'Glee' should have stayed on break
After a three-month break, "Glee" returned this week with "Frenemies," an episode that lacked depth. The show should have remained on break.
The episode followed the relationships between Rachel (Lea Michele) and Santana (Naya Rivera), as well as Artie (Kevin McHale) and Tina (Jenna Ushkowitz). The pairs fought for things outside of their control.
With her main role in "Funny Girl," Rachel's stardom inflates her ego. The Rachel from earlier seasons returns; her self-centered attitude drives away any friends and changes her into the character we all hated.
Santana's audition for Rachel's understudy brings about Rachel's character change. Perhaps Santana's rendition of a song Rachel commonly performs was a dramatic move, but Rachel's new spotlight in the most dramatic city in the world made it almost acceptable.
"Santana's unique take on the number we've been conditioned to hear as 'Rachel's Song Only' is refreshing and a neat trick of how 'Glee' can still make the musical fantasy reality work for it," said Rae Votta, a "Billboard" columnist.
The return of the backstabbing suggests that nothing changes after high school. The duo's actions are immature. They act as if they are freshmen again. By setting this example, Rachel and Santana wrongly demonstrate to viewers across the nation that when pursuing your dreams it is okay to sabotage friendships.
While the Santana-Rachel feud returns, the debate between Artie and Tina sends the show in a new direction. The pair has always been the shining background singers. They play nice, sing well and set an example. But not anymore. In a fight to become that year's valedictorian, Tina exposes Artie's pretentious desire for popularity by dating Kitty. If this low blow was not enough, Tina ends up physically abusing Artie as she pushes him over in his wheelchair.
Following the fight, each concedes the win to the other in their speech competition. However, their feud isn't over. Principal Sue decides their speeches act as a forfeit and grants Blaine the title of valedictorian. Of course, Blaine resolves the fight by offering for the three to sing a rendition of Kelly Clarkson's "Breakaway" at graduation.
The unexpected outbreak between supposed best friends, Artie and Tina, again suggests the impossibility of maintaining close friendships while pursuing your dreams. More importantly, Tina abuses Artie. She says horrible things to him and pushes him out of his wheelchair. Tina never apologizes, nor is she chastised. The show's focus on drama determines violent action as a social norm. The show became famous for its attempt to destroy hateful actions between high schoolers. Lately, their characters are not the ones facing discrimination, but rather dealing it out.
The final conversation in "Frenemies" is about the need to leave a small town.
"If you don't hate where you came from, if you didn't [get out] of your dinky midwestern town, if you somehow managed to fit in just a little bit in high school and don't carry any resentment toward your parents for forcing you to grow up in such a hole, well, then you're weird and unfulfilled and a loser. Your fate is a sad one and you should be pitied," staff writer MaryAnn Sleasman of "TV.com" said.
The necessity to leave Ohio is a sad idea. If New Directions was a great experience, more kids should want to stay. The relation between success and somewhere else - anywhere else - paints the notion that the grass is greener on the other side. This is just another way "Glee's" realism has been lost; it no longer teaches its viewers right from wrong. Rather, this show focuses on achieving your goals regardless of consequence.
As a whole, the latest episode was a waste of time. Here's to hoping the season returns to its positive teachings and lightens up on the drama.
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