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Glee: Michael Jackson episode reviewed

Glee: Michael

Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 2 out of 5

GLEE‘S latest foray into tribute paying territory proved more ‘Bad’ than good during Michael, which produced only sporadic moments of quality.

Having already tipped their hat to the music of Michael Jackson once before, this episode quickly felt like an overdose that continually threatened to stall the dramatic momentum built up from previous episode Yes/No.

The story, such as it was, pitted New Directions against The Warblers as the two groups faced off en route to Regionals. It also drew Rachel’s will she/won’t she accept Finn’s marriage proposal to an unconvincing close, while laying the foundations for the long-term futures of several leading cast members.

Quinn (Dianna Agron), for instance, got accepted to Yale, while Kurt (Chris Colfer) and Rachel (Lea Michele) both made the finals of their New York drama school of choice.

Rachel’s acceptance immediately begged the question of where that leaves Finn (Cory Monteith), given that Rachel only found out moments after accepting his proposal.

But such plot points were largely secondary to the songs, which attempted to pay tribute to Michael Jackson in hit-and-miss ways.

In total there were 10 and while Mercedes & Sam’s version of Human Nature and Santana & Sebastian;s Smooth Criminal (featuring a special appearance performance by 2Cellos) stood out, the rest remained kind of forgettable.

A soppy version of Ben, sung to Blaine while he recovered in bed, showcased Glee at its saccharine worst and seemed to completely overlook the fact that the song was originally penned for a horror movie about a rat!

Bad was delivered as New Directions and The Warblers faced off for the first time in a manner befitting dance movies such as Step Up and Stomp The Yard – but it felt lightweight where Beat It would have served much, much better.

Finn and Rachel’s I Just Can’t Stop Loving You failed to ring emotionally true within the moment, given the look of uncertainty Rachel wore throughout, and Artie and Mike’s version of Scream, which saw Artie leaping from his wheelchair to supposedly vent his frustrations in an imagined state of mind, erred towards the embarrassing.

Worse, none of these songs were delivered in particularly memorable fashion.

And is it just me, or is the whole Michael Jackson thing a little hypocritical now to say the least? When the singer was alive, all eyes were on his comeback to see if he could replicate the form of his early, iconic Thriller/Off The Wall/Jackson 5 days, or whether the new tour and new material would go the same way as his more recent material (which has largely been forgotten).

While the residue from his personal life and it’s messy overspill into the US courts continued to divide opinion on him.

Post-death, however, and there was nothing but praise from people wanting to call him ‘the greatest’. Glee felt as though it was jumping on this bandwagon, especially when sitting around asking themselves what Michael would have done to overcome the tormentors and those who put him down.

It failed to ring true to either the reality of what Michael Jackson had become prior to his death or some of the early ambitions of the show itself. The result was over-cooked, overly sentimental and completely forgettable.