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Glee 1.17 – Bad Reputation

Grade: B

Thank god for Bad Reputation. I’ve been worried since Glee came back that maybe it lost a bit of its creative bite. When Glee wins, it’s because it has a healthy mix of satire, humor, character development and campy-fun music. Bad Reputation captured most of what made those first 13 episodes so great, and even though I have some issues here or there with the episode, overall it’s a win for Gleeks.

The theme of this episode (something that I’ve been generally frustrated with as of recent) is everyone’s reputation. Unlike, say, healthy eating, this one actually makes sense given the context of the characters. The members of New Directions have been trying to improve their reputation all year so it works. The entire episode is a bit messy but this is also in part to many character developments (and just characters) that have been left unanswered up until this point that realistically needed to be addressed.

Posting Sue’s private rendition of “Physical” to youtube was probably the smartest thing that happened in the show. It showed us a broken Sue who was on the rebound. Yes, the Glee club won sectionals, but we’ve never seen a Sue that literally was the laughing stock of the school. Of course, Sue gets her mojo back with a great cameo by Olivia Newton-John (by the way, is there some reason that she needed to talk about how accomplished she was in the 80s? Is it because no one remembers her?) but the look of fear on Sue’s face was wildly entertaining.

The “glist” also allowed for ridiculous antics, always good on this show, and provided a good parallel to Mr. Shu’s own problems (yes, William, you are a slut). Doing “Hammer Time” in the library was a great use of using music in ways that make sense, something the show has been lacking at this point that has made it feel more like a television version of High School Musical. Rachel’s video rendition of “Run, Joey, Run” was both hilarious, fitting, and allowed both the writers and the audience to sort of Rachel’s confusing love life. I really enjoy the character of Rachel but at times the writers can’t adequately balance her frank, bitchy, naive attitude. Thankfully tonight was not one of those nights, and Lea Michelle played it perfectly though it is kind of strange that she’s hooked up with three of the five males in the Glee club (well, of the ones that actually talk).

Also, Mr. Shu – you’re a god damned man whore. No one’s character has been bothering me more since the show’s return than his. You say you want Emma, you’re down to take her v card when she wants to, but you’re also hooking up with the coach of Vocal Adrenaline and April while leaving Emma in the dust. It’s about time that Emma took him down a notch or two. He’s been extremely frustrating to watch and I hope going forward he’ll be less arrogant (also, stop rapping. You look like an idiot).

Not all was perfect though. The song choice, while fitting with the theme of the show, generally were of poorer quality than what I would have liked. I really hope Glee doesn’t go on a trend of Sue refilming old music videos. It was funny this week but anymore and it will start to wear its welcome. I enjoyed “Run, Joey, Run”, but “Ice, Ice, Baby” could have been instantly cut. The song is annoying, Mr. Shu rapping is annoying and did nothing remotely entertaining. I also object to “Total Eclipse of the Heart” having a bad reputation. That’s my jam, yo.

The show also has too many characters and doesn’t know what to do with them. There are 12 main characters as well as Brittany, Santana, Principal Figgins, Jesse, other asian, the other football player and Coach Tanaka. Sometimes it’s just a bit much to handle as witnessed by the multiple sentimental endings. Obviously the multiple plot lines needed to be tied up but it would have been better if the episode was more streamlined and focused on maybe just a few of these stories.

And then there was Molly Shannon’s character. Molly Shannon is great and Superstar is one of my guilty pleasures. Hopefully the role will be recurring, but there was little to no reason for her to be in the episode. If you’re going to have an actress like Molly Shannon guest star, do something with her. Use her talents! Though, and astronomy teacher and badminton coach might the most perfect thing I’ve heard of for her. Hopefully she’ll end up being a rival to Sue but in last night’s episode she was woefully underutilized and misplaced.

I’m glad that Bad Reputation happened because I was starting to legitimately worry about Glee. I’m happy to announce that it’s back… at least for now.


2 Responses

  1. I agree that this episode was way better than last week’s which was a snore.

    I liked the songs, Ice Ice Baby isn’t great but I love how Mr Shu looks like when he raps and the choreography was hilarious and awesome. Those mute dancer guys and Britney surely know how to shake their booty!

    As for Olivia Newton John saying she was big in the 80’s, I think it serves a double purpose, explaining who she is to all the teens watching the show and showcase that derision and absurdity Glee is based on.

    I also really liked the scene where Sue is with her sister in her bed, it was very sweet and touching and for some reason made me tear up slightly.

    And Total Eclipse of the Heart was amazing, Lea Michele is such a good singer!

  2. tyler, you are fabulous

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