Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Review: Glee 2.07 "The Substitute"

Remember when Glee used to have fun and also have interesting character moments? Me too. It was the last time Ian Brennan wrote an episode. Just when I'm ready to doubt him (as he is my favorite Glee writer -- full disclosure), he gives me Singin' in the Rain mashed up with Umbrella.

He also giveth Gwyneth Paltrow, who steps in as the substitute glee club/Spanish teacher when Will gets sick, rather ingeniously, as a side effect of Sue's recent ploy for power. The episode then spins from there, giving great moments to Will and Terri (the latter coming to Will's house to "make him feel better", which includes his favorite movie Singing in the Rain (obviously) and the patented massage-which-then-turns-into-sex-because-pure-sensuality-does-not-exist-in-fiction-ever) and the rest of the club.

A lot of people will probably take issue with this episode, but aside from Kurt's "way to buck the stereotype" line to Blaine at Bread Sticks (because it points out how oblivious the show is to how stereotyped Kurt himself is), this episode was a marked improvement over "Rocky Horror Glee Show" (an abomination I will never mention by name again -- like Volde- I mean, He Who Must Not Be Named) and "Never Been Kissed" (an attempt to bring a real issue to the foreground falling flat due to its cliche structure). Say what you will about Gwyneth Paltrow or Terri Schuester, this was a fully-functional episode of Glee, complete with fun musical numbers (and the audacity to attempt to live up to Gene Kelly -- impossible, but I appreciated the effort) and some of the best versions of the characters. Funny, the element of the episode I was most worried about, the mini-mes, turned out to be a hilariously brief segment pointing out the broad, one-dimensional aspects of the characters, which if nothing else shows that Glee has made some progress in becoming a real boy.

I'll take any of the above over a botched "Time Warp" any day of the week.

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