Remember the first 13-episode run of Glee? The run that featured episodes that included the club getting high on cold medicine and selling pot brownies to raise money to transport everyone to sectionals? The episode run that just didn’t give a flying f**k about who was watching and why? The run that was just out to have a good time?
Yeah, where did that go?
The last season and a half of Glee has become a self aware, self righteous imitation of itself. But that’s not what’s truly irritating. The unrealistic compulsion to make the show represent some sense of morality is something everyone knows needs to change, but what’s more irritating is the ending to the most recent finale.
The problem? It ends exactly the way last season ended only on a bigger scale. Last season saw The New Directions making it to regionals, and then losing to Vocal Adrenaline in the final moments. But what they learn through that loss is that the only way any of them can succeed is with the help of each other. Cliche, sure, but at the time it was uplifting. Fast forward a full year and now The New Directions have made it to nationals and are up against the “hardest” competition in the U.S. (competition that is never actually shown). The club does an original number featuring two brand new songs, and then hope for good news.
But what happens a couple hours later? They learn they didn’t place in the top ten to move forward in the competition. And then after spending a day feeling sorry for themselves, they all come together and realize they need each other to succeed. Like The Hangover II, Glee has redefined the term “going through the motions.”
So what’s with the Entourage comparison? It’s the exact same problem that show suffered from. Entourage is a funny, well-written program but, when it comes to closing a season they all play the same way. Vinny’s comeback is a massive success and he is on to his next project – a formula that was thankfully dropped on its head last season.
But if Glee is mimicking those earlier seasons of Entourage, then there is no reason to renew the show. Frankly, this move is more aggravating than using the show as a hub for iTunes downloads. At least that I can understand from a business standpoint. But since this ending has nothing to do with the business end and all with the creative end, why was this what we got? Why not end the season on a cliffhanger (especially considering the show was picked up through season 3 last year)? How about closing the season with a scene that shows the club reading the list of who placed, but holds the reveal till September?
Then there would be some real tension. Because if they lose, then we get to see the result of that loss play out over the course of an entire episode, as opposed to a thirty second flashback told by Kurt in a goddamn coffee shop. Everyone’s story can be fleshed out and addressed, then you come back in the next episode with the new year beginning.
There is a lot to be said for the complete downturn in quality Glee took this season. But when you can’t even deliver on a decent finale, even with a guaranteed pick-up for next season, something is very, very wrong at the script stage. Acting aside, the writers room needs a real hard kick in the ass if they are going to recover any sense of credibility come next season.
Want to read more Channel Guide? Of course you do.
To listen to the latest episode of Merrill’s TV Podcast, The Idiot Boxers with Kevin Carr, head over to Fat Guys at the Movies.