DAVID BIANCULLI

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ERIC GOULD

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Singing the Praises of Fox's "Glee": It's Back, and Even More Delightful
April 13, 2010  | By David Bianculli
 
glee-Lea-michele-Jonathan-G.jpgWhen last we saw the musical misfits of Fox's Glee, they had won the Sectionals, the first step in becoming state champs for their singing glee club. Well, after a few months off, they return tonight (9:27 p.m. ET), basking in their newfound glory -- for about 10 seconds. Then, once again, the reality and cruelty of high school sets in...GLEE-10-Slushie.jpg

The confident swagger of the show itself, though, is obvious and undaunted. Before the opening credits, series creator Ryan Murphy throws more plot twists and turns than most shows generate in an entire episode. Characters return, break up, pair off, square off, all in a briskly choreographed sequence that reintroduces everyone at the same time it moves them to another place.

Most of it I'll keep secret, but one new addition is worthy of note because it's such a cool piece of guest casting. Jonathan Groff, who co-starred in Broadway's Spring Awakening with Glee regular Lea Michele, begins a recurring role as the star of a rival high-school performing troupe who begins romancing Michele's Rachel. They're great together (see their picture at top), as are all this second season's often unexpected pairings.

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In tonight's return episode, the music performed ranges from AC/DC's "Highway to Hell" and The Doors' "Hello, I Love You" to the Beatles' "Hello, Goodbye." No complaints -- it's all done with exuberance and flair. And when I praise a TV show using Beatles music, you know it's doing something right.

GLEE-10-Madonna-cones.jpg

And next week, when the show and cast tackle the Madonna song catalogue, the unexpected treats, both musical and dramatic, are a giddy TV treat. Jane Lynch as cheerleader coach Sue, and Matthew Morrison as Will, leader of the New Beginnings glee club, are superb antagonists, and the two performers savor the snarky delivery of every traded insult.

This is one show that's really well-named: Glee delivers that very emotion. Lots of it.

 

2 Comments

 

marlark said:

And you have to at least give Fox credit for recognizing the incredible impact this delightful show is having on popular culture by renewing it for 2010-2011 even though Glee's ratings are anything but gleeful.

(And yo, dawg, listen up: even Randy threw Glee a bone when he acknowledged one contestant's recent showy performance as appropriate in a Glee-fueled culture. Do you think the fact that Glee follows Idol is a coincidence?)

Comment posted on April 13, 2010 12:30 PM


Neil said:

DB, something needs to be said. The games that the networks (and some cable channels) play with program start times, like Fox is doing with Glee's "9:27" start, are an insult to their audiences. They repeatedly game their schedules, shoot themselves in the foot with these off-kilter times and then wonder why their audiences stop respecting them and drift away.

And all the old-line broadcast networks do it. ABC with Lost and Dancing With The Stars. CBS with Survivor or The Amazing Race or CSI. NBC with, well, just about everything. (Great example: The Tonight Show and SNL starting 30 seconds ahead of their published schedules. Why? Does that buy them any extra ratings?)

If the TV industry wants to survive long term, they're going to have to pull their heads out of their nether regions and start respecting their viewers again. But I'm not holding my breath.

[Great point. Ted Turner is the one who started this decades ago, when trying to lure viewers to his upstart TBS cable network. He started shows at 8:05 and 8:35 instead of on the half hour, so TV Guide and newspaper listings services would have to give him stand-alone notices. Now, it's all about gaming the Nielsens and screwing up the TiVos. The more things change... -- David B.]

Comment posted on April 13, 2010 4:58 PM
 
 
 
 
 
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