Friday, November 13, 2009

Glee: Season 1, Episode 9 – Wheels (2009) - Review

Wheels is about being different. It is about those on the fringes of popular society, at least what television generally regards as popular society. The story centers on inclusion and not treating people differently, almost feeling like some of the episodes of Sesame Street. The pit falls of an episode trying to do these sorts of things though is that it can very easily be bogged down in clichés pulling at the viewers heartstrings and often coming off as cheesy or preachy and either way not engaging, or more importantly, not doing service to the message it is trying to get out. Here, Ryan Murphy and staff walk a thin line, there is cheese and clichés intended to pull at the viewer’s heartstrings, and yet the skill of the episode is that it does not play that way. The viewer does not feel manipulated artificially into feeling certain targeted emotions. The emotion is real. The story rings true. And for the second week in a row, Glee has shown that it is a wonderful medium for both entertainment and social growth. In Wheels, the music and singing performances again take a backseat to the drama, which is why the show now is far better than its early episodes. The music is fun and enjoyable, but the characters and the drama is what the viewers care about, what makes them invest in the show, otherwise why not just watch the musical numbers and fast-forward through the rest? Glee, with a few of its numbers, has started to dip into the world of musicals, the distinction being that musicals have characters breaking into song while in everyday situations to tell a story, not just performing a number in Glee practice or on a stage for an audience. The musical numbers do work much better in telling the story visually and Glee should continue to integrate more of them into the flow of the drama. The cast continues to be good, none are standouts, but they all work well together as an ensemble. Glee is more about the story telling, right now, and that is a good thing. The show is blossoming into one of the finer more relevant and important shows on TV and Wheels is another standout episode. 9/10

Glee can be seen Wednesday nights on Fox or on

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