Summer break is over, fellow Gleetards! It's time to go back to school! I have three new chest hairs and I sewed a pocket into my backpack where I can hide pre-rolled joints. And I totally got a girlfriend at camp but we're not together anymore cuz I can't get tied down, you know? Basically, I left a boy and came back a man. Let's see how everyone else at William McKinley high changed over the summer! The second season is here and Glee is back on TV!
I spent a lot of time last season talking about how Glee doesn't seem to know what kind of show it wants to be. Sometimes it has been a sincere teen melodrama, sometimes a knowing, snarky send-up of teen melodrama. Sometimes it has teenagers at it's center and sometimes it's the adults who seem to be the real subjects.
Anyways, I've beat all that sermonizing into the ground. What a difference a little time can make! This episode gathered all of Glee's threads together into a coherent whole with a consistent tone. The amount of past episodes that have done that can be counted on one hand. Glee finally seems completely comfortable with it's voice. I am more excited for the coming season now that I see that the writers have really been taking notes.
A lot of this confidence must come from the show's fervent following and the writers seem to have taken some cues from the message boards. In fact, at a couple of moments Glee felt a little defensive last night. That bit where Kurt stared down the camera and basically told internet bloggers and commenters everywhere that they were cowards (hey!) was weird considering how kind the internet has been to the show. Same with Schuester's past song selections getting called out as sounding like "they're from a drag queen's iPod". It's true, but it's not like showtunes and '80s pop have hurt the show. Either way, the hip-hop numbers tonight were pretty tight and the fan-fellating (you like Gaga? Have more Gaga!) Lady Gaga/Beyonce showdown in the ladies room was off the chain.
Strangely, the music numbers almost took a backseat to the story, which doesn't always happen in the show. There was nothing that memorable, but each felt like it belonged and forwarded the story, which I had stopped really hoping for. Did you guys want more music or were you satisfied with what we got?
Speaking of story, Rachel and Finn have new hair and a new relationship. Rachel has apparently spent the summer popping goofballs and repeating self-affirmations to herself. She also probably got laid, so that continuing story is off the table. Rachel sort of came off like the villain in this episode! Who sends a lovely Polynesian girl named Sunshine to a crackhouse? Finn looks a little strung out, too. You don't get to be quarterback of a football team if you think wheelchair-propelled human missiles are a viable option on the field. And how was he so awful trying out for the Cheerios. Where's that dude's star-athlete coordination?
Of course, that would-be missile is a heartbroken Artie who has lost Tina to the still-mute Mike Chang. The couple met at something called Asian Camp, which frankly looks awesome. I, too, would like to play piano duets and lay around on pillows texting.
There are two new kids ready to be brought into the New Directions fold - the aforementioned Sunshine and some blonde chipmunky guy - but it ain't happening. Despite Finn giving the guy bedroom eyes while singing and stalking him in the shower, chipmunk is too busy being a quarterback to join the glee club. And, yeah, I too would probably join Vocal Adrenaline if someone told me to audition at a crackhouse. I have to mention that again. That was weird.
In adult land, there is a new coach in town to teach Will and Sue about acceptance and gender diversity. How did you guys like Coach Beast? I thought it was a mark of how this show has really found it's footing how comical, sympathetic and well-rounded they made that character. It felt like a balancing act the Glee of last season couldn't have accomplished. Of course, Glee's two big problems have always been wrapping up all the threads it introduces and staying consistent with it's character arcs, so we'll see what happens.
Stray notes and quotes
In other news Quinn is top dog in the Cheerios again and Puck is sad about stuff. More about that later, probably.
Brittany spent the whole summer lost in the sewers.
Buttface McBallnuts is a pretty funny name.
Lea Michele still fucking owns every solo she has. I'm still consistently impressed with her.
Mike Chang is getting some real characterization soon? Does that mean that the mute black guy is next?
The Mexican Indians sold Manhattan to George Washington for an upskirt photo of Betsy Ross. I would like some more Sue Sylvester American history, please.
I suspect Emma's absence was part of the fan-appeasing streamlining of the show since I guess I'm the only one who liked her. Still, I'm gonna miss that character. Same with Ken Tanaka and the creepy guy who sells weed. I have a feeling they won't be coming back much.
Did Sue say she was going to feed her gimp? Did I mishear?
"You like me sing. You like me sing very much." Yikes, Rachel.
"One girl ate a pigeon. Several others started worshiping a possum carcass as their Lord."
"Yeah, I'm with Rachel on this one." "Gross."