’s ‘underwear’ during I Know What Boys Like. Was that a whip to go with the mask?
- Finn’s Mighty Morphin Power Rangers T-shirt
- Mercedes and Rachel's contrasting advice to Sue on how to be a diva.
- Puck is still into Lauren and she’s still not putting out. Good girl, make him beg.
- Lauren wrestling was pretty cool. As was Puck's erection comment.
- Sam’s Na’vi speak. But he hasn’t done it for months!
- Brittany does look fabulous all the time.
- Santana is back to full sexy bitch power and poor Sammy is her plaything.
- When Quinn whispers, her voice is Really sexy!

Didn’t Love

- Sue-icide? Not remotely plausible. Even if she was just hatching an evil plot/crying out for help.
- Glee does Bieber? Not remotely laudable.
- Kids with cancer, cut to 'funny' scene about fashion? Not working for me.
- When is Brittany so mean? That’s just not like her.
- How the hell did Sue get to be the director of a glee club at a different school? Ah, never mind, it’s Glee.

Glee Against the Music

Baby – Justin Bieber (Sam):
Well, at least the vocals were good. There’s a reason why this song received the most hits on YouTube (even if I don’t know what the reason is), but Glee, did you really have to go there? Minus one for going there. Minus one for Sam’s Bieber bob. Minus one for the girls all going crazy for it. I’m neutral on the dance-moves. I guess that’s a Grade C.

Somebody to Love – Justin Bieber (Sam and Artie with Puck and Mike):
Again, the vocals were impressive. I enjoyed the choreography too, except for the chalk, which I liked until I realised that it was actually some magically disappearing dust that never seemed to get on the guys clothes. I wish my house was full of disappearing dust. Again with the inexplicable Bieber fever from the ladies. B-

Take Me or Leave Me – Rent (Rachel and Mercedes):
If I was in a theatrical, diva-y mood I might have liked this more. Instead it just felt out of place. I didn’t believe the girls were really upset with each other in the first place, let alone that admiration of the other’s talent made them warm to each other by the end of the song. C+

This Little Light of Mine – Harry Dixon Loes (Will, Sue and paediatric cancer ward kids):
This also might have worked if they had earned it. However, I was a little miffed that they casually mentioned that Will goes to the ward every month, when it’s never been mentioned before. Good for Will, but it felt very much like those incredibly adorable kids were being used in a cheap way, since the scene had little bearing on the rest of the episode, with Sue reverting to her glorious, evil self soon after, and the plot moving on to Brittany the ‘fashion institution’. D-

I Know What Boys Like – The Waitresses (Lauren):
Another song that felt like a spare part from another episode. I’ve never been fond of ‘talky songs’ (I’m looking at you, The Ting Tings) but Lauren did her best with bad material. The only part I really enjoyed was seeing New Directions and Sue in their underwear. D+

Sing – My Chemical Romance (New Directions and Sue):
Again, good vocals but I would have been more into it if Sue hadn’t been there in atrocious pyjamas. Though props for the Sue stripes. Actually no, I hated all the outfits. It also didn’t work having Sue in the midst of the kids singing when half an episode earlier she was pushing them into lockers. B-

Quotes for Gleeks:

Sue: “Yes losers, I’m committing Sue-icide.”

Sam: “Who’s more rock n’ roll than Justin Beiber? No one, that’s who.”

Puck: “Dude, that haircut makes your mouth look even bigger.”

Lauren: “Although my love would CRUSH him, I’m totally turned on by the Biebster... that is until I remember that he looks like he’s 12 and it’s kind of creepy.”

Santana: “But make no mistake, every time you open your humongous mouth to do an impression, or moisten an enormous stamp for a lazy giant, you take one step closer to everyone seeing that you are actually a dork.”

Santana: “Look, I know you’re as dumb as a bag of wet hair...”

Brittany: “Most teachers think by cutting class I may improve my grades.”

Santana: “I mean, my carousel horse sweater should make me look like an institutionalized toddler but no – I look hot and smart. I feel like Michelle Obama.”

Lauren: “Here’s how I see it. I know I’m the hottest bitch in this joint. If I was a country my flag would be a fist giving the world the finger.”

Sue: “So sorry for not being sorry for interrupting.”

Quote of the Week:
Rachel: "I want my allowance back right now!"
Brittany: "It's already gone, my uncle lost his job and his goat was going hungry, so I spent it on food for the goat. I mean sort of, the goat just ate the money."

If an episode about Sue-icide wasn’t enough of a downer, the highest grades I could give the songs this week were B minuses. That’s depressing – my ipod is cold and lonely. Two out of four ugly Bieber wigs. Maybe two and a half, but that's generous!


  1. Bieber. Gag. Brittany as the fashion setter was the high point. And, as always, Puck.

    Great review, Harry. You hit the nail on the Bieber, so to speak.

  2. Harry, I was THE ONLY ONE who liked the Bieber songs!hahah
    I think Justin Bieber is ridiculous!
    He's SO showing off!
    But that song "Baby" was cute, wasn't it!?
    But WHY would the girls like the " Bieber's style"?
    They're better than this!
    I think Lauren is disgusting!
    I Want Kurt back!haha
    But I Like Laure's attitude!
    Puck TOTALLY deserves it!
    Quinn is sexy,beautifull,so cute!
    she looks like a baby doll.
    Brittany is amazing in every single way and you're right, she's not THAT bad.
    Ryan Murphy needs to change some things!
    You see things that i sometimes don't realize tha much.
    Great Review buddy!
    and Carnival is COMIIIIING! :)

  3. Fun review, Harry. I enjoyed this one a lot more than you did. I was okay with all the different threads because they do have a unifying theme:

    Sam seeminly made a comeback in Quinn's heart with the Bieber stuff, but then made his real comeback as a person by dumping her and getting some dignity back.

    Rachel tried to stage her comeback through Brittany and fashion, but made her real comeback by trying to drive the Glee group to literal new directions.

    Puck thought he was making headway with Lauren by joining the Bieber Experience, but really came back in her grace by giving her honest advice.

    And this one we interpreted very differently: Will thought he could bring Sue back from her funk subjecting her to the ultimate heartstring-puller experience of entertaining sick kids, but she only made her comeback when exposed to the evil of the Bieber Experience (notice her epiphany face in the middle of the performance), at which point she realised she finds joy in spectacle and evil (both of which embodied by Bieber) and decides to backstab Will and compete against him.

    In other words, all threads had the characters trying to make a comeback by following the popular road only to realise that a true comeback involves being true to yourself.

    Anyway, all the Bieber jokes actually amused me to no end, but then, as you might have guessed, I don't have the same visceral reaction to impenetrable tween fads a lot of people have. "Déformation professionnelle" as they call it. (Did I mention Nick Jonas was on Mr Sunshine this week? Disney Channel reference # -1)

    I also like how readily Quinn is embracing her old ways now that she's gaining some confidence back. It rings very true to me.

  4. I wouldn't blame anyone for giving up on Glee after this complete mess of an episode.

    No more Beiber, afores I ends you! And I was already disappointed they were spending too much time on Katy Perry songs. This plot point was saved only by the sarcastic undertones felt throughout. At least that is how I chose to interpret the casts adulation of his "talent". I did enjoy "Somebody to Love", which I thought was an Usher song at first.

    The cancer ward felt exploitative, as did the "Sue-icide" attempt. Glee is not a dark comedy, it didn't work. Sue coaching Aural Intensity is just as outlandish, as the now confirmed to be true, Katie Couric interview. She better be transferring out of Mckinley.

    Yet as much as I hated the episode there was quite a bit I still enjoyed. The fashion was on point, aside from the mess they slapped on Lauren for her "The Waitresses" number. Quinn's hat was adorable, I want it, I can pull it off. Santana's entire conversation with Sam makes me chuckle whenever I think about it. The prospect of hearing some original music has me intrigued. Mr. Schuester in a vest and boxers, enough said.

    "...unlock your humongous jaw and swallow him whole like a python..." LOVED IT!

  5. I agree with Felipe. Glee isn't a dark comedy. Nor should it address complex issues. The characters just can't accommodate that kind of storytelling. They're too stereotyped. They can only respond in restricted ways to external stimuli. Which means, either, a subject gets dealt with too superficially, or that the characters are forced to behave outside normal operating parameters in order to give the subject the necessary oomph. Unfortunately, both options are unsatisfactory. You either feel patronised, or that the characters are acting out of character. Glee's at its best when it's light and fluffy. Like candy floss. Mmmmmm...candy floss.

  6. Hated everything to do with Justin Bieber in this episode. Just cannot stand the guy.

    The rest of the episode was decent enough though why did everyone shoot Rachel's original song idea down? God knows, they've had worse ones.

  7. Santana's ''mouth to face ratio' speech almost made up for the rest of the episode for me. Almost.

  8. Color me intrigued with the possibility of Glee performing an original song and Sue coaching a rival Glee club, but why do they have to torment us with Bieber? Has all the real music in world run out? Did every band pull a Kings of Leon?

    Anyways, give me more Warlbers and when they inevitably lose regionals get Blaine to join New Directions permanently.


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