Wednesday, May 23, 2012

So, About that Glee Finale... (But Mostly About Quinn)

Mike Chang's not even in this picture.
I don't think I've ever confessed this before, because I really prefer not to think about it, but I was really into Glee when it first came out. Like super-duper into it. It had all the hallmarks of a thing I knew I would love. It was a cynical comedy about awkward losers reaching desperately for one last chance at fame before being swallowed up by the crushing emptiness of adulthood.* There was singing, and dancing, but all of that only served to undercut the fact that we were watching a group of lovable misfits and the world's worst teacher attempt to win at something that wasn't even worth devoting their time to. All while they all had much bigger problems they were ignoring. Trust me, I was totally into it.

And then season one happened. I stuck by it, because I was a theater kid in high school, so I still related, and every once in a while they would pile on the cynicism again and I would feel right at home. When Puck realized that even being in the same room as kids from Glee was giving him contact-nerd, that felt real. When Quinn kept disseminating on who her baby-daddy was, and being kind of a bitch about it all, I liked that. When Will's wife made up a fake pregnancy...that was just weird.

But I kept watching, because lots of my favorite shows have taken a while to even out (*cough* Supernatural *cough*), and I wasn't going to give up because of a few bad episodes.

And then season two happened. And shit got real.

Just add theme weeks!
Or, well, I should say, shit got fake. Like, really fake. All of a sudden, Kurt went from being a relatable, realistic gay kid with just about the same number of problems as everyone else, to Saint Kurt, only on screen to give out the heartwarming message about tolerance and acceptance. The cynicism was gone, and in its place was a terrifying earnestness and preachiness that made it impossible to enjoy the show without feeling like you were watching an after school special created just to torment you.

I don't like season two.

By season three, I just straight up wasn't watching anymore, except for the occasional Santana/Brittany scene, because those two are my favorite. But that was it. While some people have said that season three really got a lot better, I suggest they remove the "a lot" from that sentence, and counter their "better" with a "well it couldn't get worse, could it?"

This brings us now to the season three finale of last night, which I watched because I was one, masochistic, and two, mildly curious about Santana and Brittany's fate.

It wasn't worth it.

I mean, I could have guessed that, but the finale really cemented for me everything that I hate about the show. It's become a non-stop stream of "teaching moments" and musical shout outs, and plot is a boogeyman the writers tell their children about at night to scare them.

Really, I can say everything I need to about how much I really dislike the show right now by talking about Quinn.

Remember Quinn? In season one she was a classic cheerleader mean girl. She was rich, blonde, dating the quarterback, and in serious hate with Rachel Berry, who she thought just might be a rival for her boyfriend's affection. Then Quinn got drunk, slept with her boyfriend's best friend, and got pregnant, all in short order. She lied about who the father was, because she quite reasonably understood that telling the truth would brand her a slut, and was kicked out of her house when Finn, her boyfriend but not the father, told her parents she was pregnant. She lived with him for a while, until he found out he wasn't the father, then she lived with Puck, who was the father, until Mercedes took her in. Then she went into labor at Regionals, had a baby, gave it up for adoption, and went back to live with her mother.


Quinn had a rough season one, but it was clear how she changed as a person. She became a deeper, more interesting person, who understood hardship in a way that few of the other glee kids did, and was able to speak to them from experience. She got it. And she wasn't afraid to tell them when she thought they were being stupid, or petty.

Fast forward to season two. Now pretend none of that ever happened. Quinn is back to being blonde, pretty, rich and thin, and she wants nothing more than to be a cheerleader again. Her emotional growth is behind her, as is her life-changing friendship with Mercedes and love for Puck. Nope, now she's jamming on Sam, the new kid in school, and scheming about how to be the new power couple. Bleh.

Quinn didn't really do a lot in season two, and I have to say that I'm kind of happy about that. Season two was awful, and the less she had to do with it, the better.

That having been said...

In season three, Quinn starts out with serious attitude problems, a classic bad girl thing going, and pink hair. She's not into glee, mad at the world, and smokes out behind the bleachers. So, pretty much a normal seventeen year old reaction to the crap she's been through in the past couple of years. This is, of course, until her baby's adoptive mother starts to teach at the school, and Quinn realizes that she wishes she hadn't given her daughter up for adoption. This is treated like she has just declared war on kittens, and not like the completely understandable hormonal reaction of a confused and angry seventeen year old. She starts to scheme to get her baby back.

Not far off from how I looked in hs, and college.
Along in here, Mr. Schue, the glee teacher, takes Quinn aside and tells her that her behavior is unforgivable. Having pink hair and smoking are terrible life choices, and she's being really selfish and horrible to think that she could do that. She hasn't been through anything! (Except a teen pregnancy, being homeless, giving up a child, and then foundering without any emotional support for a year, but, whatevs.)

Quinn tries for a while to get her daughter back, culminating in a plan to expose her daughter's adoptive mother, Shelby, for the affair she's having with Puck. This would cause Shelby to be fired, a bunch of bad stuff to happen, and Quinn to ultimately get her daughter.

She stops, eventually, swayed by some folderoll about maturity and being young and that crap, which blinds you to the really important thing here.

Shelby, a teacher, is having an affair with Puck, a student. Quinn is COMPLETELY WITHIN HER RIGHTS to find this objectionable and report it. In fact, she has a moral obligation to do so. Just because Puck is 18 and stupid, doesn't make this not a breach of trust and very wrong.

With that, Quinn mends her ways and becomes the swami to the glee club once more. When Rachel and Finn decide to get married, Quinn tells them not to, because teenage weddings are a terrible idea. Rachel is hurt by this because Quinn is supposed to support everything she chooses to do, but Quinn maintains her issues, even though she comes to the wedding.

Then she gets hit by a car.

So, to recap, she has now gotten pregnant, been homeless, given up a baby, tried to get the baby back, and is now paralyzed from the waist down.


Her storyline for the next couple of episodes focuses on the fact that Quinn is paralyzed, but convinced she won't be paralyzed forever, getting physical therapy, then, at prom, Rachel finding out that Quinn has been faking her injury. I'm sorry, what? She likes the attention? What? How is that crack, writers? Is it good?

All of this brings us to the finale, where Quinn finally graduates from high school, and goes off to college at Yale Drama. It's an impressive ending for her, and one that I think she well and truly deserves.

So, how much of the ending actually addresses it?

Almost none.

There are a couple of scenes where she comforts Rachel, a scene where she helps Puck, general scenes where she continues being wise Quinn, and one, count em, one scene with Coach Sue where she actually talks about being excited for college.

And then in the last five minutes of the show, everyone shows up to wish Rachel well as she gets on a train for New York.

Riiight, because *they're* the most interesting characters.
We ignore the fact that Santana is also going to New York, that Quinn is going to New Haven, that Mike is going somewhere cool, Mercedes is going to LA, and that Kurt and Finn were dumb enough to only apply to one college? It all ends with Rachel, schmaltz, some over-sentimentality as we force out a few tears for an ending that is about as genuine as Dolly Parton's face, and so many crammed in numbers around an arbitrary theme that I wanted to hurl.

What the hell, show, what the hell?

I think, in a way, this really sums up my feelings about Glee. We, the viewers, are Quinn. We've been battered and bruised, and every time we try to react the way we realistically would in the situation, we're told that we're wrong. When we start to get some perspective, we're smacked right back down to the beginning.

No more, Glee, no more.

And you know the best part? Ryan Murphy has said that all of the graduating cast will be back next season anyway.

Of. Course.

Allow the epicness of Naya Rivera and Gloria Estefan to make up for all of that bile. Better now?

*No, I don't have emotional problems, why do you ask?


  1. Well said. I stopped caring about Glee ages ago, but having read your summary of where the show went (Shelby and Puck have an affair? A car accident with fake paralysis? What is this, a daytime soap?) I would have to quote Roy from The IT Crowd, "If this was a person I'd shoot it in the face."

    1. Oh Roy. He speaks truths that reach my soul...

  2. I liked this entry. You made some good points about the show, the characters have always been on my nerves from day one. But I have to say, I was really annoyed with how you kept mentioning Quinn's blonde hair, yeah so her hair is blonde, so what? What does the color of her hair have to do with a damn thing? You could have easily replaced the word blonde with just saying she's pretty. Or just not say it at all. A so-called "classic cheerleader mean girl" can have any hair color/eye color no matter what. Just look at Santana. Just as long as they are considered "good-looking". "back to being blonde?" Seriously, what the hell...

    But besides that, I couldn't get past season one, the characters were just so ridiculous to the point of being frustrating. And when I heard about how they were in the continuing seasons, I was just very glad that I never continued with it.

    1. Interesting. I didn't even notice that I was referencing it so much. In part, I think I mention it because her hair-dying is used as a rebellious action, and it's only when she's back to blonde hair in Season 3 that she's "good Quinn" again.

      Also, Dianna Agron's hair is shiny and pretty and I want to touch it.

  3. Wait... I only applied to one school.