Feb. 16, 2011 at 9:45 AM ET
By Ryan McGee of HitFix.com
Is it really a surprise that this week’s “Glee” was a pale imitation of the great one that aired at roughly the same time last week? Of course not. “Glee” isn’t written so much as concocted by a few writers that approach the show in much the same way that amateur cooks would in creating a new stew on a weekly basis. The basic ingredients that go into said stew might not be bad on their own. Some of them might even be pretty tasty. But there’s no thought process about how those ingredients go together. Occasionally, the mix produces brilliant results. But since these would-be Iron Chefs didn’t bother to write down the recipe that produced a winning meal, they are unable to replicate the process after tasting success.
Tortured metaphors aside, “Comeback” could have been a pretty good follow-up to “Silly Love Songs.” Intertwining Rachel’s reemergence as a musical, not social, force paired with a lost-then-refocused Sue wouldn’t have exactly set the world on fire, but at least given the show something it so often lacks: thematic focus. Or, you know, just plain ol’ focus. But thrown into the narrative cauldron alongside that twinned storyline was Justin Bieber, Lauren’s stage fright, Will’s visits to a pediatric cancer ward, and other elements that may have worked as a scene but not as part of the whole.
Look, I know I’m a broken record about this stuff. And for millions of “Glee” fans, the inconsistencies in tone and continuity are either ignored or embraced as part of the show’s slapdash charm. But let’s look at the cancer ward scene as embodying everything that’s wrong with the show.
If “Glee” wants to take Sue to a place where even her heart could grow a little, then fine, such blatant emotional manipulation is fine. It’s not like the show’s ever been a “Mad Men”-esque examination of people unable to express feelings. And tonight, Santana seemed more primed than ever to take over Sue’s signature barbs should Sue’s transformation actually stick.* But to include that scene, follow it up with Sue’s own production number, and THEN have her pull the rug out from under Will by showing that nothing has changed? It borders on the offensive.
* Her ever-increasingly vivid description of Sam’s mouth was something to behold. I’d be worried about Chord Overstreet developing a phobia about it in real life, but he’d probably just wash that phobia over his abs and then move on with his life without a care in the world.