Why I’m checking out of Glee

[Before I begin, it should probably go without saying that I’ll be discussing recent plot points from Glee.  If you’re behind and plan to catch up without spoilers, stop here.]

When it debuted two seasons ago, Glee was the most aptly-named show on television.  It was a delight.  It was fun and goofy and had lots of novel musical numbers featuring a very talented cast.  It was sweet without being cloying, and quirky without being twee.  The scene where Kurt tells his dad that he’s gay was absolutely pitch-perfect, and truly touching.  I was hooked.

Since then, the show has slid inexorably from mediocre to confusing to completely incoherent.  There are so many laughably implausible plotlines going that one wonders if they really have hired a roomful of monkeys to hammer away at the script, and just go with whatever they churn out.  In this way it reminds me of Ally McBeal, that amusing trifle of a show that took its title character’s idiosyncrasies and cranked them to 11, rendering her not so much charming as outright schizophrenic.  What the writers seemingly fail to understand is that what makes musicals successful is the insertion of song and dance into a drama that is appealing in its own right.  Most of the new plotlines make no sense.  Sue Sylvester running for Congress on an “I hate show choir” platform?  Really?

Nowhere is this more evident than in the aforementioned character of Kurt, who had been providing the moral touchstone for the series as the gay kid struggling to be accepted in school on his own terms.  The show made several missteps with him, most egregiously his creepily inappropriate pursuit of the put-upon and obviously uninterested Finn, but managed to acknowledge and correct some of them.  But they’ve decided that the best way to keep his story interesting is to make him an utter moron.  Apparently he is only capable of singing showtunes made famous by women, despite it always working against him.  He cannot, it seems, recognize the merit in demonstrating some range as a performer, and merely throws tantrums about being true to himself instead of trying to broaden his repertoire.  Enough already.  Gay doesn’t have to mean clueless.

Despite its decreasing quality, the show has thrown in just enough exuberant flash mobs and emotionally moving scenes to keep me watching up until now.  But this past week they introduced the plotline that’s making me change my DVR settings.  I have zero interest in watching a contrived and insulting narrative about Quinn trying to get back custody of the baby she surrendered for adoption.  There are already too many things that make me yell at my TV for me to volunteer to watch this one.

As I’ve mentioned in the past, I am the proud parent of an adopted son.  I know all about the adoption process, including the part where the adoption is finalized.  Any adoptive parent will tell you that it’s a wonderful day when it happens, capping a long, nerve-wracking, tense and tedious process.  Thankfully, once it’s done, it’s done forever.

Perhaps Glee‘s showrunners know this.  Maybe Quinn will learn presently that the adoption of her biological daughter has been finalized, and that her adoptive mother is her mother in the eyes of the law, full stop.  It seems much more likely, however, that they wouldn’t have bothered to introduce this storyline if they didn’t plan to milk it.  Picture melodramatic scenes where Quinn and the Idina Menzel character (whose name escapes me) have tearful battles over who is the “real” mother.  The idea of watching as the process by which families like mine come together is sensationalized beyond all recognition makes me want to punch Ryan Murphy in the nose.  No thanks.

If the show were otherwise as enjoyable as it once was, maybe I’d be willing to suffer through this new development.  But it isn’t, so I’m not.  Dedicated viewers, please feel free to tell me if I’m missing something.  For my part, I’ll probably fill the time by watching Jeeves & Wooster DVDs.

Russell Saunders

Russell Saunders is the ridiculously flimsy pseudonym of a pediatrician in New England. He has a husband, three sons, daughter, cat and dog, though not in that order. He enjoys reading, running and cooking. He can be contacted at blindeddoc using his Gmail account. Twitter types can follow him @russellsaunder1.


  1. I Agree with you
    I feel the 1st season was the best. When the 2nd season started I was like its not as good…but when the third season started I kind of wish it was the 2nd Season again…cause it was way better. Yes the storylines are the same and are becoming boring…the same old…Rachel & Mercedes fighting…Sue and Will…Confused Finn…Irritating Quinn
    But I still find it hard to give up on it…I love it too much!
    Is there any way we caan tell Ryan Murphy all this?

  2. Caught you, doc. You stole the adoption subplot of Ryan Murphy’s “Nip Tuck,” when you wrote “Any adoptive parent will tell you that it’s a wonderful day when it happens, capping a long, nerve-wracking, tense and tedious process.”

    On “Nip Tuck,” adopting Wilbur was Dr. Christian Troy’s only redeeming quality. Though he has made fun of Jesus and high school teachers, Ryan Murphy hasn’t joke about adoption, perhaps his only demonstrated sacred cow.

    I’m sorry you don’t appreciate Chris Colfer as much as the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, who awarded him a Golden Globe for his season two performance, but I’m glad somebody revived Judy Garland’s “Get Happy.”

    The glory of “Glee” is that it has introduced a new generation to musical comedy and choreographed dancing, and has raised the standards for pop songs. In the words of Gene Kelly, “That’s entertainment.”

    • I never watched “Nip/Tuck.” My understanding is that it, too, went completely off the rails as the seasons went by.

      I have no problem with Chris Colfer, who I think does a decent job with the material he’s handed. I have a problem with Kurt.

  3. Thanks for writing about this. I watched the other night and was aghast at the latest addition to their poor handling of adoption issues–not to mention that they are also playing upon that ridiculous old tale of “but what if the birth mother comes back?!” Could they POSSIBLY have considered open adoption as a plot line? So disappointing to see television media get it so dang wrong, once again. And since it’s Rachel’s Birth Mother and now adoptive mother to Quin’s baby, it’s like a multi-generational adoption fail!
    On a totally different note, also hated the “What? You got an Asian-F?” comment in the preview for next week’s episode. Guess it’s just DVRd Project Runway for me from now on!
    Full disclosure-I am the adoptive mom to a 10-year-old son who rules. And is awesome at Legos. Just sayin’.

    • Guess it’s just DVRd Project Runway for me from now on!

      Go, Anya!!

      My son is not yet at the age for rocking at Legos. His major hobbies these days are making me watch the same india.arie video over and over and over (he’s big into india.arie), making me read “Outside Over There” over and over and over, and driving me bananas in the most infuriatingly adorable way.

  4. One question I’ve had about Glee–perhaps it’s addressed in one of the episodes I haven’t seen yet (I haven’t seen the most recent one)–is, what happens when/if these kids graduate? Will they ever graduate?

    • I believe they are planning on transitioning to new cast members. Since I no longer care about a single one of their current characters anymore, I won’t miss them.

  5. It’s true. Anya rules. But then, the competition is, um, ugh!

    In our house, the soundtrack is Daft Punk, techno/electronica, the Journey CD he’s strangely obsessed with, and any hard rock he can come by. A little India Aire every once in a while sounds a bit heavenly.

    And the Legos? I’m sure it will come, and it’s seriously fun.
    Thanks again for writing,

Comments are closed.