8 Ways To Fix 'Glee'

glee kissing

The preview for this week’s “Glee” really caught us off guard.

Dramatic music, Finn talking to Mr. Schue about losing his virginity — heavy stuff. (Click here if you want to watch it for yourself, but be forewarned that the words “hotness” and “sweetness” are awkwardly involved.)

Our resigned reaction: well, here comes another week in which “Glee” is no fun.

But it wasn’t always this way, was it? “Glee” has innovative, addictive DNA — its originality made it a pop culture juggernaut.

How do we get back to those days?

Simplify the storylines.

Here's what you missed on 'Glee' last week: Brittany thought the Irish kid was a leprechaun and she's still running for class president and Santana wants to hold her hand and Mercedes defected to Idina Menzel's group and by the way Menzel kissed Puck who along with Quinn is trying to steal her baby and seriously, people, that's not even the half of it. No wonder the pre-show recap voiceover is always so breathless.

Get back to your musical roots.

The early episodes of 'Glee' blew us away with their musical numbers -- producers rolled out familiar, fun hits and occasionally, carefully introduced old classics. Now, the ratio has flipped -- and the dragging attention to 'West Side Story' numbers hasn't helped.

Characters, not issues.

We've preached this before: too often, 'Glee' forgets it's a musical comedy and not a health-class video. It's possible to send a message without having the message eclipse the characters -- which, by the way, are what keep people engaged with a television show.

Stick to your guns.

This season has a troubling undercurrent of: everybody's fighting, but you just know they'll all sing it out in the end. That feels like a waste of time. If Mercedes is out, keep her out. If people break up, keep them broken up. It's high school, for crying out loud -- caution isn't exactly the M.O.

More guest stars -- and more interesting guest stars.

When co-creator Ryan Murphy announced that he wanted to pull back on stunt casting, we applauded him. But guest stars don't have to mean look-at-me Paltrow domination. We'd love to see more out-of-the-box drop-bys: call us when you get Patton Oswalt to tap dance.

Make iTunes offerings more than an afterthought.

In the beginning, we couldn't get enough of the cover compilations. But then 'Glee' started churning them out at breakneck pace, and the quality got thoughtless. Now it's time for innovation: include some unplugged versions of show performances, or album-exclusive tracks.

Take a road trip.

We know it's not the easiest thing in the world, taking a giant cast and crew on the road. But last season's New York episodes were a breath of fresh air -- and if writers can dream up a way to get the kids out of McKinley, it'll be money well spent.

Give Jane Lynch some room to run.

Lynch is the show's goodwill ambassador to the world -- everyone loves her. Unfortunately, in three seasons, she's never been treated to a real departure from tracksuited sniping. She -- and the Sue Sylvester faithful -- deserve to see TV's angriest cheer coach go AWOL.

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