The first season finale of Fox’s instant phenomenon “Glee” successfully wrapped up a majority of the season’s plot lines and set up an interesting playing field for the highly anticipated premiere: Rachel and Finn seem to finally be headed toward some sort of definitive romantic relationship. Quinn’s baby was adopted. Mr. Schue found himself, for once, truly single. Sue fleetingly realized that there was indeed some value in the glee club.
Most importantly, though the glee club itself manage to resolve, for the most part, its long-standing social issues. Even though they lost Regionals, the New Directions kids were able to see how much they had really won in being a part of glee and in finding each other. Moving into the second season, they are now a united front.
- Director: Brad Falchuk
- Written By: Ian Brennan
- Cast: Jane Lynch, Lea Michelle, Cory Monteith, Chris Colfer, Dianna Agron, Kevin McHale, Heather Morris, Matthew Morrison, Amber Riley, Naya Rivera, Mark Salling, Jenna Ushkowitz, Chris Hummel
The second season premiere, “Audition,” makes it abundantly clear early on that despite how far the glee club has come, its members are still struggling to find their footing in the high school social hierarchy. As Kurt (Hummel) points out, though the glee kids may have accepted themselves for who they are, the rest of the school has not. In order to try and garner interest in and support for the club from the rest of the student body, New Directions tries to make themselves appear “cool” by performing songs straight off the Top 40 Hits list.
- New characters! Last night we met McKinley High’s new football coach, sharp tongued hard-ass Shannon Bieste (pronounced “Beast,” obviously.) We also met Sunshine Corazon (Charice), a Filipina exchange student with a killer voice, and Sam Evans (Chord Overstreet), another new student, who sings and plays football. Each of these new characters is a presumptive rival to an existing one (Bieste and Sue, Sunshine and Rachel, Sam and Finn), bringing out the demons most notably in spotlight-lovers Sue and Rachel.
- Plenty of action. The New Directions gang had an active summer, and many of these new developments created fresh conflicts, for example:
- Tina (Ushkowitz) and Artie’s (McHale) breakup catalyzes some controversy. Artie, understandably feeling depressed after Tina ditches him for Mike Chang’s abs and amazing dance moves, tries in vain to win her back. His strategy? Joining the football team, with Finn’s help. When his plan invariably goes awry, though, Artie is not the only one left feeling rejected- Finn gets kicked off the team by Coach Bieste for putting her in the awkward position of having to say ‘no’ to the kid in the wheelchair.
- Santana’s (Naya Rivera) summer boob job disgusts Sue, who revokes her status as head cheerleader and gives the coveted spot back to a smug Quinn. This pushes the longtime rivalry between the two queen bees to its boiling point and the two finally claw at each other in an startlingly violent (for Glee, anyway) hallway fight. Fellow Cheerio Brittany’s (Heather Morris) hilariously stone-faced reaction: “Stop the violence.”
- The Cheerios drama isn’t over, though- a threatened Sue actively bullies Coach Bieste, accompanied at first by an equally threatened Mr. Schue. When Sue manipulates Brittany into accusing Coach Bieste of making inappropriate sexual advances toward her, though, Mr. Schue realizes the bullying of Coach Bieste has gone far enough and apologizes. Sue, naturally, refuses to relent.
- Rachel and Finn’s summer romance is jolted back to a harsh reality when both are presented with potential rivals Sunshine and Sam. Rachel jealously tries to eliminate Sunshine by sending her to a crack house instead of the New Directions audition. The usually timid Finn makes no attempt to hide his disgust at Rachel’s blatantly selfish sabotage, and calls her out on it. Initially she tries to talk her way out of it, but ultimately and privately admits she was wrong. Meanwhile, Finn, replaced by Sam as quarterback on the football team, fears Rachel will leave him now that he is a high school plebian. Of course, we all know Rachel loves Finn almost as much as she loves herself, no matter what his social status is, and she reminds him of this. Though arguably two of the most immature characters on the show, this relationship seems to bring out the best in each of them.
- “Glee” is running out of good excuses to instigate drama and create new plot lines, so they’re sticking with the tried and true. Budget cuts? Beating Vocal Adrenaline? Getting in with the “cool” crowd? We’ve seen and heard this all before.
- “Empire State of Mind,” Jay Z and Alicia Keys- New Directions performs this hip-hop hit outside during lunchtime, in order to convince their classmates that glee club isn’t all showtunes and classic rock. It is a fun scene, though honestly, Finn should not rap. Ever.
- “Telephone,” Beyonce and Lady Gaga- Rachel happens upon Sunshine rocking out in the woman’s bathroom, which results in a heated duet between the two divas.
- “Billionaire,” Travie McCoy- In one of the most engaging scenes in the episode, Sam covers this song of summer in the choir room with the help of Puck, Mike, Finn, and Artie.
- “Listen,” Dreamgirls Soundtrack- Sunshine’s audition for glee club blows everyone away, confirming Rachel’s worst fears. In an odd twist, Sunshine defects to Vocal Adrenaline, led by a new coach (Cheyenne Jackson)- though who could blame her after what Rachel did to her? Once again, Rachel’s unstoppable selfishness has negatively impacted the success of New Directions.
- “What I Did For Love,” A Chorus Line Soundtrack – Rachel’s musical mea culpa reminds us that even as self-serving as she is, the glee club diva isn’t all bad.
All in all, I thought it was an excellent start to the new season. The decision to incorporate trendier, “cooler” music was smart because it not only helped make the glee club look cool to the students of McKinley High, it made ‘Glee’ a bit more appealing to viewers who might not have the soundtrack to Wicked on their iPod. It will be interesting to see if this trend continues throughout the season, in an effort to expand the show’s fan base.
We have the Britney Spears tribute episode which promises to feature the hilarious Cheerio Brittany and give us some details on Emma Pillsbury’s new love interest, played by John Stamos. Can’t wait!
What did you think of Glee’s season 2 premiere? Agree? Disagree? Let us know in the comments section!