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

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.



MUSIC NOTES


– 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)
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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!
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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.
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Maybe Brittany can teach him how to mistake Unique for Mercedes. She's done it before.
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too many characters now and too many storylines...
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Here's an unpopular opinion...am 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.
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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?
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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!
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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)
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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.
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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.
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yeah, thats what i was thinking: he DID apologize
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Notes:



- 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.
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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.
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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.
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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
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I really hope they do something great with Ryder because I think he has the potential for America to fall in love with him. He was my favorite from day 1 of the glee project and he seems like a genuinely nice guy. I'm really happy they didn't make him a d-bag. Also, maybe it's just me but I can't stand puck jr.'s voice. It sounds like he is swallowing all of his tone and singing it out of his nose. I want to like him but I cringe every time he opens his mouth. I haven't found anything appealing about him yet.
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I do agree that Kitty has been written as a soulless cartoon but I actually found her quite bearable and dare I say it, entertaining last night. Marley's definitely been my favourite new addition but there was something about her casual tormenting of Marley and Jake that entertained me.
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I love Kitty...I hope the keep her evil and not make her bi-polar like Quinn bouncing from being hateful to lovable over and over again.
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Sue should get some tips from Kitty. She seems to have no shortage of mean nicknames for Marley.
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Boring bring me some Rachel and Kurt.
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One thing that bugged me, Tina had very little in this episode. She appeared, was mad about Mike got over it a little then got the part of Jan and that was basically all she did this episode. Oh for the love of god I am so sick of Finn and his poor me thing, it pissed me off before and it still does. Also, I was eyerolling when Blaine started singing hopelessly devoted mainly because I was thinking but you're really not since all it took was being away from Kurt for like 2 weeks and you cheated plus it was, yet again, pointing out how Blaine has nothing but Kurt. I felt bad for Unique/Wade when he was talking about not sure where he/she belongs. I thought it was kind of funny how Sue couldn't think of anything to call Marley. I was sold on Ryder the minute they showed him awekardly dancing on the football pitch lol Plus, I love how he said what most people were thinking when Kitty was verbally attacking Marley.
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I'm not gonna talk about the people I don't like on this show, they already make themselves very unpopular. I'm over the whole 'finding yourself' with Unique and all, we had that with Kurt and that was fine but if this show is gonna be about finding yourself, it will just be emotional exploitation. Add a popular-song-of-the-week and there you have yourself an episode.

I like Ryder, he seems genuinely nice. Sam is so adorkable. Don't really like Marley that much, I think I kinda agree with Kitty (even though I don't like her) that she puts herself in the 'pity me' corner. And then she runs off crying after Kitty says that? I miss someone like Santana setting someone like Kitty straight. Also, Schue and Emma's troubles are too boring.

By the way, the hand-jive song, the only thing I heard was 'born to handjob baby' 'ohh can you handjob baby', I had to listen closely to hear hand-jive.
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I hate to say it because I love Criss, but his breakdown made me cringe. His acting was really bad.



Definitely the worst episode of the season. I thought it was fairly uninteresting. I desperately missed the New York scenes. An episode without was insufferable. Thankfully they'll be back next week. I hope to never experience another episode this season without.
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argh! I hate Finn like really hate him like mute the tv when he is talking. he is that kind of person that finish is golden high school years and didn't have a life plan and wait for people to give him everything in a silver platter well Finn life is not rainbows and unicorns is ugly messy and sometimes you just want to hide in a dark corner and cry the writers really need to make him grow because at the moment he is just plain annoying he is a high school graduate come do something with your life don't go back to HS that is just sad.
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I hink that's the whole point...his story is real. His greatest fear (which was not to be a Lima Loser) has come true and he is now starting to fight his way out of it. I think he is the only character that actually has a realistic storyline. Rachel--blew audition, but got in, Kurt, shows dress style, in at Vogue,etc. His is at least has a ring of truth.
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Maybe my Glee standards were lowered over the break, but I didn't hate it that much. I think I've just learned to accept this show for what it is--several times during this episode I just rolled my eyes and laughed. Or, maybe it's my Grease love that did it. I did kind of hate Finn though. His "finding his place." was basically waiting around for people to hand him the keys to his destiny. ugh. Also, I love Darren Criss SO MUCH for his starkid stuff, but I had a massive eye roll when he was singing hopelessly devoted to you, because cheating isn't being hopelessly devoted ijs. Unique hit me hard in the feels, he's really really growing on me. As for Ryder, I watched the Glee Project so I really like him already, even if he's just Finn 2.0

Also Maryann, you'll have to fight me for that Gilmore Girls boxed set.
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I see where everyone is coming from when it comes to Finn and the comments he made to Sue. What he said was horrible and should not have been said. However, it was said in the heat of the moment. Many of us have said something we regret at one time or another when our blood is boiling or we are under heavy stress. One must also take the rest of his comments into context. Finn was not meaning to hurt Sue with what he said, he was questioning her reasoning for being against the casting of Wade when she had helped them in the past and she herself has overcome the odds and had a child at her age who has a disability and is raising that child. It was the way he said it that was the problem, the way he worded it. I chalk it up to ignorance and immaturity, not to being hurtful and mean. This is a marked difference from his behavior in season 1 where he called Kurt a homophobic slur out of anger but did so to be mean. He was chastised for it by Burt and paid for it then.



I do wish the series took a more believable approach to Finn though with regards to his future. He says that he had a B- average when he graduated. I am surprised Will has not even suggested that Finn apply to colleges in Ohio or even in New York for second semester admission, ones that are not arts based. Finn could have easily applied to a college near Rachel and Kurt while he was still out there.



The rest of the episode was decent. Blaine's solo was quite good and his hurt over his breakup with Kurt is believable as was Tina and Mikes confrontation after their breakup. Kitty continues to be a complete Bitch and to serve as a fusion of vintage Santana and Quinn but with no readily discernible redeeming qualities. The show does seem to be rehashing a bit though with the Marley, Ryder, and Jake triangle mirroring and expanding the old Rachel, Finn, and Puck triangle.



I do want to thank Glee on one thing. It is doubtful that, if not for this episode, my neices and cousins would ever listen to a classic rock song like Juke Box Hero. They need a little culture in this age of Bieber and garbage.
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The Unique playing Rizzo is so frustrating. I love how no one mentioned that Mercedes played Frank-N-Furter two years ago. But I did love the Julie Taymor line.
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I like Ryder ok, he seems likable and has a good voice. Not wure whether I like Marley with him or Jake though. Jake and Marley would make a pretty good couple, but Ryder's obviously a good guy and doesn't even put up with Kitty's BS for a second.
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i heard from the the talk that this is the last season of glee.. please..... make it real... the show was so bad, with Quin, santana,pucker,mercedes were all gone.... but i do like sam and britney.
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I don't think the show is bad. On the whole this season has been great thanks to the stuff in New York. If you get rid of the stuff back at McKinley and focus on New York it would be terrific. I hope that's what happens in the next season.
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Oh, and btw: not to have Britney and Blaine as Danny and Sandy is just a slap in the face. I know that for show purposes they have to introduce the new characters and give them a part that's supposed to be interesting but making them destroy Grease its not the way to do it.
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Really? I mean Blaine I agree with but Britney is perfect as Cha Cha. She would have gotten that part even if there weren't new kids
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I think this was a one -maybe two- season show. Its been really bad lately, not to mention Rachel and Kurt in NY story is so much better than the actual "glee" story now.

Finn is just disgusting, terrible character and terrible example for teenagers who watch the show, its like they're saying: "its cool if you dont want to do anything after high school, other people will always tell you what to do and everything is gonna work out for you!"
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"He might even sing a song because who needs Hallmark when you have Top 40 radio and FEELINGS." LOL!! Best line of the review. :-)



I do generally agree about Finn. We all went through this transition from high school to college and/or the real world.....we were not just handed new opportunities to help get us through it. I think this is my main problem with Finn right now: he's not working towards anything or even working through his emmotional issues. Other people are doing it for him. I get that it's a plot device and all, but still. VERY annoying.



And......sorry.....I know this is a wildly unpopular opinion, but I kinda of like Kitty. HEAR ME OUT!.......no, actually, I have no good reason for it. She's a stuck up, vain, mean, coniving, scheming bitch on wheels, and yet......<3 you, girl!!!!
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Other people are doing it for him! Yes! It's super annoying.



I can understand the Kitty appeal to an extent! I personally love when Sue gets her mean streak going-- for no real reason other than it makes me laugh. But at least Sue has SOME moments of humanity. I just need one for Kitty. Just one. Just a tiny one. Lol.
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Puck Jr. would have been the PERFECT Danny! Kitty is horrible though. And I missed the New York storyline.
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Agree with a lot of this. However, I'm confused by the insistence on Finn's taking over the glee club being bad because it is unrealistic. You review the show; you should know by now that the show doesn't work that way -- it's not about how the real world works (Kurt's Vogue internship handed to him because Sarah Jessica Parker once dined at Breadstix, anyone?). And while using the "r" word was vile, Finn apologized immediately. I mean, immediately. You saw -- well, I guess you didn't see, but anyone watching did -- him instantly realize what he'd done and instantly say that was wrong and "I apologize." Gotta say, your spending a huge segment of your column ranting about that, and about Finn in general, and ignoring all the other wildly transphobic statements in that scene and others from Sue and Kitty's horrible cut downs of everyone all the time makes it look like you're less interested in reviewing the show and more interested in tearing down a character you don't like. Not professional, that.
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I was just going to say the same thing. While it was a totally unacceptable thing to say, he had immediate realization of that and apologized sincerely. I found the whole thing jarring and extremely off-putting, be he did apologize, straight up and clearly. I don't usually nitpick reviews, but that's a pretty big miss.
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It seems I DID miss the apology, and for that I apologize myself, but the fact that he just tacked it on when he realized "Oh, that really offended her," doesn't address the root of the problem, which is that he clearly didn't realize he was in the wrong to begin with.



The problem with Finn's unrealistic ascension to glee club leadership (and Kurt's Vogue job, which I've ranted about in the past) is that Glee constantly picks and chooses what it wants to be realistic about with no real rhyme or reason. It's a big pet peeve of mine. Some people don't mind it, but I do, and I bring it up whenever it appears to happen because I think it's the greatest weakness the show has. This episode was actually a textbook example of it.



The issues surrounding Unique playing Rizzo are completely validwanting to embrace your true self, but understanding that a lot of people aren't going to like it, and quite a few are going to outright nasty about it. It's not a simple matter of saying "I want to play Rizzo. Finn is allowing me to play Rizzo. Therefore, I will play Rizzo." It's a more complicated decision than that and Glee addressed it very well.



When Glee has stories like Unique's and treats them with the same kind of thoughtfulness and respect, it's one of the best shows on television, and there's no reason why Kurt or Finn couldn't have gotten the same treatment with their own stories.
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To be fair fair I think Finn's apology was that he instantly realised it was offensive and inappropriate and that he had misspoken, not an apology only after he had caused offence. Thanks for your review.
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Good review, but Finn did apologize to Sue immediately after making the baby comment. That's why no one called him out on it.
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And that pretty much sums up why I have such a dislike for Finn. He's all about accepting people; unless they are actually different. He is self-centred and a massive hypocrite.



But I like Ryder, he seems nice and he's has a good voice.
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So Unique is not actually different? But I thought she is unique?
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