Friday, November 20, 2009

Glee: Season 1, Episode 10 – Ballad (2009) - Review

Ballad is an episode about confronting one’s feelings, dealing with them and moving on, or not. And how does Glee deal with this? Through ballads of course! The episode runs the gambit of teen problems from crushes to telling one’s parents about being pregnant, all of which is done in typical Glee fashion: through song, comedy and heartfelt drama. There are moments that feel overly cheesy, but the writers do a good job of interjecting almost fourth-wall-breaking self-reflection, usually through comedy (the Finn singing to a sonogram scene is a good example). The writers also continue to use tried and true story clichés and yet they feel fresh, which is really a credit to the writing staff and show-runners. Ballad succeeds due to its mix of comedy and sometimes crushing drama and emotion. The writers continue to push the characters, which certainly benefits the show as a whole. Technically, this episode had its ups and downs. Using the dead-on camera angle for the ballads (especially between Schuester and Rachel) should create a feeling of uneasiness for viewers and it does in the episode, but the exaggerated facial expressions that often accompany this angle hurt the overall authenticity of the emotion that the technique is attempting to bring about in the viewer, leaving it feel clumsy. There are also some instances (like the dinning room scene at Quinn’s) where an overly shaky handheld camera shot feels out of place and distracting, in a scene that should employ the camera to build tension. Finally, the episode uses character narration to express emotion; however it comes off much more as exposition. Emotion should be shown in the performances or the juxtaposition of shots not flat out divulged in narration. The musical performances were enjoyable this week (favorite was Schuester singing to Rachel and Emma). All in all, Ballad is another strong episode advancing the story and cultivating the characters. 8/10

Glee can be seen Wednesday nights on Fox or on

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