This week’s episode of Glee was more than disappointing. More like insulting. It’s very possible I’ll erase the entire series from my DVR queue based on this one episode.
After the winter finale ended with Quinn’s car being T-boned while she’s texting while driving on the way to Rachel and Finn’s quicky teenage wedding, I admit I was psyched for the result. Six weeks later, the series returned, but instead of picking up with that final scene, instead of showing the waiting wedding party learn the news of Quinn’s fate, instead of us all watching as the ambulance rushes Quinn to the hospital where the doctors might, just might, tell a stricken family of Glee members that their Quinn didn’t make it … instead of all of the possible drama and suspense and despair that might have followed such a haunting last moment in that previous episode, this week’s began with Rachel wondering aloud to Finn in the halls of McKinley High if the two of them might still have married if not for Quinn’s accident.
It took me a moment to realize that this episode takes place many weeks later, and that Quinn apparently is alive and well and is, at that very moment, preparing to sing a cheery song about being alive in her new wheelchair. If not for the wheelchair, you’d never know anything had happened to her, because she’s just as shiny and glowy as always. All of her parts work quite fine, she tells the group after singing a very stupid song with Artie. Except for her legs, which are paralyzed…oh, but only temporarily. It’s okay, see, ’cause she’s going to be dancing again in time for Nationals. Real dancing, not wheelchair dancing, which she apparently has already learned how to do. Artie’s not too sure about that. Neither are the rest of them, but they’re all willing to hope for Quinn’s speedy recovery. With the exception of Rachel’s guilty tears (for having been the one texting Quinn) and Artie’s concern for Quinn’s obvious denial of the probable possibility that she won’t walk again, the episode all but ignores the fact that Quinn so easily rolled away from an accident that should have killed her.
After a one-liner about almost becoming a sad tribute in their senior yearbook, Quinn spends the rest of the episode warning others of the dangers of texting while walking (because that’s how she started), before she joins Artie at the skating park where all of Lima, Ohio’s, physically disabled hang out. All the while, she insists to anyone who will humor her that her situation is only temporary. She’s going to be on her feet again in a month. Delusion or not, this episode does not seem to have any kind of message at all. After the cliffhanger ending of the winter finale, you’d think Glee would have more of a moral for teens who text and drive, but it seems that all anyone will take away from Quinn’s situation is that bad things don’t really happen to young people. Then again, maybe the only point of Quinn’s accident was to postpone Finn and Rachel’s wedding. The episode begins and ends with them. Everything in between is just for show.
I haven’t been enamored with this season, but this episode, especially, felt like it was written by the kids from the Glee Project, last year’s reality show whose winning contestants have been stretching this season’s cast of Glee. It really could not have been any more insulting to viewers who expect better quality writing from a show that has revolutionized the definition of the Emmys’ comedy category.
I guess it’s kind of funny that I’m getting all riled up about how lacking this comedy show is in the realistic drama department. But Glee never was a typical comedy. The one week my mom caved and tuned in to the show was the week when Finn learns that his father was not the war hero he’d thought. “I thought this show was supposed to be funny,” my mom said, before never tuning in again. It’s usually funny, I told her. Except the other half of the time, when it isn’t. Some weeks the only laughs Glee elicits are from Sue Sylvestor’s ability never to let her stream of vicious quips run dry. The rest of the time Glee members get in car accidents, are attacked with rock salt, are locked in Porta-Potties and rolled down a hill, and deal with daily torment from their fellow students. But maybe that’s what happens when clever comedies turn into dramedies. In Glee’s case, I don’t see it leading to any more Emmys.
Glee, I think it’s time to return to what you do best: comedy. And leave the drama to writers who can handle the challenge.