**Spoiler alert for Glee 1x12: "Mattress"**
No one ever has accused Glee of being anything other than a cute high school comedy. Sure, there have been touching moments, usually involving "minor" characters. Kurt coming out to his dad. Sue visiting her sister, who has Down syndrome, in the nursing home. Everything Kristin Chenoweth did or said during her cameo.
But for the most part, Glee is cotton candy - fluffy, sweet, garishly colored, with very little substantive value. This week's episode, though? Ho-ly freakin' cow (I can say that, I'm Hindu). Shit hit the fan when Will found Terri's old pregnancy pad - I knew she wouldn't be able to keep up the charade forever, but I never expected the confrontation that occurred immediately afterward. There was violence and recrimination. There were man-tears. It was all very intense. And as a result of this marital strife, Will slept in the school and was disqualified from coaching the kids through sectionals.
And sure, it's an old cliche that just when The Team makes it to The Big Game, their Coach/Star Player/Biggest Fan/Mascot is incapacitated, so they are forced to Dig Deep and Be True To Themselves in order to win. But Glee got there in an unexpected way, which I appreciated. Plus, the camera work in this episode was more creative, they didn't beat you over the head with the theme, and they finally killed those damned music stings between each scene (or at least I stopped noticing and being irritated by them). Overall, the whole episode felt less staged.
I know that Glee is probably supposed to feel staged, given the subject matter - a kind of meta thing, you know? But that doesn't mean people loved the format. Does this episode reflect the makers of Glee listening to fan responses and reacting accordingly? If so, I hope to see a lot more Mercedes, Tina, Artie and Kurt in the future. In the meantime, though, I am eagerly looking forward to the finale next week!