My friends and I are currently rewatching Glee in 2021, and I’ve realized how problematic it is.
When Glee first aired on TV, I was in fifth grade. I LOVED it. I remember my aunts all thought it was a little adult for me to be watching at that age, but my mom didn’t think it was anything that I wouldn’t be introduced to later in life so she allowed me to watch it. For most of middle school, I was obsessed with the show. I had Glee pjs, I had a Glee themed birthday party, the whole nine yards.
During one of the most insecure and awkward periods of my life, Glee was an escape. I was hoping to find myself and own it in a few years as they all had on the show. In its day, Glee was considered to be super progressive and inspiring.
However, my senior year of high school, I rewatched the entire show on Netflix including the last 1 or 2 seasons that I had not seen when they aired on television. When I was in high school and watching it at 17, I definitely thought it was a little more cringey but did not think too much of it.
When my friends and I started to watch it together as I turned 22, I finally got the Glee wake up call I needed. Excuse my french, but HoW tHe FuCk was Glee on primetime TV for 6 seasons? It is SOOOO corrupt.
Will Schuster is one of the most meme-able characters in television history. First of all, he is the furthest from professional that it gets. He dances with his students in a way that is way too close for comfort. He truly believes he is Justin Timberlake and that everyone around him believes it too. I really don’t understand why though. He is so cringey and goofy but they try to present him as this sexy stud. I just thank God that Harry Styles’ music was made after the show because I can only imagine what weird things they would have Mr. Schu do to Watermelon Sugar with the students.
Sue Sylvester is also equally as much of a meme. THE TRACK SUITS. She literally made her wedding dress out of one. The things that come out of her mouth are so insane.
"I'm going to ask you to smell your armpits. That's the smell of failure, and it's stinking up my office. I'm revoking your tanning privileges for the rest of the semester."
We love an inspiring cheer coach!
Also, the stunts she pulls are just wild. For example, when she gets angry, she’ll shove the first kid that walks by her into the lockers. I just don’t understand how they expect us to believe someone like that is qualified to work in a high school. I know that I went to a small catholic all-girls high school, but I’m pretty sure that would not fly in any high school, public or private.
I really could go on and on about the series as a whole and how crazy each character is. However, I think there is one episode in particular that really just captures what I am saying. Yes, I am referring to season 1 episode 9 titled “WHEELS.”
Let me sum up the basic plotline for you all.
First, Mr. Schuster is sad that they cannot afford to get the special van to take Artie, “the wheelchair kid,” to Sectionals. So, he suggests that the club throws a bake sale. All the other members of the club HATED that idea and were all like, “Can’t he just meet us there?” Mr. Schuster then got so upset with them, he made them all GET INTO WHEELCHAIRS for that school week so they could get what Artie was going through. Yeah, right! Then, they decide to actually do the bake sale but they end up selling pot brownies because that is how they will make the most money. Also, Puck takes the money they raise and steals it for Quinn.
Quinn, the president of the celibacy club, is Pregnant with his baby, btw. Even though she tells her BF Finn it is his (Finn and Puck also are best friends). In this episode, she threatened to break up with Finn if he did not start paying for bills for a baby that is not even his! And let’s not forget Sue Sylvester kicked her off the cheerios just for being pregnant.
Also in this episode, Kurt and Rachel compete for the solo of Defying Gravity from Wicked. It was originally given to Rachel since it is traditionally sung by a woman, but Kurt wanted it. So, his dad went and complained which resulted in this little competition. However, prior to the competition, Kurt’s dad received an anonymous phone call from someone who called Kurt the f-slur (Kurt had just recently come out as gay to his dad who “was not happy about it” a few episodes prior). This phone call really upset him which then upset Kurt. So, Kurt blew the competition to prevent any future calls that upset his dad.
Also, Artie and Tina were having a nice little moment. Artie opened up to Tina about how he got into a car accident when he was young and that’s how he got into his wheelchair. Naturally, Tina admitted to Artie that she had been faking her stutter because she was shy. No, I’m not kidding.
The episode closes with them all “rolling on a river” and singing Proud Mary in their wheelchairs!
There’s a lot to unpack here. First, WHY ON EARTH did they think it was a good idea to waste the use of wheelchairs on actors who were perfectly capable of walking?! This is just so bad. And don’t even get me started on how they made a musical number out of it. Next, the whole Quinn-Puck-Finn fiasco. I get that Quinn was ashamed to tell Finn she cheated on him but honey, if you cared about him that much, you wouldn’t have anyway! Also, I don’t really think it is fair of her to lead him on and make him feel responsible for this baby. It’s just so corrupt. Then, Kurt and his dad. Kurt’s dad was thought to be so ground breaking at the time this aired. Personally, now, I think he sucks. He acts as if he is the one going through a hard time and getting picked on constantly. Hey, if that phone call hurt you imagine how much it hurt your son. Lastly, Tina lying about and faking a stutter...I just can’t. She only admitted it to someone with an actual disability in an attempt to get closer to him. This is one of many reasons that I can’t believe this aired on prime time TV!!
Are you shook? Well, I definitely am. “Wheels” is just one episode out of the 121 episodes throughout the SIX seasons of this madness. “Wheels” is just one of the many corrupt and crazy plotlines. As my friends and I watch it, I often think to myself, “Is this really happening?” or “What team of writers thought this was a good idea?”
Glee is sort of a fever dream. A really corrupt, insane, and problematic fever dream.