TV: ‘Glee’ does well with first New York-only episode

By Meryl Gottlieb|| @buzzlightmeryl
Glee airs Tuesdays at 8 p.m. on Fox
Rating: 3.5/ 5

new new yorkGlee is finally out of McKinley and it has drastically improved because of it. This was the best regular episode of the season yet, meaning it was the least nonsensical so far. Off topic, but the episode is called “New New York” and I can’t help but wonder if that’s a Doctor Who reference.

It’s been a few months since graduation, and Rachel (Lea Michele) has done an out-of-town run of Funny Girl and now has her own town car to chauffeur her around as she pleases. Naturally, she starts singing “Downtown” and is joined by all her fellow ex-glee club members as they walk around — you guessed it — downtown New York City.

I loved Lea Michele in tonight’s episode. She really nails playing the diva and has started to make me like Rachel again. Kudos.

Artie (Kevin McHale) does a voice over about how much he loves the Big Apple, until someone steals his backpack right off his wheelchair in the subway. Now, he’s afraid to go back to that treacherous place. I’m not kidding. This is his storyline. If this is a reflection of what the rest of his time spent in New York is like, then I think we should cut the cord now.

Surprisingly, his and Rachel’s storylines are somewhat intertwined. Rachel tells him he just needs to get right back on the subway because being a “real New Yorker” means getting over scary things like that. Artie then yells that she’s not even a real New Yorker because she spent all of a few weeks actually walking around the city before she became the glam diva standing before everyone today. She wants to be authentic so she ditches the town car and promises to take the subway with Artie everyday. Just as natural as the first song, the duo sings “Don’t Sleep in the Subway” as interpretive dancers fill the subway car and station. One, this song isn’t actually about the subway, but nice try. Two, YOU CANNOT DANCE THAT CLOSE TO THE TRACKS. So many accidents could have happened.

One day, they see the mugger on the train, and Artie pepper sprays him and gets his backpack back. Holy unnecessary storylines Batman!

boxersBlaine (Darren Criss) is just still so happy to be living with Kurt (Chris Colfer), even though it’s been a few months now, so they sing “You Make Me Feel So Young” during their morning routine, which I guess always consists of a pillow fight because reasons. Hey, if it means I get to see Criss in his boxers for three minutes; I’ll take it.

However, not everyone is feeling the love as Kurt thinks Blaine is suffocating him. Blaine is in all his classes; they live together and essentially do everything together. He talks with Elliott (Adam Lambert) who reassures him that his relationship is worth fighting for, “but don’t forget to practice with your band.” Cue their performance of “Rockstar.” Transitions matter, people. At least attempt to write them.

Kurt eventually freaks and yells at Blaine, who ends up going over to Elliott’s to tell him to back off his man. Elliott reassures him he doesn’t think of Kurt in that way — even though we know something is going to happen — and the two have a brief acoustic jam session. Sure, why not.

Klaine decide they need to live in separate spaces in order to save their relationship.  “We don’t need this pressure,” Kurt says. Excuse me, you are ENGAGED. If you can’t live together, then how are you going to spend the rest of your lives together? Once again, the show has proved how teenagers are way too young to consider marriage.

I am glad things aren’t just peachy keen for these two. Feeling suffocated by your partner is a very real concept and the show hasn’t really ever dealt with that. I think they did make an important note in saying that Blaine’s moving out wasn’t a step back in the relationship, it was just to let the two be their own people. People in relationships still need independence; otherwise, it becomes a very unhealthy partnership. For once, ya done good Glee.

samSam (Chord Overstreet) laments about his lack of job prospects and just sulks around the apartment all day. Obviously, the best way to cheer him up is to sing “Best Day of My Life” in Times Square. Now, he has the motivation to finally cut his hair — thank goodness! — and gets a gig modeling for some sort of brief that lifts men’s buttocks. Thank you for finally making Chord Overstreet attractive once again. That long hair don’t care look was really unappealing.

He moves into a complex where other models live but has to move out when they start talking about pills and unhealthy habits. Good for you, sir.

They’re all hanging in the apartment when Mercedes (Amber Riley) comes in and announces she’s moving to New York. Sure, why not. Because none of them have any other friends, Blaine and Sam move into Mercedes’ spare room. But that Samcedes spark is gone as Mercedes boldly turns Sam down.

I am thrilled Riley is back, for what I think is for good. Sam and Artie are really disinteresting characters, but Mercedes has always been great. She’ll definitely help a season that would otherwise really be quite dull without her.

And we end the episode with Rachel singing “People.” There are a lot of things I don’t like about Glee, but give me Lea Michele singing any Barbra Streisand song, and I’ll allow it. This was a perfect cover.

I may have sounded snarky throughout this review but compare this episode to the last ten episodes of season five and tell me it’s not the best of those episodes. It is. Lea Michele is spectacular all throughout the episode. I’m really glad Mercedes is back; I’ve really missed her! Sam finally cut that awful ponytail off, and I got to see Darren Criss in his boxers for a solid three minutes.

Is there really anything more I could ask from a show that has been disappointing since its season premiere? Here’s hoping this up-streak continues. As much as I love to hate the show, I continue watching because I’m waiting for that magical moment when it becomes good again. Season one was amazing, and it had me obsessed. I want to be that invested in the show again. Let’s hope the new setting will open up the creative minds of the show.

Fingers crossed.

What did you think of the first New York-only episode? Let me know @buzzlightmeryl


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