My schedule won’t permit a complete review/recap of this week’s Glee, Episode 6, “Glease,” but I will say this: Glease is the word. Or, rather, Grease is the show for McKinley to do for its annual school musical.
Hey, I love the artfulness of West Side Story, and I embraced the tender moments it produced last season, especially Rachel’s near-operatic singing of One Hand, One Heart. For anyone who claims Lea Michele is only a bombastic belter, think again. She can sing anything.
But Grease is more of the real deal for a TV show about high school kids often involved in rowdy, randy misbehavior. In fact, if anything the hit musical goes a bit too far; its 1978 movie was one of the rawest feel-good musicals ever. But now we have Glee to ground it in some form of prime-time decency, especially with good girl Marley Rose as Sandy, Olivia Newton-John’s role in the film.
In fact, her plaintive reprise for Look At Me, I’m Sandra Dee is almost my favorite of this show’s six all-Grease numbers. Is anyone else catching on, as I am, that the season’s first episode title had nothing to do with Rachel changing as she went to New York, but rather singling out the sweet-faced, financially challenged Marley as “the new Rachel,” being the top new femme singer in New Directions?
I mean, Melissa Benoist never can eclipse Lea Michele as a singer, but as a character, she’s winning my heart — big time — especially with song performances like this one.
But I did say “almost my favorite,” right? And that alludes to numero uno, which has to be Glee’s first full-bore rendition of the exhilarating You’re the One That I Want, after two brief stabs at it in Season One. This full cast number spotlighting couples Rachel and Finn, and Marley and Ryder, is irresistible Glee exuberance and verve, and I love the way it stretches out at the end, full of so much moxie and momentum that the song seemingly won’t end.
Great source music. Great episode. Tell me more, tell me more? No, give me more, give me more. Glease is the word.
— Bruce Westbrook