Glee – “Asian F”

Glee – “Asian F

Well, I’ve been pretty hard on Glee for a while now, but if “Asian F” is any indication, dare I say that the show is on its way back? There were problems to be sure. For one the show acknowledges that one its major characters has Obsessive Compulsive Disorder but refuses to really treat that like the rather serious problem that it actually is. Plus, ginger supremacists? (Although it is true that gingers are decreasing in population due to “inter-breeding.”) However this week, even that story ends with a decent and moderately emotional rendition of Coldplay’s “Fix You.” I will say that Matthew Morrison’s falsetto doesn’t work for the song as well as Chris Martin’s (and my favorite cover of the song will always be by the Young@Heart chorus in the eponymous documentary Young@Heart). However the Will and Emma storyline is the weakest of the bunch (as Will-centric storylines tend to be).

Mike Chang Jr. is a character who has not been developed that much other than being a great dancer and not overly self-confident. This episode gave him more to do. Granted it made his father, Mike Chang Sr, into something of a racial stereotype of the overbearing Asian father pushing his son into taking on too much at school (at least he had an American accent and didn’t shout “You be doctor!”). It’s been great seeing Heather Morris, who was hired on the show for her dancing as opposed to acting or singing, break out as one of the show’s best characters. Likewise it’s nice to see the dance-centric Harry Shum Jr. get to develop Mike as more of a character. Speaking of Morris, I always love watching her on the show but I really don’t care for the song “Run the World (Girls)” by Beyoncé Knowles. Loved the scene, hated the song.

The episode really belongs to Amber Riley as Mercedes though. Glee has horribly inconsistent character development and has often pushed many of its characters into the background in favor of the usual Rachel/Finn/Quinn/Kurt/Will stories that unfortunately dominate the series. Amber Riley has one hell of a talent vocally but hasn’t really been allowed to develop her character. Her last main storyline involved her love of tater tots, for fuck’s sake. Mercedes’ feelings of being neglected by Will and the rest of New Directions could just as easily be about the writers and their neglect of Riley as an actress. When she refused to take a pity role, well… as an actor (or at least a wannabe) I can understand the argument that you always accept the damn part (unless you have something better lined up I guess), but if it didn’t seem like the right thing to tell them to go to hell. Even better than that she’s shaken the seeming sociopathic Rachel Berry’s confidence (and I am ALWAYS in favor of Rachel being taken down a peg). The downside is that this seems like it is coming solely as the result of her having a boyfriend. Also her constant sickness seems vaguely suggested of a pregnancy. This show has already done that once and a retread of THAT whole deal would be most unwelcome. Unless the show would actually have the balls to have a teenager get an abortion, but I really doubt that will happen.

It’s been a frustrating ordeal to watch a show that started with such promise go so far downhill. There have been glimmers of hope that the show was bouncing back, but they were fleeting. This is the first full episode that feels like the show might just recapture its former glory after all. For now, we can just wait and hope…

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