Glee: 20 Things That Make No Sense About Rachel Berry

Rachel Berry from Glee

Technically, Glee is meant to be an ensemble show. It’s about an actual ensemble in the form of New Directions. It focuses on the various members that make up the group. There are multiple storylines in play at any given time in the series. However, while it's an ensemble show, some characters were given more screen time than others. Was it because Ryan Murphy or the fans preferred these actors more? Maybe it was just that the writers found more material for these characters.

As the seasons progressed, one character emerged as the “main” character for the series: Rachel Berry (Lea Michele). The neurotic, perpetually uncool, beloved daughter of two dads grew to become the focal point of the series. This remained true even when the show shifted to New York in its fourth season.

That’s not a bad thing, as Michele is an excellent actress and singer. However, many things happened to Rachel over the course of Glee's six-season run that just drove us up the wall. Glee remains a strange hybrid of escapism at its finest tempered with real world issues. When it works, it really works, but when it fails, it fails big. A lot of that failure did spring up around the more Rachel-focused plots, especially in the later seasons. It’s time to pull up those knee socks and put on that schoolgirl-chic miniskirt. We have six seasons of confusing things about Rachel Berry to get through.

Here are 20 Things About Rachel Berry That Don’t Make Sense.

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Jeff Goldblum and Brian Stokes Mitchell on Glee
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20 Her Changing Dads 

Jeff Goldblum and Brian Stokes Mitchell on Glee

First of all, it’s a little weird that Rachel would consistently refer to her dads as “my two gay dads.” It’s kind of implied if she just says “my dads,” right? That’s not even the most confusing thing, though.

The actors who played her dads changed from the photo strip in season 1 to Jeff Goldblum and Brian Stokes Mitchell in season 3.

It’s possible that the actor they got for the season one shoot weren’t available, but it seems even more likely that they just wanted some serious star power for the roles when they became more prominent on screen.

19 She's the other woman

This takes us back to the second episode of season one “Showmance”. Rachel and Finn (Cory Monteith) have a special rehearsal in the auditorium, during which Rachel and Finn kiss. At the time, however, Finn is dating Quinn (Dianna Agron) which means that he technically cheated on her.

Maybe, like Rachel said in the pilot, she was trying to push the two of them together as the potential “stars” for the club. Still, however, given how naïve she can act at times, this seems like a rather calculated move designed to hurt her bully.

18 Her Relationship With Shelby

A major plot point in the back half of the first season was Rachel’s discovery of her birth mother, Shelby Corcoran (Idina Menzel), who is the coach of the rival Vocal Adrenaline. The mother-daughter pair find themselves on opposites of the show choir aisle. Shelby also sent Jesse St. James (Jonathan Groff) to work his way into her daughter’s good graces. At the end of the season, Shelby adopts Quinn’s daughter Beth and moves away.

It doesn’t really seem to bother Rachel.

The two of them appeared to have no contact until Shelby returned to coach the Troubletones in the third season. If Rachel did want to have a relationship with her mom, then it should have been mentioned more.

17 Her Romance With Sam 

Sam Evans (Chord Overstreet) has had romances with the majority of the original female members of New Directions, but never really made things official with Rachel. It made sense, Rachel had Finn and then lost him. She probably wasn’t ready for romance.

For a couple brief moments in season six, it looked like that Rachel and Sam were heading down that path together. Maybe Rachel needed to prove to herself that she could find love in life post-Finn. It just seemed kind of awkwardly shoe-horned in. They didn’t have enough moments to make it feel really believable and it was quickly dropped.

16 She Never Really Learned A Lesson

Over the course of six seasons, Rachel experienced a lot of highs and a lot of lows. While her ambition is something to be commended, it also functions as a fatal flaw.

Rachel’s desire to be the solo star tends to lead her to do a lot of awful things.

She essentially stalks Carmen Tibideaux (Whoopi Goldberg) into giving her a second chance for her NYADA audition. Her "me first" attitude led to the formation of the Troubletones and the splitting of the glee club. She even left New Directions in season one for a lead in the school musical. Yet, when it inevitably blows up in her face, Rachel never really learns a lesson or grows from it.

15 When She Got Into NYADA

A major plot point for seasons three to five of Glee was the New York Academy of the Dramatic Arts, a conservatory with a strong musical theater focus. It produces stars and Rachel Berry was going to be one. After she literally chokes her audition in season three, Rachel stalks her way into a second chance at Nationals. Due to this, Rachel gets into NYADA.

Even though Kurt (Chris Colfer) nailed his audition song of “Not the Boy Next Door”, which was honestly a series best for Colfer, without having to beg his way into a second chance. It was just frustrating to watch as Rachel got what Rachel wanted, no matter the effect on other characters. 

14 She Only Applied To ONE College

The whole NYADA plot could have been less frustrating if she didn’t apply to just one college and someone convince Kurt to apply to just one as well.

Putting your eggs in one basket is never a good idea, especially when you want to go to an ultra-competitive conservatory.

She also thought Julliard had a musical theater program as a senior in high school. The really ambitious sophomores already know the specs of their dream college. Rachel literally learned about NYADA at the start of her senior year. It would have made more sense if she’d been working toward this for years. It just goes against her characterization to not have a color-coded list of conservatories she wants to go to.

13 When She Quit NYADA

After all that drama, Rachel just up and quits NYADA. By this point, she is in her second year there and about to star in a Broadway show. Broadway rehearsals are pretty intense processes on their own. The logical thing would be to take a deferred year in order to star in Funny Girl. The school would definitely understand and Rachel could go back.

Instead, she tries to balance a rigorous class schedule on top of an equally rigorous rehearsal schedule. When Carmen fails Rachel for cutting corners on a solo performance by doing a duet, Rachel gets angry and quits on the spot. After all she went through to get into the school, it feels like such a bratty move.

12 Her Actions Toward Sunshine Corazon

Sometimes, when Rachel feels threatened as the “talented” one of New Directions, she lashes out. Nothing quite tops what she did to poor Sunshine Corazon (Jake Zyrus). After transfer student Sunshine wows New Directions with her rendition of “Listen” from Dreamgirls, Rachel becomes so insecure that she sends Sunshine to a flophouse by telling her that is where they’re meeting. After Rachel's actions, Sunshine transfer schools and showchoir teams to be the new star of Vocal Adrenaline.

While Sunshine did like New Directions, she couldn’t deal with Rachel bullying her.

Rachel was banned from solos at competitions, and she sang “What I Did For Love” to justify her actions. Clearly, she learned nothing.

11 Carmen Tibideaux Instantly Forgives Her

Season six did a lot of really great things in terms of bringing Rachel down to Earth. She was out of school, blacklisted from Broadway, and her television show was a public, massive failure. She returned to Lima and became the new director of New Directions-- whether or not that made sense.

Rachel planned to ask Carmen Tibideaux to let her back into NYADA; the same woman who kicked out a student from school on their first day in the season four premiere. Carmen quickly lets Rachel back into the school, seemingly forgiving her. This doesn't make sense with the character we knew from season four.

10 She Committed Crimes

Rachel Berry committed actual crimes to in order to get what she wants. First, she knowingly endangered Sunshine when she sent her to that dangerous house. If something happened to Sunshine and it was discovered Rachel sent her there, then that would be some kind of charge related to endangerment. She also technically stalked Carmen Tibideaux into giving her a second chance.

Now the laws change from state to state, but there’s a line between persistence and creepy. She also attempted to have people fired when they don’t capitulate to her wishes. They only good thing to come out of that was when predator Sandy Ryerson (Stephen Tobolowsky) got the boot in the “Pilot”.

9 She Really Wasn’t A “Triple Threat”

Let’s make it clear. Lea Michele is a triple threat, which means she can sing, dance, and act. Rachel Berry, however, is only an excellent singer, an okay actor, and not the best dancer. Unlike others in New Directions, such as Santana Lopez (Naya Rivera) or Kurt Hummel, who do dance during their solos, Rachel just stands in one place and sings.

Over the many solos that she had in the series, it would have been nice to see her do more.

Cassandra July (Kate Hudson) wasn’t wrong to call out Rachel for not being an amazing dancer. If she went to NYADA to grow as a performer, then she should have taken the critique and worked harder to grow. 

8 Getting The Lead Role In A Broadway Musical At 19

Sometimes, a virtual unknown is just discovered and catapulted into stardom. Usually, however, they have some sort of professional credit under their belt beforehand. When Rachel was cast as Funny Girl, she had two high school musicals, a Winter Showcase from NYADA, and show choir experience.

Even if her audition was really that amazing, her lack of experience and preparation for starring in a Broadway show should have been considered. She could have, more realistically, been the understudy. Then the star could've gotten sick or something on opening night, if they really wanted her to open Funny Girl on Broadway.

7 Thinking She Won’t Need An Understudy

Everyone who knows anything about theater productions knows an understudy is a necessity. A number of things could happen that would cause a performer to miss a performance-- even an onstage accident could require the use of an understudy.

Why would self-proclaimed Broadway-lover Rachel not know she'd need one?

It protects the show. It gives her some extra security. While Rachel can be self-centered, she can’t be so self-centered as to think she's the only thing that matters about a huge Broadway show. It highlights her immaturity and how unprepared she is for the reality of Broadway life. If Rachel knows so much about Broadway, then she would know this.

6 Almost Getting Married In High School

There’s nothing wrong with marrying young, so long as both parties understand what they are getting into. Still, when Rachel and Finn went down the route, it felt like rushing the series “endgame.” It was largely for the wrong reasons, as the couple were having some major anxieties about their own future. Given how they cared for each other and how the series was supposed to go, it’s not surprising that they wanted to be together.

It felt like Rachel was reaching out to marriage with Finn for a feeling of permanence over anything else. If NYADA didn’t want her, then her boyfriend/husband did. 

5 Getting BORED Of Working On Broadway

For five years, in the show universe, we heard about how Rachel wanted to be on Broadway and win a slew of Tony Awards. This was her dream and nothing was going to get in her way. She walked over others, demanded solos, and did a slew of things to get there. Not only that, she was well-received for her role of Fanny Brice on Funny Girl.

A mere month after she took to the stage, she was bored by being a Broadway star.

Bored! This was Rachel’s defining goal in her life, but now that she had it, she was bored by it. It was such a slap in the face to her character.

4 The Gold Star Thing

In the pilot episode, Rachel always put a gold star next to her name. As she says, “My gold star’s a metaphor for me being a star.” It’s a nice little character quirk for Rachel, showcasing her drive and ambition. However, this little detail pretty much disappears after the first season. It’s such an inconsequential thing, but it told the audience a lot about her character from the get-go.

Rachel needed the harmless little character quirks like the gold star because they helped keep her more human. The more human she seemed, the easier it was for the audience to root for her to succeed in her pursuits.

3 Mistreating her "soulmate" Kurt

Rachel had one best friend as the seasons went on: Kurt Hummel. In the season three finale, she even called him her “soulmate.” The pair lived together in New York, and grieved the passing of Finn. Why would Rachel treat Kurt so badly? She told Brody (Dean Geyer) to move in without consulting Kurt. She refused to listen when Kurt called out her attitude in “Diva” and in “Bash”. When she was in charge of New Directions, she refused to listen to his input and advice.

She even poked at things that she knew would hurt Kurt’s feelings and never really apologized for it.

Somehow Kurt was the one who always had to apologize.

2 Punishments Never Really Stuck

Over the years, there were attempts made to punish Rachel, mainly by New Directions, for her diva attitude. The thing was that the punishments never really stuck around for very long. She was getting solos again by season two Regionals after the Sunshine incident. Not to mention how she didn’t really understand how the Troubletones were feeling in season three.

She even left the club in season one, yet she was still singing “Somebody to Love” with the group in the same episode. In any other high school scenario, especially after Sunshine, Rachel would have been kicked out of the club. Glee wasn’t great at logic sometimes, but should've shown that what Rachel did was not okay. 

1 She was always the star

Rachel Berry from Glee

This definitely goes hand in hand with the whole punishment thing. Maybe Rachel would have learned that it wasn’t okay to behave as she did if New Directions didn’t keep making her the star. Mr. Schue (Matthew Morrison) had amazingly talented members besides Rachel Berry. He just didn’t use them as often as he should have.

Rachel Berry did become a star, but she wasn’t a humble one.

If she had showed more growth, then it would have made more sense when she filled her dreams. We’re not saying she needed to be a Disney Princess, but having her be more understanding wouldn’t hurt.


What else doesn't make sense about Rachel from Glee? Let us know in the comments!

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