Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Beside Myself with GLEE

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.


Amy said...

Great post, Jane! It should have replaced Ann Power's story on Glee in today's LA Times. She was very complimentary but geez...I think she went way overboard with the analysis of what kind of show it wants to be moving forward,it's approach to characters, how it's showing the strain of reconciling it's musical-theater side with its more contemporary elements, how it's tapping into other key elements of it's makeup, blah, blah blah...let's not lose site of the fact that this is an entertaining half-hour television show. You said what needs to be said without all this over-the-top TV pop musical psychoanalysis. Anyway, that's my opinion, for whatever it's worth.

Jane said...

Sounds like Ms. Powers has to justify her existance. I'm glad I can still enjoy a show like Glee and not over-analyze it. Thanks for your opinion Amy! We love opinions here at The Flaming Nose!

Lisa said...

If anybody could make me actually WANT to watch "Glee" it's our Jane! I just can't do it, though. I know it's the singing...but one of these days I'll give it a try for more than just a few minutes.

Sounds like a great episode and I will always be totally behind a series like "Glee" even if I can't bear to watch it! :-)

Jane said...

I know it's not for everybody Lisa, and I appreciate the fact that you have the desire, if not the ability, to watch this musical program! Frankly, I'm shocked that there are enough folks out there to like a drama/comedy/music hybrid to actually make it a fairly broadbased hit! Who would have dreamed...that's the kind of originality TV needs more of. Most folks are bored to death!