Welcome to the Convo, where ACG Blog contributors get together for discussion and analysis. Today’s topic is last night’s season premiere of “Glee,” “Audition.”
There was plenty to like about last night’s “Glee” season premiere: Sam Evans; a brief glimpse of Cheyenne Jackson; a great rendition of “Empire State of Mind.” But there was a lot not to like: the unnatural Schue-Sue partnership; “You’re all coffee and no omelet”; Rachel. Let’s dive in.
Ken Tanaka is gone (“nervous breakdown”) and replaced by Shannon Beiste. Sue and Schue have to form an unholy alliance against the new football coach whose budget is being supplemented by the Cheerios; and New Directions’. They send her 25 pizzas and pull various other terrible pranks (flax seed my foot), but fail to get a rise out of her. Beiste even berates Schue, saying she heard he was a nice, accommodating person. Schue ultimately realizes he’s acting like that which he hates, and makes amends.
I have to say, Dot Jones’ performance as Coach Beiste was truly inspired. It would have been entirely too easy for her to fall into the Sue Sylvester mold, bitchy to the point of unbelievability while revealing some part of her inner self in incredibly small parts. Instead, Jones plays Beiste closer to the surface, seemingly conflicting personality traits harmonizing wonderfully. I look forward to seeing more of her.
Two new kids were introduced, Sam Evans and Sunshine Corazon, a transfer and an exchange student, respectively. Are there no freshmen at McKinley High? Both were essentially foils to Finn and Rachel and so had little of their own development, which is hopefully to come. Sunshine has some unexpected vocals (so small!), and I love that she is bringing Cheyenne Jackson to “Glee” as the new Vocal Adrenaline coach. Finn enjoyed some odd parallels between how Schue discovered him and how he discovered Sam; someone should put a microphone in that shower stall, as apparently a lot of excellent singing happens there. His rendition of “Billionaire” was pretty great, even if the Fox sensors made him use the radio edit. Maybe he’ll join glee club on the sly.
Rachel and Finn have been dating all summer and will never break up with each other, something totally acceptable for a couple of high school students to proclaim. Rachel was back to being entirely self-involved and delusional; I wanted to smack her when she kept arguing she sabotaged Sunshine for the good of the team. Props, however, on sending her to a (non-functional) crackhouse. I suppose it wouldn’t be realistic if Rachel changed her insufferable ways so quickly, but she can get under my skin like no one’s business.
Tine and Other Asian (Mike Chang) are dating. Did he really teach Chinese kids about the arts by dancing around, chest bared? Artie, jealous, tries to get her attention by joining the football team. I can’t believe Beiste had to point out how bad an idea that is (and, presumably, against the rules?). Although it was nice that Finn stuck up for Artie without even thinking about it. And Quinn stabbed Santana in the back so she could be back on top of the Cheerios. That’ll come back to bite her. Mercedes and Kurt just floated around in the background, discussing sweaters, but I know they’ll get the spotlight eventually, so no worries.
Other notes: Puck got a vasectomy; Matt Rutherford was killed off transferred; nice to see Becky back (and sassy!); where was Emma? Looking forward to the Brittany episode, as long as they promise to do “Toxic.”
Please welcome to the blog contributor Alexandria Jackson. You can find out more about her at the about page.
All things considered, the second season of “Glee” is off to a promising start. While I absolutely adore the show, the end of the first season left me distinctly underwhelmed. I flipped to Fox to watch the premiere with equal parts excitement and wariness.
There’s a lot going on in this episode, as with just about any “Glee” offering. The glee club failed to win at Regionals, and after we get caught up with the club and their summer goings-on (loved Jacob’s interviews for his blog), we get introduced to the new football coach, Coach Beiste. As a result, Glee and the Cheerios will see their budgets cut. Cue the dark duo of Mr. Shue and Sue teaming up to bring Beiste down by being generally cruel and making Beiste an outsider. We’re quick to see she’s not as hard as she seems or impervious to the bullying. I hope the writers find an interesting direction for her character, because I don’t want to see her become Sue-lite.
Even though the club is as tight knit as a family these days, they need to recruit new members (once again) so they can make it to Nationals — a dream I thought dead since New Directions lost Regionals. The performance of “Empire State of Mind” was without a doubt the best musical number of the night, however. Less time on Rachel singing by herself and more time on the ensemble singing, please!
Our two new possible glee club members: transfer student Sam and foreign exchange student Sunshine Corazon. Sam is likeable enough, but soon realizes he just wants to find a place to fit in — much easier to do as the new quarterback than as a show choir member. And Rachel quite quickly and believable goes about making Sunshine feel totally unwelcome. Of course Rachel directed her to a crackhouse instead of the auditions (“I didn’t send her to an active crackhouse!”). Sunshine is snapped up by Vocal Adrenaline. I don’t think it’s the last we’ll see of her, but I got rather tired of the Jesse St. James switching-schools-is-he-or-isn’t-he-on-our-side story line last season, so hopefully that’s not where we’re heading.
Random antics this episode I could probably have done without: Artie wanting and somehow believing he could get on the football team, Santana’s breast implants, Finn discovering Sam’s singing talent when he overhears him in the locker room shower (ugh, I suppose I shouldn’t expect too much subtlety from a musical).
Overall, I’m looking forward to this season. If the show can return its focus to the characters and just why glee club means so much to them (“Being part of something special makes you special, right?”), I’ll be immensely happy. I’d also love to see more drawn out character arcs. I’d like to meet Rachel’s dads.
And as long as there’s a healthy dose of Brittany one-liners in next week’s Britney Spears-themed episode, I think I can make it through the Spears’ songs.
Please welcome to the blog contributor Joe Kessler. You can find out more about him at the about page.
“Glee” is back, and as fun as ever. Among viewers, Fox’s high school comedy/musical/soap opera has always been either loved or dismissed, and it was nice to see that in the premiere of the show’s sophomore season, its writers are making little effort to change the formula that has proven so successful with us faithful “Gleeks.” The opening moments of last night’s episode, which take the form of a roving interview conducted by school reporter Jacob Ben Israel, seemed a particularly tongue-in-cheek acknowledgement of the criticisms that have been leveled against the show, particularly in the online community. By having Jacob voice the same complaints to the coach and members of the William McKinley High School glee club that have been raised about the show itself among real-world viewers, the show was able to playfully concede that it is not for everyone as well as affirm that Glee will not be changing to appease the critics.
Of course, too much stability can be a drawback for any television show, particularly one whose central characters are students at a high school. Rachel’s abrasive attitude toward potential new glee club members may have also been intended to represent the feelings of show fans, but the fact remains that the roster of New Directions members can only remain constant for four seasons at most. As successful as the first season has been, Fox should definitely start introducing new characters who will be able to carry the show once Finn, Rachel, and the rest of our Season One favorites have graduated. In real life, high school groups have around a 25 percent turnover each year as seniors move on and new freshmen arrive, and if Glee is going to stick to its a-season-is-a-school-year formula, the group is going to need some new blood.
This is not to say that the show’s cast has not changed. There were four new characters introduced in last night’s episode, and the three who were given more than a single scene have shown some potential. The fourth, played all-too-briefly in this episode by Broadway star Cheyenne Jackson, simply wasn’t given enough time on screen to establish much more than that his character has replaced Shelby Corcoran as coach of the rival glee club Vocal Adrenaline. McKinley High football coach Ken Tanaka has also been replaced by newcomer Shannon “Beast” Beiste, whose antagonistic dynamic with glee director Will Schuester and cheerleading coach Sue Sylvester promises to lead to some delightfully tense moments later on this season.
I am less excited about the two new students we were introduced to last night, but I’ll admit that that’s partly because so far, neither has joined New Directions. We were shown each one’s singing talents in two songs, and I fully expect transfer student Sam Evans to join the group sometime this season, but his counterpart Sunshine Corazon seems to have left William McKinley High as soon as she arrived. While her return from Vocal Adrenaline is certainly possible, I don’t feel we’ve seen enough of her character to really care yet about where she ends up or what she does there. While Sunshine was treated rather cruelly by glee diva Rachel, it was actually Coach Beiste, showing the occasional moment of tenderness beneath her rough exterior, who was the only one of Glee’s new characters to win me over last night. Still, I am excited for the show’s return, and looking forward to cheering the team to this year’s nationals in New York!