Glee: The only word you need to send any straight member of the male sex running in the opposite direction. Or a surprising number of our peers, really. I don’t get it: “Glee” is an award-winning show! Why is it that whenever I mention my undeniable love of “Glee” to someone who doesn’t watch it, they give me a look of secondhand embarrassment and say, “So how ’bout that sky today…”? Sigh. It’s the singing, isn’t it?

Just because some of us are secure enough to enjoy a little high school musical theater that is, admittedly, very, very silly at times, doesn’t mean we should be looked down upon like we’re hooked on “Pretty Wild” or something. Our show puts a different, interesting spin on the overdone “Degrassi”-style angst that everyone should appreciate and be proud of merely as breaking new ground in television dramedy, if nothing else. We should band together and show these uncultured fools what being a Gleek is all about!

…Why do I feel like I just got a slushie thrown in my face?

Unfortunately, when “Glee” returned on Tuesday, I know I wasn’t the only one who thought it was a letdown. Maybe it’s because my expectations were built too high during the FOUR-MONTH-LONG HIATUS the writers made us endure. But then again, Tuesday’s episode reminded me that “Glee” has not always been consistent, and often left me feeling disappointed.

My problem with “Glee” can be pinpointed like so: It has so, so many side characters that the writers are not exploiting to their phenomenally awesome potential. The episodes where the storyline doesn’t revolve around Finn-Quinn-Rachel-Schu-Sue (their names form a rhyming pattern — I rest my case) have been hands-down the best in the season. That momentary dive into Puck’s view of his Jewish heritage cracked me the fuck up. I loved Artie’s, Kurt’s and even Quinn’s personal drama and family issues. Why can’t we explore Mercedes’, Tina’s, Santana’s or Brittany’s lives? And for crying out loud, give the Other Asian a NAME and perhaps something besides dance moves. We’ve seen the writers do it, and they can do it well. Just keep it up.

Don’t get me wrong, there were many things I loved about this week’s eppy. Holy crap, was Idina fabulous. Sue? As hilarious as ever. Rachel’s new boyfriend? He could get it. Although, call me heartless, but I actually thought I might barf during their duet. Schuester? Hey, at least he didn’t rap. Oh, and the “Vogue” music video at the end definitely made the episode for me. Even though I talk all this crap, by next week, I’ll be squealing all over the place and dancing around my apartment singing all the “Glee” songs on my iPod. Uh. I mean. Who does that…?

So, “Glee,” even though I have some reservations now that you’re back, I’m sure you’ll find a way to make it up to me. Hint: When Puck sang “Sweet Caroline,” good god, my panties made a break for it.