Feb. 9, 2011 at 9:43 AM ET
By Ryan McGee of HitFix.com
Heads (and plenty of eyes) may have rolled in the post-Super Bowl episode of “Glee” that aired a scant 48 hours ago. But if the show had really wanted to put its best foot forward, it would done itself far more justice had it aired tonight’s edition, “Silly Love Songs,” instead. Had the football team simply been doing well, Finn’s stock could have risen equally as high, putting the basic premise at work tonight in perfect position to wow the largest set of eyeballs that show will probably ever see. Oh well. No one ever accused “Glee” of doing things the easy way.
“Silly Love Songs” is a companion piece to Season 2’s “Duets,” albeit unofficially. But the same basic structure exists in both episodes, and that structure had yielded two of the three strongest episodes this season (the other one, to my mind, being “Furt”). The structure is incredibly simple, so simple that it must bore the writers of the show, forcing them to create concept canons that resemble the physical cannon Sue brought into play during the last go-round. Here’s the structure: keep the adults out of the way, and let the kids play. Done and done.
Any major problems that come from people acting strange, out of character or having convenient memory loss can almost all be explained by the simple premise that the show never chooses to emphasize: these are hormonal teenagers that pinball back and forth on an almost weekly basis. Moreover, high school is often a four-year play, acted out by people continually trying out new characters. The problems with “Glee” usually stem from how the show chooses to present that ongoing play, unable to discern what the “rules” are about this world and choosing wild moments over world-building. Maybe a story about a bunch of teenagers struggling to find their own voice, both in and out of glee club, isn’t enough for the writers. Maybe they need episodes dedicated to Britney Spears and “The Rocky Horror Picture Show." But that simplicity is certainly enough for me.
The biggest contrast between “The Sue Sylvester Shuffle” and “Silly Love Songs,” as already intimated, was the almost complete lack of adult figures in tonight’s hour. The show’s in a bit of a bind, in that they introduced the show through the figure of Will Schuester and have created a Mercutio-esque character in Sue that threatens to topple the show asunder every time her character appears onscreen. Pushing these two characters off to the side, and I mean WAY OFF to the side, might be the smartest move this show could do. The show won’t do this in a million years, but “Silly Love Songs” stands as a testament to how interesting this show can be when parents and teachers function in this world not unlike they do in those old Charlie Brown cartoons.