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  • Writer's pictureBreanna Crossman

What’s it Like to Make Bad Decisions and Face Zero Consequences: Rachel Berry By Danna Taboada

If you were a teen with cable in the early 2010s, you probably stumbled upon a show called 

Glee on Fox. It was a musical comedy-drama television series that focused on a group of high 

school students who sang and danced, led by a teacher with failed dreams.  

Glee quickly became one of the most popular shows amongst the youth as their songs topped 

the billboard charts and the show would go on to win awards such as Emmy and Golden Globe Awards. It allowed their audience to feel noticed and heard as members of the glee club dealt with social issues such as sexuality, race, family, and much more. 

Despite the show’s great success, there were multiple things the show’s audience did not find favorable. One of these things being the treatment of Rachel Berry, the show’s main character. From the moment Rachel appears on screen for the first time, she is seen as a driven and motivated student. Someone who will do whatever it takes to achieve her goals. Someone who will let absolutely no one stand in her way. And while ambition can be helpful, too much can do much damage. Throughout Rachel’s time as a student at the fictional McKinley High School, she believes she’s above everybody else because of her powerful and angelic voice. Yes, her voice is one of a kind but it was no excuse to go around treating everyone poorly. Throughout the first three seasons, Rachel belittles and sabotages her members. She throws a fit when a solo isn’t given to her (she got a teacher fired because of it!), practically kicks Mr. Shuester (the teacher leading the club) out as a choreographer, and sends a new student to a crackhouse simply because of her talented voice. And you’d probably think “Wow! I’m assuming she’s been kicked out of this club by now or faced any sort of punishment for her actions to allow her character to grow?” Nope. Rachel somehow manages to get her spotlight, no matter what. 

“Why is that no one ever wants to hurt her feelings?” - Mercedes Jones, 3x03 

Then, season four comes around. Rachel Berry now attends the prestigious NYADA, the New York Academy of Dramatic Arts. She’s met with tons of other Rachel Berrys. She’s now surrounded by tons and tons of students who want that moment on stage just as much as she does. Her dance teacher’s rough, picking at her whenever she can. But does she change? Does Rachel Berry finally learn to be appreciative of her opportunities? I wish I could say yes. Once Rachel gets the lead on a Broadway show as a freshman, her life begins to crumble. She begins to prioritize her performances over her education. She begins to take on as many opportunities as she can such as an audition for a television show, causing her to miss one of her shows and getting into major trouble with the director. Rachel is given the chance to star in her own television show which she agrees to. Unfortunately, the show quickly became known as one of the worst shows aired on television. Oh, and NYADA? Yeah, Rachel ends up deciding to drop out. 

“This is about you deciding. Are you a part of this community? Do you want to get your degree? Do you care about your work? Or is it just about the spotlight?” - Carmen Tibideaux, 5x15 

All seems lost for Rachel as the final season of Glee begins. She’s back home, confused on where to go next. The final season centers around a completely different group of students at McKinley High, where the glee club no longer exists. But now that Rachel’s home, she makes it her goal to revive this club that had brought her so much joy when she was in high school. As she does her best to rebuild what had been lost, Rachel’s character finally matures. All it took was for her to lose everything she had wanted and start back at square one. Rachel, by the end of the season, gets back up on her feet, getting a second chance at NYADA and returning to the Broadway stage once more. 

While it’s nice to see this character development occur, it’s a bit odd to see this all play out. Rachel Berry was someone incredibly rude to most of the club members yet faced little to no consequences for her actions. Despite everything negative Rachel has done, she still ends up on top. So, does being a bad person mean you get good things? I don’t think so but that’s 

what this show and the character of Rachel Berry seems to say.

Danna Taboada (she/her) is a sixteen-year-old writer from New York. She loves listening to music of any genre, dancing, spending time with her family and friends, reading, and writing. She plans on majoring in Creative Writing in the future.

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