So Glee! The popular show finally returned for it’s third season two weeks ago and I was certainly curious about how they would kick things off. The show has had many ups and downs and it’s unclear if Glee can continue to be the same kind of phenomenon it was when it began. For those of you who may have missed the premiere, here’s a recap:
The writers have been promising a return to the roots this season; back to the original characters and their personal lives.This seems to be the case, with the first episode reintroducing what everyone loved about these characters in the first place. The opening scene has the school reporter interviewing each main character about future plans. Finn is slow to respond, with no life plans, but sports his trademark puppy-dog expression. Mike replies “My mom still hasn’t decided if I’m going to Harvard or Stanford yet.” While Tina and Artie explain they are both juniors, with two more years before graduation. We find Rachel and Kurt practicing at the piano, ambitious as always, and rattling off a list of future accomplishments including attending college in New York, originating a role on Broadway, and winning a Tony. Mercedes remains true to her diva self, sporting a new, football playing boyfriend. Santana exclaims her own growing “fierceness” along with pursuing Head Cheerleader, while Brittany seems a step behind the curve murmuring something about building a time machine. The segment ends with a classic quadruple slushy straight in Finn’s face, then a flash to the ‘Glee’ opening credit.
In the next scene we see that Will and Emma’s relationship has been growing. The two wake up in bed, now living together, though Emma still shows signs of OCD – not wanting to kiss before brushing her teeth and packing neat, standardized lunches for school. As for the rest of the Glee regulars, we learn Quinn turned bad over the summer, sporting pink highlights, and an “erotic” lower back tattoo of Ryan Seacrest. Puck remains sidelined this episode, but we often see him observing, just contributing an insult here or there (gotta love the mysterious bad boy with a good heart). Blaine transfers to McKinley High and joins New Directions. Why? To be with Kurt of course. Happily, their relationship is going strong. Meanwhile, Sue Sylvester establishes a new plan for destroying Glee Club. This time, her hijinks are linked to a bid for Congresswoman: killing the arts budget in public schools. Such Sue sassiness provides some welcome satirical comedy, and I’m sure Glee Club will find it’s way to persevere. Lauren Zizes is featured for a moment, (shown ending her relationship with Puck) but otherwise she, along with Sam (the actor, Chord Overstreet, declined on a new contract) were absent from the premiere. Two interesting new characters were also introduced, one being Mercedes boyfriend Shane. The other is a spoiled girl named Sugar Motta, who claims to have self-diagnosed Aspergers and therefore unapologetically spouts rude and self-absorbed comments. The overarching theme for the episode was Mr. Schuester attempting to reinvigorate Glee spirit to recruit new members and eventually take on nationals. Mr. Schu poses a challenge, titled “The Purple Piano Project” (also the episode’s title), that any time members see one of the purple pianos donated to the club they perform an impromptu song.
While the storyline and dialogue for episode one has held up to the Glee standard, I can’t say the same for the musical numbers. While episode one has a couple group performances, all but the finale seem uninspired. The first group performance is the Go-Go’s song “We’ve Got The Beat,” but the energy comes off as artificial. There are so many camera shots swapping in and out that you don’t get the full picture of the characters attached to their voices and expressions. The performance seems like noise playing over the motion of a camera scanning among a crowd. Though perhaps, to Glee’s credit, this may have been the intent. After all, the song is brought on by a surprise siting of a purple piano in the lunch room and many members are hesitant to take part. The good news is, the finale performance of “You Can’t Stop the Beat,” stepped things up where the Go-Go’s song was lacking. Led in by Rachel singing at a slow tempo, the scene changes to the entire club going full out on the theater stage. A Hairspray song, the performance was made for a big party number, and when Mercedes steps into the center with a solo and the other members echo her call, everything about the scene pumps you up for Glee.
So things ended on a positive note to carry on for the next episode, but certain characters still dealt with some setbacks. Mainly, Kurt and Rachel are surprised to learn just how competitive it will be to get into college when they attend a university’s interest meeting. One fun cameo from this scene was Lindsay Pearce, a runner-up from the reality show The Glee Project. The reality show featured performers working hard at weekly music video assignments to win a guest spot on Glee. In the end, two contestants won first place, getting seven episode arcs, and two contestant runners up, got two episode arcs. So in addition to Lindsay, there is Damian, the Irishman, Alex, a male with a woman’s range, and Samuel’s smoldering gorgeous voice to look out for in future episodes. All in all, Glee set off to a good start. It’ll be interesting to see how these plot lines continue to develop.