Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Gleecap: Showmance (Season 1, Episode 2)

(as published on

The second episode of Glee aired a fair few months after the first one in its initial run. A fair few re-introductions are in order, but before you know it, we’ve hurtled back into the Glee breakneck rhythm I know and love.

Sue Sylvester informs Will Schuester about the twelve-member team requirement as an eligibility criteria for the Regionals competition - the Glee club at present has exactly half that number. Will hits upon the idea of doing a performance before the class assembly which will then induce students to join - except that his choice of the 1970’s disco hit Le Freak isn’t going down too well with the club. With Rachel at the lead, “New Directions” goes behind Will’s back to assault the assembly with the saucy, astonishingly raunchy Push It. It is a performance that, as Sue puts it, “was the most offensive thing I've seen in twenty years of teaching, and that includes an elementary school production of Hair.” It also gets the club in a fair bit of trouble with the administration - they will now be required to sing off a list of Christian-values approved songs prepared by the Principal.

One of the season’s central love triangles is also set up here, as Finn, the star quarterback, puts his relationship with head cheerleader Quinn in jeopardy after spending a bit too much time with Rachel in practice sessions. Quinn resolves this by auditioning for the Glee club with fellow cheerleaders, and one delicious performance of I Say a little Prayer for you later, “New Directions” has nine members.

The Songs!

1. Le Freak - New Directions (Chic)

Another of the performance-as-joke numbers - this one has some cute choreography, and I can watch Mercedes cap off anything with her “Hell to the no!”


2. Gold Digger - New Directions (Kanye West)

Mercedes kicks this off with a great intro, the cast joins in, and Will shows us some sexy dance moves. It’s not often that the show does rap well, but this is, well, gold.


3. All By Myself - Emma (Eric Carmen)

So just a snatch of a performance - a few seconds actually. Gets huge points for how absolutely adorable Emma is here, and the irony of her giving the particular counsel she is to Rachel at this point.


4. Push It - New Directions (Salt ‘N’ Pepa)

‘Ooh baby baby’ … now we’re talking. Every syllable is stressed on for maximum raunch and as for the choreography - it makes those late 1990s R&B videos look tame. I would not enjoy watching this with my folks. As Rebecca Black would intone - Fun, Fun, Fun, Fun.


5. I Say a Little Prayer for You - Quinn, Santana and Brittany (Dionne Warwick)

Incredibly suggestive, and Quinn’s vocals go down like a shot of Bailey’s. The cheerleaders are here to stay.


6. Take a Bow - Rachel (Rihanna)

Till now, Glee has been a performance-musical. All the songs have taken place in the real world, so to speak, every moment that we see as audiences being also observed by the characters within the show. With this song, Glee begins to embrace more fully its musical roots. Rachel starts off singing this in the auditorium; before you know, she’s walking through the McKinley halls, directly chiding Finn - “you put on quite a show, really had me going”. It’s right in Rachel’s vocal sweet spot - wide as that is.


So final verdict for this episode?

Well, another set of great performances, a preview of Will’s moves, Emma crying her eyes out while wailing All By Myself, the love triangles threatening to go out of control so early in the show - Glee’s firing on all cylinders. That’s a 4/5.

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