Glee’s Will Schuester: TV’s Most Deplorable Character?
I would not call myself a full-on “Gleek,” but I’m certainly a fan of Glee. I don’t necessarily think the show should be showered with Emmys, but I find it consistently one of the more entertaining and clever hours on television with an immensely talented and hard-working cast supported by a crew who know what they’re doing. It’s good stuff.
I also find the show’s lead performer, Matthew Morrison, to be a capable performer with some impressive skills and well-honed charisma; no knocks on that dude.
However, through no fault of his own—that I can tell—I think the character he plays, erstwhile glee club coach and purported do-gooder Will Schuester, may perhaps the most unlikable character on TV today, and it’s seriously threatening to ruin Glee for me.From what I’ve read around the Internet, many people started to take notice of what I’ve been feeling in regards to Mr. Schuester with the show’s recent Rocky Horror homage episode. In said episode—and follow me as best you can here if you don’t watch the show—Will decides to have the glee club perform Rocky Horror, not because he feels like it’s a particularly great show or will do the kids any real good (as far as I can tell), but because Emma, the guidance counselor he’s crushing on, likes it and he wants to get close to her.
It should be noted at this point that Emma is in fact in a committed relationship with Carl, a dentist (played by the awesome John Stamos) who by all accounts thus far seems like a super nice guy who has made her very happy. Emma has a bunch of deep-seeded hang-ups in regards to germs and intimacy, but Carl has helped her get past a lot of them simply by being open, honest and supportive. In contrast, when Will and Emma were briefly together last season, he pretty much tanked the relationship and broke her heart to some degree by hooking up with other women while they were together.
So we’re starting to scratch the surface of why I find this character a heel.
Getting back to the relative present, earlier this season, Carl, being a straight up kinda guy, spoke man-to-man with Will, called him out on still having feelings for his girl, respectfully asked him to back off, which Will promised to do; of course within the same episode, Will went back on his word and tried to woo Emma with a fancy new car and inappropriate Britney Spears dance routine, but then “learned his lesson” (as he tends to do every episode) and all was well.
So with the Rocky Horror deal, Will has once again “forgotten” his deal with Carl, as he blatantly makes another play for Emma. Worse than that, he involves the teenage children he is responsible for teaching and mentoring, urging them to participate in a performance that pretty much every other adult character warns him is too risqué to be having high school kids perform and that several of the students express discomfort over being a part of.
As the icing on the cake, when it seems like his pretty friggin’ evil and depraved plan isn’t working, as Emma asks if Carl can play Eddie in the show and he thus remains a consistent and positive force in her life, Will pulls the kid playing Rocky out of his role on the grounds that “maybe it’s inappropriate”—causing said kid to have further issues with his body image—and takes the part himself, mostly so that he can flat out attempt to seduce Emma, asking her to help him rehearse “Touch-a, Touch-a, Touch-a, Touch Me,” ignoring that he will have to perform the same number with one of his underage students during the actual performance.
Again, Carl calls Will to the carpet, accuses him (correctly) of setting up this whole sleazy ruse in order to destroy his relationship; Will once more “learns his lesson,” apologizes to Emma, admits that Carl is making her a better person and happier in a way he was never able to, and tries to half-ass make up to the kids he’s been jerking around the whole episode by giving them a lame speech about Rocky Horror being a perfect show for freaks and outcasts like them (awesome) but that it’s not cool for them to perform in front of people so they’ll just do it for themselves with no audience.
Now particularly on a show like Glee, it’s not uncommon for the weekly structure of the plot to be one or several of the primary characters making a mistake and then learning a lesson over the course of the half hour or hour; it’s a television tradition that goes way back and is pretty tried and true.
However, when it’s a program centered around a group of kids and their adult teacher/mentor, you generally expect the younger characters to be the ones mostly screwing up and the adults showing them the way. Certainly it doesn’t have to be this way and plenty of great shows have flipped the script, having the kids teach the grown-ups. But for whatever reason, I just have an issue with Glee, a series that does seem to be trying to get across an underlying message of doing the right thing in between songs, having their ostensible beacon light be such a deplorable jerk so often.
Honestly, I think what really did it for me is the recent ad campaign they’re tying into their (admirable) public service promotion where one tag line is “Are you a Sue or are you a Schue?” referring to Jane Lynch’s great Sue Sylvester character as being the “bad” role model option in contrast to Will. Thing is, as much as Sue is a hilarious and over-the-top villain, her moral compass can actually be considered pretty straight-on, as despite her transgressions she’s at least fairly up front about why she does what she does and also has admirable traits like caring for her mentally ill sister and mentoring a similarly handicapped girl as one of her cheerleaders.
In contrast, here are some more of Mr. Schuester’s shenanigans from the first season and a half:
-In the very first episode, he plants marijuana in Finn’s locker in order to blackmail him into joining the glee club.
-When Rachel questions Will’s choreography, he angrily quits being the glee club’s faculty advisor and forms his own acapella group.
-Annoyed at Sue, Will fails all her cheerleaders in Spanish (he’s a Spanish teacher, by the way).
-With Emma wanting to take it slow in their burgeoning relationship, Will decides to make out with the coach of a rival glee club.
-Despite knowing Emma is a virgin due to her various issues, Will responds to her decision she’s ready to sleep with him after being inspired by Madonna with a shit-eating grin.
-Will seduces Sue and then stands her up on a date with the purpose of humiliating her.
-Without much pressure needed, Will joins Sue’s attempt to make the new female football coach feel ostracized and thus quit in order to siphon some of the football budget (not showing any concern for, y’know, the students who play football).
So that’s a sampling. It’s hardly the worst laundry list of offenses on television, but again, from a character both intended to be showing a group of disenfranchised teens the right way to live and featured as the centerpiece “good guy” in a massive campaign about public service, it seems crazy to me. I’d be lying if I didn’t say as much as I enjoy Glee each week, I’m not spending more and more of my time yelling at the TV (to the amusement of my wife) as Will undertakes another dastardly deed.
For a show with such a multi-faceted and deep ensemble cast, I’d urge the folks producing Glee to try and rehabilitate Will Schuester as best they can and spread the bad behavior around a little bit to characters more suited for it; obviously you’ve got some something really special on your hands, and it would be a shame for something like this to tank it.
As a final cautionary parting shot, I’ll say that I can’t definitively declare Will Schuester the most deplorable character on television simply because I quit watching The Office and Private Practice recently due to how thoroughly heinous I found Michael Scott and Addison Montgomery to be; don’t let that happen to you, Glee.
Photo by vagueonthehow
Follow us on twitter@thefastertimes
- 1 Amanda Bynes’s Behavior Revealed to Be Elaborate PSA
- 2 Obama Horrified by the Grammar in Our Emails
- 3 Monster Fart Prompting Management to Rethink “Open Office”
- 4 NSA Demanded Access To Un-Filtered Instagram Photos
- 5 Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson Ambushed By Alan ‘The Paper’ Rubinstein
- 6 ‘Licensed to Kim Jong Il’ Records 27th Straight Year Atop N. Korean Charts
- 7 ‘A/S/L’ Most Asked Question At Kaplan Online University Reunion
- 8 Vice Magazine Now Only Hiring Writers Who Fail Drug Test
- 9 Stanley Cup Final One Blowout Away From “Boston Massacre” Headline Outrage
- 10 Henry Cavill to be Replaced by Stack of Pancakes in “Man of Steel” Sequel