Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Glee - S3 E1 - The Purple Piano Project

A new school year convenes with the Glee club 3 members down. Will hatches a plan involving repossessed pianos to snare new recruits. Meanwhile, Sue renews her war against the club.

Spoilers after the jump.

I don't actually remember real well what happened at the end of the last season which I am willing to say is more the show's fault than mine. I do vaguely remember Will and Emma (Jayma Mays) getting together which I know I disapproved of and was not particularly interested in their relationship. Apparently, neither is Emma and their couple routine seems exceedingly robotic, which evidently frustrates him. However, eschewing the opportunity for some actual drama and instead playing into this tiresome OTL BS, towards the end of the episode, she starts to get "turned on" by Will's reckless bravado which I submit is out of character and very difficult to swallow.

Are Finn and Rachel a couple? I don't think so, I don't remember exactly. There was a reference to their onstage kiss in last season's finale but other than that Finn (Cory Monteith) did not appear much in this episode. He wqas in the opening of the episode though, as one of the students being interviewed on his future plans, and as usual, his internal struggle for identity seems so much more real than the fictional foibles of all these other kids. In stark contrast to Finn's indecision, Quinn (Dianna Agron) has been very decisive in going off the rails.

Yikes. I kinda like it, but only because she's so, so hot underneath. Apart from her reintroduction as now on the outside of the two main cliques, she also does not feature much, hiding out behind the bike shed smoking with her delinquent pals - an appropriate touch as Agron does have that sexy, smoky voice. As far as the other departures, the two least believable couples on the show were broken up, thankfully. Chord Overstreet is gone, unclear whether he was fired or quit, but he has gone off to pursue an actual musical career now, so Sam and Mercedes are finished and Mercedes has taken up with an offensive lineman which is far truer to life and her body build. Also gone is Big Fat Bartolo Colon Lauren who is apparently still in the background but is now officially broken up with Puckerman.

To replace one spot comes Kurt's boyfriend Blaine (Darren Criss) who leaves Dalton to join McKinley High to be closer to Kurt after an impassioned plee. I can't imagine that McKinley, a public school a stone's throw from Lima Heights has better academics than Dalton so it seems incredibly contrived that he would transfer (What did his parents say about that?) He announces his arrival with an impromptu number in the school courtyard. With increased face time, I hope the writers don't turn him into a mincing idiot like Kurt. Blaine seemed relatively normal, kinda cool actually, but I could see it going horribly wrong very quickly.

Blaine's arrival did underline something to me I've been hammering away at for a long time. Sue, in her congressional campaign takes aim at artists in public schools, claiming they are arrogant and think the rules don't apply to them. Presumably this is some kind of "Take That!" shot at conservatives and critics by Glee's arrogant and aloof creator but everything she says really does apply to Kurt. He is selfish, he is arrogant and he does not think the rules that everyone else must abide by should apply to him. He is my least favorite character on television, and I did not feel as sorry for him as I was supposed to when he feels his dreams are crushed later in the episode after viewing the competition from other local talents.

I did feel sorry for Rachel though. She spent most of the episode making me realise why she is so despised by a large chunk of the viewing audience, just being generally annoying and as arrogant as Kurt, but when she is sent crashing down in the same way as Kurt it is genuinely poignant moment. It serves to accentuate how spoilt and sheltered she is and how a kick in the face reality-wise was much needed. Her resolution to clamber over all of them to get into the New York Arts school will presumably be a season long journey that ends with her acceptance. For Kurt, his route will take him via the Senior Class Presidency, a position at which he has no shot except of course, this is Glee and the storyline will be manufactured and manipulated in such a way as to make him the obvious candidate.

Speaking of candidacy, Sue comes up with her platform after destroying one of the pianos Will has placed in the school hallway which Tina (Jenna Ushkowitz) and Mike (Harry Shum Jr.) are playing on. The geometry teacher she speaks to directly after, well it was an oddly timed moment as she was referring to "those people". It was curious to note that officially, Mike is a senior while Tina and Artie are juniors. White people are already clamoring for Artie and Tina to give it another go, with some quarters saying Mike is boring. The reason Mike appears boring is because he has never been given more than two lines in any one episode (There was a conspicuous lack of a scene where Mike and Tina tell Will about the destruction of the piano). It seems as thought that may be about to change with the third episode of this season confirmed to have some focus on him - about goddamn time!

Wrapping this one up, I'm just reminded of a lot of reasons I'm dissatisfied with this show as a whole. I don't feel like they do a good job straddling the line between the serious and farcical moments. I'm willing to give it leeway because it's a musical show, but it's tough to treat scenes like Will's impassioned defense of arts programs with gravity when his solution for that is to glitter bomb Sue. Ensembles are tough to pull off too, and attention was zipped from place to place yet somehow still managed to completely ignore a lot of people. It was somewhat off-putting. I don't like the sound of this whole "Glee Project" integration, though the first girl from that who appeared at the club late in the episode was a very good musical performer, if not necessarily a good actress. One last thing, Will blames the cheerleaders for setting the piano in the courtyard on fire when it was clearly Quinn who flicked the cigarette on it. Is she working undercover or is Santana just taking the fall?

"Glee" airs Tuesdays on Fox at 8pm EST.

Oh. One last thing. Jane Lynch was hosting the Emmys and got it in her head to attack Ricky Gervais, deriding him saying "Poor little Ricky Gervais. Someone didn't get enough hugs from mommy and somehow it's Hollywood's fault". Gervais of course gave the industry a pasting when he hosted the Golden Globes in January, and well, a bunch of people are trying to spin it now that it was "obviously a joke" on her part. It was not funny and it's a reflection of Hollywood's elitist, deeply hypocritical nature. I liked her in Party Down, but I lost a lot of respect for her when I saw that, that she would submit to someone clearly getting in her ear like that.

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