This summer, I’ll be going back to review the season one episodes of FOX’s Glee. These are fresh reviews, not reposts, and I hope you will enjoy reliving the first season with me.
FOX’s Glee continues season one with “Hairography.” Hairography is, as the episode tells us, using swinging hair to distract from the lack of talent in the performing club. This is appropriate, as the word ‘distraction’ is used in “Hairography” a zillion times, give or take a few. Terri (Jessalyn Gilsig) wants to distract Will (Matthew Morrison) so he doesn’t realize that she’s not pregnant. Quinn (Dianna Agron) wants to distract Finn (Cory Monteith) so she can spend some time with Puck (Mark Salling) while she considers switching boyfriends. Both are lying to their significant others, and are hoping to get away with it.
This is a shame. Quinn continues to prove herself completely unworthy of the good-hearted Finn. Sure, Finn does allow himself to get a little closer to Rachel (Lea Michele) than he should, but that can be chalked up to teenage hormones. What is important is that he doesn’t act on the attraction. He is also honest with Quinn, and authentic with Rachel, so as not to deceive either girl. It may be an arguable point that Finn is a much better person than Quinn, who constantly lies and cheated on him prior to the series beginning, but I think Finn would come out the winner in any true discussion. He can do much better than to be with Quinn.
Puck is a little more compatible. Quinn gets angry when Puck lies about sexting with Santana (Naya Rivera) while the two babysit Kendra’s (Jennifer Aspen) kids. However, this only makes her a hypocrite. She is lying to Finn while she checks and sees if Puck might be the better match after all. He is, but Quinn’s pride is too wounded to realize that, and she thinks she is better than he is. She’s not. While Puck does lie to her at the time, he is generally an honest person, and tells her exactly who he is well before she makes a serious commitment to him. For that, Puck also deserves someone better than the manipulative Quinn.
Kurt shows a true devious streak in “Hairography.” Quinn asks Kurt to do a makeover on Rachel, hoping a sexier Rachel will distract Finn. Kurt agrees to help because he loves makeovers. But Kurt is only in the scheme for himself, as he also likes Finn, and wants both Rachel and Quinn to fail to win the quarterback. The results of his primping Rachel do not make Finn or Rachel happy. It’s a betrayal of the plan Kurt made with Quinn, though not one she is likely to have a beef about. But it’s also a betrayal to Finn, whom Kurt claims to care for, but really just wants to get with, and Rachel, who thinks Kurt is being friendly towards her. It is not a side of Kurt that comes out often at all, and borders on being out of character.
Interestingly, throughout all of this, Rachel says she is only interested in Finn, even telling Kurt that she is in love with Finn, and Finn is the only guy fot her. Funny, since in the previous episode of Glee, Rachel is all over Will. Did she already forget about that crush? In “Hairography,” she has no problem getting close and whispering with Will, neither one having any regard for the previous week’s plot. It also hasn’t been that long since Rachel considers Puck as a possible mate. So obviously she is not all about Finn, even if she does definitely have feelings for him. This is a glaring weak point in Glee‘s continuity.
The music in “Hairography” sounds great. Not a surprise, because by this point, Glee is becoming pretty solid and consistent on the quality of their songs. There’s also quite a bit of them. “Bootylicious,” while not performed by the New Directions, is a fine addition to the songbook, in the way it is done in the series. “Papa Don’t Preach” is incredibly enjoyable, and softens Quinn up a bit, if only for a few minutes. “You’re the One That I Want” is a repeat, but is only partially shown, so it doesn’t feel like much of a cheat. “Don’t Make Me Over” also works.
“True Colors” sounds great, but feels slightly weird. That’s because Will wants to do it on stools, “without distractions,” or so he says. But in the background, there are plenty of swirling colors providing all the distractions one could ask for. There isn’t really anything to complain about in the staging, other than that it contradicts the dialogue. The colors actually do add to the production value of the song, and fit just fine. Too bad the lines couldn’t have been adjusted slightly.
“Imagine” is a performance that I am torn about. It is a really sweet moment when the New Directions, led by Mercedes (Amber Riley), stand up and join the school for the deaf kids in their song. However, isn’t it pretty rude to interrupt their performance? This is a serious choir (so we’re told, though it’s hard to see how) who will soon be performing against the New Directions in competition. Yet, our main characters get up and take over singing it for them. It’s fairly insulting, when you think about it. Luckily, most people won’t think about it, because it is a touching moment.
Strangely, though much of “Hairography” is about hair, and Will tells the New Directions they will be performing the titular song from the musical Hair, they never do. Though “Crazy in Love” is credited as a mash up with “Hair,” only a very, very short bit of “Hair” makes it into the number. It’s a disappointment, and seems kind of odd, considering this week’s theme. For once, the music is (barely) bent to fit the plot, not the other way around, as it is in the previous episode. Not to mention, the ridiculously tight, short shorts do as much distracting in the number as the hair they are flipping around. And distraction is OK in this case, because “Crazy in Love” is a pretty bad song.
In “Hairography,” Sue (Jane Lynch) gets to take a break from being a true villain for part of the episode, and gets to be a real advocate for the kids. Her rant at Will about how wrong it is that he is using distractions, not believing in his students, and hurting their self worth, is perfectly valid. She is in the right, and Will is wrong, which he soon realizes. Sue can be outspoken in defense of the kids she works with from time to time, and this is a great moment for her to be so. It’s also not out of character for Will to lose sight of what he should be doing, so the scene ends up working very well. Great writing.
Michael Loeffelholz makes his second and final appearance as Phil Giardi, husband to Terri’s sister Kendra. Strange, since he’s supposedly a close member of Will’s family, that we don’t see him again. Though, to be fair, Kendra disappears in season one as well, and Terri is barely in season two. So he’s the first of a bigger fade out.
Money is supposedly super tight for the Schuesters, as they complain about in earlier episodes, but Terri can afford to buy Will a car? Not to mention, I’ve never heard of an apartment that allows tenants to work on their cars in the parking garage. Nor is there likely to be a nice, big apartment building with a parking garage in the relatively small city where Glee takes place. Strange, indeed.
The director of the bad girls’ school is played by hip hop singer Eve (Eve). This seems plenty appropriate, and she will return a second time in “Sectionals” to reprise the role. Sadly, she has not been seen again since.
A similar thing can be said about actor / writer Michael Hitchcock (United States of Tara, Men of a Certain Age), who plays the director of the deaf school, and is in the same two episodes as Eve. While it is nice that Glee allows other fine actors to step in as rival choir directors, and these two aren’t the most memorable of the bunch, it is still a pleasure to see them.
Check back soon for another season one review of Glee!