DVD blog review Glee Season 2 Volume 1: Hiatus heaven

I know: Two months is a tough time to wait between episodes of Glee. And its Feb. 6 return right after the Super Bowl can’t come quickly enough.

But at least its next episode after that will be a truly quick two days later. And at least the wait for Glee’s return wasn’t four months, as it was during its first midseason hiatus last year.

And at least in the interim we have Glee Season 2 Volume 1 on DVD. It’s newly available from Fox Home Entertainment.

Now, I know what you’re thinking. First, you have the fall season’s 10 shows already recorded and stored, so who needs this? Or second, you want them on DVD, but why not wait till the entire second season arrives, probably in early September?

Clearly, it’s your call to wait. But those who don’t will be rewarded — not just by pristine widescreen copies of their favorite show, but also by a slew of extras you can’t get elsewhere.

Among them are my favorite DVD extra feature for Glee: the Glee Music Jukebox. (Why they qualify it as “Music” puzzles me, since calling it a “Jukebox” makes that redundant, but maybe lots of folks don’t know what a jukebox is.) Last year’s Glee Season 1 Volume 1 did NOT have this feature, which first arose for the “back nine” episodes on the full season set, but at least that belated trend continues here.

The beauty of the Jukebox is that, if you love Glee most for its music, as I do, you can zip right to it and skip the familiar storytelling on either side of songs. You also can pick and choose which song you want to see and hear again, or even use a shuffle feature to enjoy them randomly for the particular episodes that appear on each of the set’s three discs.

Heck, they even put little Schoolhouse Rock ditty Conjunction Junction on the Jukebox, despite the fact that it lasts only seconds. It could last longer, of course, playing underneath subsequent dialogue, but the DVD’s producers insist on starting and finishing each track abruptly to avoid that.

As for all-new extras, try an all-new song which went unused from The Rocky Horror Glee Show. It’s Planet, Schmanet, Janet, it’s just over one minute, and its visuals show only the big red disembodied mouth, as in opening number Science Fiction Double Feature. I’m not certain who sings the song (it sounds like John Stamos’ Carl, who temporarily had the Dr. F role), but it’s a kick to hear.

Also new is a nearly seven-minute The Making of the Rocky Horror Glee Show, which is one of the best making-of features I’ve seen done for Glee. Heck, it’s even more entertaining per minute than the episode itself, which for me was a disappointment. Interviewees include cast members — in full makeup — and guest director Adam Shankman.

Big reveals include Amber Riley’s admission that she “felt like a man in a dress” with her drag outfit to become an unorthodox female Dr. Frank N. Furter, and also that she got stuck on the onstage elevator for a reported 20 minutes.

Even bigger is Jayma Mays’ revelation that she sang Toucha Toucha Toucha Touch Me ‘way back for her Glee audition. There’s even footage from that audtion, which I’ve never seen among the many audition clips for others in the Glee cast, and it’s juxtaposed with Jayma’s Emma singing it for Will in their frisky empty-classroom rehearsal for the Rocky Horror episode.

We’re also reminded (you probably already knew this) that Stamos’  Carl was to have sung Sweet Transvestite, but it was deemed “inappropriate,” which is how Amber’s Mercedes wound up in the role. (Carl’s version, of course, has been issued on audio, at least.)

Another extra is Getting Waxed With Jane Lynch, a routine six-minute featurette on Madame Tussaud’s Hollywood Wax Museum deciding to create her likeness as Sue Sylvester for display. The creative process feels like a typical CG making-of featurette — that is, dull — but the public dedication ceremonies are fun, and the figure does, indeed, strike a pose that’s real enough for Sue.

There’s also The Wit of Brittany, a two-minute montage of Heather Morris’ Brittany’s weirdest lines (and it’s not even all of them). Superbly edited and loads of fun, this orgy of verbal absurdities works real magic.

Finally there’s a 15-minute look at some cast members and Ryan Murphy appearing on a panel at San Diego’s Comic Con in 2010. Not bad, but not something to watch over and over.

But the episodes are, and after a slow start, Season 2 has delivered some of the best Glee yet. From Coach Beiste to the Dalton Academy Warblers to Holly Holiday to Bruno Mars tunes, Glee has its mojo working. And you can see it all here, or wait till later this year for the complete season set.

Until then, from the top!

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