Episode Parallels (redux)

Because people have been asking, I went and made a list of episode parallels for GLEE. I’ve done this before, but I didn’t get the wording or formatting quite right, and now I have 14 episodes from this season to play with as well. Fun stuff.

Competition episodes share a certain structure, which I think is commonly-enough understood that I don’t need to get into it here. Episodes such as Valentine’s and Christmas also have parallels with each other regardless of number. Characters also tend to parallel each other, but that’s another post entirely. This is a THING for this show.

For even more parallels, see: http://glee.wikia.com/wiki/Season_Parallels. This is incomplete—I’ll definitely want to revisit it when the season is over.

This is very irreverent and unpolished.

Things that happen in every nth episode:

1:
boy in the shower (S1 & S2)
terrified by competition
basic here’s-how-the-show-works crash course (people suck, mood whiplash, frantic pacing, we sing a lot, these kids are losers, we have different rules of reality here)
quick check in with our major players for the season
Jacob kicks us off (S2 & S3)
opening montage ends with a slushy facial
faculty accused of pedophilia (S1 & S2)
someone gets kicked out of glee club (Sandy S1, Sunshine S2, Santana S3. Rachel is responsible S1 & S2)
Glee club sings to the school to encourage recruits. it fails (S2 & S3)
auditions for new members
Quinn walks down the hall in slow motion with her new look (S2 & S3)
a new member makes an older member feel insecure (S2 Sunshine—>Rachel, S3 Blaine—>Finn)

2:
Brittany-centric (S2 & S3)
sex riot (S1 & S2)
plot about controlling how you are noticed and seen
plot about the gap between how you are seen and who you are
things do not work out according to plan for Kurt (S2 & S3)
the glee clubbers are not impressed with Will’s decisions (S1: disco, S2: adult contemporary, S3: booty camp)
Will lashes out at a student
Rachel closes the episode singing about Finn (S1 & S2)

3:
Mercedes-centric
daddy issues
prayer (S2 & S3)
Kurtcedes drama
medical issue (S1: Henri with no thumbs, S2: Burt’s heart attack, S3: Emma relapses)

4:
Kurt-centric (S1 & S2. S3 we are introduced to a Kurt look-alike with some really obvious bullying parallels)
Quinn gets focus
People it sucks to be: Kurt and Quinn. Or, more broadly: gay or a girl.
a secret is revealed
Brittana development (S2 & S3)
Santana development (S2 & S3. S1 we meet Brittany.)
Finn is not a leader, try as he might (S1: struggles with the football team. S2: he and Rachel achieve Rachel’s goal, but he hurts Kurt. S3: Santana and Brittany leave.)
Finn struggles with maintaining his popularity/reputation while supporting/defending Kurt or a Kurt-alike. S3, he nails it.
new guys join glee club
Sancedes friendship (S2 & S3)
BreadstiX (S2 & S3)

5:
stage play
stage plays as proxies for sex
failed manipulations/failed attempts at relationship sabotage
Finn is confused and things do not go according to his plan
new character features heavily (S1: April, S2: Carl, S3: Sebastian)
episode title begins with “the”

6:
“we usually do mashups around this time”
boys vs girls
winner of competition never actually stated
a gay character is put in danger (S2 & S3)
danger
adults fail at taking care of the kids
glee kids do WEIRD shit: S1 vitamin D, S2 using Bieste to cool off, S3…..dodgeball
Puck & math
a bully is revealed to be closeted (S2 & S3)
Kurt refuses to be bullied (S2 & S3)

7:
plot about secrets
the glee club is divided
significant differences within the group exist but are ignored (S1: Will, S2: Kurt & Mercedes to each other, S3: Finn)
plot about support (S1: kids discover they are friends and sneak away to sing together, S2: kids bring Will back, S3: ND creates a safe space for Santana)
Quinn gets focus
someone else takes over glee club (S1: Sue, S2: Holly, S3:…Finn)

8:
wedding (S1&2)
someone gets kicked out of something/somewhere (Quinn—>Cheerios, Kurt—>WMHS, Shelby—>WMHS)
dance tutorials for the boys
physical fight
Finn realizes that a gay boy is more masculine and more of a leader than he is

9:
Artie-centric
PC!fail
disability-centric
inspiration is cheap
a kid shames another kid
Will shames his kids (S1&S2) for doing something he was just scolded for
Kurt & Rachel solo-duet madness (S1: Defying Gravity, S2: Don’t Cry For Me Argentina)
Kurt does not land a solo (S1 (S2)
Finn fights with his girlfriend
Artie fights with his girlfriend (S1 & S2)
Lauren Zizes is introduced in 1×09, and joins the glee club in 2×09

10:
plot revolves around illusions
illusions are shattered (S1, Quinn’s parents and her pregnancy; S2, only Brittany still believes in Santa, S3, Finn’s dad & Becky.)
Kurt admits a crush (S1 & S2)
finchel changes (S2: breakup, S3: proposal)

11:
rival showchoir performance
ND performs with another group
appearance vs content (S1: hairography, S2: zombies and SUE IS BORED, S3: MJ)
betrayal
physical appearance is altered—makeup and makeovers, or someone loses an eye
someone tries to sabotage glee club
Quinn is featured

12:
crash and burn
safety nets snap
Will realizes he screwed up (S1 & S3)
Team Diva sleepover (S2 & S3)
Singing in the real world is a bad plan (S1 & the mattress commercial, S2 & the gap attack)

13:
plot revolves around scripts, and how they fall apart; glee in a nutshell
SCHEMING
S1: other teams at regionals, baby gate
S2: Rachel, Sam, Santana, & Sue
S3: Karofsky, Santana vs the god squad, Rachel’s dads
SCHEMES FAIL
S1: babygate, ND wins
S2: the diva-off brings Rachel and Mercedes together, Sueicide, Sue takes over Aural Intensity instead of reforming, Brittany becomes famous instead of Rachel, Sam ends up with Santana instead of Quinn
S3: Karofsky, Santana vs the god squad, reverse-psychology on Finchel
APING DISNEY-CHANNEL-ESQUE NARRATIVES
S1: rooting for the underdogs
S2: all the movies where the kids suddenly get famous
S3: valentine’s day
SUBVERTING THOSE SCRIPTS
S1: babygate
S2: MCR, no happy endings, and original songs
S3: put the gay kids front and center for Valentine’s and make Teen Jesus pro gay
ALSO LESBIANS (S1: sex isn’t dating, S2: take me or leave, S3: Brittana kiss)

14:
everything explodes
a new pairing goes up in flames (S1: finchel, S2: harry-meets-sally, S3: kurtofsky)
Rachel gains a new romantic interest (S1 & S2. S3 she’s getting married, and Faberry stops being crack)
Will regrets something (S1: Shelby, S2: drunk-dialling Sue, S3: attempted suicide)
Quinn talks about her pregnancy

15:
plots revolve around:
sex
YOU MATTER
agency
being watched

16:
the object of Kurt’s affection figures something out
minor death (S1: April’s boyfriend, S2: Pavarotti)
self-confidence issues
quinn, mercedes, kurt feature
quinn has no self-confidence, but supports others
Mercedes loves herself
body image issues
seeing people honestly
winning by being vulnerable/honest

17:
reputations & letting go
ND sings overlooked songs
characters want attention and do out-of-character things to get it
hecklers
a subset of ND feels neglected by the rest of the group
a neglected female character gets focus
female guest star
Will’s girlfriend breaks up with him
aspects of the plot mimic genre/detective/noir shows

18:
Rachel learns a lesson (about self worth)
Rachel goes to the doctor
Kurt has a big Broadway number
Kurt has a victory moment
a plot revolves around someone’s appearance
the episode centers around identity, acceptance, and pride

19:
plots where rumors/scripts/stereotypes are untrue but more real and powerful than actual reality plots about unreliable information
power of illusion
Artie’s relationship crashes and burns
a former glee club star returns
Sue and the former star scheme against Will
a secret is revealed
Will is accused of pedophilia
Rachel is a detective
two people scheme in a car
plots and songs about dreams

20:
plots revolve around theatricality vs blending in and safety
“we live in ohio (not some place where vegetable aren’t fried)”
someone tries to make Kurt pass as less gay
Kurt is shattered
ND forms a human wall for him
there is a Burt-Kurt-Finn scene
Rachel confronts her past in an auditorium
Finn gets in a fight
Kurt and Karofsky’s relationship changes (S1: Karofsky starts bullying Kurt, S2: Karofsky apologizes)
ND dresses up, and someone sews an outfit

21:
someone is destroyed
due to episode events, someone is depressed
ND supports the hurt character
a relationship ends
St. Berry
ND unites against Jesse
Quinn struggles with her feelings
the episode has a very calm-before-the-storm feeling

22:
final competition
big moment for finchel
ND loses
someone says “I love you”
Vocal Adrenaline

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7 thoughts on “Episode Parallels (redux)

  1. I said it elsewhere, but thank you for this. It’s very informative and thought-provoking for me.

  2. I’ve been thinking about it for awhile and am just going to have to ask: what does “harry-met-sally” mean in this context? (I do know the movie.)

    Thanks for putting this together!

  3. Oh, gah, I thought I got rid of all the phrases that only made sense to me. Faaaail.

    Ok. So, at the end of SLS/2×12, Kurt says to Blaine, “so it’s just like When Harry Met Sally. Except I get to play Meg Ryan.” Things are going well with them, and it looks like smooth sailing ahead.

    And then Blaine kisses Rachel, Kurt and Blaine fight, etc etc etc.

    Does that make sense?

  4. (Just found this blog… Hi!)
    2×15 and 3×15 both include revelations about Blaine’s backstory/family life.
    S2: Blaine believes his father fixed cars with him in an attempt to make him straight.
    S3: …Cooper.

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