When I first heard about the TV show “Glee,” I was a disbeliever. A high school Glee Club? Puhleeze. It sounded like a pitiful attempt to update that oldie but goodie “Let’s Put On a Show” Judy Garland type of soft shoe. Nice then – booooring now.
Wrong. Smart dialogue, clever casting, and superb singing combine to shape Glee into one of the most memorable, distinctive shows since “Joan of Arcadia.” And, not coincidentally, my favorite “Glee” episode just happens to contain a song that those who loved “Joan of Arcadia” will remember: “One of Us.”
The “Grilled Cheesus” episode examined that tricky topic, religion, weaving wit with heartbreak, love with anger, in what has become traditional Glee style. Best song of the night: Chris Colfer’s “I Want to Hold Your Hand,” in which his TV character shares and cherishes the memories of his ailing father. Anyone who didn’t have to wipe away a tear (or two) by the end of that performance needs to be checked to make sure he or she still has a heart.
That episode also let one of the show’s most gifted singers, Amber Riley, display her ability to star not just as a singer but as an actress. She’s a rare talent, one of those lovely young women whose beauty shines from within. She and Chris Colfer play off each other well, both displaying a depth unusual in such young performers.
The almost always cheerful, chirpy Finn was the maker of the “grilled Cheesus,” and I admit that at times, Finn’s less-than-subtle obsession with girls gets a tad dull. Even Finn, though, had a few finer moments in this episode, as when he probes the true meaning of prayer (and, alas, discovers that his grilled Cheesus is not the answer to all the questions of the universe).
Other returning characters we love to watch: Will, the strong-jawed teacher who is tough in the right way with his talented students (but not so talented in love), and of course Sue Sylvester, brilliantly played by Jane Lynch. Sue displayed her softer side in this episode, and we cherish her all the more for it.
And now, if you’ll excuse me. I have a grilled Cheesus to prepare.