The new season for Glee (Fox, Tuesdays at 8pm) has been superb on every level, but last night's religion themed episode (Grilled Cheesus) broke the mold. I predict Emmy award nominations galore, as the Glee cast and writers tackled the topic that makes most television producers run for the hills. "Grilled Cheesus" was all about faith, God, and a little picture of Jesus burned into a grilled cheese sandwich. It was handled with love, sensitivity and humor and if you missed it and want to check it out, see the Fox website link above. Be sure to bring a box of Kleenex.
"Grilled Cheesus" opened with Kurt keeping a vigil in the hospital after his Dad suffered a near fatal heart attack. He struggles with his lack of faith while his Glee-Club mates offer solace and prayer. The mix of songs to support this spiritual episode was phenomenal, from Rachel singing "Papa Can You Hear Me" (Yentl), to Finn's cover of REM's "Losing my Religion". Mercedes brought the house down with a gospel version of "Bridge Over Troubled Water" and by the time Kurt sang "I Wanna Hold Your Hand" (for his sick Dad) I had a sinus head ache from being a big crybaby. The entire cast ended the show with Joan Osbourne's transcendent "What if God Was One of Us". Best scene; seeing the light in Sue Sylvester's (Jane Lynch) skeptical eyes when she hears her beloved Down Syndrome sister's explanation for faith.
This is television at its very best. GLEE has had an occasional rocky road with insufferable characters (Will's psycho wife Terri) and silly plot lines (Quinn's teenage pregnancy), but they've obviously been listening to the cacophony of viewer complaints because those problems have been eliminated. The season so far has twinkled like a 10 carat diamond.
Everybody puts Mad Men at the top of the list for TV quality, but if I might make a comparison to fine art (indulge me), watching MM is like gazing at a painting by Monet, or Van Gogh or Picasso. You are overwhelmed by the detail, the craft and the power. Watching Glee is more like looking at a David Hockney painting. It's bright, colorful, and glorious. GLEE is a trip down Mulholland Drive, and I love it.