Glee! 2.03 – Grilled Cheesus

And the Lord spake unto them saying, "Blessed are the cheesemakers..."

Since the focus of this episode is religion and an atheist gets to run the discussion (a rare thing,) I thought a Bloody Mary would be in poor taste for our episodic cocktail.  So I tweaked the recipe a bit  and give you: HELL SPAWN [aka The Atheist]  It’s spicy as hell, and twice as fun!

 

Our free space is to drink whenever someone is 100% sure their convictions are the only answer.

 

Finn pulls out Ye Olde George Foreman Grille to whip up a sandwich. While it doesn’t quite grill the same (not since he dried his shoes in it and he loaned it to Michael Scott to cook bed bacon) it can still make a mean grilled cheese. Except this time, the grilled cheese is… different. The grill marks bear a certain resemblance to one carpenter from Bethlehem, Jesus el Christo.

Huh.

He cuts off the non-holy portion and decides that maybe it’s true that god works in mysterious ways, even with Kraft cheese slices (they do not taste like actual cheese but they do have a superior melt on camera.) He decides to take the cheese to bed (not like that) and kneel before it in prayer.

“Dear Grilled Cheesus,” he starts and then prays like all humans, asking for shit. He wants the team to win their first football game of the season, and if they do, he’ll honor Him in Glee this week. For his god is a bargaining god, yea verily. Besides, god kind of owes Artie, what with him screwing Artie over in the leg department and all.

And guys? They do win the game. THANK YOU GRILLED CHEESUS!

Kurt brings his dad a healthy breakfast option because he’s trying to get his dad to stop snapping into Slim Jims with Red Bulls for breakfast every day. They get into an argument about Kurt choosing to skip Friday Dinner (a tradition in their house) to go to a Sound of Music sing-a-long. Burt tries to explain that those family dinners are sacred – if you don’t set aside something as being special, then what do you have in life? Um, have you seen Captain Von Trapp? That’s something pretty damn special, let me tell you.

Kurt won’t budge, he doesn’t see what the big deal is, and Burt utters the worst words a kid can hear: “I’m disappointed in you.”

In Glee, Finn tells Mr. Schuester that something has shaken him to his core. Puck exclaims, “Oh my god, he’s coming out!” Finn continues to say that some man has made a huge impression on him, Kurt looks up in frustrated agony, and Finn drops the J bomb. Guys? He’s found Jesus. (He was behind the headboard the whole time! Now who feels bad, hmm?)

Rachel, his Jewish girlfriend, is more than a little baffled by this. Kurt is not amused, what with Jesus’ folks being all hateful towards gays. And women. And science. Quinn harumphs all of this blasphemous talk and after her rotten year of getting pregnant while president of the celibacy club, she just wants to give thanks.

“For what? That it didn’t come out a lizard baby?” Santana scoffs.

Mr. Schuester tells them that instead of focusing on Jesus, they’ll make it about spirituality instead. Finn looks at Puck and says “You gotta problem with Jesus?” Wow, dude, way to be antagonistic. Puck laughs it off, he’s a total Jew for Jesus, that’s his number one Heb! But he doesn’t like how people turn it into something other than what it is: being grateful and enjoying the life you’re given.

And to prove his own faith, he’s going to continue his streak of only performing songs written by a Jewish person, take it away Tinkles for Billy Joel’s “Only The Good Die Young.” Puck’s a great singer, but I’m so not into this song, personally. Kurt is also eye-rolly in his chair, so I know I’m not alone.

Over at the Hummel Garage, Burt does business with a customer, joking affably about indigestion before collapsing. Emma runs down the hall in slow motion to Will’s office. They both stand outside the French class that Kurt is attending (he insults Azimio in French, knowing he won’t understand) before asking the teacher if they can see Kurt for a minute. (I still think Dawn learning about Joyce on Buffy is the most realistic and heart-breaking moment depicting a child learning something awful about their parent.)

Kurt waits at the hospital for any news with Emma and Will present, offering their support. The doctor comes out, and it’s grim. Burt has had a heart attack, but he also lost oxygen to his brain, and now he’s in a coma. They have no idea what to expect, when or even if he’ll wake up.

Kurt asks the teachers to leave him alone for a minute, and finally they relent when he firmly asks, “Just give me a moment alone with my father.” He takes Burt’s hand, squeezes it, and asks his dad to squeeze back. As expected, there’s no response.

We need a little levity, which Finn happily provides. Because Finn didn’t really attend Sunday school, he doesn’t know if prayer is like with genies and he gets three wishes, but here goes nothing. He asks Grilled Cheesus to allow him to get to second base with Rachel, even though her boobs aren’t that great. (They’re still lady boobs, so that’s something.) He hopes that Cheesus can see into his coagulated caseins to give him this simple thing for which he’s asking, amen.

At school everyone consoles Kurt on their way into Glee. Brittany brings out a construction paper bedazzled packet and tells Kurt that she “did a book report on heart attacks in case you want to give it to your doctor.” [DRINK] Even though she lost a letter grade from doing it in crayon, the glitter pictures should offer some insight.

Finn has just found out about Burt and yells at Kurt for not telling him about it. Kurt looks at him coolly and says it’s not his dad, so… But that’s as close to a dad as Finn’s ever going to get, and that’s his soon to be step-dad. Kurt is a bit of a dick here, unwilling to let anyone help him carry his grief, unwilling to allow them any, truth be told. (There’s a point, though, coming later.) Kurt does move his attache to allow Finn to sit by him, however.

Mercedes wants to show her support and love by singing a song, and duly performs “I Look To You,” by Whitney Houston. She sings admirably, but there’s no passion. I wonder if the director wanted her subdued or something? Kurt watches her without much of a change in expression. Mostly he’s just hurting.

He thanks her for that, but admits that he isn’t religious, in fact, he’s an atheist. [Obligatory gasp from his fellow students.] “I think God is kind of like Santa Claus for adults. Otherwise, he’s kind of a jerk, isn’t he? He makes me gay, then tells his followers to go around saying it’s something I chose. I don’t want a Heavenly Father, I want my father.”

Mercedes scoffs at this, because how can he know there’s no god? Kurt turns the tables to the logical line of of questioning, that the burden of proof is on her. “You can’t prove there isn’t a magic teapot floating around the dark side of the moon with a dwarf inside of it that reads romance novels and shoots lightning out of its boobs; but it seems pretty unlikely doesn’t it?”

Brittany asks Santana, “Is god an evil dwarf?” [DRINK]

Because Sue has eyes in the sky (cameras) she knows that Will is bringing religion into their public school, and that is not going to happen, not on her watch. Figgins believes that kids should be allowed to profess any faith they’d like.

“Sure at the BET Awards, but not in public schools!” Take that Hooray For Jesus stuff to St. Holy Helen of the Genuflections on Boner for God Avenue, she’s going to uphold the separation of church and state.

Rachel heads over to Finn’s house to discuss this newfound Jesus loving, because she wants them to get married and have babies that are raised Jewish. “I need to know that when I’m 25, and have won a bunch of Tonys, and I’m ready to have intercourse and babies, that those babies will be raised in a certain way.”

“…you’re really not going to have sex until you’re 25?”

Look. Both of her dads’ people were slaves, and she wants her babies to have the freedom to practice the religion she decides is right, can he get behind that or not? Hell yeah, he can! He’s just focused on the finally getting to have sex part. She rewards him by laying on his bed and letting him have a laying on of hands, specifically to her boobs. Thank you, Grilled Cheesus!

Sue finds out that Kurt isn’t okay with this religion business and asks him to file a complaint against Will to put an end to it. He’s not sure if he can trust her, but she assures him that while she does enjoy tormenting the Gleeks, for this she’s as serious as a heart- Uh, she means it. Also, [DRINK] for Sue’s convictions.

Emma berates Sue when she finds out. These kids are just trying to provide comfort for him in this difficult time! Show Emma on the doll where the bad thing happened, Sue, the thing that made you the most hateful person ever. And we have a little lesson in “everything’s not black and white, folks.”

Sue’s sister is Jean. Jean has Downs Syndrome. Sue grew up thinking her sister was the best thing ever, and didn’t understand why people were cruel to her. So Sue prayed for her sister to be “okay.” And when nothing changed she just prayed harder. She realized that the problem wasn’t her prayers but that no one was listening to them. “Asking someone to believe in a fantasy, however comforting, isn’t a moral thing to do. It’s cruel.”

Emma says, “Isn’t that a little arrogant?”

“It’s as arrogant as telling someone how to believe in God and if they don’t accept it, no matter how open-hearted and honest their dissent, they’re going to Hell. That doesn’t sound very Christian.” And Sue wins this round of reasonable discourse, I have to say.

Will tells the kids they are no longer allowed to sing blatant songs about God during school time, and the kids round on Kurt, angry. He stands true to his faith that there is nothing to have faith in. [DRINK] Rachel is just mad that she doesn’t get to sing the perfect song she chose, so thanks for nothing, Kurt. (Oh, sweetie, put this away in your stored up hurts box, it’ll make you a better performer.)

Finn asks for his third wish of Grilled Cheesus, more wishes. Wait, no, to be made QB1 again. After all, popular people are better equipped to spread dogma, right? Puck catches him praying and instead of ribbing him for it, tells Finn that he went to temple with his Nana and prayed for Kurt’s dad. So what are you praying for, Finn?

“Oh, um, yeah. That. Same, uh, stuff.”

Rachel takes Finn to a park that night so she can sing “Papa Can You Hear Me” as a tribute/prayer to Kurt’s dad. And let’s face it. Lea Michele shines on songs like this. First, this is an outstanding Barbra song from Yentl. And Lea can do Barbra. As she sings, Finn takes it in, and you can see the wheels turning on his previously held (selfish) thoughts about god. This is inter-cut with some kids and Carole (Finn’s mom, Burt’s lady) holding vigil at the hospital. Kurt watches from the outside as Rachel ends the song, with tears in her eyes. [DRINK.] (But to be honest, so did I.)

Kurt want them to leave, he’s not okay at all with people praying for his dad. A woman wearing a turban comes in at this time and Finn says, “Dude, why didn’t you tell us you wanted to pray in Muslim?” It’s not a Muslim woman, it’s a Sikh who has been brought by Kurt to perform acupuncture. It might help with circulation, which could help Burt come out of the coma.

“Needles piece the skin better than Psalms. Could you please leave now?”

They just wanted to do something, they all feel helpless.

At the next game, Finn suggests that Sam call a different play than what Coach Beiste ordered. Sam reluctantly agrees and is immediately sacked by a left tackle, getting a dislocated shoulder in the process. Looks like Finn needs to take over as Quarterback. Your prayer has been answered, Finn! Doesn’t that feel great?

Kurt addresses the Glee Club telling them thanks for all the emails and well wishes, but there’s no change in Burt’s condition. He’d like to sing out how he feels, if Mr. Schue will allow it. When his mom died, the one thing that helped him feel like everything in his life wasn’t taken away was his dad just holding his hand. It meant the world to him. Get ready to cry out your contacts. (Just me?)

He sings a lovely version of the Beatles “I Wanna Hold Your Hand,” and I know some critics found that “creepy,” but to me it put the song in a whole new context. Even the “let me be your man” line – he’s an effeminate gay boy with a hyper masculine father. I get it, writers, I get it. Also the little boy that plays a young Kurt looks like Chris Colfer’s clone.

I thought cloning humans was illegal?

 

Everyone in the room is moved. Rachel openly cries [DRINK] with her hand on Finn’s leg (steadying him, as well) and the scene closes with Kurt knuckling away tears. Me, too.

The next day Mercedes approaches Kurt saying that she doesn’t know how to be around him anymore. She’s upset that he’s closing himself off from positive experiences and maybe if he’d come to church with her, he might see what it’s all about. Besides, he gets to wear a fabulous hat… “You had me at fabulous hat.”

Finn is also having a change of heart. He goes to Emma’s office to confess for his prayers backfiring on Sam. He tells her all about Grilled Cheesus. She tells him that one, he won that first game because they finally have a competent coach. Two, he touched Rachel’s boobs because he had spent time listening to her and girls kind of like that, and three, a 300 pound left tackle on steroids (and 23 years old) is responsible for Sam’s injury.

This does not have the calming effect on Finn she thought it would. This means that Finn isn’t special, doesn’t have a direct line to god. Now he’s just alone. He starts singing REMs “Losing My Religion” and does it in an angry and confused way. He also matches his vocals to Michael Stipe, which I thought was a nice touch. It finishes in the classroom with everyone looking worried.

Kurt and Mercedes go to church, and she goes to the front to join the choir. She addresses the congregation first, explaining about Burt. I liked that she tells Kurt that she’s okay with him not believing – that’s the first and only time we hear that all episode. But then she tells him that he has to believe in something bigger than you and me. [DRINK] And then she dedicates her life to Godzilla. (He is bigger, let’s all admit that once and for all. True story: the Crusades were really about Muslims denying the existence of irradiated giant lizards. Which we all know is preposterous.)

She and the choir sing an awesome version of “Bridge Over Troubled Waters,” an absolute powerhouse of a song in its own right. [DRINK] At a pivotal part of the song, a woman sitting next to Kurt takes his hand, shocking him. But there’s something about people just wanting to give comfort that gets through to him. That and the lady across the aisle is wearing the same hat as he is. He finally lets down his guard and just lets people care about him for a spell.

Sue visits her sister Jean at the nursing facility. She asks Jean if she believes in god. “Of course!” Sue tells her that she doesn’t, she’s sorry, but she can’t believe in a god that made Jean’s life so hard. Jean says god doesn’t make mistakes, though. They’re playing checkers and Jean wins. She accuses Sue of letting her win. “No, I’m really not!”

“You’re letting me win,” Jean teases. “You’re letting me win.” I took this in a completely different light. I absolutely love Jean and Sue moments. They’re as honest as it gets on the show, and I’m talking from experience.

Kurt is back at the hospital, talking to his unconscious dad. He shares a few memories with him, like their very first Friday Dinner after Kurt’s mom died, how it was a disaster and they laughed, not remembering they weren’t supposed to yet. He apologizes for not letting the others pray for him, just because Kurt doesn’t believe in God. It’s not about Kurt’s belief, it’s about his dad and people supporting him.

“You and me, dad, that’s what’s sacred to me.” Kurt feels his father squeeze his hand and he calls out for the nurse. Hang on I need a minute, I have something in my eye….

The entire group is on stage singing Joan Osborne’s “What If God Was One Of Us,” and they look like a Gap ad, all white shirts and dark jeans, perfectly arranged with their hands in their pockets, just chillin’, singing about God, you know, nothing big. Sue sneaks in and sits with Will. He tells her that the kids chose to do it, is she going to turn him in? “No.”

Finn eats Grilled Cheesus. (I bet that cheese tastes like plastic at this point.)

 

Drunken Thoughts: I love that Finn had a “prayer come true” at the expense of someone innocent. So when everyone prays to win, does that mean the losers didn’t pray hard enough? Didn’t pray right? God just doesn’t like them as much? Hmm.

I love that Kurt allowed himself to go to church with Mercedes. It was the impetus for his change, after all. But as Mercedes tells him that he’s missing out on things, you can see the loneliness (of his convictions) in him, and his yearning for human contact. It wasn’t about converting him, it was about sending love to him. That’s nice.

And as an atheist (former devout Mormon) I have to say that Kurt has the approach that I find frustrating in my fellow non-believers. They take atheism on like another religion. Just believe what you believe, regardless, that’s my motto. Then again, it sure would be nice if believers followed that same creed.  And I don’t care if people pray for me, it’s not about me at that point, it’s about people feeling helpless and needing to do something. I get it.

 

Next we address the burning issue: is Sam gay? And time for duets!

Right this way for the next episode, DUETS

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  • Katy

    If this isn’t the episode Chris Colfer submitted for the Emmy’s, I’d be surprised. (It’s sure Emmy material and if Chris doesn’t win there’s no justice in this world.)

    I have Chris’ version of I wanna hold your hand on my MP3 player right now. TEARS. EVERY. TIME. *sniffs*

    • AGREED. Although I can’t remember if supporting actor is for drama or comedy, or just “supporting actor?” If the first, I worry that he had so many sad scenes this season, you know? I adore him, just adore him.

      ME, TOO. Such a poignant moment.

      • A different Laura

        I believe the category is “Best Comedy Supporting Actor”

  • Fabrisse

    I was furious with Mercedes and also with Carole and Quinn (Rachel just wanted to perform *shrug*) over the vigil at the hospital. The man has lost his mother, he may be about to lose his father, and people are insisting that they’re way of dealing with life should be Kurt’s way of dealing with life. When someone is in distress, you ask them either “What do you need?” or “What can I do to help?” You do not tell them what they need.

    Brittany and Puck were the mature ones vis-a-vis Kurt. One gave him a card and book report on the illness (Kurt’s option to read or not and, bless her little cotton socks, Brittany was open to science) and the other prayed privately without pressuring him.

    I think Colfer gave a tremendous performance (plus “I Want To Hold Your Hand” was tremendous). As an atheist, I too was a little frustrated by Kurt’s inability to let others connect with him even though I understand the inclination to power through alone.

    But I want to collectively bitch slap Schu, Mercedes, Finn, Quinn and maybe Carole in this episode.

    • Fabrisse

      *sigh* “their way of dealing with life” not “they’re”

      I actually majored in grammar, you know.

    • But… Carole was there visiting her fiance? And Kurt came after they’d been there? And Kurt didn’t *want* anything? I mean, Kurt was dickish at times. I love the character, but I can’t be blind to his faults here. We’re supposed to be frustrated and unsure of what’s okay, I think, so we can have a discussion about what’s appropriate, what’s okay as far as offering support, etc.

      I guess I’m not just watching these as an uber-fangirl for specific characters. *shrug*

      • Fabrisse

        Kurt does have his faults. I can understand his wanting to power through alone, but I don’t think it was right for him to try to do it all himself.

        But, maybe it’s because I’ve moved from Boston back to the South where everything is religious and I feel like a freak every time I have to admit I’m an atheist (like when I affirmed my oath of office rather than swearing to God), I was very aware that everything Mercedes did — and to a lesser extent Quinn and Rachel — was to make *her* feel better, not Kurt whose father was in a coma.

        There were discussions to be had, but not then, not while Kurt was having to face a reality so harsh.

        I think in many ways this was a balanced episode. Everybody got to be a little bit wrong, a little bit right. (Speaking of which, when do you think Glee will do an all Monkees episode?)

        • A different Laura

          I think Kurt is so used to having to do everything emotional alone that he just doesn’t know how to let people in. Let’s face it, he’s beaten up on a daily basis and no one really helps him…why would they help him now.
          Just my 2 cents…

          Also, I want Glee to do an all Monkees episode, too (or an all Monkeys episode…High School of the Apes, anyone?)

          • “Let’s face it, he’s beaten up on a daily basis and no one really helps him…why would they help him now.” I think this gets at the heart of it. People are wanting to help him, but he doesn’t know what that looks like. I was really disappointed in Kurt in those beginning scenes where he’s angry that Finn cares about his dad (residual jealousy feelings, is my thought) when it would be so much easier to let people support you, even if it’s to just sing a song about their magic sky leader. Or hug. (When Finn tries to pat him on the back and he moves away, waggling his finger? Oh, Kurt, that’s just nasty.)

            But I get it. I know why the writers have him behaving that way. (But it doesn’t make it right.)

            • A different Laura

              I wish Kurt could have just let everyone in, but I don’t think it would have been true to where his character was emotionally then. I don’t like it much, either, and I prefer happy!Kurt, especially happy!Kurt with Blaine.

  • A different Laura

    “Billy Joel’s “Only The Good Die Young.” Puck’s a great singer, but I’m so not into this song, personally. ”
    I went to Catholic High school. Most overplayed dance song EVER.

    “Emma runs down the hall in slow motion to Will’s office. ”
    Foreshadowing to a later episode much? Was there lots of tinkly piano music in the background??

    “It’s as arrogant as telling someone how to believe in God and if they don’t accept it, no matter how open-hearted and honest their dissent, they’re going to Hell. That doesn’t sound very Christian.”
    WORDY McWORD!!

    Also the little boy that plays a young Kurt looks like Chris Colfer’s clone.
    That little guy is in Chris’ movie that he just filmed. And he’s on the Twitter…@Adam_Kolkin

    “Finn eats Grilled Cheesus. (I bet that cheese tastes like plastic at this point.)”
    Really?? Risking food poisoning?? Can’t waste the 30 seconds it takes to make another one?

    This is the episode that Chris Colfer submitted for the Emmy. The award he is nominated for is Best Comedy Supporting Actor.

    (I know, stalk Chris much, 40 year old woman??)

    • Oh my god, I can’t even begin to think about trying to dance to this song. I’m now grateful for the angry New Wavers I grew up with that were in charge of the music.

      I loved the twist where Sue is the voice of reason. And she was just that: REASONABLE. I mean, Sue Sylvester!

      Aww, I didn’t know he was in that movie with Colfer! That’s nice. And I adore him, too (not 40, but see me in 11 months. *g*) Now Darren Criss… (I’m going to go bananas here, gang, come Never Been Kissed.)

      • A different Laura

        Think of a gym full of sweaty teenage boys doing the “White Man’s Overbite”. ‘Nuff said.

  • A different Laura

    The movie was actually written and produced by Chris. It’s called Struck By Lightning… it was shot in the 3 seconds between when Glee Live ended and filming for Season 3 began (ok, really in 18 days). Google it…there are some, ahem, nice pictures of Chris…
    Yes, that is all weird fan-girl knowledge that I am really to old to have, but at least it’s not drugs or gambling…I just am addicted to Chris and Darren…
    Just saw Darren Criss in concert in Chicago, he is delicious (and even more so when it’s raining…)

    • (you act as if I don’t have >4 feeds focused on Glee, their actors, the writers, and the music on my daily reader, pfft. LOL. I have said too much, shown my hand, nooooo!)

      One of my dear friends went to Glee Live a few times (and is in the movie!) I didn’t go to any concerts maybe because this site has kept me too busy woe is me WOE I SAY

      • A different Laura

        BUSTED!! I will not out you to the adult community at large…I’m hiding so far back in the Glee closet I’m in Narnia…(didn’t Kurt say that??)

        I may or may not have forced my husband to buy me Glee Live tickets for our anniversary and purchased tickets for the early showing of Glee Live 3D. May or may not, I say!!!

  • Laina

    I’ll admit that I spent A LOT of this episode crying my little heart out. Yes, Kurt was kind of dickish for a lot of this episode, but the others weren’t always so understanding and were kind of pushy at times. He just needed someone to support him without pushing. He was scared and felt alone. :o( When he sang “I Wanna Hold Your Hand” I sobbed like a little bitch…my husband had to come in and make sure I was okay, bless him. :o)
    I love any scene with Sue and Jean – it’s so great to see how Jean balances Sue out.
    Last, I will admit to adoring their version of “One of Us.” It sounded beautiful, even if they did look like a Gap ad. (you are so totally right!)

    • Oh, how I cried when he sang that song! And when it aired originally, I remember being flabbergasted that people weren’t able to let the song take on new meaning – I thought it did that from the start, myself. Loved it. Just a pure moment of longing from a scared kid.

      Oh, Jean. You want to talk about bawling their eyes out… I’m going to need a group hug come episode 21.

      That’s a song that’s a guilty pleasure for me – it’s really fun to sing a long to, even if it does ultimately feel manufactured re:sentiment. And yet, I still sing along, every time I hear it.

      They’re all great singers, they all are at the minimum competent singers. Then you have something like the numbers coming up in Duets…. Laws, can they sing when they love the song! I need Mercedes at just one point in this series to do a James Brown, jump back and kiss herself.

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