by Chris Saccaro
“Glee” is finally returning to a complacent normalcy after the drama of the winter finale has died down. And by normalcy, I mean it’s back to themed episodes! However, unlike the dozen or so past “theme” episodes, this one actually manages to bridge the gap between the narrative and the source material. The movie “Saturday Night Fever” reflects the un-ambitious seniors of the Glee Club, or at least that’s what the Mr. Schuester tells us. By contrasting the character of Tony Manero with the seniors–specifically Finn, Santana, and Mercedes–the writers of Glee give reason behind the otherwise random decision to devote an entire episode to disco.
This decision also allows the focus to shift from Quinn’s accident to some of the other characters. As a matter of fact, Quinn didn’t show up in this episode at all. As terrible as it sounds, they probably didn’t want to have more than one wheel-chaired character on a dance themed episode—although there’s no reason they couldn’t have. This absence left room for characters like Santana and Mercedes to shine, but while “Glee” should be applauded for showcasing more of the cast, there is still a good portion of the original cast that continues to fade into the background (Tina, is that you?).
The main premise of this episode involves Will Schuester (yawn) trying to help some of the seniors figure out what they’re going to do after graduation. Putting aside the fact that this is something that should’ve been tackled at the beginning of the year, and the fact that it should be Emma Pillsbury’s job to do this (especially now that she has tenure), it’s still a relevant storyline for these characters. For some, it was just about finding their dream and choosing to follow it. Corny stuff, but if there’s something “Glee” does really well, it’s overly saccharine moments (and Katy Perry covers). Some of these dreams are more in line with the characters than others. It’s clear that Santana would want to be famous without caring about how she got there. But Finn’s interest in acting? That seems more like a convenient story arc to get him to New York with Rachel, and less like something that has been planned.
And therein lies one of the problems with “Glee.” There seems to be no planning involved in writing this show. The future of the show is as unclear as the future of the graduating seniors.
It’s painfully obvious that Glee isn’t attempting to ground these storylines in any sort of reality. So far there have been two characters that got full scholarships to great schools after someone else applied for them. Nearly half of the graduating seniors had no college plans until the second half of their senior year. I find it hard to believe that so many of these seniors have managed to make it to the end of their senior year without even thinking about college. But then again, these are the same kids who wrote original songs the night before Nationals last season.
Chris Saccaro is a staff writer. Email him at email@example.com.