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?
AIRED ON 12/5/2013
Season 5 : Episode 8