Mondays, 9pm, E4
With much anticipation and excitement we’re back at McKinley High for season 2 of Glee. Hurrah! Something to cheer us on gloomy Monday evenings – I don’t know about you but for me this is VERY welcome.
After the disappointment at Sectionals at the climax of season 1 New Directions are even more unpopular – their budget is cut and no one’s put their name down to join up. Their attempt to recruit new members doesn’t exactly go according to plan – the two students who do show an interest, Sam and Sunshine, eventually decide not to join – Sam sees how unpopular it would make him and Sunshine is poached by Vocal Adrenaline as a result of Rachel’s jealous machinations (more on that later). I suspect we haven’t seen the last of them though. The Cheerios budget is also reduced in favour of the football team, much to Sue’s horror so she and Will briefly join forces in an unsuccessful attempt to get rid of the new coach, Shannon Beiste (pronounced ‘beast’, obviously). Finn is dropped from the football team after trying to help Artie win Tina back (she dumped him for Mike Chang’s abs over the summer), while Quinn returns to the Cheerios after suggesting to Sue that she can secure funding from a church group by being their spokesperson for teen abstinence. Sue demotes Santana to the bottom of the pyramid as punishment for her summer boob job in a scene containing my second favourite Sue line: “You’re demoted to the bottom of the pyramid, so when it collapses, your exploding sand bags will protect the squad from injury. Now take your juicy, vine-ripened chest fruit and get the hell out of my office”
There was much to enjoy in this season opener – the aforementioned scene with Sue and Santana, the introduction of Sunshine (so cute and tiny you could put her in your pocket), and Rachel’s struggle to process this threat to her self-percieved position as the best singer in New Directions (culminating in her giving Sunshine the address of a crack den instead of the correct one for try-outs), the fact that Finn called Rachel on her behaviour (showing a strengthening of their relationship), and my favourite Sue line, on checking her pager, “Oh! It’s time to feed my gimp.” Ha!
However…..perhaps because I was so excited beforehand, I don’t know, on the whole I was a bit underwhelmed by this episode. The songs (with the exception of Rachel and Sunshine’s fab rendition of “Telephone”) were a bit blah – I loved “Empire State of Mind” when it came out but I’ve now heard it around 452 times. The whole “Sue and Will team up to defeat the Beiste” story line held promise, but felt underpowered – making the subsequent HERE COMES THE MORAL moment (where Will realises that ostracising someone is Not A Very Nice Thing To Do) even less subtle than usual.
Still, I’m very glad it’s back, and I’m sure (I hope) that forthcoming episodes will be sprinkled with more of that special Glee magic that I feel this one was missing. What did you think?