Lessons To Unlearn From Glee – Season 3, Episode 8

Well, this was quite the hot mess of an episode. Does anyone remember Sectionals performances being so damn boring before?

The lesson: Hold on to sixteen as long as you can. The inexplicably hotter and more charismatic Sam – who’s been moonlighting as a stripper – gives this advice to Quinn, directly quoting John Cougar Mellencamp’s “Jack and Diane.” Because Quinn seems determined to become a mommy, two years after having had her child. Remember?

The truth: I wake up every day and thank God I never have to be sixteen again.

I’d take nineteen, though.

This was the most muddled message of the episode, really. I mean, Sam’s delivery was supposed to be taken seriously, but then Rachel, also seriously, exhorts Quinn to “grow up” regarding her desire to out Shelby and Puck’s relationship, and then New Directions sings Jane Jackson’s “Control,” about how much it sucks to be young and listening to everyone else tell you what to do, and then . . . oh, forget it. I don’t give a shit. Too much of a muddled mess.

Although it’s worth mentioning that Sam, who delivers the line, is working as a stripper to help support his family. So it seems “sixteen” is less an age than a position of privilege.

Also? Hearing the kids sing “Jack and Diane,” while somewhat predictable a choice, would have been a lot more entertaining than most of this episode.

The lesson: It’s immature to turn a teacher in for having sex with a student. Rachel strongly advises Quinn not to do it because after all, Puck is eighteen and it would ruin Baby Beth’s life.

The truth: Even if a student is eighteen, it’s gross to sleep with them. Because you’re still their teacher. Most colleges have rules against professors hooking up with undergrads, even though almost all undergrads are over eighteen, because it’s gross and wrong to have that much of a real-world power differential between lovers.

I know whole communities exist around getting off on power differentials between lovers but usually, they’re creating those power differentials where they don’t actually exist and that’s why it’s fun and not squicky. (Well, sometimes there’s also squickiness, but you know what I mean.)

And yeah, Quinn was being immature about her reasons for turning Shelby in. But that doesn’t mean Shelby is right to have had sex with Puck.

The lesson: You can just transfer in and out of schools at will, regardless of where your parents live or what school you’re in now, just to perform in singing competitions.

The truth: I am pretty sure you can’t, actually.

The lesson: As a privileged middle-class kid, you can totally look down your nose at what your less fortunate classmate is doing to earn money and still have that person love and be loyal to and follow you.

The truth: No, you can’t. Finn remains a jackass, and Rachel is occasionally one, too.

The lesson: A song that is an ode to the red Solo cup exists.

The truth: Well, alright, then.

And finally,

The lesson: Follow your dream of a career in the performing arts no matter what.

The truth: It’s really, really hard to make a living as a dancer, or an actress, or a singer. Many, many, many talented people exist, and maybe one in a hundred of them – maybe one in a thousand – will ever be able to support themselves doing what they love.

Look, Harry Shum, Jr. is a-freakin’-mazing, and it’s easy to say that if a kid could dance like that he’d surely make it. But if you saw who else auditioned for that role, you’d see a whole bunch of amazing dancers. Most of whom will never be able to support themselves exclusively through performing. Because them’s the brakes.

I think Mike Chang should pursue dance, and I think his father should let him. But I also think he should take him to see a production of A Chorus Line, and then remind him that the stories he’s hearing of what dancers have gone through – those were all dancers who got the job.

ETA: Kate’s is up.

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