The first season Glee episode “Laryngitis” actually reaches a little far with the title. Rachel (Lea Michele) does, indeed, have laryngitis, that is, when she’s not calling it tonsillitis. And for some reason, she can talk fine; her singing is just out of tune. So somehow that thin excuse justifies titling the episode “Laryngitis,” but don’t ask me to explain how.
Now, of course, Rachel goes into full fledged panic. Why wouldn’t she? Singing is the talent she prides herself on the most. It’s her life, and the key to her planned future. Which is why Finn (Cory Monteith), in an effort to calm her down, introduces Rachel to his friend, Sean (Zack Weinstein), who used to be a football player, but is now paralyzed. Sean now enjoys singing instead, though he is justifiably angry about his condition. Somehow Sean’s massive life change is supposed to help Rachel realize she still has value as a person even if she loses the thing she is best at, and all her dreams go down in flames.
Considering the severity of difference between Rachel and Sean’s problems, this should be incredibly insulting to him. Yet, his character takes it very well, and tries to offer Rachel emotional support. Rachel, in turn, has the gall to go back and offer singing lessons to him when her voice returns. Rub it in that you’re all better, why don’tcha?
Also, if Finn is such a good friend of Sean’s, and Rachel is now visiting him every week, why is he never seen or mentioned again in Glee? Because the whole titular concept this week is incredibly weak, that’s why.
The one good thing that does come out of this plot is that viewers do not have to listen to very much of Rachel singing Miley Cyrus’s “The Climb.” Plus, we’re distracted by the horrific vocals from the New Directions’ star singer, so even part of what is heard, is ignored. To Michele’s credit, it must be incredibly hard to sing that badly with a talent as awesome as hers.
This plot also gives us “One,” the big closer in “Laryngitis.” It’s not particularly memorable, even though it stops to end on Rachel with a teary face, and is supposed to be impacting. But it serves the purpose of ending the episode, so that’s something, I guess.
Now that I’m done picking on the titular theme, let’s get down to the good parts of “Laryngitis.” Oh, yes. The whole episode is not as horrible as the initial paragraphs of this review lead you to believe. Kurt (Chris Colfer) gets a great story, and Puck (Mark Salling) and Mercedes (Amber Riley) share a decent amount of screen time, too. That’s why “Laryngitis” isn’t a wasted episode.
Kurt is growing ever more jealous of his father, Burt’s (Mike O’Malley), relationship with Finn after the two attend a Cincinnati Reds game together. Before we can examine Kurt’s plot, it must be said that Cincinnati is quite far from Lima or McKinley High, wherever the story takes place, as they are separate locations, and both those places are north, albeit hours apart. Cincinnati is in the southwestern corner of the state. Yet, Burt plans on taking Finn back for some hoagies they win just a few days later.
It’s also unacceptable that Burt bashes the Reds. They may have had a few bad years lately, but they have five World Series titles and a storied history. Burt’s snide comment may be chalked up to the fact that Northern Ohioans roots for the Cleveland Indians, a rival of the Reds. But then, why doesn’t Burt take Finn to an Indians’ game? It would be vastly more convenient, distance wise.