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The Televangelist: 'Glee' Season 1, Episode 16

At least we can be thankful "Glee" returned to some kind of narrative form this week, even though it persisted in jamming in a medley of songs ...

For the second week, last night's episode of "Glee" makes me want to take back all the trash talk I did towards it the week before (as opposed to the praise I gave it the first week, which I rescinded upon viewing the Madonna episode).  This, if nothing else, should prove how uneven the show has become in the back nine episodes.  At least we can be thankful "Glee" returned to some kind of narrative form this week, even though it persisted in jamming in a medley of songs throughout, while still retaining the residue of some of last week's 80s tunes.

I've mentioned before about how "Glee" is not, essentially, a family-friendly show, and as such it tends to stay away from things that feel like Public Service Announcements.  After all, the show is not made for teenagers in the mode of a "Saved By the Bell" or even the original "90210."  When it handles things like body image or the perils of parental dating, it does so with a large dose of black humor, and just a dash of sweetness that feels real.  For all its tonal misteps and forays into utter unreality, "Glee" is still at its best when it uses the power of song to make its point.  Mercedes, the perpetually overlooked belter, singing Christina Aguilera's "Beautiful" to the school after a brief struggle with her weight was so heartfelt I actually teared up.  When the other kids joined her, it made sense.  The same song sung by the new "I know how you're feeling" Quinn would not have been the same - not only because she doesn't have the vocal range of course, but because she's blonde, small and beautiful.  None of us believe she has, even for a moment, had a vanity-related struggle in her young life.  And in those moments, "Glee" connects to that old high school part of us, the part that still stings, and tells us that it's ok, just let it go - and sing!