Unless I lost count, Glee had 11 songs, counting snippets, in its Original Song episode. Thus, I rest my case.
Unless anyone is still confused, get this: Glee is a music-driven show. Glee is TV’s only real musical. And Glee must take liberties to stitch stories around so many songs.
We can quibble all day about dangling plot threads or wild leaps of logic. But in the end (isn’t that a better saying than the hopelessly overused, monkey-hear monkey-say “at the end of the day”?) Glee is no less logical than Maria bursting into song on a mountain in The Sound of Music, or the Jets and the Sharks fighting with balletic grace in West Side Story. Musicals are fanciful and transporting, and we can’t apply the same limits of logic as with more conventional storytelling.
So I’m defending Glee’s narrative lapses and plot excesses, even though I often point them out for the record. And that’s because I see the big picture and value Glee for what it is: the best music-powered series on TV — ever. And for those of us who love music — who understand why it’s so vital to Rep. Gabby Giffords’ recovery, for instance, and grasp why certain songs bring tears to our eyes or us to our feet — Glee is worth those lapses and excesses, because musically, most of the time, Glee gets it right. And that includes last night.
Original Song (the last episode till April 12, with five shows to go before May 24’s season finale) was a huge delight, bursting as it did not only with Regionals-worthy music (well, not Aural Intensity’s), but also via snippets of oddball original songs such as Only Child, Trouty Mouth and Big Ass Heart. They weren’t supposed to be good (though the last was a potent Mark Salling blues-rocker). They were supposed to be amusing and entertaining. And they were.
But the true test of Glee’s first major foray into original songs (My Headband and others arose before, don’t forget) was an array of three numbers, one for Mercedes’ in-class performance (Hell to the No) and the others for competition (Get It Right and Loser Like Me).
Hearing them all before the telecast, I liked Hell to the No the best. Lively and energized, it seemed more real and less calculating than the others.
But seeing New Directions perform the other two changed my ‘tude toward them. Loser Like Me, while it still sounds too precious and junior high-ish, especially the mid-song chant, came across as rousing defiance to ND’s naysayers onstage. And Get It Right, the first Glee track with a “featuring” credit, for Lea Michele, was a rousing and riveting torch song at her belting best. Take that, haters who carp Glee is just a “cover” show.
The story also managed to be involving, what with Kurt and Blaine’s inevitable loverboy clinch and kisses, Quinn’s open claim to Finn (with Dianna Agron’s best dramatic scene to date, harshly confronting Rachel with their projected life paths) and, of course, ND winning in Regionals, as we knew they would, given how the season is structured and the fact that such a big deal was made of Nationals being in New York in Episode 1.
It’s too bad ND and the Warblers couldn’t have tied again, because the Warblers easily hold their own with McKinley’s finest song and dance group. Raise Your Glass was an anthemic triumph, and Candles was as lovely as it gets. The Warblers getting their own album is no fluke. They’re the real deal.
I also enjoyed Kurt’s rendition of the Beatles’ tender Blackbird, in honor of the club’s fallen canary. BTW, so that was the character death we’d heard rumored. Fooled me — I thought they were serious, and some minor supporting character — human, that is– would go. But I’m glad it proved otherwise.
I’m also glad Regionals are behind us and Nationals loom, where surely ND will face nearby Vocal Adrenaline, the group somehow competing in a different Regionals this year, though that was never explained to us. (Glee writers, here’s how you could’ve done it in five seconds: Will says, “Vocal Adrenaline is in another Regionals this year, but we still have to face . . . “)
Now we hunker down to await Holly Holliday’s and Glee’s return on April 12 — ouch. But at least we’re buoyed by so many new songs to savor till then. Unlike Brittany, I won’t put My Headband in heavy rotation on my iPod, but I’m still glad to have it. After all, it’s performed by the greatest singer on the greatest musical on TV, right? And that’s enough for me.