'Glee' recap: A post-Super Bowl thriller?
Die-hard “Glee” fans, for whom the Super Bowl was just a long, drawn-out lead-in to the return of the show they’ve been missing for months, got a steady diet of tasty “Glee” treats in the hours before Sue Syvlester's, er, Sylvester's Cheerios took the screen for a sprawling routine set to Katy Perry’s "California Gurls" –- blue hair, flaming conical breasts, bike flips and all.
We gobbled up Lea Michele singing “America the Beautiful” before kickoff with Rachel-like confidence (and showing far less skin than she does on the cover of this month’s Cosmo); endless promos for Fox shows, in which “Glee” was featured prominently; and a series of Chevrolet commercials starring the "Glee" cast.
It was like a bottomless chip bowl of “Glee.”
At first, it seemed like all that pre-“Glee” snacking may have ruined our appetite for the main course. When the show itself finally got underway, we, like Sue, were dazzled but unmoved by the extravaganza the Cheerios were practicing to take to cheerleading regionals. Like her, we felt it was all “boom boom” and lacked “pow,” an elaborate smorgasbord without flavor. “I’m bored,” Sue declared. Us ... too?
For a moment, we were a little concerned: Sitting down for the long-awaited “Thriller” episode, was the thrill gone? And if so, how would we recapture the magic? Would we be forced to take drastic measures, like –- I dunno -- getting a misspelled tattoo or going Sueclear and firing someone out of human cannon?
The music: Rachel and Puck’s take on Lady Antebellum's "Need You Now" won us over almost as swiftly as it did the football team. The newly expanded glee club’s zombie version of “She’s Not There” also hit its mark musically –- though the makeup made it frustratingly difficult to track the football players as they sang and danced. That was the point, of course. The group was unified by zombie makeup, but in a show in which we’ve become so involved in the individual characters, the democratic approach can flatten the drama.
The musical highlight of the show, however, was really just a throwaway number, yet far more thrilling than all the “Thriller” action. The Warblers’ version of Destiny’s Child’s “Bills, Bills, Bills” had the kind of focus –- mostly on Darren Criss as Blaine –- that the ensemble numbers in the rest of the show lacked. We got to see faces, expressions. We weren’t distracted by elaborately shredded costumes and teased wigs. The showier dance moves appeared to have been slowed down in parts so we could take them in. In between courses of the main banquet, the Warblers’ number was like a transcendently tasty sorbet: cleansing our palates, perking up our tastebuds as if waking zombies from the dead.
The plot: Football, football and more football. But we got to see McKinley High’s Titans come together off the gridiron through the power of music. And best of all, we got to watch Karofsky’s character develop a bit more. It was nice to see him let loose a little and dance, but all his back-and-forthing about glee was a little confusing. A love-hate relationship is one thing, but a hate-love-hate-love-hate relationship? We get it, he's conflicted. At least he got a slushie in the face. There was so much justice in that moment.
The best lines:
Brittany: “I don’t wanna die yet, not at least until ‘One Tree Hill’ gets canceled.”
Kurt: “Blaine and I love football. Well, Blaine loves football. I love scarves.”
Brittany: “The glee club together with the football team, it's like a double rainbow. A zombie double rainbow.”
Katie Couric (to Sue): “In the voting, you beat out the following losers: the economy, Mel Gibson, the housing market, Dina Lohan, Wall Street, Tiger Woods, the Dallas Cowboys, Brett Favre’s cellphone, 9% unemployment, and Sparky Lohan, who is Dina Lohan's dog and, apparently, also a loser. How do you cope with that?”
The lingering questions: Will Finn and Quinn get back together? Do we want them to? Will the football team ease up on the glee club now that they’ve tasted musical fame (and a faceful of slushies)? How much damage will Sue do to McKinley High before she gets her mojo back? And will that perky Diane Sawyer return for another cameo?
-- Amy Reiter
Photo: The glee club performs in a special episode of "Glee" airing after the Super Bowl on Sunday. Credit: Adam Rose / FOX