So Gleeks, what did you think of last night’s much hyped Madonna themed episode?
*YAWN* Yeah, me too.
Okay, full disclosure. I’ve never been a Madonna fan. There are a few songs of hers that I like, and I respect her from a marketing perspective, but she’s never really clicked with me for a variety of reasons.
So, when I found out Ryan Murphy and the Glee Team were going to be doing a Madonna-centric episode I was intrigued especially considering the variety in her back catalogue, but I wasn’t salivating. That being said, I really expected the writers to pull out all the stops and draw inspiration from these classic pop songs to write a great story that would allow the cast to make some great music. There was so much potential.
Boy was I disappointed!
Basically, the episode we got was nothing more than an excuse for Lea Michelle, Amber Riley, Chris Colfer et al to sing their favorite Madonna songs.
Shue has noticed that the Glee-guys have been treating the women in the group disrespectfully and wants to empower his girls through Madonna’s music to demand better treatment. The premise starts out promising with the girls busting out into a no holds bared version of Express Yourself, but unfortunately, the episode doesn’t go anywhere from there. Everything from that point on is so ham handed, from Sue getting a make over from Mercedes and Kurt (why they would help Sue after she tried to torpedo them at Sectionals is beyond me) and joining the Cheerios, to Brittany’s famous one liners (“When I pulled my hamstring I went to a misogynist.”). Even Jesse’s latest ploy to sabotage New Directions (okay, we don’t know this for sure yet) is well, directionless.
There is no story here and that’s what is so frustrating. Usually the music supports the narrative, or is used as exposition for what a character is experiencing, and it’s a seamless mesh. This time around it’s the very opposite. The story and the characters have always been at the heart of what Glee is, with the music as the means to explore that heart. If the story is going to get trumped by stunt casting and homages to a certain artist, the show is going to lose a lot of its charm.
Not that I’m against a show exclusive to one artist, I think that would be great. As one poster over at EW mentioned, this would be a great once a season event, but to make it a regular thing and to sacrifice everything else that makes this show so great to what amounts to a novelty concept would be disastrous.
Another poster commented that this could be the show where Glee jumps the shark. I so hope they’re wrong.
That is not to say there isn’t lots to love here, there is. Becky is back. Sue’s Vogue bra is hilarious. Kurt and Mercedes just kill 4 Seconds, they need to duet more. The real revelation this time around is Naya Rivera’s singing. It is beautiful and powerful on Like a Virgin. More please!
Of course the finale, Like a Prayer, my favorite Madonna song, gives me chills it is so beautiful (yay Chris’ soprano!)
Technically it’s a flawless performance, but the problems with the story just make it feel so shallow. The episode was like a SlimFast shake, there’s flavour, but not much else to satisfy you in the long run. I think the people who are raving about the episode now won’t feel the same after repeated viewings.
All that being said, from the previews for Home, it looks like the show is back on track, for now at least. Welcome back April!
I can’t wait to see Finn and Kurt’s parents getting together