Glee: "Ballad" Episode Review

11/19/2009 Posted by Admin

By our guest blogger, Kristen Lopez

What can be said about Glee that hasn't already been said by every other outlet in American media? The little show that could has become a global phenomenon, permeating everything from Jay Leno to the World Series. The “Gleeks,” as the cast is affectionately known as by fans, have become stars in their own right, and the music sells like hotcakes every week on iTunes. It's unfair to compare this episode to the fantastic and heartfelt installment, “Wheels,” which aired last week, but “Ballad” continued to produce the funny and was loose enough that if you aren't into the show by now, you can easily slip in.

For the uninitiated, Glee follows a group of misfits and popular kids who all connect by performing in their school's show choir. Led by their overly optimistic Spanish teacher Will Schuester, played by Matthew Morrison, the Glee kids face opposition from other kids as well as head cheer-leading coach Sue Sylvester (Jane Lynch), who wants the club disbanded so it doesn't affect her “Cheerios.” The kids all bring their own baggage to the stage ranging from club diva Rachel (Lea Michele), hunky football player Finn (Cory Monteith) and resident “gay” Kurt (Chris Colfer), just to name a few. The group may be different, and in any other high school they would never talk, but through song they connect and learn to face the trials and tribulations of the next four years together.

The episode “Ballad” follows the group as they break up into twos to perform a duet together. Rachel is paired with Mr. Schuester and develops a school-girl crush on him that gets out of hand. Finn and Kurt are teamed together, which makes Kurt question whether he should tell Finn he likes him as more than a friend. On the flip-side, Finn is grappling with having to meet Quinn's parents for the first time who don't know she's pregnant.

I mentioned before that it would be unfair to judge this week's episode, “Ballad,” against the last one since “Wheels” was the strongest episode of the series so far. That isn't to say this episode was lacking--it just didn't move me as much as the last episode did. This week focuses on revealing Quinn's secret to the most important people in her life, her parents. Quinn is seen as the golden child to her parents Russell and Judy, so when she tearfully tells her parents she's pregnant, you can see the devastation they feel before any words are spoken. Easily the most poignant part of the episode was watching Dianna Agron attempt to convince her parents to stand by her to no avail. Audiences finally got to see a bit more of Quinn as a person, instead of the typical bitchy blonde that she originally portrayed at the beginning of the season. At the same time, we learned more about Finn and his relationship with his mother. The pilot episode set up Finn's mom as a caring woman who seemed to date losers who constantly leave her--not a whole lot to give her any true definition. While it was cause for a lot of laughs in the pilot, here we see her acting like a true mother and comforting Finn when he reveals Quinn is pregnant. She takes Quinn in after the events at dinner and it showed the two very different ideologies without going into detail.

It may sound like this was a rather serious turn for the series, but don't worry as there was plenty of humor to go around. To return to said dinner, Finn did have a panic attack, which led to a side-splitting conversation with Kurt and a discussion on how long to stay in a bathroom before parents questioned what you were doing. Further complicating the situation was Finn attempting to shed his “feelings” by singing Paul Anka's “You're Having My Baby” to Quinn amidst dinner rolls. Rachel and Schuester stole the comedy card this week with their May-December romance. Schuester had flashbacks to a previous student, Suzy Pepper, who made a failed attempt at suicide by eating a hot pepper (ironically) when her feelings for him weren't reciprocated. In an attempt to let Rachel down easy he sang a mash-up of “Young Girl” and “Don't Stand So Close to Me.” The humor came from him bringing school therapist Emma (Jayma Mays) along, who also has a crush on him, while attempting to sing. Both women failed to get the message and Rachel took things to a new level by attempting to seduce the teacher with a rendition of “Crush.” It was all music-related humor and it wasn't the typical tawdry relationship seen in similar shows on the CW, but one that was handled with adult logic and sensitivity.

It's hard to find anything to fault this episode as it achieved everything the series has done in the past--entertain and make me hum along. The only nitpick is that we didn't spend nearly enough time with the other kids. Big voiced Mercedes and class jerk Puck share a scene together, and the rest of the kids are present at the beginning and end to perform the final song. It's understandable that not all the kids get a focus, but after that fantastic episode last week that really encompassed the group as a whole, it was a bit disappointing that most of them were relegated to being background singers.

“Ballad” is a fantastic episode to watch if you're jumping in mid-season. There really wasn't anything that you needed to know beforehand that couldn't be gleaned from this episode, mostly Quinn's pregnancy. I highly recommend if you're not watching "Glee" already you join in! The writing's fantastic, the cast has perfect chemistry, and it's probably one of the few comedic series that truly entertains consistently.

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  1. Emma said...

    I love Glee!!! Great review, too.


  2. Ang said...

    Awesome Review!! Glee fast became a favorite of mine.