Part of what we love about Glee is how stylized it is, in that it can take lovable characters but put them in a slightly twisted world that doesn’t quite exist. However, just because a show is stylized doesn’t mean people won’t take offense or find things to be too unbelievable from time to time.
Here are ten instances when Glee went too far and ended up crossing the line for the sake of shock value. You may not agree with all of these examples — but we’re pretty sure we can all agree that Jacob should always keep his pants on. Always.
10. Puck sleeps with Shelby (Season 3, Episode 7: “I Kissed a Girl”)
We know that Puck is the king of Cougar Town. But did he really need to sleep with Shelby, who’s not only the mom of Rachel — aka Puck’s ex — but also the adoptive mom of his daughter? We’re getting the willies just thinking about it.
9. Mocking Britney Spears (Season 4, Episode 2: “Britney 2.0”)
We love Glee for its snark and pop-culture references, but occasionally the show is accused of getting a bit too mean-spirited. Britney Spears was said to be none too pleased when an episode revolved around her meltdown, while Lindsay Lohan threatened to sue over comments about her. Long story short: Maybe Glee should leave Britney (and Lindsay) alone.
8. Schue can’t speak Spanish (Season 3, Episode 12: “The Spanish Teacher”)
Not only does Schue the Spanish teacher apparently not speak Spanish — which makes zero sense — but he then dresses up in a bullfighter costume that is all kinds of offensive. So for this one episode only, Schue is culturally insensitive and basically clueless? Where did that come from?
7. Sue’s sexual deviance (Season 1, Episode 14: “Hell-O”)
Let’s get this straight: Sue drugged Figgins in Season 1 and took sexy pictures of him as blackmail? And she also has a secret sex room where she gets her freak on with Bryan Ryan? If you say so. We’re all for wacky jokes, but it’s a little hard to believe some of the stuff (very sexy) Sue does. Then again, maybe that just makes us love Sue even more.
6. Becky brings a gun to school (Season 4, Episode 18: “Shooting Star”)
We knew we’d be tearing up during an episode revolving around a revolver on campus. But the waterworks wouldn’t stop, thanks to the constant intensity — and then the realization that Becky inadvertently gets Sue fired. So is Glee saying that a student without Down’s wouldn’t have done something like this? Hmm. Regardless of how you feel about the episode, it’s tricky territory.
5. Kitty brings on Marley’s eating disorder (Season 4, Episode 6: “Glease”)
Some of the OG glee club members could be self-centered and hurtful at times — think Santana or Quinn — but they’re endearing because of their vulnerabilities and their close relationships with the others. However, we didn’t really see that through most of this season with Kitty, so her cruel pranks at Marley’s expense — like making Marley starve herself — seemed way too far.
4. Brody is an escort (Season 4, Episode 16: “Feud”)
We won’t call this quite shark-jumping territory, but finding out that Rachel is channeling her inner Richard Gere and dating a male prostitute is about as ridiculous as things get. Sure, we get that Rachel was ready for a more mature dating experience, but we wish that didn’t involve dating Deuce Bigalow — oops, we mean “Brody.”
3. Beiste’s abusive relationship and Quinn’s car crash (Season 3, Episode 18: “Choke”; Season 3, Episode 14: “On My Way”)
Glee likes hot-button issues, like domestic abuse and negligent driving. The problem is when the issue springs up for one episode and then disappears, making the whole thing seem shoehorned in to make headlines. Quinn’s in a violent crash and is back to new in no time? Sure, why not. And by the way, is it too much to ask for Beiste to meet a man who respects her? We think not.
2. Jacob expresses his love for Rachel in a “hands-on” way (Season 2, Episode 2: “Britney/Brittany”)
We always knew Jacob was creepy, like when he offers to kill his parents in exchange for dating Rachel. But we didn’t fully understand the extent of his creepiness until he gives a solo performance (so to speak) in the library, followed by his nude meeting with Sue in her office. Show of hands: Who needed to see that? We rest our case.
1. Karofsky’s suicide attempt (Season 3, Episode 14: “On My Way”)
We’d really grown to love Karofsky by Season 3, so seeing him try to kill himself was beyond crushing. Then again, maybe we could move on from this if we could see him on the show again to make sure he’s doing okay. Alas, that doesn’t appear likely to happen. More sobbing.