A couple weekends ago, I found myself popping in season one of Glee on DVD for a mini-marathon. While watching the pilot, my mind became flooded with your basic what happened to this show/characters/overall focus kinds of questions.
I think that Glee has definitely lost it’s footing a little bit this season. With the focus being skewed this season, I found myself wondering about why the glee club isn’t coming first as far as storylines, the lack of rehearsing during glee club scenes, and where in the world did Vocal Adrenaline go?
Glee was initially about McKinley High’s glee club and the challenges they faced as a club, with secondary storylines tied in. During the first season, almost every episode made some kind of reference to Sectionals or Regionals. Their performances and glee rehearsals were being done in the name of competition, not to impress their boy/girlfriend in the club. The show is so focused on relationships right now that at times it comes off as a prime time soap opera, rather than a one hour comedy.
I think it’s fine to highlight the relationships and watch them develop, but they should be for the most part be dealt within the secondary storylines. I don’t think the glee club should ever come off as an afterthought on the show and for the better part of second season, I think that it has. When’s the last time we heard a voice over from Mr. Schuester wondering about glee club’s been going? I don’t remember, either.
There has definitely been a lack of showing the glee club actually rehearsing. The scenes during glee club this season have been Mr. Schuester giving out that week’s assignment, a possible performance by a glee club member that may or may not tie into that week’s episode theme.
During episodes from season one, there were scenes where the club were actually shown rehearsing, and they were actually singing live. I don’t entirely mind the pre-recorded vocals, but I had completely forgotten that some of the earlier episodes showed them rehearsing with live vocals. It could be kind of cool to bring that back every so often. I do think that they should show the club rehearsing more.
In the recent episode, “Comeback,” the New Directions were told they were facing The Warblers and Aural Intensity at Regionals. But where is Vocal Adrenaline? Are they not competing this year? Do they have some kind of free pass for winning multiple years in a row? Where are they? They are supposed to be the New Directions number one opponent, yet there’s been no mention of them since they swooped in on Sunshine Corazon during the first episode of season two. I am interested in hearing how this is going to be explained, since the show plans on taking New Directions to Nationals where I would only assume they would be taking on Vocal Adrenaline. But, how do you get both teams there, without copping out a’la Sectionals, where the New Directions tied with The Warblers?
Of course thinking about where and what Vocal Adrenaline are up to, led me to think about when exactly is Jonathan Groff supposed to be making his return to Glee.
Groff played Jesse St. James, the Vocal Adrenaline bad boy that you wanted to hate, but he’s just so adorable, that you really couldn’t. Ryan Murphy told E! Online last fall that they planned on having Groff back during season two. So, where is he? In the land of unfinished storylines in the world of Lima, OH, the one relationship I wouldn’t mind seeing again is Jesse and Rachel. I realize that Jesse was supposed to go off on a full scholarship to UCLA, but I feel like the promise of bringing Groff back was dangled in front of the fans as a tease to keep watching. In all seriousness, Murphy should make good on this. Jesse was the one character last season that really mixed it up, because you never knew if you should be rooting for him or against him. He was the Professor Snape of Glee so to speak. I think it would be good for the show to bring back a fan favorite to stir the pot once again.
And finally something that came to mind while watching the pilot was how it and most of the early episodes flowed pretty seamlessly. Lately it has seemed like the producers are trying to squeeze in as much as they can of the McKinley students, as well as Kurt and Blaine over at Dalton Academy. I use the Super Bowl episode as an example of packing way too much into an episode. There was a whole lot going on, and the performance portion at Dalton during that particular episode came kind of out of nowhere, as it kicked off as the show returned from commercial break. As much as I love scenes from Dalton, I think that scenes that are out of context should be saved for an episode where they can be highlighted and not come off as an afterthought.
Jumping over to the season’s most recent episode “Blame It on the Alcohol,” it was like Ryan Murphy had been swimming laps in my brain, because this was probably the one episode from this season that resembled episode structure from season one. I’m telling you, this episode was like a thing of beauty as far as I am concerned.
When Rachel started singing to Finn sans pre-recorded vocals, my jaw dropped. Could it be that Glee was slowly, but surely making baby steps back to the show that we all fell in love with?
The secondary storylines of the “Rachel Berry house party train wreck extravaganza” Will’s wild night out with Coach Beiste, and Sue Sylvester going out of her way to be mean tied perfectly into the main storyline of it being “Alcohol Awareness Week” at McKinley. Kurt and Blaine’s storyline, which began at Rachel’s party and ended in their beloved coffee shop was placed fairly seamlessly into the episode. Plus, the scene with Kurt and his dad must be the start of another storyline for an upcoming episode, and I thought that the show did a nice job setting that up.
The episode also brought talking about uncomfortable topics back to the forefront. Underage drinking is an important topic, which I can imagine parents don’t have an easy time approaching with their kids. “Just Say No,” isn’t a realistic stance in popular culture today. I think having the glee club sign an accountability clause with Mr. Schuester was a smart way to go as being their mentor and educator.
The performances during the past episode were pretty good. Although, I didn’t care for Glee’s cover of Kesha’s “Tik Tok,” the performance during the episode was fun to watch. I really thought “Blame It” was the better of the two performances by the New Directions. Part of me wishes that it wasn’t so glossed over and was shown more as a rehearsal number than a full out performance, but maybe the show is past that. It’s the little things like that from the first season that I miss.
So many things were done right with this episode that it gives me hope for the rest of the season. Ryan Murphy, this is how a Glee episode should be. The storylines and song selections should all flow together, Kurt and Blaine not being treated as an afterthought, and everything making sense is how the show needs to be all the time.
I still think there should be a little more focus on glee club as Regionals is coming up in a couple weeks on the show. I think “Blame It on the Alcohol” is just the momentum that Glee needs to get back on track. And as a fan of the show, I hope Glee continues to re-adjust it’s focus back to what made it a hit in a first place. I think putting the glee club back into Glee is what season two should focus on as the clubs heads from Regionals to Nationals.
So Ryan Murphy, good work with the latest episode. I don’t know how you managed to read my mind, and implement my thoughts so quickly, but I’ll take it. (And in case I haven’t expressed this enough, please find a way to bring back Jonathan Groff this season!)