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Gleeview: Grilled Cheesus

Spoiler Alert!

If last week's episode was the funnest Glee episodes, last night's was one of the most thought provoking.  It wasn't because it broke a lot of ground in the debate on religion.  In fact, it got me thinking more about what wasn't said and didn't happen.  In a way, this was different from most Glee episodes since they do tend to have a fairly unambiguous message in this type of dramatic episode.  The conclusion everyone came to was that it was a good idea to recognize that there was a something out there bigger than us, and it was up to each individual to decide what to believe about what that was.  Sue came to realize that she probably needed to let the kids have the freedom to express themselves spiritually, and Kurt realized that he needed to let his friends express their sadness and comfort him in their own way.  Everybody's happy.  There were some somewhat unpredictable expressions of belief (Emma and to a less extent Will), but otherwise the overall discussion wasn't that unpredictable.

One somewhat unusual message that came across, at least to me, was that belief in God should at least be less superficial (Jesus doesn't appear in grilled cheese) and selfish (God doesn't help boyfriends get to second base) and about more important things.like helping each other through crises.  Along these lines, I liked Quinn's participation in this episode.  She didn't play a hug role, but when she did appear it wasn't to spout platitudes.  She indicated that she had held on to her faith through he problems in the last year, but she didn't seem at all like she had all the answers.  I thought that this along with everyone's progression to their spiritual conclusions made this a well-executed attempt to cover the question of religious expression.  It wasn't a great episode.  But, that was more because there isn't a lot more that can be said about this subject and that they didn't make the attempt to go beyond the usual boundaries of the discussion.

Favorite line:
Brittany:  I did a book report on heart attacks if you wanna give it to the doctor.  It got knocked down an entire letter grade 'cause it was written in crayon.

And honorable mention is a tribute to Finn's special brand of dimness.  I like Finn, but his lack of intelligence sometimes is one of those intangibles that I think make him less than the perfect match for Rachel.  He's good for her in a way when he calls on the bad things she does, but it's sometimes canceled out even then we says something stupid.

Finn:  I didn't go to Sunday School so I don't know if God works the same as a genie, and I only get three wishes...

Musical Rundown
The lack of an active storyline was, I think, balanced about by some good song choices.  In fact, if the episode did break free of the cliché, it was because of the music.  If you were to pay attention to the lyrics of the various songs, you heard some things that were not part of the discussion so to speak among the characters.  And, that is what makes Glee what it is, isn't it?  So, here's my rundown:

"Only the Good Die Young" by Billy Joel
--This is a fitting contribution from Noah Puckerman, a plea for good Catholic girls to not let their parents keep them from sex and, thus, fun.  This was meant to be just a fun upbeat song, and Mark Salling did his usual good job with it.  Oh, and hey, we got our first look at Brad this season!  It's always exciting to see our favorite glee club pianist.

"I Look to You" by Whitney Houston--Amber Riley, aka Mercedes, had two songs this episode, and she did her usual excellent job on both.  She definitely has a niche, but she's really good in that niche.  This is no exception.

"Papa Can You Hear Me?" by Barbra Streisand from Yentl--Of the three solos Lea Michele (Rachel) has sung this season already, this was the best and most powerful I thought.  Again, this is the kind of song that showcases her immense talent most, and this was especially emotional.  And, if I'm not mistaken, she didn't even shed a tear.  The last three episodes (including the finale), she's shed too many tears when she can just sing and the emotion comes through without the extra help.

"Bridge Over Troubled Waters" by Simon & Garfunkel--This is the other Mercedes number, and I liked this arrangement.  I've heard this song in this style before, but this was a little bit more original.  Overall, very interesting and well done.

"Losing My Religion" by R.E.M.--It always seems to surprise me when I enjoy a number sung by Cory Monteith (Finn).  I enjoy most of his duets with Lea Michele, and he does a good enough job as the lead in a group number.  But, during those group numbers, he just doesn't seem like a strong enough singer for solos.  And, maybe this is where the Autotuning everyone talks about comes in, but they at least seem to make his solos sound reasonably good.

"I Want To Hold Your Hand" by The Beatles--This was a slower arrangement of the Beatles classic, one similar to the one that was used in the movie Around the World.  The arrangement fit Kurt's mood, and Chris Colfer (Kurt) did his usual solid singing job.  He's a good singer.  I don't know that I would say he's used too little in a singing role, but I like when they use his singing to help tell his story.

"One of Us" by Joan Osborne--This was, I must admit, a fairly obvious but probably appropriate song to finish with.  The group did a fairly good job with it.  I was kind of puzzled by the staging of it, with odd groupings and plain costumes (the point may have been for common or ordinary, but they were nicer than that but still plain), but maybe the point was the song not how memorable the staging was.