WHILE others my age may have been obsessed with Victorious or Adventure Time back in 2010, I was head-over-heels in love with the show Glee. I wore clothes with Glee characters on them to school, I bought the albums religiously, and I even had a Glee-themed birthday party when I turned 10. (Why my mom agreed to that, I’ll never know).
I don’t know if it was the cute boys on the show or the number of great songs that it introduced, but I was obsessed. While my love for the show’s faded over the years, I still find myself bopping along to songs I discovered thanks to their show.
Recently while scrolling through TikTok, I found an account dedicated to posting snippets of Glee, and I was amazed that someone still cares about the show years after it stopped airing. And then I found out that the show was extremely popular among kids and teens today, and I was ecstatic, to say the least.
I found myself watching the show again after that discovery: the dramatic personality of Rachel Berry, the important issues discussed on the show like racism, sexism, and homophobia, and the out-of-this-world one-liners from Britanny Pierce all came rushing back to me.
Here are some of the moments in Glee that stood out to me after watching each season again in 2023.
- Any number where Mercedes is the lead
Look. It’s no secret that Rachel Berry has an amazing voice, and Finn’s pretty great, too. But let’s be honest: Mercedes was one of–if not the best–singers on the show.
From her tear-jerking performance of I Will Always Love You to her rendition of Hate on Me that had viewers stomping along with the characters, Mercedes was more than just her riffs and high notes.
To be frank, Mercedes was one of the most under-utilized characters, not just in the Glee Club. Even she took note of the fact that she’s only ever brought out to sing the last note at the end of each song during competitions and that Rachel is ultimately Mr. Schue’s favorite.
A lot of storylines that involved Mercedes were pushed aside, like her friendship with Quinn.I don’t think she even got to sing a solo at any of the competitions the New Directions attended.
In short: Mercedes was robbed, and we want justice!
- The Lady Gaga tribute episode
Glee was loved for its tribute episodes. It had one for Madonna, Michael Jackson, Fleetwood Mac, and of course, the iconic Lady Gaga.
Aptly titled Theatricality, this episode was the 20th of the first season. Its story revolved around the Glee Club being assigned to sing Lady Gaga songs after they found out that their rivals Vocal Adrenaline would be performing her music at the Regionals competition they had coming up.
This led to mind-blowing performances of Bad Romance and Poker Face, which touched on the issue of discrimination that the LGBTQ+ community face daily. It was evident when Kurt, an openly gay character, was defended by the Glee Club after he’s bullied by a gaggle of football players for his Lady Gaga-inspired costume.
This episode is loved by many and was one of the top-rated Glee episodes, according to an article written by Riley Bocchicchio. Even Lady Gaga herself shared just how much she loved the episode that aired in 2010.
In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Lady Gaga said she loved Glee, as well as the cast and creativity of the writers.
- Mr. Schue being… not as cool as I remember
One of the reasons Glee has grown in popularity once more is because people have come to realize just how creepy Will Schuester–Mr. Schue–is as a teacher.
In a 2022 article, writer Harleigh Cutts awards Mr. Schue with the title of Ultimate Ick for his problematic behavior on the show. This wasn’t even something I noticed until Cutts mentioned it.
One example is when he sang a rather sexual rendition of Toxic alongside his students, or when there was a whole episode dedicated to him having his students twerk. This also manifested when he blackmailed Finn into joining the Glee Club by saying he’d found weed in the student’s locker when the truth was, it was his.
Looking back, I have no idea how I missed any of this, and each time I see Mr. Schue on-screen now, I can feel my fight-or-flight response acting up. Cutts even added a trigger warning for Mr. Schue, a joke that’s become quite popular online whenever people post clips of Glee with him in it, or discuss the show and have to mention his name.
- The Sunshine Corazon storyline
In the Philippines, practically everyone knew who Sunshine Corazon was. In 2010, Glee aired the first episode of Season 2 titled Audition, which featured Filipino singer Jake Zyrus as Corazon.
Zyrus’s appearance brought thousands of viewers during its first airing on television, raking in a whopping 12.3 million viewers— the second-highest Glee had ever received at that time.
Here, Corazon was introduced as a foreign exchange student from the Philippines and whom Rachel invites to join New Directions. She, however, ended up joining rival club Vocal Adrenaline after Rachel, who was obviously threatened by Corazon’s singing prowess, sent her to a crackhouse instead of the audition venue.
Zyrus’s character would appear in two more episodes after that. His performance as Corazon was celebrated by Filipinos worldwide. Teens began donning Ray-bans and pigtails to take after Corazon’s character.
- Quinn giving birth alongside a performance of Bohemian Rhapsody
Perhaps one of the most outlandish editing decisions ever made on Glee–nay, on television as a whole–was that of putting together the birth of Quinn Fabray’s baby to Vocal Adrenaline performing Bohemian Rhapsody.
This was the finale of Season One, in the episode entitled Journey. Here, the New Directions had just finished performing in the regionals when Quinn’s mother suddenly approached her. Her mother then tells her that she’s left Quinn’s father and that Quinn can finally come home after previously having been kicked out. But instead of celebrating the news, Quinn stands shell-shocked as she announces that her water has just broken.
Genuinely, I would like to know what went into the minds of whoever made this decision: Quinn screaming “No, no, no,” and then cutting to Vocal Adrenaline singing the same line, or hearing both simultaneously shouting “Let me go” even though they were talking about different things, was wild.
Despite how crazy it was, I loved watching Glee as a kid, and I still do now. I find Glee’s portrayal hilarious as well as unique from how pregnancy is often shown on TV, because the timing of Quinn giving birth came as a surprise for everyone.