Jach Discusses: Glee 4.01

Posted: September 16, 2012 by Jachelle in Jach, Recaps, Television
Tags: , , , , ,

Dee, in her infinite wisdom, has given up watching Glee. Yours truly, however, is still watching for some reason I can’t quite explain. So I’ll be taking over the Gleeviews this season. This week was the premiere of the fourth season, and while we’re saying goodbye to old faces, we’re also greeted with some new ones.

Summer’s over and once again it’s up to school gossip Jacob Ben Israel to catch us up on what’s been going on with our glee clubbers. New Directions rode their national championship up a couple rungs on the social ladder, and have been enjoying the precarious popularity that’s come along with it. Sam seems to be doing just fine without Mercedes as he’s surrounded by tiny groupies clamoring for his Taylor Lautner impression. Britt’s back for her second go at Senior year. And Tina’s got herself a personal assistant and a tattoo. Though, she seems to have lost Mike Chang along the way. While Tina, Britt, Blaine, and new member Unique battle each other to decide who’s “The New Rachel,” Kurt’s hanging around the school because he’s scared of moving forward. Which leaves Rachel New York and struggling with her hilariously nasty NYADA dance teacher, Cassandra July, and feeling lonely.

With the fourth season underway, we’ve now officially split the focus of the show. We’re following what’s left of the New Directions at McKinley High, while also keeping track of Rachel and Kurt in New York City. I wasn’t too thrilled when I found out this was happening last season, but I was surprised by how much it didn’t bother me as I was actually watching it. I have my issues with Rachel, I always have. With this change-up, though, I found myself a lot more sympathetic to her. I liked her being away from the Glee club and giving the others a chance to shine. It made me more sympathetic to what was going on with her at NYADA. I also really enjoyed watching her world shift as she’s forced to realize she’s not perfect, and that she’s got a lot of work ahead of her if she wants to succeed. I think this could be a fantastic opportunity for Rachel to get some real character growth going on here. You know, provided the writers actually stick with it and don’t abandon characterization after three episodes like they usually do.

Back at McKinley, the kids are using their popularity to be jerks. SURPRISE. I was so irritated by this plot. Firstly, it is such a tired trope at this point. In order to be popular you have to be a horrible bully. Puh-lease. It’s an overused trope in the media in general, and Glee falls back on it constantly. Yes, we get it, some popular kids can be horrible. That doesn’t mean that the characters have to immediately start tearing people down just to get their fellow classmates to accept them. In high school I knew plenty of popular kids who were genuinely nice. I would LOVE for the writers to take a chance and try something different in this area for once. I realize that’s a pipe dream, however, and I’ll probably be waiting forever for that. Back to my original point. In addition to being overused, there was also NO REAL POINT to this plot device. Oh sure, the Glee club learned their lesson at the end of the episode and apologized to Marley. But they’ve been preaching acceptance for three seasons now. They should be way ahead of the game when it comes to this sort of thing. They were bullied constantly, and a few guilty looks from Artie before tearing down the overweight lunch lady or Blaine before telling Unique not to wear makeup does NOT give them a right to indulge in this behavior at all.

As irritated as I was by them, nothing flabbergasted me quite as much as Tina’s behavior throughout the entire episode. Seriously, what the hell? Tina has always been an extremely level-headed and down to Earth character. She’s always there to support her friends and give them sound advice when they need it. So does someone mind explaining to me what happened to that girl? Because that was definitely not the Tina I watched this week. She was rude, selfish, manipulative, and downright mean. I know the writers a fond of changing a character’s personality for a plot device, but this was bad even for them. And don’t even get me started on her break-up with Mike. Mike and Tina were the best, most loving, functional relationship on this show, and we get one throw away line about them breaking up? If it were Finchel or Klaine we’d have a three episode story arc revolving around it and at least five songs. But nope. Tina and Mike don’t even rate an actual conversation. The writers did the exact same thing in the season three premiere with Mercedes and Sam. It just feels so lazy and it rubs me the wrong way.

That being said, there were a few things that I genuinely did enjoy this episode. And those things were Unique, Marley, her mom, and Brody Weston. I’m sad to say that Unique’s episode was one of the ones I missed last season, but I’m really glad that the character will be joining New Directions. Alex Newell is completely gorgeous and has a truly spectacular voice. I’m so looking forward to seeing more storylines involving Unique and all her fabulousness. I fell in love with Marley and her mom immediately. I really love Mother-Daughter relationships and we’ve had a serious lack of them on Glee. The closest we really got was Quinn and her mom and Rachel’s brief bonding moment with Shelby. Needless to say, neither of those relationships were all that satisfying. Again, I think Glee has a real opportunity to explore some fantastic stuff here. I know the show is capable of producing amazing parent/child relationships because Burt and Kurt Hummel pretty much reduce me to tears every time they’re together. So I’m really crossing my fingers that we’ll get the chance to see more of Marley and her mom. Not to mention, Marley just seemed sweet in general. I adored the final number when she was sort of bumbling around on stage but still having a great time anyway. I want to know more about her!

Finally we have Brody Weston, Rachel’s first new friend in New York. Despite his somewhat ridiculous introduction, throughout the rest of the episode he seemed like a pretty awesome guy. He was supportive without being overly pushy and he ended up being a really great influence on Rachel. I can actually see them forming a solid friendship. Although, this is Glee, so of course they’re going to turn it into a love triangle with Finn and make me hate everyone ever. So, I’m just enjoying what I can now before it’s inevitably ruined for me.

We have two other newcomers to the cast. “New Head Bitch” Kitty and Puck’s younger half-brother, Jake. Kitty seemed extremely flat to me. She’s a character we’ve seen 100 times over since the show started, the bitchy cheerleader. It goes back to what I was talking about before. We’ve seen this before, Glee. Can’t you please give us something new? I also wasn’t impressed by Jake either. Unlike Kitty, however, he at least has the potential to be a little bit more interesting. There might actually be some decent character development in there somewhere, so I’m reserving judgement on him for now.

The music was good, as always. No one on the planet Earth was surprised when the cast starting belting out Call Me Maybe, and despite the weirdness of synchronized cup choreography, I did enjoy Blaine’s song to Kurt in the courtyard. I was a little disappointed that they went with Adele again for the closing number. I adore Adele, but I fell like the cast has covered every song she’s ever released at this point. I’d really love to get some new music mixed in there. But seeing as how next week they’re doing Britney Spears AGAIN, it looks like I’m going to be disappointed.

All in all, it was a mediocre episode, and not really what I would have wanted from a season opener. It was just a lot of stuff we’ve seen before, and I really hope that’s not sign of what I should expect for the rest of the season. For now, though, there were still a few good bits mixed in with everything else, so I’ll keep on watching. And Dee will keep on laughing at me.

Next Week: Britney 2.0

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