Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Glee's back - and I thought ...

Some months ago, I wrote in this cyberspace about discovering my new favorite TV show Glee. So now that the show has returned for a second season, I figure I ought to write about rediscovering it - and I'll try to make a habit of these recaps.

So as far as Tuesday's show went, I was very, very impressed, for the most part. Since there were so few flaws, let me get those out of the way first.

Good idea: Introducing a rival for Rachel in the person of Sunshine, a Filipino student played by pop star Charice. Really, really BAD idea: Subjecting their vocals to obvious audio processing. I suppose that's to make it sound like the existing recording, but it's inappropriate in this setting.  This is supposed to be a show about kids who can sign naturally, live, at the drop of a dime. Vocal processing/auto-tuning severely negates the spirit of that idea. I don't expect the cast to sing live, but vocal processing reminds pulls me out of the reverie and reminds me it's NOT real. Not to mention it's completely unnecessary for singers as good as Charice and Lea Michele.

And this might be just a matter of preference, as I'm not really much of a rap/R&B  fan, but I wasn't into the "Empire State of Mind" number. The Glee kids are just too ... suburban to pull the genre off convincingly. Maybe that's kind of the point, but I wish they'd quit trying.

But that same number segues into what's good about this show. It was well directed, and I liked the sly camera asides to the new cast members before they had their big scenes.

Mrs. Bieste made for a great new addition as the new football coach/rival for Sue. I was about to call her a sort of butch Julia Child or a swaggering Susan Boyle, but I realize that to do so would play into stereotypes her female jock embodies. Dot Jones played her very well, showing both tough and tender sides - and making both convincing.

Finally, there's Rachel, my personal favorite character. Glee has always walked a very fine line with her, making her flaws all too aggravating - but at the same time making her much more of a human being. Her maneuvering against Sunshine was particularly cold, even for Rachel - yet at the same time I did understand her feeling threatened, even though I did not condone her methods at all. And it's very easy to forgive her when she sings "What I Did for Love" that spectacularly. Scuse me, I think I hear iTunes calling me ...

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