Glee: 10 Musical Songs That Have Aged Bad

cheerfulness featured more than 700 musical numbers throughout its six seasons, many of which have become pivotal parts of modern pop culture. Indeed, tracks like “Don’t Stop Believin’” and “Paradise by the Dashboard Light” were given a new lease of life thanks to the show’s band of merry misfits.

However, not every musical number can be a winner, especially if there were so many, and cheerfulness has its fair share of problematic songs and performances. Whether it’s because of their inappropriate lyrics or the show’s unfortunate staging choices, these musical numbers have aged like milk and have become extremely controversial by today’s standards.


Updated on June 24, 2022 by Amanda Bruce: Glee is an incredibly strong series when the show choir denounces, and it is also an incredibly strong series when it genuinely encourages young artists to follow their dreams. Sometimes, though, the middle group between those two takes falls flat. That happens with the most ill-advised performances on the show. While fans can rewatch Glee to their heart’s content now that it’s available to stream on Disney Plus, these are songs they might want to skip.

Content Warning: The following contains references to suicide.

Let’s have a Kiki/Turkey Lurkey time

The cast of Glee performing Let's Have a Kiki / Turkey Lurkey Time

Mash-ups are a staple of cheerfulness† They’re one of the things that made the show such an instant hit in Season 1. Over time, they became a calling card for the show, with the music department finding new ways to mix songs that seemed completely opposite at first. .

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Not all mashups were winners, though, and arguably the biggest loser is the monstrosity that’s “Let’s Have a Kiki / Turkey Lurkey Time.” Performed in Season 4 by Rachel, Kurt and Isabelle, the song starts off strong with the LGBTQ+ song “Let’s Have a Kiki”. However, once Rachel erupts into an out-of-the-blue and shoehorned rendition of “Turkey Lurkey Time,” the whole thing descends into a festival of chaos and cringe.

Don’t stand so close to me / Young girl

The combination of The Police’s “Don’t Stand So Close to Me” and Gary Puckett & the Union Gap’s “Young Girl” continues the trend of terrible mash-ups and has a special place in television hell. There are many things about cheerfulnessRachel’s aging badly, including storylines, but her inappropriate crush on Mr. Schuester is among the worst.

Things get even more reprehensible, though, when Mr. Schue decides to sing to Rachel about why she shouldn’t be in love with him and serenade her. It’s an awkward and problematic scene, compounded by the fact that Mrs Pillsbury is there doing nothing but swoon as Will sings.

Stronger (which doesn’t kill you)

The Troubletones performing on stage in Glee

Several wild things happened during cheerfulness‘s many appearances, but Dave Karofsky trying to take his life while Blaine Young girdle the Giant’s “Cough Syrup” was one of the most serious and impactful. The episode is surprisingly serious about Karofsky’s situation, earning points for a tender scene between Kurt and Karofsky.

However, it loses all the goodwill earned by having the Glee club “dedicate” their Regionals gig to Karofsky’s honor and pick this Kelly Clarkson hit. Performing a song that claims “What doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger” after a character just tried to end his life is not only tone-deaf, but also callous and rude.

What I did for love

Rachel on stage in Glee

In the Season 2 premiere, Rachel Sunshine meets Corazon, an exchange student from the Philippines with undeniable talent. Rachel, once the jealous and controlling fame-seeker, does everything she can to keep Sunshine away from the New Directions, including sending her to a crack house. In the end, Sunshine is recruited into Vocal Adrenaline, which makes things even worse for the Glee club.

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Rachel tries to excuse her actions by saying she did them “out of love,” but no one believes it. Still, that doesn’t stop her from showing off a chorus line‘s eleven o’clock song, “What I Did for Love.” The performance not only seems fake, but also feels undeserved and vain. Basically, it brings out the worst aspects of Rachel’s character.

It’s a man’s man’s world

Quinn and other pregnant teens perform at Glee

Quinn came at the short end of Glee’s writing stick. After a well-developed and powerful pregnancy story in Season 1, her character deteriorated in the following seasons until Dianna Agron finally left the series. While Quinn’s pregnancy remains her most significant arc on the show, it also featured some very questionable choices, most notably her performance of James Brown’s iconic song “It’s a Man’s Man’s Man’s World”.

Quinn takes the stage, supported by a group of pregnant teenagers, who then do an awkward choreography as she sings. Not only is Agron’s voice unsuitable for such a provocative James Brown song, but the performance itself is beyond crappy. In the show’s defense it should be awkward, but that doesn’t make it any less embarrassing to watch now.

push it

The New Directions play Push It in Glee

cheerfulness had a lot of nonsensical musical numbers, but “Push It” went beyond that. Performed by the New Directions at a school reunion, “Push It” is, in the words of Sue Sylvester, “the most offensive thing she’s seen in twenty years of teaching, and that includes an elementary school production of Hair

It is difficult to argue with coach Sylvester. “Push It” includes the girls grinding to the guys, Artie pretending to punch their butts, and a lot of suggestive dancing. Again, the performance is supposed to be ridiculous and embarrassing, but considering these kids are supposed to be sixteen, this number quickly lands in problematic territory.

Gangnam style

“Gangnam Style” was a controversial song even before it became the cheerfulness treatment in Season 4. The New Directions still performed it during Regionals, when the theme was “Foreign Hits,” and gave the solo to Tina Cohen-Chang because of course they did.

Tina was one of cheerfulness‘s most underrated characters, the living embodiment of ‘always the bridesmaid, never the bride’. Still, when the only Asian character in the club was playing, the Korean song came across a bit insensitive; even Tina points out, but she is so starved for any attention that she still agrees to sing it. “Gangnam Style” looks more like a fever dream than a real performance, and it’s one of the many things fans don’t like about Season 4.

Talk a little less

Will performs dressed as a Spanish torero in Glee

Mr. Schuester was never a role model for teaching, but at least he tried during the first two seasons of… cheerfulness† However, all his worry disappears by season 3, replaced by a sense of entitlement that followed him everywhere. When several students complain about his outright racist practices, most notably “Taco Tuesday,” Will decides to enroll in a Spanish class taught by Ricky Martin, aka David Martínez.

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in truth cheerfulness fashion, Santana and David perform a stunning rendition of “La Isla Bonita”. Will then appears dressed as a Spanish torero and performs a shocking Spanish rendition of “A Little Less Conversation” with a mariachi band and Brittany and Mike dressed as bulls. Santana calls him because he treats Spanish as a joke and not a moment too soon. The whole performance is insulting and it’s really shocking that the show’s writers went through with it.

Blurred lines

As the leader of the Glee Club, Mr. Schuester was not afraid to sing along with his students. He performed with them several times, often crossing the boundaries of appropriate student/teacher behavior. Nowhere is this lack of boundaries more apparent than in his rendition of Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines”.

mr. Schue plays this downright insulting song during Season 5, along with a chorus of college students twerking around him. The lyrics to the song are bad enough, but Mr. Schue’s willingness to let students dance around and, in some cases, be inappropriately close to him may be the worst thing the teacher has ever done.

give me more

Some fans willingly ignore some of cheerfulness‘s most problematic elements. But even the most passionate of Gleeks can’t forgive the unfair and cruel treatment of Britney Spears during Season 4’s now infamous “Britney 2.0” episode. The story sees Brittany collapse in a similar fashion to Spears’ very public 2007 troubles. The show even goes so far as to recreate some of her most vulnerable moments, including her infamous 2007 VMA appearance.

Spears granted the show the rights to its entire music catalog, in hopes of one of cheerfulness‘s famous tribute. Instead of, cheerfulness flatly mocked her and reduced her struggle to a punch line. In the wake of the #FreeBritney movement, ‘Britney 2.0’ becomes the perfect example of how unfair and cruel the media has behaved towards Spears.

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