"Glee" is back. I'm not ready to add "and better than ever", but "Audition" was a solid start to the second season. The episode reinforced a lot of the good things from Season 1, while also setting up some good stuff for Season 2. I thought the show did a good job to establish that despite everything that happened last year, the glee club is still at the bottom of the food chain. That led to an interesting dynamic between Will Schuester and Sue Sylvester, especially when they learned both their budgets were getting cut.
The only thing better than Will and Sue going at each other is Will and Sue teaming up against a common enemy -- in this case, the new, female football coach -- at least in small doses. Still, while it was fun to see the darker side of Will, it was good that they were back to status quo by the end of the episode.
As for that coach, Dot Jones was pretty damn good as Shannon Beiste. The buzz this summer positioned her solely as a new foil for Sue Sylvester, but even within this first episode it seems like she's going to be more than that. She's a welcome replacement for Ken Tanaka, who had gotten very annoying by the end of last season.
Meanwhile, I've got mixed feelings about Cheyenne Jackson as the new coach of Vocal Adrenaline. Sure, he's awesome, but does this mean we won't see any more of Danny on "30 Rock"? That would be tragic. Also, with all the introductions of new characters (see the song analysis below for a couple more), there wasn't even an appearance from Jayma Mays's Emma or Mike O'Malley's Burt, and a handful of glee clubbers got little more than a token appearance.
Lastly, Finn Hudson is actually a worse cheerleader than he is a quarterback (and remember, McKinley only won one game last year, so they suck).
Other laugh-out-loud moments from this week:
- "People thought I went on vacation, but actually I spent the summer lost in the sewers." Oh, Brittany, I missed you.
- Asian camp? I shouldn't have laughed, because it was kinda racist, but it was funny.
- Sue's whole diatribe to Santana about her breast implants. "Now take your juicy, vine-ripened chest fruit and get the hell out of my office."
- "Coach Beiste didn't touch my boobs. Actually, I really want to touch her boobs." Have I mentioned how much I love Brittany?
- "The two of you are making a very serious mistake today, the likes of which have not been seen since the Mexican-Indians sold Manhattan to George Washington for an up-skirt photo of Betsy Ross." Oh, Sue, I don't even know where to begin explaining everything wrong with that sentence.
As for the music, here's what I thought about this week's songs:
Empire State of Mind - F
Will, take the advice of the forum commenters - eliminate rap from your repertoire. And I know Will didn't actually rap on this, but his rap stylings are trickling down to the rest of the club, so that's not good. Also, no school from Ohio should be doing a New York song or mentioning LeBron (even if it's a coke price reference).
Telephone - A+
I wouldn't have pegged this as a Rachel/Sunshine duet, especially since Sunshine (Charice) didn't exist before this episode, but I'm glad "Glee" went back to the Gaga well without the forced costuming of the "Theatricality" episode. Charice is gonna give Lea Michele a run for her money vocally this year, at least if she sticks around (and if she's on Vocal Adrenaline, we might not see much of her).
Billionaire - C
See above re: rap. But the new kid -- Sam Evans (Chord Overstreet) -- absolutely KILLED the chorus, so that saves the grade on this one. And, honestly, Artie's skills on this rap verse (a slightly easier one than "Empire State of Mind") weren't completely terrible.
Listen - A-
I'm gonna be honest, this isn't my kind of song (despite my negative comments about Glee's rap habits, I prefer when they do popular music over Broadway standards). So that's where the "minus" comes in. Still, Charice's voice is amazing. It's hard to believe it comes out of such a small little girl.
What I Did For Love - B
"I can't regret what I did for love". Hmm, it would seem like Rachel didn't really learn her lesson, did she? Ya know, it's a good thing you've got a great voice, Rachel, or you'd deserve a super-slushee to the face. Also, I thought the one tear thing was a little much.
For more coverage of the 2010-11 television season, visit the AdamReisinger.com TV Reviews home page.