After the promising pilot Fox aired last spring (and again this fall), I couldn’t help but be just a tad disappointed in the “series premiere” of Glee, a show that despite my concerns, it sure to be a hit this fall.
Where the pilot blended wit, cleverly placed musical numbers and a solid plot introduction, this week’s episode, titled “Showmance,” tried too hard to reintroduce the show’s conflicts (we get it … Coach Sue hates Glee), something the pilot did effortlessly. And unlike the opener’s productions of “Don’t Stop Believin'” and “Rehab,” the numbers in this episode — “Gold Digger” and “Push It” — sounded overproduced and obviously done in a studio.
In other words … when the kids decide they’re going to belt out a tune (which will happen, I imagine, on a number of occasions in the future), then let’s have it sound somewhat real. “Showmance” came awfully close to “High School Musical” territory in that aspect.
All that said, there’s still something very likable about this show, as it’s one of those rare network shows that the teens and 20- and 30-somethings can relate to. The adults get Will Schuester’s struggle with his dream and reality. The teens get the Finn-Rachel chemistry and conflict, and unlike the aforementioned Disney machine that is HSM, the dialogue in “Glee” comes much closer to what real high school students sound like. The show has a “Hamlet 2” feel at times, without the insanity.
Despite the few bumps this week, I like “Glee,” a solid character-driven show that seems to be going the way of the dinosaur (especially if Leno succeeds and his economy-friendly show sets a trend). Cory Monteith, who plays Finn, is perfectly cast as the jock with a heart (a better version than Chris Klein’s “Oz” in “American Pie”), and Rachel is a likable loser who we want to see succeed.
And as for Mr. Shoe? Keep livin’ the dream, pal.
And drop the wife.
Next week: Will forms an a capella group and spends more time with them than he does with New Directions after he is asked to perform at the PTA meeting with some surprising additions to his group. Meanwhile, Kurt is under pressure in his life which isn’t helped by Mercedes new found interest in finding a relationship.