TV Recap: Glee “Hold Onto Sixteen”

The songs were really great this week. I realized that I don’t talk enough about the musical numbers, which is probably the show’s biggest draw, and let me say upfront the songs were all pretty damn stellar this week. I’d never heard the one about the red plastic cup before, and I like it. Not sure what the hell that had to do with Sam returning, but whatever.

And the girls’ “I’m a Survivor/I Will Survive” mash-up was fantastic, with both Mercedes and Santana getting to shine. They should’ve won Sectionals. I mean, what a great twist that would’ve been. They win, and then our New Directions friends have to decide for themselves whether or not to stay loyal to Mr. Schu or abandon him for greater glory.

But no, the show seemed determined to end all of their dangling story lines simultaneously. Finn and Blaine? One fight, and now they’re made up. Quinn? Crazy no more, after Rachel convinced her that it’s wrong to report to school authorities that a student and teacher are having an affair. To repeat: Glee the TV show takes the position that if you learn a student and teacher are doing it, it is a sign of maturity to ignore it. Sam? Oh, he was secretly earning money for his parents as an underage stripper, but now he’s going to move back to Ohio. Fuck parents, anyway. Mike Chang’s dad? Completely converted, now that he saw his son dance and sing backup. Just don’t convert Mike’s bedroom into a study after he moves out, Mr. Chang. (Yes, it’s good to follow your dreams and all that, but couldn’t they have reached some compromise? Couldn’t Mr. Chang have extracted a promise from Mike to enroll in med school or go after some other real major after a certain period of time? Surely Mr. Chang’s objections to Mike’s career path were based on more than just not knowing his son was talented.) The Trouble Tones? Disbanded, with Mercedes, Santana, Brittney, and the weird other girl who can’t sing now back at New Directions. (And I guess the other Trouble Tones are SOL?) So, no Glee Club Civil War, no lasting consequences to anything. It’s just a giant boring reboot.

Okay, I guess the Kurt/Blaine/Sebastian love triangle is still a threat, and Sam has declared his intentions to win back Mercedes, but other than that, we’re back to square one. (I guess every “woman of size” will want to move to Ohio after learning that guys like Sam and Puck are there, the least superficial high school boys ever).
I don’t know, maybe that’s a wise choice. Most of those story lines were pretty weak, anyway. I am interested in Kurt vs. Sebastian, and I continue to marvel at the creative cruelty of the writing staff commenting on their actor’s physical shortcomings. Having Kurt call Sebastian a “smirking meerkat” was beautiful. He totally looks like a meerkat, you guys! And I’m glad being out and proud hasn’t made Santana any less mean, as we see with all the “Trouty Mouth” jokes.

But mostly, I wonder what kind of show Glee would be if they dropped the cloying earnestness and just were a mean spirited show with funny put downs and lots of fun musical numbers? I think it would be a show I would like a lot more, because those are unquestionably the show’s strengths.

I mean, the clown judge said, “It’s nice for once, to be working with kids that are just sick with a talent”. All the quivering speeches from Kurt or songs from deaf glee club members in the world can’t detract from the pure awesome of that line. It’s why I keep coming back. That, and shirtless Chord Overstreet.


Ryan Roach lives in Studio City and suffers through traffic indignities on a daily basis. He also has a cool movie blog: http://afistop100moviesreviewed.blogspot.com/