Glee blog review Season 2 Episode 17 A Night of Neglect: Look who’s talking

Again, Glee returns after a long hiatus with a disappointing show. (Post-Super Bowl episode anyone?) “A Night of Neglect” was just that — an episode neglecting the story and character strengths, rousing songs and cheeky charm that make us love Glee. In their place was an almost somber hour which failed to follow through on its titular theme, turned Holly Holliday into a no-fun gal (well, except for her Duchess of Windsor scene), had Mercedes and Rachel playing out the same tired rivalry we’d thought they resolved, and, again, made Glee seem like Peanuts.

Now, what do I mean by that? I mean, as in that vintage comic strip, there are no parents. I mean, when the club needs to sell tickets to a benefit performance, are we to believe not one family member, neighbor or friend of anyone in the club would bother to show — including Rachel’s rabidly devoted dads, whom we’ve never met, btw? Uh, this is precisely when families would show. But instead, only Sue’s silly hecklers appear. Riiight.

Oh, sure, the episode had a good message for those hecklers, and for all people who heap insults, abuse and stupid cynicism from the cowardly distance of the Internet. These things hurt real people — and people you’d never have the guts, or hopefully the inclination, to address this way to their face. So why do it? Haters, shut the hell up. And that includes those who inexplicably follow Glee online, only to comment and rip it. If you don’t like Glee, why are you focusing on it? Talk about losers.

But beyond such preaching, the story stalled with a theme that never took off. Allegedly the benefit to earn money for the club’s surprising brainiacs team to make a trip to Detroit was themed as a night of neglect — that is, a night of songs from neglected artists, performed by a neglected glee club. But how again are bona fide superstars Celine Dion and Aretha Franklin neglected? And did the show even bother mentioning the name of the artist (Adele) whose Turning Tables Holly (Gwyneth Paltrow) sang and assess why she’s so neglected? And what about the zillions of other neglected artists who were disregarded to do Celine and Aretha songs? Now, what was that theme again?

Hey, I love Glee — love it — and I’m criticizing because of that. I want Glee to be more than good — I want it to be great. And this was not a great episode, including the zillionth time Karofsky rubbed his hatred (self-hatred?) in our face. Ryan Murphy, can we get past this? It’s a downer, and it’s been done — to — death. Find another plot point.

Though I missed hearing Lea Michele sing, I did appreciate how, as in Sectionals, Rachel’s stardom was set aside so others could shine, and wasn’t Mercedes fantastic for Ain’t No Way? But when did New Directions turn into music makers of such subdued sophistication? This show — at least, what we saw and heard — was well done, but the staging, lighting and presentation looked suited to a recital, not a glee club crowd-pleaser.

It was good to have Sandy, Terri and the once-seen Dustin return as Sue’s Legion of Doom — this episode needed some humor, which also came briefly from the brainiacs’ Jeopardy-style competition. And tiny belter Charice, also back after a long wait, nailed it with All By Myself, credited to Celine Dion, though it was Eric Carmen who originated the song. (Don’t forget Emma briefly sang this song while sitting in her car sobbing in Season 1.)

And at least next week’s show looks promising — and big, at 90 minutes. Now that would have been worth the month-long wait. “A Night of Neglect” was not. But no show’s perfect, even though Glee so often comes close.

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