Glee: Grilled Cheesus

KT can’t prove there isn’t a magic teapot floating around the dark side of the moon with a dwarf inside of it.

GLEE:  2.03 “Grilled Cheesus”

I can only assume there wasn’t a dry eye in the house by the end of last night’s Glee.  Right?  Tell me I wasn’t the only one.

I’m always a little skeptical when a TV episode decides to take on religion — and Glee’s usual fluffiness earned this one a extra raise of the eyebrows when I first heard about the premise.  But I have to say, I’m fairly impressed.  Neither side got scapegoated, and we even got a coherent storyline in the process.

It all starts out a little ridiculous:  Finn sees Jesus in his grilled cheese sandwich and feels inspired to pray.  Being Finn, his heart’s deep desires are pretty much limited to football and boobs, and for a while it seems that Cheesus is better at granting wishes than the genie in Aladdin.  Finn even gets to be quarterback again. (Bonus: Coach Bieste calls him Lurch, which cracks me up more than it probably should.)  But getting the position because Sam’s shoulder is dislocated gives Finn a massive attack of conscience.  The whole storyline was a light, amusing counterpoint to the Hummels’ storyline, and I especially liked the scene near the end in which Emma talks Finn out of his God-as-sandwich-genie theology.  And I also liked that Finn got to sing REM’s “Losing My Religion,” which fit well.

For that matter, the whole episode was really spot on with its music choices.  Mercedes got not one but two opportunities to be absolutely fabulous, once backed by a gospel choir.  Rachel continues to be Glee’s Barbara Streisand, and Puck has a great voice for Billy Joel.  I’ve loved “One of Us” for years and I was glad they used it here, but I think my favorite of the night was Kurt’s simple, beautiful “I Want to Hold Your Hand.”

Because of course, the episode belonged to him.  Burt Hummel is easy to love, so when he collapses, everyone’s heart goes out to Kurt.  I thought the episode was spot on about the way it can be hard to know what to say to a friend going through a tough time.  And since Kurt was already on the record as being non-religious, offering prayers just drives him farther away — straight toward Sue, who is busy being the voice of secularism in the principal’s office.  And though Sue’s plan to use Kurt as an example doesn’t go very far, it does get Emma angry enough to yell at Sue, which is always impressive.  More interestingly, it leads to Sue explaining herself to Emma, which was a nice character moment.

The hardest thing about any heated discussion — but especially one about something as divisive as religion — is going back and talking rationally, but the kids manage to do it.  Rachel sits Finn down to tell him why his new faith in Cheesus concerns her, and more impressively, Kurt is ready to listen by the time Mercedes asks him to go to chuch with her.  Nobody’s trying to convert anybody, which I appreciate:  Mercedes’ message to Kurt is the importance of community and the value of having someone to be your “Bridge Over Troubled Water.”  It’s about religion, but it’s also about tolerance and about not stepping on each other’s toes as we try to find common ground.  And, as Burt says at the beginning and Kurt says at the end, sometimes what you hold sacred isn’t important, so long as there is something.

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