Glee's Season 4 Premiere: The In Crowd

Glee S04E01: “The New Rachel”

Fresh off of their victory at Nationals in last season’s sappy (but enjoyable) finale, the kids of New Directions found themselves suddenly among the ranks of the high school elite because that’s totally how high school works. When my marching band brought the big trophy home with the highest score in division history (at the time) we were suddenly so cool we didn’t know how to function. Wait, no we weren’t. Well, some of us were, but only the kids who were part of the in crowd before we won. See, in actuality, being a theater or a band geek is not the social death sentence Glee would have you believe that it is. No, not even in Ohio.

But in order for “The New Rachel”—and, frankly, Glee as a whole—to work, we have to buy into that stereotype. We also have to buy into a few others: The Midwest is a hellhole, New York City is the only place where “different” people can possibly find happiness, and admitting to your friends that the obese lunch lady is your mom will get you shunned. I think that if I were currently watching Glee as my 16-year-old self, I would worship its worldview as truth... but having grown up a little, I kind of just want to build a time machine to go back and punch myself in the face. For all of the self-proclaimed blah blah about being progressive and revolutionary, Glee is certainly fond of clinging to its tired tropes.

Okay, fine, so I’m annoyed that Kurt went to New York after all. The idea that ending up “back home” after graduation, rather than striking fame and riches among the bright lights of the big city, is the mark of a true failure is a very real line of thinking. Moving back in with the parents is every student’s worst nightmare, especially if you were one of those people who was absolutely certain that your hometown was the worst place on the planet.

Kurt Hummel’s story had a great deal of potential to dispel that notion. His exile in Lima came not from laziness and not from choice, but a simple bout of bad luck. His NYADA audition didn’t go the way he had hoped. It wasn’t the end of the world. He could audition again and in the meantime, he had Blaine and the glee club and an enormously supportive father at his back. I’m sure it felt like the end of the world, but that’s how you grow. Disappointing things happen and you deal with them and they turn you into the person you’re supposed to be.

But in the end, Kurt was shuffled off to New York City anyway because he just didn’t BELONG in Lima, man. He was DIFFERENT.

Small towns all over the country suffer from a chronic exodus of young people, slowly dying due to the lack of young blood around to innovate and invigorate. I grew up in a place where our teachers told us to get out, get far away, and don’t look back... transforming our town, like so many others, into a self-fulfilling prophecy. Young people leave because they are told that they can’t possibly be happy where they are, that there is no opportunity. As a result, the places they leave become places where no one can possibly be happy because there is no opportunity, when in actuality, it can be quite lucrative to be an artist in a small town or city: less competition and lower cost of living. But these factors don’t exist on Glee. Glee only deals in stereotypes.

Not gonna lie, though, for as much as his sudden ditching of Lima irritated me, that last scene between Kurt and his dad broke my heart. Especially his father’s declaration, “You can always come back... but you won’t.” Oh man, pass the tissues. Pass ALL the tissues.

And so, despite my generally ambivalent attitude toward Miss Rachel Berry, I actually found her storyline to be the more interesting one of the two main narratives running through “The New Rachel.” For all the idealizing of New York, Rachel was forced to face the reality of life at a highly competitive performing arts college. Her dance instructor (played by a delightfully sadistic Kate Hudson) was a monster. Her roommate sucked. She missed her friends and her family back in Ohio. Life was not perfect and wonderful and shiny just because she was in Manhattan. This new Rachel has had her confidence shaken by the rapid changes her life has taken since graduation and it shows. She already seems more mature.

The other new Rachel took McKinley High by storm, dazzling Schue with an audition for New Directions and earning a place on the team. Melissa Benoist as sophomore Marley Rose is the exact opposite of Lea Michele’s leading lady— timid, NICE, lacking the buckets of confidence that occasionally pushed Old Rachel into obnoxious mode. New to Lima, she and mother, the latter a target of lowbrow lunchroom taunting due to her girth, saw a spot on New Directions as an investment in the future. Mom even pointed out that the last lead singer (meaning Rachel) had gone all the way to Broadway. New Directions was suddenly the in crowd at McKinley.

And they promptly blew it. Kurt had the decency to call Blaine out on the group’s sudden mutation into something potentially ugly when Blaine told Unique to take off her makeup before the cheerleaders and football players at their table saw. However, it took new girl Marley’s outburst in defense of her mother after yet another lunch period full of vicious comments that finally set the group back on track, “I thought you were different!”

Don’t worry, Marley. You’ve shamed them back to decency. For now. Give it a few weeks and they’ll be back to bickering over solos. At least Glee consistently gets one thing right about high school musical theater geeks.


NOTES


– Ugh, Schue, stop being a hypocrite. Yeah, New Directions is all about teamwork. That’s why you showered Rachel, your strongest singer, with solos the past three years.

– Momma Bear Sue has the potential to be amazing, yes?

– My Glee playlist for the evening? Darren Criss’s “It’s Time” and the ensemble performance of “Chasing Pavements.” What’s yours?

– Does Rachel/Brody (Brachel?) have the potential to break up Finnchel? NOOOO.

– Jake claims to be nothing like his brother, Puck. That’s why he acts EXACTLY like his brother, Puck, right?


What did you think of the episode?



Comments (55)
Submit
Sort: Latest | Popular
Season 3 was awful, but season 4 is so much better!!! My only complaint why is there less of Shouster???
1
Reply
Flag
This is the first episode of Glee I've actually liked in quite a long time. I wasn't even going to bother watching this season and was about to erase it from my Tivo Season Pass list, but then this episode intrigued me enough to give it another chance. I liked Rachel in New York more than I liked her at McKinley the entire show thus far. I liked Kate Hudson as the cruel but human dance teacher. And, they now have a lead singer in New Directions that is talented and actually likeable? (Marley) And totally dug her mom, Sue. Some of my favorite parts of the episode were Marley and Sue's interactions. And, I'm sorry, but Rachel and Brody's flirtation already has a hundred times more chemistry than her and Finn's entire relationship. I never really got into Finnchel, and didn't understand what people saw in their relationship, but, man was I on board with Brachel after their first scene together. (It doesn't hurt that the actor that plays Brody is way hotter and more charismatic without even trying than poor Cory Monteith.) Don't worry, people who have loved the show this whole time, there was still some preachy, after school special stuff going down, but honestly, if Glee can use this season premiere as a starting point, it may actually get good again.
More+
1
Reply
Flag
Another thing I noticed...did Finn and Rachel ever actually call off their wedding? Because Rachel seems like the kind of girl who uses the word "fiance," but didn't correct Brody when he asked, "Is that your boyfriend?"



Does not bode well...
1
Reply
Flag
I was really hoping some of the other characters would get more screen time this season. Rachel was the centre of the show last season, and I was hoping there would be more story lines involving Blaine and Artie and the others. I was surprised by how little Blaine had to do with this episode, especially since he was supposedly 'the new rachel'.
1
Reply
Flag
Brachel had more chemistry in one episode then finnchel had in 3 seasons TEAM BRACHEL
1
Reply
Flag
I thought it was odd that they only added 2 singers to the group (only one via the audition) when they'd lost 7.
1
Reply
Flag
"I'll be singing New York State of Mind, written by Billy Joel, popularized by one Miss Barbara Streissand" - Glee



Kids, that is not a thing that happened. Barbara Streissand is one of a million people who covered it and frankly, I don't I've even heard her version. Until this episode of Glee, the most popular version remained the version Billy Joel recorded. This is in no way important, but revisionist history bugs me.
1
Reply
Flag
In Rachel Berry's mind, everything was popularized by Barba Streisand. The Gregorian Chants were popularized by Barbra Streisand.
1
Reply
Flag
I was troubled that they had Unique saying it as well, as though that is what everyone would say.
1
Reply
Flag
1. Being a hypocrite is Will Schuester's defining characteristic. If you took that away, he'd just be a white guy with an afro.

2. Yay, more babies on TV! Oh, wait, no, not that.

3. It finally happened, I finally got to the point where I don't watch the songs at all anymore.

4. Absolutely anything could break up Finn and Rachel. Why not this, sure?

5. Puck would definitely say that if Puck had an older brother named Puck.



This is not going to work. Too many characters means none of them gets enough screen time and there's too many storylines. TVD has this problem because they won't let anyone die; Glee won't let anyone go away when they graduate. It will be crushed under its own weight unless they dump they graduates.



Also, what on earth happened to Kate Hudson's career that she's slumming it on television and on a teen show that is 3 seasons past its prime? If she hadn't gotten a movie role in a while and this was season 2 I might understand, but seriously, did I miss some news? Did she kill a hobo in a drunk driving accident while breaking up with teenage heartthrob boyfriend over text message?
More+
1
Reply
Flag
We will see how this season turns out. I was a bit doubtful before I watched this, but it looks like they can get season 4 to work. Still have no idead about the Sue part of the story ... Best performance? Jake's "Never Say Never". Hope he just would grow up, nobody likes a angry baby.
1
Reply
Flag
I actually enjoyed the episode, can't really explain why, but I felt that Glee is really trying to start something. Having said that, I can't express how much I missed Finn, Santana, Mercedes and even Mike Chang in that choir room. The simple fact is, no matter how good or bad Glee was in the past 2 seasons, it HAD amazing characters all of which were UNIQUE. And only now do I realize how great the show was with all of them, because even tho I liked the first episode, the NEW characters barely excited me:



The new girl is obvsly the new and improved Rachel, a tolerable one, with a good heart, loved that she defended her mom, but thats kind of all about her...



The shower dude with whom Rachel is supposed to have a fling (according to various spoilers) - please, Finchel fans, you have NOTHING to worry about, the guy is barely interesting and there isn't any chemistry between them, personal opinion tho. Only thing I liked about him, was his line to Rachel about making room in her life for new things, because when people are in a situation like Rachel's (being away from home in a different city with a different lifestyle), they need to hear stuff like that to get through the first phase of being homesick.



Unique gives me a 50/50 feeling - on the one hand it is great that he isn't afraid to be who he is, but his diva attitude when he just walked in all shy into the choir room just makes me feel like I don't get him because he is starting to remind of Mercedes bitching about wanting solos.



Jake - ....yeah, not impressed by this new character at all, because Mr Shue needs to stop with looking for new charity projects, because if Puck was at least funny and awesome, this guy was just rude. Glee should have introduced him in some other way, not making him Puck 2.0



P.S. Why did they break up Tina and Mike, I loved them! They were the most sweet couple!



P.S.S. Kitty is pathetic, hope Brittany takes care of her!
More+
1
Reply
Flag
I had 0 expectations and fortunately I enjoyed it. It wasn't the best episode out there, but it got the show on rails in an interesting way. I like the brief popularity stint with New Directions and I like pretty much all of the new characters.
Reply
Flag
I am a strong conservative Christian and am generally uncomfortable with cross-dressing but when Wade was performing in "Call Me Maybe", all I could think was "Could someone please put a dress and wig on that kid?" And he looked so good once they did! Seriously, if all cross-dressers looked as good as Unique, they probably wouldn't be so taboo.
Reply
Flag
Wow, after 3 seasons of Glee you are still complaining about the unrealisticness of it ? Yes it's not real, like West Side Story, Moulin Rouge or Chicago, it's a musical, people don't start singing in school yards, thanks for that very interesting post, i now wonder how you can realistically pass for a tv critic...



Can we have Seth Abramovitch back for the Glee recaps, or at least someone with a little bit of ironie and humor, pleeeeeease !!!
Reply
Flag
I am much more interested in just following Rachel's storyline in New York, and just forget about McKinley altogether.
Reply
Flag
I agree I know I am going to love the Rachel and Kurt storyline, I love the NYADA set, that Rachel was singing at.
Reply
Flag
The opposite of this.
Reply
Flag
i agree completely with that even in a midwestern state, being in drama/glee and being openly gay will not get you killed, i went to a high school in wisconsin and we had a drag queen pageant as a fundraiser.

so far i love marley and she is the only reason i;m excited to watch glee this year, i kind of wish they would let all the old characters go and just catch up with them sporadically
Reply
Flag
I wasn't too impressed with adding Wade to New Directions.. he was good every once in a while when Vocal Adrenaline needed to show up, but not good enough to stay around as a regular. what happened to Rory? did he go back to Ireland?



I always thought Mr Schue was a hypocrite too, always talking about teamwork but he only let Rachel and every once in a while Mercedes or Santana sing.



all during It's Time my inner germophobe came out and all I could think of was "damn, they're going to have to wash so many cups after this!"



I may be in the minority, but I never liked the Rachel/Finn coupling so whatever.



Jake was surprisingly good as a singer, much better than his show brother. but the attitude has got to go. very annoying.
Reply
Flag
also, can't stand Call Me Maybe, and Glee didn't help any. i was hoping for a Bieber situation where the Glee cover made it somewhat bearable.



I'm surprised they didn't release seperate solo versions of New York State Of Mind, since it obviously wasn't a duet considering they weren't even in the same state. when Kurt and Rachel did Defying Gravity in season 1, they released solo versions.
Reply
Flag
I actually kinda liked the original Call Me Maybe, in that I hated it then liked it then hated it..

Glee resurrected it but instead of Jesus it was more like Frankenstein.

And is it just me or do their voices not complement each other at all? Like I know the song is horrible in itself, but all their voices sounded awful together too.
Reply
Flag
I hate to judge people instantly from one episode, but Kitty just rubbed me the wrong way. As though the writers are attempting to hold onto Quinn without actually taking Quinn back to square one where she was a bitch, so instead they introduce a carbon copy of season 1 Quinn in the form of Kitty.



I hope there's something to set her apart and the writers have all season to make her unique in her own way. At least with Cassandra July, there was that scene with the student of hers (Benji, I think was his name) who got a role in wicked and they seemed to have a strong relationship so it gives you hope she's not a complete bitch. I imagine that's what her relationship with Rachel will be like in a season or two.
Reply
Flag
Yeah, while I enjoyed Kate Hudson being a raging B, I did like that moment that showed she's not all bad.
Reply
Flag
It might be premature to say this, but this show is great again. I loved the premiere! Kate Hudson was awesome and I love the stuff in New York. I'm enjoying seeing Rachel as an underdog again. The stuff back in Ohio didn't bother me either. I like Marley well enough.



I'm actually pretty excited for the rest of the season. For the first time in a while this show feels... fresh.
Reply
Flag
While I do agree that "Glee deals only in stereotypes," and fully understand that Brittany is supposed to be a stereotypical dumb blonde, was anyone else rubbed the wrong way by her mistaking Wade for Mercedes?
Reply
Flag
I too found it funny Brittany is random and says the first thing that pops to her mind
Reply
Flag
Nah. It was typical Brittany and I thought it was funny. He's essentially a male Mercedes.
Reply
Flag
That's just it though. Brittany says it and it's funny...but if I were to say 2 African-Americans look similar, all of a sudden I'm racist.
Reply
Flag
Um, where's Emma? I mean her and Shue are GOING TO BE MARRIED! Did Ryan just make us root 3 years for a couple that won't work out?

Dang Jake, something about him, I could just instantly tell he was related to Puck. Can't figure out what though.
Reply
Flag
Ryan already made it clear as did the writers/producers at comic con that currently Emma and Will were not a main focus this season. Ryan even said that they're going to be married, it just wouldn't happen as soon are you might think..



LOLas for Jake? You probably could tell he was related to Puck because for the past few months we've been told that he would be related to Puck.
Reply
Flag
I'm talking about the actor, he actually looks like him. But I can't say what exactly reminds of him.
Reply
Flag
Me before glee: UGH!! I hate it, Ryan Murphy sucks, this is all stereotypes.

Me after glee: WHERE ARE THE TISSUES I'VE MISSED YOU SO MUCH NEVER LEAVE AGAIN!!

Happens every year...
Reply
Flag
so true!!!
Reply
Flag
As much as I dislike glee I keep coming back. Also as much as I've always hated Rachel and found her the most annoying person when ever she wasn't singing I liked her storyline, or maybe it's because of Kate Hudson constantly smacking her down and her story includes Kate Hudson dancing and being hot. Also the Brody guy is way better than Finn already.

I was actually really bored by the New Directions, besides Unique/Wade we're left with all the boring characters. The new mean girl's comments fall flat can we get another. Jake is cute and sings really well, so I'm trying to be hopeful about his story.

And now the new Rachel, I feel nothing for her I feel like she has voice to be the star of the group but the personality to be an extra. Maybe she's the new Mercedes and we'll get a new obnoxious leaders, because no one in the New Directions seems like it. They don't have the 12 spots filled for sectionals so maybe there's hope.
Reply
Flag
Well the newbies were disappointing... Kitty, Marley and Jake. Well, where do I start.. Kitty just seems like a pure bitch with no likeability at all, She's no Quinn and certainly no Santana. As for Jake and Marley, well at least one of them can sing, Jake.

Marley might have an interesting story and I like how she stands up for her mom, but she is no new Rachel, and let's face it, no one ever will be. Marley's voice was just bland and so disappointing!! Her being depicted at the same time as Rachel, during that song they were both singing, just made me realize that Lea Michele has such an amazing voice that no one will ever even come close to it! Everyone left in that little Glee club has just been dumped back to New Directions first week and unfortunately this time no has the promise of talent to bring them out of this miserable existence.
1
Reply
Flag
I felt it was stupid for Marleys first song to be a Duet with experience Broadway veteran Lea Michele because I couldn't help but compare Marley to Lea, and lets be honest Marley's voice is no way near the power of Lea.
1
Reply
Flag
I enjoyed most of the episode but I too agree that popular glee kids and everyone realizing their dreams is way beyond ridiculous. My biggest issue however is that I have never liked the way this show portrays Christians. I was excited when they introduced Joe as a character who stuck to his values but then to have these "good Christians" sitting around laughing at horrific behavior and not interceding or walking away once again showed me that the writers really have no idea how to write for people with biblical beliefs.
Reply
Flag
I think that for the known Christian characters (Sam and Joe....are there others? They are the only ones from the Christian club they had, right? Please correct if I am wrong!), they were showing them very conflicted....they were clearly upset by the comments being made, but also didn't want to risk ostracizing themselves from the popular kids (which I think is a typical fear people struggle with, in high school and beyond). They might be Christians, but they are also teenagers and human beings, and they are going to make mistakes.
Reply
Flag
When Glee first came out, I watch the 'teaser premiere' in the summer, made it halfway through the episode and then wrote it off as garbage. I ended up watching the first season later that year and was hooked on the strength of one song 'Poker Face' with Rachel and her mom. To this day, that song is STILL the best rendition of any song the show has had, and I'm thinking more and more that my initial reaction was the correct one.
Reply
Flag
Really liked the newbies, Marley especially. Some of my friends found Jake annoying but I think he's got potential as a character. Kitty is ok too, though dont like her as much as Quinn or Santana.
Reply
Flag
Can "Glee" just be about Kurt and his dad? The only two characters that actually emote and make me emote?



Honestly, Rachel's story line was boring as fuck and completely expected. Oh, your dreams have come true and aren't so dreamy after all? Same shit every time.



When "Glee" started it was about the songs, but classics, that everyone could enjoy and also short. Now they are unbelievably long renditions of "Call me maybe". Ugh. I found myself fast-forwarding through all of them.



More Jane Lynch, please.



I'm getting to the point of not watching "Glee" anymore.
Reply
Flag
But you have to admit Blaine's rendition of "It's Time" was amazing!
Reply
Flag
Yes on the Schue thing. I nearly choked on my glass of water when he started going on and on about freakin teamwork. Dude. Rachel Berry dominated the show and the singing in its entirety...you needn't go on about teamwork now.



I was pleasantly surprised with how the premiere turned out. They managed to balance things out quite nicely, although to be perfectly honest they could have spent more time back in Lima because I'm so tired of Ms. Berry. Although it was lovely seeing her at the bottom of the totem pole and struggling with her confidence there. And it was of course nice to see Brody...because, well, look at him.



I like the new girl. She's the anti-Rachel. She's nice and sweet and oh so likeable. I'm also more fond of her voice and the type of music she'll most likely sing with a voice like that and that laid back demeanor of hers. Marley won me over almost instantly. Nevermind the fact that they're giving her Rachel like aspirations and a poor Sam sort of background. I know someone else had mentioned that with the new kids it felt like they were rehashing previous storylines and previous characters...but the reason why it can work, is simply the fact that the previous storylines and previous characters didn't get fleshed out nearly enough to begin with so it's the shows way of making up for it. So I don't mind that Marley comes across as a hybrid of Sam and Rachel, and I don't mind that Jake is thus far coming across as Puck 2.0...because two out of the three previous characters were often lacking the development they deserved. I also loved Jake almost instantly, despite the temper issue. For starters, that kid has a striking resemblance to Mark Salling so it was a great casting choice. His voice is like velvet...a great crooner that kid. He has the potential. But the fact that he'll most likely spend the season being compared to his half brother who doesn't even know he exists as of yet should be kind of interesting. I think he'll be a lot edgier than Puck, he'll be more resistant, and he certainly comes off as a bit brighter than him too. I like Jake Puckerman. So I was shocked that I actually enjoyed the newbies.
More+
Reply
Flag
I don't know, this is the most I've enjoyed Rachel since the first season. I loved her then, but grew tired of her. Now I'm a fan again. I like seeing her as an underdog and being nice I guess.
Reply
Flag
Of course Puck had to have a half brother who he knew nothing about even though they both went to the same high school and live in a small town. This show is getting tired
Reply
Flag
ugh the call me maybe cover was awwwwwful. I wanted to rip my ears off
Reply
Flag
We should see more Tina and Blaine, please! Kate Hudson as Cassandra is trying to motivate Rachel. Marley is almost likely a New Rachel. Unlike Rachel, Marley's voice is little bit low, but she's a good singer.
Reply
Flag
I agree I want more Tina and Blaine as well, but also more depth to Sam and Joe. Back to Tina though, I hate how easily they just broke up her and Mike and it's like it was no big deal when they were the strongest couple as far as longevity goes. Whereas Finchel gets entire episode arcs dedicated to the slight possibility of being married.



I can't stand Unique/Wade, I just don't like Alex Newell I watched both seasons of the glee project and he was by far truly obnoxious and didn't deserve to be a runner up in season 1 and while we're on TGP, I think Lily was the Alex of season 2...totally obnoxious.
Reply
Flag
Yes to the Tina. No to more Blaine. Even though I love Blaine. And yes..that's what it is about Marley. Her voice is more versatile, which should make things a bit more interesting.
Reply
Flag
Yes, plz, no more Blaine. This char sucks...
Reply
Flag
Amazing Returning to Glee

Looooove Kate Hudson

and Waiting for the rest of the cast to Show Up

Great First Episode & Awesome performance From Every One <3
Reply
Flag
I wish Harmony ( Lindsay Pierce ) will be in GLEE!! I Like her better than Alex... More Quinn and Santana please!!!
Reply
Flag
It's hard making out over Skype. You can't really scissor a webcam.
Reply
Flag
Staff
Oh man, I missed Quinn and Santana too!
Reply
Flag

Like TV.com on Facebook