Glee "The Role You Were Born to Play" Review: The R Word

By MaryAnn Sleasman

Nov 09, 2012

Glee S04E05: “The Role You Were Born to Play”

Oh hey guys, Glee is back. Yay?

"The Role You Were Born to Play" was all about finding yourself and that “one role” you’re destined to play. My man Mr. Rogers summed up this notion as “something inside that is unique to all time,” and went on to encourage us to help one another identify it. Mr. Rogers was cool (the puppets, however, gave me nightmares). The thing about Glee, though, is that EVERY episode is about “finding yourself” and it’s really not special anymore.

This week it was Finn and Unique “struggling” to define themselves in the miserable wasteland of Lima, Ohio. Let me rephrase that. Unique truly did have a hard decision to make regarding how she wished to be viewed moving forward in life and while she had harsh way of saying it, Coach Sue wasn’t wrong to point out that rural Ohio probably wouldn’t take kindly to biologically male Unique playing the female role of Rizzo in the school's production of Grease. By accepting the part, Unique had to acknowledge that she would be opening herself up to a lot of ugly, but she put on her brave face and accepted the role, explaining, “I don’t feel right in the men’s locker room, but I can’t go into the girls’. I don’t feel right in men’s clothing, but I can’t wear dresses everyday.’’

BAM. Right in my feelings, Glee.

Finn, however, “struggled.” Wah, Rachel dumped him. Wah, he flunked out of the army. Wah, he hated his dead-end job. WELCOME TO ADULTHOOD, BRO. Get over yourself.

Finn didn’t have to, though, because it was Schue and Artie to the rescue—first with the offer to let him help direct the musical, then with the simple handing-over of the keys to the glee club over for the duration of Schue’s tenure in Washington because that’s totally how that sort of thing works. Glee desperately tried to justify it with Schue’s line about how it’s not a “real” position that requires any sort of certification, but I’m still pretty sure Finn would've had to at least complete all the paperwork and background checks/health screenings that cleared him of being a pedo or a meth head. Oh, and the TB test. I was on the education track for awhile. I KNOW THESE THINGS.

Furthermore, while the job was Schue’s, it was NOT his to simply will to a chosen successor without that successor making it through some sort of vetting process. And something tells me Finn would have a hard time getting any kind of blessing from Coach Sue after he called her Down's Syndrome-affected baby RETARDED.

Oh, he meant it as an observation, not an insult, right?

That’s... still not okay. At best, it’s outdated terminology. At worst, it’s an insult—and it’s always hurtful. Finn was all about donning the Social Justice Warrior hat to champion Unique’s cause, only to drop a bomb like that on Sue in front of Figgins and Schue, who at least had the decency to look startled by such casual usage of the R-word but never bothered to pull Finn aside and explain why he was wrong.

I’m sure he’ll apologize. Eventually. Maybe. Probably when Sue is giving the glee club a hard time and he needs to get her back into the reluctant ally corner. It will probably be heartfelt. He might even sing a song because who needs Hallmark when you have Top 40 radio and FEELINGS.

I’m more appalled that no one called him on it than anything. Glee accepts everyone. Glee is a show for everyone. Glee is the holy grail of progressive television.

Except that it’s perfectly okay for one of its darlings to make passing comments about a developmentally challenged baby as long as he can hold up his token cause of the week to show everyone that he’s actually the white knight they’ve been looking for.

So Schue and Emma worked out their issues. Schue is headed for Washington DC. Finn is in charge of New Directions. Unique gets to play Rizzo after all. Marley gets to play Sandy. Blaine is too depressed to play Danny, so we have yet ANOTHER new face to force ourselves to care about in Ryder, who shall henceforth be known as “Finn 2.0.” He goes quite well with Puck Jr. Rachel and Kurt were MIA, which was weird, but kind of nice. Kitty remains unbearable; I get that everybody on Glee is a flesh-and-blood cartoon but she’s just ridiculous.

And that’s what you missed on Glee.


– My Glee playlist of the night: Blaine’s “Hopelessly Devoted to You,” Marley and Unique’s “Blow Me (One Last Kiss).”

– “I don’t even gel on weekends.” Dude, I so understand. When I got dumped by my Freshman Year One True Love, I didn’t shave my legs for like a month. It was gross.

– I’ll take that Gilmore Girls boxed set if Kurt doesn’t want it.

– How do we feel about Ryder? I tentatively like him just because he genuinely said something nice about Marley’s mom without being guilted into it. Extra meatballs FTW.

– Despite this underwhelming return to television, I’m actually pretty excited about “Glease” next week. What about you?

– SO disappointed by Sue’s inability to come up with a mean nickname for Marley. Any suggestions?

  • Comments (44)
Add a Comment
In reply to :
  • Kaylin21 Nov 13, 2012

    I used to enjoy watching this show but now it is just terrible. All of the new cast members from the awful "glee project" show are brutal to watch! What everyone loved about glee was the characters and all of them being together and I know Ryan Murphy did not want to be like all of the other shows where they never graduated - but all of those shows were awesome and lasted on television for a long time! The way Glee is this season, I can't see it lasting longer then another season as all of the characters are horrid. Where did this show go ? Without all the original characters together, the dynamic is gone!

  • coutterhill Nov 13, 2012

    Finn apologized right away, there was no need for someone to take him aside to tell him why it was wrong; he already knew. Can't wait for Grease, but Unique as Rizzo is a no-go for me, I just do not understand the transgendered thing; nothing against them, I just don't understand it. And will they show a make out scene with Kinnikie? (a hickey from Kinnikie is like a hallmark card)

    Love Kitty as Patty Simcocks, perfect.

  • shocker713 Nov 13, 2012

    Maybe Brittany can teach him how to mistake Unique for Mercedes. She's done it before.

  • ch0c0nutz Nov 11, 2012

    too many characters now and too many storylines...

  • googlehoop Nov 11, 2012

    Here's an unpopular I the only one who hates it when transgender males are called "she"? Like it or not, Wade/Unique is still a boy no matter how he dresses or what role he plays. This is not to say he shouldn't play Rizzo, or that he isn't incredibly talented and obviously struggling with some serious issues.

  • Speebo Nov 11, 2012

    Have you ever met a person who is biologically one sex, but feels like the other in their mind? Every one of these people that i've known prefers to be called by the pronoun that they identify with. You're entitled to your opinion, but what does it matter? If it makes someone feel accepted and okay with him/herself, what's the harm in switching a "he" to a "she", or vice versa?

  • hockeyrick Nov 10, 2012

    I'm sorry but did everyone elses' HS have the previous seniors come back and hang out ALL the time??

    Glee lost me for good!

    If blah can say ret@rded, why cant we?? Is this the new 4 letter word/ gimme a break!

  • ciaBrysh Nov 10, 2012

    I'm not saying that Finn calling Sue's baby the "R" word was okay by any means...but let's not forget that Sue has said QUITE a few mean and terrible things to the students that would have had her fired if this was the real world as well. (Not that it is okay on either side, but I feel like this is getting pushed aside)

  • shocker713 Nov 11, 2012

    I feel that if someone insults you, you either insult them back directly, or you take the high road and don't respond at all. You don't insult their kid.

  • googlehoop Nov 11, 2012

    Good point...the things Sue says are adominable. And Finn did apologize the minute the words came out of his mouth. Something Sue never does.

  • ch0c0nutz Nov 11, 2012

    yeah, thats what i was thinking: he DID apologize

  • shocker713 Nov 10, 2012


    - Glad to see some more Tina, finally, even if it required Mike to do it. But she should really move on to someone else now. Glee's big on stereotypes, why not have JBI pursue her?

    - Not enough Brittany. It'll be sad to see her eventually graduate, because I'd hate to see her "dumb blond with a heart of gold" archetype filled by a new student the way Finn,Puck, Rachel, Quinn, Mercedes, and even Schue have all been replaced in some form or another.

    - Kitty can't be doing a very good job as Sue's assistant if Sue can't figure out how to insult Marley. Kitty has that skill mastered.

    - Finn's use of the R-word was uncalled-for, out of character, and served no purpose. Sue was already his mortal enemy for casting Unique. But that was business. Insulting someone's family makes it way too personal.

    - Why even try out for Grease if you don't know who Patty Simcox is?

    - Still trying to figure out why it's still OK for Emma to be the way she is. He's been nothing but supportive of her. And I still can't interpret her "holed up in a motel room" logic. I've said it before, there's no shortage of activities in DC for a professional educator.

  • Watashii Nov 10, 2012

    As a Tina fan, I'm starting to lose interest in the show. I'm still a fan but I just don't care anymore. I actually watched The Glee Project season 2 and I didn't want Blake to win. And now he is in the show. Another uninteresting 'heartthrob' who will get all the solos and songs. Kitty is another Santanna/Quinn character who will be 'redeemed' like every antagonist in this show. They are doing the same things all over again. I think the New York bits are the only ones that can save the show at this point.

  • caffeinefreak Nov 10, 2012

    Many of you are hating Finn right now, but one of the things that makes Finn human (otherwise he would be this perfect boyfriend blah, blah blah) is the fact that he takes (or taken) a lot of abuse from various other characters continuously UNTIL he blows up. He did this with the whole pregnancy thing, he did it with Kurt, he did it with Santana, and he now did it with Sue. In less that 3 minutes time she called him "fatty" "mashed potato pants" and "Chubby Wan Kenobi". Although he used that word, his speech to her was not a malicious, insulting one, as her name calling was toward him. I just felt that that reference was out of character for him. They are apparently still working on breaking Finn down, which is sad because he is one of my favorite characters along with Rachel, Kurt and Santana. They could have done so much more for that moment (which obviously was a set up for future "wrath of Sue on Finn and the GLEE CLUB!") I do not beilieve for one minute that Finn will want to be a teacher. I think his dream will be realized toward the end of the season, something that will land him in NY. I hope he joins a rock band and becomes a rock start...he has a rockstar's voice.

  • Hakkeboef68 Nov 10, 2012

    Just FYI, the guy playing Ryder was the winner of last seasons "The Glee Project". He seemed really talented, and genuinely kind, so I like him! Blake FTW! <3

  • See More Comments (20)