When Glee started last year, I was excited. Corny jokes, ridiculously awkward social situations, lambasting teachers – it was absurdist situational satire at its best. It poked fun at everything we hated about high school and stood up for everything we were afraid to admit that we loved about it. Plus there was music, and totally annoying auto-tone notwithstanding, it was fun to listen to. And then we could buy the soundtracks and sing along to it, and I know I certainly did, and thanks to some pretty open-minded behind-the-scenes music direction, I even knew most of the songs. Glee was doing for show tunes what Guitar Hero did for classic rock, and the whole first season was anticipated, campy, easy fun.
And now it’s season two, and I don’t know if it’s a sophomore slump or what, but I am just not really enjoying this season. The first bit of the first episode of season two was funny, as vlogger Jacob Ben Israel caught us up on what was going on with New Directions, but from there? Well, it’s been going downhill faster than a celebrity marriage ever since.
And if I thought that the Britney/Brittany episode was slutty and just plain weird, last night’s Grilled Cheesus episode grossed me out even more than Jacob’s pep-rally dry humping did.
I thought that Glee was immune to the patronizing, moralizing, simplistic religious overtures that so many shows indulge in. And I don’t mean that religion never comes into play in Glee – some of my favourite moments were those that – as with so many other topics on the show – poked fun at the topic of religion, whether it was the president of the chastity club getting pregnant or Puck entreating Rachel to make out because they were a couple of good-looking Jews, or Jacob being patted on the ‘Jew cloud,’ or yes, Finn frying up a grilled cheesus. But as far as I could tell, Glee last night was not about theology. It was not about inclusion or faith or tolerance.
From the moment that Tina exclaimed to Kurt, You don’t believe in God?!, my eyes started to roll. Funny enough, my reaction was, OH GOD, NO. Tina doesn’t strike me as the kind of kid that is so incredulous that somebody does not follow the same path that she does, given that so much has been made of her own struggle to remain an individual. It seemed naively out of character, and the fact that pretty much everybody, except maybe Santana (thank you, Santana, for keeping it real), couldn’t understand how a gay kid might not care about the almighty. Call me naive, or maybe progressive, but I really don't expect everybody I know to defend belief in God so vehemently. I guess I expect people - especially teenagers - to maybe, I don't know, question a blind belief in the almighty.
An almighty, I might add, that was of course, the Christian almighty.
Why did Puck have to give a shout-out to Jesus? He’s Jewish, something that he (and Rachel) have been clear and unapologetic about for 25 episodes now, and sorry, but no, Jews don’t worship Jesus. He’s actually not the number one Yid. (Neil Diamond is. Just ask my mother.)
Rachel kept stupidly quiet during the whole fiasco, until finally admitting to Finn that she was uncomfortable with his newfound religion, and that she was, make no mistake, Jewish. Then she rewarded his understanding by letting him touch her boob. That’s more like it, Glee! But still, I hesitate to believe that outspoken, obnoxious know-it-all Rachel Berry would have not objected to the Glee club’s God-fest. Hell, she practically cries discrimination when a solo is given to somebody else.
And then there’s the whole issue of Kurt realizing that, thanks to the God-fearing Mercedes and her most happy Church ever, he doesn’t have to shun the institution that has shunned him! I was ridiculously disappointed in the predictable, self-righteous ideology that it was the prayer, the belief, and not the acupuncture, that finally penetrated his father’s coma. I was ridiculously disappointed that Sue’s handi-capable, charming big sister was able to soften her hard heart and change her mind about the existence of God. We don’t need a kinder, softer Sue. We need the smack-talking bitch that keeps everybody honest and cynical and is out to get Mr. Shue, who, if you’ll allow me to say so, really is a pansy.
Let’s hope Glee remembers what it’s good at and leaves the religious angst where it belongs – because if I want Christian moralizing, proselytizing and self-denying Jews, I’ll watch Little House on the Prairie.