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Friday, April 12, 2013

Glee, season 4, episode 18. We hear (and believe) that Degrassi did it better

Shooting Star- Last night, Glee did a "school shooting" episode. Note the quotes. Because this was less an episode on the topic of school shooting than a pointless episode about nothing. Glee wanted some attention, so leaked the topic of the episode way before it aired. Ryan Murphy tweeted that it was the most "powerful" episode of Glee yet (it wasn't).

Instead it was a missed opportunity intending to provoke and get talked about. ASB: Attention-Seeking Behavior. The stunt worked. People watched and are talking. We're talking. The episode started out good, but then it got stupid. We don't think it was "off tone." Glee has done serious episodes and moments before. It's usually a comedy, but it's allowed to change it up.

A lot of people say it was "too soon" after Newtown to do this episode. We disagree. The time is right for poignant commentary, like Stephen King's Guns novella (if you have a Kindle, get it, no matter your politics. This blogger has a gun and still liked it). This episode failed because it wasn't poignant commentary. It was just to get the characters and the audience riled up.

Here's what they could have done: waited until next season and introduced a character, with desires, love, tragedy, anger, loneliness, a lack of hope, a family, bullies, weird messages, mental illness, and all the signs that they are in trouble. That way, people watching could identify what this looks like.

Then, the show could have had this character shoot up the school, killing Artie and Mr. Schu. We could have had the show dealing with grief, fear, the aftermath, and bravery, and that would have brought many plotlines. Knowing Glee, there won't be much aftermath. They will drop this like a hot potato.

That would have been better than having Becky get scared and drop a gun, then have Sue Sylvester most likely serving jail time to cover for her. Becky is mentally retarded. What consequences would there have been?

Oh yeah, that makes a ton of sense. Take a person who would have gotten almost no punishment and put all of their crimes on yourself, when it would ruin your life. Also, taking the fall for Becky ensures that Becky won't get the help she needs for her sudden fear onset. Still, it gets rid of Sue while Jane Lynch stars in the musical Annie for a few weeks.

Becky would not have done that. The episode felt at once like exploitation of the national mood and a cop-out because there was no actual discussion or real shooting. It existed to churn up emotions. There was no commentary. Just people freaking out. Then the episode decided to keep us waiting on the reveal of who is Catfishing Ryder? It's gotta be Unique, right?

Also, Will turns Beiste down condescendingly, and Brittany also sings a song to her cat/thinks the world is going to end again.

We guess the almost points of the episode were a) say what you need to say, and b) people, like Becky, are scared. That's certainly true of the internet. During the episode, people were posting, "I don't know if I can watch this episode. A school shooting is my worst fear." That's really sad. But if you go to school, keep going. Be brave and be kind.

It's no question that this country has to change something, whether it's the way we treat outcasts, mental illness detection in youth, gun control, parents locking their guns up away from minors, or the way media cover shootings, giving glory and attention to the shooter. Really, they ought to withhold the name and photos, just calling the shooter "some coward," and then they should focus on the victims.

We liked Say. And the video segments were sweet.

Best lines: "I"m not going to argue the merits of armed teachers right now." "It's a different world from when you and I started teaching...the safety net of the public mental health system is gone. Parents with troubled kids are too busy working three jobs to look after them."

Episode grade: C


  1. I agree 100%. I was hoping this episode would be so much more than it was. Started out good, but that stupid Sue twist ruined it for me. Also, did you notice Unique's hoop earings? *barf*

    1. Ugh, no I must have blocked them out, lol