Wow. I believe in the power Glee! This show has set a new high-bar for itself. And it also made me question Finn’s eating habits (seriously, that sandwich was in your fridge for weeks!). On a serious note, this was an amazing hour of television—bringing appropriate laughter, a genuinely good discussion on faith and God, and some excellent performances (both acting and singing). All praise Glee!
It all started when Finn made a grilled cheese sandwich that happened to look like Jesus’ face (a “Grilled Cheesus”). My only complaint on that genius name was that I highly doubt Finn could have come up with that himself. Finn started praying to this holy vision, his “Cheesy Lord.” Turned out, his prayers started coming true and he began putting his newfound “power” to test on certain things—winning football games, getting to second base with Rachel etc. But more importantly, he began a discussion of God and faith in Glee club that led to a humorous yet insightful discussion of different perspectives. I loved when Finn announced “Something happened to me” and Puck exclaimed “Oh my god, he’s coming out!” I also loved hearing each student’s position on God and religion, ranging from highly cynical to Jesus lovers (plus Puck calling Jesus his #1 “Heb”). What was nice about this conversation was that each person had valid reasons for why they believe what they do.
Turns out Kurt is in the camp of not believing in God—as he himself explains, it is hard to believe when he feels persecuted for being who he is everyday. Then, when Kurt visits his dad at work and leaves after an argument (and his dad expressing his disappoint in him) we all know that tragedy is coming. Sure enough, everyone’s favorite dad ends up in a coma in the hospital from a heart attack. The Glee club rallies around Kurt to support him, which means something different for everyone. For Mercedes and other religious members, it means encouraging Kurt to have faith and praying for him. For Brittany, bless her soul, it means offering the doctors her glittered book report on heart attacks (ummm, can Fox please publish this book and sell it online?) and making a card that reads “heart attacks are from loving too much.”
These conflicting reactions to tragedy and grief lead to more intense revelations about characters’ personal faith. Sue especially struggles with seeing open discussion of God and faith in the classroom. We the audience know that Sue does have a sensitive spot, and that it is mostly her love for her mentally challenged older sister. Sue actually opens up to Emma about this, and how she lost her faith in God because she used to pray her sister would get better. It is from this perspective that Sue makes the case for maintaining the separation of church and state and not pushing faith on others.
Mercedes won’t give up on her friend Kurt, however. She brings him to her church (well, he gets to wear a fabulous hat, so that helps coax him). While Kurt does not leave church a born-again Christian, he does walk away with faith—faith in his own father and their special relationship. I appreciate that the show did not have Kurt wildly change his beliefs, but instead find his own sense of peace.
Overall, the big question of faith got grilled on Glee tonight, and it was one of the most tasty episodes the show has served up. To continue my lame food analogy, that is because it was seasoned with multiple viewpoints that raised very valid and real questions people cope with every day. And it did so with some great one-liners and songs mixed in!
- Pretty much loved all the songs performed tonight, but my personal standouts were Finn’s “Losing My Religion” (excellent choice for his voice and questioning his faith); Kurt’s “I Want to Hold Your Hand” (very poignant with emotional flashbacks—who else got misty eyed during the tea party scene); Mercedes’ “Bridge Over Troubled Water”; and the finale “What If God Was One of Us” (except that my orthodontist often used to hum that song while working on my teeth as a kid, so it kind of makes me cringe in pain). Also, other side note while I am on the topic of songs: I attended a wedding this weekend (shout out to Amanda and Jordan!) where the couple’s first dance was to that slowed-down version of “I Want to Hold Your Hand.” I think it is pretty amazing how well this song works for something so happy like a wedding and so painfully sad like the fear of losing a parent.
- Kurt referred to a sing-along for The Sound of Music as sacred, and I have to agree! That is my second favorite musical behind Les Mis.
- It was particularly touching how upset Finn was upon learning the news of Kurt’s dad, who happens to be his father figure.
- Is god an evil dwarf? (Brittany, who else?)
- ‘Sweet Holy Mother of God Academy on I Love Jesus Street’ is where religious kids should go (Sue, who else?)
- Did we learn in brief passing that Rachel’s dads are black? And that Puck still has a nanny?
- Sue has a direct pipeline to Hillary Clinton. I wish we could have seen an episode on how Sue spent her summer (they could have showed her in a Vera Wang track suit at Chelsea’s wedding).
Until next week, keep the faith that Glee continues down this path!