Show 101: Glee

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SHOW: Glee

PREMIERES: Season 2 starts on Monday, January 10 at 9pm on E4.

WHY YOU MIGHT LIKE IT: If you... 1) were ever a theatre kid, 2) were an outcast in high school, 3) like hearing remixes of your favourite songs, 4) have always thought Jane Lynch deserved more appreciation from the mainstream, 5) own a secret stash of legwarmers, and/or 6) have an appreciation for anything campy, tune in. Bonus points if you also like celebrity cameos, 'cause Glee is full of 'em; last season boasted appearances by Olivia Newton John and Neil Patrick Harris and Season 2 will feature visits from Britney Spears and John Stamos, among others.

WHY YOU MIGHT HATE IT: If you... 1) loathe musical theatre/choreographed dance numbers or 2) don’t have a heart, Glee might not be for you. Seriously, folks, who can resist smart humour and the power of song?

THE PREMISE: Glee follows New Directions, the glee club at William McKinley High School in Lima, Ohio. In each episode both the kids and the teachers sing and dance, and the show addresses weighty social issues through music.

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW: In the beginning, the McKinley High glee club was a sad little group comprised of Rachel Berry (Lea Michele), the goody-two-shoes with an insanely incredible voice; Artie Abrams (Kevin McHale), a lovable kid in a wheelchair; Mercedes Jones (Amber Riley), a sassy African-American chick who can belt out the hits; Tina Cohen-Chang (Jenna Ushkowitz), the school's resident goth girl; and Kurt Hummel (Chris Colfer), a sophisticated and ever stylish gay kid. When Spanish teacher and former glee clubber Will Schuester (Matthew Morrison) took over as coach, he set out to gain some respect for the program by whipping the team into shape and making it all the way to Nationals—even though he faced serious sabotage from Sue Sylvester (Jane Lynch), the self-serving cheerleading coach. After renaming the club New Directions and recruiting such unlikely members as dopey football quarterback Finn Hudson (Corey Monteith); head cheerleader Quinn Fabray (Dianna Agron); and b'mohawked tough guy Noah "Puck" Puckerman (Mark Salling), Shuester transformed the group into a competitive force that brought home a victory at Sectionals but only came in third at Regionals.

The very abridged version of show's many love triangles goes as follows: Rachel had a longstanding crush on Finn, who liked her back but had issues acting on it initially because he was dating Quinn. Quinn got pregnant after sleeping with Finn's best friend Puck, but pretended the baby was Finn’s. Rachel eventually started dating Jesse St. James, of rival glee club Vocal Adrenaline. Sadly, that relationship ended partly because Jesse first wooed Rachel with the intention of spying on New Directions, a plan cooked up by Vocal Adrenaline’s coach, Shelby Corcoran. Shelby later turned out to be Rachel’s biological mother, who'd given Rachel up for adoption at birth. In the Season 1 finale, Shelby wound up adopting Quinn and Puck’s baby girl, Beth.

Phew! If your mind is reeling, know that Glee does a fantastic job with its "here's what you missed" episode recaps... which means it’s never too late to become a Gleek!



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