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Who will be “The New Rachel”? By the end of tonight’s Glee premiere, we may have the answer to that question. While the seniors in the Glee club scramble to lead New Directions. Rachel is in New York, chasing her Broadway dreams, where life is much tougher, and lonelier than she ever imagined. Rachel’s ex-fiance, Finn, is in the Army, but has been incommunicado. Meanwhile, Kurt is back in Lima after the school of his dreams rejected him. Will he stay in Lima or head off to NYC? And what about his main squeeze Blaine?
Watch this space for a recap and videos from tonight’s Glee!
Here’s my somewhat disjointed recap of The New Rachel. What are YOUR thoughts?
Can we move the entire show to New York now? Yeah, I know it wouldn’t be Glee anymore, but I am really intrigued with the adventures of Rachel and Kurt in the big apple. The storyline so far is mature and realistic–as opposed to some of the silliness that goes on at McKinley. I mean, is it realistic to have every remaining member of the Glee club turn into a stuck up bitch over the summer? I suppose in the cutthroat world of high school–if the cool crowd is suddenly paying attention to you–it could swell your head–but that drastically? And along comes Polly Purebread—the new girl Marley—to bring everyone down to size. If she turns out to be this perfect Miss Goody Two Shoes she’s going to get on my last nerve. Marley is a cross between Rachel and Kurt—she has the star power of the former and the moral center of the latter. Note to the writers: Characters who exist to Teach Big Life Lessons with no cracks or flaws are BORING.
So far, Lima appears to be populated with all of the one note characters like Sue, Brittany and new head bitch Kitty (who, admittedly, had some pretty hilarious lines). While the rest of the Glee club behave like one note wonders–the New York half of Glee—including Kurt, Rachel, Brody and Kate Hudson’s character, Cassandra are fully fleshed out.
The exception on the Lima side is Marly’s mom, the lunch lady. In order to keep their status with the popular kids–whose table the Glee kids have been invited to sit since nabbing the Nationals win–the gleeks play along with mocking the obese lunch lady. Marly overhears the snark and wants to speak up, but in order to protect her daughter’s popularity, mom insists on keeping their connection a secret. There’s a story to be told there for sure. But please don’t make Marley one note! Flesh her out, give her some flaws.
The new kid, Jake Puckerman, who auditions for New Directions, but throws a hissy fit after Will cuts his song off, has some promise too, if his character doesn’t fall into cliché. Make the characters and storylines in Lima as rich as the ones in New York City seem to be headed. Jacob Aritst, by the way, has an absolutely lovely voice. Look for him to meet Big Brother Puck—for the first time–next week. I expect the elder bad boy will help little brother ditch the chip on his shoulder.
Kate Hudson as Rachel’s angry dance teacher has also got a story to tell. And it looks like we find out next week what’s driven her to add vodka to her smoothies. It looks like she was a Broadway star who blew it. Now she’s teaching at NYADA, taking out her rage on a younger version of herself. i.e. Rachel. I’ll bet Cassandra July is from a small town too. So far, Kate is FANTASTICALLY bitchy in the role. I can’t wait to see more. And who knew Kate could sing and dance like that (No, I did NOT see 9).
And speaking of new characters—is that Brody a hottie or WHAT? As a junior who befriends Rachel (SHIRTLESS!) in a NYADA co-ed bathroom, he’s confident without being arrogant. Brody exists to play the spoiler between Finn and Rachel for awhile (sorta like Jesse Saint James) and I hope the two get to have a real romance. Not only is Brody hotter than Finn—but his shit is together. I suspect Finn’s season 4 story will be all about finding himself. Finchel is meant to be—but not until Finn finds his own dream. By the way—both Finn and Santana were absent from the premiere. Next week we find out why the latter decided to take that cheerleading scholarship in Louisville after all.
Whoopi Goldberg comes back briefly to meet her new freshman class. So what was the deal with that first terrible singer whom Carmen immediately cut? WHY WAS KURT DENIED A SPOT? Yes. I’M STILL REALLY BITTER ABOUT THAT.
A call back to the pilot, Will tacks an audition sheet to the bulletin board. But instead of only a few (TALENTED!) misfits signing up, kids flock to audition for the National Championship winning Glee club. But how is it that every single person who auditions—besides Marley and Jake—suck? Is that even possible? Kurt is on hand to help out with auditions. And he’s so into hanging around the school, he begins obsessively compulsively organizing the sheet music in the choir room. Yes Kurt. It’s time to get the hell out of Dodge before you go crazy. Local community college (that’s where he was headed in a few weeks) is no place for a boy like you!
Speaking of Kurt–Blaine seemed like his old self when he unselfishly encourages Kurt—with only his dream in hand–to move to New York. Really, I do not get Blaine turning into snot all of a sudden. He knows what it’s like to rule the school with humility. He did it at Dalton. The Divo routine—especially when he didn’t stick up for Marley’s mom when the cool kids were mocking her—just didn’t ring true to me. Blaine’s performance of “It’s Time” in the courtyard is reminiscent of “Somewhere Only We Know”—his bittersweet goodbye to Kurt before the latter transferred back to McKinley in “Born This Way.” Except that Kurt will be moving much further away than across town. The scene is just as awesomely melancholy and would have been perfect IF KLAINE HAD BEEN ALLOWED TO KISS GOODBYE. Glee has moved out of the family hour. C’mon. DO IT.
Kurt takes a deep breath and takes the plunge. He looked so sad working at the Lima Bean, taking abuse from his boss and that horrible Kitty. Sue was unmerciful as she dressed Kurt down in her office (When Kurt dropped by to meet her little baby Robin. Yes, Sue had a baby with Down Syndrome over the summer) pretty much telling him it was pathetic the way he continued to hang around McKinley like that star athlete who can’t let go of the past. It was mean, but it was true. That, and Blaine’s push and Papa Hummel’s blessing was all Kurt needed to join Rachel in the big city.
Now, tell me YOU didn’t shed a tear when Kurt said goodbye to Burt. “You are the greatest dad in the world.” Kurt says tearfully. “You can always come back if you’re unhappy,” says Burt, but then out of earshot “but I know that you won’t.” Burt loves his son so much, that he’s willing to let him go where he’ll be happy and fit in. GREATEST DAD EVER.
Poor Tina. In last year’s “Props” Mike and Rachel convinced her to be happy playing on the support team, because her time would come when she was a senior. She was going to take the baton from Rachel and run with it. After all, Rachel was a senior, Tina would get her turn. So how about the fact that a newbie (Marly) who happens to be a SOPHOMORE is going to skip right ahead of Tina to be the lead singer? Instead of encouraging Tina to be patient, the Glee club should have staged an intervention to break the news to Ms Cohen-Chang that she simply did not have the charisma to be lead–be happy swaying in the background! I really hope Tina gets more to do than she did in Season 3. I’m hearing two numbers in the Britney episode next week. Oh…she’s become such a Bitchy McBitcherson (or a See You Next Tina. YES THEY WENT THERE. Or Jacob, did as he conducted his traditional beginning of the year interviews), that she broke up with Mike Chang! Oh noes. Maybe they’ll get back together when Mike comes back to Lima in Episode 5. I hate to see the most stable couple–apart from Klaine–give up so easily on the long distance thing.
Tina, Blaine, Brittany (who is a SUPER SENIOR this year! And it’s not all that super) and UNIQUE (Alex Newell returning as the transgendered teen) sing “Call Me Maybe” as a challenge for supremacy. Artie decides WHO will be the New Rachel. The performance is weird and bitchy, and I’m not sure why they are singing “Call Me Maybe” except that it was the SONG OF THE SUMMER Y’ALL. In the end, Artie chooses Blaine as the lead. That is—until Marly shows up to blow every one away with her Glee club audition, “New York State of Mind.”
The performance is juxtaposed with Rachel in NYADA singing for Madame Thibideaux (Whoopi) and the rest of the NYADA class, and it is a perfect melding of the two worlds. If the writers stay on their game, this split narrative between Lima and NYC will work beautifully. I like that the two aren’t completely separate storylines—that common themes thread the two worlds together. After all—Rachel and Kurt may have left Lima, but Lima hasn’t left them. We are our hometowns, aren’t we? The specter of the talented seniors who left Lima would rightfully hang over the remaining Glee clubbers. The worlds should and need to be intertwined. Again, my only suggestion at this point would be to—in Glee’s 4th season—make both storylines mature. Besides problems with continuity, and character development, the Glee writers’ attempts to be at once absurd and serious have mostly fallen flat. More meat, less filler, please.
I am once again in love with Hummelberry. I adored the way the episode ended with Kurt talking to Rachel on the phone. She finally breaks down to confess that NYC isn’t all it’s cracked up to be (she had been keeping a brave front on the phone prior) and that she misses Kurt so much. He tells her to turn around and… there he is on the other side of the fountain! They run into each other’s arms. Reunited at last! The weekend production spent shooting in actual New York City locations was very well spent.
The scene occurs in a montage during a New Directions number. Marley sings “Chasing Pavements” and it’s her big welcome into the club. When she tells off her fellow clubbers and reveals to the cool kids that the lunch lady is her mom, they realize how cruel they had been. Kurt reminds them that The Glee Club is all about letting their freak flag fly, without caring what others think—not to mention putting aside petty jealousies to welcome newbies. Likem if Wade wants to wear makeup and a dress to class, who cares if the cool kids reject you?
And eventually they do. Kittie and her gang of athlete thugs show up to really initiate Unique and Marley into the Glee club with a slushie facial. And everything is right sized again. Order is restored. I wonder how many episodes before Kittie is in the club? I say by Christmas!
My nit-picky recap aside (I critique the things I love. Seriously) I have hope for this Brand New Glee. So far, I’m more invested in the New York City side of the equation (Santana needs to get her butt out of St. Louis and join the Hummelberry party in Brooklyn!) but I am going to give the writers the benefit of the doubt and anticipate good things from Lima. It may take me becoming adjusted to the newbies to become invested in their stories too.
Call Me Maybe
New York State of Mind
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