If Glee had begun Season 3 with the verve and vitality of Episode 7’s I Kissed A Girl, it wouldn’t have dipped in the ratings.
Anyone not feel this is the year’s best show to date?
First, the songs, which for those of us who heard them in advance already signaled a potent show musically. But when we saw how those songs served the story, it made all the difference. The six numbers composed by six women not only stood on their own, but also drove the story home, from romantic heartache (Jolene) to joyously defiant girl-power (I Kissed a Girl).
In between was Finn’s soulful reinvention of Cyndi Lauper’s Girls Just Want to Have Fun and the most warmly welcome embrace I’ve seen on this show, between the good-intentioned lunkhead and the outed Santana. If they can hug, anyone can.
Mark Salling’s Puck also had perhaps his best Glee ever, not only by fiercely rocking out Melissa Etheridge’s I’m the Only One (on the heels of last week’s rousing Hot For Teacher), but by revealing his caustic character’s hidden sides, from math smarts to astute psychoanalysis of his lady loves. (But why would he tell the conniving Quinn about his fling with Shelby, a tryst which still has me aghast?)
Then there’s Coach Beiste, who’s become one of Glee’s most lovable characters by being herself — a manly woman who’s still a sensitive chick on the inside. Her plaintive Jolene from Dolly Parton’s songbook was a stirring ode to romantic longing and loss. Yet I also understood why her frustrated near-boyfriend, Cooter the recruiter, would have dabbled with former flame Sue, even if she called up merely for a campaign photo opp.
Speaking of which, major news from the unlikely election front, with Burt Hummel winning a seat in the U.S. Congress with a write-in campaign, sending Sue into a snit. And on the likely election front, Brittany’s feel-good pandering and empty promises won her Senior Class President, with Rachel suspended and banned from Sectionals for stuffing the ballot box for Kurt. (Now, who gave her that idea?)
Speaking of Kurt, his Perfect duet with Blaine — like the episode itself — was almost just that, though I missed the superb harmonies of the “Glee Spoof” version of Pink’s strong song between Kurt and Rachel sound-alikes.
Fittingly ending it all was kd lang’s Constant Craving, as fervently sung by a character who, like Puck, also evolved in this episode, Santana. Her grandma’s rebuke about her love for Brittany was pathetic and sad — a societal comment which needed to be made, even if the intolerance hurt. But Naya Rivera’s Santana showed some class in this show, and it was touching how the glee clubs immersed her in their support.
I mean, Glee doesn’t get much better than this. I often proclaim boldly to anyone who’ll listen, show me three minutes of any show, anywhere, anytime, that touches the greatness of Glee at its best during an awesome musical number, as with last week’s Adele mashup. But this time, I’d stack up the entire episode — the whole 40-plus minutes sans commercials. Show me a better show. I want to see it. Show me. But I don’t think it exists.
So thanks, Glee cast, crew and director Tate Donovan (for the unaware, an actor and former boyfriend of Sandy Bullock and Jennifer Anniston). You get an A-plus in my book. And with 15 shows remaining this season, we’re not even near finals.
You’re on a roll, Glee. Keep ’em coming.
— Bruce Westbrook