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Glee: Season 1 - Bad Reputation (Review)


Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 4 out of 5

What’s the story? Will (Matthew Morrison) goes on a witch hunt after a list surfaces with nasty things about the Glee club. In other news, a video pops up from Sue (Jane Lynch)‘s past starring Olivia Newton John.

Our verdict: Is it me, or do the very best Glee episodes centre around Sue Sylvester?

Although of consistently high quality, episodes such as The Power of Madonna and now Bad Reputation thrive by virtue of the sharper emphasis on Sue… when her barbed (but highly amusing) vitriol is given license to run amok, or she’s brought down a peg or two.

Bad Reputation provided opportunity for both… as well as some inspirational song and dance routines that attempted to breathe new life and hip status into forgotten songs from the [mostly ’80s] past.

Hell, it even had an extended cameo from Olivia Newton John meaning that you probably didn’t have a pulse if you didn’t enjoy some element of this episode.

It was Sue’s discovered ‘lost’ video of her ‘performance’ of Olivia Newton John’s Let’s Get Physical, and its subsequent posting on YouTube, that prompted the cheerleading teacher to go on the warpath.

Humiliated and angry, she demanded retribution for the posting of a “glist” that marked Glee members by bad reputation and sexual performance, as well as encouraging Emma Pillsbury (Jayma May)‘s public dressing down of Will for his alleged philandering post-marriage breakdown.

But in doing so, she also provided telling insight into her own securities… most notably the shame of being laughed at by her colleagues (in horrific, close-up slo-mo), as well as her deep love for her disabled sister (which provided some genuinely touching moments between them).

Redemption came from an unlikely source… namely, a phone call from Newton John that subsequently allowed Sue the chance to re-shoot the singer’s Let’s Get Physical video complete with buffer male dancers, and in duet with Sue. It was one of several episode highlights.

In between, however, we were also treated to various “goody” Glee club members attempting to step up their own bad reputations, including a rousing performance of MC Hammer’s Can’t Touch This in the school library and Will’s own hip rendition of Vanilla Ice’s Ice Ice Baby.

Capping everything, however, was the emotional ensemble performance of Bonnie Tyler’s Total Eclipse of The Heart, in which Rachel (Lea Michele)‘s various suitors lined up to sing of their despair over her continued attempts to secure the most popularity for herself.

All in all, Bad Reputation equated to yet another Glee classic – a rousing, sometimes touching and frequently inspirational slice of Monday night viewing that really does send you to your pyjamas with a smile on your face!

Glee airs on E4 on Monday nights from 9pm, as well as Channel 4 on Friday nights from 8pm. This review relates to the episode that aired on Monday, May 10.