Here’s a song they should’ve belted out on the latest installment of the “Glee” series — “Don’t Know What You’ve Got ‘Til It’s Gone” (Cinderella 1988). The song isn’t a duet (the theme for the episode was a duet singing contest), but it certainly describes the residual feeling left over from the outright snoozefest that “Glee” presented its watchers this past week.
Sue Sylvester’s absence on the show was not only noticeable, it screamed. And the lack of exciting duets didn’t help. Even the inclusion of a small girl-on-girl makeout scene between cheerleaders Brittany and Santana didn’t distract or scandalize enough to draw away from the glaring void in the show. Who would have thought that a one-hour musical comedy would come to depend so much upon the mean-spirited Sue (played so ably by Jane Lynch) and her sometimes-incoherent verbal batteries against Mr. Schue (Matthew Morrison)?
Sue Sylvester’s little war against the Glee Club and its existence has become such an integral part of the show that not having her around to growl and bark at Will Schuester and his group of singing misfits was as noticeable as Sue’s red sweatsuit in an Amish parade. Her verbal attacks and volleys with various members of the cast — but especially with teacher Will Schuester — helps drive the show. There is a certain anticipation that comes with the knowledge that Jane Lynch will appear sometime in the course of the show and make Mr. Schue’s or someone’s life a living hell. On Tuesday night’s episode, “Duets,” that anticipation went unrewarded.
After the hype and excitement of the “Britney/Brittany” and the religion debate/ “Grilled Cheesus” episodes, “Duets” was a severe letdown. And the duets chosen didn’t help, although all were well-performed. Besides the duet between Santana (Naya Rivera) and Mercedes (Amber Riley) and the solo duet between Kurt (Chris Colfer) and himself (performed from, appropriately enough, “Victor Victoria”), there were no fun duets. And one scene in particular captured what was wrong with the entire “Glee” episode.
Finn (Cory Monteith) and Rachel (Lea Michele) were talking about how Rachel had explained to him what made the movie “Grease 2” so much worse than “Grease,” the original movie. She told him, he said, that the movie wasn’t so bad as the songs were bad.
Transpose the word “bad” for “boring” (because the songs on Tuesday’s episodes weren’t truly “bad” songs, just poorly chosen for inclusion) and what made the conversation so telling for the duets episode of “Glee” was that they could have chosen better songs. For that matter, why wasn’t a song from “Grease” included? Talk about stating the obvious while missing the point. Talk about an episode that needed “You’re The One That I Want.”
Which brings this little criticism back to Jane Lynch/Sue Sylvester. Not taking anything away from the rest of the cast, a bunch of talent perhaps unequaled on television, but she’s the one we want to see. Even just a little bit of Sue would have sufficed. And the verbal crossfire that Sue and Schuester perform each episode would have been most appropriate for this particular episode — literally music to the audience’s ear.
To the writers of “Glee”: Try not to do that again. There’s a reason why Jane Lynch won that Emmy. She brings an element to the show that the “Duets” episode completely lacked, in script and in song — fun.
“Glee,” Fox Television