Thursday, 25 November 2010

'GLEE' 2.8 - "Furt"

Thursday, 25 November 2010

This was a painful episode, for a variety of reasons, but mostly because it involved a slew of bad ideas -- poorly handled or annoyingly rushed. Glee loves to theme episodes (even when there's no need to), and "Furt" tried desperately to create a unifying matrimonial feel that didn't work, spun from the news that Burt Hummel (Mike O'Malley) and Carole Hudson (Romy Rosemont) are getting married, meaning Kurt (Chris Colfer) and Finn (Cory Monteith) are going to be step-brothers.

It's tempting to just rip through what didn't work this week. In fact, it's so tempting I'm going to do just that. Firstly, Glee is far too enamoured with Kurt and Burt. Yes, O'Malley and Colfer are good actors who work well together on-screen, but their characters don't do much beyond repeat themselves. Seeing masculine blue-collar Burt cope with having an effeminate gay son was sweet, charming, and relatively interesting back in season 1, but now it's tedious and predictable.

But the major problem with the Hummel storyline here was that Burt and Carole haven't positioned themselves as a couple anybody beyond the characters want to see get hitched. I have a tough time remembering Carole's name, she's just so irrelevant, and there's only been one episode that showed Burt/Carole together for a decent period of time. And even then the emphasis is always been placed on how their relationship impacts their sons.

In "Furt", the actual wedding ceremony was practically hijacked by making it more about how Finn/Kurt are now related as a consequence. Finn even sang "Just The Way You Are" to Kurt at the reception, which felt like a misplaced sentiment. I understand Kurt was going through a tough time, and had singlehandedly planned the wedding, but it just didn't feel plausible. Ryan Murphy doesn't really write heterosexual men very well, and Finn's behaviour didn't strike me as accurate.

Incidentally, only in the world of Glee does someone propose and get married within days, and I fail to understand what the rush was for. It would have been better to have kept the Hummel-Hudson nuptials on the backburner until later in the season, to try and build some excitement as the big day grows closer. Make us care for Burt and Carole, so there's a chance we'll shed a tear when they say their vows, y'know?

When the gleesters were dancing up the aisle singing "Marry You" (the episode's only good musical number), it actually confused me for a second, as I thought we'd perhaps jumped forward in time by six months.

Still, the problems I had believing in the wedding storyline paled into insignificance when compared to this episode's atrocious subplots. To pointlessly stick to a "wedding theme", Sam (Chord Overstreet) proposed to Quinn (Diana Agron), despite only knowing her six weeks and failing to move their relationship beyond kissing. Look, I know they make a cute screen couple and it gives them both something to do on the show now, but... really? Does anybody have any semblance of emotion for Quinn/Sam as a couple yet? There's no foundation to their relationship, so why do the writers think everyone watching's going to be overjoyed to hear they're getting wed? You could have missed a few episodes this year and not even know Sam and Quinn are an item! It strikes me as an utterly lazy shortcut to take these characters down this path, so soon.

Finally, Sue Sylvester's (Jane Lynch) storyline this week was a total abomination. After discovering that her ex-lover is getting married, a jealous Sue decided it was about time she got hitched herself... to herself. Yes, internet dating indicated that the only person capable of loving Sue was Sue, so she took the unlikely route of organizing a self-marriage.

Simultaneously, Sue's mother Doris (Carol Burnett) arrived in town, and Glee was forced to honour a throwaway joke from season 1 that the Sylvester's are famous Nazi hunters. But what made for a funny line last year becomes something very different when Doris was talking about surreptitiously murdering old Germans who fled to America from Germany after the war. There was nothing funny or interesting about Doris as a character (a wasted opportunity), her "Ohio" duet with Sue was plain horrible, and the whole idea of Sue marrying herself didn't work. It wasn't quirky, it was stupid, and the Sue I know would have thought as much, too. Honestly, it felt like a storyline concocted purely to get the visual of Sue in a blue tracksuit bridal gown.

Overall, "Furt" was a dreadful episode (maybe Glee's worst ever), only made mildly watchable because it continued the story of Kurt being bullied, and eventually deciding to leave McKinley High to join the exclusive Dalton Academy (meaning he's also a rival at next week's Sectionals). But even in this story, I'm disappointed the show hasn't done more with the reveal Kurt's bully is a closeted homosexual, or at least sexually confused. That seemed like a good idea to explore, but the show's done nothing with it.

Am I being too harsh? Do you agree that "Furt" was, perhaps, the worst ever wedding episode in recent TV history? Even the title makes my teeth itch.

WRITER: Ryan Murphy
DIRECTOR: Carol Banker
TRANSMISSION: 23 November 2010, Fox, 8/7c