Glee Series 2 Opening Episode Review: Don’t Glee Yourself

GLEE: Monday 10th January, E4, 9pm ALERT ME

Another series, another set of painfully well-polished musical ensembles and yet more budget cuts from Principal Figgins (just love that name..), it’s almost like Glee has never been away… which thanks to a relentless schedule of E4 repeats, it hasn’t. Whether you are a committed Gleek or one of those people who clog Facebook with anti-Glee propaganda, you can’t deny that the programme has followed SuBo’s example* and blitzkrieged its way to the top of popular culture.

It’s easy to level many accusations and plaudits at Glee’s door, but the one thing that is rather refreshing about the whole outsiders-make good saga is the fact that it seems to have a long-term plan. We can expect to see New Direction achieve glory, graduate from High School and join a circus together… or something like that. But whatever goes down in Lima between now and the end of 2011, you get the feeling that the producers have a good idea of how the already commissioned third season will end. This is partly due to brilliant writing (“You’re all coffee and no omelette!”) but also to the fact that producers need to realistically career map their characters. No one wants to see Finn and his mates spending a decade in education like that bloke from Dawson’s Creek. All they really need to worry about is keeping the show character-based and not saturated by celebrity cameos, which is a danger…

If all this development is to be achieved, then the students of Glee club need to get their sh*t together. They flunked the regionals at the end of the last series and for that reason, the powers that be are once again going all Coalition government on Sue Sylvester and her group of talented misfits. This has never normally been a problem for the Queen of the Withering put-down, but this year there is a fresh rival for her to battle. At first, the new coach of McKinley High’s Football team – to which said funds are being diverted – Shannon Bieste (no prizes for guessing how that’s pronounced..) seems set to be a ‘Miss Trunchbull’ sort of character, but she is soon revealed as more adroit addition. We expected nothing less, and she gets the better of her tracksuited colleague on her debut. Indeed a few decent quips aside, this is not a great episode for Sue and she moves beyond ‘wit’, and on towards ‘bully’ territory as she attempts to oust The Bieste from her position. Not cool – but we’re sure the pair of them will be getting on like a house on fire within the month..

For me, the highlight of the whole episode is the opening recap and Jacob’s hilarious video blog catch-up with the troupe members, during which he tells Mr Schu that the “his song choices sound like they came from a drag queen’s ipod..” Our warm-hearted leader decides that they need to liven things up if they want to earn some glory and he sends them out to perform in the playground in a bid to prove that they are down with their peers while attracting some new members. Their raptastic version of Empire State of the Mind is an excellent musical intro to the series.

There are also a couple of student newbies to enjoy, one has a mahoosive mouth, the other leaves pretty quickly after the manic Rachel gives her directions to the nearest crack-house rather than the auditions. Well done Rachel! She does have time to knock out a decent GaGa duet in the toilets though..

*Make sure you are uncool, talented and above all exceptionally YouTube-able..