Glee Episode 11 Hairography: Papa Ryan, don’t preach

Fellow Gleeks, let us not be distracted by the incredibly annoying overuse of this week’s Glee theme word, “distracted,” by virtually every character in every scene, sledge-hammering us into submission like pre-school Sesame Street kids being taught that today’s word is “overdone.” Let us not dwell on the fact that Glee Episode 11: Hairography was as gallingly single-minded in its motif as was Acafellas, with its constant belaboring of the word and theme “confidence.” And that’s not even counting the monotonous jokes at the expense of a half-deaf rival club’s coach.

Instead, let’s celebrate the finest things of this show, which — after such a strong story/character episode in Ballad — were not story or characters, but the music. From the tear-inducing inspirational tenderness of meshing with the deaf choir for John Lennon’s Imagine to the rare Tina (Jenna) lead vocal for Cindi Lauper’s True Colors to Quinn’s (Dianna Agron’s) jaunty, edgy and unplugged Papa Don’t Preach (an appetizer for next spring’s all-Madonna episode), this show had some memorable music. If only it hadn’t distracted us with a relentlessly overstated theme.

Note to producer Ryan Murphy: If you want to teach with Glee, if you want to lead by example, if you want to inspire us to grasp certain concepts, you can do so without belaboring, pummeling and preaching with the single-mindedness of a Bible-beating pastor. Your show is rich enough without such obvious declarations of purpose. Fix this in the back nine next spring. Please.

Speaking of which, some of you may have gotten the glum news that Glee, after Episode 13 on Dec. 9, will be gone until — can you believe this? — April 13. That’s a Tuesday, where Glee is moving to follow American Idol. I suppose Fox will show all of the season’s final nine episodes each week for nine weeks, running into early summer.

Me? I’d prefer Glee coming back earlier, and taking weeks off occasionally (as during the World Series break) for Fox to show specials or reruns or anything, but at least space out the shows better. This sounds almost as bad as Lost’s long hiatus breaks, with Glee being lost to us for four months in the middle of the season.

Oh well, 22 shows are 22 shows. Whenever we see them, they’ll be welcome. But after this fall’s bounty, it’ll be a long wait.

Besides, you can do worse than American Idol as a lead-in. But Idol’s performance-night show could run long, meaning Glee will start–and end–late. It’ll also be up against Lost on ABC. But I’ll take the Idol lead-in, anyway. Here we come, Season Two of Glee.

But back to Hairography, which, for all its fine music, had some clunkers, too. The reform-school girls’ Bootylicious, under Eve’s guidance, was mundane to the max, and it was right to point out that all the hair-slinging and booty-shaking in the world shouldn’t distract (oops) from mediocre music. Then, absurdly aping their approach, the McKingley glee club’s Hair/Crazy in Love was downright awful (and btw, there was very little Hair there, so why name this alleged mashup with Hair first?).

Besides, what we really needed to hear (beyond instrumental teases scattered through the episode) was the full-length studio version of Mercedes’ (Amber’s) Don’t Make Me Over, a resonant remake of Dionne Warwick’s ’60s hit. Check it out online — it’s a winner.

As for the “distractions” obsessed story, not much really happened this episode, after the wildly eventful Ballad show. The tiresome pregnancy and fake-pregnancy plots were as wearisome as ever — Ryan, please move on next spring and in Season Two — and there were no great character revelations. I was surprised that Finn declared his love for Quinn, which I don’t really buy, and when the news finally hits (and why hasn’t it yet, with Mercedes in the loop?) that Puck is the papa, then everything should change, anyway.

Call this a treading water show. Glee, as much as I love you, you can’t be outstanding every single week. But you did toss Imagine, True Colors and Papa Don’t Preach into the offering plate. As Artie would say, “Preach!” You’ve got me there.

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