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TV Review: Glee – “Girls (and Boys) on Film”

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FOX’s Glee is certainly frustrating. After a great fall run, they completely dropped the ball during February sweeps, one of the most important times of the year for television, with several weak episodes in a row. Now, the ratings push being over, Glee returns with another good episode, “Girls (and Boys) on Film.”

Part of why this week’s installment works so well is the music that is used. The episode features the 500th musical performance ever on the show, as well as many other great numbers inspired by movies. From “Shout” to “In Your Eyes” to “Come What May” to “Unchained Melody” to “Footloose,” Glee chronicles some of the best know moments in film involving song. They also toss in a couple of mashups, such as “Diamonds Are A Girls Best Friend” / “Material Girl,” the same combo used in Moulin Rouge, and a Tom Cruise tribute of “Old Time Rock and Roll” and “Danger Zone,” as well as the old style, beautiful looking dream opening “You’re All the World to Me.”

That list in the preceding paragraph is quite a long one, and without a weak link in the batch. Many are used effectively for the ongoing stories, while others are entertaining choir room performances. Many of the cast are featured in these numbers, rather than just a couple of them, and everyone must have had a ball filming “Girls (and Boys) on Film,” which really translates on screen.

It does strike me as odd that the rest of the student body really gets into “Shout” as the New Directions run down the halls and dance on tables in the lunchroom. Were I their classmate, I would probably groan and say “Here they come again!” rather than clap and bob my head. However, it’s so entertaining that I can’t complain much, and I’m glad it’s included.

I’d also like to mention how much I loved Unique (Alex Newell) headlining “Diamonds Are A Girls Best Friend” / “Material Girl.” He has been such a pleasure to have in the cast this year, and her voice is amazing. I do have a little trouble deciding which pronoun to use sometimes when discussing the character, as evidenced by the previous sentence, but whether identifying as male or female, Unique brings something fun and powerful and, well, unique, to the show that I wish was used more.

Several of the romantic duos get screen time this week. Marley (Melissa Benoist) confesses to Jake (Jacob Artist) about her kiss with Ryder (Blake Jenner), which ruins their relationship. I’m disappointed by this plot in general because it does feel like a retread of season one. The quicker Ryder gets out of the picture and Marley is with Jake for good the better, even as I knowGlee won’t be quick about it because they have to stretch out the drama.

Even more unsatisfying is Finn (Cory Monteith) telling Will (Matthew Morrison) about kissing Emma (Jayma Mays). It is a dumb mistake in a bad moment on Finn’s part to kiss her, and he does everything he can to make up for it since. I understand Finn doesn’t want it to come out later, but who is he helping by telling Will now? It just upsets Will, who gives his “pal” the cold shoulder, as Finn deserves. I guess that’s what Will gets for befriending a student so closely.

I do like the way Will and Emma resolve their differences. Having her leave him at the alter sucked, but she has a point that Will has changed and has been away for awhile. Yes, she should have talked to him before the ceremony, but I’m glad they’re choosing to work through it, hopefully meaning an actual wedding, maybe smaller this time, in the near future, a much better option than a permanent breakup.

It is a little weird that Emma’s parents (Don Most and Valerie Mahaffey) pop up this week in “Girls (and Boys) on Film,” rather than during the wedding episode. It is firmly established they are at the wedding, but we don’t see them. One could argue there isn’t really a plot for them in the wedding episode, but then again, there isn’t really here, either. Just a confusing choice by Glee.

In New York, Adam (Oliver Kieran Jones) is worried that Kurt (Chris Colfer) may still have feelings for Blaine (Darren Criss). Clearly, whatever is going on between Adam and Kurt is more than just a fling for the senior. Sadly, I’m not sure Kurt sees it that way. What is up this year with Kurt hurting boys who like him? It’s sad, and I hope his character gets a reality check soon because neither Adam nor Blaine don’t deserve to be strung along. They’re good guys, and they deserve better than how Kurt is being right now.

Also in the apartment, Santana (Naya Rivera) begins a campaign against Brody (Dean Geyer), whom, after rifling through everyone’s stuff, she suspects is a drug dealer. It’s nice to have Santana there to confront Rachel (Lea Michele) about Brody, since Kurt seems to be annoyed by the boyfriend, but not doing anything about it. It does cause tension, but not so much that Santana needs to go.

In fact, Santana’s snooping has a happy ending when she is able to comfort Rachel regarding her pregnancy. Rachel and Kurt seem a little distant lately, and Rachel doesn’t feel like she can turn to the men in her life, not knowing who the father is. But Santana, despite her grating qualities, is a warm-hearted individual, and cares about Rachel after everything they’ve been through. Because of this, I think Santana is earning her place in the loft, and hope she sticks around for awhile.

What’s more, this episode is genuinely funny. From Santana ransacking the apartment to Finn and Artie (Kevin McHale) pretending to be gingers to get Emma’s parents to open up to them, there are some fantastic moments. More of this will only benefit the show as a whole.

That’s pretty much it on the story front. “Girls (and Boys) on Film” doesn’t have too much time for plot arcs since it spends so much time singing. But what plot is present is good, the songs are great, and I’m looking forward to the next installment again, something I couldn’t say throughout the month of February.

Glee airs Thursdays at 9 p.m. ET on FOX.

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About JeromeWetzelTV

Jerome writes TV reviews for BlogCritics.org and Seat42F.com, as well as fiction. He is a frequent guest on two podcasts, Let's Talk TV with Barbara Barnett and The Good, the Bad, & the Geeky. All of his work can be found on his website, jeromewetzel.com
  • Lucas

    Hi, Jerome, I think this episode was funny too, and I think Glee is back, (BACK!!), the last episodes were so wrong and bad, and I hope “Feud” stands on its own, too.