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Glee pays tribute to Whitney Houston

Glee poster

Written by : published Friday 27th April 2012

Whitney Houston gets a tribute episode in this week's Glee on FOX. Entitled "Dance with Somebody," the characters, as well as the viewers, begin to feel the ending, as graduation draws near. Blaine (Darren Criss), already missing Kurt (Chris Colfer), who hasn't left yet, catches his boyfriend cheat texting on him. Will (Matthew Morrison) thinks he needs to rush a wedding in May, before his favorite students head off to college, fearing they won't return for a fall ceremoney. Rachel (Lea Michele) and Santana (Naya Rivera) finally find friendship with each other. Joe (Samuel Larsen) wrestles with his feelings for Quinn (Dianna Agron). And they all sing Whitney songs.

First of all, there is no way that an entire group of high school kids is mourning Houston's death for two months. Perhaps one obsessed fan might, but not half of the Glee club. And sure, the limitations of a filming schedule mean that there is no way to show their sadness in the weeks after Houston's death, but expecting viewers to believe these kids have been depressed for two months is silly when there's been no hint of it before now.

That being said, "Dance with Somebody" works on a lot of levels, not least of all, musically. The soulful opening of "How Will I Know" is memorable and tear-evoking. McKinley's four top singers, Santana, Rachel, Kurt, and Mercedes (Amber Riley), deliver a slow, sad version that will rank among the best of this year's Glee tunes. This is soon followed by the upbeat "I Wanna Dance with Somebody (Who Loves Me)," performed by Santana and Brittany (Heather Morris), which is pretty darn good, too, and sends the signal that the episode won't be completely melancholy, thankfully.

It's about time that Kurt and Blaine have a fight. Their romance has been pushed to the background for much of this season, and they don't seem to be all smiles and rainbows lately. Blaine's fears about losing Kurt are valid, though Kurt is being a little too demanding in his need to be appreciated in "Dance with Somebody."

It looks especially bad for Kurt when, instead of maturely talking about it with Blaine, he begins a series of flirtatious tweets. Although, no one ever said that high school boys were mature. Blaine is correct in asserting that this counts as cheating. Though the lines are blurry in some modern technology, the emotions Kurt attributes to his word play are wrong. Rachel says it best when she asserts that if Kurt can't show Blaine the texts, he shouldn't be sending them in the first place.

But they work it out because, gosh darn it, these two belong together! Blaine lets his feelings be known in the somewhat lackluster "It's Not Right but It's Okay," and Kurt asks for forgiveness in the much more moving "I Have Nothing." This leads to a very sweet makeup scene, and leaves fans knowing the couple will last. At least for now.

A new romance is just beginning in "Dance with Somebody." Joe comes along to help Quinn out with her physical therapy because he "wants to be a good Christian." Quinn lets him, and the two grow close. However, when things might get physical, Joe backs off, to Quinn's disappointment.

Despite the gag-me reaction many will have to Joe's beliefs, one can appreciate how Quinn might be attracted to them. After all, when she's not behaving badly, she clings to religion, and she wants to be good. It isn't the strongest foundation for a relationship, but it works for them, even if they do make a strange looking pair. "Saving All My Love for You," which falls somewhere in the middle of this week's musical pack, reveals a touching connection.

Touching on the anti-religion, at least the strict kind of religion, attitude that many characters and fans of Glee hold, Sam (Chord Overstreet) advises Joe that he might need to choose between Quinn and God. It's a stupid argument on Sam's part, because if Joe is serious about his beliefs, he should not compromise them for a girl. Then again, Joe is still young. He could easily change his world view, and definitely should. The argument later made about how many religions need to be updated makes more sense, and definitely rings true.

What's more, with only a few weeks left of the season, and a lot of characters to serve, Joe and Quinn's love story will be short. Whether they end up together or not remains to be seen, but they won't have much time to figure it out before donning a cap and gown. Is Glee making a mistake by starting something new so late in the game? Well, love doesn't happen on a timetable, so it's hard to fault the writers for this. Plus, Joe's character hasn't been around that long.

Quinn should get a happy ending, though. She's been through a lot, much of it, but not all, her fault. She has shown strength of character by coming through it, and even thriving in many ways. It's not the mistakes one makes, but how they deal with them, that matters. In "Dance with Somebody" Quinn is dealing. So let her be happy.

Now the goodbyes begin. "Dance with Somebody" is the first episode in which characters begin to have their closing scenes together, finishing plots the series probably won't have time to address again before the end of the season, which will be probably the last episode a number of central characters will be in, not counting inevitable returning guest spots.

Along these lines, Rachel and Santana's moment and awesome "So Emotional" is fantastic! The two haven't had a lot of story, other than perhaps Santana picking on Rachel, but it still feels deserved that they have this moment. Both have grown, and considering the talent that they share, there should be some type of acknowledgement here, as there is. The picture-in-the-locker bit may be slightly hokey, but fit perfectly within this story. Wonderful!

And Puck (Mark Salling), too, does something surprising, giving his friends shot glasses and leading a locker room toast. Who knew Puck could express his bromantic tendencies in such an eloquent way?

Even better is Burt's (Mike O'Malley) emotional bedroom scene with Kurt. Burt tells his son that they will always have a special connection, but it definitely feels like the closing of an important chapter. Burt has been a source of strength for Kurt through a hard time in his life, and this conversation proves that the relationship is mutual. The two's interactions have been a highlight of Glee, and it's heartbreaking that "Dance with Somebody" may be the last gleeks get of Burt.

Students graduate. That's life. Will's attachment to this particular class is kind of unhealthy. True, they are the first group of students with whom he lives out his true teaching dream. But that doesn't mean they will be his last. And surely he understands that, as much as he will miss them, they need to live their lives. Isn't the point of being a teacher to help them on that path? Sadly, Will doesn't seem to get it, even after Emma (Jayma Mays) talks him down from his crazy rushed wedding. Will's sadness is valid, but he is not dealing with it well.

One gets the impression in "Dance with Somebody" that the kids are very attached to Will, or at least each other in the group he has built. They all show up for his non-mandatory practice, and sing a gleeful, yet tear-jerking, rendition of "My Love Is Your Love." Will they come back for Will's wedding, perfectly scheduled for November sweeps? It seems quite possible.


Five weeks left until graduation! Let the count down begin! You can do so by watching Glee Tuesdays at 8 p.m. ET on FOX.

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Article first published as TV Review: Glee - "Dance with Somebody" on Blogcritics.

About the author JeromeWetzelTV

JeromeWetzelTV

Jerome Wetzel is a huge fan of stories, in both books and television. He writes TV reviews and fiction. He currently posts articles for TheTVKing, Seat42F, and BlogCritics, as well as his own personal blog, as well as writing fiction. His website is www.jeromewetzel.com Follow him on twitter @JeromeWetzelTV

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