Nov. 24, 2010 at 9:52 AM ET
Ryan McGee of HitFix.com writes: There are times when I get asked the following question (about a certain show): "Which episode should I watch to get what it’s all about?" That’s usually a hard question to answer, because most of the shows I love are highly serialized and jumping into a particular episode might leave a newbie lost at sea. Recommending "The Constant" to someone looking to get what the fuss about "Lost" is all about wouldn’t help said person know if the show was for them: they would just stare strangely at the screen and secretly hate me. But for people who want to understand the sum total of "Glee," the extreme highs as well as the frustrating lows, then I would point them directly towards tonight’s installment, "Furt." It’s the Rosetta Stone of the show.
Throughout a frustrating second season, I’ve railed against the show’s insistence on focusing on the adults of this world more than the students. But in watching just about everything related to Burt and Carole, it’s more a matter of "Glee" simply not showing the proper adults onscreen more often. I’m not quite sure what it is about Mike O’Malley that takes the show from maddening inconsistency to almost uniform excellence when onscreen, but if it means the show has to forego Will/Emma/Sue in order to buy him more screen time, well, then that seems like an easy path towards taking the show to the next level.
All too often, characters in "Glee" change based on whatever story the show wishes to tell that week. I’ve seen so many variations on Finn, Rachel, and the rest of New Directions (often in the same episode) that it’s easy to lose count. But to tie things back to "Lost," Burt Hummel is the show’s constant, primarily because his character is so consistent. It should seem obvious that characters need organic character arcs in order to grow, but "Glee" usually doesn’t feel it needs to abide by such rules. However, in Burt the show has shown a steady, sure hand, which grounds everything around him and most importantly gives him a singular place from which to grow.