Glee: Season 1, Episode 3
After our review of last week's episode, I gave some thought to another reason I graded the episode a B, and realized it was because the show had a lot of potential, but it had yet to strike gold in my eyes. I feel that Glee is a show that will get much better after it's had some time to work out its kinks and figure out its identity as a show (much as its characters will get deeper as they accept themselves for who they are). That being said, this episode makes some serious strides toward determining what this show will be, yet it also displays many of the things I worry the show might become. Every television series has to have a few shaky episodes near the start as it finds its bearings, and this was one of Glee's.

One of the negatives I found in this episode was just how quickly the show is paced. I often praise a show for deft pacing, but this one has been flying through storylines like its getting cancelled next week (it is on Fox, but something tells me these guys can breathe for a while). This week had Will leaving Glee to strike out on his own with a middle aged boy-band, the titular Acafellas. The show has barely given us time to adjust to his role as the head of the club, and last episode had him overcoming insecurities and getting comfortable in the role, only to have the show throw him out this episode as if he'd been growing frustrated by under-appreciation over the last ten or fifteen episodes. I think the idea of Will having aspirations to become a singer makes perfect sense for his character, I just wish the show would give us some time to see those aspirations building before he chases them, then abandons them all within 45 minutes.

To be clear, while I did find this episode very flawed in some ways, it was still a blast along the way. For one thing, it introduced Victor "I'm such a great actor I made Jordan watch 5 seasons of Alias" Garber as Will's father, a role I hope will become recurring (I especially loved his line "I spent six months in the Hanoi Hilton, never said a word!" and the moment when he tells Will his foray into performance has inspired him to go to law school). Will's parents are perfectly goofy, and fit directly into the picture of Will's life that is beginning to form. Even Will's wife Terri had a good moment in this episode where she stopped acting like a heartless bitch for 30 seconds to congratulate her husband. The highlights of this plotline, though had to be Sandy's (Stephen Tobolowksy) return and the appearance of Josh Groban who stopped by for just long enough to hand over a restraining order and hit on Will's mom.

In other news, Mercedes spent this week discovering feelings for Kurt, and being shocked and hurt to discover he's gay ("Just because he wears nice clothes doesn't mean he's on the down low"¦" "He wore a corset to second period!"). The storyline was the kind of gleeful absurdity I love about this show. Any girl who has seen Kurt crawl across the floor during "Push It" has to know she's barking up the wrong tree, but Mercedes obliviousness was great fodder for comedy and an excellent set up for a real moment of connection between the two when Kurt came out to her (a fact I was shocked to discover he had never told anyone else). I'm very happy that the show has already elevated Mercedes above "stereotypical sassy black girl" and given her a real story and some real depth. This plotline gave me extra hope that the show is going to the right place, it just may hit a few bumps along the way.

On the Finn and Rachel front, we find Rachel siding with Quinn on the decision to bring in Dakota Stanley, whose name is already hilarious to me, because she's angry at Finn for refusing to discuss their moment from last week. While I again worry that the "will-they-won't-they" relationships this show has set up are too obviously "when will they's" for this early in the run, I still love the chemistry between the characters, and I love that Rachel has the self confidence and the backbone to let Finn know when he's being a tool (maybe I'm just too endeared to her character though. I'm sure Sam will let me know if that's the case). And Will and Emma are free to talk about their problems now that they're both in relationships, which allows them to have plenty of cute banter disguised as not forwarding their romance.

Overall this show is still a blast, and has a higher quotability average than any other show around right now (there is a one liner I want to remember about once every two minutes in any given episode), but it still has some things to work out. While I am gaining confidence that it will work them out, this episode stands easily as the weakest yet.

Grade: B-

-Jane Lynch's Sue wasn't around as much tonight (again, this show's ensemble is too big to fit everyone in nightly) but her line "You know ladies, I learned a lot in special forces" her penchant for getting her fog machine back, and her punishment of Quinn by restricting her tanning privileges were all home runs.

-"Sandy, we voted. When you're in the group, its creepy." The Tobolowsky character is likely to wear thin if he's used too often, but I thought he was very funny tonight.

-"Who is Josh Groban? Kill yourself!" is a perfect example.

-"We started doing it once a week! It was like she was trying to make a twin!" Hilarious way to say that, and added irony points since Terri isn't actually pregnant and is trying to knock herself up.

-"My dad bought it for my sweet 16 when I promised to stop wearing form-fitting sweaters that stop at the knee. What he doesn't know won't hurt him." Kurt had a great night.

-"My dad took my baby away when he found my tiara collection in my hope chest." Hilarious, and possible evidence that we'll have to deal with Kurt's father's lack of acceptance later in the series (or, at this pace, next week when Kurt turns 30 and has a coming out party).

-"Artie you're cut. You aren't trying hard enough." "At what?" "At walking." Dakota Stanley made up for the lack of Sue tonight. Also to love, his line "What's wrong with me is that you're freakishly tall. I feel like a woodland creature!"

-"You're breaking up with me? Why?" "You're credit score is terrible! I need financial security!"
Tags: Glee
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