Wednesday night’s episode of Glee, "Hairography" was all about using over-the-top tactics to distract from mediocre singing and dancing talent. But the episode had me wondering if the show’s writers are also pretty distracted.
In "Hairography", we finally got a look at McKinley High School’s competition for Sectionals. When Mr. Schu suspects devious cheerleading coach Sue Sylvester of spying on the Glee Club on behalf of their rivals, he goes to visit the Jane Adams Academy (a school for adjudicated girls). The Jane Adams Glee Club director is offended that Mr. Schu would even suggest her girls are cheating. To apologize, he invites the Jane Adams Glee Club to practice in the McKinley auditorium. What follows can only be described as booty-licious hair-flaunting.
Worried about the competition’s impressive hairography, Mr. Schu gives the Glee Club outrageous wigs, despite Rachel’s insistence that the Jane Adams girls were only using the tactic to distract from their less-than-average vocals. Even Sue Sylvester tries to convince Mr. Schu that the Glee Club is too talented to need hairography. But as is his pattern, it takes Mr. Schu the whole episode to learn his lesson.
Meanwhile, Mrs. Schu buys Mr. Schu the Blue Bomber (his first car), so that working on it will distract him from the fact that she’s not actually pregnant. And speaking of babies, Quinn has a change of heart and decides to keep her baby, instead of giving it up to Mrs. Schu. In an attempt to change her mind, Mrs. Schu and her deeply stupid sister Kendra have Quinn babysit Kendra’s kids.
Quinn’s also having second thoughts about the father. To give Puck (her real baby daddy) a test drive, she invites him to babysit with her. To distract Finn, she asks Kurt (in the first conversation they’ve ever had) to give Rachel a makeover. Quinn and Puck’s unexpected success in getting Kendra’s kids to sleep with the power of song makes Quinn want to trade boyfriends. However, her adoration of Puck is short-lived when she realizes he’s too flirtatious to stick to just one girl.
Rachel’s attempted seduction of Finn is equally disappointing. When she puts on makeup and dresses up like Sandy from "Grease", Finn is initially pleased, but then describes her as a "sad clown" and leaves her ashamed in her bedroom. Realizing that Kurt set her up (Kurt knows Finn prefers girls who look "natural, without a lot of makeup and stuff"), Rachel confronts him, and he admits to having feelings for Finn as well. The two friends come to a sad, uneasy peace when they see Quinn and Finn hugging in the hallway.
Outraged that his kids were not invited to perform at McKinley High, the Glee coach from the School for the Deaf convinces Mr. Schu to make it up to them. Mr. Schu’s kids try to wow the visiting Glee Club with their new hairography, only to be completely upstaged by the deaf Glee Club’s moving rendition of John Lennon’s "Imagine." One by one, the McKinley High Glee kids get up and sing along to the other team’s simple, but eloquent sign language.
What’s wrong with "Hairography" is that it follows the same pattern of the rest of the season. Huge plot lines (like Quinn’s baby and Mrs. Schu’s fake pregnancy) are introduced early on, then dragged out until they’re no longer interesting, while interesting conflicts (Rachel and Puck’s relationship, Quinn deciding to keep the baby, Rachel’s crush on Mr. Schu) are resolved within one episode. And at the same time, other plotlines are brought up and quickly forgotten, or shoved aside for far too long (Ken and Emma getting married, Tina’s stutter being faked).
The Glee writers are focusing on the wrong things. Baby mama drama can only consume so much of a show that’s about teen angst, the quest for stardom, and hormones out of control. The crushes matter, hurt feelings and poor decisions matter. Glee needs to embrace the overload of conflicts, not sweep them neatly under the rug.