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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)

Enjoyed it! Obviously these actors are multi-talented & the show sparkles when they perform. The characters' quirks make the show even more fun.

family show? it comes on at 9 oclock? when has a family show ever come on at 9 o'clock. I haven't seen advertisements promoting it as a family show.

glee is terrific. I'm already sad i have to wait another week for a new one.

Ms. Shawna Malcom

I'm so happy that you wrote this article featuring the new Fox show "Glee." In my opinion, this is one of the most top rated shows in a long time. Not only does it preview an array of diverse characters, in every sense of the word. It also has substance and brings the viewers, back to that time in high school, where at one point in all of our lives, we wanted to be apart of something great. The lead characters Lea and Cory, have so much chemistry...I love their story. I love Amber as well, this young lady has strong vocal ability, she honestly makes me say (Beyonce who?) and aside from that her full figure does not limit her success and ability to dance (which is great for women who are full figured,)" she can dance! I believe both her and Lea are the up and coming stars vocally. I love Jazmine Sullivan and all but Amber killed "I bust your window," video that is featured on youtube. Lea is the bomb, that young lady has the best voice that I've heard and to top it off she has great screen presence. The Rihanna song she sang, which I believe was "Take a bow," I hate to say was sooo much better than the original.

My hope is that entertainment articles such as yours, truly began to key in on these talented and young stars that are not tainted which is beautiful to watch. Why? Because we as an audience are able to see them in a pure and untainted light. I've for so many years, have prayed that the hollywood celebrity status changed, because it is so tainted...slowly we watch as an audience, who once craved to be apart of that world, now we watch talented young stars fall from grace and normalcy. This is changed the outlook of how us common folk look at the hollywood scene. No longer is it cool to be a celebrity it's quite tragic really. I hope the cast of "Glee"remains as pure and as untainted as they possibly can. Best show this year...hands down.

CB

Watched Golddigger over and over again and lost none of its wonder-the singing, the dancing, the editing. wow. This is now my must-see program.

Finally, a smart, fun, original TV show! How refreshing after the glut of reality junk we've been fed lately. I'd much rather watch a good underdog story with romance and great music than a constant parade of regular people even stupider than the ones I know in real life. Glee is awesome!!! Bravo FOX!


I love the story line. I DVR'd it originally. Then, I watched it. I deleted it. This is called a family show? Not in my house! It's such a shame that the directors have to ruin such a good show with sex! The show would be watched by MORE if it wasn't so unacceptable. I am saddened to think that producers and directors assume EVERY family watches trash like this. I'd love to find programming that my family could watch, especially stuff that has music also. What a great idea! I guess we'll have to stay away from Fox. Sorry.

I loved this show and I'm officially a gLeek!

The show is borderline inappropriate but I think that's what I love most about it. Along with the singing, the quippy remarks and sexual overtones just remind me of my friends. I hope this show is here to stay! Go GLEE!

Absolutely freaking loved it. I'm glad that they went as far as they did in the premiere- it's going to weed out whiny viewers right from the start. Hopefully. Now that the show has gone a bit overboard, it can pull back in certain areas and become more nuanced...while keeping the crazy personalities going.

*mjRIPpopcorngif*

I can't stop listening to Gold Digger. Will's performance is HOT. Also, Take a Bow is way better than the original.

I love this show! It will definitely be on my dvr list. It has great music selections and an awesome cast. It's not just the same old crap. Keep up the great work! I hope it lasts. Seems like every show I get into for a minute these days gets canned before I know it.

i loved the musical numbers, the energy of the actors, and the good humor.

i was disappointed that the writers decided to side with Rachel in trying to attract the teen demographic to the show by pitching in that really creepy, cringe makingly inappropriate assembly number and the equally creepy celibacy club balloons game. as an easily spooked oldster, i won't be letting my kids watch the show anymore.

i loved both the pilot and the premiere these whiny idiotic parents need to shut up and monitor their kids better no one ever said it was a family show and since when is fox even a family channel, oh and other than shows like the lion king how many musicals are for young children

Ok T. ...wow its fox not the disney channel. You should expect some sexual things in this show. Your daughter is 12 years old. Im sure she has seen way more sexual things in her life. Believe me! You should keep watching it anyways and stop complaining..at least they had their clothes on?! Jeez people like you should stop complaining to the media because you do a lot worse things with your husbands or wives. Annoying people like you get awesome shows taken off the air and it pisses everybody off! Who cares if they grinded and talked about sex. Your kids have probably heard a lot worse! Just shut up and enjoy the show.!

Oh "T.", please. Family show? Perhaps you could have noticed from the Pilot's original "You think this is hard? I'm living with Hepatitis, that's hard" quip that this was something to think twice about with your twelve year old... not to mention the Glee Club's original pedophilic teacher, reference to selling marijuana, Quinn's makeout session below the portrait of Jesus, etc. It's a shame that you missed the demographics this show was aiming for, especially with a 9pm air time. If you're missing something this obvious, I wonder which jokes exactly you're getting. Maybe one day at least your kids will clue in to the show's humor when they're old enough to watch it -- and hopefully intelligent enough to get the jokes.

There are plenty of traditional PG musicals for you and your offspring to watch. Or of course, they could create more characters like Terri Schuester to give it that "family feel". Maybe you could suggest that to the network, I'm sure with Fox's viewership, you are in good company. It's a wonder shows like Glee manage to survive in the first place.

It's an awesome show. Perfect for teenagers who are watching much worse sexual things on tv, come on now people. Plus it's a FOX show. Seriously? Who thought it was gonna be the family show of the season? Common sense a little people. I love the show so far, two episodes and I'm hooked!

I was really disappointed with all of the raunch, especially considering that Fox promoted the show heavily during AI, a "family" show, and made it sound along the lines of High School Musical. Great concept, talented cast, but I won't be watching anymore.

I am the first to admit that I don’t understand this show. I understand the APPEAL of this show; the actual execution, I have serious problems with.

I would like to believe that its success is a case of people being blinded by their love of the concept to the show itself. If that’s true, then “Glee” might burn itself out once the rest of its audiences recognizes the shallowness of its claim to originality.

Let’s just touch on a few things episode number two is guilty of: continuously relying on Jane Lynch for the only skilled comedic acting, almost criminal stereotyping of the sole African American female character, again implying that schoolteachers are broke and pathetic, using the handicapped kid as a joke in and of himself, failing to make the wife of Mr. Shoe even slightly sympathetic, and repeatedly abusing the “hilarity” of how gay everything is. That last one isn’t camp; it’s specifically anti-camp: commenting on its own “freshness” and “quirkiness” and “tolerance” through a self-awareness of who will be drawn to this show is a marketing tool, one Fox is routinely guilty of in its shows and one that on a smaller network would be eminently more sincere. This show isn’t an underdog, yet it claims to be, and by doing so is getting self-identifying freaks and geeks to buy into the lie.

Lots of people claim to love this show because they themselves were Glee Club members, choir kids, band geeks, or other flavors of high school loser. Sure. For some, that might be true, and for others, it’s just in vogue. I could go on and on about my loser/nerd cred, but in the end, it has little to do with “Glee” and its quality (or lack thereof).

Liking this show, or claiming to, doesn’t prove anything about who you are or who you were in high school. You want a show that represents the pain of an unpopular or lonely adolescence, you’re better off turning to “My So-Called Life,” “Freaks and Geeks,” or even “Everybody Hates Chris.” There is nothing authentic about “Glee,” as there was in those shows. It is entirely a fabrication of both high school and outsider-ness, a commercial packaging of the recognizable elements of those older, cult shows into something easily digestible and suited to a wider market of people who want to believe “Glee” is anything but typical.

In spite of its sporadic songs (a concept ripped from the endlessly more unique “Pushing Daisies”), “unlikeable” characters (completely without edge), and occasionally interesting performances (I’m pretty much only thinking of you, Jane Lynch), “Glee” remains false, unfunny, trite, and at worst, offensive. I wanted it to be unusual and offbeat as much as the next “Strangers With Candy” fan, but it’s not. It’s the same awful high school show with a whimsical lacquer, closer in spirit to “The Secret Life of the American Teen” (gag) than anything more substantial.

Again, I think a huge part of my issue with “Glee” is its unstable tone, and this might be its undoing. If it can bring the funny in a way it hasn’t yet, or if it can commit to being whimsical or a parody or a satire (but not all at once), it might yet become a good show, or at least something I want to watch.

Yeah, I agree with T, but not with the second T. It was weird how this second episode made a major left turn into so much sexuality (second T, not sure what pilot you watched, but this is quite a leap backward into ordinary teen showcheap laugh themes.) While the idea of abstinence was mocked (as if teens are mindless hormone freaks who can't make moral choices for themselves), we had the flirty teacher obliquely referring to oral sex, the over the top dance number and the balloon game, ejaculation from overexcitement, etc. As this article says, please don't stop the music. The music is the thing that makes this show fun and unique. All the overemphasis on teenage sex makes this, sadly, a rather ordinary FOX show, meaning one I won't be watching. Give us something special, please, so it can stand above the crowd of other lame shows.

LOVE the pilot, but wasn't happy with this episode. Yeah, I like sexy shows as much as anyone, but there can be too much. Stuff like a teacher hinting to a student that lack of a gag reflex will be great for future oral sex truly made ME gag.

"... 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 ..."

The pilot was a wonderful mix of everything. Very David E. Kelley-esque. But last week's 2nd episode didn't come close. The balance was way off.

I had expected this show to sustain its quality for some time, but now, I'm not optimistic. I expect this show will last 1 year (and not a full year at that). It will draw huge numbers this fall, and die by spring.

I absolutely love this show! I am a fifty-eight year old with four grown children and five grandchildren and every age group enjoys this show! Great writing, a superb cast and extremely talented singers make this a must-see. I just hope the numbers get even higher so Fox will keep it going long enough for it to garner the fanbase it needs. I realize there are lots of people like me who love the show already, but reading the numbers makes me a little less sure about its potential following. I'm hoping viewers will remain loyal and talk some friends into watching it, too!

One problem with show, separate from working out kinks of how fast the plot is going to run or not. Is whether it sounds believable. The songs were all recorded in studios (which all songs in movies/TV, pretty much, are), but in, say, Sweeney Todd, the songs sound like they are being sung in shops and attics and streets where they are set. Most of the songs in Glee sound like they are taped in boxes which just makes it difficult to believe, unlike when Finn was practicing with Rachel which was likely taped on-set.

 
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