Opinion Brief

Lady Gaga's 'Glee' moment: First reactions

After a successful tribute to Madonna, did the show's homage to her pop successor compare? Critics weigh in

"Glee" fans tuned in last night to watch the FOX series' musical tribute to Lady Gaga, a more moderately hyped variation on its Madonna homage (and, reportedly, one in a line of celebrity tie-in episodes.) But while some critics were quick to extol this latest episode, others were considerably less gaga. (Watch the "Glee" cast perform "Bad Romance.") A sampling of the commentary:

The episode worked:

Outdid the 'Madonna' effort: "As far as I am concerned, Lady Gaga beat Madonna," says Lisa Respers at CNN's Marquee blog. The show was an "over-the-top homage to an artist who is pretty over-the-top herself." I can't wait to see what the "Glee" team has up their sleeves: This show "just keeps getting better and better."
"Gleeks go Gaga for 'Glee'"

Not just funny...soul-touching: Witness "my keypad... stained with the many tears I shed" during the course of this episode, says Tim Stack at Entertainment Weekly. "Glee" addressed difficult relationship issues — the tension between adopted mother and daughter, sexual identity, and the strain of blended families — with "heartbreaking" tenderness. This "moving" and "powerful" episode goes down as one of "'Glee's finest hours."
"'Glee' recap: Gaga, Oh La La"

Exclamatory! Lady Gaga made her opinion of the show crystal clear via Twitter today, with one brief tweet: "GLEE WAS SO AMAZING! AH!!!!"
Lady Gaga's Twitter Feed

The episode was seriously flawed:

Plotless flamboyance fell short: Even though I don't like Gaga as a rule, her "freakiness is a sentiment I feel obliged to get behind," says Brett Berk at Vanity Fair. Unfortunately, the show "concentrated too much on the costume and not enough on the content," delivering "all the narrative excitement of Checkers Night at the Vero Beach Senior Center."
"The Gay Guide to 'Glee': Episode 20, Theatricality"

The result was sub-Madonna: Blame it on Gaga's limited repertoire or the "crippling lack" of the hilariously funny Sue Sylvester, but this week's episode failed to capture the "same kind of magic" as the Madonna tribute, says Jen Yamato at Hitfix. What should have been "outrageous" felt positively snoozeworthy.
"Recap: 'Glee'- Theatricality - Kiss and Lady Gaga get their due"

"Glee" is in the midst of an identity crisis: What kind of show is "Glee"? That's the question that the producers seem unable to answer, says Mary Hanrahan at Broadway World. Is it a "ensemble comedy driven by crazy characters... or a dramedy that develops its characters bit by bit?" The "incredible disorganization and carelessness" in the series' conceptualization are visible in this episode, which "fails on a lot of levels."
"GLEE-cap: Theatricality"

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