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Monday, October 11, 2010

Grilled cheesus

A couple of people have asked me what I thought about the grilled cheesus episode of Glee. Too many thoughts for Facebook, but I also doubt, given all the work (stupid work) I've got going on right now, that I'll organize them well enough for a full-on blog on theodicy, religion in schools, and what a pale shadow of Aretha's magnificent cover of "Bridge Over Troubled Water" that was. Here are the highlights, though, and I welcome comments/discussion:

First of all, I just don't think Glee deals very well with more serious material. I think Kurt's a good character to do it with because Chris Colfer is pretty compelling, but I don't think it's their strong suit as a program. From the fake baby to teen pregnancy to the eating disorder to religious faith (or the lack thereof), I think there "big issue" episodes are always disappointing. Except the drug use one (with the "vitamins"). That was hilarious.

Narratively, I thought it was sloppily done, and I was severely underwhelmed by most of the music.

Theologically, I thought it was dismissive of the atheist's viewpoints. In addition to the fact that "I or a loved one have had a tough time" is not the only reason one might be an atheist, surely the complaints made by both Kurt and Sue deserve a better response than "Well, we believe, and you're a bad friend if you don't let us pray for you."

Also, while there must be churches where you can bring a friend, announce that he's an atheist and get nothing but smiles and nods from the rest of the congregation, I really thought that scene was disingenous. Like, a lot.

But I liked grilled cheesus, and Kurt's version of "I Wanna Hold Your Hand."

PS - Aretha

Aretha Franklin - "Bridge Over Troubled Water"


  1. you liked grilled cheeseus? say it ain't so. ok, so maybe finn isn't the sharpest knife in the drawer, but this wasn't fair to him.

    i thought you'd say that it was a good thing to see the coastal skeptic's worldview so nicely laid out: smart thinking white folks see that life sucks, but know better than to ask favors of a sandwich. happily there are brown people whose natural spirituality lets them feel closer to the mystery of it all. don't put a ring on it, put a church hat on it!

  2. you liked the grilled cheesus?

    i share your verdict otherwise. but you failed to note the pure inspiration of kurt's opening to (safely nonwhite) religion through church millinery. genius!


  3. Well believers love nothing more than a gay atheist.

  4. I couldn't even open the brown people and their magic church-singing can of worms, Mark. Too much rage.

    And, while you're right that this wasn't fair to Finn, the idea of a grilled cheesus just made me giggle. Mostly from saying it out loud. I don't think the actual theology of that was any more on target than the rest of the ep., and I think it's actually a bit out of character for Finn not to think of asking for anything for others. But...

    "Grilled cheesus (giggle)."

  5. Tiny Aside: I would have liked grilled cheesus much better if he hadn't eaten the other half. I don't doubt that he would stop whipping it out and praying to it in public places, but the willing suspension that allowed me to watch him pray to it in the first place says that nothing happened that would have made him lose his faith in it.

  6. I think it is very interesting that everyone heard different voices and messages in this episode. Ultimately this episode was a real problem for me. Do you know what I kept hearing from it? That all Christians are crazy, judgmental and assume their way is the only way. Huh.

    I do agree about the music - the worst, blandest and most obvious choices possible. I just watched an interview of the guy who does the musical arrangements on Hulu. He said they tried to make Losing My Religion perkier so it would match Finn's personality better. Perkier? gag.

    I think I've come to hate the "very special episodes" on Glee...