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'Glee': Please don't stop the music

Glee

After four long months that left us feeling like Fox was nearly as big a tease as celibacy-queen Quinn, “Glee” returned to the network’s schedule Wednesday night with an episode that admirably lived up to the promise of its pilot (and even most of the ensuing hype). Now that’s something to sing about!

To refresh, in the pilot, earnestly hot Spanish teacher Will Schuester (Matthew Morrison) committed to coaching William McKinley High’s woeful glee club. Last night, he faced the first of what will surely be many hurdles in his mission to transform the underdog band of misfits into respected show-choir champs: Rounding out the 12 students needed to qualify for the regional competition.

After all, as cheer coach Sue Sylvester (Jane Lynch, an ace with the one-liners) was quick to remind him in an early scene, he only had “5 ½ [counting the] cripple in the wheelchair.” Between downing iron supplements and lifting weights, TV’s new health-conscious villain offered Will a highlighted list of special-ed students -- the only ones, she taunted, who might be interested in joining his sorry little group -- before suggesting he face the music and do to glee club what she did to her rich, elderly mother: euthanize. (Could this woman be any nastier? Or hilarious?)

Will wondered aloud if his colleague was threatening him. More like threatened by. Undeterred, Will unveiled his big plan to attract new recruits during that day’s rehearsal: have the glee clubbers already on board wow the student body with a performance of Chic’s “Le Freak” at the upcoming pep assembly. The song’s a crowd pleaser, he insisted, not to mention the one his show choir performed when they won the ’93 nationals. But to the kids, the song was just plain old. They wanted something cooler. Something less likely to leave them humiliated (again). Something like a little Kanye.

The group’s high-energy take on “Gold Digger” was definitely a highlight. Singing the a capella intro, Mercedes (Amber Riley) blew it out the box, as Randy Jackson likes to say. But an even bigger treat was Mr. Will Schuester. Have you ever seen an Ohio teacher rap like that? It was all so joyous and infectious, and made a TV-comedy musical from envelope-pushing producer Ryan Murphy seem easy, like the most natural of endeavors -- not one of the biggest risks of the new fall season. (And we haven’t even gotten to the raunch-tastic “Push It” yet.)

Kanye tied in nicely with the subplot about Will’s whiny wife, Terri (Jessalyn Gilsig) -- the kind of girl who, upon hearing her modestly paid hubby has news, responds with, “A wealthy relative died?” Believing she was pregnant, the cheerleader-turned-Sheets ‘N’ Things assistant manager decided she didn’t want to settle for turning the apartment’s craft room into a nursery; she wanted a house. And not a cheaper house like the nine foreclosing on their street. She’s not into raising a baby in a “used home,” she sniffed. “They’re not clean.” So, after Sunday brunch with her similarly entitled sister — who hilariously told Terri, “That craft room is the only thing that’s gonna keep you from going all Susan Smith on that little angel” — the expecting parents went looking at homes with banisters built by Ecuadorian kids.

Terri decided she was willing to give up the sun nook in the kitchen but not the grand foyer with the polished door handles, though having to choose between the two amounted, she said, to “my very own Sophie’s choice.” Will, being the upstanding guy that he is, decided he’d do whatever necessary — even work extra hours at the school as a night janitor for half the pay — to afford his wife’s dream. Of course, this led to more time spent with Emma (Jayma Mays), the germaphobic guidance counselor with such a big crush on Will that she’d help him disinfect classrooms.

After learning where Emma’s OCD behavior stemmed from — as a kid, her brother pushed her into a waste-filled lagoon at a dairy farm — Will dirtied up her immaculate face with a little chalk to the nose, then tenderly wiped it off. Is there any doubt already that these two are meant for each other, especially now that we know Terri isn’t really preggers? And that, instead of coming clean with her husband, she chose to butter him up with a homemade chicken pot pie and tell him she’s expecting a boy? Not that the woman doesn’t have a bit of a conscience: She did give up pushing for the house which, for her, must’ve been like Sophie’s Choice: The Sequel.

The students were struggling in the love department too. Wanting to be thinner and prettier — and especially noticed by singing quarterback Finn (Cory Monteith), Rachel (Lea Michele) — glee club’s overly ambitious and ridiculously talented star vocalist — tried throwing up in a bathroom stall but was dismayed to find she didn’t have a gag reflex. “One day when you’re older, that’ll turn out to be a gift,” Emma slyly told her before suggesting Rachel skip the bulimia altogether and instead find some common interests to explore with Finn.

Printing up glee club recruitment flyers on the Cheerio cheer club’s Xerox didn’t go over well with Sue (does anything?), so Rachel opted for a celibacy club meeting, headed up by cheerleader — and Finn girlfriend— Quinn (Dianna Agron). “God bless the perv that invented these,” Rachel’s own personal mean girl said as a fellow cheerleader twirled around the classroom in her Cheerios skirt. (Another Quinn zinger that hit the comic bullseye: “Remember the power motto, girls — it’s all about the teasing and not about the pleasing.”) Finn wouldn’t seem to be a big fan of the power motto, seeing as he has, er, a hard time not “erupting early,” except when he thinks of the time he ran over the postman while practicing to get his driver’s permit. (Here’s hoping the poor mail carrier, who’s fate was left unclear, survived.)

Turns out, sex is all over Rachel’s mind, too, and she actually had the audacity to say so to the celibacy club, which she labeled a joke -- a move that ultimately earned her some makeout goodness with Finn and served as the inspiration for glee club’s rendition of Salt n Pepa’s “Push It” at the assembly. Naturally, Will was upset his wily students went behind his back and ditched his outdated disco pick. But the students ate the performance up, as did the principal, who proclaimed he hadn’t seen the student body this excited since Tiffany performed at the North Hills mall.

Still, he had angry parents to deal with so he insisted that, from now on, the glee club only perform good, clean (often Christian) songs. Now that was something Quinn could get behind! Especially since she sensed she could use more time with her suddenly distracted boyfriend. So she auditioned for glee club — singing surprisingly well — and, just like that, she and two fellow Cheerios were in and serving as Sue’s spies to help bring the group down. Dee-licious! The news that Will was giving a solo to Quinn, though, rocked Rachel. Rocked her all the way to a mournful episode-closing performance of Rihanna’s “Take a Bow.” “It’s over now,” she sang again and again.

But, thankfully, “Glee” has just begun. What did you think of the episode? Did it live up to the pilot? And is “Glee” now one of your weekly must-see’s?

–Shawna Malcom

Photo courtesy Fox

 
Comments () | Archives (144)

Glee is great fun. More 80's rock please!

After months of hyping this show, I was so excited to watch and to share it with my 12 year old daughter who loves musical theater. I thought this was going to be a perfect family show that 3 children would enjoy. I am appalled that there was SO MUCH sex in this episode! Grinding?? With only a balloon separating the kids?? I had to keep turning the channel because it was SO inappropriate for my children. I was embarrassed that there was so much sex in this supposed family show. I am still undecided whether to continue watching. I love the concept. I love song and dance. The cast is very talented. This is such a huge disappointment.

This will undoubtedly be my favorite new show of the season. It's funny without trying too hard, and even the somewhat cheesy scenes are acceptable; with a show revolving around a glee club, there's bound to be a little camp.

Cast is perfect too. What a quirky mix of kids!

Nice review! :)

This show is amazing. The pilot for me was shaky, but most pilots usually are. The second episode was amazing and everything about the show is perfect...so far. You've got comedy and music coming together in way that just fits so well.

Now about Will's wife she may be whiny, but she may also be a bit dumb. I mean asking the doctor if the baby "fell out". Its just too funny. With stupidity comes laughter, so Im all for it.

it's a must see now. i'm obsessed, downloaded all the glee songs. love it. won't miss an episode

"And is "Glee" now one of your weekly must-sees?"

More like "lifetime" must-sees! YES!

I can't remember the last time I laughed so hard. I love this show and Coach Sue and her one liner are terrific.

I thought it was hilarious, it had such high energy and who doesnt love musicals!

Loved it!! Its set in my TIVO!! It was soooooo inappropriate but sooooo on time. Im a GLEEKSTER!!

I loved it, thought it was very funny...especially the postman getting hit by the car...didn't expect that....
I will definetely keep watching.

I was a little concerned they were moving too fast, (The whole school already loves Glee Club? Rachel and Finn making out? Will and Emma already falling in love?), but by the end of the show, I felt comfertable enough that they put the brakes on all of that. Shows like this thrive on teasing the viewer with what they want for the characters, not giving it all to them in the second episode. Can't wait to see where it goes from here, excellent show so far!

I love the show, but Will's wife's character is terrible. She's dumb, deceitful, and annoying every time she's on screen. She distracts from the plot instead of adding to it. I sincerely hope they pull a Nip/Tuck and kill her off, because I'm considering not watching the show just because of her.

Hated it. There was something in the pilot that seems absent now -- it's just all cartoony and cliche.

I LOVED the show. Great review also. Coach Sue is hilarious. And the student telling Emma and Will to "get a room" with Will oblivious to the situation was perfect. It's "must see" for me. One question to another post-er, why is your 12 year old staying up until 10 p.m. on a school night? Maybe you could dvr the show and skip the parts you don't like while watching with her the next day.

I love the show, with the exception of the fact that Fox always edits out all subtleties and good writing and assumes that audiences are stupid. I know writers who have worked on Fox shows before, and they prefer to beat the audience over the head with stereotypes, rather than allow their writers to be creative. I think they need to fine tune the characters, instead of just giving us, the jock, the cheerleader, the geek, the gay kid, the black girl, the shrewish wife, the mousy girlfriend, etc. In fact, they haven't really given Will much of a character at all. And as somebody already commented, the role of his wife definitely needs to go, as it is obnoxious, and not like a real person at all, just a ridiculous stereotype. If those changes could be made, this show could have the potential to be great; however, I don't put much faith into a network that ruins everything it gets its hands on...

Hey T. Stanton...

IT'S ON FOX...what did you expect?

I love this show! I am so torn now. Usually my Wednesday night, 9pm TV time is spent watching Criminal Minds, but now, I think that I am going to have to watch Glee and just watch Criminal Minds the next day at Hulu.com. (Which by the way, also carries episodes of "glee.".)

Last night was hilarious!! I love the Cheerios coach!! I can't stop laughing at the character!!

But I agree with a previous poster, Will's wife, is a major annoyance. I understand the set up (that she's all wrong for him and the other teacher is all right for him), but the character really distracts from the show. I think she would have been easier to swallow as a "girlfriend" character instead of a wife. So far, she seems to be his exact opposite and not in a good, fun way.

I do hope they get rid of that character somehow. (Maybe she leaves Will for a richer, more influential man...or maybe just a richer, used car dealer type. And that sets up the segway for the new relationship between he and Emma.)

I truly hope that the baby/not really pregnant angle isn't dragged out.

But even so, LOVE THE SHOW!!!!

Can't wait for more....as a matter of fact, I'm heading to Hulu right now to watch it again. :-) Go Glee!!

And....LOVED the Kanye song scene!!!
Who knew the teacher had it in him?
I was so surprised I started to clap!!! LOL
The boy's got moves!!!

I thought the mix was really interesting with each character having such promise and such room to grow. However, the in-your-face raunch, I guess to cover the campy candy that is glee club, really went too far for the storyline. When you are more explicit and less sophisticated in your use of sex or sexual tension than gossip girl, 90210 or melrose place, you are using it simply as a copout for bad writing and unpolished ideas. What a disappointment. Can you imagine if every episode is this blatant? The characters and story all take a backseat to voyeurism. That would be a shame when the show has such potential. Here's hoping they can pull back and actually write a little more intelligently.

Jane Lynch is what makes the show. The students are almost unwatchable (self-centered, painfully aware, and then a bunch of nonentities that haven't been allowed to develop beyond the most basic of stereotypes). The singing is so clearly lip-synced as to be distracting, and its power is all lung, no heart.

The problem is that there's not enough Jane Lynch. She outclasses and outperforms everyone else; I'm clearly not supposed be on her side, because she's the villain, but who's side am I supposed to be on? Certainly not the idealistic but spineless teacher who hasn't noticed that his girlfriend is catastrophically narcissistic.

So I'm done.

 
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