“We did not see that coming,” is how we would sum up last night’s episode of GLEE.
And by that, we’re not talking about Kurt’s tormentor smooching him (which incidentally, we also didn’t see coming), or the equally shocking kiss between Coach Bieste (“It’s French!”) and Mr. Shue, but rather the fact that we find ourselves heavily conflicted when it comes to the approach taken by Ryan Murphy to tackle bullying and homophobia in schools. Troublingly so.
After-all, when young people throughout North America are taking their own lives as a result of unconscionable homophobia and bullying in schools, the human being in us wants to give Ryan Murphy a complete and utter pass. Seriously. If Kurt discovering Blaine (Darren Criss), the Warblers and the existence of a mythical and magical Hogwarts-esque school that has a zero-tolerance harassment policy sends even one kid the message that life can, and does, in fact get better, who on earth are we to rain on that parade?
And herein lies the problem.
Our inner TV blogger didn’t particularly enjoy the latest in GLEE’s string of very special message episodes (see: “Grilled Chessus”). And while there was plenty to like — including Chris Colfer’s performance that will surely score him a second Emmy nod, Mark Saling’s hilarious and surprisingly emotional return that had him playing sidekick to
Professor X Artie as some form of community service, and newcomer Darren Criss’ killer rendition of Katy Parry’s “Teenage Dream” that we may-or-may-not have been playing on repeat since downloading from itunes yesterday — the good was overshadowed by the overtly preachy writing that made Aaron Sorkin’s post- 9/11 episode of THE WEST WING look subtle.
Begging the slightly awkward albeit painfully obvious question, are we a horrible person for looking to television to first and foremost entertain? Or should we simply shut up, enjoy the genius that was Sue Sylvester comparing Sam Evans to Macauley Culkin and applaud the fact that even at its worst GLEE, if anything, remains a positive force for change?