For the past few months, specifically, TikTok users have been revisiting the breakout Ryan Murphy show, which ran for six seasons from 2009 to 2015. On the surface, it's a story about underdogs in a high school glee club who band together and find success through music and community. Upon a rewatch, though, it's actually a downright bonkers series with extreme dialogue, incomprehensible plotlines, and enough cancel-worthy moments that it's hard to believe we let it air for so long. But thank God we did, because these twisted storylines led to two of the greatest characters in TV history: Sue Sylvester (Jane Lynch) and Santana Lopez (Naya Rivera).
To a casual Glee viewer, you may think that was a typo. Almost immediately, Sue, the cheerleading coach, and Santana, one of the cheerleaders, are established as the two main villains at McKinley High. But TikTokers don't see it that way. As everyone in the show was twerking underage, diving into pools while in wheelchairs, and worshipping grilled cheeses, Sue and Santana were perhaps the only ones that stopped the show from going completely off the rails by providing harsh and linguistically-impressive reality checks.
Here's Sue calling out Spanish teacher and Glee Club director Mr. Schue (Matthew Morrison) for instructing his 16-year-old students to perform and dance to sexual music.
In fact, Mr. Schue being creepy is one of the biggest takeaways from the recent TikTok rewatch:
Which is why this Sue Sylvester insult now just hits different:
And that's how this once-villain started topping everyone's favourite character lists.
But not far behind Sue is Santana. There's no way around it: Santana starts out horrible. Her insults are racist, sexist, homophobic, crass, inconsiderate, and, at the same time, somehow the most enjoyable parts of the show. It goes against everything I stand for, but her ability to artfully construct takedowns so cutting that *I* feel like packing up and and moving across state lines, has never been seen in another character on television since.
In comparison, all other characters seem tame.
With all seasons of the series currently available on Netflix, it's worth revisiting the show's latent genius. While watching four days straight of 2010s television won't do anything to stop coronavirus, it's worth a try — if there were ever two people who could vanquish a pandemic with just a monologue, it's Sue and Santana.