Glee blog review Season 2 Episode 20 ‘Prom Queen’: Jar of Hits

For me, Glee is all about the music. Well, not all. I love the characters. I love the cast. I even love the plots and storylines much of the time, and certainly the edgy dialogue. But often I must make the allowance — or artistic license — of repeating this mantra like the show itself brandishing Mr. Schue’s theme of the week: musical fantasy.

For me, it’s that status which forgives Glee its lapses of logic (how could Kurt have been voted Prom Queen as an organized write-in without anyone catching wind of it?), its utter disregard of its own backstory (uh, haven’t Santana and Brittany been known to be at least “bi-curious” since early in Season 1?) and its absurdly unlikely showboating intrusions (Artie interrupting class to ask Brittany for a date, in song).

But it’s that very music that sustains Glee — that makes it soar. I mean, what other scripted show has, or ever has had, such remarkable musical  performances? It’s the music, in the end, that makes Glee precious.

That’s why “Prom Queen” was so superb for me, even if it lacked the strongest or meatiest story of the season. It was, quite simply, one of the best musical lineups of Glee’s now 42-episode life.

After all, awaiting the vote for Prom Queen and Prom King wasn’t that dramatic to anyone but Quinn — including many viewers, since a Glee extra spilled the beans. (Note to Glee producers: Get your extras to sign contracts with confidentiality agreements. And if leaks do spring, don’t call attention to them with your own hissy fits.)

There was one dramatic scene, though — in fact, one of the best of the season, if not the series. When Karofsky broke down and revealed he really did mean his apology to Kurt for bullying, then pledged to protect him from now on — well, that’s still giving me chills. Thanks, Glee. The bullying, while a justified plot element, has been done to death and is this show’s biggest axe-grinder. But at least you’ve finally set this source of it to rest. And I applaud how the show can take minor characters and give them big moments. (Speaking of which, are you as stoked as me to see Howard from Sheets ‘n’ Things return next week?)

But back to that music, which was — oh — so — damn — incredible. From the top.

OK, I’m on board now with Glee adopting top-selling Adele. I was no fan of Turning Tables, but Rolling in the Deep was magnificent. This surprise acapella duet between Rachel and Jesse — with vocal help from the tech crew — was as vibrant and potent as Glee gets.

Artie’s Isn’t She Lovely, while too stagey, was charming and sweet, even if Stevie Wonder’s lyrics were about a newborn baby, not a former girlfriend. (Wasn’t that a way of calling Brittany stupid again? As the subject of this song, she’s not even a 2-year-old.)

And then came the prom.

Wow, I love how the big dance played out — how it was shot, edited and performed, with three gloriously rousing songs (Dancing Queen, I’m Not Gonna Teach Your Boyfriend How to Dance With You and, yes, Friday) and one gorgeous slow-dance ballad (Rachel’s Jar of Hearts). Interspersed were Jesse and a jealous Finn’s fight and ejection, Artie’s bizarre interrogation by Sue after spiking the punch and the king and queen vote. Is that enough story for you? Me too. On with the songs.

Ultimately, Glee’s greatest strength is its songs, and if it can’t impress there, it shouldn’t be on the air. Thank goodness it is, although ratings have slipped. Let’s hope enough folks saw this week’s show, and talk about it, to turn that tide as Glee nears its big season finale with Nationals in NYC. And there, it won’t matter if they win or lose. It will matter that they live to sing another day — and not just for the guaranteed Season 3.

Too many lesser programs than Glee have survived longer than that, and our beloved little song and dance show has just got to keep going. The best –and only — song-packed musical fantasy in TV history deserves its own longevity. Glee doesn’t have to be king or queen of the prime-time prom.  It just needs to exist. Heck, we need it to exist. So for now, thanks again, Glee. Thanks for the lift.



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