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'Glee': Please don't stop the music


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)

LOVE this show! Coach Sue is full of HILARIOUS one-liners and totally makes the show.

I'm kind of shocked about parents being shocked of the sexual content...it takes place in a high school. This is not a far cry from real life...

And, the cast is full of powerful voices, so I'm not sure why there seemed to be so much lip synching going on. At least, it looked that way to me. Totally not necessary!

Glee is a great show. They've used such a wide variety of music, and often to help tell the story.
For those who watched with their 12 or 14 year old kids, their first high school dance (and high school in general) is going to be almost exactly like the show. Unless you plan on home schooling them or keeping them out of the sex-ed portions of science and health class, Glee is no worse than they're already exposed to at school. That said, it's on 9-10pm, they should be asleep!

T Stanton, im sorry to inform you that glee is a tv-14 show, so you took on the resonsibility of exposing your 12-year old daughter to it when you saw the box in the corner of the screen advising that this show was tv-14. im 16 myself and i find glee to be a fantastic and creative show created for teenagers and adults. it personally is my favorite show as of right now.

I found this show offensive, and not in any "South Park" redeeable way. All the woman are either man hating, manipulative, over-sensitive, harpies, or neurotic (read hysterical) wilting daisies. As for the Glee club we have the incredibly effeminate gay guy (would it kill a TV series to show a young gay guy who is both a musical theater queen and also not bedecked in make-up?) the sassy large African American woman who can sing like nobody's buisiness yet is not the lead singer, we have the jock with a heart of gold, the wheezy handicapped guy, and the "ugly" girl with a heart of gold, and by ugly I mean not blond.

As for the show's aesthetics, they're practically incomprehensible at one moment utilizing "Office esque" rack focus and zoooms, and then after delving into this verite style commencing the musical numbers in which everyone's voice sounds polished beyond any appreciable sense of authenticity. High School creativity is a beautiful thing, often pureer of heart and art then craft. This show which lacks both art and craft in execution, can only demean high school permorming arts to American Idol shallow precission sound. A show exploring the authentically moving art teenagers can create in a way that respects teenagers increasingly complex identities would be welcome, this show can keep the glee until I can get some satisfaction.

This show is a giant missed opportunity wrapped in a smelly blanket of hollywood character lazinesss.

Did all you disapproving parents even watch the show? You should watch that chastity club scene again, because if you think your teens aren't thinking that stuff, you are sadly mistaken and in for a rude awakening. It's on at 9 for a reason, but I would let my teen and preteens watch it with me. If you don't like some parts then you can coach on your families values then. That's the parents job.

Great show.

Just a note to people complaining about lip synching. These actors are trained stage performers. Matthew Morrison (aka the teacher) and Lea Michele (aka the lead, Rachel Berry) are both successful Broadway performers. They're not trained to lip synch, so it's not gonna be great.

And wow, so many people here in a tizzy about sex in the show. Loosen up. Sheesh.

p.s. I hate the wife. Ugh.

For those of you complaining about the stereotypes, I find myself wondering if you have ever been in high school. As a former GLEEk, those stereotypes are not only SPOT ON, but I can pick out my friends and enemies and myself.. and I'm 29. Will is so much much like my former choir teacher, from the nice arms, the amazing talent and moves, to the insecurities. The only difference is, Will is straight. And T? You are seriously out of touch if you don't know how much high schoolers (and middle school kids, unfortunately) are influenced by sex. I hope you get a clue before your kids reach that age. What are they doing up at 9 anyway? I had a strict 8 o'clock bed time when I was a kid.


A show about glee clubs and competitions is like Hogan's Heroes: it helps a lot if you weren't there.

But just taken on its own merits, this is just another "mix the tropes and stereotypes, throw in some semi-softcore and the mouth-breathers will love it.

Fox has defined their demographic, and knows how to please them. That's not a positive comment.

Latina.com did a review of the show with that same exact title yesterday?

Ok, So i loved this show! Anyone Glee club that can sing gold digger like that definitely has my vote. Love the plot, love the characters. The only thing is, i'm surprised this show isn't on later. It is a little inappropriate to be on as early as it is. And i'm not one that is offended by much, but if i had a younger son or daughter, i definitely would not want them watching this. But overall, I LOVE IT!

One of my FAV shows ever :D
It's so amazing, I love the song, dance, and overall concept of the show!
It's funny, and it's definitely a must see every single week! ♥ ♥ ♥

T Stanton- You expected a FOX show, airing at 9/8 p.m., with a PG-13 rating, made by the creators of Nip/Tuck, to be appropriate for your children?! Next time, do your research.

I thought it was awesome. The Finn and Rachel kiss seemed to happen a little too soon, but I have faith in the writers. Can't wait for next week!

Er, T. The producer is Ryan Murphy who is not known for his family-oriented shows. It'll definitely get raunchier, even if it's on the sly like 'Popular' was and not as sexual as Nip/Tuck

Loved it. Laughed so hard it hurt.

It was a weekly must see for me since the pilot aired! The second episode was just as good, if not better than the pilot. I can't wait to see what they have in store for the rest of the season. I threw a premiere party last night and many times the crowd was cheering and clapping at the TV.

For all intents and purposes, the show was advertised as a "family" show. Judged soley on the ads, it's not hard to see why some parents might have thought it was a "high school muscial" clone.

Stoner comedies and brainless sex romps are dime a dozen in mainstream cinema. Americans are so hooked up on sex and violence, it's not even funny. A famiy show can be a dreadful bore, but if the writing is sharp like "King of the Hills", it'll be a hit.

This show sucks. YES, it was marketed as a family show, and NO, it's not appropriate for anyone under the age of 99. They pushed every tacky stereotype to the extreme, the cast is precocious and obnoxious, and despite some clever use of music, the whole thing is just an ill-choreographed mess. PLEASE end this awful show.

There's a typo in this show's title. I'm sure they meant to call it "Flee." That's what viewers should do, is flee this terrible, family-unfriendly farce. Who staged these music numbers, Helen Keller? Who directed this stiff acting, Steven Hawkins? Who wrote this tripe, Dick Chaney? $3 million an episode? Someone's pocketing a lot of spare change 'cuase it 'aint on the screen. This is no Fame, it's Lame.

I'm not a musical fan, not a teen dramady fan. But I'm ready for more. More music in the episode, more episodes (finally!). And the secondary kicker - character Sue Sylvester (Jane Lynch) really makes this show work.

Somewhere out there in L.A., people are letting the good stuff on TV: Mad Men, Glee... lets hope there's more experimenting with the fall season this year.

We usually talk about television shows hitting their sophomore slump in the second season. With GLEE, that sophomore slump hit hard in the second EPISODE. It's like the entire cast, crew and all the writers went on summer break, came back and tried way, way too hard to catch up on the first day of school. All the organic chemistry, charm and inspiration from the pilot episode vanished. The talent and the elements are all still there, but they're buried in too many subplots and crazy-fast pacing that had so much happening by the end of the episode that I have to wonder what is possibly left to explore after last night. What's worse is that the rousing, chill-inducing "Don't Stop Believing" musical number from the pilot - so pitch and tone perfect for the moment - gave way to some really idiotic musical numbers last night. Yeah, "Golddigger" was a bold choice, but it made no sense at all in the show, not even as a reference to Will's shrew wife (how can she be a gold digger if she married a teacher?). "Push It" made no sense either - that was the best sex me up song the show could find? And the kids thought "Le Freak" was old??? And sorry, but tacking on "Take a Bow" at the last minute felt like a cheap ploy to play to the teen demographic. Again, the song really didn't make sense based on ONE kiss.

If this show is going to work at all, it needs to slow down and focus on making these characters real. What made GLEE work in the first place was that it didn't treat its characters likes cliches or cartoons, that is, until last night. And what really made GLEE stand out was how the music helped tell the story. When those kids sang "Don't Stop Believing" at the end of the pilot, it made the hair on my arms stand up, and it made me remember just how the right song at the right time in high school got me through some tough moments. It was a little piece of tv magic. But last night, in spite of trying way too hard, there was no rabbit to pull out of the hat.

Get back on track GLEE. You have the potential to break ground and really be something special. Go back to that first episode and watch it again. See what made us fall in love with you, and recapture that energy. Otherwise, you'll be another one-hit wonder on its way to cancellation.

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