Thursday, October 7, 2010

Glee on God

Glee, Fox's runaway hit about high school teens in a glee club, has never shied away from controversial issues in our society.  Last season the show featured such topics as teen sex, teen pregnancy, teen drug use, homosexuality, and others.  The show has, in my opinion, treated these subjects with respect, and at times profundity.   This season, the first controversial theme was God in general with a side note to religion in public schools.  While the episode was humorous, and for the most part respectful, it was far from profound. 

Spoiler Alert, Spoiler's on this weeks episode of Glee, continue at your own risk!

The episode began with a hilarious scene of Finn creating Grilled Cheesus (pronounced as close as possible to Jesus).  This provides the segue into the theme of the episode as Finn calls for a glee assignment about Jesus. 

The real story of the episode is that of Kurt as he has to deal with his father's hospitalization and coma after a heart attack as well as dealing with the subject of God and religion, a subject that he despises.  Kurt, the openly Gay teenager has rejected the possibility of a God who would create him Gay and then make his followers hate him.  Kurt's arguments are actually the strongest arguments put up in the show.

The proponents of religion in the episode are really quite weak.  Finn, a recent convert due to his creation of Grilled Cheesus loses his faith before the end of the episode.  Quinn gets in a throw away line about God really helping her through her pregnancy.  Rachel sings an awful song about her "papa."  Sue Sylvester gave up on God because she prayed for her downs syndrome sister to get "fixed" and was disappointed.

The closest one comes to a defense of religion in the episode is the church scene with Mercedes telling Kurt that he may not believe in God, but he has to believe in something beyond himself, in something "sacred." This foreshadows Kurts "awakening" at the end of the episode with his belief, not in God or something beyond himself, but his belief in his father, in his father as the "sacred."  Seems to me to be a pretty weak attempt at religion for one's sacred to be one's father who is lying in a coma in the hospital. 

As far as the music was concerned, not much to rave about.  Mercedes "Bridge over troubled waters" was by far the most memorable.  Kurt's "I want to hold your hand" was also a nice piece.  Rachel's "papa" and Finn's "losing my religion" were both horrible.  I know that Puck sang a song, but since I can't remember it, must have stunk.  The episode ends with a decent but forgettable version of "what if God was one of us."

In all it was a decent episode as far as Glee goes, but in terms of really dealing with the topic at hand, it was less than compelling.


  1. Puck's rendition of "Only the Good Die Young" was far from "stunk" and has actually been stuck in my head all day. I'd think you'd remember since we both sang it all around the house while cleaning last night.

  2. I agree with the statement that it was an alright episode. I had the same problem with the episode. I didn't think they dealt well with the issue because they played it safe in the end with everyone getting spiritual. I would've liked to see more opposition from the characters. That would've made it seem more realistic. Kurt was by far the best, and the most believable. I also would like to add that Emma was also good for the little part she had and Will was rather forgettable.

  3. Nice post, Keith. Brooke, you crack me up, and I agree that song was one of the better ones this episode! As for my take on this show that Kendel (my wife) and I have been watching since its debut, I was less than impressed. My least favorite episodes are the "preachy" episodes where the writers are clearly making a statement about our society. Even the bits you mentioned from last season really began to bother me as the season went on. Not so much because I disagree, though I often do, but because I feel they handle them rather cavalierly instead of with the nuance and complexity the topics deserve. Anything traditional is bad, and anything progressive (whatever that might mean) is good. And when at the end of the show Kurt said, "I believe in my dad", I looked at Kendel and said, "What does that even mean?" I'm still not sure.