We Need To Talk About Rachel’s Story Arc In Glee Season Five

Really? We’re doing this again?

I swear to God I don’t hate Rachel Berry or Lea Michele.

I respect Lea: her strength, her courage, her dedication to her job, and her willingness to wake up everyday and do what she does. I respect her talent as an actress and as a singer. I have nothing but respect for her in a professional capacity as someone who writes about Glee for a living.

I was a huge Rachel fan in season one. She was funny and ambitious and kind of socially awkward. She was the underdog. Even though she’s, you know, not real, I still felt for her early in season five. I’m not without sympathy or empathy here folks. I wasn’t going call out her character and be a bitch.

So why does Rachel keep appearing on this blog again and again in a negative capacity? I’m not trying to bash a character. I don’t believe in character bashing. I’m trying to use my degree in English to figure out her as a character. We, at least, learn that much with the degree.

Remember waaay back last year? When I talked about Rachel and Funny Girl? Remember why I said that it was a stupid idea?

I feel validated. I feel so much validation that I could sing.

Ever since season one, we have heard one thing from Rachel.


Fifth verse same as the first.

Every single person who has ever watched Glee knew one thing: Rachel Berry was going to be on Broadway.

That. That was something that was never, ever up for debate. She was going to end up on the Great White Way one day. Everyone in the audience knew it. She was going to be a Broadway star. No one ever questioned that.

Why? Because that was her one character motivation that never changed, never shifted, never deviated. In a show like Glee, where things can change on the whim of the writers, this was one of our few rocks in the storm.

In “Opening Night” (season five episode seventeen), she did! Rachel had arrived. She starred in her dream role in her dream production on Broadway to critical rave reviews and audience adoration. Don’t listen to those mean people on the Internet, Rachel. They don’t know what they’re talking about because they are stupid and wrong.

The thing is, and this is a very big thing, when you have a season left. Where do you go from having her achieve her dreams?

That, in and of itself, was the core issue I had with this whole Funny Girl plot. We should have gotten this plot started at the end of season five and had “Opening Night” in season six. We should have ended the show on achieving her success on Broadway. She would have reached her dream and that, as a fan, would have been so satisfying to see.

Instead, what we get is IMMEDIATELY in the next episode “Broadway is so totally boring. I’m gonna be on TV.”

And the whole of fandom, immediately wanted to do this.

Gif: Tumblr

Okay. So I, at least, did. Man this is satisfying to watch.

And it’s not like that there are actors who make the transition from Broadway to either TV or film. Hell, the cast has plenty of those: Lea Michele, Matthew Morrison, Kristen Chenoweth, Jonathan Groff…they were all on Broadway and went onto TV/film.

But see here’s the issue, they did this after YEARS of working to get where they are in the theater. All of them have Tony nominations or actual Tony awards. They all worked hard and did their best to get their success.

And what happens with Rachel? She plays Fanny Brice, her dream role (as we are told multiple times), for about a month or something and she’s BORED with it.


Like what the actual fuck.

The thing about Live Theater is that you need to bring something new to the performance every night. You need to find the joy in performing. You need to love it. You are up there and every performance is special.

This whole thing only shows to me that Rachel is not mature enough for this. She was never mature enough for this. After the critic made such a big such a big deal in his review about how amazingly perfect Rachel is in the role, do you know what audiences are going to want to see? Her! They will want to see her. Plus she is also under contract for a certain number of shows to perform in.

Goddammit writers. They have people who have done this on set to ask questions. It doesn’t have to be hard.

Also in “The Back-Up Plan”, after Santana saved Rachel’s ass, the producer rightfully chewed her out and showed that it’s your attitude that makes you on Broadway. How many roles do you think she will get after this one? She will get some but there won’t be as many. The theater community is small and insular and if you fuck up bigtime then you become Cassie July.

But instead of you know actually exploring that of Rachel having to toe the line and be careful, you know maybe actually learn something, she immediately gets her own freaking television pilot.

Which is then picked up by FOX.

Wow Rachel way to fulfill the dream you suddenly have after three episodes.

This is where they have lost me with this plot. Rather then have her fail at getting a role, she gets her dream part on her dream show and all her career dreams come true. Then she loses interest in this supposed lifelong dream?

Where is the challenge? Where is Rachel struggling for her art? Where is the learning here that no everything is not always going to come true? It cheapens the story and insults what fans are still watching the show.

It would have been so much more rewarding to have seen her get the part of Fanny in late season five, after everything she has been through regarding her losing Finn. It would have been a much better end to the show to have her perform on Broadway for the first time and after six years getting the one thing that she has always consistently wanted.

This is what pisses me off about Rachel.

They’ve turned her into a fame obsessed person. She doesn’t care about the art. She just wants to be bigger then the Beatles. She wants her TV show and her successful Broadway career. She doesn’t care what she has to do and who she has to hurt in order to get it. The lessons never stick. She always has to learn the same lesson about fame not being the only thing in the world and to follow her dreams.

Well what do you do with a person who doesn’t seem to even have a dream anymore outside of being super famous on her own LA TV show guys. Her name will be practically mud in the Broadway community. If this pilot fails, then she can’t go back to New York. She won’t be able to get any work except in dinner theater. So she has to keep on succeeding because otherwise she will be back at square negative ten.

And it’s a damn shame that had to happen. It’s a damn shame because I might not like Rachel. I always respected the fact that she had a dream and the drive to go after it. As someone who is trying to make her own seemingly impossible dream happen, I can relate.

But this? This is just terrible. It’s a horrible message and it takes away from one of the core messages of the show. Which is to work to achieve a dream, even if you don’t know what it is. And Rachel is squandering away a once in a lifetime opportunity that makes me want for her to fail and fail hard.

I hate being that type of fan, too.

So that’s my piece on the subject. Naturally season six (when we are not in McKinley) will be about Rachel’s super successful film and television career despite the fact that she has a terrible attitude of boredom to her supposed dreams when she gets them.

Next time, I’m going to do a happy piece. This just depressed me.

NEXT ON THE GLEE REWATCH PROJECT: I celebrate the beginning of my grad school journey by doing a list of the best songs in season five.

Follow Me: @GleeRewatch for the latest updates. If you want there is always my personal account if you want to hear my daily dose of random babbling! I also write for PopMythology. I no longer write for PopWrapped. If you want my glee-caps or to see anything else I write then check out 4YE (4 Your Excitement) where I am a Senior Editor. Here is my Glee recap for “The Untitled Rachel Berry Project“.

We’re also looking for writers. So if you’re interested then email:  apply@4ye.co.uk

Credits: Glee Wikia
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