'Glee': FOX may have a hit on its hands
With tonight's official "Glee" premiere, the much-buzzed-about (i.e. heavily advertised) show made a long-awaited second appearance after a preview of the "Glee" pilot episode last spring. And I gotta say, it surprised me. Amidst the teen drama, overproduced songs, and cartoonish characters - all of which I love, by the way - there's some serious funny going on. It may sound odd, but while I always expected to enjoy the show, I didn't necessarily expect it to have me laughing out loud, sometimes with surprisingly edgy jokes.
We pick up where we left off: five high school outcasts and one football player are trying to make glee club (very accurately dubbed "the Island of Misfit Toys" by Sue, the cheerleading coach) into something less than a social death sentence; Sue is still hating on the whole endeavor; Will is being freakishly optimistic; and Emma is painfully in love with Will.
Since show choirs need 12 members to compete in regionals, Will books the kids to perform "Le Freak" at a school assembly for recruitment purposes. They stage a coup and perform a highly sexualized "Push It" instead of the suicidal disco number, landing glee club in a bit of hot water but exponentially increasing its popularity. Their first new recruits, however, aren't in it for the singing. Finn's celibate cheerleader girlfriend Quinn and two of her Cheerio friends become gleeks in order to keep tabs on Finn and Rachel, and to spy on glee club for Sue.
Rachel is still hopelessly devoted to Finn, and when she impresses him with her singing and with her pro-contraceptive outburst at the celibacy club, they share a sweet kiss that's interrupted by Finn's...um...overexcitement. When he runs out, she clearly thinks it's something she did wrong. After Quinn joins glee club and it appears that Finn won't be kissing Rachel again any time soon, she and the glee gals treat us to a heartfelt performance of "Take a Bow" by Rihanna. Aww.
Emma and Will's burgeoning relationship isn't going any better, unfortunately. When football coach and Emma-admirer Ken spies them sharing an adorable moment while working late-night, he gives Emma a talk about the dangers of chasing married soon-to-be-fathers, and she stops things with Will before they can really get going. Even though she's a little bit of a crazy-eyed stalker, I wish those two kids could work it out. Especially since Terri starts the episode as a pregnant psycho who insists that Will work as a night janitor so that they can buy an unnecessarily fancy house that they can't afford, and ends the episode as a fake-pregnant psycho (yes, it's a hysterical pregnancy) who pretends she wants to compromise by renovating their current apartment and working on their relationship. Wow.
Overall, I think "Glee" is exactly what we need these days. It's sweet, it's funny, it's entertaining, and though it kept things real by mentioning foreclosures in passing, it's generally a pretty great distraction from all things sad and unmusical.
The premiere episode used Jane Lynch much better than the pilot did - she's definitely the comedic backbone of "Glee". And as a Lea Michele fan since I saw her Off-Broadway in "Spring Awakening", I'm really happy to see how well she's transitioned to television. Her Rachel, rather than being a pure Tracy Flick clone, is sympathetic and relatable. And her voice is just bananas, of course. I'd like to see the other gleeks fleshed out a bit, but hey, that's just something we have to look forward to this season!
Odds and Ends:
- Will does a pretty solid job rapping "Gold Digger", I have to say. And the dancing is adorable!
- I really, really want to know if they made up that crazy balloon-humping exercise in celibacy club, or if it's based on something that actually exists in the real world.
- Terri is a little over-the-top awful. I'm hoping she'll develop a third dimension at some point, because right now it's hard to believe that anyone, even Will, would stay married to her.
- I think there's some sort of marketing potential for craft suppliers in the line about a craft room preventing new mothers from going "all Susan Smith on that little angel." Just something to ponder, Hobby Lobby.
- Just throwing this out there, but I feel like the singing is way unrealistically good. "I Say a Little Prayer" in particular didn't sound at ALL like those girls could be singing it. Perhaps the actresses did sing it, but it didn't seem plausible that three cheerleaders could throw that together. I get that you have to suspend belief a bit for this show to work, but I had a hard time with that number.
- "You do with your depressing little group of kids what I did with my wealthy, elderly mother: euthanize it." -Sue
- Sue calls the glee club's performance of "Push It" "...the most offensive thing I've seen in 20 years of teaching, and that includes an elementary school production of 'Hair'." Now that's offensive.
- "This is where our daughter or gay son will sleep!" -Terri, looking at a kid's room decorated princess-style in the model home.
- "Le Freak" -Chic, performed during rehearsal
- "Gold Digger" -Kanye West, performed during rehearsal
- "Push It" -Salt-N-Pepa, performed at assembly
- "I Say a Little Prayer" -Dionne Warwick, performed by Quinn and two other Cheerios at an audition
- "Take a Bow" -Rihanna, performed by Rachel and the glee club ladies
What did you think? Was it all you hoped it would be and more? Which song was your favorite performance?