Glee – Night of Neglect

It’s been far too long since Glee was on our screens and this returning episode was not the show’s strongest by any means. It was also a Rachel-singing-free-zone, which is always going to be a minus point. However, we did get the return of Gwyneth Paltrow as Holly, Charice as Sunshine, Terri Shuester was back, as was the wonderful Stephen Tobolowsky as Sandy Ryerson. Tina got to sing for the first time in ages and we learnt that Brittany is an expert on cat diseases!

I am often puzzled by how the supposed themes that Mr Shue sets for the week are rarely followed. Remember the anthem-free ‘Anthems’ idea? This week, the theme of the fund raising show is night of neglect – focussing on neglected artists. I agree with Rachel, that it was not really clearly defined what that even means. To me it certainly isn’t Celine Dion (who Sunshine covers), Aretha Franklin (Mercedes’ choice), Adele (love her but Holly, she’s sold MILLIONS!) Mike’s dancing to Bubble Toes by Jack Johnson hardly qualifies either. I’ve never heard that song Tina song so don’t know if the original artist is neglected either. Maybe the fact the music never seems to accomplish the task set is part of the joke?

Anyway, Sue assembled her League of Doom – Sandy, Terri and Dustin, the head coach of Vocal Adrenaline. Their task: to take down the Glee club. To be honest, it was pretty daft. I have never been able to figure how Jessalyn Gilsig is a regular cast member anyway – she’s barely appeared since the first half of season 1. I guess Ryan Murphy loves his old Nip/Tuck pal. On the other hand, I love Sandy! Stephen Tobolowsky’s podcast The Tobolowsky Files is brilliant! The man is a master story teller and I am a huge fan. He is way over the top here, but a lot of fun.

Sandy and Dustin do indeed prove to be ‘worst henchmen ever’ as Sue mutters. Will the Honey Badger, Terri be any better? I wonder if they will actually follow up this storyline as we will see her attempt to break Will and the Glee club or as is often the case on Glee, the thread will disappear, never to be heard of again.

Popping back eager to help is Sunshine, who headed off to Carmel High after Rachel sent her to a crack house in the season opener. Charice has a powerful voice for a diddy little thing, but I have pretty much hated her songs so far, apart from the Telephone duet with Rachel. I am not into warbling power ballads and her ‘All By Myself’ just made we wish I was watching Renee Zellweger in Bridget Jones’ Diary instead.

We find out that Mike, Tina, Artie and Brittany have won through to a Brainiac quiz final – yes, Brit is a Brainiac! Her knowledge of cat diseases and Artie’s expertise in white rappers beat off the Carmel crowd’s knowledge of cyclones. By the way, a quick look at the board with the questions categories make me wish someone had gone for ‘famous Mervs’..LOL

Anyway, on with the pretty pointless Night of Neglect show. Sunshine wants to help out and says she can bring her 600 Twitter followers, for some inexplicable reason Holly is performing (er, she’s a TEACHER!) and it appears not one of the kids, the musicians or Mercedes Gospel choir have any relatives who would come to see them. Sue and Sandy train Jacob, Becky and Azimio to be hecklers while Kurt and Blaine are the only audience members.

Tina has been probably the most neglected of all of the Glee kids, so on this night of neglect, it is good she got to go first…oh, maybe not as once again she doesn’t get to finish a song before being shouted down. Poor Jenna Ushkowitz has a better voice than most of the kids yet hardly gets to sing at all. It is time the writers put in a bit of effort and gave her a decent storyline and made use of her talent.

Next up is Holly singing Adele’s Turning Tables. I’m not sure how successful this was. Adele is huge right now and has a fantastic voice. Tackling one of her songs was always going to leave you thinking ‘not as good as the original’ and while I like Gwyneth Paltrow’s voice, they could at least have tried to alter the arrangement to make it different. It was also a bit of a waste in that such an emotional song was just part of a show and was kind of empty. Holly has been portrayed as pretty happy go lucky, not angst ridden of heart broken or anything so the song was an odd choice for the character too. I would have liked to have heard Amber Riley give it a go or how about a group song – or maybe even Rachel!

After Mercedes plays the diva for a while, managed by Lauren (so why are Finn, Quinn and Rachel pandering to her again?) there is a weird little storyline as Rachel tries to talk her into performing, and Mercedes ask Rachel how come she always gets the songs. Hmm, hope Amber and Lea weren’t feeling touchy about that scene. Mercedes eventually takes to the stage to perform a song by that oh so neglected Queen of Soul Aretha. It wasn’t an Aretha song I knew but she did it well, even if it was pretty standard Mercedes belting out of a song.  Oh and in between Mike danced around with a mop to Bubble Toes. Love the song but a very puzzling scene. Also puzzling, the rest of the kids appear to be sitting in the choir room during the performances – how can they see each other? With such a small crowd, an easy way to beat the hecklers would be for them to go sit in the audience – which they finally do for Mercedes song.

Just another slightly off thing about this episode that while it had its good moments, was generally very disjointed and even more illogical than the usual Glee insanity.

No really great songs, some dumb storylines that didn’t make sense, guest stars not particularly well used. On the other hand, Santana chasing off Karovsky (although I think that was her first slushie facial on the show), I loved Brittany on the Brainiac squad, Holly’s bizzare Wallis Simpson history lesson was very amusing – although I would have liked to see her interpretation of Catherine the Great! Some very funny stuff from Sandy – the pink dagger – and his cloak and hat.

Plenty of people have bashed Glee this year, but I’ve enjoyed season 2 on the whole. This episode however is pretty near the bottom of the heap. Hopefully next weeks 90 minute episode that sees Kurt’s return to McKinley will be a more coherent affair!