Glee has been off of television screens for three years, and millions of Gleeks around the world miss it everyday. The show about an island of misfit toys joining together as an underdog show choir captured the hearts (and ears) of people everywhere. The show's ability to portray teenagers in an honest way while accompanying it with amazing vocal performances made them one of the greatest things on television for their six-season run. There were relatable characters who could be both comedic and dramatic, and there were enjoyable twists and turns to keep everyone interested. The show focused on creating an atmosphere of equality and understanding, and took the time to address issues that young adults face every day, while not coming off as “preachy” was a difficult task. Some of the show's most successful storylines tackled different communities, religion, and teenage pregnancy, and by facing issues like this head-on, it made the show a must-watch.
While the show should be commended for what they were able to accomplish, they did not hit a home-run every time. Throughout six seasons, they also had quite a few storylines that were certainly not well received. Sometimes, storylines fell flat, weren't followed-through, or just didn't make any sense. The show was certainly trying their best, but sometimes, it missed the mark fully. It is storylines like this that fans certainly have not missed since the show ended. Here are 15 Storylines That Hurt Glee (And 10 That Saved It).
25 Saved: Kurt Had A Crush On Finn
Glee always tackled orientation types very well and explored different opinions in a safe manner; even the ones that had never been addressed seriously before. Young adult shows would usually address a mixture of orientation types hanging out with some colorful humor, but not analyze the relationship between the individuals. So, when Kurt Hummel began to develop a crush on Finn Hudson, it was uncharted territory. What made the situation more complicated was the fact that they were sharing a room together after their parents began a relationship.
What derived from the situation was one of the most powerful scenes in the entire series. The storyline does not paint Finn in a very positive way, as he attacks Kurt with slurs against his orientation, but thankfully, it is used as a teaching moment for prejudice and social boundaries, and ultimately, Finn attempting to redeem himself.
24 Hurt: Terri's False Pregnancy
Terri Schuester likely ranks as one of the least liked characters in the history of Glee. Her demeanor, attitude, and actions as Will's wife did not garner her much support from fans of the show. In fact, any scene with her were some of the most unentertaining parts of the show.
To add on to the list of bad things Terri did, faking a pregnancy was certainly the worst. While it was upsetting to initially believe she was pregnant, her reaction was reprehensible. She proceeded to manipulate Will into thinking she was pregnant for months, and following this, nothing that Terri did would make fans like her again. The storyline itself was not pleasant, and it was a dark spot in an otherwise great first season of the show.
23 Hurt: The Acafellas
The highlight of each episode of the show was listening to the New Directions perform at competitions and in the choir room, but that does not mean fans were pining for the middle-aged men on the show to have their own singing group.
The Acafellas were a group consisting of Will, Ken Tanaka, Howard Bamboo, and Henri St. Pierre. While the group may have sounded decent and eventually featured Finn and Puck, fans were not interested in listening to them. With so many interesting stories happening at McKinley (Quinn finding out she is pregnant and Rachel and Finn growing closer), the last thing that fans wanted was to leave that behind. Thankfully the group only lasted one episode, and fans were able to enjoy the better parts of the show.
22 Saved: Quinn Is Pregnant
The first major storyline on Glee is still arguably one of the show's greatest. Quinn as a “cheerleader in trouble” solidified the show's drama and made the first season a must-see. While every fan was pining to see Finn and Rachel become official, Quinn becoming pregnant was the biggest roadblock. It would be awhile before it was revealed that Puck was actually the father of the baby, so Finn remained with Quinn following the announcement. Whether they were trying to raise money for the baby, Quinn getting kicked out of her house, or Finn trying to name the baby “Drizzle,” the drama never stopped.
Young adult shows have tried to tackle teen pregnancy before, but Glee went the distance and had Quinn put her baby up for adoption. Watching Quinn go through childbirth was secondary to the New Direction's performances, and it set the tone for the rest of the series.
21 Hurt: Rachel Had A Crush On Will
Even though the show as not afraid to tackle tough issues, this one was just weird. Following a duet of Endless Love, Rachel develops a crush on Will. Even though he vehemently dismisses her advances, she is relentless in pursuing him since whenever Rachel realizes that she wants something, she does not stop until she gets it. This leads to more serenading and uncomfortable moments, but it was mostly weird for the audience watching.
Having to witness Rachel falling head-over-heels for her teacher was embarrassing to watch, and the episode could not have ended quicker. Thankfully, Rachel eventually got the message, but unfortunately, fans still had to endure a full 60 minutes of Rachel pining over her teacher.
20 Hurt: Ryder Quitting Glee Club
Fans can deal with cliff-hanger storylines. They can even deal with ones that do not have a happy ending. But, a storyline that does not wind up meaning anything is unforgivable.
Ryder Lynn's “catfishing” storyline had the potential to be a very good one. His weeks-long online relationship with “Katie” finally came to a head when Unique was revealed to be the one he was talking to. Ryder did not see Unique in a romantic way, so she attempted to get his attention under another persona, but all she succeeded in doing was pushing him further away, which resulted in him wanting to quit the Glee Club. Well, it seems that he forgot to resign, as he wound up back in the club without another word about it in later episodes.
19 Saved: The Troubletones
There is no doubting the amount of talent that the New Directions had in their ranks, however, each musical number was sure to feature Rachel Berry in a prominent manner. This eventually became too much for some of the other “leading ladies” and they broke away to form their own group: The Troubletones.
The Troubletones consisted of Mercedes, Santana, and Brittany, who were each frustrated with their status in the show choir. Watching a “civil war” brew inside of New Directions was very exciting because both groups were equally matched, and the powerhouse vocals of the three ladies made for some incredible performances. While the New Directions wound up coming on top, there is no discounting the impact that The Troubletones had during their brief time as a group.
18 Hurt: Sue Having A Baby
Some of Sue Sylvester's weird antics have made sense throughout the show, until she decided to have a baby out of the blue, that is. Sue had never voiced a desire to have a baby prior to season three; however, she randomly shows up pregnant and will not disclose the “celebrity father.” This hidden bit of information, along with the eventual reveal that Sue's child would be born with down syndrome, could have been enough drama to make this storyline successful. Unfortunately, the showrunners wound up forgetting about it instead.
Sue's baby, Robin Sylvester, was rarely spoken of or seen, and the true father was never revealed (although it was rumored to be Michael Bolton). If there had been a better payoff, perhaps this could have been an entertaining story.
17 Hurt: Artie Playing Football
Television is meant to be a suspension of disbelief for viewers so they can accept some of the storylines that take place. While this can be fun to do, there needs to be some semblance of reality for fans to enjoy them, and as great as Artie Abrams is, it would be very difficult for him to be seen as a football player.
Artie pushes Finn to help him join the McKinley Titans to help boost his social status. Considering that Coach Beiste has managed several Championship teams before, she knows what makes up a winning team. So, to think that she would agree to someone in a wheelchair joining her team makes little sense. Regardless, Artie joins the team as a “human battering ram” and even scores touchdowns. It was these kinds of storylines that made fans question why they were watching the show.
16 Saved: Beiste's Transition
Glee was never afraid to take on difficult subject matter. Their bravery is a testament to the commitment of the showrunners to create a show based on inclusion and equality. Many shows have certain elements in them, but few shows shine a light on trans culture.
When Coach Shannon Beiste discussed her orientation and desires moving forward, it was a great moment for television. The community has few positive and understanding portrayals in the media and Dorothy-Marie Jones played the part with such honesty. The message that was sent to viewers about being themselves was beautiful, and was certainly a high point towards the end of the series.
15 Hurt: Quinn As Lucy Caboosey
Quinn Fabray certainly had a rough time during her years at McKinley. While things wound up positive for her after graduating, she went through a lot during her time in high school. While this did make her stronger, there are some things that do not make sense about her character.
Upon meeting Quinn in season one, she is mean to those different than her. While this makes sense for her mean-girl, cheerleader-type character, it is eventually revealed that Quinn used to be much different. Prior to attending McKinley, Quinn was known as “Lucy Caboosey” and was an overweight teenager who was picked on to the point of transferring schools. While it was good to learn more about her history, it made little sense. If Quinn had experienced such difficulty, why would she do the same to others?
14 Hurt: Sue Moving Students Out of McKinley
Season four of Glee was a transition year for the show as most of the original New Directions had graduated and new faces were joining the club. Unfortunately, these new faces, like Jake, Marley, and Ryder, were not incredibly popular among fans. In cases like this, shows often come up with creative ways to remove unpopular characters from the show, however, the show-runners did not handle this in the best manner.
By the time the show reached the final season, most of these new characters had been removed, but the explanation given was that Sue had them shipped out to another school because she did not like them. Following this, very little mention is made of them. For the fans that liked these performers, it was a very odd way to treat them.
13 Saved: Karofsky's Truth
Dave Karofsky was initially one of Glee's most disliked characters due to how he treated Kurt, but eventually, he wound up being one of the most beloved after everything he went through. While initially portrayed as an unpleasant character who picked on Kurt at every turn, it was eventually revealed that Karofsky is actually hiding the truth about his own orientation. He has issues coming to terms with it, but his orientation is revealed against his will. He is mistreated (in a similar manner to how Kurt was treated) to the point that he tries to take his own life. While his attempt is unsuccessful, it does make him realize that he is happy with himself and becomes more comfortable in his own skin.
Karofsky went through one of the biggest transitions out of any character, and came out happier on the other side, along with the fans cheering for him every step of the way.
12 Saved: Mike Chang's Family Pressure
The majority of the storylines on Glee focused on the main characters of Finn and Rachel, and while the other New Directions performers were always involved, they were never the main focus of the show. Meanwhile, there was one character that fans never really got to know until the Asian F episode in season three.
Mike Chang was known by fans for his spectacular dance skills, but little else was known about him. However, when he started to come clean about the pressure he faced at home to maintain good grades and attend highly-accredited schools, fans were finally able to connect with him on a deeper level. Especially when he revealed that he wants to dance for a living instead of becoming a doctor like his parents had planned. Finally, getting a glimpse into a quiet character was a real treat for fans.
11 Hurt: Artie's Magic Legs
Holiday episodes are meant to be both entertaining and inspirational for fans, however, they need to be realistic for fans to enjoy them. When Artie was given “magic legs” in order to walk again, it was not entertaining or inspirational, it was just perceived as unrealistic.
Following Brittany revealing that she still believes in Santa Claus, she wishes for Artie to be able to walk again. While Mr. Claus was not able to do this for her, Artie was gifted with a ReWalk by an unknown donor to assist him with walking. While that may seem inspirational, the reason that this storyline fails is because the machine is never seen again, and Artie mentions that the machine broke the day after this episode later on in the future.
10 Hurt: Blaine Double-Crossing Kurt
Glee is meant to be a show that makes its viewers believe in the power of love, unfortunately, they used that as an opportunity to step on the feelings of many of their fans by breaking up their favorite couples.
Blaine and Kurt, affectionately known as Klaine, were Glee's most popular couple during the show's middle seasons. Their affection for each other made fans scream with joy each time they were together. That is why the decision to have Blaine get involved with someone else was wildly unpopular. Fans did not believe that someone like Blaine would hurt Kurt this way, and they instantly rejected the storyline. While surprising storylines like this can be good for a show, this one did not make much sense.
9 Saved: Kurt Joins The Warblers
After following the New Directions work through their problems for an entire season, the cast began to seem a little stale. Season two was the right time to inject some new characters into the show and they hit a goldmine with Blaine Anderson and The Warblers.
From the moment they sang Teenage Dream, fans were hooked on this new glee club. The group was both wildly entertaining and performed numbers much differently than the New Directions. Now, add in Kurt transferring to this group and there was a world of possibilities opened. Fans got to see the budding romance between Kurt and Blaine play out, while also giving the New Directions some great competition leading into Regionals. This storyline even set them up for future seasons, as The Warblers would continue to make appearances until the end of the show.
8 Hurt: Rachel Is A Choir Director
Following Cory Monteith's exit from the show, Glee struggled to find its footing with how their storylines would play out. Ultimately, they decided on having Rachel return to McKinley to become the new choir director for the New Directions. While this may seem like a natural fit, there were some things that the show was missing before this could occur.
Fans instantly remembered that Rachel was not a college graduate, since she dropped out of NYADA, and furthermore, she certainly did not have any experience with teaching teenagers. So, to think that the Ohio School Board would allow her to coach the club makes very little sense. While it was great to see her back in the choir room with the new students, she did not have the right to be teaching and coaching extra-curricular activities.
7 Hurt: Brittany Is a Genius
Brittany Pierce is one of the most misunderstood characters from this show. She was wildly entertaining when given the opportunity to shine, but her reduced role in later seasons did not do her any favors with fans. Her decision to take a lesser-role in later seasons deprived fans of a great character. What was even more upsetting was the way that writers decided to explain her time away.
Brittany was a lovable doofus and used her silly way of looking at things to become one of the funniest characters. So, when it was revealed that she was actually a genius and was recruited by MIT due to a perfect score on her SATs, it was a random narrative that fans did not want to believe. The show had spent four seasons telling the audience that she was dim, but then flipped the scrip in an instance. Fans would miss Brittany, but they did not enjoy this storyline.
6 Saved: New Directions Loses At Regionals
One of the greatest parts about Glee is that the New Directions were treated as underdogs, and despite their talented members, they did not always come out on top of competitions. Just like Rocky Balboa, they were able to go the distance, but did not take home a win.
When the group joined their first Regional Competition, they were newcomers, so it was unrealistic that they would win on their first try. When the votes came in and they were defeated by Vocal Adrenaline, it may have hurt, but it fit the tone of the show. In fact, it only made the show more compelling as fans could not wait to see them try again next year. The show would continue this trend when the group would not place at their first National competition as well. If the group had won their first time, it would not have made the show interesting going forward.
5 Hurt: Myron Joining New Directions
Myron was the perfect example of Glee “jumping the shark” in their final season. After six seasons of great programming, the show was unsure about what to include in their final season.
Having 13-year-old Myron Muskovitz as a member of the New Directions was a low-point for the show. He added very little entertainment value and was consistently annoying to fans. His high-maintenance and self-absorbed personality made him difficult to watch, and frankly, if the show had included him earlier on in the series, then it would have ended much sooner. It was very telling when Myron was not included in the 2020 flash-forward, which meant that the other members of New Directions did not like him much either, and they are all about equality.
4 Hurt: Blaine Dates Karofsky
Some television characters are just meant to be together. Friends fans knew that Ross and Rachel belonged together, same with Cory and Topanga on Boy Meets World. This also applies to Kurt and Blaine, as watching them in a relationship with anyone else did not sit well for any Glee fans.
While Dave Karofsky redeemed himself as a character, it was uncomfortable to see him be romantic with Blaine. After causing so much turmoil with Kurt, it seemed unlikely that Blaine would become that close to Karofsky, who by this time, still had feelings for Kurt. Unless this was an attempt to make Kurt jealous, it makes little sense why he would choose him. Thankfully, it did not last very long, but that doesn't mean anyone enjoyed watching it.
3 Saved: Handling Finn's Passing
Cory Monteith's passing in 2013 was a hard blow for all Glee fans. It was unexpected, tragic, and deprived the world of a great performer. Considering that the show was in the middle of filming its fifth season, fans wondered how they would handle the situation. Would they address the way Monteith passed away? How would they deal with his relationship with Rachel? Thankfully, the show treated the situation with grace and poise.
The Quarterback episode was a celebration of both Finn Hudson and Cory Monteith. It allowed fans and cast members to grieve and celebrate the character and the man. Instead of including salacious rumors about how he had passed away, the show chose to focus on all the good things about him. It was a very classy way to say goodbye to Finn Hudson.
2 Hurt: Quinn In A Wheelchair
Glee fans enjoy suspending disbelief as much as any other fan, but when show-runners insulted their intelligence by curing Quinn's “immobility” after only a few episodes, they instantly rejected the idea.
Following a car accident, Quinn was placed in a wheelchair and did not have the use of her legs. While she stated that she intended to do physical therapy so she could walk again, it was assumed that it would take months or even years to get back on her feet. However, she was standing and walking again by the time her senior prom rolled around. Furthermore, she was even able to dance with ease in time for Nationals that year. Fans were glad she survived her accident, but balked at how little sense her recovery made.
1 Saved: Santana Comes Out
Very few shows are able to tackle the serious issue of teens accepting their orientation. Some shows treat it as a joke, and others take a very melodramatic route. Glee, however, treated the issue with the dignity and respect it deserves.
Santana Lopez did not have a defined orientation when fans were first introduced to her. In the first season alone, she was shown being close with both Puck and Brittany. Very few characters are given this freedom on television, but it gave her a very honest depiction of a teenager. Ultimately, Santana discovered that Brittany was her true love, and they embarked on a relationship together. Showrunners could have easily made Santana another straight-girl on the show, but instead, depicted a healthy relationship between two women.
Did we miss any storylines from Glee that you loved or made you uncomfortable? Let us know in the comments!