Guys, remember least season when all we did was bitch about how Glee had devolved into a mush of nonsense plots, guest stars, and muddled motivations? Well, something miraculous happened. They listened. They really listened and they fixed it. Thanks Glee!
Sure, the episode wasn't perfect and there was a bit of nonsense, but this is Glee, we knew from the onset that we were signing up for a musical show and that has to come with at least a bit of crazy melodrama—or maybe we just got used to the absolute insanity of season two so now a little bit of incoherence seems acceptable. It's like your hot boyfriend got really fat and then lost all the weight again, so he's not as skinny as he used to be, but you're just happy that he's not that giant slob anymore and you can go back to loving him instead of always knocking the donuts out of his hands and being a nag.
So, yes, I'm happy to love Glee again, at least conditionally. The episode started off good with class blogger Jacob Jewfro catching us up on where everyone has been over the summer and checking on everyone's plans for the future, since that seems like it's going to be a theme for the season. (A theme for a whole season? Yes please!) We find out Sam has moved away and Mercedes has a new boyfriend who is on the football team and wants to make her a star. Those were her 30 seconds of speaking time for the week. Also gone is Lauren Zises, who decided she was cooler than Glee Club after all. (Thinning out the bloated Glee roster? Yes please!) Quinn is also missing in action. Where is she?
Let's find out!
Since the club is down three members and must have 12 to compete, Will came up with a plan to put these pianos around the school and whenever the Glee kids see one, they have to perform a song and it will entice other people to join the club and they'll have their new members. (The "lesson" of the week has a reason and an objective? Yes please!) Yeah, it's kind of stupid, but we're going with it. Sue Motherfucking Sylvester of course hates the pianos and tasks her minions Santana (who is back on the team) and Becky with sabotaging the pianos.
The first time the club sees the piano they're in the school cafeteria and they decide to all jam out to the great Go-Go's song "We Got the Beat." Yes, they do have the beat, and this was a good, faithful rendition of the song with some over-the-top table dancing coolness. Of course everyone in the school thinks they're horrible and no one claps for them. Seeing a chance to ruin the piano, Becky starts a food fight and the ensuing jumble of tossed pasta ends up gumming up the instrument. Way to get creative, Becks.
But there was more Sue MF Sylvester devilry on the horizon.
Speaking of plans for the future Rachel and Babygay Kurt both want to move to New York and become famous Broadway stars, cause, duh. Except they don't realize that Julliard doesn't have a musical theater program, so Emma tells them about the New York Academy of the Drama Arts (I think that's what it was called, but I was taking bad notes last night because I was elbow deep in a bag of Pita Chips) and it's really competitive and they might not get in. However, there's a mixer for prospective students and they can go to that and see what the auditions will be like and size up the competition.
Being the over achievers they are, BGK&R (which sounds like an accounting firm) decide to get a number together which they can perform in front of all the other kids and scare them away from auditioning with the impossible brilliance of their talent (and with BG Kurt's scary blazer dicky thing). Naturally they get together the Barbra Streisand version of "The Witch Is Dead" from The Wizard of Oz. (A song these two would actually sing rather than a new P!nk single that will sell a ton of downloads? Yes please!) This is cute if not cheesy, which is exactly what we would expect from the pair.
Speaking of witches, they certainly aren't dead at McKinley High. After seeing the Go-Go's food fight number, Sugar Matta, a self-assured girl with self-diagnosed Asberger's shows up to audition. The problem is that she is absolutely awful. Like worse than the Britney Spears episode from season two awful. Yeah, she's that bad. While Will has always had a policy of admitting everyone who auditioned for the club (um, then why hold auditions?), Rachel is quick to point out with her on the squad they have no shot of winning Nationals at all. Will talks to Coach Bieste (More Bieste? Yes please!) and she tells him to stop being such an idealist and do what his team needs.
Sue Motherfucking Sylvester is up to her witchy tricks and is running for Congress. She's down in the polls below a rapist running from prison and "Please Don't Call During Dinner" and needs a way to connect with voters. She decides to use her "Sue C's It" segment on the news to denounce the arts in school which also serves as a reason for her to continue antagonizing the Glee Club. (Mean Sue MF Sylvester with a coherent strategy? Yes please!)
The biggest bitch of the night though was good old Quinn Fabray, who showed up on the first day of school with died pink hair, ratty clothes, a nose ring, and a bad attitude. She looks like, as Rachel says, a "Jolly Rancher stuck in an ashtray" or quite like Lady Gaga ripping off early-'80s, Lower East Side Madonna. It's actually a cute look for her. But her new friends, a gaggle of girls called The Skanks, aren't that cute (but their introduction was quick, mean, funny, and classic Glee). Quinn has decided to become a bad girl and after everything she's been through, we don't blame her. No begging and pleading from Brittany, Santana, and even Rachel can get her to change her mind. I'm just really hoping that she and The Skanks get to do a Ronettes number or two.
I'm not quite sure why Blaine was singing Tom Jones' signature "It's Not Unusual" in the school courtyard and I was all ready to scream about how it didn't make sense that the Cheerios were doing backup for him when the cheerleaders hate the Glee squad until they doused the piano with lighter fluid and then set it on fire in what has to be the world's campiest bonfire. You are getting creative and devious Glee writers, and I love you for it.
Blaine's number was fine, but we need to talk for a minute about his head? What is up with his neck? Are we sure this is an actual human and not some invertebrate singing jelly fish? He just can't keep his head stable when he sings. It's like the vocal chords send everything north of his shoulders completely out of whack and he looks like some sort of stammering bobblehead. Does this man only have one dance move? Come on, Blaine. We're going to have to listen to you every episode (because you sell the most singles on iTunes) so please do something other than the jaunty step touch with hand snapping and neck wobbling. You're like a Weeble with feet!
So, yes, Blaine leaves the Warblers so that he can attend public school (ick!) and be with Babygay Kurt (aww!). We'll miss the blazer.
So, Rachel and Kurt go to the Patti Lupone School for the Aspiring Theatre Folk mixer and are all proud of their plan to demolish the competition, however when they arrive they find a room full of Rachels and Babygays that have been meeting and practicing and starring in regional productions of Anything Goes with James Van Der Beek (wait, that was me!) for years. These kids perform a mashup (vomit) of "Anything Goes" from James Van Der Beek's favorite musical and "Anything You Can Do" from Bernadette Peters least favorite musical. Again, a perfect song choice. Not only does the slightly sinister "Anything You Can Do" put the two newbies in their place, it also makes perfect sense that these tapping teens would pick two revered Broadway numbers. And, man, what a number! Can you believe I'm saying this about a mashup? I can't either! The world has gone mad today and good's bad today and black's white today and day's night today.
After two seasons of Rachel and BG Kurt prancing around like god's gift to show tunes it was good to see them humbled. As they said, just because they're the best at McKinley doesn't mean they're shit in the real world. This is a valuable lesson for any high schooler and the sooner they do the better it will make them. And the scene together in the car was enough to give me a good old-fashioned Glee cry. While they were both upset, they didn't let their dreams die and they supported each other and told each other they were fierce and got on with it. The lesson: work harder, be better. It warms the hearts of the cynical bastards like myself at home. The tears I cried were the corpses of dead dreams finally leaving my head.
I really like that Kurt and Rachel are friends this year. Apparently someone has been reading Emma's "Me and My Hag" brochure. It's good that Kurt has something to do other than be gay and Rachel has something that actually humanizes her a bit so she's not just whining about not being a star and Finn not wanting to give it to her.
"Anything Goes" is also about how the world has turned upside down and just as the hopes of Kurt and Rachel were inverted, so was the personality of Will. Not only did he decide that he had to tell Sugar Matta that she was out of Glee Club (something tells me we haven't seen the last of her) he also went on the offensive against Sue MF Sylvester and glitter bombed her at the Cheerio auditions. Apparently now he's an activist for the arts. Look for more of this to happen now that we find out that the still-not-putting-out Emma was turned on when he became a man of action. His plan didn't work though and instead of exposing Sue's tyranny, she got a bump in the polls, probably from all the people hating Glee.
Just like they sing in Hairspray (the musical based on the movie and the movie musical based on the musical based on the movie) "You Can't Stop the Beat." (An great number ending the show that brings together all of the emotion of the hour in a tremendous dance routine? Yes please!) That was really the theme for the episode. So, the stupid purple pianos all got ruined and the Glee Club doesn't have enough members and Finn has no idea what he's doing in the future and Kurt and Rachel are the worst good singers in all of Northern Ohio and Quinn is a bad girl (who is watching from the balcony secretly) and Santana gets thrown out of Glee for setting one of the pianos on fire (Actions with real consequences? Yes please!) but you just can't stop the beat. The club goes on, and they have Nationals to fight for.
Yes, everything moves on and improves. It's true of the show which—at least initially—has rescued itself. There were still some things that could stand improvement, but they fixed so many of the old problems. There were even some LOLs courtesy of Brittany and some of the old dark, meanness that I loved so much. But we've been burned by Glee before so while I'm overjoyed that the first episode was good, I still enter into this season with some trepidation. Just like your boyfriend after he lost the weight again, it's good to have the old svelte partner back, but once he got fat you'll always have that memory of his blubber in your head and every day you'll sit in fear that he's just one trip to the Olive Garden away from being a fatty once again.