Blaine just being Blaine. (FOX)Fox's song-and-dance warhorse returned for its fifth season tonight with the first of two theme epsiodes celebrating those British wunderkinds, the Fab Four. Which the kids are really thrilled about... despite the fact that these guys were famous 30 years before most of them were born.
So, look, there's really nothing else like Glee on TV. It's unique mix of colorful whimsy, off-off-off-off Broadway production numbers, anvilicious PSA-style themes, and plain old bad taste makes the show — for better or worse — a total one-of-a-kind. You'll laugh, you'll cry, you'll get kind of offended by the underlying messages. It can be a confusing hour of television. But don't you worry — we're here to walk you through the major storylines each week and help you sort it all out.
Rachel does Barbra!
What now? When last we left Glee, Ray-ray was on her second round of callbacks for a Broadway production of Funny Girl. We get to see her in action, doing her best to impress—not once but twice—suprise guest stars Ioan Gruffudd (Horatio Hornblower!) and Peter Facinelli (Dr. Cullen!) as her potential co-star and director.
Song-and-dance number? Yesterday, which Lea Michele just nails vocally, though the somber lyrics about a lost love can't help but somewhat exploitively seem to evoke Cory Monteith's passing. Hard Day's Night...'cause they be working like a dog!
Yeah, but how offensive is it? Well, aside from the Monteith thing (which...ok, maybe we're reading into it), it's tough to swallow the very British Gruffudd as a guy named Paolo. And Michele's Streisand impression is only about a 7 out of 10 yentls. But probably the most unbelievable part is when Gruffudd and Facinelli just happen to dine at the tourist-trap she and Santana are waitressing at, and are ostensibly charmed instead of grossed out by the girls gyrating all over their lunch table.
Kitty does Archie!
What now? These two fledgling lovebirds are still seeing each other, but Kitty demands it stay on the down low so as not to affect her social status.
Song-and-dance number? The peppy Drive My Car, which has cute go-cart/carnival staging, and the mopey You've Gotta Hide Your Love Away which is....
Yeah, but how offensive is it? ...pretty darn offensive. Considering the original song was supposedly about closeted Beatles band manager Brian Epstein, repurposing it for a shallow girl's shunning of a physically-challanged nerd is kinda gross. Which Tina awesomely points out and eventually Kitty comes around, apologizes and makes them an official "thing."
Blaine does David Tutera!
What now? The young whippersnapper is all a-flutter with plans to make up with and then immediately propose to boyfriend Kurt (who is apparently just hanging around at McKinley).
Song-and-dance number? Gotta Get You Into My Life, complete with marching band and more gyrating on people's lunch tables, and All You Need is Love, which is a full-on spectacle that brings back Vocal Adrenaline, that awesome deaf choir, and the jock-itch-like (they will never go away!) Warblers.
Yeah, but how offensive is it? Not really at all? I mean it's kind of preposterous that high school senior Blaine and college freshman Kurt are gonna get engaged (and Burt is all for it?!) but...hell, it's a pretty sweet proposal. Kurt looks like he might just barf throughout the whole thing, so who knows how long his hastily blurted "yes" will last, but...a mansion, choreographed ballets, rose petals raining from the sky, and a whole heaping helping of nostalgia help Blaine seal the deal.
The boys do...The Beatles!
What now? Eh, there's no real storyline to the rest (though there's some lame attempt at trying to Tina-vention a "lonely and angry" Ms. Cohen-Chang that's pretty flimsy). Really it's just opportunity to shoehorn in more Beatles songs.
Song-and-dance numbers? The gang chase each other through the school as they perform Help!, which is pretty cute. But the crowning glory of the episode is an awesome recreation of the Ed Sullivan Show staging for I Saw Her Standing There with Blaine, (a curiously-long haired) Sam, Ryder, and Jacob donning suits and the girls dressed in '60s outfits and playing screaming, fainting fans.
Yeah, but how offensive is it? On the surface, the Tina plot kinda comes out of nowhere and is a bit of a head-scratcher. And yet, you can bet if it were a storyline about one of the boys, the premise would no doubt be that loneliness had made him wooby-sad, not angry and bitter as they try to say about Tina. Hmmpf.
Figgins does the floors!
What now? The newly christened Sue "Rodham" Sylvester is back to rule McKinley with an iron fist, setting up Figgins with a stash of porn and Mein Kampf and taking back the principal's chair, thereby relegating him to janitorial duty. This strikes fear (briefly) in the hearts of Mr. Shu and Cheerios Coach Nene.
Song-and-dance number? Nah! The adults don't get to sing, silly. Despite the fact that they are mostly of the actual era when the Beatles were famous.
Yeah, but how offensive is it? Well, that gross mystery meat mixture Sue spills all over Figgins freshly polished floors is pretty...oh, who cares. This is just tiny filler to insure Jane Lynch doesn't leave the show for greener pastures.
Next week: MORE GLEE-TLES! Including "Hey Jude," "Here Comes the Sun," "Let it Be," "Revolution" and probably more Tina-drama given it's called "Tina in the Sky with Diamonds." So what'd you think of the premiere? Did you love the British invasion? Tell us in the comments!