Glee Season 5 Premiere Review: All You Need Is Love (and iTunes Sales)

By MaryAnn Sleasman

Sep 27, 2013

Glee S05E01: "Love, Love, Love"

There was a time, not so long ago, when Glee had an actual story that viewers were expected to follow along with, and hopefully find enjoyable enough to come back for more. It was a pretty good story that centered a group of musical misfits and their hilariously exaggerated enemies, with a pinch of satire for good measure. The music was always important, but somewhere along the line, the music—and not even really the music so much as the sale of the music—became everything. As the show progresses, the obvious shift in its priorities is getting harder and harder to ignore. What is Glee even about anymore?

Last season's big school-shooting story, which began to fall apart almost immediately following its surprisingly well-done lockdown sequence, was officially brought to a close in the Season 5 premiere, "Love, Love, Love," with a casual line from Sue Sylvester revealing that Becky had admitted the gun was hers, allowing Sue to return to her post at McKinley High. Once reinstated, she promptly framed Principal Figgins for all manner of things unbefitting a high school administrator and claimed his position as her own. 

Even though Becky's story was flawed since—well, since its very inception—it still opened the door for some honest and important discussion about the way we deal (or don't deal) with mental health problems in this country. Turning Becky into Glee's "shooting star" was a big WTF, but it was a WTF that could've been something great. Or at least good. Instead, we learned that Becky "'fessed up" and is currently serving out a month-long suspension. Glee opted to ignore the compelling problems it created for one of its characters because, let's face it, the inner turmoil of a lonely, scared, and mildly disabled teenager doesn't lend itself well to bombastic dance numbers and iTunes sales. Better bring Sue back ASAP to play the cartoon villain and forget about that one time the show tried to make a point about something that wasn't completely batshit crazypants. 

So in other news, Blaine and Kurt are engaged. Teenage marriage! Yay! So healthy! So not co-dependent or hasty or irrational! Blaine even got a bunch of rival glee clubs and Santana and Rachel to drop everything and fly out to Lima with their piles of magical disposable income to help him propose because it's not like they have jobs or classes or responsibilities or anything. Glee is a consequences-free zone.

Whatever, Rachel proved just how professional she is by sassing the casting director who turned her down for Funny Girl, citing her inexperience and general greenness—which weren't unfair assessments! I'm sure shaming him in front of numerous diners at her place of employment really proved how mature and ready-for-the-big-leagues she is. Fo' sho.

Kitty and Artie are actually interesting as a couple and THANK YOU, Glee, for not dragging out Kitty's social-status-vs.-true-love issues. However, I'm not going to bother getting too invested in that relationship because the only couple that lasts forever on this show is Kurt and Blaine. Blaine wants their relationship/proposal/marriage/everything to be a "cultural statement" because Glee is self-important to the point of comedy in this leg of its run, and while it's failed to saying any meaningful—or really anything at all—about Becky's mental health problems, Coach Beiste's domestic abuse, or even Dave Karofsky's suicide attempt way back when, it's got the market cornered on saccharine romance masquerading as social justice. Or actual social justice. I don't know. Glee itself probably doesn't even know. 

Still, Glee has returned, and it generally brightens my Thursdays if I don't think too hard about it. The colors were bright and the sounds were polished to the point of inhuman preciseness—except for Lea Michele's "Yesterday," because the woman routinely manages to strike a healthy balance between emotional expression and technical accomplishment in pretty much everything she sings. (Raise your hand if you saw her in Spring Awakening in the pre-Glee days! Wasn't she fab? Trust me, she was so fab.) 

Next week, Beatlemania continues, featuring songs written after the Beatles smoked weed with Bob Dylan. See you there, darlings!


– First Glee playlist of the season! Ummm...I liked Rachel's "Yesterday" and Artie and Kitty's "You've Got to Hide Your Love Away." What were your favorites? 

– Lol @ "Tina Cohen-Agitator" because it's true. 

– Also Lol @ Sue's "You'll be forced to build creepy relationships with teenagers on your own time," because it's also true. 

– Okay, fine. Blaine's proposal—the actual proposal, not that ridiculous, anxiety-spiking display of obnoxiousness (poor Kurt; saying no wasn't really on the table after that). It was really thoughtful and sweet, "My soul knew something that my body and my mind didn't know yet." *sniff* Oh boys, I know I'm mean. I know my mom didn't hug me enough as a kid. I know my heart is two sizes too small. But that was really lover-ly. 

– Tina gets another pity date to the prom. Greeeat. 

What did you think of Glee's season premiere? Do we still hate Kitty? Did Marley even have any lines? Does anyone else miss Brittany as much as I do? 

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  • fan1983 Oct 06, 2013

    Another issue they brought up and failed to properly address is when Ryder confessed that he was sexually abused by his babysitter. I don't think that was ever brought up again.

  • Atlantida Oct 03, 2013

    You know what, MaryAnn, if you hate this show SO MUCH, just don't review it, ok? It was one of the best episodes of Glee - funny, soulful, entertaining. If you want drama - watch Breaking Bad or Game of Thrones or whatever. I don't want drama here, I have it enough in other (good!) shows. It is a dramedy! I want some happy, sometimes goofy, sometimes soulful stuff - and I got it in this episode. It was awesome! Funny, lovely, beautiful - Glee as it was at the very beginning. Don't make something be it never intended to be.

  • radiumgirl Oct 04, 2013

    If Glee wants to be "happy, sometimes goofy, sometimes soulful" and "funny, lovely, beautiful" maaaaybe they shouldn't bring school shootings and mental illness into the mix. Please explain in what context a school shooting is funny and entertaining.

  • Atlantida Oct 04, 2013

    agree! can't explain it b/c didn't like it - it was inappropriate in this show (and there were many of them last season let's be honest here) i agree that glee should't bite more than they can chew - they obvsly can't do it well. BUT. this episode was really good - it reminded me glee 1st season when we just watch and love all this silly stuff - funny, exaggerated but kind and inspiring i think? so - maybe reload your attitude? try not to concentrate on the negative sides and see some good ones - there were many of them in this episode really.

  • hbf716 Oct 01, 2013

    Ugh. I have always enjoyed Glee. I love the harmonies, the mash-ups and how they introduce me to contemporary music and the younger generations to the classics. But, this was an all-around ridiculous episode. It drives me crazy when there is no continuity and when storylines are completely ignored. I felt like there were so many stories introduced near the end of last season that - what, Glee decides they just don't feel like finishing that story? It was just so confusing. Like, why is Ryder in glee? I thought he said that he was done and not rejoining? Why is everyone all of a sudden jumping on the teenage marriage bandwagon? Glee spent weeks rehashing what a bad idea it was that Rachel and Finn got engaged but now everyone (especially *ugh* Schuster) is skipping around singing about what a wonderful idea it is for a 17 year old to get married? And even though I thought some of it was romantic, I couldn't get past how pressured Kurt would feel to say "yes", and how cheap airplane rides must be from L.A. and N.Y., and how Kurt's own brother was absent from the escapades and how it wasn't even slightly addressed. I couldn't stand the Sue framing the principle storyline - not even slightly feasible. Also, so bored by the mean girl becomes nice and is replaced by another mean girl scenarios. Glad to see Artie with a story arc but, why start a doomed romance especially when there has been no romantic set up for this couple. And don't even get me started on their hair! Really hoping for some real heart and emotion this year but, so far, manic patchwork storytelling.

  • fatimapk87 Sep 30, 2013

    MARLEY charactr is a great singer rite now on show..she should be given a strong story and really hard n good songs coz i know she can sing just as well as( if not less) RACHEL character...

  • fatimapk87 Sep 30, 2013

    premier was a lil boring ....may be coz of CORY'S death being in mind....but it was blahhh....BRITNEY was soooo missed!!!....but ppl graduate from high school and new batch it has to be looked likewise,,,,.... marley was not given much importance,and where is coach beist???? missed her too,,JOE wasnt there as well as SUGAR :///,,,there r no good looking guys anymore :(, at least like good screen presence of PUCK ,FINN and MIKE CHANG....

  • major_sass Sep 30, 2013

    I am falling more and more out of love with glee every week. I was such a diehard Gleek in the beginning but since the start of last season it has just been dropping the ball again and again.

    They are no longer doing songs that fit the plot but rather picking songs they know will sell and making the plot work around them, half the time they have nothing to do with anything.

    Glee needs to go back ot basics and stop rehashing the same old plot lines. The season premier was a big disappointment for me

  • Full_MetalFreak Sep 30, 2013

    I'm not even sure why i'm still watching it at this point. That was a lackluster premier if i've ever seen one. Where was the excitement? Maybe my apathy just got in the way...

  • ravynjensen Sep 30, 2013

    I agree that the series is getting a little ridiculous, it's certainly no longer must-see-TV, it's just good for PVRing it and watching it days later.

    But the cast is still very talented, Lea's 'Yesterday' was especially good. But. at the same time these gimmick episodes that just focus on one artist or band have got to stop, the musical numbers just feel shoehorned in, they need to just use the songs that fit the scene like they used to.

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