Monday, 11 November 2013

S5x4 - Glee: A Katy or a Gaga

Aired 07/11/13

After the poignant Cory Monteith tribute episode several weeks ago, Glee was finally back on our screens this week, and while light and simplistic is the best way to go after such a difficult period for the cast and the show's fans, the episode wasn't particularly great. The writers are obviously still trying to figure out where to take the show now, which is completely understandable and I would be harsh to criticise too much. However, I really don't know how they managed to justify an episode based upon the differences between Lady Gaga and Katy Perry - I honestly don't think there's that much difference between them. The episode focussed on the premise that Katy Perry was a good, girl-next-door type while Gaga was a completely whacky, artistic diva. I'd like to remind everyone that Perry's first big hit featured the lyric: "I kissed a girl and I liked it" and both women wear quite outrageous costumes. Ok, maybe Katy hasn't worn a dress made of meat but she did wear cupcakes on her boobs and have fireworks shoot out of them once. Katy Perry vs Lady Gaga, for me, was a bad analogy for "good girl" vs "bad girl". Apparently the popstars are feuding in real life - something I don't give a ratsarse about - and to use this as a basis for an actual storyline really was quite lame. 

Will asked every member of the New Directions to decide whether they were a 'Katy' or a 'Gaga' and then he set them an assignment: If they were a Katy they had to step into the shoes of Gaga and vice versa. The wider message was to use the two pop icons as a means of discovering who they really were. Except it didn't really work and pretty much flipped the fundamental message of the show on its head. Right from season one the show has been about accepting people for who they are - if Finn, the stereotypical jock, wanted to be in Glee club then why shouldn't he? Why can't the nerd date the high school quarterback? Why can't a guy be gay and proud? Why can't a guy be disabled and beautiful? All of these characters defied typical high school norms, suffered their fair share of bullying and fought like hell to be themselves. This episode pretty much reversed everything the show has been celebrating for the past four years. 

Marley was adamant that she was a 'Katy' and didn't want to step into the shoes of Gaga. Why should she? She is happy with who she is and doesn't want to change because other people tell her to. During her group's performance of Gaga's 'Applause', she decided not to don a near-naked Gaga outfit and instead chose a Katy outfit. For this, she got suspended. I mean, seriously, SHE GOT SUSPENDED FOR NOT WEARING A REVEALING BIKINI AT SCHOOL AND FOR STAYING TRUE TO HERSELF AS A KATY. Ugh, what?! No, just no. The whole thing was just weird and wrong. Not only that but Jake shouted at her because she didn't want to sleep with him and then he slept with someone else. Seriously, what the heck was happening?! The whole thing was just awkward and horrible and wasn't entertaining to watch at all. 

While all that stupid crap was happening at McKinley High, the New Yorkers were trying to set up a band. Again the theme was the same - Adam Lambert does an awesome job in his audition for the band, dressed up in some cool gear reminiscent of the Mad Hatter (Once Upon a Time style) but Kurt thinks he is too edgy and wants him to tone it down. Did someone say hypocrite? For a guy who was bullied at school for being gay, Kurt really was such a douche to demand the guy change because he didn't conform to his expectations. The plot, I thought, was ridiculously uncharacteristic of Kurt and I really can't understand how the writers thought we'd buy into Kurt - the poster boy for acceptance and non-conformity - being such a dweeb and taking this kind of stance. Luckily, he redeemed himself by changing his mind at the end. Now the New Yorkers have their own band - I'm sure it will be successful and they'll have a number one hit with iTunes and a record deal before the season ends. Oh, can you smell that cheese?  

Honestly, the plots for the episode just weren't particularly strong. The show's only real good point was the performance of 'Wide Awake' by Kitty, Unique, Jake and Tina. It was stripped of all the cheesy gimmicks that practically suffocate the music industry today. It was raw, emotional and possibly one of the best covers the show has done for a while. 

I feel harsh in criticising this show after everything that's happened in the real world, and I know the writers have had a tough time with changing the scripts, but I seriously wish they'd put a bit more thought into this clunky, uncharacteristic episode of Glee. The message was warped and it wasn't fun to watch. I'm worried that I'm bearing witness to a sinking ship... Things can only get better, right?