Glee’s first season was interesting, when it started it was fresh, funny and funky, all things I’m sure the studio execs loved to hear. It was a smart cross between Election and High School Musical; it was almost a parody of itself in the best possible way. The cast was talented, the scripts were sharp and the fans went wild, then it went on hiatus and when it returned it was a completely different beast. Suddenly the show knew it had a fan base (mainly of pre-teen girls who possibly didn’t quite get the shows satirical qualities) and it was pretty much neutered, the razor sharp wit was replaced with melodrama, the out there choices for songs were replaced with a billboard chart and the shows original fans were replaced with lots of screaming girls. The show did lose quality, but you couldn’t call it bad. It was still fun and at times laugh out loud, the first half of the first season got me hooked, so it looks like I’m stuck with the show now. The second season continued this trend, proving that commerce always wins over artistic integrity.
Starting slowly, mainly concentrating on themed episodes Season 2 gets off to a bad start, Britney/Brittany and The Rocky Horror Glee Show being the worst offerings as they felt as though they were just pandering to the audience (though I do applaud The Rocky Horror Glee Show for trying to bring the theme of sex back into the show how ever mishandled it was). Not until The Substitute does the show really pick up with the first appearance of recurring guest star Gwyneth Paltrow (who is wonderful). From then on it’s a mixed bag with some episodes being genius (A Very Glee Christmas) and some being down right forgettable (A Night of Neglect).
This season introduces The Warblers, a rival glee club from an all boys academy, this was a great inclusion as The Warblers have been far more interesting than Vocal Adrenaline (who barely make an appearance this year) ever were last season. Not so great additions to the show include Shannon Beiste (Dot-Marie Jones), a mannish female football coach who teaches us all that ugly people have feelings too and Lauren Zisis (Ashley Fink) the reluctant new member of the glee club and on again off again girlfriend of Puck (Mark Salling), she is another character here too teach us about inner beauty. In fact a big theme of this season has been forgetting about your looks including an odd plot where Rachel (Michele) believes she is ugly, this is strange as it obvious that actress Lea Michele is anything but stunning. It seems this is a theme that comes when you are a teen show.
The musical numbers from this season have been rather entertaining. Fans of last years mash ups will be glad to see they have returned with a vengeance popping up multiple times through out the season (my personal favourite being a mix of West Side Story’s I Feel Pretty and TLC’s Unpretty). The Warblers semi A Cappella renditions of Teenage Dream and Hey, Soul Sister were joyous but it’s not all fun, why the show decided to rehash old Brittany Spears songs (apart from getting a useless cameo from Ms. Spears herself) is beyond me. Nothing touches last years Don’t Stop Believing or Bohemian Rhapsody but to hear Lea Michele bust out What I Did For Love and Kevin McHale’s version of Isn’t She Lovely does make me feel all gooey inside. Kudos to the cast for making Rebecca Black’s Friday listenable.
This season marked the shows complete transition from original satire to full on teen show, but it’s still a lot better than all the other teen shows on at the moment. Instead of being The Breakfast Club with songs, it is now the Dawson’s Creek musical. The cast still work hard to be pleasing and Jane Lynch is a wonderful villain despite the writers’ attempts to humanize her. Glee is not the shining beacon of originality that it once was but it is still an enjoyable show that quite often hits all the right notes (see what I did there).
For a show this popular, why aren’t there better extras? The bonus song from The Rocky Horror Glee Show is the only extra that doesn’t feel like a youtube video. Mediocre behind the scenes videos seem to be all the rage here! Give us some commentaries!