Tue 3 Jul 2012
I like the storylines.
I like the songs.
I like the underdog factor.
I like the romance.
In fact, this may be the first time I’ve ever said anything critical about the show. So pardon me, but …
I just don’t see the point of Sugar Motta.
I’ve got nothing against actress Vanessa Lengies, who portrays Sugar. She seems very likable. And Sugar herself could have been a pivotal character.
So, I guess my complaint is more directed to the writers. Because here’s how it played out:
- Sugar Motta shows up after a food fight, says she’s the best singer in the school.
- She auditions and is hideously horrible.
- Mr. Shuester tries to let her down easily.
- She doesn’t buy it, saying, “I worked that song like a hooker pole.”
- Her wealthy father pays to create a glee club molded around Sugar to trample New Directions.
- But then, Santana, Brittany and Mercedes defect to the new club and Sugar disappears.
Sure, she’s still technically around.
You’d see her for a millisecond here or there when the camera panned the second glee club. And then, when the two clubs merged, as you knew they would, Sugar came along. And there was no mention about her wanting to be the star, no word on whether she had suddenly somehow learned to sing, no complaints from her father, no anything. Just the occasional brief appearance in background of the choir room. (It was enough to make you wonder why Glee even kept Lengies under contract to do essentially nothing.)
Until Valentine’s Day where Sugar got her own episode and had Artie and Rory unexpectedly fight for the right to date her. And then, after that, she basically disappeared again and the storyline was dropped.
I have no idea if Sugar Motta will grace the halls of William McKinley High in Season 4 of Glee. But a good librarian is always prepared, and just in case she does, I have the book I’d recommend she read — Harmonic Feedback (Henry Holt and Company, 2010) by Tara Kelly.
Why? Because of a few comments Sugar made in her first episode.
She’d say something rude and then say, “Sorry! Self-diagnosed Asperger’s!” This seemed like a reference to Asperger’s Syndrome, an autism spectrum disorder. People with Asperger’s sometimes have difficulty with social interaction. Sugar, however, seemed to feel that saying she might have this condition gave her license to say whatever she wanted with no repercussions.
So I think Sugar might benefit from meeting Drea, the main character of this book. Drea, who’s 16, has been officially diagnosed with “a touch of Asperger’s.” Drea knows she’s different than other people and tries to blend in and lurk in the background. She’s wary of making friends because she hasn’t always interpreted their behavior correctly and history has taught her that once other teens discover she’s different, they don’t hang around her anymore.
And while Drea would like to have friends, she’s not always sure they’re worth the effort.
Drea has a hard life in other ways, too.
Her mom has just moved her to yet another town for a new beginning. Money is tight, so they’re staying with Drea’s grandmother, who is a horrible cook and has very particular ideas about how Drea should behave.
Drea starts making friends with Naomi. Drea doesn’t say she has Asperger’s Syndrome and works hard to blend in. Naomi treats Drea like anyone else, although she’s sometimes confused by her.
Meanwhile, Drea is equally fascinated by and worried about Naomi. Naomi has a beautiful voice and wants to form a band with Drea. (Drea builds band equipment and generates computerized music tracks.) But Naomi is also experimenting with drugs and dating a dude she probably shouldn’t be.
Drea gets caught up in Naomi’s world but is scared to do many of the things Naomi does. She also meets Justin, a boy with a past who seems to understand her too. As the school year progresses, Drea realizes she can connect with other people, but she cannot save them from themselves.
In the brief time we’ve seen Sugar, she seems pretty self-absorbed and clueless about how she comes across — and a bit too willing to use her father’s money to get what she wants. Meeting Drea — who has no money and some challenges — might help Sugar realize that she leads a pretty sheltered life and has no idea what it’s like to struggle.
And in case Sugar wanted to understand her classmates a little better, here are some other books I’ve recommended to Glee characters:
- Wade Adams – Putting Makeup on the Fat Boy by Bil Wright.
- Mike Chang – Good Enough by Paula Yoo.
- Artie Abrams – Accidents of Nature by Harriet McBryde Johnson.
- Noah Puckerman - So Punk Rock (And Other Ways to Disappoint Your Mother) by Micol Ostow.
- Brittany Pierce – Five Flavors of Dumb by Antony John.
- Mercedes Jones – Dramarama by E. Lockhart.
- Tina Cohen-Chang – My Not-So-Still Life by Liz Gallagher.
- Santana Lopez – Sister Mischief by Laura Goode.
- Blaine Anderson – Pitch Perfect by Mickey Rapkin.
- Finn Hudson – Struts & Frets by Jon Skovron.
- Sam Evans – Guitar Boy by MJ Auch.
- Quinn Fabray – Beauty Queens by Libba Bray.
- David Karofsky – Dairy Queen and The Off Season both by Catherine Gilbert Murdock.
- Rachel Berry – Theater Geek by Mickey Rapkin.
- Kurt Hummel – Boy Meets Boy by David Levithan.