We're entering the third season of "Glee", and through two seasons I've learned that the show requires an incredibly high level of suspension of disbelief, particularly when it comes to its increasingly complex musical numbers. I've accepted that somehow every instrumental musician at McKinley High knows every song ever, and has his or her instruments at all times, should a glee club member decide to break out into song.
There has to be a point where a line is drawn, and for me that came when Blaine (Darren Criss) transferred from Dalton to McKinley, apparently three days into the school year, and was actually encouraged to do so by his boyfriend Kurt (Chris Colfer) with utter disregard for Blaine's academic future. Maybe this should have happened earlier, but for me, this was the moment where I said "OK, this show is putting the music above realism, narrative and everything else, and I should just accept that." If I can't accept that, I can't enjoy the show.
So I'm putting aside the expositiony opening scene that smacked of lazy writing, ignoring the fact that the Lima, Ohio area is apparently home to the most musically-talented teens outside of New York and not criticizing Kurt and Rachel's overly dramatic response to that fact. Instead I'll just focus on the enjoyable moments. And there were plenty of things to enjoy in this episode, narrative absurdities aside. Here are my top five:
5. Brittany, following the food fight: "There's pepperoni in my bra."
Santana: "Those are your nipples."
God, I missed Brittany.
4. Coach Beiste talking about cutting players from the football team. I thought she got more and more underutilized as the season went on last year, and this was a really good scene for her.
3. It's such a tiny, stupid thing to care about, but Will's Superman lunchbox (and Emma's matching Wonder Woman lunchbox) was awesome.
2. Sue Sylvester becoming a true villain again. I was wondering how they'd swing this following last year's softening at the funeral, and they actually did a decent job and made it fit in a natural narrative.
1. Everything about Quinn's new look. I could live without the attitude, but the look... yes, please!
Oh, and "Glee" still has music too. Less than last year, which is probably a good thing. In Season 1, there were episodes that would only have 2 songs. Then last year it bloated all the way up to an average of six songs an episode, which was too many. This one had five (not counting the "audition" by self-diagnosed Asperger's girl, and I'm not gonna get into how casually offensive that was), which is an improvement, but we could probably trim a little more.
We Got the Beat - B+
First, they at least ATTEMPTED to fit this into the narrative, save for the sudden appearance by a multi-piece band, so that's a positive. It's a fun, catchy song, I loved the dance moves (particularly from Brittany) and it sounded good, which is really key for these performances.
Ding-Dong! The Witch Is Dead - C
OK, we get it Lea Michele. You really want to be in the film adaptation of "Wicked". That's great. Now that we've acknowledged that, can we stop forcing your desires into this show? OK, thanks, bye.
It's Not Unusual - D
I'm just gonna share what I Tweeted here:
OK, to expand on that... I love "It's Not Unusual". Not in an ironic "Fresh Prince" Carlton Dance kind of way, but genuinely love the song. And what makes the song is Tom Jones's voice, which has that gravely Welsh quality to it that Darren Criss lacks. He's too smooth to pull it off, and when he tried to go rough, it was just painful.
Anything Goes/Anything You Can Do - C
I'm sure this was awesome for people who watched "The 'Glee' Project", but I didn't, so it was just another average Glee broadway production.
You Can't Stop the Beat - B
Speaking of broadway productions, if I was still being Mr. "I hate anything that doesn't make sense", I'd kill this song for going from spontaneous choir room sing along to full-fledged on-stage production in a matter of seconds, but that's not the point. The production was good, the song was good, and everyone was having fun. Hopefully that'll happen more this season.