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TV Review: Glee – “Vitamin D”

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This summer, I’ll be going back to review the season one episodes of FOX’s Glee. These are fresh reviews, not reposts, and I hope you will enjoy reliving the first season with me.

Glee‘s sixth episode, “Vitamin D,” is light on music, but heavy in furthering the recurring arcs in the beginning of this season. With the New Directions growing complacent (after only six weeks as a group!), Will (Matthew Morrison) decides to evoke a competitive spirit by pitting the guys vs. the girls in a mashup contest. Finn (Cory Monteith) finds himself exhausted and unable to lead, but soon all the kids are flying high – on drugs. Meanwhile, Sue (Jane Lynch) decides to destroy the club through Will, so she gets Will’s wife, Terri (Jessalyn Gilsig), a job as the school nurse. After seeing Will and Emma (Jayma Mays) together, Terri is not happy, to put it mildly.

Six weeks is all it takes the New Directions to get lazy? Seriously? Sure, their competition for Sectionals looks weak on paper, but they’ve barely become a group. Several of the students have only been a part of the New Directions for a month, having been recruited after the initial batch. The complacency plot comes far too early in the series, when the students have little reason to be overconfident. This story would work better later in season one, or especially in season two, as they get better and better. Not sure why the writers choose to go this route now, but it didn’t fully fit.

However, the results of the mashup contest are fantastic. The only two songs sung in “Vitamin D,” it’s nearly impossible to decide if the guys’ “It’s My Life / Confessions Part II” should beat the girls’ “Halo / Walking on Sunshine” or not. Both are high energy, excellent remixes of great songs. All the performers are top notch, and the lights and choreography only make the competition tougher. Luckily, viewers and judges alike are spared that horrendous choice by Finn and Rachel (Lea Michele) disqualifying both teams for using performance enhancing drugs.

Glee often goes the opposite of school appropriate in its plots, and because that’s a hallmark of the show, it would be folly to complain on that element alone. But as the series is supposed to be a positive role model, it is disappointing that the New Directions are so willing to use pseudoephedrine, and there really are no negative consequences for them. Yes, the characters talk about it being cheating, and agree to go off of it, but what is shown on screen is that the drug makes them all perform excellently, and their health does not suffer at all. While it is good that there is a moral stand against the practice, it would have been beneficial to show negative physical side effects, too, such as uneven heartbeat, severe dizziness, anxiety, easy bruising or bleeding, unusual weakness, fever, chills, body aches, etc, which are all actual possible side effects.

This episode successfully dwells on the two central student characters, Rachel and Finn. Both show a morality and conviction that make them good leaders. They make mistakes, but they feel guilt, and take responsibility. Michele and Monteith are definitely sure in their footing as the duo, drawn together, but avoiding committing to it, for a variety of reasons. Rachel even tries to befriend Finn’s pregnant girlfriend, Quinn (Dianna Agron), cementing Rachel as likeable, despite her flaws. She also makes an effort to be a team player, something important in her growth. And wrong or not, Monteith is hilarious in “Vitamin D” when Finn takes the drugs.

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