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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)

While I don't think it lived up to the pilot, I don't see that as a negative. It was a great episode that set up so much stuff to come.

I'm definitely glad "Glee" is back and that I don't have to wait four months until the next episode, but in the musical numbers there was something disconcertingly slick and lip-synchy about all the over-dubbed vocals. I'd much rather hear them sing in the environments they're filmed in, rather than on re-recorded studio tracks.

I have to say: To those that are complaining about the "raunch" of the Push It assembly performance,...ummm..that was that WHOLE POINT! That it was too raunchy. That's why it was funny. And it lead to the glee club "leader" getting in trouble, because it was so over the top.

I'M A GLEEK and very proud of it!

I've waited for what seemed like forever for the premiere and now it's FINALLY here. This is definitely MY FAVORITE SHOW OF ALL TIME.

LOVED the "Gold Digger" part, hottie Will can definitely sing/rap. I want MORE of him. Will & Emma <3

The whole cast was awesome, Rachel sings so beautifully, and Quinn surprisingly did good on her audition.
Can't wait for more GLEEEEEEEEEEEEE. Watch your back Will, Sue and the Cheerios are planning to bring the club down ;p

I think I may love this show. It may depend a little too much on the superficial stereotypes of its characters right now, but I know that it's only the beginning of the season--character development tends to deepen as shows lengthen. What I DO love is how...good...it makes you feel. I love being able to watch something because it's fun and humorous and entertaining and original once in a while, instead of clicking off my TV and feeling drained from the drama I just watched. Kudos to the bubbly cast--especially Matthew Morrison, whose earnest, good-guy demeanor is SO refreshing.
With that said, I think some of the comments here are a little harsh on the people who were unpleasantly surprised by the sexuality in this last episode--"get over it"? "That's just how high school is"? "Stop being a prude--who told you to watch it with your kids"? Sure, high schoolers thoughts are fraught with ideas about sex, but I don't think the people with concerns about the content need to be hammered with backlash. Just because you KNOW about sex doesn't mean you want to be bombarded with it every other second--If people wanted to watch a show solely for sex, there are plenty of legitimate sex comedies out there. I personally don't care if the show packs in some romance , but I agree that the overt sexuality deters a lot from the direction of the show. My two cents. And please be adults, people.

"That was the most offensive thing I have seen in twenty-five years of teaching...and that includes an elementary adaptation of 'Hair'." LOL!

This show is amazing because it breathes life into a seemingly impossible situation: A grown-up version of High School Musical. With that series losing steam quickly, Glee takes the reigns of pure enjoyment: there just enough of that kind of "Oh my god, did she really say that?" humor to keep it interesting, powerful and ever-surprising music and vocals, and adorable quirkiness that leaves this teen on her knees in front of the television hoping they get together.

I have to say I wasn't sure how I felt the first time I watched the original episode because I was somewhat distracted during my viewing, but since I had recorded it, I decided to watch it again a week or so later. That viewing did confirm to me that it really was clever and could prove to be quite an entertaining show. Plus, I do love Jane Lynch in anything...

When the Director's cut came on last week I made my husband watch it with me and he agreed it was pretty funny. So we decided we were going to be watching this week. Last night, my husband, 16 yr. old Varsity Cheerleading daughter and myself watched episode two. We loved it. I had to rewind and rewatch the two dance sequences (Gold Digger & Push It) several times so I could laugh some more.

Yes, there were some gratuitous scenes, but this is not for the younger set. It appeals to the mid-high school and up age range. Frankly, I think I liked it even more than my daughter. Glee producers- don't change a thing. I'm loving it!

i really liked the first two episodes, but so much has happened within the episodes, i don't know if they'll be able to keep up with the story lines and make it intresting every episode

I was also very disappointed. The second episode alienates anyone who bought into the charm of the first one. Rachel's tirade encouraging sex among teens and that being the catalyst for her beau's interest is really degrading I think to everyone involved.

This show is not about music or singing as it portends to be, but about sex, infidelity, and touting the "virtues" of immorality.

Definitely not for anyone under 18, or anyone with taste.

"That was the most offensive thing I have seen in twenty-five years of teaching...and that includes an elementary adaptation of 'Hair'."

This line had me gasping for breath and laughing so hard that I was actually crying!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I just Love Ryan Murphy's take on life. Glee hits the spot.
Each character has his/her own weirdness locked down. Funny - and thank God - no laugh track!!! Won't miss an episode as I have dvr'd the entire season.

I agree with the first post from T. Stanton. I LOVED the pilot and was hoping for a continuation of a funny, somewhat irreverent look at high school and high school musical theater. This episode would have been much better if they had not taken the sex themes quite so far. It wasn't necessary and the show would have been fine without it. Seriously....the wonderful writing; the amazing cast and the fantastic singing will carry this show on to sucess --- without it having to go over the top. If this keeps up they will surely lose the younger audience segment/families. More Glee less sleeze.

The people who are concerned with the non-kid-friendly situations present in last night's episode of Glee must not be familiar with Ryan Murphy, and in turn, with Nip/Tuck. There is no way the creator of Nip/Tuck wouldn't add in some quirky and wacky situations to put his characters in. It's why I love Nip/Tuck, and why Glee (in addition to the fabulous performances) is one of my favorites. Last night did not disappoint. I wager there won't be a new show I like better this season.

To those complaining about the content: It was on at 9 pm and rated TV-14. That means 14 and up. Get a clue and stop whining.

The "Push It" routine might have been the funniest 3 minutes on television all year. Fantastic show!

Uhm. I'm addicted. It's hilarious and the singing is amazing. Even if it seems a little cheesy and far fetched that 10 seconds after receiving the sheet music they perform the song flawlessly with perfect choreography. I'm able to look past that. It's definitely a must see.

Even though the GLEE season premiere did not equal the brilliance of the pilot, I thought it was still the freshest, most entertaining show I've seen in ages. GLEE is a satire, and many contributors seem to be taking some of the scenes too literally. This is a Ryan Murphy production, after all - everything is done with a little wink. Did the image of the mail carrier hitting the windshield not make that clear?

I thought Rachel's rant at the Celibacy Club gained Finn's attention because he liked her nerve to stand up and be heard above the hypocrisy. (Recall Finn later encouraged the Gleeks to "let her speak" about the pep rally.) I did not interpret her speech to be a "Come hither" invitation; it was a declaration that she had the right to have options. After all, if Rachel wanted to sleep with Finn, she would only have to remind him that she could offer him something Quinn could not. Rachel would not have to dabble in bulimia first, because she would not be competing with Quinn or her perfect body.

When Finn asked Rachel for practice help, I believe he was interested in the music. And it was Rachel who set up the romantic indoor picnic, complete with virgin Cosmos. Would they have gone all the way, had Finn not "erupted early?" We'll never know.

But Rachel's melodramatic "Take a Bow" number was a reaction not only to the botched tryst, but more to the destruction of the idyllic world of the initial Glee Club. When Quinn joined and won the "Don't Stop Believing" solo, she destroyed that magical connection between Finn and Rachel that we saw in the pilot. Glee was the common interest that would bring them together and allow Rachel to be the star. Now both dreams were in jeopardy. Those were the losses Rachel was mourning.


all the glee performances are now up at http://www.glee.ws

Let me start by saying I am 14 in 8th grade (I turned 14 last week, school started in August) and I was a HUGE fan of the pilot, I had all the Glee songs on my iPod. The first episode was something special, it was edgy and PG-13 but it wasn't blatant. However the episode this week took it too far. Yes, I know about sex and stuff but there was just too much for comfort... It would have been fine if it was just Finn's mailman thoughts and the push-it scene (both were frickin' hilarious. ) but everything else wasn't.
It would have been better split up into different episodes or later in the season. I just find that the show is moving too fast, but that's just me.
However I will keep watchimg, who knows it might just have been like this in 1 episode.
I did love gold digger and Take a bow (That was just pure awesome!)

Unlike the majority of the posts, I didn't care for last night's episode of "Glee" at all: I had greatly looked forward to last night, but the show was definitely not what I expected from the pilots and extracts.

I didn't want to see a modern incarnation of Judy and Andy and hear one of them say, "Come on, kids—let's put on a show," but I did want something magical and fun. What I saw was (to me, anyway) action that was a little too suggestive much of the time and characters who were not only one-dimensional and bigger than life, but too much so. I also felt that the plot had too many contrived elements.

I hope the next episode is better. If it isn't, I'm sure (though sad to say so) that I won't watch it again.

Love 'Glee'! Such a great episode! and to T....inappropriate? for a 12 year old?
It's on at 9pm, not 8p (which is 'family hour') and if you think 'Glee' is inappropriate then your daughter won't be able to see 'Spring Awakening' (Lea Michele's breakout Broadway role) until she's 21!
Balloon scene was explained (part of the celibacy club's rules for dancing) and
all the kids were 'punished' for doing 'Push It'...nothing here was done gratuitiously. It would be a shame if your daughter missed out on such great TV!
Only 1 complaint - 'Le Freak' is NOT the song Will's glee choir used at regionals in '93; it was 'That's the Way I Like It' - go back and look at the pilot episode when Jenna shows Will the 'youtube' clip!

 
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