Glee Gets Religious in "Grilled Cheesus"

Published: October 10th 2010
in Culture » Television

Grilled Cheesus

“Dear Grilled Cheesus. First of all, you’re super delicious.” Ripping off the infamous Virgin Mary-on-a-grilled-cheese-sandwich phenomenon sounded a bit ludicrous when the trailer for this episode first aired, but somehow, Glee makes the takeoff work. In fact, the writers managed to pack the “Grilled Cheesus” episode full of big spiritual themes without making it schmaltzy or heavy-handed. It was one of the best Glee episodes to date – and that includes anything in the first season.


The episode opens with Finn discovering that his grilled cheese sandwich bears the face of Jesus Christ. His spiritual awakening, compounded by a sudden tragedy that strikes one of the glee members, sets off religious ripples throughout the club. Naturally, this paves the way for plenty of Jewish humour: Puck offers his own take on religion – “It seems to me that true spirituality, or whatever you want to call it, is about enjoying the life that you’ve been given….I see G-d every time I make out with a new chick” – and continues his self-proclaimed streak of only doing songs by Jewish artists with a rousing rendition of Billy Joel’s “Only the Good Die Young.”


Meanwhile, Rachel isn’t too happy with Finn’s newfound devotion to Jesus. “I want this relationship to go the distance,” she tells him solemnly. “But I need to know that when I’m 25, and have won a bunch of Tonys, and I’m ready to have intercourse and babies, that those babies will be raised in a certain way. I want my children to be raised in the Jewish faith. Both of my dads’ peoples were slaves once, and I need to know that my children will be free to worship in the way that I decide is right.”


The episode really belongs to Kurt though; his father suffers a heart attack, which puts Kurt’s faith – or lack thereof – to the test. Kurt points out that it’s a little hard for him to believe in a god who would make him gay and then have His followers victimize him for his so-called “choice.” His lovely rendition of “I Want to Hold Your Hand,” along with a montage of father-son memories, is both laugh-out-loud funny (the expression on his dad’s face during young Kurt’s tea party is priceless) and intensely moving.


Other highlights include Rachel’s Yentl moment, Brittany’s proclamation that “heart attacks happen when you love too much,” and the reappearance of Sue’s sister, who reassures Sue that despite being ostracized as a child, she still believes in a god who does not make mistakes. Perhaps the most impressive thing of all is that with Glee’s unfortunate tendency to overstate themes and overdo the melodrama, this religion-themed episode is surprisingly restrained. And they don’t push the religious angle: in the end, with a little help from Mercedes, Kurt receives the worthy lesson that even if you don’t believe in a god, it’s important to believe in something bigger than yourself.




Glee airs Tuesdays at 8 p.m. on FOX/Global.

Related articles: (television, glee, grilled cheesus, lea michele, mark salling, chris colfer)

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