WARNING: Minor Glee spoliers ahead. If you haven't watched this week's episode, you may want to come back tomorrow. Also, there's a spot where I link to a blog post that links back here, so you could get caught in a Recursive Internet Loop if you're not careful.
Previously on Glee: The football team won its first game with three weeks left in the season, and then continued to practice for six more weeks. Meanwhile, Mr. Schuester announced that we were two weeks away from Sectionals, then led his merry band of singing, dancing teens through three weeks of mash-ups and throwdowns, all in preparation for the aforementioned Sectionals, which still haven't happened as of November 19.
They won't happen this week, either, as we find out that the team can't afford to rent the short bus to travel to Sectionals. There's cupcakes, and fighting, and more Artie than we're used to, which is a good thing, and more Brittany than we're used to, which is probably also a good thing. The plots all advance a little, but the main point of this episode is to showcase the Rachel-Kurt "Defying Gravity" performance, which is quite spectacular. Everyone feels good, everyone's happy, and there's no mention of fake pregnancy or any of the uncomfortable adult relationships or why anyone ever mentioned that Sectionals were in two weeks when most Ohio show choir competitions won't take place before next semester anyway.
So, what's the date? As usual, the show gives us one temporal clue, as Schu tells everyone to "be ready on Thursday" for the diva-off. We can assume, as usual, that all of the subplots and outfit changes take place over as short a time frame as possible, given the previous episode. The Thursday after November 19 would be the 26th, but that happens to be Thanksgiving. Thus, it has to be the following Thursday, December 3. We will note that the Cheerios have begun to practice indoors, so there is some attempt to keep the show in a universe in which Ohio actually gets cold in autumn and winter.
This week, it occurred to me that maybe the show wasn't totally serialized, and thus it could be earlier. After all, most of the subplots, particularly the various teen interactions, could easily have run in parallel. Kurt could join the football team and come out to his dad, and the whole Kristen Chenoweth thing could have been the week before, and that could still have been in a later episode, because they don't really have anything to do with each other. But every single episode has a moment, often just a few lines, that mark it as happening after the previous episode. This week, it's Quinn being kicked out of Cheerios. I get the need to tell the story as one continuous arc — it's easier for the viewer to keep track of everyone's relationships if we don't have to worry about whether today's events happened before or after the stuff we saw last week — but you have to account for the fact that time always moves forward. You can't just have everyone be a junior again for the second season.
Obviously, I'm more into the date-continuity issues of this show than most folks, but what really bothers me about them is how easy they would have been to avoid. If you don't say that the football team is 0-6, you can still claim it's early September. "Sectionals are in two weeks" was part of a throwaway line meant to show us that the kids weren't focusing, but details like that are exactly the sort of thing writers need to pay attention to. If you say "two weeks," you've committed yourself to a date, and that's a problem four episodes down the road, when you've had a month's worth of subplot, and still four more episodes until the actual competition.
And that's what you missed on Glee. Join us next week, as we'll find out whether women throw themselves at Will in spite of his v-neck cardigan/skinny tie ensembles, or because of them.