By Meryl Gottlieb| firstname.lastname@example.org| @buzzlightmeryl
Glee airs Tuesdays at 8 p.m. on Fox
It seems like the minds at Glee are finally working again. All I asked for was some decent episodes and I’ve managed to find them in tonight’s episode and in “New New York.” The dialogue leans more toward the sassy, funny end than the annoying, cliché end, and the musical numbers are not only tolerable, they’re good. It only took them 17 episodes to get it right this season.
It’s “Opening Night” and Rachel (Lea Michele) is panicking, so much so that she hallucinates a rather frightening dream. She sings “Lovefool” on the McKinley stage in her famed reindeer sweater and plaid, pleated skir; is accompanied by William Shakespeare on drums and a girl who dressed up as Rose from Titanic on keyboard. I’m sorry; did David Lynch direct this opening?
To help calm her down, Kurt (Chris Colfer) imposes an Internet lockdown, so she won’t continue to read any negative comments from random bloggers, and suggests the gang only surround her with calm, encouraging thoughts. Despite their initial efforts, Rachel binges the comments section, forcing them to do individual “therapy.” My personal favorite of these is when Kurt delivers a basket with a note signed by the original Fanny Brice, Barbra Streisand. However, Tina (Jenna Ushkowitz) forgot Barbra dropped the “A” in her name as an act of defiance, so the charade was ruined. Michele’s divaness and obsession for Streisand worked flawlessly here.
Michele was fantastic tonight. I’m a little disenchanted with this rollercoaster each week of when I like and then dislike Rachel. She used to easily be my favorite, and I’d like to be able to say that with confidence again. Lea Michele is so talented; please just let her be her and everything will be OK.
The best return of all goes to Santana (Naya Rivera), sorry not sorry Tina (Jenna Ushkowitz). Just as Tina asks how things could get worse, the camera cuts to Santana getting out of a cab slow-mo style. Of course, our favorite Lima Heights gal knows what to say, by referencing the negative reviews Babs got herself, and gets Rachel excited again.
Sue (Jane Lynch) is going to go with Will (Matthew Morrison) to New York because she needs to affirm her hatred of the city. Overall, it was a better episode, but this was a week storyline. They sing “NYC” from Annie — we get it, Lynch was in the Annie revival; we know already! They sang this mostly in the auditorium, and I must say I enjoyed it. Everyone knows I’m not the biggest fan of Annie, but they performed well and I’m glad they didn’t just plop them in the middle of Times Square; I’ve already had enough of them singing in the big city streets.
I have to contest this now. Why does every TV series or film that shows people visiting New York for the first time show them appearing from the subway station, smiling ear-to-ear?! These characters are from Ohio. Most likely they flew in or took a bus, meaning they definitely would have seen the city and some of its massive buildings by then.
Whoever handled the camera for this episode really knew what he or she was doing. There were a lot of scenes in which I was impressed with the way they framed or simply filmed things. In showing us those interesting filming choices, the camera slowly follows Rachel to the stage. The curtain goes up, and all we see from the first act is “I’m the Greatest Star.” I loved Kurt’s rendition of this, but I can always use another Lea Michele cover of a Babs song.
Very randomly, Sue locks eyes with Mario (Chris Parnell) across a crowd of people going into Funny Girl. When he leaves in the middle of the first act, so does Sue. The two hit it off, go on a date to his restaurant and hook up. She likes him so much that she even imagines herself up on stage next to Rachel singing “Who Are You Now?,” one of the closing numbers in Funny Girl, because he said she would have made the show more interesting. This was really just a very weird choice. It’s supposed to highlight how anyone can find love in NYC, but it was too random for me to accept. There was zero chemistry between these two actors and the scenes themselves just weren’t written very well. Let’s just not talk about it. Ever again.
Everything is resting on what the critics say, but there’s like six hours to kill so let’s go clubbing and dance until we die. Blaine (Darren Criss) suggests this bar in Greenwich Village that they could never realistically get into. It resembles a gay bar, but it’s New York so I’m not going to limit what it is or isn’t. However, everyone there loves Rachel already and begs her to perform, so she does. She sings “Pumpin Blood” and is #flawless. She looks amazing and does a really good job with the song. While the choreography doesn’t seem to reflect that they are a bunch of 19- and 20-year-olds, it is really interesting and fits the scene very well. It was odd and unrealistic, but I liked it. And I have to ask, was that a sex swing Michele was on? Gross.
With what looks like no hangovers, the group runs to the newsstand to pick up the latest New York Times to find that Rachel was the only thing praised in the show. Huzzah! What an unsurprising turn of events.
Will calls shortly after to say congratulations while congratulations are in order for him as well. He would have seen the premiere had Emma not gone into labor like five minutes before the show started. He was already in New York. That’s a nine-hour drive. I highly doubt you would have actually made it for the birth of your son, so just stay for the show. Do these people really have some underground super-jet that gets them back and forth between these locations? Anyway, Wemma has decided to name their son Daniel Finn Schuester. I really liked that decision. I think this is a great way to wrap up Will’s storyline. That was a perfect bow to place on top of the nicely wrapped package. Now, if only Sue had gotten the same. Sure, she made the closing speech about how anyone can find love, but I didn’t believe in her love so it meant nothing to me.
Did you even notice Artie (Kevin McHale) was abset? I can’t see how him simply wheeling around in the background would have done anything of importance, so please take this as notice that he is not needed in the future of the show. Cut the cord. Say your goodbyes.
But let’s look on the bright side. Lea Michele was fantastic; Santana was just as witty as ever and made an excellent return; a majority of the musical numbers were great and download-worthy; Sue’s biting comments were as free-flowing as ever; and there was a quick, but important tribute to Cory Monteith’s Finn. This is all I’m asking from a show that is still climbing its way out of the low troughs it dug itself into in the later fourth and majority of the fifth seasons. Looking at this episode among the context of the rest of the episodes in season five, it was one of the best. Here’s hoping the show can manage to put out tolerable content for the last three episodes.