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OMG Glee: The Substitute

Last week’s Glee was really terrible. Not just “makes Social Justice activists cringe” terrible, but poorly executed. Gwyneth Paltrow played a substitute teacher named Holly Holiday with designs on Will’s job, Principal Figgins, one of the show’s few characters of color, was fired, and Kurt was a terrible, shitty friend to Mercedes all the way through. We learned that women essentially have two options: lovable, carefree drifter with no follow-through or uptight, controlling schoolmarm. We learned that faced with fat shaming from her best friend, Mercedes will thank him for his “advice.”

The song choices weren’t suited to the singers and as a result the performances were lackluster. Sorry Glee, doing a shitty job and then filming people clapping and hooting as if you weren’t doing a shitty job just draws more attention to mess you’re making. The Cee-Lo song was by far the highlight of the entire episode, everything before and after was mediocre.

I didn’t really want to write about this episode this week, especially knowing that someone else had already done it better. Satah Cameron, writing for This Ain’t Living about Kurt’s behavior last week:

“Normally, I adore Kurt, but this episode. WOWEE. He indulged in some nice casual racism by deciding that Mercedes should totes date this one dude, which—he’s black, so you have all of the things in common, right? Mercifully, Mercedes called him out: “Why him? It has nothing to do with the fact that he’s one of the five black dudes at this school?” And then at the end, she decides Kurt was right and goes for it. SUGGESTED AD CAMPAIGN FOR GLEE: remember that one time you liked what we did? We take it back!”

Isn’t she the best? [FULL DISCLOSURE: She is.] So go read what she had to say, and I’m going to start baking.


  1. Kiri wrote:

    Satah is SO the best.

    Tuesday, November 23, 2010 at 6:26 pm | Permalink
  2. Marie wrote:

    Can’t we just say that this show is horrible for just about every kind of person, and leave it at that? Seriously, it’s offensive from A to Z. The only defense of Kurt’s behaviour is that, at least, it’s consistent with him being a self-involved, selfish person who has little to offer outside of his stalkerish obsessions and his dedication to being a cringingly awful stereotype. Seriously, doesn’t the kid have any interests outside of being gay?

    Tuesday, November 23, 2010 at 7:57 pm | Permalink
  3. Katie wrote:

    I was so disgusted with the random fat shaming in this episode. When I pointed it out to a friend when we were watching, and he didn’t seem to think it was a big or that it was problematic for Kurt to be rude to Mercedes when she is calling him out on being a bad friend. For me, this was one of the worst episodes in terms of writing that Glee has had. I’m getting sick of how bad the show has been this season.

    Tuesday, November 23, 2010 at 10:55 pm | Permalink
  4. Eric Johns wrote:

    I saw the Rocky Horror episode and yelled obscenities at the TV. Upon the revelation that they lost Frank-N-Furter (you know the line, I’m not writing it), I instantly hated Glee with a passion I typically reserve for the likes of Christine O’Donnell or Pat Robertson (among many, many others). Damn white cis gay privileged fucks. (I said that as a self-identified white cisgender male andro-skoliosexual)

    Satah is LOVELY. And she is funny when in drunk!satah mode. And, like, all the time. I really love her blog. It got me out of one of my deepest depressions (I guess I have the “atypical” subtype since my mood fluctuates based on stimulation… hmm…)

    Wednesday, November 24, 2010 at 3:57 am | Permalink
  5. Brenda wrote:

    Agreed! This week was BAD. I thought the thing with Kurt and Mercedes had the MAKINGS of a good storyline, as ditching their friends for a boy is totally something teenagers do, but the way it concluded was AWFUL. I kept waiting for Kurt to be like “I’m sorry Mercedes. Meeting Blaine is really exciting for me, but that doesn’t excuse me being a bad friend.”

    Also, Gwyneth Paltrow? She is not funny. That whole storyline could have worked if they’d cast someone who is funny and actually was able seem carefree in the part instead of all weird and desperate to be cool the way Gwyneth Paltrow came off.

    Wednesday, November 24, 2010 at 6:42 am | Permalink
  6. Andy wrote:

    Yeah, Glee has basically gone from being a show with worrying potential stereotype clusterfucks to a complete clusterfuck of sterotyping.

    So glad I broke things off with Glee ever since the Rocky Horror debacle.

    Wednesday, November 24, 2010 at 11:00 am | Permalink
  7. redredrobin wrote:

    You know what I don’t get? The hight school has budget problems, right? So how is it possible that the Glee club can always come up with perfect costumes, arrangements, orchestras, lighting that outdoes lots of professional theaters, and this is just for some little old “Hey can I show you guys something I just thought of” deal?

    Friday, November 26, 2010 at 2:41 pm | Permalink
  8. Larissa wrote:

    Ok, I agree, Glee doesn’t always hit the mark, but in the bigger picture, there are great female characters on the show. Rachel, who isn’t afraid of being herself, AT ALL, even when she’s at her worst, Mercedes, Quinn, who chose NOT to be a mother, and decided to keep her life and screw everyone else, and Britney, who while is incredibly stupid, is finally an example of bisexuality in mainstream television. Maybe the show isn’t “reality” or “gritty,” but I think it does help widen the narrow minds of middle-Americans to strong female and homosexual characters. The writing can suck sometimes, but the over all theme is that of acceptance and breaking down gender/racial/sexual orientation stereotypes, sometimes through using irony and sarcasm.

    Saturday, November 27, 2010 at 4:45 am | Permalink
  9. Larissa wrote:

    Oh, and RedRedRobin, its a Musical show, how do most musical numbers in Broadway themes turn out so well? At least theres an excuse for it in the show, its not meant to be true to life in that way, its a musical.

    Saturday, November 27, 2010 at 4:47 am | Permalink
  10. S.A. Small wrote:

    Also the cutaway scene of Holiday’s “traumatic moment” with the generic fat/angry black woman really pissed me off. Not that there’s anything wrong with being fat, angry, black, a woman, or any combination of the four, of course. The coincidence of these–with so few meaty roles for black women–are infuriating. Then, there was the fat shaming, which was ridiculous because tater tots are delicious! No one should be made to feel ashamed for eating something so good! And shit wasn’t even funny, so yeah.

    Um, I did like the “Singin’ in the Rain/Umbrella” mashup, though. A lot. (Frankly, the Cee-Lo song doesn’t work for me without “fuck.”)

    Sunday, November 28, 2010 at 4:50 am | Permalink
  11. S.A. Small wrote:

    Maybe that should be “IS infuriating.” Dammit…

    Sunday, November 28, 2010 at 4:52 am | Permalink
  12. canomia wrote:

    The wierd thing about Glee is how it manages to point out how offensive it is all the time and still always go back to being offensive. Like the time when the girls who have boyfriends on the football team decides to have their boyfriends beat Kurofsky up so he backs off Kurt, one of them points out that this is stupid and sexist and they should just talk to kurofsky themselves. But then they just go back to the plan and the boyfriends do their thing. Or the countless times they bring up the fact that nobody but Finn and Rachel get to sing solos and the students don’t get to decide what to sing. How ever many times that happens they still always go back to the way it was. It’s annoying.

    Monday, December 13, 2010 at 6:08 pm | Permalink