I was initially hesitant to watch Fox’s Glee, expecting it would be a recap of my high school years and summers at a theatre camp. Luckily, I was wrong. Fox advertised just enough and premiered its pilot about a newly formed after-school glee club months in advance to receive high anticipation for its season. It’s quick, witty, clever and the music is good too. It’s also about my major (Music Education by the way), so double points from me.
Starting with the pilot episode, we meet antagonists and their counter protagonists: the Gleeks and the non-Gleeks (mostly jocks). The Gleeks — all musically talented outsiders who are trying to find their place in the bottomless pit also known as high school — gather together in the freshly-casted glee club, led by the “Troy Bolton-of-high-school” and now Spanish teacher Mr. Schuester. The non-Gleeks quickly see “New Directions” (the glee club) as a threat as it recruits Finn Hudson (Cory Monteith), star of the football team, and tries to get others from the award-winning cheerleading squad. It’s like High School Musical for those who have actually gone to high school and know that no one sings or dances in the cafeteria. Yet unlike HSM, I don’t think there will be teeny-boppers awaiting t-shirts and wallets with Mr. Schuester’s image — if only.
But by the third episode (“Acafellas”), Glee has been taking me on a roller coaster ride. I thought the pilot was great, even though there was a bit much plot-wise in it. And then came the third episode — which is quite entertaining, mind you — but it was little much. It includes a thorough spoof of a classic of our adolescence, Bring It On, with a singing and dancing five-member boy band (‘NSYNC anyone?), some new spy work, a coming out of the closet, a new (and unexpected) singer to the crew and a cameo by Josh Groban. No offense, Josh, but it was a tad much if you ask me.
This episode also clearly conveyed how awful (and obnoxious) Terri, Schuester’s wife is, how cliquey a group of five can become, I guess how some kids can, um, surprise you (Finn’s faux-hawked friend, Puck (Mark Salling) by the way) and how the Gleeks and the non-Gleeks can “unite.” Yet somehow, boy bands can rise, fall and rise again (including recording CDs?) within the time frame of one full episode?
My Favorites: The two-thumbs cake, a quartet of “He’s a Jolly Good Fellow”, a hip hop jam, the 1950s-inspired hallway scene (listen to the background music), tribal drums under Coach Sylvester’s scenes, Acafella (sorry, I’m still a teenybopper at heart).
Predictions: Thanks to the “Next week, on Glee” commercial, it looks like Terri will be wearing a baby suit — I just hope this doesn’t turn into an elongated episode of Arrested Development. Now with crushes out in the open, I hope there will be some love triangles galore coming up!
Music Tips: Don’t let “Vocal Adrenaline” and the pre-recorded singing fool you — dancing and singing at the same time is actually difficult. Oh yeah, and spontaneous harmonization that starts off with someone off key is even harder.