♥ GLEE-view: "Okay, From the Top!" or: That's a Little More Like It, Show.

Warbler no more: Heartthrob Blaine Anderson (Darren Criss).
Press Photo. 

Okay, From the Top!
A few thoughts on Season 3 of FOX's hit musical comedy

I've been meaning to do another write-up on Glee for a while now, but with school and all, I just never got around to it.  However, with the season kicking into full gear (the show has aired its first 3 episodes so far), I feel it's time to share with you some of my hopes for the show this season.  Some of you may know my conflicted feelings over the show thus far -- especially the hot mess that was the 2nd season, which I wasn't afraid to openly pan to friends and family throughout.  Eventually, the show's weird direction bothered me so much that I stopped caring about whether Rachel (Lea Michele) and Finn (Cory Monteith) were dating that week or not.

There were, admittedly, some bright spots, such as the introduction of new characters like Blaine Anderson (A Very Potter Musical's Darren Criss) winning over our hearts, armed with a pressed blazer, a certain Katy Perry song, and some Smooth Dance Moves.  Let's not forget that powerhouse from the Philippines, Charice Pempengco's Sunshine Corazon, who wowed the Gleeks with her rendition of Celine Dion's "All by Myself" in last season's opener.  And there was that standout episode where all of our favorite Gleeks got drunk and sang about it -- but let's face it, if that was the only thing that stood out for me all last season, then we've got ourselves some problems, Show.  Problems that not even special cameos by the likes of Patti LuPone (of Broadway's Gypsy, as if you didn't know already) and Idina Menzel (Wicked, Rent) couldn't fix.

Buuuuut okay. Season 3.  So far, I'm finding myself pleasantly surprised.  While I had expected things like Blaine turning in his Warbler blazer and tie for a Glee Club-worthy bowtie and suspenders, transferring from Dalton Academy to McKinley High (as had been speculated over the summer), I was definitely thrown off by Quinn's seemingly sudden transformation from wholesome girl-next-door (played to believable perfection by Dianna Agron) to well..."skank."  One of the major qualms I had had about last season was how the show had just completely dropped Quinn and Puck's storyline, making it seem as if they had never gotten together, done the horizontal tango behind Finn's clueless back and had a baby together.  This was probably one of my biggest peeves about the 2nd season, and finally -- they're addressing it!  (Can I get an a-men?!?)

While a lot of people I know are frustrated at the turn Quinn's character has taken since season 1, this was something I was actually hoping for: bringing about more depth behind the mask that McKinley's former Queen Bee had created for herself.  We got a little bit of that last season with the prom episode and the revelation of Quinn's former heavier-set self, but this time around, I'm glad to see a little bit more of a focus.  I like that it's not so simple for her to just go back to her old ways, and to be in Beth's life, and that it takes a bit of prodding from Puck (played by Mark Salling, who looks awfully cute holding a baby in his arms, btdubs) and Menzel's Shelby Corcoran.  And the fact that she reluctantly concedes and goes back to the blonde hair and perfectly pressed white dresses, gritting her teeth through it all in order to be with Beth just makes me happy that the producers are trying to flesh out these characters in a natural way.  Yay for multi-dimensional characters!    

In that same vein, some other things I'm liking: the increased amount of screen time Mike Chang (Harry Shum, Jr.) is getting.  I love that we're getting more of a background for his character.  The last episode, while rife with facepalm-worthy Asian stereotypes (the episode title is called "Asian F," in reference to Mike's grade of A- in Chemistry, for goodness' sake), also had that Tug-At-Your-Heartstrings effect, which was reminiscent of the show's 1st season (you know, back when Glee was actually good).  I also like that the show is not afraid to go back into that zone where it gets intensely emotional; to me, it is the perfect balance of camp and heart, and it is what made the show a worldwide phenomenon in the first place.

That said, there are a few things I'm not quite sure I like so far, the first being the uber-bitchy turn Mercedes (Amber Riley) has taken this season.  While the question of why Mercedes always plays second banana seems to always pop up, and understandably so, it seems as if Riley's character always brings this up at Rachel's expense.

(I did, however, like the ode to Dreamgirls and how beautifully it was shot -- we need more of these lovely sequences.  Very Rob Marshall-esque!  But enough of that, movin' on...)

Speaking of Rachel, can we stop having every character known to man bring her down whenever she tries to be mature and take the high road (ahem, Prom bathroom scene with Quinn, anyone)?!  I thought we agreed that Rachel was gonna actually have some friends that actually care for her friendship, Show.  (And while I love Kurt and Rachel's growing kinship, that doesn't count because they are practically the same person.)  Also, I thought we agreed that Sunshine was going to be an actual character with an actual arc?  Boo for one-dimensional characters!

Some Things I Would Like to See Before Murphy & Co. Screw Things Up Again:

  1. I know the idea this time around is to pare everything back down to basics, but would it be too much to ask if maybe we get Cheyenne Jackson back on the show?  And Gwyneth?!  Aaand while we're at it, some more appearances by Jessalyn Gilsig as Terri Schuester and Stephen Tobolowsky as Sandy Ryerson that actually make sense in the Glee-verse would be nice, too, just sayin'.  One or two episodes involving Sneaky Intrigues At McKinley High As Sue Sylvester's Cohorts do not count!
  2. Some surprising song choices.  I know, I know, Surprising Song Choices are what the whole Glee franchise is built upon, but hear me when I'm not just talking about Top 40 hits and classic showtunes, here.  I'd like to see the show nod to some new talent, such as Kerrigan-Lowdermilk and Scott Alan -- it'd be simultaneously obscure and familiar enough for theatre geeks without being all, HEY LOOK GUISE ANOTHER SHOWTUNE FOR TEH THEATRE GEEKS.  Or better yet -- sign on said talent to write new material (The New Directions are doing the Original Song Thing, after all).  Either way, it'd be great publicity for up-and-coming talents and some quality points for the show.  Win-win.
  3. ....okay, I don't have a third for now, but let's pretend I do.

Here's to another showstopping season! Don't screw it up, Show!